Daily pattern painting challenge (part 3)

Just a little flashback to last year, when I was taking part in a daily pattern painting challenge on Creativebug. I've previously posted about the work I created during the first two weeks, which consisted of traditional and botanical themed patterns. The third week was shape-based patterns, and I wanted to share some of the patterns that I painted here on my blog.

Geometric shapes pattern, painted in gouache

Painting shapes is a great way to improve your painting technique - you can go with a fun, relaxed style, or choose to ramp up your perfectionist tendencies and aim for straight lines and perfect curves. I did a bit of both I think :)

Cityscape pattern, painted in gouache

I really enjoyed this daily painting challenge. It pushed me to explore gouache in more detail than I had before, and I was very happy for that because it's now one of my favourite mediums. It also boosted my portfolio of work - several of the patterns I painted during this challenge have already become designs in my Society6 store, and others have provided starting points for further work.

Rainbow pattern, painted in gouache

I love a good daily creative challenge, and have taken part in several more since finishing this one. You can see what I'm up to on a regular basis on my Instagram account, and I'll be writing more blog posts about it in future too.

Daily pattern painting challenge (part 2)

Apologies for the gap between blog posts, I've got so much to catch up on! I've been continuing to work on my portfolio, but haven't managed to write about it here for a while. Let's go back to where I last left off :)

My previous blog post was about a pattern painting challenge I took part in earlier this year through Creativebug. In the first week we focused on traditional patterns. The second week was all about botanical and floral patterns.

Calico floral pattern, painted in gouache

This was probably my favourite week of the challenge, and it was tough to pick out my top three for this blog post :) I love drawing flowers, but this exercise in painting them was really enjoyable. It was a delight to work in brightly coloured shapes instead of concentrating on linework, and I definitely want to explore it further!

Tropical flowers pattern, painted in gouache

One of the tricky things about taking part in a class-led creative challenge is finding a way to put your own stamp on the designs. For some patterns I didn't stray too far from the example provided, but in others I really enjoyed exploring my own take on the pattern.

Wildflowers pattern, painted in gouache

The third week went into shape-based patterns, which I'll write about in a (not too distant) future blog post. Talk soon :)

Daily pattern painting challenge

I'm a bit of a sucker for a creative challenge, but of course there's never be enough time to take part in every one that comes along. For the last couple of years, though, I've really enjoyed doing Lisa Congdon's January creative challenges on Creativebug - so I was looking forward to this year's edition. In 2016 it was a daily drawing challenge, in 2017 it was a creative boot camp, and in 2018 it was a pattern painting challenge. Yay, right up my alley!

Basketweave pattern, painted in gouache

Each day in January, a new short class / demonstration video by Lisa was released, with a different painted pattern for participants to try their hand at. The medium of choice was gouache, although you could use a different medium if preferred. I was glad to get some further experience with gouache, which I haven't used much. It's a bit like watercolour paint, but more opaque and with a flat finish. The colours can be very intense, or diluted for a softer effect.

Argyle pattern, painted in gouache

The first week consisted of traditional patterns, some of which are pictured in this blog post. We did gingham, basketweave, scallops, Argyle, chevron, paisley and harlequin patterns. I think a few of them have possibilities for turning into repeating patterns or developing further :)

Harlequin pattern, painted in gouache


I started the class thinking it would be a great way to stretch my creative muscles again after a bit of a break. It certainly has been that, but it's also been a great way to explore an unfamiliar medium, and to work on my brush technique in a surprisingly rigorous fashion - all those straight lines!

The second week was botanical patterns, which I'll cover in another blog post.

Yellow starbursts pattern

Oh my, life has been far too busy lately. I've only had time for small bits of art-between-the-gaps, and am aching for more time to work on projects! Soon, soon ...

In the meantime, I thought I'd write about a design I started work on earlier this year. It began as a page in one of my sketchbooks, drawn with a yellow paint pen. The paper and the paint pen didn't get along too well, so the paper has been roughed up pretty good. But I liked the design and the bright yellow colour, so I decided to scan it into my computer and see what I could do with it.

Yellow starbursts sketchbook drawing

After scanning, I opened the image in Photoshop and tidied it up a bit to flatten out the rough spots. Then I switched to Illustrator and vectorised it (i.e. converted the image from pixels to smooth, graphic lines). I adjusted the settings to give me a clean two-colour rendition of the original hand drawn version.

Yellow starbursts vectorised in Illustrator

The next step was to turn it into a repeating pattern. This step took a fair bit of playing around - trying to create an even, yet random-looking distribution of the motifs across the pattern. The version that is shown below appeared on the front page of this website when I launched :)

Yellow starbursts repeating pattern

I'm not entirely sure if it's finished yet. I might try a bit more fiddling with the distribution / tile size so that the repeat is less obvious. I'm also thinking about adding some texture back in for extra interest. I guess that will depend on what I want to use the pattern for ...

I love converting my work into patterns like this, even though the extra steps from the original piece through to a repeat design can sometimes feel arduous! But I'm still learning, and I'm sure it will become easier over time as I create repeating patterns for textiles on a regular basis.