Making My Brand New Mystical Zodiac Print

Making My Brand New Mystical Zodiac Print
29/05/2016 Jenny Cook

Hello friends! Today I launched four new pieces in a brand new print! I designed this mystical looking zodiac print using illustrative and digital techniques (as usual) and wanted to share a few words about the process behind making it. It’s by far the quickest and simplest print I’ve designed so far but it’s actually one of my favourites. It works perfectly for textiles due to its simplicity and scale. I feel like every time I design a new print I’m getting a keener idea of what works on fabric and with the human form. When I started this business I came from an illustrative/ garment design background and I only started combining the two loves and designing prints for textiles a little over a year ago. It’s been a great year for learning and developing a new craft and I feel like I now fully appreciate how to put together prints that work wonderfully well when used for clothing.


The idea for this work actually came straight from an illustration I’d seen circulating Tumblr, the best blogging platform for illustrative and artistic inspiration. I had re-blogged the image below on the left a while back and while it is totally rough and simplistic it really caught my eye. It reminded me of something you’d see one of the girls in The Craft scribbling in their school work books or something from a witch’s grimoire. I loved the use of symbols which sparked my imagination and seemed to convey something deeply meaningful or secretive! Brimming with ideas I decided to create my own geometric, symbolic print. Something I’d always wanted to work with was the twelve symbols of the zodiac. I decided to create a hexagonal pattern incorporating these, knowing that it would be an easy shape to put into a continuous repeat, so I took out my geometry set, which is my favourite design aid and started scribbling away a pattern with sharp precise angles. I chose to work the symbols of the zodiac around the edges of the hexagon, putting the sign for Libra at the top since it’s my star sign and I felt that it would add a little personal touch to this print! I then drew over my pencil sketch with Unipin fine liners, scanned it into the computer and began cleaning it up into crisp black and white tones.


My next step was to invert the colours and work my drawing into a repeat by layering the hexagons side by side. This created the basis around which to build the colour versions of my print. I generally start out with black and white prints then separate the black and white out into separate layers and add textured colour layers from there.


When adding colour I wanted to use a sort of mottled effect to appear aged, reflecting the smudgy quality of the illustration I took inspiration from. I used a scanned image or aged paper and chopped a few area of the image together to create a mottled texture I was happy with. I then used Photoshop to colour it in deep emerald and magenta hues before applying this effect to my layers.


All in all this print took around 5 hours to make, which is about 40 hour less than my average print creation time! I’m pretty thrilled with it. Once had ordered my first run of this fabric from my suppliers I made up some brand new garment designs that I had created especially for this print. I was lucky enough to have the chance to work on a lookbook collaboration this month with fellow designer/ entrepreneur Sarah Gamble and fashion photographer Jodie Clegg and together we produced these gorgeous shots of my brand new pieces. They’re all available from my shop page now! Xxxo

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