I came across a Spoonflower printing review on the wonderful Tuppence Ha'penny Vintage website last week. This paragraph confirmed what I thought: "The DPI isn’t as high as some other services, so some very fine detail may not come out and the lines may not be razor-sharp, but that’s not a negative for me - I rely on that very tiny bit of dye bleed to give it a more authentically vintage feel."
After carefully studying my own Spoonflower sampler and reading that review, I reworked my vintage tie daisy pattern. I decided the ink bleed alone was quite enough to soften the forms and that the original crayon work was a step too far, so this time I made the design as clean as a whistle in flat, clear colours. To my surprise, I really enjoyed the work and I love the final result, it looks like super-flat gouache or tempera paint. I have always been nervous of flat and clean work (nowhere to hide) but I think it's the best way to go for all future pattern designs.
I worked all five colour separations in two slightly different versions (the blue and green one is 'turned inside out'), so the sky's the limit for colourways, but I do love the dark background as on the vintage tie itself.
Compare these with the first drawing made based on the tie. I like them both equally in their own ways, but the new version is the one I'll use for printing on fabric.
Thanks for visiting, see you again soon!
An exciting start to the week when my first ever sampler from Spoonflower arrived on Monday morning for proofing. I worked in the print industry for a number of years, so I am no stranger to proofing, or finding unexpected results and learning from them.
I ordered proofs for a variety of different patterns to see what works and what doesn't. The printing itself is very good and close to the original, but I could see that I need to buck up my design ideas! The one that worked best of all was the 'vintage tie' design. Patterns which look the strongest on screen printed the least successfully; Yay! Flowers for example, because the close tones and colour harmonies don't show up so well.
After close critical scrutiny I made a check-list for designs for Spoonflower ...
I selected 6 of the sea-urchins I made last week to work in exactly the same way as I draw the pareidolia images, tracing over the image onto layers above using Procreate's HB6 sketch brush. It was one of those overnight "what if ..." thoughts and I wasn't at all sure how it would look. The idea was to make them more consistent with the pareidolia series drawings. From the first experiment I could see I liked it a lot, the texture and scumbly marks and saturated colours looked good. I like the semi-transparent quality, whichever background I use changes their appearance; but at the moment my favourite is anything dark enough to enhance the chalk-board effect. I am currently working on a pattern which combines little creatures with these roundels.
Today's Instagram post ^
Thanks for visiting, see you next week!
Sea-urchins were the theme of this week. One afternoon I felt so tired I couldn't think about work, so I settled on the sofa with iPad, stylus, and old movies on TV to doodle in Procreate's symmetry mode. I kept the lines simple and calligraphic, then offset the symmetry with non-symmetrical coloured blobs underneath. They began to look familiar and I couldn't think why as I began to arrange them into a pattern. Then I noticed I had been sitting working close to a sea-urchin shell, a treasured item for about 45 years which has been everywhere with me (read more of the story on Instagram). A while ago it broke. I was upset, but the fracture is clean and the pieces fit together, so now it sits apparently whole on the windowsill - clearly exerting an influence on my work.
The first drawings were in pastel shades closer to the shell's natural colours, but I like the neon colours; they evoke a sense of mysterious, glowing creatures on a dark ocean bed. I designed the next pattern crowded with sea-urchins in jewel colours. There's enough going on in this one to satisfy even my sense of horror vacui.
Thanks for visiting, see you next week ...
This week I reconstructed Dog Days Friday, pictured below. It was the only one of the series of seven artworks which I either didn't save as a PSD file or lost, the only record I had was a screenshot of its Instagram post. It involved quite a lot of rummaging around in my archives to gather together all the constituent parts, but seeing artworks I had forgotten inspired the little scene above: some pareidolia creatures putting on a play.
On the subject of Instagram, this Friday I was interested to read Lisa Congdon's thoughts on how Instagram has changed over the last 10 years, which totally echos my feelings in so many ways. She was in the vanguard of Instagram from day one (over ten years ago). Today she has made nearly 11,000 posts with a following of 442k. By contrast I made my 458th post today, consider myself blessed to have 707 followers, and didn't join Instagram until 2014 when I got my first iPhone - but even on such a modest scale I have experienced the same disappointing changes. I have written a bit more about it on Heather Eliza's blog.
Visit Lisa Congdon's website and shop - she really is some kind of superwoman! Must try harder ...
Thanks for visiting, see you next week!
Welcome to my illustration blog! I usually post here on Sundays, sometimes adding a mid-week post to keep a work journal.
I illustrate under the pen-name of Binky McKee, McKee being my mother's maiden name. Binky was the name of every single cat my great-grandmother kept - about 40 of them during her 94 years of life. Given that, I have no idea how Doggie with his dead-pan expression became my avatar instead of a cat - something to do with popularity on Instagram and lots of jokes with him! Must get a photo of my own face at some point.
Currently I am working on illustrating a children's book, pattern making, and of course I can't resist a good Instagram challenge such as Folktale Week or Inktober.
I hope you enjoy your visit!
I keep lots of scrapbooks and sketchbooks where I develop ideas and design little creatures. Here's a peek inside one ...
As you may know, I am also known as Heather Eliza Walker.
Click the image if you would like to find out more and visit my other website.
This time, take a peek into my ceramic design sketchbook. I actually made some of the mugs, but I kind of prefer the drawings! The plate designs are painted on paper plates, a most liberating process.
These watercolours are from my pattern sketchbook. I used coloured wax crayons to resist the washes of watercolour, also home-made rubber stamps dipped in bleach then printed on crêpe paper - the bleach takes out the paper dyes.
A sketchbook I used for mark-making with unusual objects - corks, seed-heads, feathers, home-made rubber stamps, my fingers and lots of flicky things ...