Category Archives: illustration

How to Design Repeating Patterns

pattern_header

I’ve never really done a “How to” or DIY post before, mostly because I just don’t feel like enough of an expert on anything to clog up the internet with yet another DIY. However, making patterns is something that differs enough artist-to-artist that I thought it would be fun to share my favorite technique and maybe inspire someone to try something new. :)

This is a pretty well-known technique for designing a seamless, repeating pattern. I remember how much it totally blew my mind the first time I learned it! In my opinion, this is the easiest way to design a really complicated pattern–although what I’m sharing today is pretty simple.

pattern_step1

Start out with a drawing or shape you want to use in your pattern.

pattern_step2

Once you have your starting image, you want to divide it in half horizontally and flip each half upside down. You can do this digitally or on a good old fashioned piece of paper. It’s important to make sure both halves touch the edge of your canvas exactly.

pattern_step3

Now we’re going to repeat that step, but vertically. So select each half and flip it vertically. If you’re working with paper, you’ll need to first tape together the pieces you cut in the previous step. Make sure you line up the edges exactly.

pattern_step4

Now you have this kind of scary looking, sliced up image. The next step is to just fill in that empty space with the rest of the drawings/designs you want. I love this technique because you can kind of make up a pattern as you go. Since you’re filling in blank space, you can kind of see where the drawing takes you and add things organically.

pattern_step5

I went with this simple, easy diamond pattern.

patternfinal1

Voila! You can save your pattern and tile it to see how it looks in action.

patternfinal2

I love that you can flip it in either direction. So fun!

If you’d like to see another artist apply this technique, check out this amazing tutorial on Design*Sponge by Julia Rothman! Hers is a great example of just how intense and detailed you can get.

Do you have a different method you like to use when designing patterns? I love seeing what others make!

Drawn: Strange Folk

StrangeFolk14_FB_EventBanner

I was flattered and so happy when Autumn asked me to make the promo artwork for Strange Folk Festival this year! I finished this baby a few months ago but wasn’t sure when the best time to share it would be–also, it’s very horizontal, so I knew sharing it on the blog would be a bit wonky.

Strange Folk’s art theme is usually gnomes, so I knew I had to include some. Autumn said she was hoping for a whimsical foresty theme. When I think of SF I think of tons of activity, music, and happy people so I knew I wanted a lot of energy and thought playing with a bunch of different characters in almost a repeating pattern kind of way would be fun. Also, the illustration has to be flexible and able to work on a wide variety of promo materials–web ads, banners, print ads, and even a billboard(!!!)–so I thought going the pattern route would make sense.

SF_detail_02

I don’t think I’ve really ever drawn gnomes before, but I liked to think of them as little fat bearded hipster dudes. 8)

SF_detail_01

SF_detail_03

I liked the idea of gnomes and animals hanging out and partying together in the woods.

SF_detail_04

Hehe, these guys are my favorites. I want to go dance with them!

SF_detail_05

I know I sing its praises often–I’ve shared my experience visiting in 2012 and a video when I vended in 2013–but Strange Folk really is a fantastic event! Autumn is truly a wonder and has been running this shit for years and it’s a well-oiled machine. Two days of 100+ artists, crafters, artisans, food vendors, live music, and kid’s activities and the place is HOPPIN’. The crowd is always huge and enthusiastic and it’s definitely one of my yearly highlights.

Vendor applications are open until July 4th so if you’re an ambitious maker from the midwest, you should definitely think about applying! See you in September! xo

Drawn: Thirsty Thursday

Last week I was officially invited to join the STL Craft Mafia! The Craft Mafia is an organization of indie crafters and craftepreneurs who work together to support local artists and facilitate awesome local events. If you’re involved in the handmade STL community at all, you know the Craft Mafia as the coolest of the cool kids and I’m super honored to be included! :) 

A month or two ago, April emailed to ask if I’d be interested in making an illustration for the Craft Mafia to use for their Thirsty Thursday pop-up market at Urban Chestnut in August. I was hoping for a drawing of a girl with tattoos wearing sort of bavarian beer-wench clothes and with flowers and a crown of braids and holding a mug or stein of beer.” Umm, you came to right place, girl! Yes, of course I want to draw that!

thirsty-thursday-sketch

My first instincts were to parody a St. Pauli girl or maybe make some art nouveau inspired piece. April and I both loved the art nouveau direction.

thirsty-thursday-final

I think the final turned out really fun. I had a blast drawing all the details–tattoos, art nouveau frames, flowers… such a fun project! Here are a couple detail shots:

thirsty-thursday-detail1

thirsty-thursday-detail2

Cats and cat-eye glasses are a must in my opinion! ;)

A Portrait for Kimmie

A while back, Kimmie contacted me about working with her on an updated portrait for her blog header. If you’ve never read That Girl in the Wheelchair, I highly recommend it! Kimmie is such a fun, funny, spunky lady and I really enjoy reading her thoughts and opinions about lifestyle topics and her nerdy passions. :) I was totally psyched to draw a portrait for such a bad ass chick.

Kimmie-sketch1

I wanted to make something bright and simple that communicated Kimmie’s personality but would be easy to integrate into her existing layout and color scheme. She could just slap her blog title on it however she wanted but it could also be flexible enough to use on a bio page or as her social media avatars.

She liked the composition of the second sketch better, but wanted to see more fun patterns like the first sketch. I mentioned in that one that I was trying to subtlely reference a wheelchair, but in true Kimmie fashion, she was like “Screw subtlety! How about an all-over pattern with cute little wheelchairs?” I love it!

Kimmie-tagged

This is the final we ended up with and I think it ended up perfect for her! It looks great in action on her blog and I’m glad to contribute a little bit to Kimmie’s awesomeness. :)

A Portrait for Andrea

I have a pretty portrait commission to share with you guys today! :)

Andrea is a talented, beautiful hairstylist from Seattle–you can check out her work and learn more about her here! She’s ordered a few things from my Etsy shop and recently asked if I’d make a portrait illustration for her to use on business cards and other self promo.

Andrea_Sketch1

Andrea is fabulous to work with and knew pretty specifically what she was looking for. “I would want my face with maybe like flowers around it and incorporate scissors, combs, blow dryer, etc into it because I’m a hairdresser… Silly thing, but I love cats so i wanted to incorporate that somehow. I was thinking like a cat ear headband?”

For the two sketches, I interpreted her requests pretty literally. She also mentioned loving a pastel color palette, so I stuck to the same colors for each. The first features more realistically rendered flowers while the second has a more stylized oval frame of cartoony flowers. She liked the pink background on the second sketch and that the hair accessories were more subtle. We both loved the idea of the pearl cat ears and I thought a leopard print top would be another cute reference to being a cat lover. :)

Andrea_tagged

I had so much fun working on this one! Andrea was really fun to draw and our interests and tastes are so similar, it felt like something I would draw myself just for fun! I’m really pleased with the way this one turned out. xo

New In The Shop: Greeting Cards

jayz-beyonce1

card-trio1

raddog1

Hello, friends! I know things have been pretty quiet around here, but I’m excited for that to change now that I have more daylight to take photos and more energy to write! Breaking news: winter is soul-crushing.

Anyway, I debuted these new greeting cards last weekend at Green With Indie! They’re A4 size (approx. 5.5×4.25″), come packaged in a protective plastic sleeve with an envelope, and are blank inside–perfect for writing whatever message your heart desires. :) They’re all now available in my Etsy shop. My favorite is the Beyonce one because duh!

Drawn: Into The Woods

forest

98% of the time when I start drawing, my go-to subject is a cute girl–duh–but lately I’ve been itching to create some spaces and environments and have been doodling places. I’ve been collecting some photos of inspirational places and just interpreting them pretty literally for practice.

tumblr_metvkr2zFh1qas1mto5_r1_500

I came across this photo on tumblr (original source) ages ago. I’m always drawn to images with strong, contrasting warm/cool color palettes. I liked the idea of challenging myself to simplify a space with such complicated details.

forest-sketch

This is the sketch I started with on paper. I knew if I didn’t try to block out some of the shadowy shapes, I’d get a little lost when coloring, so I tried to map it out beforehand. I’m really happy with the final result. I often don’t finish pieces I start just to try and learn a technique or build confidence  rendering something specific, but I think my little forest turned out nicely. Definitely a fun exercise. :)

Etsy Shop Update

brooches1

brooch_whatever1-2

poster1-01

earrings1

glassescase3_1

glassescase3_3

cutebutt_1

I finally made time yesterday to update my Etsy shop for the first time in ages. You can purchase one of my HHH posters, all sorts of hand-painted brooches (although both pizza ones are purchased already! Yikes! Thanks, guys!! <3), the usual candy heart rings, and the candy heart earrings are finally available! They’re super cute and tiny and kinda make me wish my ears weren’t gauged. Haha. xo

Illustration for PNW Fattitude

fatswap_poster

Rachelle Abellar is a kick-ass individual. A few months ago, she organized, compiled, and produced the Self Care Zine I contributed to–currently available for purchase as a PDF download here. Besides being a talented graphic designer and illustrator, she’s a bad-ass blogger who is passionate about intersectional feminism and making a difference in her communities.

She recently founded PNW Fattitude, a fat-positive group/community in the Seattle area. When she contacted me about making some artwork for the poster for their inaugural event–A Plus Size Clothing Swap–I absolutely jumped at the chance!

rachelle-sketch1

Rachelle didn’t have many guidelines or restrictions, other than conveying “a fun get-together with a bunch of fat girlfriends”. Um, I’m pretty sure drawing a bunch of diverse, stylish, fat babes is my dream job!

I tried to keep my sketches energetic and bright. I worked in black and white on the first one because I wanted to make sure I was working with a good value scale in mind. I do this because color is often a weakness of mine. I end up fiddling with the colors a lot after I make a drawing! The first sketch is pretty literal, with a big group of all kinds of ladies just hanging out and being happy.  For the second, I was thinking of a slightly retro, midcentury illustration feel with the final styling.

fatswap_tag

We decided on the first sketch since it was so fun to see all the different kinds of people. Above is my final illustration. The poster design was done by Rachelle and I think it turned out super cute! :)

I had so much fun developing the characters and working on all the details. Here’s a few cropped shots of some of my favorite bits.

fatswap_crop1

fatswap_crop4

fatswap_crop2

fatswap_crop3

If any of you guys are plus size and live around the Seattle area, you should definitely check out the event! It sounds like so much fun and I know Rachelle has been working really hard to host an A+ afternoon.

PNW FATTITUDE
Facebook | Tumblr | Plus Size Clothing Swap & Meet Up