SAMPLE PROJECT - student project

Hey Everyone! Welcome to my new class on Pattern Collections. I thought I'd provide a little breakdown of a sample project from start to finish. 

If you watch the videos, or if you took my first class, you'll know that I am a big proponent of using a mood board to help guide your process as you develop patterns. So I thought I'd share a closer look at the moodboard I developed for this collection and give you a few pointers. 

SAMPLE PROJECT - image 1 - student project

SAMPLE PROJECT - image 2 - student project

My moodboards have images that inspire me or fit the theme I'd like to build a collection around, as well as keywords that resonate with me within that theme. I also like to include a rough, working title or mood to help give it even more direction. I like to put my moodboards together in an Indesign document, but you can do it however works best for you -- maybe you'd prefer to do a good old fashioned collage with clippings from magazines. 

Your moodboard is your sidekick for this process -- I like to keep mine by my side while I draw, digitize and assemble my hero, secondary and blender prints and spot graphics. And it really comes in handy when you're trying to come up with a name for your collection and tell the story behind it. 

I'd love to see the moodboards you put together for this class, and to see what's inspiring you! 

I like to take my moodboard and go to a nice, comfortable spot where I feel inspired to draw. For me, that's getting away from my computer, sitting on my couch with some music on and just doodling and doodling and doodling -- feeling really free with no constraints and letting myself draw without judgement. I like to just draw with my favourite pens and my favourite sketchpad, simple pen and paper drawings, but do what feels right for you, and what you have the most fun doing.

SAMPLE PROJECT - image 3 - student project

SAMPLE PROJECT - image 4 - student project

SAMPLE PROJECT - image 5 - student project

Once I start to see certain themes developing in terms of style or motifs, and once I feel like I'm starting to answer some of the things I've outlined in my moodboard, I'll move on to the next phase of digitizing.

I covered my process for digitizing thoroughly in my first class so if you're not sure where to start, I'd recommend going back and taking that class. In a nutshell, I like to take pictures of my drawings, and import them into my ipad app called Inkpad -- which is a lot like Illustrator. The best part about Inkpad is that once you've drawn your elements, you can export as a PDF which retains all the vector qualities and you can easily edit them in Illustrator. Alternately, you can scan your drawings and redraw them in Illustrator using a tablet (or your mouse). Or,  you can hop right into Ilustrator and start developing your icons from scratch in the application. 

SAMPLE PROJECT - image 6 - student project

I like to start by developing my Hero print, which will inform the whole collection and act as a driver for the mood, motifs and colour palette. Next comes the Secondary prints, which are still engaging but often have a slighly reduced colour palette and fewer motifs. And then the blender prints, which are usually even more minimal in terms of motifs and colour palette. 

SAMPLE PROJECT - image 7 - student project

SAMPLE PROJECT - image 8 - student project

SAMPLE PROJECT - image 9 - student project

Spot graphics are little stand-alone graphics or icons that pick up on the mood or theme of the collection. You can develop from scratch, or extract motifs or icons from the patterns you developed and use those. Here are a few examples of my spot graphcis for this collection.

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I have a lot of fun with this part. After spending so much time developing your prints, it's that extra little cherry on top. Take a look at the moodboard you developed for the collection -- do those themes, images and keywords still apply to the final result? (It's okay if not, it's an evolution so if you got excited and veered off course a little, nobody will know but you!). Brainstorm words and ideas that you think fit the theme or mood of your collection and try and come up with something that fits and sums it all up nicely. I named my collection 'Morning Song' because I was trying to capture the morning light, sounds of birds singing, and poetry (Morning Song is the title of a poem by Sylvia Plath). On a gut level, I just thought it fit the collection perfectly, so I went with it. Feel free to create a little logo (or use one of your spot graphics) for the collection.

SAMPLE PROJECT - image 11 - student project

Along the same vein as naming your collection, it's great to give your collection a blurb that tells the story behind it. I like to just sit and write out my ideas and weave them together into a nice little narrative that tells people what the vision was all about. Here's my blurb for Morning Song: 

SAMPLE PROJECT - image 12 - student project

I'd love to see your progress along the way! Upload your moodboards and drawings along the way, post your final collections and tell the story behind your collection. I can't wait to see what you all come up with. Happy patterning! 

Elizabeth Olwen
Surface Pattern Designer