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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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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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The final stages of the cow print design

Cow print design with cream background

With the cow drawing scanned into the computer, it’s time to add colour to the print design.

For this print design, I decided to colour the cow drawing digitally using layers of photographs. I photographed different angles of the cows to get sections of their fur. Next I took a look at the colours of the cow to see which areas needed to be lighter or darker. By doing this I was able to cut different pieces out of the photos to use in different areas. Then it was a case of layering the different pieces and blending them to create a smooth coverage of fur. Take a look at this video to see all the layers that went in to colouring the cow.

I needed lots of layers of different shades to create the beautiful fur of the cow

The final step

Once the cow had its fur it was time to create the print design. I had a vague idea in mind of how I wanted the print to look which really helped. Quite often I’m not sure what I want the finished print to look like so it takes longer to create because I don’t have a base to start from. For this design, I had the idea to have the cows in clusters, as if they were scattered about a field. First of all, the cows were grouped in to small groups of twos and threes. Also some cows were rotated and resized to give some variety to the print.

Cow print with cream background
I always like to use a cream background with a brown print design
I also wanted to use a green background to symbolise the grass

And here’s the finished print design! What do you think? Do you prefer the cream or the green background?

Earlier this week I sent off the files to the fabric printer so new fabric is imminent! Using the cow fabric I will be making a coin purse, a passport cover and a wash bag. If you would like to reserve any of these items, just let me know!

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The finished panda print

Drawn by Rhiannon panda print

With the panda drawings being simple black and white pencil sketches, they were nice and simple to digitise ready for their print design. By playing around with the levels and tones on Photoshop I was able to create a nice bold image of the pandas. Next it was time to design the print.

Usually when I design a print I don’t quite know the direction I want to go with it, but for the pandas I had a very clear vision of what I wanted the pattern to look like. I took both the panda images and resized them, rotated them and flipped them to create a mix of different shapes and sizes. I then arranged them so that they weren’t too crowded or too far apart until I was happy with the layout. After some last minute panda shuffling, the print was finished. Introducing my very first monochrome print design…

Drawn by Rhiannon panda print design white background

If you’re familiar with my print designs, you’ll know how rare it is for me to have a completely black and white pattern. So of course I had to try it with some different coloured backgrounds too!

Drawn by Rhiannon panda print design blue background
Drawn by Rhiannon panda print design pink background
Drawn by Rhiannon panda print design green background

So what do you think? Which is your favourite? Please let me know by commenting below!

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It began with a banana

Drawn by Rhiannon banana drawing

Every print I design starts with a hand drawing – you see why I named the business Drawn by Rhiannon right? I always like to have either a photo of the item I’m drawing or the actual item in front of me so I can get all the proportions and colours spot on. Luckily I had a few bananas in the fruit bowl so it was off to a good start.

Drawn by Rhiannon banana hand drawing

If you read my last blog post you’ll know that I have a particular style in mind for this print design which starts with a thick pencil drawing. I tend to like to draw lots of scruffy lines in light pencil to begin with and then go over the best lines with a thicker pencil when I’m happy with the shape.

The next stage is digitising the sketch to get it ready to make into a digital print. Some sketches translate better than others and luckily the bananas were one of the easier drawings; just a bit of tidying up around the edges and removing the sketchbook seam line and it was ready to go!

With the outline sorted it’s time to start on the colour. I use all sorts of different materials for colouring but I’ve decided to use watercolours for the fruit print range. I love how the colours blend so well and show a great range of tone and light with a few brush strokes.
After scanning it in to the computer and defining the colours, it’s ready to be dropped into the outline image.

With a few layers and lots of blending, the colouring-in is complete! I’m super chuffed with the colour effect created by the watercolour paints, but let me know what you think by commenting below.