Shop Talk

Guest Blog: Making the Most Out of Patterns

Designing with Patterns is a great way to spruce up products. They can be visually exciting and give fans a wider variety of options. Redbubble artist Elizabeth Levesque, has some tips for pushing your patterns even further.  

Halloween is rich with easily identifiable symbols and iconography. Witches, pumpkins, ghosts, skulls, and more. As it’s quickly approaching, now is a great opportunity to make some spooky designs and optimize them for a wide variety of products. Here are some tips for making the most out of your patterns.

If you feel a little lost I recommend doing an internet search for Halloween décor. Even just thinking about your childhood Halloween celebrations is great for ideas.

Making Patterns

I usually start in my old fashioned sketchbook just doodling whatever comes to mind, and then later sifting through it for promising ideas. I then scan the pages I drew in, open them in photoshop and trace them with the vector shape tool to make them stand out graphically. You can also use illustrator for this.

If a graphic calls for it, I will sometimes elaborate them with textures and gradients using photoshop brushes or the fill tool. For my designs, I stay with small additions as I want my images to stay simple and pop. Staying simple can also lead to cleaner designs when printed on things like fabric.

Treating each image as it’s own piece is ideal, as you can later decide to implement them however you please. You can choose to make patterns, use one in a more elaborate illustration, even sell them individually as vinyl stickers in your store.

Save your newly digitized illustrations as individual files or in separate folders to keep them organized and safe from accidental edits.

To make a repeating pattern I usually take half of the little designs and arrange them in a square, I then use the offset filter. This will prepare the pattern for being tiled. I then add more images to fill in the gaps.

Save as a pattern and then take a look at your design. You can now create a larger file and then use the fill bucket pattern tool to test your pattern. Does it look good? Do you dig it? If so, you can use the images in several ways.

Optimizing Products

Go back to the original repeating pattern file and save it as a large jpeg to use on your RB products, like tote bags, A-Line dress, or anything that looks great with patterns.

You can even save out the individual files and offer them as one off t-shirt designs or stickers! One pattern can go a long way and help to create many new products.

Pro-tip: To get even more mileage out of your work, you can choose to alter the color scheme in several ways. Here I’ve chosen one that is purple, black, orange, and green to offer a more traditional Halloween image, but the I also chose to go a more pastel route as well with mint greens and peachy oranges, perfect for the pastel goths out there.

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View additional posts by Elizabeth Levesque

Elizabeth Levesque

Art student living in Philly and attending the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art. / Painter / Doodler / Avocado Eater(but not on toast)