New Pattern Design: Emma Woodhouse

Zirkus Design | Emma Woodhouse Pattern Collection Hero Print 1 | Surface Pattern Design

Just after the new year, I signed up for Skillshare, a place to learn and hone creative techniques. Though I’ve been making and creating for nearly all my life, I felt my confidence had clouded. I was rusty. I had been wiping bottoms, noses, and the kitchen floor for the better part of 9 years.

Some classes bored me, but the majority sparked my interest and rekindled my desire to create. Perhaps the most mind-blowing was Bonnie Christine’s session on Surface Pattern Design.

Surface Pattern Design – I had never heard this phrase. Once I understood what SPD is and how to do it, I fell deeply. I have always, always loved patterns especially on paper products, bags/purses, and clothing. Thanks to Bonnie’s class, I now know how to make my own. Super awesome sauce, y’all.

The Story Behind the Art

For that first class, Bonnie asked students to draw inspiration from photographs. I scoured my archives for florals since they are so popular. I discovered some fun shapes in photos I had taken at Thanksgiving Point in Utah. We lived in Germany at the time, and we flew to Salt Lake City for my husband’s work conference. Though the tulip display (obviously) couldn’t match the splendor of Keukenhof in the Netherlands, I am an absolute sucker for tulips and enjoyed myself nonetheless. Zirkus Design | Emma Woodhouse Surface Pattern Design Collection Source Photo 1

Zirkus Design | Emma Woodhouse Surface Pattern Design Collection Source Photo 2

Sourcing my own photos, I sketched several flowers and the two birdhouses. As you can see from my scans, my sketches are nothing short of amazing (rrrrrrrrrrright). I cleaned up the scans in Photoshop and then traced them using the pen tool in Illustrator. Zirkus Design | Emma Woodhouse Surface Pattern Design Collection Sketches 1

So, why Emma Woodhouse? Well, a pattern collection needs a name, a theme, something that helps the designer narrow down the options. Though tulips are my fave, the birdhouses just seemed so fun to me. The ones I sketched were made of wood, a wood house. The name Emma Woodhouse emerged from some cobwebbed recess of my brain, and by jove, it fit. The pattern is feminine, free, fun. Now, as long as Mr. Elton doesn’t come along to muck things up…

I’m currently working on secondary and supporting patterns for an Emma Woodhouse collection. If you have any feedback regarding this first Emma Woodhouse design, I’m always grateful to receive constructive criticism.

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