Finding inspiration for drawing and carving and printing is easy however it is deciding what not to do that is hard. I have for a number of years, especially when I first started out, been quite scatter gun in my approach to work but gradually over the last 2 years my style has become me.
I am going to describe to you the process that I go through and hope that it inspires you.
Step 1: Collecting
I see things that I love everywhere. I see beauty in the most battered and run down places.
I take photographs of stuff that is too big to bring home, for example an old door, a gate post or a dead bird.
I go out running and walking everyday, always looking, always noticing the changes in the seasons.
I pick up leaves, blossom and bring it home to my studio.
Step 2: Drawing
Sometimes I draw it and other times I let it sit there for a while preferring to draw it when it is wizened and crinkly.
My drawings are usually large and I work in an A2 sketch pad. I like the size as it doesn't constrain you into drawing small.
Step 3: Pulling together colours
After I have collected a number of drawings I begin to think about putting them together. Before this I do my research into the colours that are in season and the ones for future seasons.
I do this very much in the traditional way of mood boarding by cutting up magazines and images. On different boards I group images in colour groups and then pick a few colours out of those groups. By doing this I get a really good sense of the types of designs I am going to create, as I look at textures and patterns that are trending. One of the most important things for me is that my designs have longevity.
Step 4: Creating designs
Now I have an idea about colours I pull my drawings out and select the ones that will work together. I draw 4-6 ways that I could use my illustrations in patterns. I experiment with how they will look on products, I don't do amazing drawings of them I just get a rough impression of how they may look. I think about how they would look on mugs, tea towels, aprons, notebooks and cards, then thinking about how they could be used on a greater scale for wallpaper and fabric.
Step 5: Creating the pattern
How you choose to do the next part depends on whether you want to hand print or digitally print.
I work in both mediums; preferring to hand print for placement prints on a table runner or hand print wallpaper in a block repeat.
I create a digital file through using Photoshop and manipulate the images, sometimes into a repeat, sometimes a placement print.
I have then got the freedom to use it in lots of different ways.
Here is my Woodlouse used in bone china mugs.
This is a little run through how I do it.
Use your work to tell your stories...or let me tell your stories for you.