Tag Archives: wallpaper

FREEBIES! When PicsArt met Pixlr Express

I’d originally intended to use some geometrical backgrounds found in the app PicsArt, along with geometrical effects found in the app Pixlr Express, as the backdrop of a new Lenormand project. However, these backgrounds took on a life of their own and proved too distracting and so that idea had to be shelved.

Not wanting to just let the images go to waste, though, I’ve decided to share them here with you. All I’ve done is blend the PicsArt backgrounds with some colourfield backgrounds I created, or with other random images I’d created in the past. Remember, these were just building blocks for a project that got shelved.

Feel free to save them perhaps as your smartphone’s wallpaper. Enjoy!
















P/s: I’ve since created my Le Geometrical Lenormand deck, however utilising only the effects found in Pixlr Express.

Pattern Observer

For those of you interested in designing and printing wallpapers, or indeed any kind of surface design, Pattern Observer is an invaluable resource. I cannot praise it highly enough. It offers an insight into the burgeoning surface pattern design industry, you can subscribe to their regular email updates (I do), join their Textile Design Lab to enter into discussion with fellow likeminded artists, keep up to date with the latest news and trends in the industry. There are even e-courses you can sign up for to improve and hone your designing skills, learn new techniques and improve your own sales and marketing.

If you are the least bit serious about becoming a surface pattern designer, or even if you just want to investigate the ins and outs of surface design before you decide, you simply MUST join or follow Pattern Observer.

I love the layout of the blog, which can be used as a launchpad to visit other areas of the Pattern Observer microcosmos, all neatly organised and categorised for your benefit. Use the drop down menu there and you’ll see what I mean.

Pattern Observer can also be found on Facebook. So you can keep abreast of the latest news without even having to leave your favourite social media platform.

One of the many highlights of following Pattern Observer is that each week a different artist is showcased, providing insight into their processes, techniques, business practice, etc. Very useful and inspiring for aspiring designers.

Here I’m simply posting the links to bring together Parts 1 and 2 of Pattern Observer’s primers on wallpaper printing techniques through the ages. A potted history, if you will, for your enjoyment.



For those wanting to take the guesswork out of designing pattern repeats, check out Pattern Observer’s 5 week self-study e-course, The Ultimate Guide to Repeats. Be aware though, this course assumes some prior knowledge of, and experience with, Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.

(Photo taken from the blog’s “About” page shows Pattern Observer founder Michelle Fifis and her family.)

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Artist Inspiration : WENDY KENDALL

When I first saw one of Wendy Kendall’s quirky, bright and cheerful designs on Pinterest, I was enchanted immediately. Her designs have clean lines, clear imagery, a delightful palette of non-primary colours with a retro, almost mid-century/Swiss graphic feel to them, a childlike element of playfulness. What’s not to like? Wendy creates designs for homewares, especially textile and wallpaper. Her work is licensed by several companies around the world. Getting my own work licensed and seeing my own designs on decorative homewares is my main ambition, too, and I am inspired by Wendy’s talent, creativity and success.

Here is the link to Wendy’s website Wendy also keeps a blog, so why not follow her there too, the link is on the front page of her website.

In Wendy’s own words, taken from her introduction on her page, with images courtesy of Google:


I am a freelance surface pattern designer based from home, just outside Stone in Staffordshire UK. Since graduating from the University of Derby, where I specialised in print design, I have worked as a bedding/nursery designer for several UK manufacturers situated in the North West.


With over ten years experience at senior design level in this field, I now freelance and work closely with an Indian exporter,on bespoke briefs for UK home textile clients and on building my licensed range of products,which currently include bedding and textiles,wallpaper,blinds and fabric collections.


I am also one quarter of Dotty Wren Studio….we are a brand new studio comprising of four UK designers who will be launching our new collections to sell and license at Surtex in NYC in May 2014.


Please feel free to browse our site and blog and get in touch if you would like to meet with us in May at Surtex on our stand no 834.


I have a simplistic, graphic, clean design approach that mixes playful patterns/textures with quirky handrawn outlines. I love the use of bold colours against bright whites and I particularly enjoy creating designs for children, I am able to design across all areas of home textiles but really would welcome briefs and licensing enquiries from all product areas.


I hope you enjoy looking through my work… please feel free to contact me.


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MOYO online magazine – a HUGE resource for surface pattern designers

I came across the website of Make It In Design, while surfing the Net looking for information on how to become a surface pattern designer (wallpaper, fabrics etc). Whoa, looks like I hit the Motherlode of resources for aspiring designers. Check it out on:


This offers courses on becoming a surface pattern designer, from learning how to design, to approaching companies for licensing and marketing deals. Here’s what their blurb says:

  • The Design School featuring The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design – an acclaimed online course for anyone who has ever dreamt of seeing their designs on stationery, homewares, fabric, wallpaper etc. The course takes you from sketch to pattern design to product in three modules. Find out more and register here

  • MOYO Magazine – the world’s first online magazine dedicated to surface pattern design. Get FREE inspiration and advice, read interviews with successful designers and enter design competitions

  • The MOYO Directory – the place to showcase your work and connect in the world of surface pattern design. Get your own webpage with unlimited portfolio space, get in front of potential new clients, and find other designers to network with

  • Live workshops and design masterclassess

  • A host of useful resources as you build your design career

I had a read of the pre-requisites of doing the online course. As I suspected, a certain level of proficiency in both Photoshop and Illustrator are on the list. I’m not proficient in either, and my learning-by-osmosis technique isn’t working :D. But I’m sure many of you reading this know a lot more about Photoshop and Illustrator than I do, and this may well be right up your street. So go ahead, check out the course, who knows, it might be just the ticket for you!

Next, I looked at MOYO magazine, a quarterly magazine currently in its 5th edition now and available entirely online. No matter what your interest is in surface pattern design, I can guarantee you will find interesting articles, useful information and inspiring art within the magazines. Best of all, it’s completely FREE!! So, do take a few minutes of your previous time to sit down with a cup of coffee or tea and a piece of cake, and immerse yourself in these beautiful magazines.


Issue 1:  http://issuu.com/moyomagazine/docs/moyo-magazine

Issue 2:  http://issuu.com/moyomagazine/docs/moyo-magazine2

Issue 3: http://issuu.com/moyomagazine/docs/moyo-magazine3

Issue 4: http://issuu.com/moyomagazine/docs/moyo_magazine_issue_4

Issue 5: http://issuu.com/moyomagazine/docs/moyo_magazine_issue_5

Some of the articles I found most interesting in the MOYO magazines are those about taking a tour around a wallpaper factory, an interview with a real flesh-and-blood textile designer with behind-the scene views, DIY fabric printing, custom-printing your own wallpaper designs (http://www.wallpapered.com – which I am going to check out!), an interview the fabulous Amy Butler, etc.

The MOYO Directory enables you to set up an online profile where you can get in touch with industry mavens, to market and sell your designs. It does cost £9 per month though, so it isn’t a free resource. However, I would advise that if you were truly keen to get a foot on the ladder and get your designs “out there”, then that may be the wisest £108 spent this year.

Good Luck!

De Gournay handpainted wallpapers

I was reading an article in Vogue Living Australia just the other day when my eyes kept gravitating towards the wallpaper in the photoshoot. It was a glorious pale green, Chinoiserie style wallpaper with Oriental birds perched in the branches of trees or flying about. The caption of that image mentioned that the wallpaper was by “De Gournay”. My interest was piqued, so I did some research and boy, am I glad I did!

To pique YOUR interest, here is the link to the Vogue Living article: http://www.vogue.com.au/vogue+living/interiors/galleries/antiques+and+rockabilly+the+home+of+wheels+dollbabys+melanie+greensmith,28401?pos=5#top

Whilst I was aware that wallpaper was created by hand in the early days, and later on screen printed, and nowadays even digitally printed, I was far from aware until now that there is a current renaissance in handmade, hand painted wallpaper. And we are talking big money here…forget paying $30 for a square metre, think $300 and over, and you’re barely in the ballpark. The rich and famous are buying them not by the metre or even roll, but by the room and by the house, and a De Gournay wallpapered living room can cost over $20,000 easily. Imagine the price to paper an entire Hollywood home. OUCH!  But, if you think about it, it’s putting Art on your walls, and the walls BECOME Art. Nowadays, people pay silly money for “Art”, and some of this so-called “Art” is downright silly. Why not have your walls papered with something that not only looks good, but will be worth even more should you ever want to sell your house.

Here is the link to De Gournay, so you can have a peek at the luxurious beauty created by these 21st century artisans. The site isn’t forthcoming about the techniques employed by De Gournay’s artists, but there are snapshots showing handheld brushes, so you probably get the idea anyway.


You can see from the website that the company not only creates magnificent wallpaper, it also offers fabrics, furniture, mirrors, porcelain and also undertakes specific custom designs and projects. In the Press section of the De Gournay website, you’ll see how the company has been written up in dozens of magazine publications.

Not only do I find De Gournay handmade, hand painted wallpapers beautiful to look at, I also admire the artesanal care and detail that goes into each panel. It’s good to know that even in this day and age, with all that technology readily available, a high-end company would still choose to employ artists to do things the good old-fashioned way. (Even if most of us are too poor to afford its wares).

How does this “discovery” of handmade, hand painted wallpapers inspire my own creativity? Well, I already know how I large I can print my own artwork, and my next project will be incorporating gesso or plaster into my canvasses, to create some texture over which I will lay my printed tissue paper. My aim is to produce an approximation of “real” art, i.e art made using traditional materials such as oil paint, showing textures and paint strokes. My medium is digital, and so I need to utilise real flesh-and-blood materials to recreate the impression of such textures and paint strokes. After that, if my experimentation succeeds, I will try creating large panels of my designs, aka wallpaper posters.

That’s the theory, anyway…

Here are some images of De Gournay wallpaper, taken from Google Images, so you too can enjoy the sheer beauty of them:

deg-their-website 273030796128820158FVcGYcCBc Kimberley Hall 3693234940_850f020c44 SaraStory_gramercyParkRenovation-5 hollywood-glamour-decorating-tips-mueffling-1210-052

HANDPAINTED WALLPAPERS = my newest fascination

It seems I may have been asleep for a long time.  Perhaps for much of my life, actually.  It has taken me several decades to find myself, and yet when I think I’ve got myself sussed, I find myself standing on the threshold of yet another startling discovery, on the verge of yet another Grand Adventure.  What I’ve discovered about myself in the past is my Modus Operandi: that is, if I find anything interesting and worth investigating, I will proceed to get totally immersed in it, and then from within that subject I will follow this lead and that, getting tangled and disentangled, going down dead-ends and cul-de-sacs, or simply round and round, until eventually it leads me to another subject to pursue.

Now I find myself beckoning to a clarion call by the fascinating subject of HANDPAINTED WALLPAPER.  For my own record, I will trace how I got here, to this point.

I was fascinated by the idea of creating patterns firstly when coming across Kaleidoscope and Fractal art on the internet.  I dabbled with various Kaleidoscope apps on my iPad and Samsung Galaxy S4. While that was a lot of fun, it did not teach me how to make seamless repeats. Try as I might, with cropping and resizing, I could not replicate a repeat without showing the joins.  I even subscribed to Adobe Creative Cloud in an effort to try to learn how to make repeats…but even though I know a few tricks on Photoshop now, I still haven’t got the hang of using the software. It’s a mental block for me, is Photoshop hahaha.

So that was why I turned to the wonderful world of smartphone Apps to see if I could create and recreate seamless patterns.  More for my own retrospective reference than anything else (in case I forget how I did it in the first place!), I posted up 30 mini tutorials showing my workflow of how I did it on my Samsung Galaxy S4 (very) smartphone. Yes, I now know how to create seamless repeats, I know how to create those 4 Magic Corners, I know about half-drops, brick and tile repeats, how to fill in gaps, etc.

And what lessons did I learn from that steep learning curve? My explorations took me into the realm of clipart and techniques for blending and juxtaposing different elements or images.  I searched the App world for clipart that I could use in my designs, concentrating specifically on my favourites – birds, butterflies, flowers, trees. My 3 go-to Apps for blending are:

Photoshop Touch






and Litho.



All have their idiosyncrasies and quirks.

When the iOS App Frax appeared in the last quarter of 2013, I was delighted as it gave me an extra dimension to create patterns from.  By now I was a firm fan of pattern designs, and was constantly seeking out new ideas for creating repeats.  Frax opened up a whole new world for me.  One day, as I was toying with blending different images together, I decided to play around with Percolator, an iOS App, on my iPad 2.  After Percolating a few dozen images, I transferred them to my S4 to play with.  By happy chance, I decided to try to blend Percolator with Frax, and create a pattern out of them.  The results were surprisingly good, so I took that idea and ran with it.

Frax Percolator pattern

While experimenting with Percolator in one of my favourite Apps, Photo Editor, I decided to play around with replacing some colours.  I discovered the Tolerance or Threshold slider, and yet another world bloomed before my very eyes.  Not only could I change selected colours in my image, I could also control, to some extent, how much or how little of the new colour I wanted in my image.  By shifting the Tolerance slider bit by bit, I could reveal or cover elements of the overall design.  This was really exciting for me, as now I could really control the placement of my clipart or cut-n-paste images onto my prepared background image.  In fact, I was so encouraged by this that I researched clipart online and found Dover Pictura, which is a division of Dover Publications, but specialises in royalty-free clipart.  The images are available as a physical book, CD or e-book.  Being the impatient sort, I plumped for electronic means, and very soon I had folders filled with images of birds and other strange organic forms.

Check out Dover Pictura for yourself:  http://www.doverpictura.com

After all these discoveries, I decided to have a play with printing my images as panoramic images, and in different sizes, just for fun.

Peonies scarf trial blue 30x60cm  Four Water Lilies for Snapfish

Around this time I was starting to look at the possibility of printing my “long” designs onto textiles or fabric, as scarves or throws.  Despite hunting high and low for printers, (I even engaged in a month-long conversation with several traders on Ali Baba to discuss this), it all came to nothing.  I was not prepared to invest in thousands of dollars buying  my own flat-bed printer, or a specialised printer that would do banner printing.  Nor was I looking to print my own designs in bulk and try to market and sell them myself.

So I had to contend myself with knowing that I COULD venture down the pathway of a textile designer if I wanted to and if I had the money to invest, but meanwhile, back in the land of the living, I would have to be satisfied with having my artwork on canvasses and posters.

Now for the next big leap…but first, I had to discover several inspirational women artists who crossed the gap between Art and Industry.  I have written about these women in my previous posts: Angie Lewin, Orla Kiely, Florence Broadhurst, Kathe Fraga, Sonia Delaunay, Kate Spade.  I’m sure there will be more to come.  It was through these women that I realised that my own art and designs did not have to just become prints or posters, they could perhaps be large panels to decorate a room.  I knew for my designs to be wallpaper, I would have to create repeats…but I could create triptychs and have 3 canvasses hang side by side to create a large picture, or perhaps I could create 2 panels horizontally that could be used to decorate the wall of a stairwell?

I was reading an article in Vogue Living Australia, and was captivated by the Chinoiserie wallpaper in the photoshoot.  The wallpaper was by de Gournay http://www.degournay.com, and get this – it was HANDPAINTED.  This, of course, was the technique used in the old days, before screen printing and digital printing.  And, as I researched further, I was struck  by how many artisans were out there creating beautiful, handpainted and handmade wallpapers for the discerning homeowner.  Now you can have ART on your walls permanently, not just hanging frames and canvasses.  In fact, your wall BECOMES Art.

And so, in a roundabout fashion, this is how I came to discover my newest fascination – Handpainted Wallpapers.  I shall write more about various artisans that I will no doubt discover on my travels on the internet, so do bookmark me and check in often!