Spoonflower is running a “Design-A-Day” challenge for the first half of March. Each day a theme is given, and at the end of the challenge, one of the themes will be used for a design contest.
Today’s theme is Pencil Drawing. I’ve been doing quite a bit of sketching lately, and, truthfully, I did most of the work on this yesterday. In the end, I’m not sure I really created a “pencil drawing” design. If nothing else, this post will give you a little idea of how these designs come together.
Many times, I just open Adobe Illustrator and start playing with shapes. I worked in graphic design for more than 10 years, so I am pretty comfortable with the Adobe software. Other times, I start with a sketch, like this one:
I used graph paper for this drawing because I knew the curly line would need to repeat and I wanted to get my ends as close to lined up as I could. This photo shows the drawing after I outlined the sketch with a black Micron pen (a 03, if you are curious). If you look closely, you can see the pencil lines that I didn’t bother to erase.
So, once I had my sketch, I snapped a picture with my cell phone and opened it in Photoshop. There I adjusted the color balance until I had a washed out background and dark lines.
I saved this photo and opened it in Illustrator. I make most of my designs 8″ x 8″ because that is the size of a Spoonflower test swatch. In Illustrator, I converted this drawing into a vector graphic, which let me resize the graphic without it starting to look grainy or pixel-y. I also got rid of those leftover graph paper crosses and dumped the bottom curly line because I liked the look of the top one better.
I used a color palette from Design Seeds for this design. Sometimes I use palettes I find online, sometimes I make my own. I like the blues in this palette, though I only used three of the colors in my final design.
And this is where I decided the inked lines looked too rough and I didn’t like them. So…merp. Time to change the approach. Unfortunately, I have no photos to show you of this process, but I traced over my sketch with shapes and lines in Illustrator. The curves are ovals with the bottom curve point converted to an angle and the sides stretched and pulled into the proper location. I created the line sections with the pen tool. I had to do a little adjusting to make the repeat less clunky, then I started duplicating my curly line and adding color. Here is the result, Blue Curls
There you have it—a surface pattern design from a sketch to a file ready to be uploaded to Spoonflower, Society6, and RedBubble.
Until next time,