Another week, another Spoonflower fabric design contest. The theme for this contest is Australian Animals. So many great options it was hard to pick — kangaroos, wombats, koala bears, emu, platypus, Tasmanian devils… I googled Australian art and was inspired by the Aboriginal dot paintings. I thought I’d try a modern take on the dot paintings using kangaroos and geckos.
I’ll go through the technique I used in Adobe Illustrator to create the multicolored animals.
I started by drawing outlines of a gecko and a kangaroo. I wanted to keep the outlines pretty simple since there would be a lot of detail inside each animal.
Next, I picked a general color palette and I drew some basic shapes using multiple colors in each shape. My plan was to combine and distort the shapes in various ways for each animal.
I copied various shapes along with the kangaroo onto one layer in Illustrator.
Next, I copied and re-sized shapes and started covering over the kangaroo.
One of the effects I used a lot was the zig zag effect (using the command Effect ==> Distort and Transform ==> Zig Zag). This effect creates flowers out of the circles, and wavy lines from the stripes.
I kept adding shapes until the kangaroo was fully covered.
I grouped all the shapes except for the kangaroo. Then I moved the kangaroo to the top, selected the kangaroo and the group of shapes, and applied a clipping mask (command Object ==> Clipping Mask ==> Make).
And here’s the result. One of the reasons I liked using clipping masks for this was that it lets me keep the kangaroo outline (the mask) separate from the artwork inside the kangaroo. Then I can edit the mask separately from the artwork, changing either one if I want. I can also ‘release’ the clipping mask and start over.
I created a bunch of kangaroos and geckos and put them together into this design.
This was a bit chaotic, and I thought the animals were hard to identify in the multicolor shapes.
I took out the kangaroos and arranged the geckos in alternating rows.
That was too regimented. Next I tried them on a diagonal.
This was better, but I still didn’t like all the tails lining up.
Here’s the final design. I mixed the geckos into a more random pattern.
You can see all the Australian Animal designs in Spoonflower’s contest here.
I have no fear of losing my life – if I have to save a koala or a crocodile or a kangaroo or a snake, mate, I will save it.
— Steve Irwin
I believe that education is all about being excited about something. Seeing passion and enthusiasm helps push an educational message.
— Steve Irwin
Thank you so much for posting this! I’ve been wondering how the designs are created for so long. Your explanation was perfect!