Design Inspiration: Watercolor Sketches & Surface Pattern Design

by Rekha on May 27, 2018

Last weekend, I visited the Blueprint Surface Design & Print Show at the Hudson Mercantile building in Manhattan.

I’ve been curious about the print/pattern licensing industry for years now. Even though I’ve been designing prints and patterns for my products and craft kits for a while, entering the commercial print licensing world is a whole different ball game.

BluePrint-Surface-Print-Design Show |

During the past few years, I’ve been focused on growing my online retail shops on Etsy and more recently on Amazon Handmade. Though both are still growing, I’ve made progress in product design, packaging, shipping and pricing. My processes are streamlined enough to support continued growth. This now allows me time to switch my focus on print and pattern design. I still have a dream of working with a manufacturer to have my own fabric line or see my prints on a collection of housewares!

I have so many designs that I’ve created on paper, silk, fabric – all neatly organized in my portfolio book, waiting for me to take the next step. One of my hesitations is that I’m not proficient in digital design. I’ve taken numerous classes in both Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator and have definitely made progress, but I still struggle with creating a repeat file.

One of the interesting things that I learned when I spoke with a designer at the Blueprint show is that having a digital repeat file is not always necessary. I still want to master the digital repeat but knowing that I can scan my handpainted prints, edit in Photoshop and produce a new digital print that can be sold commercially makes me feel better!

So what is my next goal as I start to pursue the world of surface print and pattern design? First off, I want to experiment and practice with different design techniques using different mediums.

Watercolor Supplies - Watercolor Sketches |

For the month of June, I plan to focus on watercolor sketches. I always loved the fluidity of watercolor as a medium, it’s easy to blend and create interesting effects. I bought new watercolor sketchbooks, a set of paint brushes, watercolor pan paints and a set of gouache colors.

Watercolor Flowers in Indigo |

Once a I have a few more watercolor sketches completed, I will scan them, import into Photoshop, prepare a digital version of the design and start building my new design portfolio.

Watercolor Sketch of Flowers |

Watercolor Flowers |

Watercolor abstract print |

Watercolor print |

Watercolor print abstract design |

Watercolor sketch book with sample designs |

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: