The Illustration Friday word of the week is pattern.
I really like making patterns. Drawing the elements, arranging and interweaving them just so using tracing paper, and making it all fit and flow perfectly is my idea of a good time. I may have mentioned that I was a textile designer in a previous life? Two years of training and a year of freelancing through a studio in San Francisco. Making seasonal designs using specific colors and subjects was challenging and fun, but as it turned out, not the ultimate cup of tea for me. For one thing, there was the “working on spec.” For those of you unfamiliar, what that means is making a whole lot of work to a deadline and with specific requirements, but without pay up front and only paid if and when the design(s) sold, which was always quite ahead in the future. I suppose that could all work once one got well beyond the beginner stage and the ball was rolling, but suffice to say, it was a little rough as a start-up.
Ultimately, though, what led me away from a career in Surface Design (any art designed for a surface: textiles, rugs, paper goods, clothing, etc.) was the lack of meaning. Now, I like a pretty, well-designed thing as much as the next tastefully-inclined person, but I was seriously missing Story, and Decorative Art just didn’t fill that void for me.
In the twenty-some years since that venture, I have come to understand that Narrative Art is where my heart lies most comfortably and happily: art that tells a story, implies a message or something of that sort. My love of pattern is still very much alive and well, though, and I include it wherever I can. You may have noticed the patterns on characters’ clothing, on the rugs, borders and the interior walls of my art? The best of both worlds!
Peaceful Valley Farm Supply–cover art, circa 1985 (pen & ink)