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How to stretch an idea into multiple designs.

With all the challenges, projects and competitions about make sure you don’t waste an idea (or design), build on it and let it grow!

That is what I have been trying to do with my designs, starting from a sketch or a doodle or simply a thought and then transforming it into a bigger idea, a pattern or a piece of art and then taking it one step further –  stretching the design by recycling the concept in a new way, freshening up the colours or completely transforming the motifs into something new!

Take my pattern yesterday for the A-Z of Flowers (A is for Anemone) Lets start at the beginning…..

anenomes art

From initial painting (or sketch) to illustrator – For me this is where I can start to really experiment, drawing out the motifs in illustrator is great, mistakes are quickly erased or turned into something else, colours can be changed, points can be pulled and manipulated a million different ways!

ideas in illustrator

And I have  totally fell in love with these colours! TIP: This is where a mood board comes in handy as I only hit upon adding the blue having slept on the design and awoken this morning. It was in my original painting but I decided to go with reds and purples to be a bit more truthfully to the Anemone – fresh eyes really help sometimes, (so does a blue sky outside!)  Not a problem though I can either rework the colours or save the palette for another design!

Talking of recolouring one of the quickest way to digitally transform a pattern or motif is to change and mix the colours up! As I started with Anemones I restricted my colours to purples and pinks to begin with but I also really like the retro vibe of the orange and muddy greens or the vintage blues!  They would look so pretty printed on cloth!


Always try to think outside your box! If you make patterns make a placement print! One for myself – If you love florals try something coordinating with geometrics!

Take elements and work them into a different arrangement!  Flowers are great because they work as patterns (think of a field of flowers) or an illustration (like a bunch of flowers)

And try adding different textures! Experiment!


One thing that is new to me is adding quotes to images!  I will often hand write a little sentence like the one above but I wanted to challenge myself further and make the quote and pattern big and bold!  It’s turned out to be a fab print that is hanging on my wall!


Finally taking the idea  down a new path – a little sneak peek at a design collection I am working on!

anemones reworked_patternandco

If you are designing with a purpose in mind, for a client, a competition or project and the pattern or print doesn’t fit but you love it don’t hide it away, make it into art work, start your own etsy shop and if you are into surface pattern design definitely read Developing a Print Collection, great ideas to turn one pattern into a whole collection!

Here’s my designs over at my shop.

How do you stretch an idea?  I’d love to hear!

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Inspired by Spring Pastels

Yesterdays post on Pastel trends got me all creative so I made a series of soft and fluffy cloud art in pastel colours – very pretty!






Kind of makes up for waking up to snow piled up to the windows again!

snow in march1

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I heart You (#365patterns) Pattern 8

On 26, Feb 2013 | No Comments | In Etsy Love | By patternandco

I heart you patternandco

Bunnies because it is Easter soon!

i heart you 2 patternandco

Added  to the 365 Patterns design Challenge* on instagram, please join me over there (patternandco)

*The 365 patterns a day creative design challenge is a collaborative event with lots of designers, to see the collection of patterns and for more details drop by the caravan blog.

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Love is all around us (#365patterns) Pattern 5

On 22, Feb 2013 | No Comments | In Etsy Love | By patternandco

Pattern 5 is a mixed media, tissue paper, paint and texture mash up all within a repeat pattern.  (Easier to make than say lol)

mixed media circles patternandco

Added  to the 365 Patterns design Challenge* on instagram, please join me over there (patternandco)

Also available as a print!!

*The 365 patterns a day creative design challenge is a collaborative event with lots of designers, to see the collection of patterns and for more details drop by the caravan blog.

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Textures and Triangles in Photoshop (365patterns) Pattern 3

On 20, Feb 2013 | One Comment | In Etsy Love | By patternandco

textured trianges 1 patternandco

Went back to my roots for today’s pattern – Textured Triangles.  As a texture artist I have a vast collection of textures, images, paper and photos that I have created and use every day.  I have built up my own library over many years and I love experimenting and using them in my art to!

triangles 7

Textured Triangles started out as a simple vector, simple shapes, simple pattern.

triangles 1

I decided to work over in Photoshop as I have saved and scanned a huge collection of hand drawn line textures and handmade brushes which I wanted to use in this image.  Using one of my crisscross lines as a pattern fill starts the texturing process.

triangles 2

Next a denim fabric overlay with a curves layer on top to lighten the overall effect!

triangles 3

It’s starting to take shape.   Turning up the music……the work tends to flow and leads the way, in this case I wanted a more organic feel so I opened a new image and played around with less structured and different textured triangles.  (this is only going to be an overlay so it can be quite loose and imperfect)

triangles 5

I made a couple of different patterns from the loose triangle images, duplicated the layers and flipped them over, adjusting the opacity and blending modes.  With a bit of tweaking and adjusting, I even added one of my tulip photos (layer 1) because I loved the soft colours that poked through………..
triangles 6

…………..I finished a beautiful textured design.  What do you think?  Do you work with textures digitally or more hands on?

triangles 7

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Protecting your work – watermaking and sharing images on the web

On 04, Dec 2012 | One Comment | In Business Talk | By patternandco

I received a couple of emails in my inbox the other day with a similar topic… do you protect your work online?  It’s a hot subject and after a bit of research I thought it would be a great idea to start the discussion with using  watermarks and a few best practices when sharing your images online!

Watermarking is all about protecting your work, adding a stamp to your designs so they are traceable.  It’s still a compromise between  getting your work out there and seen and having a level of security with what your are comfortable with sharing.  I use the word “security” with a bit of hesitation, watermarking is not fool proof but along with a few more tips below it can at least help towards protecting your work online.

Start with naming your images, include your name or business name as well.  Hover over the image below and you can see what it is called…….

This is also good for when your images are pinned as that name is what is included in the text along with the link.

After saving your original file, resize to a smaller dimension (mine are saved at 550 px wide for the web) and  at 72dpi as this helps to prevent direct printing.  I will also crop the image slightly before resizing especially if it’s a repeat pattern.  Use the save for web option  in photoshop.

The things to look at are what format, in this case jpeg, the quality and the image size (if you want your image to be scaled correctly when resizing make sure the width and height are locked)

If you click on the 4-up tab at the top you can view the different options. The first is the original image, next at a high quality,then gradually going down to a low quality.

The way I mark my designs is with a small line of text (this could be your name or in my case I use my website)  I know from the conversations I have had with other artists and illustrators that some feel much more comfortable with a bigger more visible logo.  It’s a compromise between showing your designs with a small mark or offering a bit more protection with a larger mark but not seeing the design so clearly.

Place the watermark across any part of the pattern. I have a saved file with my watermarks, logos and signatures, which I simply open and drag onto my image I wish to mark.  Sometimes the text is not so clear against a patterned background as I use a handwritten font so I’ll  add a white label underneath.

This is where you can try out different fonts and symbols that you feel comfortable with and that suit your style .  Try  a bolder font, change the colour, reduce the opacity, adding your logo is also a great idea and when you find something you like and are happy with, save the file as your watermark and then you can reuse it again and again!

Notice I also add a very discreet signature within the design.

Here I  use the copyright symbol, this can be found in Photoshop in the custom shape tool.

Adding the © is not necessary but it sends a certain message.

Another way to protect your patterns and to really show them off  is to showcase your work on products, it can be as simple as printing them out and then taking a photo and again watermark in the same way, such as in my arrows print.


Or create mock ups, fabrics, pillows, get creative!

I’ll be back soon testing out some online watermarking sites as well as a a great showcase of creative watermarking and I would of course love to here your comments and thoughts on the subject.  Do you watermark?  Are you worried about your images on the internet?

In the meantime here is a list of a few great resources that you might like to check out:

Great Q&A from Vector tuts “Should you watermark your Art”

A discussion from Kim Bruce on Anyone Can Snip: Protect Your Art with Watermarks.  I love where she writes “My reason for watermarking is not to stop people from accessing my images, but rather, to allow these good people a trail back to me and my website.”

If you only have time to check out one thing then definitely take a look at the wonderful Monica Lee over at Smart Creative Women talking to Attorney Kiffanie Stahle on copyrights and protecting your work online






ways to find your stuff online tineye, pinterest

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Weekly Wrap – Art everyday Month


A weekly wrap from around the studio as I missed posting every day for the wonderful Art Every Day Month, a challenge created by Leah Pilken Kolidas over at Creative Every Day.

Day 7 : Working on a vintage floral digital ink and paint mix! Working between the two mediums is really satisfying as I get my hands dirty and creative, then I can switch to fleshing out the art and adding texture!

Day 8 – Completed a more traditional floral piece set for a repeat pattern.

Day 9 – Inspired by a found green fern.  The best way to refresh my energy and gather new inspiration is to step outside!

Day 10 – New black and white pattern for note pads!

Day 10 – It was a black and red day!

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Art EveryDay – Watercolour

For today’s Art everyday month I tried my hand at a bit of watercolour, this is about my third attempt (first time I drew blackberries, then triangles!)  A work in progress, tomorrow I think I’ll see how it works into a pattern!!!

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Recycled Book, Ribbons and Repeat Patterns


It’s a wonderful autumn day here with flashes of rain, wind and sunshine.  Rather than head outdoors it gave me a chance to clear out a drawer or two and I ended up spending an hour or two in the studio today gathering ribbon and inspiration.  I love the way the ribbons danced across my window and as the rain came down I thought I would try may hand at some water colour painting and my favourite pastime – patterns.

Read more…

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Creating Sunshine and Showers – A starting point

Where do you ideas begin? From a doodle, an image, a colour?

I thought I would try something a bit different and start with some simple shapes from tissue papers, I love the textural properties of tissue paper and the way you can blend colours and so easy to rearrange into different shapes and patterns.

Here’s a few of the patterns that I created from my Tissue paper designs, the Summers End Collection.

I ran with the idea a bit more and the next part is really exciting, seeing and selling your designs!

Working on some fabric and cushion designs from the collection which will be available soon along with the iPhone covers, cards and prints available from our shop.

I love the tactile nature of hands on pattern making and getting away from the computer for a few hours and just letting imagination take over!  Any other creative inspirational ways in which you have fun and begin the design process I would love to hear!


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