Assignment Two (Option 2): Exercise 2.1: Putting designs into repeat


Beginning the pattern set out in the OCA handbook


EXERCISE 2.1 – Putting designs into repeat…..


The handbook gives me very specific guidelines as to beginning working with repeat patterns by hand.  To my eye and from the research I have done, it is essential to get the right image to repeat, as some won’t work as good as others would.  Here is one example…..

Using the bee from earlier assignment work, I traced on top and began to make a repeat, using the OCA guidelines within the course.

The design was then scanned into my PC.

I wanted to look at ways of working to repeat patterns….

I did research on this and found lots of ideas:


As you can see from the above three screen shots, repeats can be done in a turned manner, a half drop and many other variations.  As I move through the course, it will be useful to try these.

Looking at this from a practical point of view, I need to confirm within myself what designs would work like this that I have.  For example, would one of my florals suit a constant repeat?  Or would it look boring?

What type of designs / patterns do I want to create even in the future? Practical thinking….looking at artists work with this in mind.

Early on in my BA, I visited Artist Textiles at The Textile Design Museum in London.  This gave me great insight into printed textiles.  I saw how illustrators turned their practice into fabric related items, and I become inspired by this.  Let me remind myself:


This image showcases a few items from the exhibition.  The pieces by Wassily Simpson really inspired me, as he was originally into fine art, thus from a drawing background.  His pieces can be seen middle left.  The facial elements, tied in with florals and even vegetables are something I feel I can relate to.

This was one to the left was one of his pieces in greater detail.  I can see my own stitched portrait drawings from Textiles 2 Developing Creative Textiles, sitting in the middle here, with maybe some of my floral sketches around:

1. ‘Sunday Morning Flowers’.jpg

Looking at things which I am drawn to, is really helpful.  I see links between his style, his inspiration and my own.  He of course has a large back catalogue, heavily weighted in paper form, many times looking at faces and figures.  Reflecting back on my own work so far, I find that it is the things that have meaning to me, that really I enjoy creating.  This is mainly towards stories, the family work, the self-portraits, rather than a floral which has a smaller meaning.  This sorting out process is necessary, to find out more about myself really.

Looking at things on an “achievable” level, I looked back on my visits to The New Designers in 2014 and 2016.  I found myself really drawn to the digitally printed scarves and how they could be made by me…..


It was the silk scarves which inspired me. These ones were rather abstract and not repeat, but I would like to see how my work could be printed on a scarf.


Some students had played with portraits and figures onto cloth.  Again not in a repeat fashion, more of a one off design.

I have played with a few designs by hand and I can see how this could be developed and developed.  However I would like to try some work digitally, to heighten my PC skills.  I can come back to hand drawn work if needed.  I think next time I will try and keep my final repeats with thinner lines, unlike the thick ones used on my bee design.

A note on why I feel the bee design is special:

To some, the bee design may look like any other students work.  However, It has been crafted with much more thought.  Notice what the bee is sitting on… Echinacea flower.

(One of these)


This is a special plant, as it has long been known for its healing properties.  It is often said to be a wonder sure for immune systems.  Thus it evokes a feeling of calmness, kindness and healing.  The addition of the bee, provides another sense of healing, in the form of honey.

The drawing I have created was made during the last assignment work and is a time capsule study of one bee and its journey with the flower.  Thus the five shots in the same image, of the bee in all different positions.

Does this print have a future?

I would like to play with it in adobe and then if I feel it is strong enough, I can get it printed onto fabric and also embellish it as this assignment goes on.  This may take careful thought, so the materials I use are appropriate.

Looking at designing patterns digitally. 

This section is all about using the repeat technique as above, but in digital form instead of by hand….

As a trial within this course, I wondered if I could look at designing repeat patterns from my digitally altered prints and drawings from the previous project.  I decided to research this and found help online via You tube….


This film above demonstrated how to basically make a repeat pattern.

I followed it and had a result, as seen top above.

This was one of my bee drawings from earlier on last project.  I am new to this, thus tweaking will be necessary.

I fiddled with the sizing of the pixels and cms in order to trial various size repeats. 

The down point of this, is depending on the pattern, it may be rather spaced out when simply repeated.  I think I need to manage more control as to how close the pattern is repeated etc.  However this can be learned.

I wondered what would happen if I used the adobe tool “photomerge”..


If this looks ok when I save it, I will be rather pleased.  This tool allows you to grab as many of the same image (or different) and literally drag and drop them to blend or merge into each other, as you can see with the four bee images above.

When saved, this four part looks like this!


I AM REALLY PLEASED, as this seems a possible way of doing the technique without all the complicated procedures.  As time allows I will trial a variety of images which I have on file.

The one above has worked so well, as it doesn’t have any definite “end lines”, in other words no boxing etc.  Thus I realise that I will have to be careful what images I choose or edit them before I do this idea.

Moving on from repeat patterns are half drop patterns. 

Looking again at the bee design from earlier and how it could be used as a repeat half drop, I first began my task by rubbing out any unnecessary lines or markings on adobe Photoshop.  I then proceeded to copy this several times, so that I had the same document several times. 

I loaded a few of these onto the “photo merge” tool and began to set them together so that they would flow….You see that happening in the next image which I have screen shot….

However this technique does not always work:


Above:  The merging begins.  This tool actually shows where you have not merged properly, notice the checked line to the left side.

Once I learn more skills within Photoshop and illustrator, I will be able to colour backgrounds and create see through layers to build up my images.  For this assignment I am just learning new techniques, so it will be a fusion of traditional hand done work, alongside digitised pieces.  You will see that in my sketchbook physical work, I have also had a go at the above in paper form.

Reflecting on the work above, I have to smile, as instead of looking straight at my designs of the florals from my previous projects and assignment and simple continuing to develop them here, I have only looked at the one piece from

How do I feel this has gone so far?

No, not ground breaking, but my knowledge and learning so far has allowed me to adapt to digital altering to some extent.  I can see how certain images work as better repeats than others too.

From my research point, I am able to look back at other artists prints.  I found the New Designers most helpful, as they were at the stage which I could understand and relate to.  Having picked up so much information.

The question I am now raising to myself, is where to go next?  

As you will see from the above notes, I have trailed the Bee design from my assignment one work and one of my self-portraits from my previous course.  This was fine, but I don’t want to be just fine, I want to push my work.  What I keep reminding myself, is that I need to make my work personal, on themes I want to pursue, not just those which I think could create saleable prints for the future. Thus I think I need to try some new work, not just follow on from the work I did (the florals) in assignment one.

I don’t feel if I am honest, that I am taking enough risks.  Thus I need to think more about how to push myself further within the course modules and exercises.  I am working too much on what I know, not what could “be”.

I have tried several variations and my main weak point, is the lines which sometimes appear diagonally.  However I have enough strong variations to print and show, as seen within my physical body of work. If I decide to, I could further this within project 4.

Reflecting back on this finally, I realise that I may have stepped ahead at this stage.  Maybe I should have waited to begin playing with my designs in a digital way, until project 4.  However this slight trial has helped me begin this thought process, which I can extend and practise within that project.  I view the work above, as a natural progression, which simply continued into a digital format…to be bounced around with further in project 4……






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