Manga inspired

I don’t know where Andrea from Anchobee gets her ideas from, but recently the challenge was to include some aspect of Manga drawing in a design. You can see the showcase of work submitted for this challenge here.

To me, Manga drawing is about character drawing – not something I have done much of. And as for the style, the eyes and face seem to be the strongest and most obvious features. So I decided to draw Piran my labradoodle. Fortunately I found a book on Manga drawing left behind in my eldest son’s bedroom. It took several pages of drawings before I was happy with Piran’s face. Some of the key features I tried to include were:

  • Rounded face
  • Eyes relatively low on the face, larger than normal and widely spaced.
  • Several ‘eye shines’ in the eyes

So here is my drawing, which was originally worked in pen and then scanned in to Photoshop and Illustrator.

Piran and the SockAnd just in case anyone thinks that he looks too innocent to be a sock thief, I would like to present this photo as evidence:Piran-evidence



After a summer break, Andrea from Anchobee Designs has returned with her weekly design challenges. Anyone can take part is these. And if you just want to use it as a starting point, or if life gets in the way of you completing it, it really doesn’t matter – you don’t have to send your design in to be included in the showcase.

This week the theme was ‘ferns’. In an ideal world it would have been nice to have done some hands-on printing, but on a very wet Saturday afternoon drawing and Illustrator had to suffice. I actually drew several different ferns, and still have ideas to work further on.  But my design became quite graphic and almost geometric. It seems to me to have a mid-century feel to it with the organic shapes. So what would it be for? My initial thought was interiors – a lampshade or cushions maybe. Or a towel or rug (probably inspired by the proportions of the art board I was using). But I think it might also work for fashion or accessories by changing the scale. What do you think?

I have included three colourways all using the same selection of colours.

Colourways 1

Colourways 2

Colourways 3



Looking back, I seem to have done quite a few floral designs so far this year. While it’s true that they often have geometric elements to them, it is still unusual for me to design florals. So here is another floral design!

The challenge from Anchobee was to create a design based on magnolias. And, coincidentally, there was a Tigerprint competition to design floral gift wrap. So I decided to join the challenges together.

A few years ago we stayed in Shalford in Essex. The garden opposite our cottage had a lovely white flowering bush that I photographed. It wasn’t until earlier this year I discovered that it was a type of magnolia. I thought all magnolias were huge trees with majestic goblet-shaped flowers, nothing like my photograph:

Magnolias in Shalford

My first influence was the paper cut-outs of Matisse. I have been doing a course on paper (thank you Majo) which included collage, and would love to see the exhibition at Tate Modern.  But for now I am just enjoying looking at the exhibition book. Inspired by this I created looser cut-out flower shapes to work with rather than accurate realistic flower shapes.

The next influence was spring/summer 2015 trends, as the Tigerprint competition had to reference these.  One of the trends identified by Stylesight for this season is ‘Impulse’ – quite graphic, retro, sugary, pop art, California style. Looking at some of the images I remembered seeing prints of David Hockney’s that were stylised flowers. Hockney (and other pop artists) also used a lot of collage, and so my ideas started to crystallise.

This final piece is actually a 150mm x 150mm block repeat tile, although a larger repeated area is shown here.


Unfortunately this story has a sad ending. I actually created three designs for this Tigerprint competition, but was unable to upload them due to a problem with the website. Although sad at that, I am really pleased with the outcomes and with the the new techniques that I learnt from the exercise.



This week Andrea from Anchobee challenged us to create a design inspired by shells. But …. the technique used had to be new to (or rarely used by) us!

I toyed with a few ideas – collage? mono printing? painting? But then as I was organising some computer files I found a tutorial on “glitch prints”. There are several of these online, but the one I used was from Pattern Observer. The full tutorial is only available to Textile Design Lab subscribers.

Starting with a fuzzy indistinct scan of a shell,  I duplicated it and created a repeat across the base layer. On the next layer, I made stripes of various widths and colours from my chosen palette, and then used the liquify filter to distort this layer. At the point it resembled mint and choc chip swirl ice-cream! I then played with the different layer settings to combine these two layers. This became my ‘glitch’ pattern.


I wanted the shell shapes to be stencil-like, so that the pattern underneath would show through. As I am going through a tossed repeat phase at the moment I stuck with this, using lots of scaling, reflecting and rotating.

Although I didn’t follow the tutorial exactly, I am still pleased with the result. I especially like the painterly distressed appearance of the shells – almost like their imperfections and marks of their previous existence in the sea.



Thank you Andrea, for this challenge.