• Katie Stern

"How on earth..."

...And that's how my most frequently asked question begins! How on earth do I come up with my designs? In this blog, I'll share a few hints to get your creative juices running. Let's look at my newest pattern, flowers and petals.



As you can probably tell by now, I love to create unusual textures. This week I wanted to create a companion design to my geometric blues pattern, so that's where I started. By the way, that pattern began as a series of rectangles in Adobe Illustrator.


But how did I get those painterly petals and marble-like spheres in my flowers and petals pattern? I opened the geometric blues in Photoshop and used a mixer brush to literally move the pixel colors around. It's just like mixing paint, finger painting, oil painting—you get the idea. I get random, totally unexpected juxtapositions of color.


Then it's a matter of making selections and saving out each item to create separate elements (also called motifs). I use the Pen tool in Photoshop, creating paths I save to use in different areas of the image. Eventually I copy all those motifs onto a new file and start building the design.



"But those spheres! What about the spheres?" I'm glad you asked! I collected circular shapes and threw a Photoshop special effect on them (for those of you who are familiar with Photoshop, I used Polar Coordinates).


After I collected all my motifs on separate layers, I copied those layers and pasted them onto a new file. Each motif came in on its own layer, allowing me to move everything around, duplicate layers, change opacity, etc. until I liked what I saw. Then I tested the pattern for repeatability, tweaked and retweaked the design a dozen times or so, and called it done.


I sure hope you enjoyed this short creative lesson. If you have any questions about this technique, feel free to contact me via email: katie@career5design.com. I'll have the fabric pattern itself available in my Spoonflower store very soon. Email me if you want to order before it appears in my store.


Happy designing!

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