Pattern a Day December

December was certainly a crazy month in a lot of ways. I was still in Alpine, Arizona, and took a mini vacation to Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon. Then I drove across the country back to Maryland, got home and got sick, and somehow managed to prepare for the holidays and celebrate them successfully! In the midst of all that, I created a pattern everyday.

I didn’t bother posting photos while I was staying in hotels with crummy lighting on my road trip home, but by working with simple tools–a watersoluble carbon block, a brush, and paper–I was able to stay creative every day, even after driving for 10 hours, or spending most of the day in bed with the chills.

Because of my choice of medium for the month, all my patterns were black, white, and/or grey. I know I already mentioned it in my December round up post of other artist’s patterns, but since I was only working with one “color,” I was especially glad that other people were making lots of vibrantly colorful patterns in December. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love black and white, especially in pattern form, but I also love a little variety!

One of the things that was most eye opening, especially when I considered the way I approached creating patterns in November, was how much the medium and color (or lack thereof) drives the way I create a pattern, and ultimately the imagery that I put down on paper.

In November many of my patterns had a lot of depth and complexity, while most of my December patterns tended to be more flat and graphic.

November/December pattern comparison

I don’t think either is necessarily better than other, it was just interesting to reflect on my processes over the past few months and recognize the difference!

At times I felt like some of the patterns I made weren’t my most creative, which is ok. This challenge was never about producing something ground breaking everyday, it is simply about creating everyday. I think as part of that, there will naturally be times when the work is excellent, while other times when it’s just so so. To me what is important is that I get in the habit of working with my hands everyday, as my natural tendency often leaves ideas stuck in my head for days or even weeks before I get around to getting them down on paper.

That said, there were definitely days I got excited about–especially the days where I tried out an idea that in my head I thought was a little odd or unattractive, but the results were sometimes quite striking.

Day 11 Pattern a Day December

Day 14 Pattern a Day December

Most of the patterns this month were abstract. Either focusing on form or the texture of the water soluble carbon.

Day 6 Pattern a Day December

Day 21 Pattern a Day December

I did manage to sneak in a few that were representational, and most of those were inspired by the season.

Day 9 Pattern a Day December

Day 22 Pattern a Day December

One of my favorites was the pattern I created on New Year’s Eve. Although abstract, it really captures the festive feeling of a New Year celebration.

Day 31 Pattern a Day December

I like to think of this as a good omen for the year ahead, which I hope to fill with even more patterns! I’m not necessarily intending to make this a year-long commitment, but you never know! Bit by bit, month by month, I might just get there!

See the rest of the patterns in my Pattern a Day December set on flickr, and check out the Pattern a Day group for more patterns and lots of inspiration.

Happy New Year!

Pattern a Day December Round Up!

What a whirlwind December was! It was a busy month, but in the end, I was surprised by how easy it was to make a pattern everyday. And I wasn’t the only one! A bunch of other awesome creatives joined in and contributed a huge variety of colorful patterns to the mix. I thought it would be fun to share a few patterns from group that came together in December.

Sarah Rowe shared a beautiful variety of textures and colors using watercolor, marker, and even some collage!

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Minerva wins the award for the cutest patterns! Aren’t they adorable?

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Julie Tillman contributed a variety of styles of patterns in December. I love the donuts!

joyfulstudio-pattern-640
julietillman.com
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Natalie Davies delivered some awesome bright colors and fun patterns. I also love that she shared the markers and pens she used for each pattern in her photos!

neonsherbet-pattern-640
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Tammy from Daisy Yellow was an enthusiastic participant in the pattern challenge, using watercolor for her patterns.

tammy3patterns
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Tricia from Daring Hue gave the challenge a second try in December, and this time she made one every day!

Pattern A Day Challenge - December 7-8
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Barbara Wanhill’s patterns were all inspired from events that happened during her day.

Dec 6
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Jeannine Saylor drew, stamped, and painted her nature inspired patterns.

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Carin Cullen created layers of texture as well as pattern.

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Rachel Kinbar had a really unique approach to pattern making, and it was always fun to see what she shared.

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Carlene Taylor Simmons drew some awesome patterns with marker and pen.

Part of today's #letsmakepatterns #patternadaydec
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Connie Hozvicka from Dirty Footprints Studio drew a few mandala style patterns.

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D. Schuyler created colorful, geometric patterns, among others.

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Rachel from Staunch Studio created a daily pattern on her iPad!

December pattern no. 14 Trying out the paper app.
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Becky Canham went with a holiday theme for the month of December, which really helped me to get into the holiday spirit!

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I hadn’t planned for it to become a group project, but I’m happy it did! When I started creating daily patterns, it was something I did on my own as a way to get me doing what I love every day. Little by little it has caught on, and it’s exciting to see so many beautiful patterns everyday, especially in December since I chose to do only black and white patterns.

If you’re on instagram, check out the #patternadaydec tag to see even more awesome patterns from last month, and #patternadayjan to see this month’s ongoing daily patterns. There is also a Pattern a Day group on flickr where you can see even more patterns!

Pattern a Day November

It’s close to the end of December, and I’m just now getting around to posting about all the patterns I created in November. I thought this might happen since I was planning a big road trip from Arizona, back home to Maryland earlier in December.

I’ve been back home for about a week by now, but I’ve been down and out for the count with the flu. I’m always amazed that being sick makes it so much harder to accomplish anything, but that’s the way it goes. I’ve been taking it easy, despite all the ideas that are wanting to be pursued. I thought updating the blog would be a good task to ease me back into a normal schedule, but then I thought about how I haven’t scanned the patterns from November, and I really should do that before I start writing anything.

But I didn’t feel like scanning anything, so I was conflicted about what to do. Then I thought about it, and realized that I don’t really HAVE TO scan in the patterns right away. The photos I took and posted to instagram with my iphone really aren’t too bad. And I decided that sometimes pretty good is just good enough.

I feel very happy to be writing this, but it also feels great that it didn’t have to be perfect!

Isn’t it funny how we have to let ourselves off the hook sometimes?

For November I worked with copic markers and black fine liner pens. Instead of drawing the forms with the fine liner, I started each pattern by drawing the colorful shapes, and then used the black pens to add details or enhance the pattern as I saw fit. This is very backward to the way that I usually work, and I think I got some really interesting patterns as a result.

Day 26 Pattern a Day November

Day 23 Pattern a Day November

I was in Arizona for the entire month of November, and my southwest surroundings definitely provided some awesome inspiration, both subconsciously and directly.

Day 11 Pattern a Day November
I pieced the above pattern together bit by bit, and when it was all complete, I was surprised by how “southwest-y” it looked. Not that I mind! This is one of my favorites from the month!

Day 17 Pattern a Day November
On one of my hikes, I had the opportunity to investigate and old Pueblo, and was surprised and delighted to come across quite a few pot shards! I took several photos, and drew some direct inspiration from the shapes and patterns of the various fragments.

Day 27 Pattern a Day November
The landscape of shrubby juniper and cacti inspired a botanical, horizontal stripe pattern.

One of the last patterns I created in November was noticed by Copic Markers themselves on twitter (@copicmarker)! They’re tweet said simply, “this is. very. cool.” It was pretty fun to get a little shout out from one of my favorite art supply companies!

Day 29 Pattern a Day November

I completed 30 patterns in the month of November. You can check them all out in the Flickr set.

December’s patterns are going great. I’m doing monochromatic black and grey, using only a water soluble carbon block made by Artgraf. I’m loving the various shades of grey, but after reviewing November’s colorful collection, I’m maybe missing color a wee bit.

January is another month though, and at this point I’m toying with the idea of using color and collage to make patterns–something I haven’t done before!

Let’s Make Patterns in December!

It’s hard to believe another month has zoomed by. I have only one more pattern to do for November, which I’ll be sure to finish tonight! I’m going to keep the daily pattern making momentum going, and continue the challenge into December. It might be a little more challenging with a big road trip (driving back to MD from AZ in a couple weeks) and the holidays in the mix, but I’m game.

Let's Make Patterns in December!

This month I’ll be using an artgraf water soluble carbon block! Check out this video on youtube if you’ve not seen it in action before. I may or may not add color to my patterns this month. Part of me is interested in seeing what I can come up with using only black and white. Plus, then it would be easy to scan the black patterns and add color digitally which I need to get more practice with. I’ll see how the first few days go before deciding for sure.

How about you? Care to join me in December and make a pattern everyday? You can use any media at any size you want. Feel tree to tailor this challenge to suit you, your schedule, and what you want to accomplish. There are very few set in stone rules, besides the obvious: make patterns. Even if you can’t get a pattern done every single day, I’d love to have you join the fun when you can!

If you’ll be playing along, be sure to tag your patterns on instagram and twitter with #letsmakepatterns and/or #patternadaydec so that I will be sure to see them!

Looking forward to another month of patterns!

Pattern a Day October

I know what you’re thinking: “Pattern a Day October? But it’s the end of November!” Well, my internet connection at the cabin is slow and limited, so I didn’t want to upload all the scans of my October patterns. I discovered that my laundromat actually has a decent connection, strong and speedy, so I brought my laptop with me last time, and uploaded a bunch of images while my clothes were washing and drying.

For October I worked with watercolor, and sometimes added details with gray ink that I filled a couple of my rapidograph pens with.

Before I started the month, I tried out my new mixed-media sketchbook with some colorful inks I had on hand.

Extra Pattern a Day October

I liked the different line quality I was getting with wet media, but I didn’t want to limit my color palette this month with the few colors of ink I had. I decided to use watercolor for all the color possibilities it would give me.

I completed the first few patterns while I was still in Maryland.

Day 2 Pattern a Day October

Day 7 Pattern a Day October

I left Maryland for Arizona on October 10th, so I created several patterns while I was on the road! I used a small travel watercolor set, so I had fewer colors to work with, but I still came up with some interesting combinations.

Day 12 Pattern a Day October

Day 13 Pattern a Day October

When I finally made it to Arizona, the daily pattern making continued.

Day 16 Pattern a Day October

Day 26 Pattern a Day October

Throughout the month, there were some days where I wasn’t 100% happy with a pattern I created, so I wanted to redo it, or I just wanted to keep painting, so I did! I ended up with quite a few “extra” patterns and paintings. Some were rather experimental or rough, and the explorations were a lot of fun.

Extra Pattern a Day October

Extra Pattern a Day October

You can see many more daily patterns and all the extras on flickr.

At the moment I’m nearing the end of another month of daily patterns, and although December will be full of travel and holidays, I’m planning to keep going for at least another month! Feel free to join me and make a pattern everyday (or so). Tag your photos on instagram and/or twitter: #letsmakepatterns and #patternadaydec

Yay patterns!

Pattern A Day Challenge

I’ve been having a great time creating a pattern every day. I’m posting my daily pattern on instagram and twitter, and I do a round up at the end of the month on this blog. I wanted to write a general post about the challenge, since I’ve had a few people interested in joining me, and wanting to know more about it.

patterns from pattern a day october

There is only one rule: make a pattern everyday!

This project actually started back in August in a slightly different form. I participated in Doodle-a-Day-August started by Rhianna Wurman. It was great, and I love the way it challenged me to think differently and stretch myself and my drawing to fit the themes. However, having the daily set theme was sometimes too much to deal with, and I had more than a few “catch up sessions”. Even that was ok, but with a busy month in September, I didn’t think I’d be able to stick with it. In just a month I’d grown to love being creative everyday, so instead of opting out entirely, I adjusted the challenge to suit.

For September I set a couple of paramaters: I would use a specific sketchbook that had exactly 30 pages, and a set of IKEA gel pens I’d recently acquired. Those were the only “rules” other than creating a pattern everyday.

For October’s challenge, I changed the parameters slightly. I’m using a larger sketchbook, and working with watercolor and occasionally adding details with grey ink in a rapidograph pen (although as the month has gone on it’s more watercolor, less ink).

I’m not sure what media I’ll be using next month. I’m considering copic markers and zig writers, but I’ll wait til it’s November to decide.

If you’d like to join me, that would be great! I’d really love to see what you create. Tag your photo on instagram and/or twitter with #patternadayoct (for this month) and #patternadaynov (for next month). I’ve been using #patternaday as well, regardless of the month.

I like to use the challenge as an opportunity to try out a different medium, or limit myself in some way with a few preset guidelines. If you usually work with a lot of color, maybe try only black and white patterns for the month. If you are very comfortable with oil pastels, try out markers. Ultimately that part of the challenge is up to you though. Feel free to use the same materials that I use in a particular month, set your own parameters, or just be completely open and free with it.

Looking forward to lots of patterns in November!

Pattern a Day September

Last month I did a doodle a day. I had a lot of fun with it, but I knew I would be busy and traveling in September, so I changed my daily challenge slightly to be a pattern a day without any particular theme. I used a sketchbook I got from my friend, Beverly, and my only “rule” was to use a set of IKEA gel pens for each pattern.

There were a few days when I didn’t have internet access, so I couldn’t upload a photo of that day’s pattern to instagram, but I’m proud to say that except for one very long (18 hours+) Sunday where I was helping my mom at a trade show, I did draw one pattern everyday!

After drawing so many floral and organic doodles in August, I was ready for some angles. The fact that I was using grid paper also contributed to the geometric styles that showed up in my patterns throughout the month.

day8

day28

There were also a number of patterns that I created where I used the grid for the structure of the pattern, and looser lines and quicker strokes for the drawing.

day26

day20

Although I had fun exploring line and texture within geometric forms, nature-inspired patterns weren’t entirely left out this month!

Day 5 Pattern a Day September

day9

You can see all the other patterns from the month in the flicker set.

This was the perfect challenge for my busy September. The only thing I missed from the August challenge was the camaraderie that came from doing a doodle a day along with other artists on instagram. However, because drawing a pattern a day is sustainable for me, and it’s a good way for me to be creative and keep the ideas coming, I’ve decided to do another month of patterns! One of my instagram friends, Dina Thanki (@dinathanki on twitter and instagram), has even decided to join me for the month!

If you are on instagram or twitter and care to create a pattern a day too, use the tag #patternadayoct to play along. September was a lot of fun, and I’m looking forward to more daily creativity in October!

101 Florals

My friend Lindsay recently started a new pattern project along with illustrator Llew Mejia called 101 Florals. (You can see tons of awesome patterns in her previous Daily Pattern Project.) I was instantly hooked on 101 Florals, so when I saw that they were having guest illustrators join them each week, I immediately volunteered to be one of them.

There was already a 6 week waiting list when I signed up, but my how time flies! I knew my pattern was due for today, but with my schedule, I didn’t have a chance to start working on it til yesterday.

This week’s theme is cosmos flowers, so I started by sketching a bunch of cosmos leaves, buds and blossoms.

cosmos sketches

I scanned in my sketches and began to layout the pattern.

I haven’t made a repeat pattern in a while, and I forgot how tricky it can be. Composition is really important. Not only do you have to make a nice arrangement of elements within your art board, you also have to think about how the pattern will look when it repeats, so that it will still have balance and that no element or section will stand out too much.

With a tight deadline, I finished up the first pattern and sent it off to Llew as my submission.

cosmos flowers pattern

cosmos flowers pattern, repeated

I like this pattern, but when I started out, I had something else in mind, so I kept working. I created a repeat pattern using my leaf sketches, and then arranged cosmos flowers on top of that pattern in another repeat.

cosmos flowers pattern with leaves

cosmos flowers pattern with leaves, repeated

I liked it so much I sent these over to Llew in the wee small hours of the morning to see if he could use this more complex pattern instead. And he could! So this is the pattern you can see over on the 101 Florals blog.

One of my issues with the first pattern I created was the background color. Don’t get me wrong, I do like it, but I had this sneaking suspicion that it could be better. It’s been on my mind all day, and suddenly I envisioned a dark purple-blue. I tried it out, and I love it!

cosmos flower pattern with a darker background

cosmos flower pattern, repeated with a darker background

The new background color adds that “pizazz” I was looking for. I even decided to change my long-standing geometric patterned twitter background to this floral one!

Every time I make patterns I think about the fact that I should make more patterns. I had a great time making these cosmos inspired repeats, and I’m so happy to be part of Llew and Lindsay’s ongoing project. Make sure to check out the other cosmos patterns on 101 Florals: Llew’s “Cosmic Cosmos Flowers” and Lindsay’s “Cosmos, Inked.”

begonia pattern

I’ve been trying to get back into drawing from life again lately. I have a little sketchbook that I keep in my purse so it’s with me wherever I go, but I find I don’t draw in it as often as I thought I would. Instead, I’ve started sketching in it at home. Yesterday I sketched the branches of a tree that I saw through the window. I don’t love the cold weather that winter brings, but I do love the shape and pattern of bare tree branches.

tree

Once it got dark outside, I sketched a small potted begonia that sits on the coffee table.

begonias

After drawing the begonias, I had an idea for a stylized drawing.

begonia

I still referenced the real plant to draw the shapes of the blossoms, but I simplified the petals a bit where I needed to and arranged the blossoms in a chain.

The next drawing I did was based on a few doodles that I’ve done before, but haven’t yet scanned.

stacked triangles

Maybe there was a little influence from the tree branches as well?

As I was working on the last two drawings, my Sketchbook Project theme was definitely on my mind. What can I say? I’m hooked on my theme (lines & grids) and can’t wait to get my sketchbook!

The chain of begonia blossoms seemed like it would work for a pattern, so I played around a bit in photoshop.

begonia-pattern

I like the look of the gray and white, but I couldn’t resist adding some color, also in photoshop.

bright magenta

I tried out a ton of color variations in photoshop, and posted a few of them flickr if you want to check them out.