I cannot tell you have frustrated I had become at not being able to create a HERO design up to my usual high standards; nearly all previous attempts had failed in one area or another. However, after two 1-2-1 tutorials with Matt Leighfield (A Programme/Digital Genius), I finally got to grips with the technicalities that would allow me to amalgamate my ideas, concept and designs into the beginnings of a collection.

I had been having a difficult time fathoming out how to cut out elements such as motifs and juxtapose them into a new document but can now undertake the task with ease!!

The process is really simple now that I know how:

Select the LASSO Tool > ‘Draw’ round the specific element required (making sure that the marching ants are on the move) > Drag chosen image (once opened in Photoshop) tab down a few cms > Select MOVE TOOL > Select the area within the marching ants and hold down mouse and drag into/onto the prepared document > To remove the unwanted background surrounding the chosen motif I utilised the MAGIC ERASER TOOL.

My HERO design was extremely complex to create, not only did I colour all the individual motifs by hand but I also scanned them all at 720dpi, ‘cleaned’ them all digitally which could take up to an hour or two each, and then had to measure each to create enough room and aesthetic to look mathematically accurate.

These are some of the elements I combined to create my HERO:

After 5 hours on Photoshop, I was able to create this!!! I am so incredibly proud of my design.


The background colour is #a0bfbd and the Cyanotype motifs were changed to a Hue of -25 and -70, which changed the colour from a dark blue to a rich teal and green. I may toy around the idea of putting an embossment or shadow/glow around the motifs but will ultimately decide if it adds or detracts from the design.

I wanted my HERO design to describe the story of MY CHILDHOOD GARDEN; to describe the wonderful lines, shapes, patterns, and colours of the most abundant flowers I could remember as a child.

Again, I made sure to include:

Top 3 Colours chosen to describe FEMININITY = YELLOW, PINK & PURPLE

Top 3 Colours to describe MASCULINITY = BLUE, BLACK & GREEN

I also made sure that I kept the design SIMPLISTIC and using RICH, yet SUBDUED Colours. One of the key focuses of the Busy Bloom trend was evidence of lush blooming floral corollas, which I believe I have nailed. I believe that I have poured my visual identity all over this design, whilst staying true to the core values of the brief.


I won’t lie, this project has been extremely tough for me. It has opened up a new avenue in which I thought I would never feel comfortable to work in, but as the time has gone on I realise how incredibly valuable digital technology is to me as a Textile Designer. That’s not to say that at times I have felt like throwing my Mac through the window, but fortunately coffee has seen me through.

There have been elements of my collection that I knew I wanted to use but was either scared to or unsure of how to incorporate. I decided to just ignore the thoughts of failure, putting my procrastination to one side, and just have fun with my explorative studies.

I wanted to find out what worked and what didn’t work within my collection. Initially, some of the drawings, paintings, and motifs that looked the most obvious to include, at times would be the designs that would not offer an organic and fluid pattern. Take for example the little oil painting on canvas of Peonies I created; organic, rich and kinetic, but when trying to create a reflected pattern an obvious problem presented itself.


If this pattern was to be repeated in a reflected layout the overall aesthetic of the pattern would form unsightly blocks of the flowers travelling horizontally and vertically. However, when forming this pattern I inadvertently created some incredible motifs which could be extracted via the PEN TOOL or POLYAGONAL TOOL and juxtaposed with other elements from a different design.

Next, I began working to resolve how I would incorporate my beautiful Cyanotype motifs into my collection. Looking back through my notes, and with the help of Charlie, I began to manipulate the image by removing the scanned background and creating a new coloured one. I then shrunk the original motif design via the FREE TRANSFORM TOOL and began creating both a standard and half-drop repeat pattern.


Although the colour is not which will be chosen from my collection I wanted a good initial contrast between the motif layer and that of the background. I am over the moon with this pattern, and will definitely be focusing it somewhere within my collection. My next step was to explore with scale and colour.


I chose one of the cyanotype motifs specifically as I was drawn to the shape and style. The first sample I created using a green background with the blue motif, paying particular detail to a soft colour palette and manipulating the motif opacity down to 20%. I flipped the colour palette, although not exactly, to a blue background with a green motif layer, again reducing the opacity to 55% and manipulating the motif via the Hue/Saturation slider bar. The results are beautiful, and I would be proud to include them as part of my collection.

My next step to bringing all the design elements together will be to tackle ongoing issues I have in finalising my HERO Design. However, I now feel confident to undertake this task after the wonderful Intensive Digital Workshop run by Charlie and Matt on Thursday 24th May.