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And the winner is…. daisies!

As a thank you for reaching 1000 Instagram followers I decided to run a custom print giveaway.

The lucky winner would have the print of their choice designed and made into any item they wanted. There were lots of great suggestions but the idea that was chosen at random was daisies. I was very pleased with this as I love drawing flowers so I started my research. After looking in the garden and researching photos online I discovered there’s a lot more to daisies than you might first think.

Daisies research photo

It all begins with a hand drawing

Once I had chosen the type of daisy I wanted for the design I started to draw. I knew that it would need to be a soft drawing to represent the softness of the daisies so I chose coloured pencils. The middle section in particular required a lot of work. After looking closely I realised there were so many shades of yellows, greens and darker tones that would be needed to give a realistic effect. The petals also proved quite a challenge. I wanted to use some shading to give them depth whilst keeping an overall pure white feel.

Daisy drawing in the sketchbook

Once I was happy with the drawing it was time to scan it in to the computer. The process of cleaning up the image ready to be made into a digital print took a very long time as the fine lines of the petals were very delicate. Eventually the daisy drawing was transformed into a clean digital image that was ready to be made into a pattern.

Daisy drawing as a digital image

Daisies – creating the finished design

Next it was time to arrange the design. I knew I wanted the daisy print to be a random repeat so that it looked like a field of daisies. This is always harder than a simple half drop repeat as it’s tricky to get the right balance of size and placement. I resized the daisies into small, medium and large and rotated and flipped them to create a more random selection. After a long time of nudging daisies this way and that I was finally happy with the design! I had originally envisioned the daisy print with a pale blue background which is what I tried first.

Daisy print on a light blue background

Although I love the colour combo of blue and yellow and think this gives a real Spring feel, I don’t think the daisies stand out very well so I tried a darker blue variation.

Daisies on a dark blue background

I love how vivid the daisies look on the darker blue background. It gave me the idea to try other bold colour backgrounds too.

Daisies on a pink background

I’m not usually a fan of pink but I think the daisies look great on this pink background! I think it would be perfect for the reusable makeup remover pads and a matching wash bag.

Daisies on a green background

The green background took a bit more time as many shades of green didn’t look quite right. I’m really pleased with this tone though as it looks really fresh.

Daisies on a yellow background

Finally I also tried the daisies on a yellow background. Yellow is my favourite colour so I absolutely love this one!

Which is your favourite colour background? Let me know in the comments below.

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You can never have enough houseplants

There’s something wonderful about having a house full of fresh green plants.

I used to love having a beautiful bunch of flowers in my living room. Unfortunately the cost of fresh flowers every week was becoming too much so I had to have a rethink. Then I discovered houseplants and I was hooked! These lovely plants bring the fresh feel to the indoors like flowers but live much longer than just a few days. I gathered all my houseplants and chose three that varied in colour and shape.

Houseplants inspiration
Houseplants inspiration
Houseplants inspiration

Let’s get drawing

I knew that I wanted to create a bold print design. The lush colours of the houseplants jumped out at me and I wanted to replicate that. For that reason I decided to use oil pastels. I love working with oil pastels as the layers of colours can be blended to get really rich tones.

I wanted this print to be as colourful as possible so I made sure to draw the plant pots too. It was fun recreating the woven effect of this plant holder.

Before drawing this houseplant I had never noticed quite how many different tones it had in its leaves. I used a wide range of different greens, browns and yellows to mimic the patches.

The soil was a difficult texture to work out. I wanted to make sure it looked different to the smooth ceramic pot so used different shades of brown in little dabs. Layering up the various tones worked quite well and I’m happy with the effect it created.

From paper to screen

Once I’d completed the drawings it was time to scan them into the computer. Because oil pastel drawings are really bold the sketches didn’t take too much digital cleaning up. I wasn’t sure how I wanted the print to look but when I lined all the houseplants up to think about it I thought that it worked really well! I spent a short time nudging each plant a few millimetres this way and that until I was happy with the spacing of them and then the design was finished.

If you love the new houseplants print then good news! There are already a few items in the shop featuring this fab design with more coming very soon.

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New year new products

A new year calls for some exciting new items.

After the crazy Christmas season stock levels were looking a bit low. That could only mean one thing – time to order more fabric! I always like to spend January designing new prints so once I had a collection ready to go I put in the fabric order. If you don’t know anything about the pattern design and fabric printing process check out the about page. The first new print to be released was the sea turtles design which you can read about here.

With so many new items being made I thought it would be a good idea to make a quick list of what’s coming up in the next month. Lots of items are being restocked too so if there’s anything out of stock on the website don’t forget to sign up for product alerts on the product page. If you spot something on the list that you would like just let me know!

Reusable makeup remover pads

New makeup remover pads

The reusable makeup remover pads were hugely popular over Christmas – I couldn’t make them fast enough! They’re really pretty and they’re kind to the planet too. Here’s a list of the new makeup pads coming soon:

Turtles
Houseplants
Bluebells
Chickens
Unicorns
Apples
Giraffes

Plus lots more extras of the favourites already on the website too!

Pencil cases

The pencil cases were another firm favourite over the festive period. Their handy size means they can be used for all sorts of purposes. A handbag makeup bag, a travel sewing kit, or even a teabag pouch.

Turtles
Houseplants
Bluebells
Penguins
Flamingos
Elephants
Bees
Llamas
Autumn leaves
Kingfishers
Puffins
Pandas
Pineapples
Raccoons
Lighthouses
Chickens
Otters
Giraffes
Robins
Beach huts
Seaside

Reusable beeswax wraps

If you’ve not heard about beeswax wraps yet check out my post about them here. These are a super easy way to start your journey towards less single use plastic. A lot of the fabric allocated for these was just to make sure stock levels are topped up but there were a few new ones too.

Bluebells
Turtles
Houseplants

Wash bags

Wash bags are another product that are super versatile. Being made with water resistant fabric means they can be used for a whole host of reasons.

Otters
Chickens
Cows
Sheep
Turtles
Houseplants
Bluebells
Bananas

Aprons

New aprons being cut out

It’s great having the water resistant fabric for the aprons. It’s just so much easier to have a wipe clean apron if you’re a messy chef! A few of these completely sold out over Christmas so it was time for a restock.

Flamingos
Puffins
Teacups
Elephants
Turtles
Houseplants
Pineapples
Robins
Penguins

Stocks are limited so if you want to reserve any items please get in touch soon!

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Turtle print: from inspiration to final design

Many of my print designs are inspired by my travels including the new turtle print.

A couple of years ago I visited the beautiful Greek island of Zakynthos. The island is home to an endangered species of turtle which are absolutely adorable but hard to spot. On a day cruise around the island we were lucky enough to see a few and snap a couple of pictures. I loved the fascinating patterns on their shells and was inspired to design a turtle print.

Loggerhead turtle of Zante

I knew that I wanted to use watercolour paints for the drawings of the turtles to match their watery habitat. It’s great to get all my paints and brushes out; the possibilities of all the different colour mixes is really inspiring. To begin the drawings I always draw a rough outline in grey pencil. For watercolour paintings I draw the outline with a watercolour pencil so that the lines can be blended in to the painting as it progresses.

As well as the photographs I’d taken in Zante I researched more pictures to have a bigger range of angles and shell designs to choose from. I selected three different turtles with a mix of different colour shell patterns because I wanted to give variety to the print.

The final stages

Once I’d painted the turtles it was time to scan them in to the computer and clean up the images. Cleaning up drawings is an important part of the print design process. When sketchbook pages are scanned the texture of the paper is also picked up which can look messy in a digital print.

After cleaning up the paintings the final stage is to arrange the turtles in to the digital print. This stage always takes far longer than I think although I knew that I wanted the turtles to be in a random arrangement to look like they were swimming around. After a lot of tweaking (2mm up, 3mm across and repeat) the design was finished!

Finished turtle print

I also tried it with a sea blue background colour to make them look like they’re swimming in the ocean. Which do you prefer? Let me know in the comments below.

Finished turtle print sea background
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Made by hand from start to finish

Rubber duck reusable makeup remover pads being made by hand

At Drawn by Rhiannon everything is done by hand from start to finish.

Every item begins with an image drawn by hand by me which I scan in to the computer to make a digital fabric design. I then make all the items myself on my industrial sewing machine. I also make all the packaging myself, photograph the items and edit them to make them as clear as possible. Finally I list them on my website and write up a description for every item. It really is all done by hand!

To show you what I mean here’s a rundown on how the new rubber duck reusable makeup remover pads were made by hand, step by step. (You can take a look at the finished product on my website here.)

Step 1: Drawings

I love that every fabric I design begins with one of my drawings. I use all sorts of materials to draw with but for the rubber ducks I decided to use promarkers. These pens are brilliant for creating bold graphic designs which was exactly the look I wanted for the ducks. I chose a selection of rubber ducks from my collection (I have almost 100 now!) and started to draw. I initially sketched the ducks in pencil to get a rough outline to work with. Then I went over the lines I was happy with with a black marker and coloured in the shapes. These are the pages from my sketchbook that I scanned in.

Step 2: Digital print design

Once I’m happy with the drawings it’s time to make the digital print design. The drawings always need a bit of cleaning up so I go around the edge of the drawings erasing any fuzzy edges from the scanner. Thanks to the bold line work and colours, the duck drawings scanned in really well and were fairly simple to convert in to digital images. Next I make sure the colours are where I want them to be. For example, some of the ducks had scanned in with bolder colours so I wanted to make sure that the colour depth was even across all the ducks. I never want to over-edit on the computer otherwise the drawings will lose their hand-drawn character. 

I had a good idea in my head about how I wanted the duck print to look which made it easier to arrange the design. Sometimes I’m not sure how I want the finished design to look so it can take a long time to work out a composition that I’m happy with. For the rubber ducks I simply wanted them in lines with a half drop repeat.

Step 3: Making

When I’ve finished the design, I send it to a fabric printing company in London. They print my designs on to the fabrics then send it back to me to be made in to all sorts of different items. 

With the reusable makeup remover pads there are quite a few steps required to make them. First of all I have to cut out the printed fabric and the backing fabric. For the back of the pads I use a soft cotton towelling that I source locally.

 

Once the fabrics are all cut out it’s time to start pinning. About 70% of making anything seems to be pinning!

 

After pinning everything in place I sew the two sides together on the industrial sewing machine. I then topstitch around the whole pad to make sure it’s really secure.

Rubber duck reusable makeup remover pads being made by hand

Then I repeat the whole thing four more times to have a total of five makeup pads per pack. The final stage in the making process is to make the little wash bag that the pads are stored in. I make these with tulle that I buy locally so that you can see which design pads are inside each bag. It’s also a handy little bag to keep for washing the makeup pads in so that they don’t escape and get lost in the wash.

Step 4: Packaging

I include an information tag with the reusable makeup remover pads which also gets made by me. I designed the tag on my computer to include how to use the pads and the cleaning instructions. These tags are then printed on to card and cutout using my cricut machine. The cricut machine saves me a lot of time and cuts a lot more accurately than I would!

Step 5: Photography

Once the makeup pads are made, in their little bags and tied with a tag, they’re ready to be photographed. I do all my product photography myself in my studio. Luckily my studio has nice big windows that let in lots of natural light so as long as the British weather is being kind, I can usually snap some pretty good product shots.

Then it’s just a case of editing the photos to fix the lighting and make sure the colours are true to life. Finally they’re ready to list on the website!

I always write a small section about the inspiration behind the print design for a personal touch and make sure important details such as size and fabric type are listed.

You can see the finished listing here – https://www.drawnbyrhiannon.co.uk/product/reusable-rubber-duck-makeup-remover-pads/

 

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Lighthouses of the North East – From inspiration to print design

There are so many fab lighthouses along the North East coast.

If you haven’t checked out the first lighthouse post featuring the inspiration behind the latest print you can see it here. Once I’d chosen the lighthouses I was going to use I set about drawing them. I knew I wanted this to be quite a graphic illustrative print design so I started drawing the lighthouses in bold pencil.

Souter lighthouse drawing

I started with Souter lighthouse. It’s a very classic lighthouse shape so it seemed like a good place to start. Other than the windows and railing, this was a fairly straight forward sketch.

Seaham lighthouse drawing

The next one I had chosen was Seaham lighthouse. Again this is a pretty standard shape so it was important to get the proportions and lines right. I didn’t want to use a ruler for the edges as I felt that would look too perfect and would jar with the hand drawn style.

St. Mary's lighthouse drawing

Next on the list was St. Mary’s lighthouse in Whitley Bay. This is a iconic landmark near to where I live so I wanted to do it justice. Although it is a simple structure, this also makes it tricky to draw as there is not much detail to work with. It’s also completely white so I wasn’t sure how I was going to colour it in. This could make it hard to stand out against a plain background.

Amble lighthouse drawing

By far the hardest one to draw was Amble lighthouse. Trying to get the perspective right on the railings was so tricky! After a lot of rubbing out and redrawing, I finally got the main structure right.

Time to colour in

Once I’d finished all the drawings it was time to start digitalising them. I scanned them all in to the computer then cleaned them up in Photoshop to make the outlines stand out clearly. To achieve the bold graphic look I wanted I decided it would be best to colour them in digitally.

Souter lighthouse coloured in

I love the classic colour combination of Souter lighthouse. I used colour swatches from photos to make sure the shade of red was just right. After adding colours, I used shading to give it more of a rounded shape.

Seaham lighthouse coloured in

Next up for colouring was Seaham lighthouse. This lighthouse is simply black and white so the foundations were easy to colour. However I wasn’t happy with how flat it looked. I decided to run a lighter shade of black down the centre to give it more depth, and studied the rust colour of the door to get the right texture.

St. Mary's lighthouse coloured in

As predicted St. Mary’s lighthouse was very tricky to colour. The lighthouse is completely white but with no colour at all it simply looked like I had forgotten to colour it in. I decided instead to use a light shade of grey to shape the lighthouse. I also studied photos of the lighthouse and saw the door and windows were darkly shaded so this added interest to the drawing too.

Like with Souter Lighthouse, I colour matched photos of Amble lighthouse to make sure I used the correct shade of red. I shaded the white portions of the lighthouse to match the off-white colouring of real life.

The final lighthouse is Longstone lighthouse. I drew this lighthouse for a previous print design inspired by the Northumberland coast. Although the style is slightly different I still thought it was worth including it in the print design as it would add a good pop of colour.

The final print

After scanning in and colouring all the lighthouses it was time to start assembling. This took much longer than I had originally anticipated. It was surprisingly difficult to get all the lighthouses arranged in to a well fitting pattern. I wanted to spread the red lighthouses evenly throughout the print and create a mix of sizes. Eventually I was happy with the layout and the print was complete!

This print design will be featured in a range of products this autumn winter. Let me know what you think about it in the comments below or share on social media!

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The beautiful lighthouses of the North East

Lighthouses of the north east

I’m lucky to live by the North East coast, a stunning stretch of coastline that inspires me all the time. The bold colours and wide range of styles of the lighthouses of the north east made me want to grab a sketchbook and get drawing so that’s exactly what I did. But first, I had to decide which lighthouses to include in the print design.

Beginning in County Durham, the first landmark I chose was Seaham lighthouse. The colouring of this lighthouse is slightly unusual as it features black stripes, rather than the usual red or blue.

North east lighthouses: Seaham lighthouse

Moving further north up the coast, my next pick was Souter lighthouse. This lovely classic style lighthouse is located in Whitburn, between Sunderland and South Shields. It’s owned by the National Trust and the view from the top is incredible!

North east lighthouses: Souter lighthouse

North of the Tyne

Next I travelled north of the river to Whitley Bay. I knew from the start that I wanted to include St. Mary’s lighthouse as it’s the closest lighthouse to where I live. It’s an icon of Whitley Bay so I want to do it justice. Keep an eye out for the next blog post to see how it turned out…

North east lighthouses: St. Mary's lighthouse

I’ve previously designed a print based on the North East coast which featured Longstone Lighthouse. This lighthouse located on the Farne Islands has the classic red stripes that will bring a great splash of colour to the print.

I was struggling to choose the final lighthouse of the north east as I wanted another one with stripes but I was coming up short. Then on a day trip to Amble I struck lucky. Not only is Amble lighthouse a fabulous red and white striped landmark, it’s also an interesting structure which will bring some diversity to the print design.

Amble harbour

With all the lighthouses chosen it’s time to get drawing. Stay tuned for my next blog post to see how they turn out.

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Inspired by a sassy sheep

I get inspiration from all over the place but for this particular print design it was this sassy sheep that started it all off.

Sassy sheep at Sewerby Hall

I spotted this fabulous creature on a trip to Sewerby Hall. After calling the sheep to see if I could get it to look at me for a photo, it gave me this look. The character in its face was brilliant and I knew I wanted to make it in to a print design.

For sketching the sheep I chose to work in pencil. This gave me the ability to create a fluffy outline but also focus in on the character of the face.

Sheep drawing

The shape was surprisingly tricky to get right as the sheep was just so poofy. When I was eventually happy with the outline, I scanned it in to the computer.

Digital colouring

Sometimes pencil drawings can be a real pain to manipulate digitally as the soft pencil marks don’t scan in well. Thankfully the sketch was bold enough that the computer could pick up all the small details. With a little bit of cleaning up the sheep was ready for colouring.

Sheep drawing digitalised

I wanted to create the feel of the wonderfully textured fur. To begin with I digitally coloured layers of different shades of creams and greys to get a base. I then took snippets of fur from the original photo and blended them in to the base colour to achieve the textured look. This is quite a difficult process as it’s important to get the balance of colour and shading just right to make it look realistic and not too computerised.

Digital sheep drawing coloured in

Finally it was time to assemble the design.

Creating the final sheep print

Similar to the cow print, I knew I wanted the sheep arranged in clusters to look like a flock. By scaling, rotating and skewing them, I made little family groups of sheep. Once I was happy with the layout, I worked on the background colour.

Sheep print design with white background

I always start every print design with a white background to check that I’m sure on the layout. Sometimes I keep the white background but I didn’t think this worked well with the sheep.

Sheep print design with cream background

Next I tried it with a warmer yellow cream colour which I thought was more successful. The sheep stood out from the background colour better than on the white.

Sheep print design with green grass background

Finally I tried a green background with tufts of grass to look like a field. Picking the right shade of green is always a difficult task but I’m really pleased with the one I chose here and I think this colourway is my favourite.

Let me know what you think of the new sheep print design by commenting below!

Sheep in the wild

You can find the sheep print design featured on the following products available to buy now from my shop.

Sheep coin purse
Sheep coin purse
Sheep wash bag
Sheep wash bag
Sheep passport cover
Sheep passport cover
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Cucumber the rabbit print: from drawing to final design

Have you read the blog post about the inspiration behind my latest animal print? If not, take a look at it here.

Drawing

One of the best things about designing your own fabrics is that you can draw anything you want. My pet rabbit is so fabulous that I thought she deserved her own rabbit print. She’s not your typical looking rabbit, more just a ball of fluff with ears. As adorable as this is, it makes her super tricky to draw! I chose three of her favourite positions to draw her in to give an idea of her character.

She likes to stand on her back legs to investigate things like a meerkat

I wanted to get across the fluffy texture of her fur so I decided to work in bold line work. I started with a pencil sketch to get the basic outline and an idea of where the fur ruffles were. Once I was happy with that, I went over the lines with a fine liner pen.

Her sitting pose is the most common pose she strikes

I found her face quite tricky to draw as there is so much fluff that a lot of her features get lost. The photo of her that I was drawing from here didn’t have her left eye in as it was hidden by fur. She does have two eyes!

She likes to lie down when she’s feeling very relaxed

Digitising the drawings

With all the sketches completed, it was time to scan them in to the computer for digital manipulation. The good thing about drawing with fine liner pens is that they show up well when scanned in. The sketches took very little cleaning up so I could move on to the colouring.

The colouring in was definitely the hardest part of the whole process. Her fur is bright white so it was very difficult to create any definition and depth with the colour. I tossed up between keeping the whole image light or having dark lines to define it more. In the end I decided to use darker lines to prevent the outline from getting lost.

On to the designing

When it came to arranging the design, I knew I wanted it to be a random scatter repeat. After lots of layers and nudging rabbits a millimetre here and there, the layout was finalised.

The finished rabbit print design with a white background

The design ended up being more cartoony than I envisaged which took a different turn from my other recent designs. I liked the simplicity of the monochrome rabbit print on a white background but I didn’t think this would translate well on to fabric.

Rabbit print with blue background
Rabbit print with blue polka dot background

My first thought was to contrast the white rabbits with a blue background. As you can probably tell from my print designs, I really like blue. There’s something very classic about blue and white together and I think this colour combination would work better for fabric printing.

Rabbit print with pink background

I don’t often use pink in my designs as I’m not a big pink fan. However I thought the pink worked well with the white for a soft girly design.

I was pleased with the final rabbit print design so it went in to production! You can find the mini lionhead rabbit design on reusable makeup remover wipes pictured above and on a coin purse with the blue background.

What do you think of the rabbit print? What other pet animals would you like me to make in to a print design? Let me know by commenting below!

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Print designing ahead of the trends

Sheep wash bag

My background is in fashion design so I’m always keeping an eye on the latest fashion trends and print designs.

Although I enjoy looking at the season’s newest styles, my print designs aren’t really inspired by current trends. I set up Drawn by Rhiannon to provide fabric designs that you couldn’t find on the high street, so following trends didn’t make sense to me. My inspiration comes from all around me, usually from my travels, but also from the beautiful British landscape. However, I thought it was interesting that this season I’ve picked up a couple of trends without even realising it!

Animals

As you know, I love drawing animals. I would say about 75% of my designs are inspired by animals because I love them! They come in all shapes and sizes which gives me a real challenge in drawing. I also love quirky designs so what’s better than a fabric covered in dinosaurs or puffins!

It looks like I’m not the only one who thinks that because the big fashion houses are at it too. Look at this fab dress by Dolce & Gabanna, covered with a mix of farm animals!

I never would’ve expected to see high fashion designing fabric with chickens on but it’s great to see them having some fun.
I’ve designed several farm animal prints over the years, and the chickens are one of the most popular.

Chicken print design on a hair bow
Chicken hair bow

The chicken print was inspired by some very free range chickens that used to escape their garden and make a break for it down the village road. I loved the rich colours of their feathers and their cheeky characters.

Since then I’ve designed a sheep print, inspired by a particularly sassy sheep we spotted one day. I really enjoyed creating the wooly texture of the fur on this print design.

Sheep print design on a coin purse
Sheep coin purse
Sheep passport cover
Sheep passport cover
Sheep print design on a water resistant wash bag
Sheep wash bag

I’ve also designed a cow print, inspired by some beautiful cows in Graves Park. You can find out more about the cow print design in the blog posts here.
I was really chuffed with the cow print design so used it to make a variety of items which are all available for sale.

Cow print design passport cover
Cow passport cover
Cow wash bag
Cow wash bag
Cow coin purse
Cow coin purse

I like the farm animal theme so I’m hoping to add to it in the future with pigs, horses, donkeys… any suggestions? Comment below!

Butterflies

Insects and other bugs can be really interesting to draw. You get to zoom in really close and see all the little details that you didn’t know existed which makes for quite a challenge. The bee print I designed is now my most popular print, but before that I designed a butterfly print.

Butterfly wash bag
Butterfly wash bag

I loved how colourful and fun this print was to design. It’s currently not in use on any of my products, but if you’d like to see it make a comeback please comment below!

Butterflies are also a big trend on the catwalk this year. The pretty bugs have been featured by many high fashion brands, including this beautiful dress by Mary Katrantzou.

As you can see, you don’t have to spend a fortune to be on trend this season. Just add a splash of print to your home and shop small instead!