And it ended with a colourful set of surface patterns teaming with budgies!
Back in February 2022, I decided to enter into one of Spoonflowers challenges. I don’t often do so but once in a while I make some time when a challenge particularly takes my fancy.
The brief for that particular challenge was a limited colour palette of grey and yellow. Imagery for the theme was not set, the only rules were stay within the given design palette and the company submission rules. It could be any shades of yellow and any shades of grey but no other colours.
I can’t tell for certain why, but this palette made me think of budgies. Yes budgies! Those tiny little parakeets that come in multiple colours including yellow. I have never owned a budgie myself, but I once owned a cockatiel. I also have memories of my Great-Uncle breeding budgies in his avery. Birds do have a soft spot in my heart.
Initially I just played with my digital apps to draw a repeat floral pattern in a basic line art style, then I drew in the budgies. I opted for three different stances for the budgies, one in flight, two different perched positions. And the pattern is multi-directional. In sticking to the challenge colour palette (only using shades of grey and yellow) I opted to leave the leafy vines as dark grey line art and only coloured in the flowers and budgies in shades of yellow. This was my final submission to the challenge.
Unfortunately for me there was a lot of strong competition and I didn’t place high enough to win, and I moved on to creating new colouring pages. So it sat unpublished and on it’s own for a year. No accompanying patterns no edits, just forgotten for other projects.
A revisit and reflection.
Then a year later I was looking through my past patterns for new colouring page ideas and I came back across my budgies submission. After realising that it could turn into some rather pretty colouring pages, I decided that I wanted to completely revisit the design, not just for colouring pages but also revisit the pattern and create a full pattern collection suitable for surface and textile design.
Firstly I looked at the colour palette. I decided to not stick with the limited palette of last year and make a larger colour palette. I also made the original pattern my “hero pattern” for the collection. Then I looked to adding more colour, I gave the leafy vines a pop of green and I changed the flowers to red. Finally giving the budgies a little more colour like their real life counterparts. Creating a final product like this.
From my hero pattern I created four more co-ordinate patterns by removing either an element or some colour.
More than a hero pattern and four co-ordinates.
After that I drew more accompanying designs in the same style and theme taking one element or two or an element that supports the main theme. These designs were in a different perspective, pattern and scale than the hero design or had an element that whilst it matched the theme was not present in the hero pattern. The designs required freshly drawn patterns from scratch. I intend for these to be additional co-ordinates or blender patterns.
I even created two new elements to accompany the collection. As well as colour solids that match the colour palette.
Of course once you finish a collection you need to create a cohesive display of the collection together.
What I originally came looking for.
And now I can’t forget that I originally re-found my budgies pattern whilst looking for artwork to create new colouring pages. Which I did along side working on the Budgie Florals collection I created three different colouring pages form the original hero pattern.
The colouring page artwork also lent well to being used as large motifs for surface pattern design as seen on this Zazzle pillow.
Overall I am rather happy with how far I was able to take one pattern. Which end result was your favourite? The surface patterns or the colouring pages?
I’m adding a fair few more colouring pages to my digital download store over the next few days. Some brand new. Others I’ve been sitting on a while and some developed from past artwork. so please check out my Etsy store for new downloads added.
Additionally I’ve been adding some of my colouring pages to Zazzle as well. Previously I’ve stuck to POD books and Etsy for digital downloads. At most I did load up some colourable wallpaper designs to Spoonflower. Now I’m giving my Zazzle stores some additional much needed love and adding my colouring pages to some of their products. Now you will be able to purchase colourable posters, cards and more. Just check out my Zazzle stores.
For everyone who follow me just for fabrics or my art journal and art and design. I shall still be doing that too. In fact I will be sharing some more of that soon.
I have a belated post to make. Two years belated in fact. It only took 6 years, but I finally have a published in print colouring book. A book that is not a collaborative piece of work.
Those of you that have followed me a while know that whilst I have mostly focused on digital art for print on demand website products, and print on demand fabric prints. I have also been creating adult colouring book pages which have been available on my Etsy store for a while as well as some individual pages that were included in a couple of physical print books that were collaborative works with others (Coloring for Daniel, and The Adult Coloring Book Treasury).
How long would it take for me to publish my own?.
But those of you who can remember when I first started colouring book pages, will also remember I was working on a big colouring book project involving fish. A project large enough to require fifty two pages of artwork that spanned a whole queen size bed.
Of course this was the first time I had ever published a book on my own of any type. It came with a lot of new skills required that I needed to teach myself. Drawing all the art work alone took months here and there, intermittent with breaks to do other work or focusing on our growing family.
Between finishing the artwork and starting to convert them to digital files I had to take a long break from work completely due to being put on bed rest. Eventually that bed rest lead to my eldest becoming an older sister, and I could work again although it took a while to be able to get back to it. Finally at the end of 2020 I had a finished book file I was ready to publish.
6 years it seems!
And so I did, on the 21st of February 2021, through Amazon and their expanded distribution channels. My First published colouring book, “The Fish Pond, a piece by piece adult colouring book” went live.
It’s not all fish, as you can see, but in fact inspired by a fish pond. Not only filled with many koi, but also teaming with Japanese native animal and plant life.
You not only have many koi to colour in this book,
But also a whole mandarin duck family.
And a variety of insects,
Even the odd amphibian.
And my personal favorite (a surprise to me as in real life i am petrified of them), a Japanese rat snake.
It’s a little bit different.
I’d like to say that this book is a little bit different that many colouring books as whilst each page certainly works on its own. They are meant to work together. If you remove each page and line up fifty of the pages you make the entire pond.
Why fifty two pages then you ask? Well the front and back cover has been included as extra pages, interchangeable with the center of the ponds pages. The finished giant pond is a little smaller than the original artwork that once swallowed up our queen size bed. But at 75″ by 50″ its still rather large.
Each page also has a pretty black boarder that can be trimmed off if you want to piece the pages together. So that each panel is the same size. And I’ve included descriptions so you don’t have to hunt and guess the caterpillar or bird.
I was incredibly proud when it went live, I am sure some of you saw my social media posts and posts in the social media colouring groups. I still am to be honest. I know it was probably obvious with all the social media posts!
I let my blog go by the wayside, I am sorry but now I am back.
I want to start by apologizing for not posting any blog updates for a long long time. Life got busy, my health was not the best and I chose to work on a new type of artistic project that I had never done before, hoping it would sell better than my Zazzle artwork had been. But that was something I had never done before. A huge learning curve that I do admit I was able to get help and advice on from many many lovely people, but I also had to teach myself some parts. That project took years to complete. I also realized that the more that I focused on blogging and promotion the less new art was completed. The more balls I attempted to juggle (family, health, art creation, blogging, promotion and the new project) the more of them I kept dropping. I realized something had to give. I chose to take a pause on the blogging for a while to see if I could get my project finished. And that project look a long long time. I did other work projects too on the smaller scale. Family life changed as I got pregnant again and spent most of that year on bed rest, loosing most of that year for any chances to complete that project. Then I had a 7 yr old and a new baby. Life was messy and all over the place and then and most of us, myself included found ourselves remote schooling our kids in a pandemic. I was juggling more and dropping even more. I wasn’t sure if I would ever catch up. Eventually though I managed to finish the last few pages of that project and with a toddler and 9 yr old at my feet I finally finished that years long project earlier this year. I am proud of myself that I finished it. A little regretful it took so long. Time will tell if it was worth it. The project I will save for another post. For now though I am hopeful I can try to pick up my blog again, and promote my work more.