Brownstone Pattern

I grew up in a suburb of Chicago, and always loved the Chicago brownstone style homes. For this blog post, I decided to do a mini process blog, and share the beginning to end process of making a pattern. I'll keep it brief but if you have any questions please post them in the comments and I'll check back to answer. 

First, I always start out with my sketchbook. I'll begin by just jotting down my concept and a few visuals. I then collect reference material. For this particular pattern, I knew I wanted it to be loosely-drawn and simplified, so I wasn't as concerned with details as I was with the overall shape and style of each house. 

For this project, I limited my drawing time and used one pen for all the details. Here's a few of the sketches I did before scanning my blackline drawings into the computer to digitize and colorize. 

When I begin working with color, I typically do it in Adobe Illustrator. I like to work at a brisk pace so I see results quickly. Part of what I love about Illustrator is how efficiently I can make things happen, and finally get to the point where I play around with pattern and layout. Which is obviously the BEST part. :)

Here are some of my in-progress colorizing:

The final fun step for this piece was to work with textures and paint in Photoshop. I cropped the pattern down to a size I love, and began painting and adding depth and texture to the houses, so no two look the same. The end-use of a pattern sometimes means that I don't do this step - but when I've created it for fun, I can paint to my heart's content. Here is the final brownstone pattern painted, and envisioned as a pair of gift bags. 

Brownstone Pattern ©2016 courtney beth keller 

Brownstone Pattern ©2016 courtney beth keller

Piñata Party Pattern Process

The pattern shown here is now available for sale as fabric, wallpaper and gift wrap on Spoonflower!

Hello from Courtney Beth Keller! I'm sharing my process today in creating a pattern design. The pattern concept I am working with comes from one of Spoonflower's weekly contests: Piñatas! For those who are unfamiliar, Spoonflower is a website that prints custom fabric, wallpaper and gift wrap. Each week they hold a pattern contest which are open for popular vote, and I find the topics are often very inspiring and propel me in my creative process. Below, I will share the wandering path that is my creative process, including a bunch of spitballing and trial and error. In the end, you can see my entry for the contest and a mockup on a paper lantern as I envision what my pattern might look like if used on a commercial product. 

First, I begin by sketching some of the elements that piñatas make me think of: 

I scan  my sketches and using Adobe illustrator, I select my favorites and then colorize. This is really just the beginning - I could play with color for days on each pattern I create. I'll share a variety of examples below, and you can see how I will try many different layouts. This process is a wonderful one that can end up resulting in happy accidents, but also allows for much deliberate experimentation in order to create the desired result. 

Once I find the sweet mix that I like, I often create a mockup using the pattern design on a three-dimensional object. It helps me to envision how it might be used, and is always inspiring to see my pattern appear on a realistic texture and shape. 

My Piñata Party pattern will be available for purchase as fabric, gift wrap and wallpaper(!). I hope you've enjoyed this sneak peek into my creative process! Cheers, Courtney Beth Keller of One Little Printshop