Happy 100th blog post! In the spirit of continued creativity, I'd like to introduce my first fabric design, "Mountain play (in custard)," available at Spoonflower.
I'd thought of designing my own fabric for a while, but it wasn't until I came across this post on Creature Comforts about illustrating in Photoshop using a technique described in Heather Ross Prints that I decided it was actually something I could do. Thanks to Ez and Heather for the inspiration.
I ordered Heather’s book...and then waited...and waited for a kernel of an idea to emerge. Eventually, thankfully, one did. I created a conversational print for our sunroom pillows (starring stick figures of our family, naturally) that I thought would make the girls smile.
It took a few weeks of painstakingly slow work to bring the design to life. Technically all you need to do to create fabric is upload a JPEG to the Spoonflower website. But I wanted to create it the "right" way so I could control the color selection. Using Ross' technique (mixed with some clunky and time-consuming strategies of my own creation), I sketched the outlines by hand in ink, scanned the individual drawings and assembled them into a JPEG in Photoshop, did a lot of pixel-by-pixel clean-up, then filled in the colors using spot channels.
Here's an example of one of the hand-drawn sketches:
I used a Spoonflower color guide (available here for $1) to help select colors. They turned out bolder than I expected based on the color guide, but that's probably because I ordered the fabric sample on a thick canvas rather than the light cotton the color guide was printed on.
When the fabric swatch arrived, Cricket was so excited to see our family on it that she made me drape the swatch over a pillow so she could snuggle it. I'd call the project a success.
More design ideas are brewing, and I'd like to build a small collection. At some point I'll piece together the time to make it happen and will update you when I do.
Have you designed your own fabric? Any tips?
I'm Julia Soplop, writer and photographer. I believe there is something profound in bearing witness to moments of joy and pain in others’ lives. My husband, three girls and I live outside of Chapel Hill, NC. You can read more about me here.
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