Pattern making in year 1

A new group of first year illustration students have arrived in Edinburgh and begun to explore the city. Their first project was a pattern making endeavor, and we decided to head to Edinburgh’s Botanic Gardens to gather observational drawings and inspiration. We spent the morning drawing flowers, plants and naturalistic forms as well as the architecture and characters populating the gardens. Students also collected leaves and paraphernalia they found along the way.

We returned to the studio and began to research the history of pattern design, looking at motifs, colour palettes and techniques from all over the world. Students gave presentations on their findings before trying out various techniques themselves. We also looked at the ways in which patterns may be applied, including furnishings, textiles and books.

After demonstrations in relief printing and mono printing, we looked at how to make a repeat pattern by hand and using digital methods. The students then developed their drawings and prints into patterns of their own. The students embraced the new techniques with enthusiasm and as a class they produced a varied and impressive range of repeat patterns. This project involved the first of many observational drawing trips and was a great start to the semester.

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