Painting to Pattern: My Process

I'm a curious type who asks lots of questions in hopes of finding out how things work, why they're done the way they are, and how little things fit into a bigger picture. And since I have a fairly standard process when it comes to how I create a surface pattern from my watercolor art, I thought I'd share for you other curious types. So here it is...

Paint-to-pattern-design-process-amanda-gomes-delightedco.jpg

When I'm creating patterns, I usually have a color palette in mind and paint in those particular colors. There are ways to change the colors in Illustrator or Photoshop but when possible, I prefer to keep my designs pretty true to the colors I use when I originally create them.

I'll usually find floral images in a book, on Pinterest or from photos I've taken around town and use them for inspiration. When I paint fruit, however, I typically do a google image search because I can see multiple colors and variations of a piece of fruit in one place which is super helpful.

Last week I worked on this pattern:

©Amanda Gomes • Watercolor Floral Pattern

Which started as these individual motifs:

My process for turning my painted (watercolor) elements into patterns. ©Amanda Gomes • delightedco.com

I then scanned at 600 dpi using the software that came with my scanner (not an amazing scanner by the way, but it works: HP Officejet Pro 6830). I selected separate motifs and made new layers from each so I could edit them one by one. I edit the levels, remove the paper background and any dust spots, smooth edges if necessary, brighten or adjust color, and sometimes remove or add part of the painted motifs if their shape needs a little help.

Amanda-Gomes-Watercolor-Pattern-Process-2.jpg

Each motif is then transferred as a separate element into Illustrator. For this particular pattern, I made mini bouquets from the elements and then laid out those bouquets to create my final design. I tried out a few background colors and then saved the few I liked best. And that's it!

My process for turning my painted (watercolor) elements into patterns. ©Amanda Gomes • delightedco.com

What I'm Learning: Watercolor Supplies

Ahh watercolor. It's been my favorite past time since officially discovering it last September (2016) thanks to Creativebug and Yao Cheng's Beginning Watercolor class.

After a year of watercolor painting, these are the supplies I recommend. A list of paper, watercolor paint, and brushes, along with links on where to find them.

I was on a 6-week sabbatical from work, home with a 3-year old and 1-year old, and had big plans to learn art, in some form or another. Just before my time off, I'd discovered Creativebug and set-up a secret pinterest board titled Art Exploration. I pinned a bunch of interesting classes and worked through a couple of them which were great, especially Lisa Congdon's drawing classes. See my recommended online courses HERE. (I also tried some oil painting on my own without any instruction and that was a disaster! I'll save that story for another time.)

Then came time for me to press "play" on Yao's watercolor class. I watched it like a movie the first time through and knew I had to give it a try myself. I had two seriously old brushes, a $5 Michael's watercolor set, and no watercolor paper so I was anxious to get to an art store. I went to Blick and purchased the least expensive watercolor paper I could find, a size 6 paint brush (btw-who knew there was a difference between watercolor paintbrushes and oil paintbrushes!?), one tube of Winsor & Newton Professional Opera Rose paint, (one of Yao's favorite colors), and a 99-cent mixing palette. I was trying to make it as inexpensive as possible because I wasn't sure I would actually enjoy painting as much as I enjoyed watching Yao paint.

But I did! A week later I bought a Winsor & Newton Cotman pan set, a couple more brushes, and the inexpensive SKILL paper from Aaron Brothers and the Canson paper from Michael's. I found myself practicing all.the.time. I would either paint or draw (or both!) every single day for the duration of my sabbatical.

That was almost a year ago and since then, I've spent money on brushes I never use and paper that I don't love. If you're starting out and are wondering what you should buy to get started with watercolor, I'm hoping the recommended supplies listed below will offer some guidance and will make things a bit easier and affordable for you!
 

PAPER

90 lb Fabriano Studio Watercolor Paper, Cold Press (9x12) 
• I use this paper most; it's great for practice
• costs about 30-cents/page
• $6 for 20 pages at Blick
• $15 for 20 pages at Aaron Brothers so wait for their "buy 1, get 2 free sale"
• 25% cotton so it has a great feel but it's more lightweight so the paper will warp a bit, especially if you use lots of water

140 lb Fabriano Studio Watercolor (8x10)
• great for practice and original pieces
• costs about 42-cents/page
• $5 for 12 pages at Blick
• I use this paper when I'm working on something that will be hung on a wall, painting a landscape, or have a particular type of work in mind (vs. just sketching where I use the 90-lb)

BRUSHES

Princeton Heritage Round 4050R
• My favorite!!
• I use sizes 0-10 but my go-to's are 2, 4 and 8
• You can get these at Aaron Brothers (buy 1 get 2 free sales) or Amazon but the best price is definitely at Blick
• $3 - $8 each for those sizes at Blick

Princeton Select Synthetic Round 3750R
• I often use these for lettering (I don't prefer them for anything else)
• Sizes 5/0, 10/0, 0, 1
• Under $2 each for those sizes at Blick
• Note: the brushes on these are super thin and their shape can is easily lost if you snag the wrong way on your paper towel, or drop them, etc.

PAINT

Winsor & Newton Cotman Sketcher's Pocket Book
• Great for beginning and traveling! I used only this set with one tube of Opera Rose for quite a while
• $13 on Amazon
• This set comes with 12 colors, but if you want to start out with more options, they have a 24-color option as well

Winsor & Newton Tubes
• I mostly use Cotman tubes because they're very reasonable, but their colors aren't as vibrant as the professional paint
• $3 each at Blick
• I recommend splurging on Winsor & Newton Professional in Opera Rose (if you like pink)
• My go-to Cotman colors are: Prussian Blue, Permanent Rose, Cadmium Orange, Cadmium Yellow, Lemon Yellow, Hookers Green Light, Sap Green, Raw Umber, Ivory Black

Dr. Ph. Martin's Hydrus Fine Art Watercolor Set 1
• I haven't tried other brands of liquid watercolor or the concentrated versions so I can't compare but these are fun to use
• Bright, bold colors!
• $44 at Amazon or Blick

Artist's Loft Fundamentals Pan Set
• Great for beginning: especially if you're wanting to give watercolor a try and don't know if you'll be able to paint much
• Lots of bright colors
• $5 at Michael's
• This is the only thing I had in my house when I first started (I had purchased it a few years prior) but only used a couple times. I'll admit, I was influenced by the watercolor artists I was learning from and ended up giving this set to my daughter
• Since then, I've seen amazing artists use this set so I'm sure it's about preference and what one is used to. My only hesitation in recommending is that the paints feel a little chalky to me, whereas the Winsor & Newton or Dr. Ph. Martin's don't

And there you have it! I am sure I'll end up trying different paints and paper the longer I watercolor, but for now these are my best recommendations. I hope this is helpful...and have fun painting!

July Citrus Tech Walllpaper

July! Already. (As I say every month.) After a great 4th of July weekend with my family and in-laws, I'm back home with the kids and my husband for a full month of family time. He's a teacher and I'm now a stay-at-home mom, so we decided to take our 4-year old out of preschool for the month and spend some quality time together. 

Happy tech wallpaper: free download at delightedco.com

We have some fun day activities planned in the bay area and will also be doing lots of neighborhood activities (mainly the park and bakery stops :) as well as some visiting with family. And of course, my husband and I will trade kid duties here and there so we both get some time to ourselves. 

For instance, I currently have our home to myself while he is with the kids visiting his grandma a couple cities away. I've had some time to paint and also need to get a few other things checked off my list, such as posting the July download. These citrus slices are cheerful and make me smile inside and I hope they do the same for you.

As usual, I have an iPad, iPhone and desktop version available for download. Sign-up below for the link and enjoy!

 
 

What I'm Learning: Watercolor + Art Resources

I started taking online drawing and watercolor classes last September (thank you Skillshare and Creativebug!) and can't believe how much I've learned in the past 9 months. I still feel like a total beginner but I'm a lot more comfortable creating with pencil and paint brushes than I was when I initially started. 

20 Watercolor + Art Resources for Beginners

One of my favorite parts of the artistic process is the feeling of accomplishment when I'm done painting or drawing something I didn't know I was capable of. And even when it's something simple (because usually it is), I am grateful for finished products I can feel proud of. Side note: the feeling of personal accomplishment is something I seriously lack now that I'm home with my kids every day. Let's just say there's no "great job on that" feedback like there is in the corporate world :)

I regularly soak up books and classes and podcasts about art hoping to learn as much as I can and then try translating that to paper with my paints and brushes. Below are a list of resources I appreciate and have benefitted from. If you're learning to draw or watercolor (or want to start) and need ideas about where and what to learn, I hope this helps. Have fun!

Skillshare
1 • Ana Victoria Calderon - Watercolor Textures | Watercolor for Beginners
2 • Dallas Shaw Fashion Illustrator - Drawing People
3 • Amarilys Henderson - Expressive Little Faces

Get a free month of Skillshare Premium with my link: http://skl.sh/1N77ltd

Creativebug
4 • Lisa Congdon - Basic Line Drawing
5 • Yao Cheng - Beginning Watercolor
6 • Heather Ross - Drawing + Illustration Basics
7 • Jennifer Orkin Lewis - Illustrative Painting with Gouache 
8 • Molly Hatch - Introduction to Drawing
9 • Brush Lettering with Linea Carta 

Other Tutorials + Inspiration
10 • Simply Jessica Marie - Weekly Tutorial Series 
11 • The Virtual Instructor 

Books
12 • Everyday Watercolor (Jenna Rainey) - comes out in October
13 • 20 Ways to Draw Everything (Lisa Congdon, Julia Kuo, Eloise Renouf) 

Instagram Inspiration
14 • August Wren 
15 • Carolyn Gavin 
16 • Mon Voir 
17 • Paints to Brushes 

Podcasts
18 • Art for Your Ear
19 • Creative Pep Talk 
20 • Savvy Painter 

Have fun!!

*update*
Need supplies? Get my recommended watercolor supply list in this post.

June Tech Wallpaper Download

The June wallpaper download is here!

Watercolor Floral Tech Wallpaper Download from Delighted Creative Co.  | Amanda Gomes

This spring-into-summer watercolor floral pattern is my choice for June's tech wallpaper. I painted each of these elements individually and laid them out in Illustrator to make this pattern which is always lots of fun and rewarding. It never ceases to amaze me how much you can do with Photoshop and Illustrator. This pattern is an example of that and it makes me happy. I hope it brings a smile to you this month! Download below.

 
 

Free Download: Watercolor Lemon Tech Wallpaper

It's May and this month's freebie is a cheerful lemon wallpaper for your iPhone, desktop computer or iPad. Choose the version with or without a calendar and enjoy!

Free Tech Wallpaper for iPhone, iPad, or Desktop. Watercolor lemon pattern by Amanda Gomes • Delighted Creative Co.

DOWNLOAD HERE

 
 

Free Download: Watercolor Floral Place Cards

Here's a set of floral place cards...just in time for your Easter brunch!

Free Watercolor Floral Place Cards • Delighted Creative Co.

These cards can be used for lots of things: assigning seats at a table, labeling food, labeling gifts, or providing direction to guests. They'll add a pop of color and fun wherever you use them. Happy celebrating!

Free Download: Watercolor Floral Placecards for Easter (or Celebration!) • Delighted Creative Co. • delightedco.com

SIGN-UP HERE TO DOWNLOAD