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.

Let’s Make Patterns in March

Just like with February, March totally snuck up on me!

Let's Make Patterns in March

I will be honest, part of me wanted to take a break this month. The rhythm of this challenge started to feel a little stale to me. I thought about how I might make it interesting for myself, and one thing that I’ve become re-interested in lately is zines. So why not make some pattern zines?

I’ll be drawing one or two mini patterns each day in March. With 31 days in March, I’ll do between 9 and 10 zines this month depending on how many patterns I create each day.

I’m thinking I might switch up mediums for each zine, but we’ll see how it goes. Since I’m writing this post a little late, I’ve already started one zine with Day 1’s patterns.

Day 1 Pattern a Day March

If you are interested in making daily patterns this month, I’d be happy if you joined me! Feel free to tailor this challenge to suit you, your schedule, and what you want to accomplish, using any medium at any size that you like! There is really only one “rule”: make patterns. Even if you can’t get a pattern done every single day, I’d love to have you create a pattern when you can!

If you make patterns this month, be sure to tag your images with #patternadaymar and/or #letsmakepatterns. Also add your images to the flickr group.

Yay for mini patterns in March!

Sketchbook Project 2013

For the first time I had a sketchbook project without a theme. When I signed up the themes were very generic such as “sketchbook,” “chap book,” or “travelogue”. I assumed “sketchbook” would be the most fitting, but since it was an option, I chose, “undecided” so I could decide later. Before I sent off my book, I noticed that they added several more options for themes that were more like the themes they’ve offered in the past. Some of these are “dwellings,” “creatures,” and “lists”. Of the options offered, “diagrams” felt like it would fit the most as an after-the-fact choice, but it also didn’t feel quite right. I wonder if they’ll let me keep it as undecided?

As with the Sketchbook Project Limited Edition that I completed in 24 hours, I was down to just a couple of days until the deadline before I had a chance to start my 2013 submission. As luck would have it, I decided to use block printing as my technique for January’s daily patterns, so the choice to use the same stamps in the sketchbook was an easy one! This technique was even faster than the collages I created for the Sketchbook Project LE, and over the course of 2 days, I leisurely filled my empty book with lots of color, pattern and texture.

The cover was created bit by bit as I worked with various colors on the main pages of the book. I feel lucky that the composition turned out as balanced as it did!

Sketchbook Project 2012 Cover

The inside front and back covers were embellished with paint marker since I didn’t have time to carve stamps with all the letters or words I would have needed!

Sketchbook Project 2013 Inside Front Cover

Sketchbook Project 2013 Inside Back Cover

I named the project “Block & Print” to match up with the title pattern that started with “Lines & Grids” and “Cut & Create” of my last two Sketchbook Projects.

The inside back cover shares a hint of things to come. Notice I direct people to check out anikastarmer.com. There isn’t actually anything there at the moment, but there will be! More news to come about that soon!

Most of the pages feature several colors and two or three different stamps, with printing on both sides of the spread. Often I printed the stamps quickly and then smooshed the pages together to make secondary impressions on the opposite page. Sometimes those secondary marks were pretty subtle, but they lend another layer of texture to the overall composition.

Pages 3-4

Pages 7-8

A few pages seemed “just right” after I finished up using one stamp with one color.

Pages 15-16

Pages 13-14

There was really only one spread that I felt was a little less than successful, and yet it is also one of my favorites in some ways!

Pages 11-12

I really love the way the pattern on the right of the stacked triangles turned out, and the bolder yellow print on the left would have been a good fit as its pair, but oh how I wish I hadn’t smooshed the wet yellow paint onto the triangles. The yellow smudges are a visual distraction that muddies up the bright pattern, and it would have been stronger without that extra element. That said, I recognize that this entire sketchbook really was a collection of printed sketches and experiments, and although in my mind this isn’t exactly “perfect” I can still appreciate it for the overall experience!

Take a look at the video of the entire book, with a little explanation of my process and some of the stamps!

Art House Co-op is restructuring the way they are going to do the next installations of the Sketchbook Project, focusing on specific tours with a certain number of spots available for each. I’m not sure if I will participate again or not. Maybe if a tour title “speaks to me” or something.

Have you participated in this or other Sketchbook Projects? Do you think you’ll participate in the future? If you have your 2013 book online, I would love for you to share a link in the comments!

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!

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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!

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

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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!

Change in Plans for Pattern a Day January

In my last post I wrote that I planned to create my January patterns using watercolor backgrounds with paint marker details. For some reason, once it got down to it, I wasn’t really feeling the watercolor. Maybe I just needed more of a change from using water based media last month. When I saw that Tricia from Daring Hue was doing hand carved stamps this month, it seemed like too much of a coincidence since it’s one of the ideas I’d initially considered for January.

When I saw Tricia’s first January pattern, I mentioned that I’d been thinking about doing block prints too, and Tricia encouraged me, so I dug out the block printing supplies I bought a while ago. I only have one block and 2 colors of ink, but I made the most of what I had to get me started.

I cut a 2×2 inch piece off the block and cut that into 3 triangles, then carved some detail lines on the two smaller triangles.

carving a block for printing/stamping

pink ink on black palette

I used these to create my first 2 patterns for January today.

Day 1 Pattern a Day January

Day 2 Pattern a Day January

I had to play catch up today because Otto gave me a scare on the 1st, and I spent the evening at the emergency vet instead of at home making patterns. I’m happy to say that he is doing very well now. His back was out which was causing him a lot of pain. He got some pain meds from the vet, and after a visit to the chiropractor today, he should be good as new. Phew!

Otto is on the mend.

Let’s Make Patterns in January!

A new month in a new year is upon us, and I will be doing another month of daily patterns!

Let's Make Patterns in January!

Last month my friend Tricia from Daring Hue created watercolor backgrounds and added patterns to the color. I really loved the idea and how the patterns turned out, so this month I’m taking inspiration from her and will be creating a watercolor background everyday and then adding a pattern to the page with white, grey, and/or black acrylic marker.

I would love for you to join me and create your own 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 #patternadayjan!

There is also a flickr group now, so if you post photos over there, please add your photos to the pool!

Starting the year off with lots of patterns seems like a good start for 2013. I hope to see daily patterns from you too!

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!