Painting, Sewing, Work In Progress

Repeating Myself

Blackberry-Underlayer-2

Lately I’veΒ become obsessed with sewing, and textiles, and patterns, and this obsession has meant I’ve finally got around to trying somethingΒ I’ve been meaning to have a go at for a long time: designing repeating patterns. I am constantly inspired by colours and textures and over the years many people have suggested my style would lend itself to creating fabric designs. I don’t quite know why it’s taken me so long to have a stab at it, because it’s so much fun!

I used the blackberries I painted last week, and followed Julia Rothman’s exquisitely simple and easy-to-follow tutorial on Design Sponge (though I worked digitally, rather than cutting up my painting with scissors!)

Blackberry

I began by setting up the repeat, then I tried adding an ink wash background (which I’d painted separately). I like the result, but somehow I find it looks…tableclothy? Is that just me?

Blackberry Repeat

Blackberry-Green

So I got to wondering about what it might be that makes a print look like something you’d dress your dinner table with rather than yourself, and kept experimenting. I tried altering the colour of the background but it didn’t especially help. I started to see some improvement when I added more layers of brambles below the surface. The addition of depth, I think, must be part of the answer to my question.

Blackberry-Underlayer-1 Blackberry-Underlayer-2

Hours later, I’m still siting here twiddling with layers and colours, not to mention imagining one hundred more designs I might try. I’ve heard several designers mention that this process is addictive, and I begin to see what they mean. I definitely want to try more, play more, learn more.

And eventually I will bite the bullet and order a swatch from Spoonflower…

Crafting, Knitting, Rubber Stamps

A Stamp for Knitters

Handmade by Knitters' stamp tag

I’ve been rediscovering my love of knitting lately, and in doing so I found the inspiration for adding a new custom rubber stamp to my range (it’s definitely a range, now there are two designs, right?). I recently completed a scarf for my friend Howard, and wanted to add a little something when I wrapped it up. I decided a “Handmade by…” label would be perfect, so I set about designing one.

The basic idea was straightforward: a knitter’s stamp should definitely include needles and yarn, and if there’s swirling yarn then why not make the yarn spell out the text? Figuring out just the right placement of the ball of yarn, needles and words took a little playing around until I hit on the right fit.

handmade-by-sketches

Handmade by Knitters' Stamp

I’m chuffed to bits with the finished design, and I love receiving a package of a drawing I’ve made turned into a beautiful hardwood backed stamp by the English Stamp Company. I spent a little while mulling over which colour to make the first impression with, then settled on trusty Green Bean recycled brown, and black ink to complement the greys in the scarf. The result was Β a very crisp, smart-looking tag to accompany Howard’s scarf on its journey to him, and a new product I’m very proud of that I hope other knitters will enjoy playing with too.

Handmade by Knitter's Stamp Label

You can order your own customised “Handmade by…” stamp, or buy one for the avid knitter in your life, here.

Books

The Crystal Mirror Cover

I’m very, very excited to show off the front cover design for the book I’m currently working on, The Crystal Mirror & Other Stories.

The Crystal Mirror Cover

This collection of five stories was written by a good friend of mine, Tim Malnick, so it’s been great to have the opportunity to collaborate. Not only that, but the stories themselves are full of princes, princesses, monsters and faraway places – just the kind of things you dream about painting when you’re a little girl who wants to grow up and be an illustrator. I am having the time of my life.

The Crystal Mirror & Other Stories will be published by Vala in November!