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Developing a new collection

Developing A New Collection

Starting inspiration

Working on a new collection is not something that can easily be pulled out of the air. Certainly, the way I work, I need to prepare the ground by developing the theme, collecting inspiring shapes, ideas, colours, grouping of shapes or lines or images and ideas of light and shade. These might be from photos, or sketches or my observations.


I thought it might be interesting, and for some people useful, to see and read about how I do this. Of course, I am only one person, and have pretty much come to this way of thinking and working in my own way. So, if any of this seems very different from how you work or how you were taught, then I’d love to hear about your methods.


As you know I am both an artist and a designer. I had been wondering and even stressing about how different my paintings are to my patterns. There has been no consistency between my painting style, themes or even palettes and those I have been using for my patterns. I realised that the sources of inspiration are quite different and this is most likely the reason my art and my patterns are so unrelated. If I want these two things to be a bit more cohesive, so that my style is more recognisable, then I need to work on these together. What better way then starting from scratch on a new collection using the same source ideas. So here we go. Join me in my efforts to make this work and together we’ll see if I’m on the right track.


I want to merge my art and design practices and output and have realised that the process of sourcing inspiration and developing these ideas into usable, malleable ideas that can be either painted on paper or canvas or used more literally in patterns for surface pattern design is possible and sensible.

This week, I have been sourcing physical things that may lend themselves to inspiration. These things are photos, shapes, found items, words, statements, and colours of course.

Here are some photos of our current abundance of limes from the garden which I thought would be a good place to start and experiment. These are very beautiful and the shapes are quite interesting. The flowers buds are tiny and round with little dots on them in the same way that citrus has little dimples on the skin. So, this is a great place to start.

I prefer to paint in a more abstract way, so I wouldn’t literally paint a collection of limes. However, I can use the shapes, the details on the skin, the colours of course to develop sketch ideas for a collection of patterns and abstract paintings.

To start, I just want to sketch these limes and their leaves to get to know the shapes. I am just playing around, as you can see from my efforts. I find this is a good way to think about the shapes and understand how they are put together. I can use the shapes, the texture, the colours, the overall combination and composition of the fall of the leaves etc. I am working quite quickly and not fussing too much about the details. However I want the shapes to be about right. I want to pick up some of the details of the leaves and the shadows and light.