Posted on October 17, 2016

Acorns, acorns, everywhere

In responding to a themed call-out last week via Pattern Camp for pattern designs featuring or inspired by ‘ACORNS’, I’ve become a little obsessed with them the last few days, like a squirrel scavenging, well…acorns.

ACORN, noun: the fruit of the oak, a smooth oval nut in a rough cup-like base

My first step was to create my motifs, and I chose to use ink for the first time. (If there is anything I’ve learnt about creativity, it’s that experimentation is A GOOD THING.)

I was really pleased with the results of the ink, which allowed a level of precision and intricacy which I hadn’t anticipated.

'ACORNS' surface pattern design motif in ink

I enjoyed layering up the colour, starting with a pale grey wash, building up the intensity and adding in finer details with the tip of my brush.

Turns out I love ink!

Next, I used watercolour pencils to draw some similar acorns but this time in colour.

As a final touch, I outlined them in gold pen.

Golden acorns are the best kind aren’t they?

'ACORNS' surface pattern design motif in watercolour

Both sets of acorn motifs made pretty patterns and I’m pleased with the results. But I want to make more.

One comment I loved on this black and white version was how ‘sophisticated’ it made something as simple as acorns look – and I agree, so I’m stealing that (squirreling it?) and calling this pattern ‘SOPHISTICATED ACORNS’:

' SOPHISTICATED ACORNS' surface pattern design, simple repeat

I also liked these alternate versions: the autumnal colours of SAGE and BRIGHT RED for different backgrounds, the faded look, the shiny MAHOGANY BROWN. It’s just a shame the colour bled through the non-enclosed spaces that were white #backtothedrawingboard

These are simple repeats using a ‘scatter’ technique, which is fine, but…

For the coloured acorns, I thought I’d get a bit fancy and try a half-drop repeat.

A bit more technical, I always get confused half-way through, but you can do so much more with a half-drop, and dare I say it, make even more sophisticated acorns:

'ACORNS' surface pattern design, half-drop repeat

It was OK plain, but then I added this orange background – which I’m calling ‘burnt sienna’ (great colour, amazing connotations).

I toned down the acorns and feel this combination really makes them ‘pop’. It feels the most autumnal, too.

'ACORNS' surface pattern design (burnt sienna), half-drop repeat

I love the way this pattern has a ‘rope’ effect, like banisters on the stairs.

I can see this working for thanksgiving or Christmas, but especially – and this is particularly sophisticated – in a squirrel’s pantry!

What do you think?

'ACORNS' surface pattern design (burnt sienna), half-drop repeat

I could have made the background a bit more detailed, rather than so plain, but that’s for another day; I’m not that fancy yet.

I’ll leave you with these lyrics from this song, which has a really lovely message

Be like the squirrel girl, be like the squirrel”, Little Acorns, The White Stripes

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  • Reply Collette October 17, 2016 at 8:15 pm

    These are gorgeous – I’m intrigued with the process of pattern making as I have no idea how you do it. Do you use a computer to get the repeat happening? Also, the ink is lovely. Is it a pot of ink and a brush. I’ve used an ink art liner and water colour for a similar effect, but I’m curious about ink on its own. Lovely work. I’d love to know how you make the time to make art so often. Do you schedule time each week?

    • Reply daintydora October 18, 2016 at 8:54 am

      Thanks Collette! I was really pleased with how these turned out. I used a small pot of ink with a brush plus water to control the intensity.

      The pattern manipulation is done digitally, so I create my motifs then photograph them and clean them up to work on in either Photoshop or Illustrator. I’ve been leaning more towards Photoshop recently but have been doing online pattern classes hence the frequency – other things are suffering for sure – like the book stuff – but sometimes you just have to dive in! I don’t schedule creative time really, but I think of it more as a ‘reward’ for productive efforts in the morning and I can multi-task and listen to podcasts or music while I’m designing so that’s handy too :)

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