After using my scanned in potato prints to create designs in Photoshop, I exposed them to a screen so I could print them.
I am pleased with my prints, especially the caterpillars and bee/ladybird designs that use two different colours. I didn’t plan to use two different colours for them but managed to do so by taping out the parts I didn’t want printed, and above, you can see the caterpillar design halfway through. I realised just before printing that for the ladybirds and bees to be more accurate I should have exposed the opposite parts but I think it works well even though the colour is where it should be black! I like the motifs I have used here, and think I will continue to use them.
As part of our croquis exercises, we had to find a design that came in two or more colourways, paint up colour chips for each and compare dominant and similar colours. The design I chose is from a collection by Scion, my chosen hypothetical design brief company. I chose this design because it was one I could get a few free sample of as well as me loving owls!
The dominant colour in each colour way is different on each design, and gives each one a different feel. For example, the colour way with the pale pink gives a girly feel to the design, whereas the ones with blue and green feel more boyish or grown up. Apart from the base beige and white, there is one blue that is consistent throughout all four colourways, linking them together. My favourite colour way is the third shown, with the mustard yellow and blues and greens. I am really loving that tone of yellow at the moment!
After learning what a croquis design is, and what purpose it serves (a rough draft, which most textile designs are first created as, only implying repeat), the group was set a task to complete a set of painted croquis designs. I used a caterpillar motif, linking my croquis’ to my theme.
Colour Way 1
My original design used quite bright colours, so for my two colour ways, I wanted to use more muted tones; as different clients would be looking for a different feel. For the mixed media design, I used the same colours as my original design, with tissue paper and fabric. I liked the texture this gave the design.
Colour Way 2
Mixed Media Version
There are some improvements that I would make to my designs, the first being eyes! The caterpillars look a bit life and characterless, which is a bit strange for a children’s range. Also, on the designs where the legs and antenna are black, they stand out, being the place where the eye is drawn to first. The grey colour on colour way 2 is more subtle and looks better.
I really like my bee design, I think the simplicity works well; as well as the colours. The one improvement I would make is the drop in the pattern, but as croquis are only an indication of repeat, it isn’t too much of an issue. I like the ladybird design, but again it has no eyes, making it a bit characterless. I also had a bit of an issue getting used to using a ruling pen to get a thin outline!
Croquis are a very good way of creating a design without it being a perfect repeat, taking a lot less time and giving you an idea of whether it is a successful design or not.
On Wednesday, I took a visit to London with a couple of other students. The primary aim of the trip was to visit the Fashion and Textile Museum, where there is currently an exhibition displaying the work of Josef Frank.
The colours in Frank’s work were so vibrant and felt so modern – it was hard to believe that it was created so long ago!
The woodblock used to print the pattern
Repeating wood block print
I loved how he used simple shapes, yet made them look bright and interesting, with different tones and shades within the designs. The variety in colour use is also inspiring, as some designs have one main colour (such as the leafy green design above) and others have lots of different contrasting colours.
It was also interesting to see that next to some of the lengths of fabric, the original croquis designs had been displayed. Having just learnt about croquis designs, it was good to see them being used in the real design world.
There was also a room in the museum with a display of Swedish design. As soon as I walked into the room I felt like I was in IKEA! It made me realise that there is a distinct Swedish style of design, making me want to look into other areas of design, to see if there are distinct styles from other countries/areas.
After my potato prints dried (they took days!), I scanned them, and edited them in Photoshop to make patterns. I then printed them and exposed them onto a screen. I am planning to print the designs before my next print workshop, so I can move onto a different technique.
Spots and Stripes
I scanned the prints in because I wanted to get the texture that the potato gave to the prints, as well as wanting to use the same images. At the moment the designs look very dark and not suitable for my client, because they are black. I am planning for the prints to be much more bright and colourful!
In the first workshop back into subject, I decided to experiment with potato printing. This is because it is a simple technique that gives a texture to the print, which is what I am looking for in my work. It’s also a common activity that kids do at home (with simpler shapes!) so it relates to my target market.
Halfway through carving
I printed with black, as I just wanted to see the effect that the potatoes would give. I was really pleased with the texture that the prints had, and I prefer the designs where I carved more potato, giving more detail rather than just a black shape.
After the initial prints, I made some simple patterns.
I am really pleased with the outcome of this simple technique. I think I may scan some of the initial prints and edit them in Photoshop and Illustrator, to create an image to put onto a screen; and to also create digital patterns.
The trip to Rajasthan was one I had been looking forward to for a long time – even before I knew it was happening! I have wanted to travel to India for a long time and when the opportunity came up I took it as quickly as I could! It didn’t feel like I was really going until we were all on the plane and had taken off, because I had been excited about it for so long.
There were a few aspects of India that were not what I had anticipated! What I expected was different to the reality for a number of reasons:
Expectation: Bright colours and fabrics everywhere – almost every surface covered in pattern or some kind of fabric. Reality: Not every single surface was covered with colour or pattern – only within the palaces was this the case. However there was still a lot of pattern and other beautiful things (just not as much as I had presumed there was!)
Expectation: Relative cleanliness on the streets. Reality: The streets are very dirty, with litter piled up in certain areas – the litter was something that shocked me, as I had never seen piles of rubbish that big in my life, only on TV when images of landfills had been shown; but this was on the street! Admittedly the piles were nowhere near the size of a landfill plot but I am so used to clean streets that it shocked me. The litter on the streets of Cathays after bin day seems like nothing now!
Expectation: Shops would be small, and not many chain shops around. The shop owners would be friendly, but leave you to look around. Reality: Shops are small, but even smaller than I expected! Some had only enough room for one person to walk down to the end and back. Owners were most definitely friendly! Some would try to sell you every single item in the shop, whereas others may leave you to it but try to suggest items. The first was much more common though!
I think when you travel, there are always differences between your expectation and the reality. I experienced this when I went to Bolivia, and even Amsterdam.
I was inspired by the block printing that we saw, both in the Anokhi Museum and the factory the next day. The skill that it takes to carve those intricate patterns into the wood block is incredible, especially when they are making multiple blocks for the same pattern that have to line up! There is also incredible skill in the printers, being able to line up the blocks perfectly is not easy and they do it at great speed to get the work done as quickly as possible. I would like to try my own version of block printing in university – obviously I won’t be carving wood blocks any time soon, but I would like to take the basic principle of the technique and use it in my own practice.
Rajasthan was an amazing experience for me, and I cannot wait to go back to India and explore more places!