Pattern by hand

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

I really loved creating the last pattern I painted by hand inspired by one of my illustrations, so I decided to try making another one. This one is inspired by my Song Thrush illustration. I created motifs from the background foliage, flowers and berries in the illustration. Here's a link to the basic concept on making a repeating pattern if you'd like to have a go!

Once I made the initial repeating tile, I traced over it several times using a black pen and layout paper (similar to tracing paper) to test the repeat, I love this part as you can really see the pattern working (or not!).

Then I traced it onto thicker paper (that would take the acrylic paints) using pencil and a light-box, this takes a while!

Once the pattern is traced onto the large sheet of paper I start painting the pattern. I usually paint all the repeating elements of one motif first or those of similar colours.

I loved the Himalayan Honeysuckle flowers and berries, they're such a great shape. The flowers are the flowers of the blackberry before they're blackberries and the foliage is bramble foliage.

Then it was time for all the little details, like the veins on the leaves, the highlights on the berries and the flower centres.

Then I had to paint the background, I picked a nice slate grey. It did take a while to paint around everything but it was very much a meditative process. And before I knew it...

I was almost finished! There's something magical about hand-painted paper, it just feels so special to touch! I scanned it in two parts because it was bigger than my scanner and used the original painted paper on a special project. You'll see in my next blog post!

I hope you enjoyed looking at the process! Thanks for dropping by today! : )


  1. It is gorgeous Clare!! I love the white flowers against the grey background, the two colors of the berries, and all the beautiful details you put into it. You have a great eye for design!! I'm still hoping that you get picked up by a fabric company: I'd love to sew with your beautiful art!! Hugs, H

    1. Thanks Helen! It's definitely one of my goals, so I'll keep working at it! I just bought Spoonflower's new handbook, it's full of great info on designing fabric. : )

  2. Oh my word, you have such patience! I love your colours and the design is so pretty. Would make stunning fabric.

    1. Thanks so much Belinda! Yes, I'd love to make it into fabric! I just got Spoonflower's new handbook so I'm working on it! : )


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