These past several days (as well as the next several days to follow) will be focused on completing the pattern for my SLDP238 Haunted Carousel. Even though the project was completed last week, the process of creating a comprehensive and workable pattern is just as involved – if not more so – than making the actual project itself.
We all have our own methods of doing things. For me, thinking up and creating a design is just one element of the designing process. I think that how the pattern is presented can make or break a design, and even a business. After all, the purpose of designing patterns is so that we can teach others to recreate items that we design easily and efficiently. In my years of crafting in all kinds of media, I have witnessed both wonderful and comprehensive patterns that make me want to do more, and patterns that have been lacking in many of the basic instructions which make me question myself as to why I would want to spend time doing the particular craft in the first place. I think that one of the most frustrating things as a crafter is to fall in love with a particular project or design and purchase the pattern only to find that the instructions are vague and incomplete. It is very disappointing.
For that reason, I try to write every pattern as if I am writing to someone completely new to the process. Since my audience is vast and those using my patterns have a wide range of skills and experience, I think that the safe bet is to include all the instructions needed to complete the project at a level that even a newer crafter will understand. This is in no way meant to be condescending to those who are more experienced. I try to present things in a way so that if one feels that they already know a particular step of the process or have a way of doing a particular step that they feel more comfortable with, they can easily skip that step and pick up on the next one. That way no one is left out and everyone is happy.
It is for this reason that I regard every pattern as a lesson, and hopefully things go easy for everyone who tries my patterns. Maybe people learn something along the way.
As you can imagine, the carousel pattern is complex. I have spent the last several days redrawing every element that is included. While I may use rough drawings when I am creating the prototype, I know that over the course of building the project, some things change and therefore even though I had preliminary drawings to start with, by the time the piece was done nearly everything needed to be drawn once again – only this time to match my prototype exactly.
This is especially true when I make painting patterns. My usual method of designing is sketch, paint and redraw the line work for the pattern. I nearly always change elements as I am painting something and a pet peeve of mine is when the final photograph of the project doesn't match the pattern exactly in a pattern. To me, it leads to confusion and frustration. I know it bothers a great deal of my fellow painters as well.
I was happy to finish up the line work and drawings for my carousel pattern yesterday. In the end, the line drawings consist of 27 pages. This was, in part because there were several large parts to the carousel which needed to be divided and shown on several pages. I also wanted to provide both a left and right side view of all the carousel pieces so that painting both sides of the pieces would find it easy. I tried to think of everything.
Here is a photo of my art boards in my Illustrator program:
While it may have seemed to me like I was moving slow on this, when I looked at this screen and saw the work that I accomplished, I felt pretty good. While it is a lot of pages, it will make everything really easy for my customers whether they are painting the carousel pieces from a kit or building it from scratch. I want the pattern to be something that I am really proud of.
Of course, there will be some last minute adjustments as I finish up. That is always the case. But I feel that I put down a good base and like the finished carousel iteslf, this pattern will be a 'masterpiece'.
I will keep it short today and get to work early. I am really pleased that so many people pre-ordered the kit, and I am also glad that they are patient about the pattern. I think most of them realize that by me taking a little time now to make sure the pattern is right, it will save them time in the long run and make their experience making the carousel fun and enjoyable. I hope so anyway.
The sun is now fully up and it is going to be an absolutely beautiful day. After a couple of days of overcast skies and rain, seeing the brilliant blue sky and feeling the warm air is refreshing. It is already a wonderful day!
Today I get to start the actual writing process for my pattern. I took many photos along the way and I think it will fall together nicely. I look forward to finally finishing up and then I can start cutting kits. I am still waiting for some magnets to be delivered, but they should be here by the time I am ready for them. It is all falling into place nicely.
I wish you all a happy Wednesday. Have fun and enjoy your day!
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"