I can't quite remember how I came upon Creative Live, but I've found it to be a terrific resource for short intensive courses. If you watch live, the courses are free, and for a reasonable amount you can pay to have unlimited on-demand access to the videos.
The first course I took was "Design Surface Patterns From Scratch with Bonnie Christine". There are 38 videos that walk you through all the phases of creating a pattern collection, from sources of inspiration, through working in Illustrator and finally putting patterns into repeat. There are also guest experts: Attorney Annie Tunheim talks about legal issues around copyright, trademark and licensing and Stephen Fraser from Spoonflower talks about the company's printing services. I found myself taking copious notes during Annie Tunheim's interview and I've filed her contact info, hoping to need it one day soon!
I was especially intrigued by Bonnie's use of the blob brush in Illustrator as a drawing tool. I used the technique to come up with one of the prints in the collection I created in the course, which I'm showing below in the early stages, knowing it needs considerable refinement.
I became rather enamored of the technique and spent a good three weeks photographing and drawing flowers, another eye-opener for me as I never would have believed flowers could be engaging prior to learning this technique and needing a way to practice.
I got a bit carried away, and began blob brushing whenever I needed an excuse to not do what I was meant to be doing. In the midst of this binge I had an email from someone lamenting that a blog post I'd done in 2008 with a list of blanket and afghan sizes wasn't easily printable.
As a long time knitter, crocheter, quilter and general maker of things I'd found myself constantly searching the internet for information on sizes of beds, blankets, etc. when designing projects. I decided to compile all the info I found into a single blog post so that I could remember where I'd left the info and could easily find it. It was in a simple list format, and ended up being the most popular page on my blog.
Recently, as I've been designing fabrics for interior design projects I've found myself going back to the list. After receiving the email about the list not being printable, learning new techniques from Bonnie and noticing that 65,000+ people had viewed the blog post, I decided to create a printable graphic with the info.
It's my first attempt at illustrating an info-graphic, which ended up requiring a lot more thinking and planning than I would have guessed. I re-researched the numbers to confirm they were correct, and, just as before, found a ridiculous variety of answers (which explains why some of my sheets fit perfectly, some are baggy and some require the strength of Tarzan to tug over the mattress).
I've never taken a graphic design class or done hand lettering, and this project made me realize how helpful that would be to learn.
But, here it is for you in a downloadable format to save to your computer or pin in your work space. I've been using the numbers for six years now so feel confident that they work. But everybody's different, so please comment below if you've found measurements that work better or differently for you.
After the Creative Live course Bonnie set up a facebook page where students can share their work.
Bonnie also set up this blog hop so that we can all get to know each other a bit more, and I'm the last blogger. It's been a great hop. Thanks to everybody who participated, and especially to Bonnie Christine who in addition to a super class put together the facebook group and this blog hop.