Posted on 6 Comments

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
Posted on 1 Comment

Belgium: First stop, Brussels

Earlier this year I had the opportunity to visit Belgium.

It’s a country I’d never been to before but I had wanted to visit for a long time. We flew out from Manchester to Charleroi airport and our first stop on the tour was Brussels.

The first thing that struck me about Brussels was how beautiful the architecture was! I had always thought of Brussels as a business city but of course there is an old town with incredible buildings. The main square is a great place to start; you could even do a tour in a horse and carriage.

One of the main icons of the city is this peeing statue. There seem to be many stories as to how it became such a famous landmark, but whatever the reason is, he’s a very popular guy. You’ll see the crowd of people as you walk up the street so you can’t miss him. We were lucky to catch him in a special outfit which was really fun to see.
There’s even a huge street art shrine to him just around the corner…

Speaking of street art, this fab Tintin mural is hidden in plain sight on the main route through the old town.

Step in to a museum

Just up from the statue is the fashion and lace museum. This is well worth a visit if you’re at all interested in fashion. While we were there they had an exhibition on about the back of garments which was an interesting take on fashion that I hadn’t seen before. It was great that you could get up so close to the designer clothes and see the progression through history.

This exhibition is a temporary collection but the main lace exhibition is also fascinating. You would not believe how many different types of lace there are! Most of the exhibits have an English explanation if you’re French isn’t up to much and there are loads of examples to see.

Moving on from the museum, there’s so much to explore in the older part of town. Belgium has some amazing churches and cathedrals with stunning stained glass windows. The colours are so bold and bright.

Another place that I would recommend visiting is the museum of musical instruments. This is a fascinating place if you’re in to your music, or even if you only have a vague interest in music. The place is chockablock full of instruments from all over the world, going back years. Just resist the urge to play any of them!

If nothing else, it’s worth visiting for the view over Brussels. Even on a cloudy day it was great!

After two days of walking our feet off, it was on to Antwerp next. Stay tuned for the Antwerp blog post coming soon!

Posted on 1 Comment

When your pet rabbit is this cute you can’t not make a print design inspired by her.

Cucumber, the inspiration behind the new rabbit print

If you’re a follower of Drawn by Rhiannon on social media, you no doubt will have seen the odd snap of my pet rabbit.

I’ve had Cucumber from when she was a bunny and she’s the only pet I’ve ever had so she’s really super special. She’s a mini lionhead rabbit which means she has small sticky-up ears and she has a big fluffy mane just like a lion. Cucumber is particularly fluffy, as most lionhead rabbits lose the long fur on the rest of their body after the first shed but Cucumber keeps hers all year round. Every time we go to the vet she has a crowd of people coming to look at her and she looooves the attention.

Cucumber the mini lionhead rabbit
Cucumber showing off her fabulous mane

She also has the best personality of any rabbit I’ve met. She is really clever (she hid her food under the hutch to convince me she’d eaten it all so I’d buy her new food) and can be really cheeky sometimes, but most of the time she’s just super lovely. She loves hopping around the garden and then sitting on the sofa watching TV in the evening. All of this just makes her the best rabbit ever – no offence to all the other rabbits out there! So I just knew I had to make a print design inspired by her.

Cucumber the mini lionhead rabbit
It can be hard to get a photo of her sitting still as she hops super quickly

One of her favourite activities seems to be rabbit yoga as she does some crazy stretches like she’s in a yoga class. I wanted to include some of her best poses in the print design so I followed her round for a few days to try and capture her different positions. Most of them were pretty fuzzy so not share-worthy but they were good enough for me to get the structure of her frame right.

Keep an eye out for the next post to see the drawing stages of the print design…

Posted on

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.

Posted on Leave a comment

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!

Posted on Leave a comment

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!

Posted on Leave a comment

How have I not designed a panda print already??

Drawn by Rhiannon panda

You may not know this but I love pandas. They’re so cute and don’t even get me started on when they do roly polys. Last year, thanks to my lovely sister, I was lucky enough to visit Edinburgh zoo and see the pandas there. By some miracle, neither of them were asleep and they were both up and walking around so I got some brilliant photos of them.

Drawn by Rhiannon panda

So when it came to brainstorming new print designs for the new year I thought “Wouldn’t it be great to design a panda print?” and that’s exactly what I did…

Check out the next post for the print design work in progress!

Posted on Leave a comment

Let’s go to the beach

Drawn by Rhiannon Cresswell beach Northumberland

It’s been a jam packed start to the year so today it was time for a little break. I’m very lucky to live near the beautiful Northumberland coast and as the sun was shining, it seemed the perfect place to go.

It was pretty cold, there was even snow on the beach!

There were some adorable coastal birds playing along the shoreline which inspired me to design to a print. They were skipping over the sand so I want to use a medium which will show quick movement.
By the way, does anyone know what type of birds these are? I really need to brush up on my bird breeds…