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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!

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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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Back to the drawing board

Cow pencil drawing for the cow print design

The last post saw the first stage of the cow print design. Continue on to see the next steps…

After the realisation that the oil pastel drawing wasn’t going to work for the base of the print design, it was time to go back to the drawing board. I’ve been enjoying using thick pencils recently so I started there. I knew I wanted to use something that would pick out the layers of the cow’s shaggy hair so a simple pencil seemed the best way to go.

Pretty cow serving as inspiration for the new cow print design
Such a pretty cow

Although I liked the effect the oil pastels created for mimicking the cow’s hair, I felt that they missed some of the details. The cows had such beautiful faces and really pretty eyes so I spent most of my drawing time focused on the face.

The finished cow drawing for the new cow print design
The finished pencil drawing

I think the pencil drawing captured the character of the cow much better than the oil pastels did. I’m really pleased with how the face came out, isn’t he just so adorable! I still wanted to get across the texture of the fur so I decided to digitally colour the hair. On Photoshop I planned to use several layers of photographs of fur.

The cow drawing scanned in really well and is ready for being made into a print design
The pencil drawing of the cow scanned in much better than the oil pastels drawing

Thankfully the pencil drawing scanned in much clearer than the oil pastels did. By fiddling with the levels and exposure, I was able to get a really solid outline. This works great for print designs as it shows up better on fabric. I was also able to clean up all the little lines that I’d drawn slightly wrong so I was completely happy with the drawing – thank you Photoshop!

Stay tuned for the final blog post in the cow print design series to see the finished print! You’ll also find out what items I decided to make with the printed fabric. Feel free to drop me a message in the next post if you want to reserve anything.

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Hello Mr. Cow

Cows inspiration for a new print design

It’s time for a new print design and for this pattern we’re off to the farm.

Growing up in the Derbyshire countryside definitely gave me a lot of inspiration for my print designs. From the patchwork field landscapes to the farm animals on the doorstep, it’s come through in my work more than once or twice.

I’ve already created a couple of designs inspired by farm animals. The chickens came first (no pun intended) when an escaped flock of chickens made a break for it down the village road. The gorgeous colours of their feathers made me grab my colouring pencils and blend those tones in my sketchbook. If you’ve not seen the chicken print design before, click here to take a look at this chicken pencil case.

Next up was the goat print, inspired by my sister’s love of goats. They are pretty great little fellas aren’t they.

Goats always ready to eat anything that’s going.

When I was thinking of what prints to design next, I took a look back through the photos I had taken over the years and came across these beautiful cows.

Fluffy cows to inspire a new cow print design
How fabulous are these cows!

I absolutely love the cow’s hair (hair/fur/coat?). The texture leapt out at me and the blend of colours was lovely and warm. I knew right then that the cows would be my next print design.

The wiggly texture of the hair drew me to oil pastels straight away. I thought this would translate really well so I rummaged through all my pastels to get a warm colour palette.

If only I could draw this fast in real life…

I really liked the effect of the oil pastels but I wasn’t sure it would translate well as a print design. The rough nature of the oil pastels look nice on paper but they don’t scan very well in to the computer to make a digital print, so it was back to the drawing board…

Check out the next blog post for the next instalment of the cow print design!