A Cornucopia of Stripes for the Holidays
The holidays are upon us, but I hate the usual red/green color combination. So I decided to design some stripes with the colors of the Holiday table, but not just any stripes… these needed to have, character.
A Seamster Tasked with Making Things Seamless
I decided some time ago to design my own fabrics. I’ve designed a few now, and managed to make something from one of my designs (coming soon). Mostly, I love having the things I make be 100% my own design, but it also makes things more special for the customer and end product. What I make WILL NOT be available just anywhere.
I have an degree in visual art, and a background in digital and web design, so tackling surface design hasn’t daunted me. If you have never designed a repeat before, but would like to, don’t hesistate! It is much easier than you’d think to create some fantastic designs. Really it all depends on what you want to do, so start small and tackle more complex things when you gain some confidence.
So, what makes Guerrilla Threads fabric designs special?
I love bold, colorful and eye-catching design, and I have no shame. I believe that everyone deserves to turn some heads, and there’s no better way to do that than wearing something loud. However, LOUD isn’t the opposite of classy, or sophisticated. LOUD is an attitude.
Stylistically I don’t like to pin myself down too much, but there are some recurring themes in my designs. I love hand drawn texture and line, the more subtle the better. I love modernity and science, but yearn for the old-fashioned and “real” media. I don’t like to say I create this-or-that type of art. Instead I like see where my ideas go. Where they take the things I make and the patrons of my fine craft.
My Technical Goals
When I design a pattern, I have some specific technical specifications. These are mostly to do with the production and future life of the designs. They include:
- Large size and resolution. My minimum is at least a fat-quarter (21″-30″ by 18″) at 300 dpi.
- Should be digital with layers separated. (I’m a digital artist, but you can do a lot, and I man A LOT without.)
- Can combine both vector and bitmap art, but keep things high-rez and easy to recolor.
There are a number of reasons for these technical specs, but it all boils down to how flexible and reusable I want the pattern to be. When designs are printed at Spoonflower, they get printed at 150 dpi, so I’m already at double the minimum resolution. This means I can drop the dpi down and my pattern doubles in size, or raise the dpi to something higher than 300 and it will shrink. In effect you get multiple print sizes from one design. NICE!
The next big thing I consider is the preservation of layers. I often design in black and white, or grayscale, then color things later. I DO test colors and have swatches for my color ideas… but I was taught in design school that if the design works in b/w then it will definitely work in color. It’s a simplification thing. This has some cool benefits for textile design, most especially that you can rework a timeless pattern for different seasons and trends.
A great example of this would be stripes. They can be really basic or quite sophisticated, but the basic form is very flexible– it can be lots of sizes and infinite colors for the foreground and background. Making it easy to change and rework depends on how you create the digital files. The best way to do this is making copies of your layers in black and white. Later when you want to change something, just copy the b/w layer and work off of it. EASY!
Last, I consider the format of my artwork– vector or bitmap. I’m very comfortable jumping between and mixing the two, but that’s not always necessary. For designs with lots of solid colors and lines, without a lot of texture or hand-drawn elements… VECTOR IS WHERE IT’S AT! But if you’d like more texture and a hand-drawn aesthetic, BITMAP IS YOUR FRIEND. Not that you can’t make texture and hand-drawn stuff in vector artwork, but knowing when and how to mix the two is often best. Whole books could be written about this, but really you just have to experiment and find what works best for your own artwork.
What you can look forward to wearing
I will continue to develop designs in the future and share them here. In the meantime you can checkout my public fabric designs at my spoonflower shop. Make sure to check out “Designs not for Sale” in the left sidebar.