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When the surface pattern design challenge is challenging!

Wouldn't it be great if every day an artist could both create and bring into this world their own art, and be paid for it! Of course, although that happens for some, for most of us hoping to make a living through creativity, it also means creating art to meet a client's needs. Sometimes, that could mean drawing in the style of another artist, or creating art to fit a specific classification, eg abstract.

If you have a strong style which has attracted your client, then you are creating with your own signature. Which is great, right? It could be you usually draw flowers, but this client loves your style and wants you to draw cars now....Eek! Or maybe your style has a lot of detail, and what they really want is for you to dial it down to fit their project. However maintaining your style within a brief is likely to be your biggest challenge.

For instance, the latest Spoonflower challenge was 'Warm Minimalism'. Personally I wouldn't describe my style as minimalist, so this challenge wasn't the most appealing to me. After a morning of very unsatisfactory sketches I considered not entering at all. I muttered my lack of enthusiasm to Mr Meccano, who suggested I should step up to the challenge, especially as any future client may well ask for a minimalist pattern to sit alongside a more detailed design. Of course, he was right! So I knuckled down, and focussed on connecting the brief to my way of thinking.

I thought about space between elements, which got me thinking about plants, and although generally branches aren't rigid, some promising ideas started to form. Working on my iPad in Adobe Fresco, I landed on this illustration of a sprig.

I was getting somewhere, but again, still not right - see here how I couldn't help myself, I put veins in the leaves - how maximalist of me!

Next version - simpler, I removed the veins but also added weight to the stems and branches. I found I could satisfy my own 'detail obsession' by rounding off the corners of the leaves, and their intersection with the stem.

Once this sketch was 'inked in' I switched over to Adobe Illustrator to finalise the pattern, and add some warmth using colour. I wanted the palette to be comforting - like a delicious pudding. Then zoom....straight back to my primary school and my favourite dessert - Mrs Porter's Butterscotch!

If you'd like to vote for my design or any others head over to Spoonflower now, voting closes at 19:00GMT on Tuesday 12 March.

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