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Wake up sheepy head…

Alas, I am baaaaack!

Baa Baa Tea Towel design

It has been a while since I’ve written from the studio. How have YOU been? Happy and healthy I hope. What a crazy year with the weather...and don't get me started on politics. More and more I find myself switching off the news to find...


Albert Einstein said...Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding. One way I hope to convey a sense of peace is with with these grazing sheep.

Where have I been? Well, designing of course and working on home projects that needed attention. In a future post, I’ll share how my kitchen furniture was transformed.

Right now, my art studio is getting a much needed makeover, finally. Yay!! Sitting amidst chaos makes designing difficult, but it doesn’t prevent me from typing. Maybe now is a good time to share a little about:

How a design comes to life...

To start...I sometimes I draw on paper like an illustrator, other times it is paint on canvas like a fine artist and once in a while I may draw directly on a computer screen like a digital artist. Many artists have one method and stick to it and that works for them. If there is such a thing as art attention deficit, I'm pretty sure I have it. The temptation to try different mediums is always there. The worry is that maybe I won't have a recognizable style. But then, maybe variety is my style! Yep, I'm going with that!

I was taught art basics before the personal computer was invented. There is nothing like the feeling of a pencil grabbing actual paper. And real watercolor texture has a special appeal impossible to recreate digitally…at least for me. The above image was first rendered with watercolor, then edited with Photoshop. This one is sold as a tea towel in my Spoonflower Shop. Let's look at other sheep designs that started life on paper...

Critters like these curly sheep typically take form while sketching ideas with pencils, pens or even crayons…on any type paper…even lined notebook paper will do. An “idea” sketch phase is the brainstorming part when I ask myself a whole lot of questions…and make notes about style, shape, and feeling, etc. Like, will these sheep be happy?...Maybe they will be in love.

When something in my messy scribbles seems interesting, I either switch to nicer paper and recreate them neater...or scan them and use a tracing software program to draw over them more smoothly. By nicer paper I mean 98lb for pencil and ink…or a heavier 140lb paper if I plan to use a bit of paint. The heavier paper resists warping, but it still does warp if you use wet washes. So, go lightly with the use of water... or splurge on 300lb paper. Warped paper does not scan well. The ripples make annoying shadows that are no fun to edit out. Also, there is quite a range in paper quality...and it DOES make a bit of difference. Personally, when it comes to art supplies I skip the cheap stuff. I just isn't worth the sacrifice in final quality. This is where I suggest having a scanner recommended for artists if you can afford one. Mine is not…making it a bit of a battle to finesse each scan the way I want it. Where there is a will, there is a way! I heard this a lot growing up...and it's true!!

Another fun part is playing with colors…either on paper or the computer. Color can be hypnotic...and peaceful. Crayons, colored pencils and markers all work. Even referencing those paint chips "borrowed" from Home Depot can be inspiring. Sometimes I work out color schemes with an online color palette generator , but color addicts beware that hours of time can pass without you knowing it because you are under a color spell! Could be that is just me? ColourLovers is one I use, but there are many others. I wonder who it was that finally figured out adults like to color too...hence, the current adult coloring book craze. There is a little kid in all of us!

For the simple sheep I only needed flat color. Therefore, scanning and tracing was a much easier route to achieve the look I wanted. The above doodle on the right was drawn on an android tablet using a sketchbook app. For my PC, I happen to like Art Rage for Windows...which is a fairly comprehensive drawing software. I am not getting paid to say that or share their link . I genuinely like the software. There is a variety of drawing software out there, so it is best to try the free versions and compare to find your preference.

Next comes Photoshop editing of colors or contrast and layering, etc. I’m self-taught in most areas of design, painting and software editing. I learn by doing…clicking this or that to figure it out. There are plenty of resources for anyone with a creative desire to learn. You tube is an excellent source of art lessons. And a half-priced bookstore is a great resource for art instruction books too.

Finally...the last step in fabric design is making an image repeat across a page. This can be done manually by cutting the design into four squares and swap out the pieces right and left, then top and bottom. However, photoshop has an offset feature that makes that process much easier. Tutorials and your software manual are helpful in figuring this out. These images show how basic offsetting works...

Showing off a few items that can be produced using my sheepy designs!

The possibilities are only limited to my imagination and the critters playing in my head. Repeat designs are sold as fabric, wallpaper and gift wrap. Designs are also applied to items for sale like sheets, pillows, towels mugs and much more. Visit my Shops page to find links to where these and other items are sold.

Thank you for visiting and have a blessed day!! Time for me to go to sheep...I mean sleep.

Debby xo

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