You’ve gathered inspiration, picked a theme, color palette and decided on the medium you want to work with. Now it’s time to get started sketching your initial ideas. Sketch with pen and paper, grab your digital drawing tablet, or jump in and work directly with the medium you’ve chosen for the finished design. Remember, you’re just sketching at this stage, so use whatever tools work best for you to mock up all of the ideas you have.
Below is an excerpt from a conversation we had with surface designer Bonnie Christine. Bonnie recommends the following tips for sketching out your focal print:
Bonnie: One of my favorite parts of designing a pattern collection is the sketching phase. This is where a collection really begins to take form and come to life. After spending plenty of time gathering inspiration, it’s time to put pen to paper. It’s always fun to see what actually comes out when you begin sketching!
As you begin sketching, be sure to reference your inspiration boards, photographs, collection words and story frequently. This will give your final sketches a cohesive feel, look and theme. One thing you’ll want to keep in mind as you sketch for your collection, is the importance of a focal print. A focal print is the winner of the collection, the one that draws the viewer into the collection first. If it were available as part of a collection on fabric, this is the one the browser wouldn’t be able to leave without.
Lightbox. Having a lightbox will make the sketching phase so much easier, especially if you like to draw in pencil first (like me!). A lightbox will allow you to easily trace over your original sketches with a nice dark black ink pen, which will give you great results during the design process.
Before you begin sketching, here are a few of my suggestions about supplies!
Find a photo (or real life subject) to use as a guide. Sketch the subject in your style. Don’t get fixated on the perfect line – don’t erase, just use soft lines, make lots of them, experiment. Next, within those lines, ‘seek out’ the best outline with a fine ink pen. I use a Sharpie extra fine point. Now erase the pencil and scan into Photoshop or some other editing program. Blur the image (to smooth out the lines slightly) then sharpen by increasing the contrast (I use Levels). You can add fillers (such as flowers, leaves, clouds, stars etc.) to create movement, balance and interest. Finally, digitally colour and overlay with texture. Voilà!