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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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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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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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When your job calls for studying photos of pandas you know you have a good job

Drawn by Rhiannon panda

If you’ve joined me from reading the previous blog post, hello again and thanks for continuing with me on my panda journey! If you’ve just landed here from out of the blue then it might be best to check out the previous blog post first to see what’s going on.

Every time I want to design a new print I start by researching. I always try to design prints from things I’ve seen and photographed so that I can get a real feel for what I’m going to be drawing. As I mentioned in my previous blog post, I took some great photos of pandas when I visited Edinburgh zoo so to begin the print designing process, I took a while going through my panda photos and having a really good look at all their features.

Drawn by Rhiannon panda

Next it was time to start drawing. I chose to simply draw in pencil for this design. Most of my designs are full of colour so knowing that I would only be using black and white was a real challenge for me. By using a soft pencil I was able to add some areas of grey shading as well just to give a bit of depth and tone to the drawing.

Drawn by Rhiannon panda drawing

The first panda drawing took inspiration straight from the panda I saw at Edinburgh zoo that was sat eating bamboo right in front of the viewing window. I just love how cute and chubby they are!

Drawn by Rhiannon panda drawing

I always knew that I wanted two pandas in my panda print to represent the two pandas that live at Edinburgh zoo so I set about drawing the second bear. This one took a bit more imagination as the photo I had of the panda standing up at the zoo was surrounded by bamboo so I couldn’t see all the details. Using a collage of the photos I had taken, I worked out what should go where and how the panda’s frame would sit. Just look at his cute little smiley face!

With the drawings all sorted, it’s time to scan them in to the computer ready to be made in to a digital print. Check out the next blog post for the finished design!

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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.