I spent hours sketching and developing new patterns this weekend, which was such a treat. Normally I use sumi ink, hand carved rubber stamps, or my brush pens to sketch pattern ideas (you can see a glimpse into my sketchbook here), but this time I brought out my watercolors and spent an afternoon painting. I’ve really been drawn to blues and greens lately, especially this dark teal color… something I might return to in the Spring.
It’s been an exciting few weeks around here, getting everything for the fall/winter collection finalized. But there have been moments of frustration, too, as I struggled to curate my sketchbook full of new patterns down to just a few new design to add to the mix.
I’ve talked a little bit before about how paralyzing it can be to have too many choices. Well, it was the same story all over again as I tried to curate my collection down to the patterns I loved most. After spending the summer developing so many new patterns, it was really tough to narrow it down to my top four. Mostly I just felt disappointed that some of my favorite patterns would not be used, at least not for this collection. It occurred to me that I could share a few of them here, so they wouldn’t go to waste!
I don’t think of these patterns so much as rejects, but as patterns I may return to later. Now that I’ve seen all the new work in it’s final stages, I’m not quite so bummed out about these unused patterns. It’s inevitable that I won’t be able to execute some projects, so I need to practice letting things go. To all you creative readers out there: do you ever feel disappointed about creative projects that don’t come to fruition?
I have been debating whether to share pages from my sketchbook for a while, ever since I promised to share the behind the scenes of Cotton & Flax, even the not so glamorous stuff. The thing is, I feel like I have a very warped perspective of what an artist’s sketchbook is supposed to look like. I would see beautiful sketchbooks on Book By Its Cover and think, “Is that what my sketchbook should look like?! Those sketchbooks look so perfect, filled with lots of finished drawings and paintings!” I started to feel bad that my sketchbooks almost never feature any finely polished drawings.
For me, the sketchbook is where I work out “problems.” Where I develop new ideas and practice new techniques. I allow myself to be weird and messy in my sketchbook because it frees me to work without worry. It might not always be pretty to look at, but I look at my sketchbook less as an art piece in and of itself, and more as a tool that I use to create my own art.
Ultimately, I wanted to share these pages to erase any doubt that my designs just pop into my head as finished patterns. It takes me quite a while to develop the final patterns, and my sketchbook is a huge part of that process. Do you keep a sketchbook? Do you share it with anyone? Would love to hear what my creative readers use their notebooks for!
August was a busy month at Cotton & Flax! As I prepare for the launch of the Fall/Winter line later this month, I have been working diligently to create a new set of patterns to add to the Cotton & Flax collection. You may have seen me posting some in progress shots of my patterns on Instagram (I’m
@erin_dollar (edit: make that @cottonandflax) in case you want to follow me!). When I am developing patterns, I spend a lot of time drawing in my sketchbook, creating hand carved stamps to try out new shapes, and scanning and editing those patterns in Photoshop.
In the next couple weeks, I hope to share a little video showing some of my drawing process for these patterns, but until then, I hope you enjoyed this little sneak peek into how these patterns come to life.