Let’s Make Patterns!

There is only one rule: make a pattern everyday!

Let's Make Patterns!

I know I already wrote an info post about the daily pattern challenge I’ve been doing, but I’m excited, so here’s another one!

If you want to join in on the fun, tag your photos with #letsmakepatterns &/or #patternadaynov on instagram and twitter.

I’ve decided to add the #letsmakepatterns tag because I wanted something that referenced the fact that the patterns are created, not just found patterns in the world, which I’ve seen pop up under the #patternaday tag.

I like to use the daily pattern 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. The patterns can be simple or complex. You can make them as a warm up exercise before you work on other creative endeavors, or they can stand on their own. 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 (for November I’m using markers!), set your own parameters, or just be completely open and free with it.

Unlike a year-long challenge, this is just for a month, which I’ve found to be much more sustainable. Maybe it’s just a psychological difference, but I know that I have the option not to do it for a particular month if I don’t feel like it, and I think that helps. Not so much pressure.

In my internet wanderings I came across Art Every Day Month which is this month! Rather synchronous, don’t you think? It might be another good way to share your daily creations.

If you’re on flickr, check out the create everyday group started by Kari Maxwell. I’ll be posting at least some of my patterns there. Kari is also offering a Create Every Day online class from November 5 – 9 if you want some help getting started on creating everyday.

Looking forward to lots of patterns in November!

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.



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.



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


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!

Doodle a Day August


On instagram I follow a bunch of cool artists, and I get to see what they are up to and what art they are making. I got to know Rhianna Wurman through the Positive Inking project I’m a part of, and when I saw that she was doing a “Doodle-a-Day” for August, I was tempted to do it too. When my friend Emily Balsley said she was going to join in, well, I knew I couldn’t resist.

So I dove right in.

For the first couple of days, I ended up doodling flowers and leaves, purely by coincidence. When on day 4 I was able to create a flower doodle for the prompt, “Somewhere You Sat” I figured it would be a fun added challenge to see if I could stick with plant life all month. Much to my surprise, I was able to do it, even on a couple of hard days with themes like “8 O’Clock” and “Arrow“. True, there were a couple of days that were more than a bit of a stretch, such as the doodles for “Card” and “Cool,” but in the end I figured it was more about the inspiration and wherever that may lead than a strict interpretation of the day’s word.

All in all it was a super fun challenge. Not only was it exciting to see what in the world I would come up with everyday, but I also looked forward to what the other artists would do with they day’s theme.

I won’t share all 31 doodles with you here, but I would like to show you a few of my favorites.

I love the idea I came up with for Day 3’s theme, “Coin”. At first I didn’t think I could do anything botanical with it, but then I thought, “Silver Dollars!” I love pealing off their rough, flat shells to reveal the shimmery, paper-thin “coin”. I found a small branch we had in the basement, leftover from last year’s “harvest” and drew it.

Day 3: "Coin"

I think this was actually the drawing that got me thinking about doing botanicals for the month. I figured if I could make “coin” work, I could figure something out for the rest of them!

Day 9, “Messy” was also a fun one. Since I was often drawing from life for my daily doodles, in my mind I made the distinction that they were still doodles because I wasn’t really after accuracy or precision. It was about looking and drawing what I saw without over-thinking it. Having said that, my tendency is toward being precise and over-thinking it, so some of the doodles were definitely more drawing-like than I intended. Not so for “Messy”.

Day 9: "Messy"

Yes, I drew it really fast and messy! I placed my pen where I wanted to draw a certain group of flowers/textures, and then moved my pen quickly as I captured the essence of their texture. Definitely a satisfying practice and result!

Although I drew from life or photos for many of the days, I also drew quite a few true doodles. The theme for day 19 was “Hole” and while my initial idea was to draw holes in dirt, I instead opted to draw lots of holes in flower shaped buttons.

Day 19: "Hole"

These were all pure imagination, which, one could argue, is what doodling is all about.

Day 5’s word, “Logo,” was another great opportunity for pure doodling. I decided to draw some ideas for a logo for this month long doodle project! I first drew one logo with the words, “Always Drawing Flowers” but that logo didn’t see the light of day (until now) because I thought of another fun name: Flower Art Rebel. A college art professor of mine once told me that I could explore any subject matter I wanted–except flowers! Since then I always feel like a bit of a rebel when I draw anything botanical, and it seemed to be a fitting title for August’s doodles.

Day 5: "Logo"

My favorite is probably the skull and “cross-flowers”.

There were some days where I definitely wasn’t done doodling after just one page.

One day I doodled a bunch of random shapes on a page, and it was kind of a jumbled mess, so I cut it up, rearranged it, and collaged it into a new composition I call Petri Dish.

Petri dish collage

I’m not sure where the inspiration came from for Petri Dish. It just evolved organically. For other drawings, I created variations of the doodles I did for the Doodle-a-Day project.

One of my favorite “extra” drawings was inspired by one of my least favorite doodle-a-day drawings: Day 15, “Ready”.

Day 15: "Ready"

I wasn’t at all ready to doodle when I started, which was the point of the drawing and how I tied in the theme. I drew the words first, and then filled in the center part of the image with a random doodle. I don’t mind the doodle per se. I can appreciate the humor of the bug shaped blossoms, but I wish the words weren’t there. What I really liked about it were the leaves. They inspired me to create a simpler drawing.

Inspired by Day 15, doodle-a-day August

The simpler version of just the leaves then inspired me to create a pattern.

pattern inspired by Day 15 from doodle-a-day August

Notice some shapes similar to those in Petri Dish?

It was a great month full of drawings, and I wanted to continue. September is a busy month for me, so I decided to simplify things a bit. Instead of following along with the Doodle-a-Day themes for September, I decided to do a themeless Pattern-a-Day.

I’m using a little sketchbook that my friend Beverly sent over to me in a recent mail art package which luckily has EXACTLY 30 pages! I also decided to only use the IKEA gel pens I recently bought.

sketchbook for pattern a day september

This has worked out well for me so far. I have been able to draw a new pattern every day, and I so far haven’t had to “catch up” which I had to do several times in August.

Here’s a little sneak peek of what I’ve been working on so far in September:

Day 3 Pattern a Day September

Next week I’ll be at the beach, and I hope it’ll be just as easy to draw patterns there with sand underfoot and a sea breeze all around.

If you want to see more of the doodles from my August collection, you can see everything (plus all the extra drawings from the month) on flickr.

You can also check out the other patterns I’ve uploaded so far for September, also on flickr.

Also, if you are on instagram, you can follow along and see the patterns posted daily: @aisforanika #patternadaysep. Although I’m not doing Doodle-a-Day this month, you can see what all the other artists are doodling every day on instagram: #doodleadaysep.

From My Garden, Two Rainbows

As you might have suspected, I’ve been really busy lately! I haven’t created nearly the amount of garden-inspired art that I wanted to, but I have been carefully tending my garden every evening, giving all the plants plenty of water to help them through this very hot and dry time.

The other day I was spritzing the flox with the hose, and I noticed that the sun was cooperating with the water droplets to create a pretty little rainbow. Luckily I had my phone on me, so I snapped a quick photo at just the right angle.


The second rainbow I discovered in my garden developed in quite a different way.

Since I haven’t had the time to sit and watch and sketch lately, I went out early this morning to take some photos of all the lovely flowers that are in bloom right now. As I was snapping lots of photos, I realized that I probably have flowers blooming in all the colors of the rainbow. I had to search a bit for red & purple, but I found them on the side of the house and in the front yard.

I realize this is going to make for an extra long post, but I think it’ll be worth it. Without further ado, here is rainbow #2!

Hot Pink










Isn’t it pretty?!

These two rainbows are just a couple of the ways my garden inspires me. I’ve been enjoying the quiet time spent outside each evening when I water the flowers. Even if I don’t have the time to draw or paint every day, it’s wonderful to spend time looking at all the plants and noticing how they grow. I’ve got so many ideas brewing, especially after this colorful photo shoot. Now I just need a little spare time!

From My Garden, Hops

We’re growing a couple of hops plants for my brother (he likes to home brew beer), and I really love how the leaves are heart shaped with what looks like a serrated edge. My first impression was that they would be a challenge to draw, and since I’m always up for a challenge, I set up a little “outdoor studio” and got to work.

outdoor drawing "studio"
(Not pictured are a couple of cushions to sit on.)

Hops Leaves

I zeroed in on a pair of leaves to draw, did a quick sketch to figure out the composition and make sure I got the scale of the leaves right, and I then started working on the details of the shapes of the leaves. The hardest part was seeing the leaves as the light dwindled, but I finished the first phase of the drawing just in time.


Once I got the outline of the leaves worked out, I tried shading to give a sense of depth, but it just wasn’t working. Instead I decided to focus on adding detail texture, so I drew some of the main veins of the leaf. I was really interested to see how there was a clear pattern in how the veins were distributed, but it wasn’t always a perfect pattern–just my style!

I had to pack up my outdoor studio that first night, since I lost the light, but I took some time to refine the lines of the leaves and veins.

The next day I evaluated the drawing, and realized that the composition seemed to be wanting a little more. I set up my studio again and used my artistic license to add a smaller set of leaves below the first, even though in reality they were located elsewhere on the plant.

hops leaves

I want to do more with this drawing. I even transfered the drawing to another sheet of “good” paper to work with, but then it sat there. After mulling it over for a couple days, I’m still not sure exactly what the next step will be. I’ll set it aside for now and move onto something else. I’m sure I’ll figure out what to do eventually!

From My Garden, Days 2 & 3

Today I suddenly realized that what I’d called lupine seed pods in my last post are actually *larkspur* seed pods! It hit me out of the blue and I was like, “duh, of course i knew that!”


The larkspur seed pods I used as part of Day 1’s exploration didn’t really show up in the art piece I created, so for Day 2, I decided to draw them since I really love their shape.

Larkspur seed pod pencil drawing

pencil drawing of larkspur seed pods

I took a photo of the drawing with a clematis plant on the steps of my back porch. My brother’s dog, Chief, jumped in the shot at the last second, helping created the perfect photo!

For Day 3, I wanted to take the larkspur drawing a little further. I saw this amazing, huge grape leaf that is lacy with holes in some areas. It seemed perfect for a spray paint stencil.

huge grape leaf

Otto & huge grape leaf

(Pictured with Otto to show a sense of scale. Isn’t it big!?)

I really like how the drawing of the seed pods turned out, so instead of experimenting with the original, I printed out a copy and refined the drawn lines with black ink before spray painting.

Outdoor Studio 2

Again I used a very simple outdoor studio set up. I placed the paper on the grass with the leaf on top and sprayed the desired color, adjusting the leaf slightly before spraying the next color. I used a combination of bright red, lavender and light blue, which all blended very nicely together.

larkspur drawing & spray paint

I really enjoy the speckled texture that the spray paint lends, and I’m happy that the paint managed to make its way through some of the holey areas of the leaf.

I was also happy to notice that the spray painted leaf itself was quite beautiful. I find it interesting how the colors combined with the dull yellowish green of the back of the leaf to create a neutral gray color that almost matches the wood of the porch!

spray painted grape leaf

I know I’m only on Day 3, but I’m loving this project. Everyday I see more & more. I could have easily created 20 drawings inspired by the plants I’ve examined, but I’m taking it easy and having fun with it. At least I know I won’t run out of ideas any time soon!

From My Garden, Part 1

During June’s 20 in 20 project, I started taking photos of the daily paintings I created with various items in the environment; sometimes surrounded by paints, with potted plants, or next to wild flowers I picked from my garden. It’s not the first time I’ve photographed art in the environment, but it’s been a while since I did, and I forgot how much I enjoyed it.

It was a lot of fun to go exploring in my garden to find just the right grass or flower to pair with the paintings. I’ve decided to keep the fun of that exploration going for the month of July. This project won’t be as structured as the 20 in 20 project. My goal will be to create 12 to 15 pieces by the end of the month, but it’s less about the final product, and more about the exploration of the plants in my garden and whatever techniques I feel inspired to pursue.

For the first day I ended up using spray paint and cuttings from a couple of plants: larkspur seed pods and morning glory leaves to be exact.

I worked spontaneously. I snipped a few of the larkspur seed pods, and then remembered the cabinet of spray paint in the basement. I grabbed three cans and brought them outside. I arranged the larkspur pods on paper and in the process, some of the seeds scattered on the surface. Since the seed pod stems weren’t flat, they didn’t leave much of a silhouette on the paper, so thinking quick, I cut a few morning glory leaves & arranged them in layers. I sprayed the dark blue paint, removed a few leaves, sprayed again, and so on.

Outdoor Studio

When I finished spraying the dark blue, I shook off the seeds, revealing the little white spots which reminded me of the background of my friend Jessica Gowling’s recently completed collage; although she achieved the affect with an entirely different technique!


The larkspur pods themselves aren’t visible in the artwork, but they became quite colorful after a layer or two of paint and make the perfect arrangement to photograph with the piece.



So there you have it! I see this project as a collaboration of sorts between me and my garden, and I, for one, am looking forward to see what “we” come up with!