In an effort to get back to creating something every day, I've started keeping a pattern journal. I love patterns. Floral, geometric, black & white, simple, intricate--they all intrigue me. My thinking was simply to reproduce a pattern (rather than creating my own) in marker and pen each day and hopefully learn a little something about color and shape in the process.
Working on patterns has been "my time". Time for me to shut everything (and everyone) out for a little while and just focus on creating in a way that is easy and fun. And leaves me eager to come back tomorrow for the next round. On days when I have a little more time, I chose a pattern to reproduce that is more detailed. On days when I am pressed for time, I chose a simpler one. I don't worry about reproducing the pattern perfectly. I don't use rulers or covet straight lines. I've been surprised at how much I enjoy the process. And right now for me, that's the point.
Things I've learned so far:
~Copying a pattern, even a small one (my journal is only about 4x6 in.), takes more time than I thought. The simplest patterns take me about an hour. But I am not hurrying and I allow myself to thoroughly enjoy the process regardless of how long it takes.
~Because the patterns take a little longer than I initially thought to reproduce, I try to do a pattern every couple of days instead of every single day as I originally intended. But if I can eventually commit to a pattern a day, it seems the best way to get the most out of the process.
~Although I love the simplicity of working with markers, the limited color palette is always disappointing. But it does require me to think about color combinations more deeply. How to simplify a palette, how colors work together, etc.
~Quilt patterns are my favorite and my best.
~I cannot draw a straight line to save my life.
If you'd like to try your very own pattern journal, start with a small blank notebook (I used one I already had on hand). Begin collecting patterns from books, magazines or online to copy. Remember patterns are found everywhere--literally! Visual patterns simply repeat certain design elements, whether flowers or triangles, and can be regular or chaotic, symmetrical or mathematic. Consider patterns in clothing and other textiles, advertisements, architecture, nature, and art. Check out my Patterns Pinterest board and soon you will have way more than you need to fill an entire book. Better yet, you may begin to "see" patterns everywhere you look.
The advantage of a simple project like this, besides cultivating daily art practice, is that it challenges you to "see" what's around you and what you are drawing more actively. Plus, you can begin to notice what aspects of certain types of patterns or color combinations you are naturally drawn to for use in your own artwork. Your pattern journal will be a repository of ideas for backgrounds, detailing and other mark making for future projects. Best of all, it is just another place to explore and enjoy the process of art making without the fear or intimidation that often comes with creating an original work of art.
Does this sound like something you'd like to try? Please share! I'd love to see what patterns you come up with.