IS DIGITAL​ TECHNOLOGY MY KRYPTONITE?

Although I have really tried my best to learn the core structure of Photoshop, I have hit a brick wall. The anxiety at not having created any Collection Moodboards is creating a type of fog that I am finding nigh on impossible to break through. Seeing all of my classmates produce board after board of progressive collections has almost made me retreat inside myself; feelings of failure and inadequacy are now commonplace throughout my day. Is Digital Technology my Kryptonite?

I have decided to go back to some of the SKILLSHARE tutorials and try to learn from the ground up again. The first tutorial I am undertaking is ‘DIGITIZE YOUR WATERCOLOURS: Getting Started With Photoshop’ by Anne Butera.

Anne recommends the DPI to be set to 720, not 300. By scanning at a higher resolution the image can be scaled up without losing any of its integrity.

I also discovered the benefit of using the MARQUEE TOOL to crop the chosen scanned image. Previously I have had issues removing more than one type of background when manipulating the image in Photoshop but can now see the advantage of cropping down the design.

The LASSO Tool is also an invaluable tool in a Designers’ arsenal; its a great way to ‘cut out’ individual areas of a design/image.

The MAGIC WAND Tool is also a fantastic way to remove unwanted areas and keep specific elements of design. The ERASER TOOL can then be employed to remove all the small little discrepancies that the MAGIC WAND Tool had failed to remove. A fantastic way to make sure that there are no discrepancies left is to create a NEW FILL LAYER with SOLID COLOUR, ideally choosing Black. This new layer needs to go behind the design/motif to expose any marks etc that have been left. I then used the ERASER TOOL in Black to remove these elements. The NEW FILL LAYER can then be deleted!!!

Firstly I worked my way through Anne’s ‘How to Create A Repeat Pattern’, which simplified the process of creating a ‘perfect’ repeat tile. This tile could then be duplicated to create a perfect repeat. Yes, my repeat is rather simple, but I now understand the core ingredients of this wondrous technique.

 

RepeatPracticeTile

PracticeTile

I then followed Annes’s instructions to scan other designs/motifs through the scanner @ 720dpi, used the MOVE TOOL to arrange in my desired location, and the FREE TRANSFORM TOOL to alter and set the scale.

roserepeat

This was the result of incorporating some of my favourite elements from different designs and amalgamating them together. I am so proud of this design!!! I absolutely love the contrast of the B+W against the subtle yellow, orange, gold and green. Does it need a colour in the background? I did try to add a colour background, but unfortunately, there are gaps in the lines of the larger rose, meaning the background fill leaks into the rose. Going forward, I will endeavour to use the pen/brush tool to link up these open lines.

Thanks to the additional tutorial by Anne I was able to spend the day both learning and practising on Photoshop simultaneously. I won’t lie, the time it takes to properly edit and manipulate the images to my standard took hours!!! However, through trial and error, I was able to edit all my designs/motifs and create one document layered with each individual element.

ChosenDesignMotifs_May18

This was my first attempt at a preliminary idea for my HERY Design, albeit not quite finished, and I will admit I am rather proud of it. I will add many other motifs and design elements to this idea but first wanted to see if I actually could create a digital design.

ChosenDesignMotifs_May18(2)

Next, I applied a little colour, which I think has brought the design to life!! This design has been completed on an A3 Print Document in Photoshop and will allow a perfect repeat as a tile. The results of my Market Research Survey have played a massive role in my design process, staying true to what my demographic wanted. The colours are specific to what my client base wants and the DESIGN and COLOUR have been purposefully chosen to create a SIMPLISTIC and GENDER NEUTRAL design.

ChosenDesignMotifs_May18(3)

A half-drop pattern was added to the design, and I absolutely love it. I also have made a note of the colour of the background, specifically the numerical value. Making a note of the colour is extremely important, not only will it allow me to remember the specific colour, but will also allow me to create a colour bank for future projects. Watch this space to find out how the design progresses………

 

TIMOROUS BEASTIES INFLUENCE

If I were to choose my current favourite design company it would have to be TIMOROUS BEASTIES. How did I find out about this company? It was actually my Damask bedspread that led me to TB. I have always been fascinated by the symmetrical and repeat patterns of Damask wallpaper/fabric, so a quick search on the internet for Damask and Textile Design came up with the goldmine that is this innovative and forward-thinking design company.

Why do I love this company so much? Here are a few reasons why……

(Clockwise) Beasties, T. (2017) Damsel Damask, Omni Splat, Butterfly Blurr & Grand Blotch Damask. Available at: http://www.timorousbeasties.com/shop/wallcoverings/ (Accessed: 14 May 2018)

The contemporary use of design and colour is spectacular!!! Whilst undertaking this current project at Uni, I have begun to comprehend the subtle complexities of creating a repeat pattern for the Interiors market; something I am 100% sure I would want my own designs to be available for.

‘Our Product is highly crafted and designed. It’s always quality first’ Timorous Beasties

The sheer attention to detail resonates so strongly with my own core values as a designer. I think that having OCD has actually been both a help and hindrance within my creative practice; a help in being meticulous about what I include as part of my creative output, and hindrance due to my procrastinating and always trying to make sure everything is perfect.

The designs of Timorous Beasties have allowed me to accept that I am not perfect and that these imperfections can be utilised as a strength within my designs.

Having struggled with the repeat element and to incorporate all of my ideas I decided to undertake a back-to-to basics approach in creating ideas within my sketchbook, which will ultimately be transferred to Photoshop and manipulated digitally.

I am really proud of my ideas and will spend the next couple of days really honing the concept.

IMAG0919IMAG0915

A natural progression from a more traditional style of a hand-drawn collage bouquet to that of a reflected contemporary design, influenced by Timorous Beasties.

IMAG0920IMAG0917

Utilising my strengths, specifically observational studies fused with collage, painting and drawing, I began to expand my idea of using specific elements to amalgamate into a cohesive and fully rounded design. Yes, there are still areas I need to work into and complete, but I now have a strong concept of what my final collection will look like.

WATCH THIS SPACE…….

JOURNAL RESEARCH: SELVEDGE ISSUE 82/MAY 2018

This issue is rather a fascinating read, it’s primary subject focus matter is LACE. I have never really been too aware or that interested in LACE, but a recent trip to Nottingham for an interview to continue my studies in Textile Design has exposed me to the exquisite craftsmanship required to design and create this amazing fabric.

Due to the industrialised processes of machine-made lace as early as the 19th Century, the skilled labour of the hand began to be replaced by the machine. The material itself symbolises specific occasions through a life, especially in context with underwear, marriage, and birth. Lace signifies heritage and significance to wealth and tradition.

The ‘Silhouettes en Dentelle – Series 1’, a collaboration between Mal Burkinshaw and lace extraordinaire Sophie Hallette questioned the absence of the individual who may inhabit the lace garments. What type of body shape would fit inside? The underlying concept of the series was to decode specific figure aesthetics and bring to the forefront some of the negative body issues highlighted, especially within today’s fashion industry.

content_c11-Image--by-Stuart-Munro.-Tailored-Jacket-with-Sophie-Hallette-Lace_-designed-by-Mal-Burkinshaw

Burkinshaw, M. and Halette, S (2013-14) Silhouettes en Dentelle – Series 1 (Photograph) In Leonard, P. (2018) ‘BLACK HOLES: The Exploration of Absence’, Selvedge Magazine, 82(May 2018), p. 51

When I began my reading journey through this magazine, I first noticed an incredible little advert by a company called TWOFOLD: Textiles & Travel, specifically aimed at a working tour and creative retreat in Mexico.

http://www.twofoldtravel.com

IMG_5255

I have always had a desire to fuse travel with creative learning, but have never quite know where to source such an adventure. Thanks to Selvedge I now have access to this incredible resource and am seriously considering undertaking this once in a lifetime escapade.

You could imagine my surprise when I found a similar company advertising a Fair Trade Textile/Folk Art/Market Tour 22 day working Tour over Peru. The tour would incorporate Tapestry Weaving, Knitting, Hand Embroidery, Braiding Natural Dyes and Gourd Carving, which to me would be 22 days of sheer heaven!!!I have always wanted to travel South America, and again thanks to Selvedge I have access to another wonderful resource, hopefully expanding upon my existing knowledge and creative practice.

http://www.puchkaperu.com

Maximo-Laura-Puchka-Peru

‘DRAWN THREAD WORK: Lace structure Architectural Design’. No sooner had I turned the page I became transfixed by the beautiful contrast between the textural and patterned elements between the textiles and the structural solid elements of the architecture. Although not a new phenomenon, as this relationship is millennia old; the tradition of portable civilisations throughout history has always been a marriage of sorts. The use of certain fabric, and pattern of textiles can give a new context to the buildings they have been designed in unison with. The purpose of this marriage is to create a new tactile identity, something which can be a source of inspiration in breaking the connotation that lace is just for fashion.

 

St John, C. (2009) Nottingham Contemporary. Available at: https://nottinghamcontemporary.org/about-us (Accessed 7 May 2018)

I am so excited to be moving to and studying in Nottingham!! The amount of possible creative explorative adventures is incredible. I aim to visit Nottingham Contemporary Art Gallery/Building as soon as I move up there.

PHOTOSHOP (4) (MEG LEWIS) COLOUR, SWATCHES, BLENDING, FILTERS & BRUSHES

I made the conscious effort to skip PHOTOSHOP (3);  the tutorial was far more focused on Web Design and not towards my area of study…DIGITAL DESIGN for TEXTILES.

Going forward, I have decided to make a note of the numerical value of a favourite/specifically chosen colour within the CMYK range. This will make replicating the colour for future endeavours really easy. Clicking on the Foreground/Background Tool will make the Colour Picker Tool to pop-up, allowing the choice of colour.

SWATCHES

Wow!!! I knew that this tool would be beneficial eventually to my ongoing creative projects, but found that it can be super useful for my current project. Firstly, select the SWATCHES Tab, which can be found at the top right of the Photoshop screen. Creating a SWATCH LIBRARY is incredibly easy; click on Foreground/Background Tool, which will pop-up the Colour Picker Tool. Simply choose the specified colour for the particular brief you are working on, and press ADD TO SWATCHES.

Screen Shot 2018-05-08 at 11.30.26Screen Shot 2018-05-08 at 11.32.12

I find it particularly useful to rename the colour, to avoid confusion if using at a later date. The colour will now be available in MY LIBRARY, meaning it will now be available to access anytime.

I disovered that I could remove the pre-populated (Default) Colour Swatches and replace them with my own. This feature will be invaluable for my professional career; I can create a range of individual colour schemes for different clients without bulking the palettes together.

By clicking on the tab in the top right corner of the Colour/Swatches Window I found a  menu with many options appeared. I scrolled down to PRESET MANAGER, which caused the PRESET box to appear. By holding down SHIFT and selecting the colours I didn’t want, I selected the DELETE button, removing all the unwanted palette.

Say for example I was working on a brief for John Lewis, who stipulated that they wanted a Yellow Floral Colour scheme for a Spring/Summer collection. Now that I had removed all the unwanted colour swatches I could now create my own.

The wonderful aspect of being able to save this specific palette for a specific client will allow me to have a clutter-free and tailored palette at the ready should I need it.

If I wanted to reintroduce the Default Colour Swatches back I would simply click on the top right tab, scroll down to RESET SWATCHES and select OK to replace current swatches with the default colours.

BLENDING MODES, OPACITY & TRANSPARENCY

Application to apply overlay in interesting and specific ways. I began by choosing to create a Rectangle via the RECTANGLE TOOL and renaming it to avoid future confusion. Secondly, I created a NEW LAYER and also created a second Rectangle (overlapping), which was also renamed.

The Blending Mode option can be found within the LAYER section described as NORMAL in the drop-down menu. After allowing myself a few minutes to explore the individual modes, I decided to choose MULTIPLY; a fantastic mode allowing the exact fusion of the two colours.

I played around with the OPACITY; the translucency was dictated by decreasing the percentage via the scrollbar. Although similar to the Opacity tool, the FILL tool could only be demonstrated by applying a border (STROKE) to the second shape.

Screen Shot 2018-05-08 at 14.34.17

The difference between toggling the Opacity and Fill tool is that the Opacity will alter both the border and fill of the shape/design/image, and the Fill will only alter the fill of the shape/design/image, leaving the border unchanged. This could be a really helpful tool/application when looking at my current/future designs.

FILTERS

The majority that I explored really isn’t appropriate for the type of design I undertake. However, I did find a few which may have merit.

The FILTER option is accessed via the FILTER tab, and in the first instance, I decided to choose STYLIZE: EMBOSS. I was really surprised to see how interesting and abstract my design became. I actually really like the EMBOSS mode.

The CRYSTALIZE tool was equally as interesting; I actually played around with the Cell Size, to find that the design looked better somewhere within a median range rather than that of a small or large selection.

Last, but not least was the OIL PAINT mode. I really loved this application and could happily see it being used within some of my digital designs. There are 4 individual elements to explore; Stylization, Cleanliness, Scale & Bristle Detail. The overall effect was really subtle but created a wonderfully painterly effect to what was originally a stylised observational pen study.

BRUSHES

An incredible tool to manipulate, add or extend my own designs. The BRUSH mode can be accessed through the WINDOW tab and scrolling down to Brush Settings. The Brush Settings menu will pop-up, but will be greyed out. I simply pressed the letter B, and hey presto I am able to access all these wonderful features.

I must have spent around 20minutes just exploring the settings. The possibilities are endless within this feature, and this is something I am going to exploit when I have more time. Some of the effects that I have shown interest towards are as follows:

(Clockwise) I fell in love with this bold and highly textural ‘split-brush’ (306) tip effect, and strangely enough, the effect resembles the foliage and leaves of some of the flowers I have been trying to capture. Could I use this tool to help with some of the motif elements? The second effect (284) would be an incredible way to create a varied and textural background, not to mention its striking resemblance to the patterns found on some birds eggs. Finally, I love how this effect (60) can be built up to create depth and structure. Could this be used as a wonderful way to create the patterns and shapes of a tree? Exciting times.

Screen Shot 2018-05-08 at 17.30.53.png

An exploration of Scale, Spacing, Colour, Smoothing, Texturisation, and Brushstrokes.

Always create a new layer when using a new/different brush; quicker to remedy a problem on one single layer rather than altogether.

JOURNAL RESEARCH: ELLE DECORATION ISSUE 310/JUNE 18″

Like I have said in previous posts, I believe that subscribing to numerous different sources i.e magazines, journals and online forums allows me to be always on the current pulse of design trends and future forecasts.

Today, I have come across 3 articles/adverts within ELLE DECORATION:

img102

Mengham, Z, and Caselio (2018) Surfaces & The Pink Jungle (Article) In Spriggs, B. (2018) ‘Decorating’, ELLE DECORATION, 310 (June 18′), p. 49.

As soon as saw this article I knew that it would allow me to take inspiration into my own Creative Practice. Take for example the beautiful ‘Spring Green’ leaf foliage; the way that each groove and indentation is captured creates a truly beautiful fluidity, only created by the ability to practice and constantly observe.

What have I learned from the digital element of this project? Individual studies/drawings/prints/stitch samples can all be manipulated to create one cohesive design……MAGIC. The possibilities of design are simply endless, which makes me incredibly excited at what the future holds for me as a designer.

Jesmonite is apparently the material of the moment, and I can see why!! The subtleties of the patterns and shapes within the production could be transferred fantastically to motifs when looking for inspiration for a new collection. The individual marks remind me of a smorgasbord of delicate and intricately placed tiny flowers.

MINEHEART

“We believe that the objects we surround ourselves with every day should be more than just functional, they should be made of stories, love, art, and poetry in order to meaningfully exist…” 

img103

Battaglia, V, and Young, B. (2018) Delft Baroque Wallpaper and Persian Wallpaper  (Article) In Spriggs, B. (2018) ‘Mineheart’, ELLE DECORATION, 310 (May 18′), p. 57

I was instantly drawn to the simplicity and colour palette of this company, and feel the toned down soft monochromes create a really strong and brand assured aesthetic. I was even more impressed to find one of their core beliefs to be ‘ignore whether something is commercial or not and just go with your gut’, which resonated with me on both a personal and professional basis; if I followed each and every single trend that was and will be, it would constrain me to a life of not being able to discover who I am as a designer and individual. Don’t get me wrong it is imperative to keep up to date with current trends, but it’s equally as important to create a vision/concept of your own.

I absolutely adore how these designs adopt a REFLECTED layout, which is something I have discovered could well be a core part of my brand and aesthetic. This is something I am currently trying to learn within Photoshop……wish me luck.

img104

Morris, W. (1915) ‘Nympheus’ by GP & J Baker (Article) In Spriggs, E. (2018) ‘Fine Print’, ELLE DECORATION, 310 (May 18′), p. 194.

GP & J BAKER!! What’s not to love about this company, their designs are incredible. Although not that overkeen on the colour palette, I adore the simplicity and juxtaposition of so many cohesive motifs and larger designs. This is storytelling at it’s finest, something I have to be aware to keep throughout my collection.

Reading this issue of ELLE DECORATION has reignited the passion for some of the ideas that I had placed on a backburner. Take to get cooking.

PHOTOSHOP (2) (MEG LEWIS) LAYER ADJUSTMENT, LAYER STYLES, TRANSFORM & CROPPIN

Seeing how fantastic PHOTOSHOP (1) was, it would be silly of me not to advance my knowledge within this incredible digital tool. What will I be learning today?

LAYER ADJUSTMENTS

‘The Adjustment Layers in Photoshop are a group of a super useful, non-destructive image editing tools that add color and tonal adjustments to your image without permanently changing its pixels. With the adjustment layers, you can edit and discard your adjustments or restore your original image at any time’.

My initial favourite, and LA that I would consider using within my own work are:

HUE & SATURATION – Exactly as described. Allows the user to manipulate colour.

Screen Shot 2018-05-06 at 21.29.32Screen Shot 2018-05-06 at 21.33.32

Anything under the chosen Adjustment Layer will benefit from the manipulation of chosen Adjustment Layer. The COLOURISE box, when ticked, will allow the image to be manipulated to the exact colour on the Hue Slider Bar, and the saturation can be decreased or increased to individual preference.

VIBRANCE – Wonderful tool to add that little extra to the image, design or photo. Gives vibrancy to shape, pattern, colour, and line.

Screen Shot 2018-05-06 at 22.08.23Screen Shot 2018-05-06 at 21.42.25

Vibrancy can be decreased and increased to individual preference.

PHOTO FILTER – I found this tool a really useful addition to my digital arsenal. Not only can it create a warmer/cooler tone to the chosen image, but can also be manipulated to a custom colour of my choice too.

Screen Shot 2018-05-06 at 21.45.02Screen Shot 2018-05-06 at 21.46.02

The PRESERVE LUMINOSITY box should be kept ticked to maintain the integrity of the image and not saturate the image with the chosen colour.

INVERT – Turns all the colours to their polar opposites. I actually think this may be a really great tool when creating some otherworldy designs for future projects.

Screen Shot 2018-05-06 at 21.48.26

LAYER STYLES

‘A layer style is one or more effects applied to a layer or layer group. You can apply one of the preset styles provided with Photoshop or create a custom style using the Layer Style dialog box. The layer effects icon appears to the right of the layer’s name in the Layers panel’.

By undertaking these Photoshop tutorials I am beginning to understand how integral this digital is to my ongoing creative journey. Not only is it opening my mind to the endless possibilities of what I can achieve digitally, but more importantly what I can do creatively.

To create a copy of chosen layer, drag existing layer to the CREATE NEW LAYER (Half-Moon) tab within the LAYERS window. To add a new LAYER STYLE, double-click on the far right corner of the highlighted LAYER box (away from the text).

Colour Overlay – 3 settings: Blend Mode, Color, and Opacity.

Screen Shot 2018-05-06 at 22.18.28Screen Shot 2018-05-07 at 09.48.40

The Blend Mode allows you to set the blending mode for your Color Overlay, while the color box allows you to choose the Colour. The Opacity Mode; smaller number here makes your Colour Overlay more transparent, while a higher number gives a stronger effect.

Incredibly useful tool for design. Some of my favourites are:

Screen Shot 2018-05-06 at 22.28.32Screen Shot 2018-05-06 at 22.28.46Screen Shot 2018-05-06 at 22.28.59Screen Shot 2018-05-06 at 22.31.21Screen Shot 2018-05-06 at 22.30.12Screen Shot 2018-05-06 at 22.29.19Screen Shot 2018-05-06 at 22.29.46Screen Shot 2018-05-06 at 22.30.22

I am really excited to attempt applying some of these LS to my own work. The Opacity should ideally be set to 0% before attempting to apply any of the LS, and gradually increased to suit individual preferences.

Stroke – The LS which will create a border around your chosen image, design or shape. I chose this tutorial element due to it’s possible importance within my upcoming design collection.

To start with I deleted the Copy Layer, created a New Fill or Adjustment Layer (Choosing a SOLID COLOUR, White Background), renamed the layer to the desired title, created a New Layer, and created a Shape (Perfect Circle).

To apply this new LAYER STYLE (Stroke), double-click desired layer to the right of the text. This will border the chosen layer only. The size slider bar will allow the thickness of border to increase or decrease respectively.

Fantastically, the border colour can also be changed!! Not only that but the opacity of the border can be increased or decreased also. This can prove to be extremely useful when showcasing a background layer, allowing the image/design to peer through the translucency. To remove the White Background simply click on the eye symbol and the desired/chosen image/design will appear. By clicking V or the MOVE TOOL, the shape can now be placed anywhere within the layer.

Each online tutorial is allowing me to grow in confidence when using Photoshop, but not only that I am storing a bank of information that can be called upon for future projects.

TRANSFORM

Probably one of the most utilsed and useful tools within Photoshop.

CMD&T = Transform. I selected a file of my choice by selecting the EDIT tab and scrolling down to FILE EMBEDDED option.

Next, selecting the FILE tab I scrolled down to the TRANSFORM option and chose FLIP HORIZONTAL from the sub-menu.

Screen Shot 2018-05-07 at 13.17.03Screen Shot 2018-05-07 at 13.17.12

I had been trying to suss this out for about a week prior to this tutorial, and now I feel confident in applying the same principle to my Hero design, incorporating a REFLECTED Layout.

Screen Shot 2018-05-07 at 13.16.43Screen Shot 2018-05-07 at 13.17.22

That is how simple it is to horizontally flip the image; would be silly not to try the FLIP VERTICAL option.

I have been struggling to make use of this incredibly textural design of my own, but thanks to this specific tutorial I am able to connect the dots and hopefully create a truly stunning design.

I can even use the FREE TRANSFORM tool to rotate the image!! Hold down the SHIFT key to rotate the image to equal angles and preset factors. If image/design needs only a small rotation then the SHIFT key is not a necessary function.

Exciting times lie ahead.

JOHN LEWIS/PATTERNITY – ‘HOW THE LANGUAGE OF PATTERN CAN BENEFIT YOUR MOOD’

I happened to come across a fantastic online article from HOUSE BEAUTIFUL (I subscribe to the magazine) documenting the power of pattern, and it’s ability to convey through it’s own language, to benefit our mood.

anna-and-grace-patternity-1523372199

Murray, A & Winteringham, G. (2018) Patternity. Available at: https://www.housebeautiful.com/uk/lifestyle/a19732453/language-of-pattern-benefit-mood-patternity/ (Accessed 25th April)

I also noticed that the line was created specifically for JOHN LEWIS, my client. This got me thinking about how important individual elements such as mark making and motifs will be within my own collection. Not only do I want to convey a sense of gender neutrality within my work, but I would also like to create a sense of enlightenment and positivity for my customers; it’s okay to be different.

Granted, the designs of ANNA MURRAY and GRACE WINTERINGHAM are monochromatic, but I feel that pattern is universal and can communicate within any colour.

Having had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for 11 years I believe that if I can incorporate all these feelings of enlightenment and positivity within my work, maybe I can help others through the power of pattern too.