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Art in Process – A Workflow for Pattern Design



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Art for Pattern Design Process

I can understand why designing on the iPad is so popular. It’s convenient, it’s incredibly versatile and the undo option is a blessing. But I just keep returning to paper and ink for my own art process. I love the experimentation and the irregularity of ink flowing across the paper. The imperfections that result are part of the creative process and so far I haven’t found a great way to replicate them digitally. I’m sure there’s a digital brush that could offer a degree of this imperfection, but the process of figuring that out disrupts the creative exploration and flow.

My creative workflow for pattern design may change someday, and that’s fine, but this is how I work:

Art in Process - original art by Toboggan Avenue

Art in Process: Making Marks

The process of creating art begins with marks on a blank page. Usually, the first marks aren’t good and won’t be kept, but as I continue, the ink flows and an idea starts to take shape. Keep going, keep following the idea without forcing it. Ideas are often fleeting and can easily disappear. Usually, I end up with a whole page or several filled with similar shapes, each one a unique expression of this creative process.

Art in Process - scanning original art

Art in Process: Scanning

These multiple pages of marks and paintings are scanned and placed in Illustrator. I only keep the ones that transfer well to a digital image. Not everything translates into vectors and that’s ok! The ones that are kept are modified further until they become a pattern, illustration, or product. This process allows me to refine my work and bring a vision to life.

Art in Process - original art by Toboggan Avenue digital version

Versatile Digital Designs

The beauty of combining the process of physical art with digital is the ability to transform a single mark into a multitude of designs. A single flower painting can be transformed into a standalone illustration, incorporated into a larger repeating pattern, or deconstructed into shapes to be used in an entirely different place. The possibilities are endless, and the process of creating art becomes a journey of exploration and experimentation. Trial and discovery.

Art in Process - digital art print by Toboggan Avenue

Free Digital Download

In this case, this exercise has become a free digital art print download for you – get it here! If you are interested in learning more about my process, check out this post for art supply sources and this one on creating color palettes!

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Hi, I'm Jennie

Artist and designer, adventure lover with a side of homebody and flower gardener.

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