Friday, January 25, 2013

Australian Animals Fabric + Contest

This week's Spoonflower contest is all about the amazingly loveable animals of Australia!  I had so much fun designing this fabric and I love the way it turned out.  Today I thought I'd share my design process.
I tend to get an immediate picture in my head when I first start a design, whether it be fabric for Spoonflower, a print or card for Etsy, or a project for school.  But once I have an idea to start with, it may change depending on how it looks once I start sketching things out and arranging them on the computer.
I'm lucky to be in a graphic design program that is part of what I believe is a solid art program.  My teachers believe in learning traditional art methods as well as the Adobe programs.  Even though it is just a two year program, it includes three semesters of drawing, as well as separate 2-D and 3-D design classes, in addition to many others.  My graphic design teacher also emphasizes sketching several thumbnail ideas before beginning work on the computer, which I love.
For this fabric, I knew I wanted to include animal silhouettes, so I began by sketching the animals I chose.  Absolutely nothing fancy.  

I scanned in my sketchbook pages, darkened the lines using Levels in Photoshop, and then placed the images in Illustrator so I could trace the outlines, fill in the shapes, and fix up anything that didn't look quite right.

I have to admit, I was sort of impressed with myself at this point.  It was like "ohmygoshthosearesocuteANDYCOMELOOKATMYANIMALS!!"  God bless him for looking every single time I asked him to :)  And I hope I'm not totally immature and annoying for getting excited about making something I think looks good.  But look at the funny kookaburra with the big head!  And the tough little cute ferocious tasmanian devil!

Next up was the fun part- arranging everything!  Here's where I played with colors, created my color palette, mixed up the sizes, duplicated shapes, added the circles and background, and made sure it looked visually balanced and would repeat well as a fabric design. 

At this point, I am sort of thinking about composition and design elements that I've learned in school, but a lot of it is also just my natural instinct, and what looks right to me.  I spend a lot of time making small adjustments, scooching objects a hair this way or that, changing colors, scaling things up or down, looking at the spaces between objects, etc. until I'm satisfied with how it looks to me.

I did some things in this fabric that I think give it depth and interest, such as overlapping the shapes in the foreground and adding the on-purpose unevenly spaced horizontal and vertical lines in the background.  It was amazing how much adding those stripes changed the way the whole design looked!

Here's how the design repeats at the size of a fat quarter for you sewers and quilters out there.

I think it's my favorite fabric creation so far!  What do you think? 
If you like it, please go vote in the contest!
Is your creative process anything like mine, or completely different?

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