Citrus Mod — A Wallpaper Design

This week’s Spoonflower design contest is to create a Mod wallpaper design, using only 3 colors (plus black or white optional).   When I was a teen, I had one wall of my bedroom papered with an op art design (much like this one by Alberto Biasi), and though I’m not sure it fits in the Modernist Subculture, I decided to go with an op art inspiration for my design.

I started mod-gridby creating a simple grid of circles.  Then, using the Adobe Illustrator distort options, I played with different options.

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Snapshots from a Geek Convention

Spoonflower and Robert Kaufman Fabrics are sponsoring a fabric design contest with the theme being “Geek Chic”.  As a chemical engineer in a previous life, I have a lot of practical experience with geeky things, so I had tons of design ideas to start with.

I thought I’d do something with chemical symbols, but I couldn’t come up with anything that seemed like an interesting design.  I drew a number of geeky accoutrements, including the ties, test tube, sneaker and glasses below.

geek-components

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Sailing Notan Style — And the Evolution of a Design

Spoonflower’s weekly design contest theme is “Sailing” and I immediately knew I wanted to use the Notan design I wrote about in this post.

That design used 4 different sail boat-inspired patterns (on the left below), combined Nolan-style into the 16 blocks on the right.

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A Dozen Eggs — Painted in a 12-Step Color Wheel

Another week, another Spoonflower fabric design contest.  The theme for this contest is Painted Eggs.

I thought I’d create a bunch of 3-dimensional eggs and ‘paint’ them with some of my other fabric designs.

First, here’s how I created a 3d egg in Adobe Illustrator (version CS5).

  1. Draw an ellipse with the Ellipse Tool (see photo below)
  2. Using the Direct Selection Tool, edit the points of the ellipse to make it egg-shaped
  3. Delete the points on the left side of the ellipse
  4. Use the command Effect ==> 3D ==> Revolve to create the 3-dimentional egg

eggs-3d-egg

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Geckos — and Using Clipping Masks in Illustrator

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. gecko-outlines

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.

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Frosty Flakes

When I was in 7th grade my science fair project was on snowflakes, and I learned how to capture snowflakes in a plastic solution on glass slides and then photograph them.  My inspiration was Wilson Bentley’s work.  So, when Spoonflower’s weekly contest was to create a snowflake design, I knew I’d have to design something.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any of my snowflake photos any more, so I looked around the web for inspiration.  You can see many more beautiful snow flakes like these at SnowCrystals.com.

frosty-snowflakes

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Snowflakes and Creating a Half-Brick Repeat in Illustrator or Photoshop

I’ve been working on a snowflake design for another Spoonflower contest.  When I thought I was all done with it, I realized that it would look better as a half-brick repeat rather than a straight repeat.  It took me a while to rework it into a half-brick repeat, so I thought I’d show the basic steps in this post, and then cover the details in another post.

A half-brick repeat is similar to a half-drop repeat which I covered in this post.  The picture below shows the difference between a straight repeat (on the left) where the stars are lined up on top of each other, and a half-brick (on the right) where each row of stars is offset from the rows above and below.

brick-comparison

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Kites — Another Notan Design

Spoonflower, my favorite place for printing custom fabrics, has a fabric design contest each week.  Sometimes I enter it since it’s a fun way to try out new designs and practice my design skills.  This week’s contest is to create a small repeating design with the theme of Kites.  I knew I’d love to experiment with some more Notan-style designs for this contest.

I started with four simple kite drawings that I did in Illustrator.  I wanted the shapes to be fairly simple with each main kite shape touching two edges of its square.

Here’s the first repeat, in blue and black.  It was obvious that the tails of the kites needed more work. Continue reading