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Featured Artist: The Playful Patterns of Daisy Beatrice

Welcome to Pattern Week on the Redbubble Blog. This week, we’re paying tribute to patterns, repeating and likewise, by highlighting our some of our favorite looks with roundups, tips, interviews, and more to give everyone who digs patterns a dizzying array of awesome.

For our Featured Artist this week, we chatted with the wonderfully talented Daisy Beatrice, who specializes in charming patterns that look fantastic on any RB product, from leggings to duvet covers to throw pillows, and beyond.

"I make each pattern with the products in mind, and when I see it all come to fruition, it totally makes my day! I click through all the product pics after uploading a new work – technically it's to check that everything looks right, but really it's for the thrill of seeing how the design looks on each product."

We’re running Pattern Week at Redbubble and would love to know how exactly you make your patterns? What technical process do you use? Illustrator? Photoshop? And do you hand draw any parts of the pattern first?

My process – that sounds very organised and orderly, not like me at all! I pretty much come up with an idea, and then experiment with colors and techniques by hand and in various bits of software until I get it looking right. It’s a bit of a shuffle to be honest – I don’t always know where I’m going to end up, and it’s always a lovely surprise to get to the end and like what I see!

My workflow is quite varied, and it really depends on the pattern I’m making. Sometimes I hand draw elements and vectorize them in Illustrator. Occasionally I’ll scan in some artwork and create a pattern entirely in Photoshop, like “Golden Days of Summer” for example. But that’s unusual for me because the files are massive and hard to handle.

Mostly I start with a quick sketch to give myself a rough idea of the layout – nothing glamorous, usually just an outline. Then I get to work in Illustrator creating the shapes and moving them around until I’m happy with the way the pattern looks.

I do like a little bit of analogue with my digital, so when my Illustrator file is finished I’ll usually open it in Photoshop and add textures and overlays to give more depth and interest. You can see this subtle effect in “Teepee Town,” where a multicolored triangle pattern has been overlaid with several layers of texture, including a vectorized sketch of fine coral, which looks like tribal markings on the teepees.

A look at the process Daisy used in making "Celestial Bodies"

Could you tell us about how you ended up interested in design and illustration? What piqued your passion?

My mother is a very talented fine artist, and she always encouraged us in our artistic pursuits. I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember. I used to win drawing competitions when I was small, and I remember going with her to the art supply shop to spend my prize money on boxes of whizz-bang colored pencils and cartridge paper. When I was in primary school, my little friends used to line up for hand drawn cartoons in the lunch hour, and my favorite part of school projects and assignments was always the illustration and presentation.

My dream was to become a greeting card designer, so I studied fine art and graphic design, and in my spare time I worked on creating a folio of illustrations and characters to show potential employers. On graduating, I worked for 18 months as a graphic designer, and then won my dream job designing greeting cards and stationery!

This was my introduction to pattern design, as I needed to create seamless patterns for gift wraps and packaging. I taught myself at night by watching YouTube tutorials, and will always be grateful to those wonderfully generous artists who share their skills in online tutorials.

The pattern bug bit me hard, and now I sell seamless pattern sets at various stock illustration sites, as well as creating patterns for my POD stores. I feel like I have the best job in the world!

Where do you find inspiration for your patterns? They are really gorgeous and simple, featuring clouds, love hearts, flowers and geometric shapes. Where do you get ideas for the patterns from?

Pattern ideas pretty much throw themselves at me as I’m going about my day. I’m always jotting ideas down in my sketchbook, or a little notebook that I take everywhere with me.

At the moment I’m working on a pattern made from wrist watches – this one was inspired by flicking through a catalog of vintage Swatch watches. I have a teacups and mugs pattern in the works that sprang from observing that most people (like me) have a favorite tea cup or mug that matches their personality.

My “Beach Towels” design is based on a very common sight in the summer – a beach covered in colorful towels, whose owners are all cooling off in the water!

I also get a lot of inspiration from nature. My “Rain Clouds” and “Opal Drops” patterns come from my love of rain and stormy skies. And I’m currently working on a pattern based on some sketches I made of a white climbing rose that grows at my back door.

Could you please share with us the the pit (the worst part) of creating a new pattern, and the peak (the best part)? What’s the biggest challenge, and the sweetest moment when you’re working on creating a new pattern?

The toughest part of creating a new pattern is making everything fit. Not so much with designs where you create one or two elements and place them at regular intervals – they’re fairly straightforward to make.

But if you like to create more organic-looking patterns where elements are fitted into the pattern by eye, then you have to spend time shuffling things around until everything looks right. If the pattern is seamless, then you also have to balance the elements along the four sides as well.

Sometimes this can get very frustrating, and I have to take a break, make a cup of tea and come back to it later!

The process of making "Jardin de l'Amour" - an example of a challenging pattern where Daisy had to do a lot of juggling.

"I think scale is a very important consideration. It depends completely on the pattern, but it's worth thinking about whether the scale is appropriate for the product. For example, a pattern might look great at 100% size on the throw pillow and tote, but might need to be scaled down and tiled on the leggings and duvet."

The sweetest moment in creating a new pattern is uploading it and seeing it instantly applied to the product mockups. I absolutely love this part of the process, and I find it throughly addictive!

I make each pattern with the products in mind, and when I see it all come to fruition, it totally makes my day! I click through all the product pics after uploading a new work – technically it’s to check that everything looks right, but really it’s for the thrill of seeing how the design looks on each product.

When you’re designing patterns for finished printed products, what piece of advice could you give to other artists so that their patterns look good on products? (such as leggings, duvet covers, mugs, tote bags, etc.)

I think scale is a very important consideration. It depends completely on the pattern, but it’s worth thinking about whether the scale is appropriate for the product. For example, a pattern might look great at 100% size on the throw pillow and tote bag, but might need to be scaled down and tiled on the leggings and duvet covers.

And the artwork required for mugs and laptop skins is short and wide – in some cases you might want to think about tiling the pattern horizontally so that the full height of your design will be visible on the product.

Another thing to consider is balance. Where is the focal point of the pattern? Can you still see it on narrow products like phone cases, or short, wide products like the laptop skins? You might need to shuffle the artwork around in the uploader window to make sure the pattern looks balanced on each product.

"I love to create color palettes that are joyful, uplifting and fun. Whether I'm working with gentle colors or brights, for me it's always about the way the colors work together."

I notice your color palette is very light, pastely and complimentary. Have you found that your palette is instinctual and based on colors you prefer using together? I know lots of designers use palette in quite a methodical way, and I wonder how you choose yours.

I love color! Or to be more precise, I love a clever color palette – a combination of colors that do wonderful things for each other.

I don’t have set color palettes that I work with, although I know artists who do, and I admire the cohesiveness of their folios. Perhaps I’ll go that way in the future, but for now I’m enjoying my colorplay too much to limit the selection!

Choosing colors isn’t instinctual for me. I work in CMYK in Illustrator, and I generally mix my own colors making sure they relate to each other. I have a “color inspiration” folder where I keep snippets of vintage fabric and wallpaper, and various bits and bobs that inspire me.

I experiment a lot and often create a design in several different colorways, and then agonise at the end over which looks best!

I love to create color palettes that are joyful, uplifting and fun. Whether I’m working with gentle colors or brights, for me it’s always about the way the colors work together.

And lastly, which is your favorite pattern on your Redbubble portfolio that you’ve created?

My favorite pattern is “Celestial Bodies,” which happens to be my most popular and best selling pattern – so there seems to be a general consensus operating here! :)

I love it for lots of reasons, some related to the design itself and some related to what it symbolises to me.

The colors are close to my heart, and if I had a “natural color palette,” this would be it. The textures make me happy, as well as the subtle color overlays on the planets.

And I love that although it’s essentially just 16 dots plonked on a page, it means so much more than that to me, and clearly to others as well.

Symbolically, this is an insight into my upbringing. My family has always been interested in astronomy, and when we were young my father used to build telescopes in the garage with my younger brother – huge telescopes that brought the mysteries of outer space right into our own back garden. We would all gather round for our turn, and marvel at the incredible detail jumping out at us through the lenses.

So many treasured memories are preserved in this pattern. I want to do lots more work like this in the future.

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