Pattern a Day November

In December I wrote a post about the show I was in at Light Grey Art Lab. I created a composition of glass bottles for their 6 Degrees show, and in the process I discovered a fun style where I painted gouache over pencil lines.

I was inspired to keep exploring the possibilities of this technique when I started my November patterns.

Day 29 Pattern a Day November

The main thing I learned this month is that pencil lines smear! I had to get the color on the paper quick, preferably only brushing over the pencil once, otherwise it might lift up. You can see what I mean in the image below. I painted the darkest teal shape first, and the color was a lot more opaque than I expected.

Day 3 Pattern a Day November

I had to carefully lift it off as much as I could, and the result is that some of the pencil lines were lifted off the page as well.

As the month went by I got better about being quick with the paint and had fun exploring a wide variety of subjects for the patterns.

Day 8 Pattern a Day November

Day 10 Pattern a Day November

Despite a few challenges, I came up with a nice variety of patterns, and by the end of the month it was a lot easier getting successful results.

Pattern a Day October

After creating patterns for over a year, it’s funny that I never realized that most of the patterns I created were on white backgrounds. I became aware of that fact before October, so I thought it would be the perfect challenge for me.

It really was a challenge, but wow, what a great one!

On the first few days I worked with looser brush strokes and tried out watercolor washes for the background.

Day 1 Pattern a Day October

Eventually my brushwork got more precise, and I decided to work with opaque gouache backgrounds, although I sometimes used several tones of the same color to create a textured surface.

Day 11 Pattern a Day October

Many of the patterns I created this month used abstract shapes, but I also included recognizable objects in a several patterns which was a lot of fun.

Day 18 Pattern a Day October

Day 25 Pattern a Day October

Even within the parameters of working on colorful backgrounds with refined brushwork, I was able to explore bold strokes of color that filled the page as well as delicate marks scattered over the surface.

Day 23 Pattern a Day October

Day 24 Pattern a Day October

I really hit my stride this month and created a number of patterns that I was very happy with. I still plan to experiment with different media in the future, but I’m sure that painting patterns will always be part of my repertoire. Also, now that I’ve gotten comfortable with working on colorful backgrounds, you’ll definitely see more of them from me in the future!

Pattern a Day September

I wasn’t 100% sure I would continue making patterns in September. I officially finished up a year of daily patterns at the end of August, and I thought it might be time for a change. However, I found I couldn’t stop!

I decided to loosen up the challenge a bit and let September be a month of “anything goes.” As a result, I made patterns with ink and a brush, marker, watercolor, worked within 2 different sketchbooks and even some loose papers. The result was a wide variety of styles of patterns.

Some patterns were structured repeating icons, like rows of houses or colorful shapes.

Day 4 Pattern a Day September

Day 9 Pattern a Day September

Some patterns were a scatter of repeating elements.

Day 23 Pattern a Day September

Other patterns were more like abstract compositions with an overall pattern-y feel.

Day 30 Pattern a Day September

Day 19 Pattern a Day September

After trying out such a variety of pattern styles and media, the whole challenge felt refreshed. I ended the month with lot of creative energy and new ideas. It’s pretty cool to know that even after a year of creating patterns daily, I still enjoy it so much that continuing has become a natural part of my life.

Pattern a Day August

When I started August’s patterns, my main goal was to spend more time working on the individual patterns. I had chosen quick and easy challenges in June and July, so I was feeling a pull toward a more time consuming pursuit. Plus, this month would officially conclude one whole year of making daily patterns, so I wanted to go out with a bang!

Day 4 Pattern a Day August

Day 16 Pattern a Day August

June’s challenge in which I started with black and white doodles and created colorful digital patterns had me thinking a lot about how much color can change the look and feel of a design. That gave me the idea to double up and create two versions of the same pattern each day: one black and white, and one in whatever colors I was inspired to use.

Day 18 Pattern a Day August

Day 29 Pattern a Day August

This was a really fun month for me. Not only was my creativity stretched by coming up with a new pattern each day, but I also got the meditative benefits by repeating each pattern a second time.

Day 10 Pattern a Day August

Day 31 Pattern a Day August

A great way to end a year of daily patterns!

Pattern a Day July

In July I decided to join Tammy Garcia from Daisy Yellow for her Index Card a Day (ICAD) challenge. ICAD runs for two months in which time you can make any kind of art on an index card. I combined ICAD with my pattern a day challenge and drew patterns with zig markers on index cards.

Day 5 ICAD and Pattern a Day July

I love this way of working so much! Maybe it’s because index cards are so small or so cheap, but whatever the reason, it’s like the pressure’s off. This freed me up to create “whatever I want.” I guess I’m always free to create “whatever I want,” but a lot of times I’m hopeful that the end result will look good, and I think that subconsciously has an impact on what and how I create.

When using index cards, I found that I was off the hook of having a “good” final image. If I didn’t like the outcome, I could always make another one, or keep drawing and experiment with adding layers of lines and color.

Day 11 ICAD and Pattern a Day July

Layering in this way is a new technique for me, and I find the possibilities here are pretty exciting. I’m looking forward to exploring more index card art in the future!

Pattern a Day June

I’m really excited to finally share these patterns. Because of the craziness of my schedule in June, it was all I could do to simply make the patterns; too much to share them daily, so here is your first glimpse! (unless you saw the sneak peek because you follow me on Flickr!)

In June I approached the daily patterns a little differently from previous months. I knew it was going to be a super busy time filled with trips, family visits, and deadlines, so early on in the month, I filled several pages with icons and marks made with black ink and a brush.

black and white icons for Pattern a Day June

I scanned in the pages and had them ready to pull shapes from as I made digital repeating patterns everyday.

Pattern a Day June

Pattern a Day June

I was surprised by how challenging choosing digital color is for me. Selecting color with a color picker is not the same experience as mixing paint or working with a limited number of marker colors. I often found myself hitting a wall. I might be happy with the first few colors, but just couldn’t figure out what the fourth or fifth color should be. Early on in the month, I would just go with something even if it didn’t feel “perfect,” but I did notice that it got easier as the days went by. There is still room for improvement, but it is pretty cool to notice how much more comfortable I became picking color digitally in just a month!

I hope you’ll take a moment to check out all of June’s patterns over on Flickr.

Have you tried working with digital color? Do you have one great tip that might make my life easier when creating a harmonious digital color palette? I’d love to know what you think!

Pattern a Day March, April and May

I’m happy to say that I’ve kept up with my daily pattern design challenge, but haven’t found the time to write intro or recap posts here over the last few months.

I continued my trend of using different mediums in March, April and May.

For March I actually created two patterns a day, but they were all very small. I drew the patterns in little zine style books that I made from one sheet of paper. It was fun to explore a lot of different ideas this month.

Pattern a Day March Days 16-18
Days 16-18

See all the patterns from March on Flickr.

In April I created a painting everyday for the DE Fun a Day, an art show that is held yearly where artist from (or near) Delaware create “something-a-day”. Since I was already doing a pattern a day, my friend Kati (who just so happened to also be the organizer for DE Fun a Day) invited me to participate. I jumped at the chance and decided to create an 8x8in painting each day. On instagram I shared mostly sketches and ideas for the paintings, while saving the actual paintings for the show.

Day 1 pattern a day April
Day 1 Sketch

I sketched for Day 1’s pattern with marker, and the final painting turned out quite different, although I used the colors and some of the shapes in the different composition.

Pattern a Day April Day 1
Day 1 Final Painting

See all the patterns and some sketches from April on Flickr.

April’s challenge was quite a lot of work, so initially I thought I’d go easy on myself and do simple pencil sketches. Then Rhianna Wurman’s (@ellolovey on instagram) Doodle a Day challenge caught my eye again (the last time I participated was in August), and I decided to combine the two challenges, using her daily prompts to come up with ideas for patterns! So I ended up with a more challenging task, but I had a lot of fun with it, and got to draw a lot of cute things!

Pattern a Day May Day 15
Day 6

Pattern a Day May Day 6
Day 15

See more patterns from May on Flickr.

In June I’ll be creating repeat patterns. I’ll doodle shapes to use for the pattern each day, then digitally color and create the pattern in the computer. I’ve done a number of repeat patterns in the past, but not specifically as part of my daily challenge, so this should be a good chance to practice.

If you’re feeling inclined, you’re always welcome to join me and tag your patterns with #patternadayjun or #letsmakepatterns.

Looking forward to another month of patterns. It’s pretty cool to think that in just 3 months I’ll have completed an entire year!

Pattern a Day Februrary

In my post about the February Commit to Create Challenge (FCCC) that I took part in with Kari Maxwell and others, I mentioned that part way through the month I separated that challenge from my daily patterns. Initially I thought the two challenges would dovetail together perfectly, but partway through the month, I realized it wasn’t working as well, so I went with the flow and pursued 2 challenges a day. Therefore, this month I have a mix of designs: some inspired by the daily prompts from the FCCC and some that had other sources of inspiration.

During the first few days of the month, I easily came up with patterns that were inspired by the daily prompts.

Day 1 pattern Splash It!
Inspired by Day 1 “Splash It” of the FCCC.

On day 2 the prompt was “Stamp It,” and I had to smile since I spent all January “Stamping It” but this was actually great because it gave me the excuse to try out one more idea that was lingering from the previous month.

Day 2 Stamp It

I created day 16’s pattern in preparation of the FCCC prompt “Tear It”.

day 16 pattern a day february

After the pattern was drawn, I tore up the page into little pieces and rearranged them into a collage.

day 16 tear it

Early in the month I explored various media, but by the end of February I was mostly using zig writers to make my patterns. That didn’t stifle my creativity, however, and I came up with quite a few cute ideas!

day 19 pattern a day february

Day 22 pattern a day February.

day 26 pattern a day february

The strawberries are probably my favorite pattern from this month. I just love that they each have their own personality.

Check out the flickr set to see the full collection of patterns I created in February.

February Commit to Create Challenge

When I got ready to start my daily pattern challenge for the month of February, I was contacted by Kari Maxwell who invited me to play along with her February Commit to Create Challenge class. She sent out daily prompts throughout the month, and thought it would be fun if I could be the guest artist in February. It was great timing as I was looking for something different to do that month.

When I agreed I imagined that I would be using her prompts as the starting point for my daily patterns. The month started out as planned, but as the days went on, several of the prompts inspired other ideas that weren’t as easy to apply to a pattern. I embraced the unexpected and let the challenges split when needed.

A few favorite patterns that were directly inspired by Kari’s challenge that I also used for my daily pattern challenge include the prompts, “throw it,” “list it,” and “twist it”.

Day 4 throw it pattern

day 4 list it pattern

day 12 pattern a day february

For the prompts, “string it,” and “arrange it” I explored other ideas, although I was able to create patterns inspired by those creations.

day 5 string it

day 6 pattern a day february
pattern inspired by “string it”.

day 6 arrange it

day 7 pattern a day february
pattern inspired by “arrange it”.

Prompts including and “trace it” and “bind it” really stood on their own.

day 13 trace it

day 15 bind it

I love the unexpected, so I had a lot of fun this month letting my creative process unfold and go where it wanted. Kari’s prompts, feedback and encouragement, plus the interaction with the other participants in the challenge had me looking forward to each day to see what the theme would be and how everyone would interpret it differently.

Kari is a big proponent of the power of creating on a consistent basis, which is the focus of her ongoing class series “Create Everyday.” Be sure to stop by Kari’s blog and check out those classes, as well as her artist interviews and thoughtful writing!

Pattern a Day January

In January I created daily patterns using stamps that I carved during the month. This was the first time I made stamps, and I was surprised and pleased by how easy it was.

Starting out the month I used the two block printing inks that I had on hand: black and hot pink. They were well over a year old (and truthfully probably closer to two or three years old!), so their consistency was sticky. Watering them down helped, and I worked with them for several days. Despite the limitations of using only two colors of imperfect ink, I achieved some interesting results by layering and working with different consistencies of ink.

Day 4 Pattern a Day January

Day 8 Pattern a Day January

Day 11 Pattern a Day January

After several days, I was itching to try some other colors! I hadn’t had a chance to go to the art supply store to get actually block printing ink, so luckily I had the idea to use what I had on hand: gouache. The consistency was probably not ideal for “official” block printing, but I liked it! I had to make sure that the layer of paint I spread out was very thin, but more often than not the results were good!

Day 18 Pattern a Day January

day 22 pattern a day january

Day 17 Pattern a Day January

day 23 pattern a day january

As you can see in the images above, I explored several different techniques for printing including repeats, overlapping layers, and what I call “painting” with the block.

Creating blocks for printing and working with them throughout the month was a great introduction to the medium. I even used the stamps I created for my 2013 Sketchbook Project which I’ve already written about. Since January I haven’t done too much more with stamps, although they did make an appearance in one of my patterns in February. In the long run I’m sure it will be a great new tool to incorporate into my creative practice!

See the rest of the patterns I created in January, including sever “extras” on flickr.