Splash on Stripes - pattern for a dreamy beach hut day

Artist brush pens

I recently got into the freedom and spontaneity of drawing with felt tip pens and decided to upgrade from the low cost kid's packs to an artist pen. So, as a treat last time I was in London, I dropped into The London Graphic Centre in Covent Garden. They have an array of artist pens to try and they're happy for you to scribble on bits of paper to test them out. [Warning I discovered later that the shop is twice the online price - but OK for a small purchase!]

After a few testers, I settled on a pack of Ecoline brush pens. They just glide across the paper and you can create water colour effects with them! If you use them on watercolour paper, you can scribble and then really slosh on the water. I use both brushes and a special transparent blending pen that comes with the set.

 

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All this water and colour, gave me the idea for a Summer pattern based on drawing and splashing.

Pattern process

I started by drawing the stripes.

It's very therapeutic and relaxing. I must have drawn about 20 pages of them.

ASMR video

If you enjoy ASMR videos (a form of soothing relaxation) you might enjoy this real time video of the meditative art process:

Splashes

Next, I taped down the striped sheets and splashed them with water droplets.

The feel and concept

I wanted to create an effect almost as though someone had walked past the pictures with a wet bucket and spade and accidentally dripped water over them.

Before

After

I do think it has quite a beach hut feel!

 

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Composition

I digitally scanned the striped image both before and after the water splashes. My plan was to cut and paste the roundest splashes and position them onto the stripes in a slightly cleaner but still organic looking arrangement. This part worked!

 

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How to create a seamless pattern from the original drawings?

My plan was to create a seamless pattern with the file. That means it repeats without you being able to see a join. I thought it would be rather quick and easy, but of course that is rarely the case!
In the first instance, I selected a small area of the stripe pattern and carefully blended the edges to disguise the join. Then I added the spots as planned. However, I was really disappointed to see the results when the pattern tiled. Here it is - it looks pretty but it has lost that accidental splash look.
It has a polka dot look. So I decided to start again and use the whole sheet to tile, rather than a small section. I painstakingly cut and pasted every single splash spot and cleaned around the edges. Then I mirror flipped the stripes to and joined 4 tiles, to make it easier to hide the pattern join.
Take two! I liked it!
However, the file size was enourmous (I wanted the largest spots to be at least 2cm wide). It ended up being about a metre wide. Unfortunately the software on the Contrado (the print-on-demand website I am using) couldn't handle an image that wide.

Final pattern

So I had to very, very patiently run through the process again, using a section somewhere between the two sizes. By this time hours and hours had passed and I was beginning to lose the will. But I pushed on, and eventually completed the pattern! Much more organic this time.
I forgot to mention - I also applied a filter to the stripes in Photoshop called 'splatter'. This gives them the artistic watercolour edges.

The pattern comes to life!

For this pattern, I have chosen a selection of Summer themed products. Here are two of my favourites - the double deckchair and the wedge espadrilles. It is really rewarding to see a finished design magically appear on a fabulous product.

I absolutely love this double deckchair! It is a very unusual product. I can imagine people using it to take selfies - trying to fit everyone onto the chair.

For the shoes, I angled the pattern and used two different scales to create the final effect.

 

Next creative steps

During the creation of this design I had a lot of little swatch papers that I had printed on to test the scale and colours. I took them along to my weekly figure drawing session and drew right on top of them. I really liked the effect. How do you like this cheeky bottom?

I have been busy drawing new bottoms today! You can see me drawing on Instagram @shimmyshimshop

 

What product would you like to see in the shop?

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