I Designed My First Pattern!


I'm so drawn to patterns, pretty much everything in my wardrobe clashes. How fun is it, though, to study the flow and repetition of a great motif?? It's Stay-In-On-A-Friday-Night kind of fun!

So I like patterns. And I decided to try my hand at a real, live pattern design with the idea in mind that I can eventually get good enough at it to design ALL MY STUFF. We're talking duvets, pillows, shirts, the siding on my house, EVERYTHING. Reality is a big bowl o' peach pits, however, and I've discovered that pattern-designing is not a "Just DO It" kind of task (sorry, Shia. You're wrong on this one) - it involves a lot of technicalities that I never even considered. I'm fine with the outcome, considering it's my first go. In fact, I'm downright pleased with it, but I know my next will be better, and so on. Yay for blind optimism.

Here's how I started:

Pattern Layout


That's a magnificently professional shot of my initial layout, pencil on canvas paper. Not pictured is the TV playing Curb Your Enthusiasm in front of me. We keep it serious around here.

To get to that point, I traced around one of my husband's seminary books to create the vertical rectangle (again, serious business here), then roughly sketched a horizontal line through the middle. The point of this is to create essentially six corners to start a design element from (marked in teal dots). So all my leaves, branches, and frog bottoms start from these points.

Pattern Painting

Next I started painting within my pencil guides.

Pattern Outlining

Then I grabbed a fine tip Sharpie and went to town after the paint had completely dried (which takes approximately one episode of Larry David loudly being misunderstood).

final pattern

Whoa, okay. I totally get that we just jumped like five steps, but they were kinda boring. Here's the gist: I took a picture of my final rectangle, brought it into Photoshop, enhanced the color, brightened the whites, and duplicated/flipped it a few times, then duplicated and flipped that. Thrilling. A lot of this was just tweaking size and discovering that it looked a little more organic if I rotated the whole pattern a little.



Then I got Photoshop freaky and played with the "Subtract" adjustment. What a totally different vibe! I really dig the two versions, so I decided to make both available as pillows and various other fun stuffs in the shop.


Next time, I want to figure out the right layout so that the pattern doesn't look so...boxy. You can kind of tell where each segment is (I'm really selling this, I know). I also want to experiment with more geometric patterns down the road, too. But I LOVE messing with color schemes and patterns are perfect for just that! Aren't you just itching to try a pattern design yourself?? It's okay if the answer is "no" but it is pretty fun. :)