Block Printing/Design

Drawing & Digitizing: Deer

November 4, 2014

So to continue on with my previous post about some sketches I did while learning all about white-tail deer, I decided to share more of the process of how I like to digitize drawings and make repeats for Spoonflower. Because why not share, right? Besides, I want the practice and the proof of work from start to finish. I just started getting serious about pattern design and learning Illustrator about six months ago, so hopefully I’ll be able to look back at this post in a year and laugh at how far I’ve come. Ha!


If you’re really interested in the step-by-step details of what it takes to do this kind of design work, there are two classes that will teach you everything you need to know: Bonnie’s intensive workshop on CreativeLive, and Elizabeth’s class on Skill Share – just thought I’d mention that.

William set me up with a make-shift desktop work area since my laptop probably caused 85% of my tendinitis issues. I’m finally starting to feel some improvement in my wrists since making this switch. Duh me, I know. Anyone who has a real office space will facepalm when I admit I used to do 8 hours of work, at a laptop, usually in bed, usually with a cat and a dog under or over each arm… I know. Not the smartest thing. But anyways…


So I took a picture of my sketchbook page and traced over it with my iPad to make my drawings into a vector image. Then I just started playing around with each little motif in Illustrator to create the elements for my pattern. Having little bits and pieces of pattern strung about all over my Artboard is one of my favorite things. It’s like a mix between a digital interactive coloring book and a jigsaw puzzle. So fun!


After several hours of messing with the pattern placement I finally came to a tile layout I was happy with. Like Elizabeth Olwen teaches in her class, I really tried to pay attention to pattern flow and movement. It was also important to me to make sure the pattern was non-directional. Since Spoonflower fabric is a bit pricey, I wanted to make the most of what you pay for.


Then I made some quick line drawings of things that might look good with my deer pattern on it: a dress, a phone case, wrapping paper, etc. I just uploaded the pattern to Spoonflower last night and bought some fabric AND some satin gift wrap! As soon as I get my order, I’ll be able to make this little deer print available to everyone. I’m thinking of calling it Deerly Beloved. …or maybe Jane Doe. Naturally it needs a cutesy name with some kind of deer pun. You better believe I’ll be sharing a deer-y dress and matching wrapped present as soon as I possibly can (hopefully in time for my birthday on the 19th)!

Oh, I should probably also mention, I launched a Holiday Pop-Up Shop! I’m trying to clear out some of my stash, as well as some craft fair items I made ages ago (back when I was still living in Vermont. Sheesh!). I’ll be adding more stuff to the shop this week, but once the items are gone they will not be re-made! Except for the stickers. I’d like to keep making those 🙂

Thanks for reading! Don’t worry, I’ll be back to actual sewing soon…