Happy Saturday, my friend!
My two oldest sons are competing in a swim meet today, and I’m stuck poolside. (Indoors, that is… we do have winter in northern Arizona!)
Maybe you’re stocking up on groceries… or shoveling snow (sorry)… or dreaming of your next vacation that does not have anything to do with snow.
Might I interest you in a little southern Spanish cheer?
I announced the opening of my Spoonflower shop a few days ago (yay!).
Today, I have another little Spoonflower tidbit to share with you – my first design challenge!
My Spanish Tiles Pattern
Spoonflower hosts several design challenges every month. I recently decided to throw my hat in the ring and offer my take on the challenge prompts.
My first design? A cheery, Moorish take on the theme of Spanish tiles.
Ever since my art history days, I have dreamed of visiting the Alhambra. An amazing work of art, the Alhambra sits in the south of Spain and is a marvel of Moorish influence. God willing, I plan to visit the Alhambra this summer (pinch me!).
I love the Andalusian aesthetic, so this design challenge really resonated with me. In my research/sketching phase, I found many examples in my personal travel photography and even souvenirs in my home with themes infused with a Moorish or Middle Eastern vibe.
I settled on an interlocking tile layout instead of a standard block look. Tile art from this region is often intricate, and I wanted to reflect that feel without crossing over into mosaic territory.
Southern Spain sizzles – with energy and heat. Though a color palette characterized by deep blues dominates tradition, I wanted Spain’s warm and sunny vibe to come through in my color choices.
When building my pattern, I started with the color palette from my Moroccan Ikat collection. The bold & bright hues from those patterns helped set the tone as I arranged the motifs. I know a lot of designers start in black and white, but I personally find that very hard to do when it comes to surface pattern design.
My first iteration of Spanish tiles looked like this. I call it Minty Green Moroccan.
I actually really love this palette, and I will probably offer it in my Spoonflower shop. But, I did not think the pale green would show up well in the challenge preview. I needed something brighter.
Also, I wasn’t totally sold on the magenta, and I felt like the pointy diamond motifs nodded a bit too much in the direction of Scandinavia (even though they are sketched from a Middle Eastern lantern I have in my home).
After a bit of poking around on Pinterest, I put together a Middle Eastern Color board, and mined it for a custom color palette. With a bit of tinkering, I came up with this combo. I think the earthy sienna and royal blue nod toward tradition while the other colors provide pep and spunk.
As you can see, I couldn’t ignore the rich blues totally, and I ended up keeping a bit of bright pink.
When I began to stare down the recoloring process, I realized the multiple colors of the two different circular motifs paralyzed me – too much work! I wanted to sort out the simpler elements first.
Keeping in mind the goal of sunny + warm, I decided to redo the cross-shaped tiles in a luxurious gold. After all, it took a lot of actual gold to pay for the intricate tile work of the Alhambra and other Andalusian palaces and places of worship.
Here’s the intermediate look. You might notice that my pointy diamond mandalas feel a bit unfinished. Those swirly heart shapes are too open.
Again, I love the way this color palette feels, but for the challenge, I felt convinced I needed to include the deep royal blue.
I used Illustrator’s Recolor Art tool to come up with about a dozen possibilities for new color combos. Here are a few of the looks for the circular elements that I favorited during the recolor process.
Please excuse the bounding boxes – these are just screen shots.I combined my favorite parts of these color possibilities, added a few elements to the pointy diamond mandalas, and landed on this for my final Spanish Tiles design.
How do you like it?
Voting Open NOW!
The voting for Spoonflower’s Spanish Tiles challenge is open NOW through January 16 at 3pm EST. I would be so honored if you would take a second to hop on over here to vote.
Note that the entries in the challenge are displayed in random order for each user, so please scroll until you see my design. Also, you are able to vote for more than one design, so please feel free to support other designers as well.
Where Can I Buy this Spanish Tiles Fabric?
Challenge designs can be purchased from Spoonflower on any of their fabric choices (including new denim!) after the challenge ends. This design will be available immediately after voting ends, and I will mark the other variations for sale as soon as I proof them.
To give you an idea of what you can make with this Cheery Moorish Spanish Tiles fabric, here’s a fun apron mockup to tickle your creative fancy.
By the way, did you know that Spoonflower sells wallpaper, too?
Thank YOU so much for your support on my design journey. I love what I do, and I love sharing the process with you. Many thanks also for taking a moment out of your Saturday to vote.
Your feedback would mean so much to me – which variation of the Spanish tiles design is YOUR favorite? Which one(s) would you like to see in my Spoonflower shop?