The process behind the pattern design; Rose Garden
I love to see behind the scenes of other artists processes and if you do too I have a treat for you here, where I'll share in detail how I created this hand drawn, detailed pattern I call Rose Garden. I hope it will give you some tips and inspiration for trying something new in your process.
The first pattern I ever made was during that weekend course for Swedish pattern designer Lotta Kühlhorn. We used an authentic paper-and-scissor technique to make a straight repeat of cut out motifs from magazines, photos, tickets, post cards or what ever people had brought with them. I on the other hand only brought my drawing pad and my first collection of markers (a very humble little ensemble of ProMarkers by then). I drew and colored a deep red lily.
The technique we used was to make the motifs, place them in the shape of a diamond on a piece of paper, copy the whole thing and then cut the copy into four rectangles, rearranging them, taping together and copy again - et voila - a straight repeat. And then I went ahead and made three more patterns the same way. I was hooked.
Since then I've learned a lot of other techniques, mainly using my scanner and Illustrator to create my patterns, occationally Photoshop as well using that cut in four technique (using offset).
Recently I picked up another analogue technique to make a pattern repeat - a half drop. It was through a course on Skillshare by Kristina Hultkrantz, which got me just as hooked as that first time.
I'm not going to go through the method here in detail, for that you really should check out her class instead.
The idea for Rose Garden just came as soon as I put the pencil to the paper, not really having a plan from the beginning, but a vase of roses on the table in front of me. So that's what I drew.
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Step 1: Drawing and inking the pattern repeat
The first step was to draw the pattern motifs on two equally sized pieces of paper. I chose to draw mine on two squared shaped papers, but rectangle works fine too. I sketched some rough lines for the stems first, then adding the initial placements and shapes of the roses. Next I added more and more details until I had completely filled the two papers. I filled in the lines with a black Uni Pin fineliner and erased all pencil lines.
Step 2: Scanning and editing in Photoshop
I scanned bot inked squares, edited them some in Photoshop, removing imperfections.
Step 3: Merging the two pattern squares
I created a new PS document, the same width as the square, double height so I could fit the both scans with one on top of the other, matching them into one large combined tall repeat:
As you can see in the middle I had to do some editing, adding some lines manually with the brush tool.
Step 4: Vectorizing in Illustrator and edit, edit, edit
Next I imported the combined and polished repeat to Illustrator, and turned it into a vectorized illustration with the Live Trace Tool.
After this I tested the repeat by copying it above, below and to the sides into the half drop using the Transform -> Move function (if you want to try this you'll get the detailed instructions for how you do all of this in Kristinas excellent class). And now I could see where the original needed to be adjusted so that all the lines would merge nicely to it's neighbouring repeat copy. I tried a couple of methods before I found the best one - which was using the white arrow tool and moving the anchor points of all the lines along the edges to fit to eachother. This whole step took me hours, but now that I know how to do this I hope the next one will be much more effective.
Step 5: Coloring the pattern!
So when I was pleased with how the motifs were repeating with all the edges of the original fitting perfectly it was time to start coloring.
For the areas of the stems and leaves that had closed areas I used the Live Bucket Tool and for the rest I used the Blob brush Tool.
Then I started with the flowers and for them I used my mostly used method when coloring in Illustrator where I use the Blob brush Tool to "paint" the motifs in different layers, adding details and shades that way.
For the next step I added some details - free hand - to the leaves, some nerves in light green.
I had also made some extra drawings on the side and scanned. These ones I wanted to use as silhouettes without any outlines for adding even more depth to the pattern. I vectorized them and filled them in a dark green with the Live bucket tool and then merging the outlines with the fill with the Shape builder tool.
6. Make the pattern swatch
Now that all the coloring was done it was time to make the repeat swatch. I did this by lining up the repeat into a half drop, then adding a background box twice the width of the original and made the repeat swatch manually, with a no stroke, no fill box behind, dragging it to the swatches panel. Aaaand done!
Well not really. First I had to play around with the Recolor Tool and came up with a bunch of color ways that I liked:
So here you have the whole process of how I made this pattern and I hop you might have use for some of the steps in this method I often use.
Now on to the next pattern!