Well I decided at the last minute to sign up for the ‘Make Art That Sells – Courses A and B’, which is different from the bootcamp. It’s been a great journey so far. So worth the investment. Basically it is more in depth, but bootcamp is great too.
Sorry I am going to waffle on in this post, forgive me…but it’s a good way for me to document my processes. You skip down to “actual process…” heading if you don’t want to hear my pain and turmoil :)
Anyway, talking about pushing your creative muscle, boy did I do that this week! I went through quite a few emotions. I don’t know if this comes up for others when designing, but this course has made me confront a lot of issues about “me as an artist”. Questions like ‘”who am I as an artist, where do I want to go with it all, what direction do I want to go in, what is my style?” I have probably been avoiding these questions for a long time, but this course and maybe my current headspace has allowed me to really confront some of those issues. There was a lot of mind chatter going on, and instead of ignoring it (like I usually do), I decided to really listen to what it was saying.
I had a few realisations, one is that I love experimenting and exploring different styles. The negatives side to that is that I can easily get lost and go off on tangents which from my observation in these last few days has meant that I get a bit overwhelmed, because I am overstimulated creatively.
For example earlier in the day I had seen a bright blue and coral colour in a pattern design and I loved the colours so much I wanted to explore working with them (you can see where I started with images no 4 and 5). Yet even though, I loved that bright blue colour with the coral, I had to really ask myself was this really the path I wanted to go down? It’s way off any colours I normally use, and sure I could have explored those colours, but in the long run I think using those colours would have affected not just the work I submitted, but also future work to. Sounds strange huh? But when I really broke it down, I realised that when I do go off on tangents (left of field) I am actually confusing myself, even though I am ‘exploring’. Sure I am stretching my creative muscle, but I am also confusing it to, which defeats the purposes. When I get overly confused I get lost and anxiety creeps in, and that’s when I lose my creative flow.
You see there’s lot of unconscious mind chatter going on while I am designing and it goes something like this… “how will any of this go with any of my current work, will I be able to make the colour scheme work with my current designs, if I go down this path will this confuse people, can I just create this work and separate it from my current work, should I experiment with new mediums, should I go into Illustrator and try vector for this project?”. This list goes on and on.
So you’re probably saying to yourself ‘it’s just one piece of artwork, if you don’t like it lesson learnt’ which is true, but actually this one little piece can have a roll on effect with all my other work, well for me anyway. I am not very good at switching off and a lot of my thoughts carry on to the next project (usually without me realising it).
So basically I sat down and had a good talk to myself and I asked myself what I wanted to do with my design style not just for this project but in general, and I decided I wanted to stick with my Nomuu theme and colours which has a some muted tones throughout it. I really love working on my Nomuu illustrations and so I want to try and concentrate on honing my skills in that. Now having said that, I am still happy to experiment with bold colour choices, but I don’t want to be doing royal blue. I also I decided I wanted to stick to a sort scandinavian feel, textural feel that I have going on. Because yes, I even toyed with the idea of creating cute vector characters in Illustrator with this assignment (all my work is hand drawn not vectorised), again had to reign in those thoughts in and ask myself was it really necessary or would it confuse me even more? The answer was, “Yes! It would confuse me”. So after my epiphanies, it was much easier for me to concentrate on my design and focus on the direction and it made the process much more enjoyable. If you are an illustrator/artist and you have had similar struggles perhaps you can start observing your own mind chatter and start to dissect what is happening and how those thoughts are effecting your work. It’s hard to do, but cam be quite beneficial.
ACTUAL PROCESS IN FINAL PATTERN DESIGN
Now I am going to talk about my actual process in creating the pattern, so I spent a good 3 full days on this project, sounds like a lot but I spent a whole lot of time just playing, getting rather confused, coming to epiphanies and experimenting and trying to understand pattern repeats/ surface design. I admit I struggled and certainly don’t have it down packed, which is understandable (early days).
The theme by the way was exotic fruits and retro Pyrex bowls. I now realise I should of had more exoctic fruits and perhaps more of a retro feel, but that’s okay I will pay more attention to the brief next time.
So basically after I created my sketches and developed ‘icons/elements’ (tried a few things, pen, pencil and ink) I started off dragging in my ‘elements’ (image 4) into Photoshop and just started playing around with designs and I started to get ideas based on colours I thought I might want to explore.
Once I had my icons. I wanted to avoid going it to a straight square pattern template. Instead I tried to get a rough pattern flowing by just placing objects on a page, which you can see in image 6. I really like the look and feel of that design, however translating that into a flowing pattern repeat was really hard. I would have love to somehow get that ‘flowing feel’ in the final pattern piece (image 2) but I just couldn’t seem to translate it into the final design. Note: what looks nice as a single design layout, can look completely horrible as a pattern repeat and I don’t have enough knowledge this stage to understand all the ‘ins and outs’ of pattern design. If we look at image 6 again, I thought “Oh ok, maybe I could make that whole piece into a pattern”, but then when I thought about it some more I thought it would have just looked like big clumps of patterns with big bits of negative space, which would have looked odd. So I have realised there is a ‘real art’ to pattern designs and I need to really need to research it some more. I want to be able to do complex patterns that weave in and out of each other. That is going to need some research and lots of trial and error.
After creating image 6 (last image), I did have some moments of wanting to go off and explore other colours . So somewhere along the line, I saw some of the ‘icons/objects’ I was using (in image 6) and sort of thought it would be good to layout some of the pieces not in a pattern but as an art print layout and then work backwards. I also thought it might help me get inspired and so I started collating the objects in new documents and came up with numerous designs, designs that I actually thought in the end were rather cool as art prints. I do that quite often, if I see an element I have created I will put it into a document and see if I can build upon it there and then or for a later date. Anyway as it turned out they didn’t work as patterns…I did try and put them into patterns, but they just looked odd. And yes, I guess they slightly went off tangent, but I still think they have a little bit of my ‘Nomuu’ illustration feel and are a bit more muted than that bright blue colour and so I am ok with that :)
After I had decided that I couldn’t take anything from the art print designs I went back to image 6 and did in fact build a square pattern template in Photoshop. Once I layed out icons in the pattern square I then played around with “defining a pattern” option in Photoshop and then seeing what the outcome was. So it really was a little bit of trial and error and I am wondering if I am missing something in the process. Seeing something in a square and then seeing it repeated is like pulling a rabbit out of hat, you just don’t know what you are going to get. So anyway, I finally came up with my final pattern, with a lot of switching on and off of icons, moving icons around, looking and dissecting how the negative space worked in the design and also playing with colours. Again, I didn’t really have specific colours in mind, I would say I did decide early on that I wanted a dark blue background and I also wanted a coral colour, because it’s in trend at the moment and I like the colour. The mustard yellow, was selected to give the piece extra pop and make it stand out. Here’s tip, I also take a screengrab of where the artwork will be housed and in this example it’s going to be housed on “Flickr” alongside a whole lot of artists work. So I took a screengrab of that page with the other artists work and imposed my work over the top of it, to see what it would look like before it was uploaded. That gives me a good idea if the design works and if colours ‘pop’ enough.
In addition, through the whole process, I kept going back to this question ‘Would I be happy to buy and use the fabric design myself?’ I also imagined how the item would be used, would it look good as a skirt, a notebook, as a bag?
So there you go. Sorry for waffling on, but this is part blog and part me talking to myself – lol!