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Friday, 5 July 2013

2 woohoo!

I made it to the top 10 in the 'citrus' Spoonflower competition!!!

I am so, so, so excited about this!

The best part of making the top 10 is how many comments were posted about the design on the Spoonflower site. It was really very uplifting to receive such encouraging words from fellow designers - so if anyone from Spoonflower is reading this post or indeed anyone at all that voted for 'lemony' - thankyou!

Better get cracking on the next design for the weekly challenge. Horses. Not really a great love of mine but we'll see how I go....

Monday, 1 July 2013

3 citrus squeeze

Another Spoonflower competition. These competitions seem to be the main motivator for any design work I do at the moment. I think it's because they give me a definite theme and a definite deadline. I haven't been able to complete a design for each weekly competition but I've been giving it a fair crack!

It's fantastic looking through past competition winners' entries, discovering different designers, finding a range of interesting styles and gaining an understanding of which entries win and why.

The current weekly competition running is of the theme 'citrus'.

This is my entry. It was created in Illustrator by applying 'Live Trace' (a function in Illustrator) to a sketch, then coloured. Illustrator has so many wonderful new features since I first started designing with it at Uni. I used to think it wasn't the programme to use if you wanted a more hand drawn look but you can really do so much more with some of the features it offers now.

If you'd like to vote for your favourite design in this Spoonflower competition, click here.

I've created a new board on Pinterest to showcase my favourite Spoonflower designs (including some of my own) that I'll be adding to regularly. Click here to take a peek.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

0 frogs!

A couple of weeks ago I entered another Spoonflower contest with the theme of Frogs.  And it took me ages to do the design! Partly because I usually only have snippets of time to do any design so it always takes a while to get back into it after a break, but also because I wanted to create something that wasn’t going to be just the same as lots of other frog fabrics out there – not just a couple of different cartoon-style green frogs in a scattered pattern.  Not sure whether I achieved my goal or not but at least I had fun and it pushed me to complete another design.

My design didn’t make the top 10 and although I would love love love to win a Spoonflower competition one day, I suppose I should remember why I’m entering in the first place….and that’s to get myself designing again.

So for this post I thought I’d show my design process again. I love these sorts of posts in other people’s blogs – I always think it’s interesting to see how designers arrive at their final design and whether they use similar methods to mine. Or whether I can learn and adopt some of their techniques.

I think every design requires a different process, a different approach, different mark making, different ways of achieving a repeat.

Here’s how I ended up with my final competition entry…

Firstly, I searched the internet for images of frogs – I reckon we all assume we know pretty well what an animal or object looks like but I think it’s always a good idea to have a really good look again at the real thing or at least a photograph. There is always something you would have missed without doing this…. the angles, proportions, colours, expressions, scale and all the little details.

{my mother used to take the life drawing classes when I was at school and I remember her saying that we needed to really look at the person and draw what we saw, rather than what we already knew. I always go by that now.}

Secondly, I had a quick look through my kids’ picture books to see if there were any particularly good froggy illustrations that I could use as inspiration.

Next, I did some sketches of frogs in different positions.  I brought the sketches into Photoshop so I could play around with them and erase any messy alterations I had made while sketching.

Then I decided to go ahead and start arranging the frogs into a repeat. I love creating repeats. I also hadn’t decided on what was to be in the background/in between the frogs at this point.

After getting the frogs ready, I then printed them out and played around filling in the gaps with drawings directly onto this print-out. Once I had created something I thought was ok enough to continue with, I scanned it back into Photoshop and got the background into repeat as well.

Next came the colour palette. This is always a fun part as well. Sometimes I start the design by working out the colour palette, sometimes the colours come later. Most of the time they are tweaked throughout the whole process anyway.

I coloured the design and indexed it, just to make sure I didn’t have a million other colours hiding in there. Then I played around with dropping in alternative colours until I was happy.

In hindsight, I should have taken it into Illustrator after the sketching stage, but for some reason I just went with Photoshop – it probably has a more hand drawn look now because of this.

And that’s it! Maybe it wasn’t the fastest or easiest way I could have completed the design but that’s how it evolved and I definitely enjoyed the process.

I just had to include my little girl's frog sketch in this post - when she saw me drawing ideas for my design she wanted to participate. Here's what she came up with:

Monday, 1 April 2013

4 spoonflower contest

I need your help!!

'Gardening Tools' is the title given to one of the upcoming weekly competitions on Spoonflower (click on 'connect', then scroll to 'weekly contest') and I thought I would have a go at creating a design to enter. The problem is, I just can’t seem to decide which version of my design is the best. I would love if you could take a look and let me know which one you think I should go with by leaving a comment on this post. 


Monday, 25 March 2013

0 infinite scroll pattern

It's been a while, but I'm finally back doing some designing after quite a break over Christmas. 

As it turned out, I decided to stop stressing myself out about The Sketchbook project for last year and gave up on the idea - it really was a bit silly of me to imagine I could get it done at such a busy time of year. I'll definitely sign up for the next one though and will give myself more than 3 weeks to complete it this time!!

Art House (the people who coordinate The Sketchbook Project) have some other fantastic projects on offer. I've signed up to a couple lately, including one titled Infinite Scroll - Pattern. The brief was to create a pattern, fill their template with it and upload it to a Flickr group. All the entries are then displayed one under the other emerging into a continuous scroll effect.

Here is the final image I submitted....

And below is the process I went through to create the design. It was created with pencil and black ink. I didn't worry about limiting my colours (or in this case, the number of different greys) as I usually would for a textile design.

If you'd like to view my design as part of the 'infinite scroll', you can see the whole project via  Tumblr or to just see all the entries as a group go to Flickr. I also entered an 'In 5 minutes' project that required participants to sketch everything they were wearing at that particular moment. Click here to view the Flickr group to see mine and other entries.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

2 little sketchbook

I finally received my little sketchbook in the mail from The Sketchbook Project 2013. Now I have only three weeks to complete it! Agghhh! Am thinking of taking some paints on our camping trip over Christmas so hopefully I can fill some pages between eating and swimming.

Merry Christmas everyone! See you in the New Year!

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

2 gouache sketches

We're having guests around tomorrow morning and I'm supposed to be tidying the house. It's now almost 10pm. I haven't done much tidying but I have managed to pull together another post!

These are some sketches I did the other night - when I probably should have been tidying the house as well. I watered down the gouache quite a bit to get a nice watercolour effect. The flowers, buds and mushrooms were inspired by illustrations in a children's book we borrowed from the library.

Just need to work some of these sketches into actual designs now to start building a portfolio again...

Sunday, 18 November 2012

7 liebster blog award

Eva from Food Vegetarisch and Tina from tina + Design have listed me as one of their nominees for the Liebster Blog Award. Thankyou! To be a participant, your blog must be smallish - no more than 200 followers, you need to answer the 11 questions given to you, reveal 11 random things about yourself, create a list of 11 new nominees and finally, give your nominees a new list of 11 questions. You must notify your nominees to let them know they've been nominated and no tag-backs are allowed.

...questions from Eva

Your favourite aphorism?
When one door closes, another opens. (is that an aphorism??!)

Mountains or the sea for vacation?
Sea, I think. Only because I love the idea of living in the bush rather than just visiting for a holiday.

Are you on the dancefloor or do you prefer to take a view of the dancefloor?
I think I’m probably more a wallflower. I’m not overly keen on being the centre of attention so I suppose I’d be more a ‘viewer’(sounds a little creepy!) rather than busting any moves on the dance floor...different story when I have a little dutch courage though!

Which invention you wish you had done?

What’s the best movie you’ve seen in the last year?
I’ve watched a few good ones this last year – but the other day we watched Fargo again because it’s such a great movie.

What’s the last book you read?
I don’t get much time to read novels at the moment - I’m so sleep deprived I usually collapse into bed and fall asleep within a minute or two. But I have been looking through lots of design books lately – or more specifically, design business books. I’m obsessed at the moment with mentally planning how I will run my freelance design business.

If you had the chance to go tomorrow for a 3-days-holiday-trip: where would you go to?
I’m really, really, really looking forward to our camping trip up the coast of Western Australia over Christmas this year with our 3 kiddies. We plan to have Christmas on a beautiful beach somewhere and to make the most of the wonderful Western Australian coast before heading back over to Melbourne. So if I could, I would fast track the next few weeks and jump straight into that holiday.

Sweet or savoury for breakfast?
Definitely sweet. I love breakfast but I’m not a big eggs on toast kind of girl.

If you would be an animal, which one you would like to be?
Bird maybe? It would be pretty amazing to be able to fly, wouldn’t it?

What was your favourite dish as a child?
My favourite meal as a kid was to have my mum’s roast dinner for mains, followed by her amazing chocolate pudding and icecream.

What is your favourite dish now?
At the moment I’m pretty hooked on The Best Lentil Salad, Ever. It’s a side dish I’ve been making heaps lately – the recipe is on the My New Roots blog.

...questions from Tina

Why did you choose the shoes you are wearing?
I’m actually wearing ugg boots! It’s not even cold here at the moment but they are a bit of a comfort thing for me. I bought them at Salamanca Market in Tasmania.

What is your favourite colour?
Easy, red.

What sunny destination do you like best?
Visiting family in Queensland, Australia.

If you could rethink your career path would you have chosen differently?
No, not really. I just would have hurried it along a little. Become more focused earlier and achieved more in a shorter time!

If you were to eat out tonight what kind of food would you choose?
I’d go to the Moroccan Soup Bar in Melbourne. Fantastic food, yum.

Would you rather swim or run?
Swim, not that I’m very good. I seem to have forgotten how to swim freestyle in my adult life so I’d have to do breaststroke.

Do you prefer country music or rock n roll?
Rock n roll.

Do you have kids?
Yes, 3 of them. A 5 year old girl, a 3 year old boy and a 1 year old boy. All wonderful, intelligent, amazing children, of course!

How would your best friend describe you in one sentence?
I was asked this once in a job interview. I couldn’t answer it then either.

Where were you born?
Tasmania, Australia.

Are you a party animal or party vegetable?
I’d love to say I’m a party animal, but the truth is that I’m a bit of an introvert. I’m a small-gathering-party-animal.

11 random facts about myself

I melt in hot weather.
I like to crack my knuckles.
My real name is Margaret.
I'm not keen on shopping for shoes.
I love reading books to our kids.
My favourite flowers are cornflowers but I also love the scent of daphne.
I'm never completely happy with my hairstyle, whatever it is.
I'm sick of the font Monotype Corsiva.
Mosquitos love me.
I was always bang on 'average' for weight and height when I was growing up.
I'd pick chewy caramel chocolates over soft any day.

11 questions for my nominees

How long have you been writing your blog?
What is your favourite boardgame?
Do you ever have flying dreams?
Is Christmas lunch/dinner always enjoyable with your family?
What's the most interesting place you've ever travelled to?
Would you like to create a career around your blog or is it just a hobby?
Do you keep in contact with any of your friends from highschool?
What do you want to be doing in 10 years time?
Can you roll your tongue?
Have you ever broken a limb?
What is your next project/goal?

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

0 blue nasturtiums

I pulled out some procian dyes the other day and decided to use them to paint the gorgeous nasturtiums that are growing behind our back gate. And before you exclaim how unusual it is to find blue nasturtiums, I'll admit now that they were actually a lovely vibrant orange but I only had blue dye on hand so I just did the best I could and decided I could change the colour later in Photoshop.

I thought some nice thick watercolour paper would be best to use here and I used a couple of different sized brushes to get a variety of thick and thin lines. I like the watery delicate look the dyes give these paintings but I think I should have left a bit more of the flower white so there were more highlights.

Anyway, practice makes perfect so I suppose I just need to keep going! I've signed up to participate in The Sketchbook Project 2013 which hopefully encourage me to be disciplined enough to do some drawing/painting/creating each day. Goodness knows when I'm going to complete the project (to fill a 32 page sketchbook by January 15th 2013) as we will be moving back to Melbourne in a few weeks and need to pack - an impossible task when you have three little kiddies - but I'm thinking it's better to embrace the busy times instead of shy away from them.