Cripes, we’re nearly through Week 3 of the Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design and here I am only getting caught up with Week 2’s Round-Up! So while it is snowing so nicely outside and I’m definitely not going anywhere I figured I’d get a cup of tea and quickly tell you about last week.
So, with a theme like ‘Sketching’ you would normally see me running a mile but this was a totally different and far more ‘at ease’ take on the traditional sketching exercises I was subjected to in design school. We were encouraged to try all sorts of different objects and techniques to make marks and just be free and experiment.
And experiment I did!
…All the way from traditional tools like pens and paint brushes to the less conventional sealed Benylin tablet and ink pad technique! Would you believe that I had not a drop of paint in my house so I had to resort to these alternative methods? Funny, it actually turned out to be my favourite mark of all! Got big plans for that one but still need to hone a few more skills here, people!
We also got to try out drawing with your opposite hand (in my case my left hand) which was actually surprisingly fun. I think I prefer my left-hand drawings to my right-handed ones. They seem to be more accurate but less contrived and catching the essence of the object better than the other way around. Maybe I’m a closet lefty.
Drawing with two pens in one hand was also a nifty experiment. And one of my fellow students could actually identify what I had drawn! Whoooop! Must be because I wrote ‘Nikon’ on the drawing!
I picked this little pencil sharpener which I drew using my left hand and messed around with it a bit in Photoshop to try out some colouring techniques and came up with these two variations. More people seemed to like the one on the solid turquoise background than the ombre one which was interesting.
Something that they keep driving home in this course is that your designs should reflect who you are and that you should work on developing your own signature style so that it is more recognizable and appealing to people. This simple exercise I did, basically just to figure out how colouring works in Photoshop, definitely showed me that. Even though the turquoise variation is not necessarily my favourite palette I did put more thought into it whereas I just used the following colour on the Pantone colour chips to create the ombre variation and I guess subconsciously people must have picked up on that. Pretty cool!
After my first foray into colouring I got all ambitious and decided to tackle this grid design and colour every single square in a different, random colour using the colour picker. Errmmm, not so much. By the time I finished row number two and scrolled down the page to see how many rows I still had left (Are we there yet?!), I realized I’d bitten off more than I could chew! OK, so this design is mostly monochromatic with a splash of colour and I planned it that way and that’s my story and I’m sticking with it!
So I tried something a bit different with the same sketch and came up with this ditty. I’m not sure I like it very much but it is interesting to start playing with colouring and layering all at the same time. Also quite interesting to see how one concept can be taken in two very different directions.
As a final exercise for the week we were asked to find images of patterns that really appeal to us and to try and figure out why these particular patterns stand out. I think what I’ve discovered is that something very organic, earthy and ethnic is right up my alley. Perhaps my African upbringing?
I also like monochromatic and minimalist designs. Something with a simple repeat that is not too fussy is what I always find myself gravitating towards.
As much as my tendency is always to lean towards neutral tones and minimalist interiors I do so love a splash of colour every now and again. Dramatic red lips with an all black outfit or neon accessories with an otherwise white outfit. And I have a terrible weakness for analogous colouring. Man, oh man. Sample books, colour charts, those paint chips at the hardware store – all those kinds of things.
And while a very stark, all white minimalist interior is my favourite I always feel like grey bits here and there soften those hard edges and adds some texture and depth to it.
I’m think I’m starting to sense a bit of problem here…I like too many things!
I put this last group of images together for their rich and intricate detail. I am a huge fan of Art Nouveau and I can really get lost in the delicate patterns and intensity of this style but it is something that I admire from afar and could not necessarily live in. I’m definitely a ‘less is more’ kind of person but that doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate a richly decorated pattern or interior!
It’s all quite interesting and I can’t wait to see how my personal style will develop in terms of surface pattern design. I think this journey may still take some very unexpected turns!