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Patterns are everywhere!

Everywhere I look I see patterns.  In  linens, clothing, wallpaper, tiles, rugs, anything that could remotely display a repeated design.   I started loving pattern work when I was quilting.  The patterns were always lively,  and of every consiviable element.  Zebras, teapots, kittens, anything and everything.  As an artist you can’t help but want to roll up your sleeves, and dive right in, and create a few of your own.

Old School Way

I work in illustrator when I want to do repeats.  I simply put in my element or elements, and with a few twist and turns, bam!! There it is, 1/2″ or 1/4″ drop, repeating every 3rd, 4th or 5th time.  What ever I need to accomplish my vision, I am able to do so with a few short moves to get the desired pattern.  But, what if you wanted to do it without a computer, or without a program. Perhaps you wanted to get to the bare bones of the pattern and draw it out your self.  Well here is a simple way to get a straight across repeat.

Let’s Start

Start with a square piece paper.  I used 140 cold pressed paper.  It holds the shape when I used my watercolors on it.  Meaning the paper will not buckle when it gets wet. Or at least not too much.  I cut mine 8″ x 8″.

The center will hold the design.  That element will be carried straight across the paper (remember I said this was a straight across repeat) I make it just off center.  Keep in mind that this element will appear across your finished pattern.  I want to “kind of” make it visible but “invisible” because once you start seeing patterns, the repeat  will become very evident.


I make the pattern as busy as I can, filling in all the free space. It looks like I have “tossed” down the elements.

Then I cut my 8″x8″ square  in half (Equal Parts) and place the two outer sides together. I use artist tape.  This is a tape that has a reduced tack, and can be easily removed without ripping or damaging the back of the paper.  Then I fill that newly created space in with art work.   Now you can see what I meant when I said a straight across repeat.  See how the design will move straight across?

Then I cut the two halves  in half and turn the top and bottom sides in to the middle. Taping it together so that my work will be lined up and easy to apply the design and watercolor.  I did not include an image of that step (sorry) I had created this design earlier this year and had gotten swept up in the creation that I forgot to take a photo.

You should now have 4 squares, this is your seed for your straight across repeat.  All of the  outer sides of the original square when placed together should match up, and create a seamless repeated pattern running straight across. img_2505 This example was created for my fall collection earlier this year, for fabric.

Here is another example for you.  I worked the following up in photo shop.

Shown here is “Autumn Leaves” on Eco Canvas.  A fantastic silky feel, tough enough for a dog bed but soft enough for a table setting.   I ordered some myself and stitched up some table settings for a friend.

Edith Schmidt Art on Spoonflower

There you have it.  A seamless repeated pattern. My favorite pattern is a 1/4″ drop repeating every 3 times.  It breaks up the straight across look.  Perhaps you would like to know more about patterns and how to design them.  If so just connect with me here, I will be talking about them in the future.  In the mean while thank you for joining me here and reading along.  See you tomorrow!


Have a creative day


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