Print & Pattern Energy!


Whilst we are in the middle of the heat wave and I feel energised I thought it was about time that I gave new life to my much neglected blog as I have a bad case of blog guilt and blog envy too! (the good news is I have been a busy bee and been juggling lots of projects in different areas of the globe , being very international this month!). Anyway today I wanted to talk about something that I have been inspired by for a while and which I am trying to slowly incorporate in to my work, and that is energy.

When I think about energy in surface pattern I do think that it can sometimes be lost when we are focus on repeats and structure, and particularly in wallpaper when we are trying to make the design not look too busy. However thinking about it there is actually a lot of artwork out there that is obviously not in repeat that is quite static, so is it more about technique and direction, and subject matter?

Take these prints below which are by a very talented artist named Este Macloed. All of these have a great level of energy and the one in particular that stands out is the fields print. This is because she is actually describing movement in her work by suggesting the flowers are blowing in the wind at the forefront of the design, also the birds are flying which again suggests movement. However the same print produced with a different technique such as a watercolour result may not give as much energy as these beautiful brush marks. I also know that if these prints were developed in to a repeat they would still be oozing with energy so it is not the repeat process that takes this away, it simply makes it a little more tricky if we are intending to use our patterns on certain products.


The work of Jessica Swift has always inspired me. It is not just her technique though that creates amazing energy, it is her imagination. Who else is doing Panda’s holding balloons and pattern infilled penguins, and gorgeous crowned birds which you can find on her website? noone because she has an awesome imagination filled with energy and she has managed to find a way to communicate this with us all.


Below is the work of Hanna Werning. I wanted to show some more graphic work to demonstrate that energy is not just about using crazy brush strokes, washed backgrounds and  random and exciting subject matter. The one colour print shows that it can be created purely by using multi directional motifs, and random scales that are not true to life, almost dream like. You may notice that there are lots of different elements in this print and I think if you are doing a two colour print then to create energy you do really need to bring it with quality and number of motifs with a multi directional approach.


This is the work of illustrator Helen Dardik and shows how colour can also bring additional energy to an already exciting print. Again you will notice the multiple directions, different scales and that there are many interesting and stylised motifs within these prints.


So all in all I would say yes there are certain technical elements that you need to consider to create a print with energy. Subject matter is important but you can still create a static vase full of flowers that has just as much spirit as a flock of beautiful birds, it is not just about movement but more about the feeling you get when you look at the work of art. Technique can help but you can still produce amazing surface patterns full of energy in Illustrator as well as with a brush in your hand and hands covered in pain. Ultimately it comes down to the imagination of the designer and if we make a conscious effort to draw from our inner energy, then it is bound to translate through our work and speak to others.

Laura x