Watercolour Pattern by hand

Friday, April 17, 2015

I'm back today with a pretty floral pattern I created, by hand! I've really been enjoying exploring pattern design (you can check out a great course on Creativebug) but I'm not a huge fan of spending ages on the computer and I'm still not so keen on the very flat and lifeless look you get with Illustrator (or maybe I just don't know enough yet!). Luckily it's not too tricky to create patterns by hand, you can see how to create a repeating pattern tile here. I think it's probably a good idea to get used to just creating patterns by hand anyway before you dive into the computer, that's my excuse anyway. I love the simple tools of paper and paint!

Anyway, I was inspired by the little floral motifs on the 90th Birthday Hand-Lettered card I made a couple of posts back. I thought they would make a cute pattern! I love ditsy florals and Forget-me-nots are one of my favourite flowers.

So I sketched out the pattern in pencil first and made my repeating tile. Then I outlined it in black pen, so it was easier to trace over. I used a big sheet of paper and traced the design lightly in pencil, I didn't want too many pencil marks.

Then I just started colouring in the elements, starting with the roses. It looks like a lot of work but surprisingly it didn't take that long!

Then I added the basic shape of the forget-me-nots. There's something very therapeutic about colouring a pattern by hand. Seeing it emerge from the white paper is quite thrilling!

 Then all the foliage was added. You do have to make sure the watercolour is dry before you start the next colour, you don't want to smudge your design!

Then I painted in the darker detail on the roses and it really came to life! Very satisfying. This would make such a cute wrapping paper, cover for a notebook or even a cotton fabric!

Here's the full finished pattern. I love how it turned out! I can't wait to do another but I've some commission work to do first.

That's all for now. Thanks for dropping by and I hope you have a great weekend! We're still enjoying dry, sunny weather here in Ireland, I'm not sure where the April showers went to!! : )

Around the garden... and the pond!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

We had some glorious sunshine the other day and I took the opportunity to take a few photos from around the garden. The daffodils have nearly gone now but the tulips are ready to take over the show, I love these cheery pink ones, they have a hint of peach at the tips.

I'm always taking photos of flowers for inspiration, it's great to be able to work from your own photos when creating something. It's great even just for colour inspiration.

I've a thing for apple green flowers, they're just so fresh and work well with so many different plants. This beauty is a double hellebore.

It could be mistaken for a forget-me-not but it's actually Brunnera macrophylla and does well in shady spots. It's easy to divide, so you have lots more to plant in your garden. I adore dainty flowers and this is one of my favourites!

Another of my favourites is this fabulous shrub that has the most beautiful fragrance, Viburnum burkwoodii. You just have to stop and smell it! Finally here's a peek at our very new and slightly green pond! We're hoping the new pond plants (including some oxygenators) will sort out the green tinge!

The simple bridge is a great spot for spotting tadpoles and the fascinating Whirligig beetle. We have a small solar powered little fountain which gives us the trickling sound of water, when the sun is shining!

I managed to get a photo of the famous tadpoles too! They're getting bigger by the day. I'll take some more pics later in the season when the pond plants have grown and the tadpoles have become little frogs, fingers crossed they don't get eaten by anything! Isabelle would be very disappointed!

That's all for now! Hope you enjoyed the photos! I'll be back soon with a new pattern design inspired by the florals on my hand-lettered card in the previous post.

90th Birthday Card - Handlettering and Watercolour

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

We had a great Easter break here, Isabelle was on school holidays for two weeks. We were lucky with the weather, so we were out in the garden a lot of the time. It's a busy time in the garden, we've lots of seedlings in trays ready to be potted on, seeds to be sown direct and lots of weeding of course. We built a pond last autumn and I've just started planting it up. It's already full of wildlife including (much to Isabelle's delight!) tadpoles! She loves watching them swim around and can't wait to see them grow into little frogs! I'll take a few photos soon and share them here.

Anyway, I made this special birthday card yesterday for a lovely lady who's reaching the amazing milestone of 90 years. I wanted to personalise it so I included her name in the design. I took a few photos along the way as I created it so you could see how it came about.

I started with a pencil sketch of the design, directly onto some card because I was short on time. I used two different fonts as reference, VintageOne and Stringfellows. I typed the text on the computer and used it as a visual guide, drawing it freehand. If you're starting out, you could print it and trace the lettering to get the feel of the shapes and spacing.

I like to watercolour my letters, so I erased any heavy pencil lines leaving enough guidelines to see the lettering with ease. I erase any traces of pencil once the watercolour paint has dried completely.

I wasn't sure of the colour scheme but I wanted to keep it fresh and light. I started with the forget-me-not flowers in a cool cobalt blue and teamed that with some green lettering.

I have a good selection of pretty small paintbrushes which makes this type of work a bit easier. I added some touches of yellow and dark pink to add a bit of vibrancy and interest. I didn't stick exclusively to the sketch for the floral elements, as it progressed I added little bits here and there.

To add some dimension to some of the text I added a drop shadow using green. After that I just added some shading and a freehand border using a light blue coloured pencil and layered it onto my card base.

I do love the effect of watercolour, the flowers are very easy to create, they really are just blobs of colour. You can't mess it up, it's a very soft loose effect!

Forget-me-nots are very easy too, just 5 little circles of blue with a little yellow centre. Practise some shapes on a scrap piece of paper, you might surprise yourself with what you come up with!

That's all for now! I hope you'll take out your watercolours and give it a try! Thanks for dropping by today. : )