#SFDesignADay Challenge Days 5-12

This post contains affiliate links to products I used (like Photoshop brushes).

Just wanted to post an update really quick on the designs from this past week in case you missed them on my Instagram, Twitter or FB. I'm also going to give you a little behind the scenes and tell you some of the tools I used in case you wanted to try it.


Toile - Ink theme

Well, I started drawing some roses and then it came to me: this could be a really cool toile for a girl's bedding! So I kept inking it, doing line work and croshatching it so that it would have a really cool gradient effect. When I opened this in Photoshop, I played with the colors and decided to color the ink red and have a blush/pale pink backrgound in a solid color.


Toile - Ink theme

Haha, if you saw my Instagram feed, you know that this started as a "church doodle". I can't sit still for more than 30 min; I get anxious for some reason so I always carry a little notepad or mini sketchbook so I can vent that anxiety and get some ideas on pen and paper and out of my head. And my father-in-law is the pastor so thankfully he knows I do pay attention and he doesn't get offended, LOL!

When I started brainstorming about a geometric design, I immediately thought two things: "QUILTS!" and "Mary Blair". Her style inspired me since I was a little girl! I absolutely loved "Greetings from Southamerica" and "The Three Caballeros". The colors, the illustrations ... everything about it had me glued to the screen and is one of my favorites to this day. And so I decided to incorporate the contrasting style to something that would work on a quilt - flying geese, big squares with easy to work shapes to make it easy enough to sew but eye-catching and fun at the same time. I have this on my list of things to attempt and I'm thinking of using Kona® cotton solids. Do you know any other fabrics that I should try? Is there a big difference between say, Cloud9 solids vs. what you get at Joann's? I am a newbie to quilting so please show me your ways oh experienced quilters :D


Mexican Folk Art

I work mostly with vectors so I started thinking about the best way to showcase what you can do with those lovely Bezier curves and thought about a folk design, with lots of flow and color. Thinking about color I was like: what is the most colorful thing I've seen?" and right away I was like: "Otomí!" México is so rich in culture and native diversity - so much inspiration there! Growing up I loved tagging along mom to run errands... she actually liked to buy local and directly from farmers when she could (I preferred the regular grocery stores at the time because - toys!) but the marketplaces are magical, full of colors, veggies, spices and handcrafted goodness for days. Yes, it smells awful sometimes but there's nothing like it and I sincerely miss that. The closest I've seen something similar to our markets is in San Antonio, TX but it's much cleaner than the one in my hometown is haha. Still ... I loved Otomí purses and shawls. Maybe I need to attempt embroidering a design like this, when I have some down time.


Photographic Pattern

I think the design prompt from Spoonflower was something like taking a picture and making a pattern by turning that image into a kaleidoscopic design. I was thinking about it, then looked outside the window; it was dark, raining hard (which I love!) and it felt like a mid-century modern kind of day so I made a floral pattern and used pictures of the cloudy sky to piece the pattern, so to speak. Then in Photoshop I used Kyle's Runny Inkers Photoshop brush "Dot, dot, bleed" (you can get the set at Creative Market for like $4) and drew some doodles to add a fun element to the pattern, since I decided to go grayscale on the tones.


Paper-crafted pattern

One of the things that I faced early in my design career was being intimidated by software and budget. Back then Adobe's software was thousands of dollars and you couldn't get a subscription like they do now. You had to update so often and it was a hefty investment, for someone just fresh out of art school. I thought: "What If I was in a situation where I didn't have a computer of my own, like if I could only use the library's, etc?" I don't know, I went through my list of worst-case scenarios and was like: cheapest thing I could think of is paper and $4 watercolors/gouache sets from Michaels (and if you are coupon savvy, you know they always have some and only paid like $2.50 for mine!) I used my watercolors and gouache to paint the paper, then cut the big shapes like the trees or big flowers and leaves because when making a pattern sometimes you can't commit to an item's placing right away - it's about moving it around, finding it's perfect nook, you know? And same thing with color ... I knew I would have to use an open source software like Canvas or PicMonkey so I used pastels and contrasting colors so that I could have an interesting range of color to play with.

I used cardstock and glue and once I found the arrangement I liked just glued everything used watercolors to fill in the blank spaces, using dots, leaves, etc. Then on PicMonkey, I used the "wrinkle smoother" tool and voila! I used that to smooth out a lot of the rough edges, played with the color and contrast and found a soft pastel color scheme that I liked. I actually ordered a yard of this and can't wait to see it in person :)


Steampunk Alice In Wonderland

This one was hard because I'm not really into steampunk. It's cool to look at but not my cup of tea, so I looked for inspiration on Pinterest and saw some really cute tea pots and tea cups that I loved and sort of incorporated them in my piece here. Also, I wanted it to be more illustrative, to not just have a repeat pattern of certain elements but to give a wide visual range that kept you looking and finding little things like happy flowers, cute little mushrooms, Alice and the bunny, a butterfly, bird, etc. I also reused my roses from the toile from day five because someone mentioned on Instagram that it sort of reminded her of Alice in Wonderland and I was like, it totally fits in! So there it is.

I drew most of it by hand but I used some fun Photoshop brushes like: Kyle's Ultimate Cross Hatchers for Photoshop ($7?) which saved me a LOT of time in adding a more inked/steampunk effect and my favorite set of brushes Kyle's REAL Watercolor for Photoshop ( I used the "big wash, wet bleed" brush (reduced the size of it though) to add fun things like the little rock paths and some sepia tones. Gives it a nice, soft touch. This is my go-to Photoshop brush set and highly recommend it! I love doing things by hand but sometimes I'm really busy - I have 3 kids and one of them is an active toddler so if I can get some effects done faster then I'm all for that.

This is not complete - I ran out of time but I have this idea of turning this into a fabric collection! Like one fabric of "eat me" cookies and "drink me" bottles, one of the queen of hearts, cards and roses, etc. So I'll come back to it ASAP.


itajime shibori and handprinted

I was a little intimidated by this and I was like: how much is it going to cost me to buy the supplies? But I went to Michaels, used my coupons and I only paid $2.50 for my bottle of Tulip Ink (Navy Blue). I have lots of fabric so I just got some out of my quilt stash and tried some things. I loved the shibori method - found this tutorial on Pinterest and my shibori pattern turned out great! Almost symetrical, here and there some things didn't go perfect but I am not complaining.

Then I decided to try a different technique - batik using Elmer's glue instead of wax. And so I did, and it looked awesome, except for the fact that I rinsed it after only waiting for like an hour instead of longer - so the dye came out uneven but it gives it an interesting effect I think... will use it in something I'm sure but now I know! And I got addicted to dyeing fabric; spent much of yesterday doing just that.


Map of the USA hand-lettered

I love typography and it's seriously an art and lots of hard work - kerning and ligatures can really make or break a design but I decided to do letterning instead. The reason behind it is that this is exactly what got me out of the graphic design side of business and helped mefind my niche and style. I like the aestetics of design but it's not my forte. I worked as a production artist for years, then as a graphic designer, then I found out about lettering and illustration and I was like "can I really just focus on this? Doesn't feel like work!" I still work as a freelance designer for select clients but this year I am taking a sort of sabatical so I can do what I really love and work on more personal pieces, developing my style, etc. It was hard narrowing down to what I wanted to do for this prompt but I looked at my to-do list and I really wanted to do some placemats and a blanket design for my youngest so I made this wider so it can fit on a yard of minky but will version it for my shop so it can be purchased in any material as a fat quarter and as a yard. Then I was like: I can print this on canvas and design some cut-out state shapes to go with it so that people can cut, sew and velcro these shapes onto the map for kids to work on their geography. I'll work on versioning it and uploading it to the shop in the next couple of weeks or sooner.


My studio

I am in a sort of temporary studio because we're moving in October of this year and my new desk is being built (my husband has a carpenter friend) and he's blessing me with a brand new one which will be here in a month or so. In the mean time, I am using one of those folding tables but works just fine for now. We have this gorgeous writing desk from my husband's grandfather but it's not very ergonomical - that's the only reason why I stopped using that gorgeous desk. I'm still filling in my wall with things that inspire me but here's what I have so far: - Lorelay Bové's Alice in Wonderland print (from Etsy) - Brittney Lee's dog/rain print (I love rain, can you tell?) - Lesley Barnes castle and horse postcards - My own Spanish printable - Kids' drawings and some of my work.

I have a "Keep Calm And Carry On" sign because the struggle is real! Hahaha. Then under my desk:

I made a play mat out of old Ikea bedding and keep it under my desk, along with library books so I when my toddler or older children come to my studio they can hang out with me and stay entertained. I am currently obsessed with Genevive Godbout's pencil drawings which are amazing so I borrowed one of her books from the library. And here's a few of my essentials for getting in the "design" zone:

- Chai tea or coffee (I got organic tazo chai which was on sale for crazy cheap - like $2.50 at Krogers) - Stick Marker short to-do list sticky notes: I can only look at two or three items to tackle at a time or I get overwhelmed and don't get anything done. Does that happen to anyone else? So I got me these short and sweet ones from Amazon so I can tackle things. - Field Notes notepads <-- always carry them everywhere - Nag notes (from knockknockstuff.com) because I need to clear everything out of my head and that means delegating. I give these to my older kids and husband and they like it better than me asking them to do things over and over. My family works best with check lists it seems. - Small sketchbook <-- I have this old one from Ikea but there's several on my desk. I like to reference things I've done in the past and also have this spur of the moment ideas that I need to write or draw right then and there so I can revisit when I have time. - I surround myself with things that make me smile - on my walls, on my desk (like the little acorn drink coaster I made), etc. It relaxes me, reminds me of why I do things: so other people can smile as well. - Pandora: I have my lists depending on the mood: • If I want to get things done I listen to my Glenn Miller station. I can focus with his music - not classical and not modern, it has to be Glenn Miller • If I want to design something fun: I play my 90's "Pump the Jam" station. Makes me laugh so hard! • If I'm homesick: I play my Mexican "Timbiriche" station with lots of hits from the 80's and early 90's. So that's a week worth of designs, quick studio tour, etc. Stay tuned because I'm also doing Elizabeth Olwen's spring design challenge and I still have 2 days worth of Spoonflower challenge prompts to come so more designs :D

- Gina

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