Creating a pattern collection can be overwhelming! Trust me, I’ve been there. It can be daunting to think about all the patterns that you need to create to make a single collection. But hopefully, with these quick tips, you might find some encouragement in seeing that it doesn’t have to be complicated! So without further ado, here are my 3 top tips to make your next collection stand out from the crowd.
#1 : Create Storytelling
One of the things that I can’t say enough about pattern collections is to make sure that it tells a story. When it comes to patterns, a lot of artists tend to draw very similar patterns to other artists, which makes it harder to stand out from the crowd. And while there is absolutely nothing wrong with having more generic patterns, if you plan on licensing your work, you want to think about why a company would want to license YOUR floral pattern vs another artist’s.
Storytelling doesn’t have to be complicated to be interesting. If you create a collection, you could decide to illustrate floral patterns that are found in the countryside. Maybe you think about the wildlife and nature that you see every day when you go on your morning walk in the forest with your dog, or the last holiday that you had in Europe. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but a common thread throughout the collection will avoid confusion about what the collection is about and will tell a story through your patterns.
#2 : Make Your Supporting Patterns Interesting too
Coordinates, meaning the simpler patterns that will complement your main pattern (also called a hero pattern), are crucial to make sure that your collection work as a whole. When designing your collection, keep in mind the quilters that might buy several of your patterns to make one unified quilt. Everything needs to work together, but at the same time, coordinates that are too simple might weaken your collection.
While gingham and polka dots are great patterns to accompany your hero print, try and see if you can instead come up with something that is more interesting and tied to your specific collection. When licensing with companies, patterns that are too simple will often be designed in house, meaning that it’s less likely that the company will want to license a very simple design like this if they can do it themselves.
When designing for my collections, I try and take elements that blend into the background in my hero print and make them the new hero of the coordinate pattern!
In this example from my collection Sky Adventures, I took the cat pirates that were very small in my hero pattern and made them the hero of this new pattern!
#3 : Stay True to Your Own Artistic Voice
In the overwhelming amount of content that can be found on social media, it’s easy to get lost and discouraged and lose your voice as an artist. Oftentimes, I will see great patterns and think “I want to draw like that!” And while inspiration is one of the foundations of art making, it can also mean that your purpose as an artist slowly slips away from you. Every time I create a new collection, I try and remember what my goal as an artist is. Why am I creating patterns? What do I try to achieve with my collections? What inspires me daily?
It doesn’t have to groundbreaking. When I speak of purpose, I don’t mean that you need to tackle the great injustice in this world (although if you feel the need to, go for it!)
Inspiration can simply be about the landscapes around you. Maybe you like bright and colorful clothes, and you want to incorporate this into your art style.
For me, I love bringing my children’s illustration background into my patterns. I create a blend between traditional and stylized art. And I love whimsical elements, animals and nature, which you can see in a lot of my patterns!
With an abundance of designers all around the world, make sure to remember that there is only one YOU. Your voice is unique and deserves to be heard. Remember what sparks your imagination, what you thrive for. And bring your art to life through it, how can you tell the same story with your own unique voice?
And that’s it for this month’s nugget of wisdom! I hope this can help you in your next creative endeavours. If you found this helpful, please let me know in the comments down below. And if you think a friend could do with a little boost, please share this blog article with them.
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See you soon!