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

A chirpy lithograph Blackbird

I often buy open/blank-inside greetings cards as inspirations or visual treats. They can be mini works of art, particularly if they are handmade. While sorting through some bits and bobs today, I rediscovered this chirpy lithograph blackbird card that I bought last year in a town I can't remember the name of. But I remember how cheery I felt when I saw this card and decided I just had to buy it.

Blackbird lithograph print

I love the colours - the dusty pink and the minty green grass and the beautifully etched lupins and washing on the line and momentary idyll that this blackbird had found to sing his tune, perched on the fence.

The print is by Angela Harding and its proper title is 'August Blackbird' but I think he's perfect for May, too.

Happy bank-holiday weekend!

*NB. This is not a sponsored post. I just love this print and Angela's work.

My Favourite TinkerSketch Challenges

I completed my 28th TinkerSketch challenge a week ago, and have missed the daily rhythm of it since I stopped. Here's some of my favourite prompts and how I interpreted them:

A new set of prompts was released for March, but I was away from home when it started so I never really got off the ground. And I realised about myself recently that I'm an Upholder  -  I like to 'complete' a challenge; I can't just let myself dip in.

And that's how I read magazines too. From the first page to the last. Occasionally I'll flick to the back page, but I like to know I've 'seen' each page, absorbed all there is to know, and in the right order.

I know that is a strange OCD thing, but I can't really change my nature. And the upshot is I haven't joined in with TinkerSketch for March.

Don't worry though - I have loads of other creative challenges to keep me occupied!

I loved connecting with loads of new creatives and so enjoyed the process of thinking how I would interpret each prompt, and then ensuring I found the time - mostly just 5-10 minutes at the start or end of the day - to join in with the fun on Instagram.

If it wasn't for TinkerSketch I would never have rediscovered the joy of drawing or reconnected with that side of my creativity.

I bought new materials. I got immersed.

Already I'm looking forward to next year!