Roselyn - Digital pencil, ink and watercolour - August 2011
This was my 11th-hour entry for the Connecting Threads fabric design contest. Literally, I finished it at 11:30pm on the last day of the contest.
It’s not unusualy for me to spend days - even weeks - working on my print designs. In this case, I had only a few hours before the deadline, which really made me focus and go through the design process much more efficiently.
I thought it would be interesting to show how a design can come to together very quickly and what stages I went through to create it.
Stage 1: Inspiration
I walk my dog Rosie every day after work. That day we walked past roses and lilacs blooming in our neighborhood - perfect inspiration! I placed them in a glass of water on my desk.
Stage 2: Outline
The shape of a rose is complex and can be very time consuming to draw. Fortunately, these roses are quite simple. I decided to draw them “straight on” to emphasize the uniquely curved edges of the petals.
I drew them directly into Corel Painter using my Wacom tablet, using a pencil brush in gray for a clean line and medium contrast.
Stage 3: Arrangement
I always design my prints in repeat (a seamless, tiling pattern) while I am working on them, rather than creating a design first and finding a way to repeat it later. I find it gives the design better balance.
For this one I went with an asymmetrical repeat (the roses are closer together on one side of the print) rather than a symmetrical arrangement (the roses evenly spaced from each other).
Usually I would have created a symmetrical arrangement, but I didn’t have time! It turns out that I like this asymmetrical arrangement much better because it has more movement. If I revise this print later on I will make it even more asymmetrical.
Stage 4: Colour
The original colour of the roses was bright red with a white centre. I didn’t want to keep the original colour because it was very strong and I was worried about taking attention away from the shapes of the petals.
I wanted the print to feel very feminine without being too girly or childish, so I first filled the background with a silvery taupe. Neutrals usually add a mature feel, and this shade of taupe really feels feminine to me.
After filling the background, the roses looked too stark white. I added a splash of peach and coral watercolour to each one.
Stage 5: Background Elements
I went back to my original inspiration for the background. The “x” marks are actually stylized lilac blossoms. I originally meant to place them behind the roses, but some of them ended up on top and I kept it that way because it seemed natural and I didn’t want the design to get too fussy. I added some peach sparkle paint splatters to the liven it up a little more.
Well, there you have it. The design isn’t perfect in my eyes, but considering the limited time I had to work on it I am very happy with how it turned out. I hope you like it too. I’m looking forward to finding out if it makes it to the contest finals!