I recently completed a very helpful class on CreativeLive.com called Design Surface Patterns from Scratch by Bonnie Forkner, a fabulous surface pattern designer and blogger at Going Home to Roost. Her course is being re-broadcast TODAY and you can watch it for FREE today at CreativeLive.com.


I have the pleasure of participating in her official Design Surface Patterns From Scratch Blog Tour. Yesterday the tour stopped at Rochelle New’s blog  and tomorrow it will stop at Sheila Delgado’s blog.

Today it’s my turn today to share my experience in taking the class…

I loved that Bonnie taught us her process from beginning to end. I learned so much in her section on Sourcing Your Own Inspiration, especially how to create custom color palettes from photographs and also how to take photos of objects and then use Live Trace or the Blob Brush in Illustrator to create your motifs. Bonnie’s tip about editing the brightness and contrast really saves a lot of time so you can eliminate the background very quickly. I already have and use Photoshop so I used that instead of the app she used, but the concept is the same.

Since I don’t have a garden or have friends with gardens, I was trying to figure out how to get some pretty flowers to use for inspiration and to photograph, without spending a bunch of money. So I came up with an idea…

I went to my local flower shop and bought a couple of flowers, and then I told them what I was going to use them for and asked if I could possible get some of their “throw away” stuff… flowers, leaves, anything… that I didn’t need them to be perfect, but that I would like to have real objects for inspiration, to sketch, photograph, etc. And they said… Sure! So now they call me every so often when they have a few things saved up for me.

Here are some of the “throw away” items they saved for me. The flowers are not perfect, but are still work great for my needs.
(After I took photos of the individual items, I put them in a vase and created by own “bouquets.”)

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And I even have a photography tip for you if, like me, you do not have room to set up a nice white backdrop like Bonnie did in the class…

I just laid a piece of white poster board on my porch and then placed the flower or leaf I wanted to photograph on the poster board. It worked great except when I wanted a top view of a flower.

So… I c2014-09-06 19.01.42ame up with something that worked great. I got a paper plate and punched a hole in the middle of it. Then I turned the plate upside down and stuck the stem through the hole. Then I held the flower by the stem and, using my other hand, took a photo of it with my phone.

Here are some photos I took using a paper plate and/or poster board:

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See that orange gerbera daisy above? Here is a pattern I created using just one photo of that flower and simply recoloring it.



Even though I didn’t win, I was quite pleased with my collection, called “Autumn Glory,” that I created for the competition that Bonnie held along with her CreativeLive.com class. I got in some good practice using many of the techniques I learned from Bonnie’s class.


The most exciting thing of all is that I have already licensed one pattern that I created using techniques I learned from Bonnie’s class. The pattern below has been licensed by Clairebella through my partnership with A Fresh Bunch. It will be available very soon on a myriad of different products from throw pillows to cell phone cases to door mats and much more at Clairebella.com.


Here are pics of the leaves I used for this pattern:

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I highly recommend Bonnie’s course, “Design Surface Patterns from Scratch.” It is still available at CreativeLive.com and is worth every penny!

Also, Bonnie has been so kind as to let me offer to all of my readers one FREE MONTH of her Roost Tribe, which is a premium membership club where you receive exclusive content, designs, tutorials, etc. from Bonnie every month. Just click the image below to get your first month free.