Category: Surface Patterns (page 1 of 2)

1990s Nostalgia Pattern

1990s pattern

This pattern was a lot of fun to make! It features items I find very nostalgic from the decade I grew up in. Stretching between being a child and becoming a teenager, the pattern features a real mix of iconic items.

What’s included:

Boglins: I wanted one of these so much. My best friend’s older brother had several that lived on a shelf in his room, in their little prison style boxes. They were so much fun to play with – rubbery monster hand puppets with grotesque expressions.

Polly Pocket: Another childhood favourite. Polly Pocket was a tiny doll that lived in little cases that opened up to reveal a house or other diorama scene. There was a boys version too that lived in a monster’s head but I cant remember what these were called…

Gameboy: I remember when my cousin had one and I played Tetris for the first time… I felt like I wanted to play it forever!

Friendship Bracelets: These seemed to keep coming and going throughout the 90s. I remember having a set of neon ones like those in the pattern, but I also had a big thing for making ones out of embroidery floss and selling them.

Trolls: I had quite a collection of trolls and I can’t think why! They were really odd things to collect! Me and my friends used to have the mini troll catalogue booklets and go through them again and again choosing each of the ones we really, really wanted. The ones with the rainbow hair were always the most coveted.

Lipsmakers: I really remember these lip balms being advertised in the younger teen girl magazines when I was about 13ish. It felt like it was important to choose a flavour that represented “you” … like at the same time how it was important to know all about your star sign and complete all the personality quizzes in the magazines to find out who you were.

POGs: I cant remember when these were a thing exactly, but they were quite a thing for a while. Walkers crisps gave away similar disk things called Tazos at some point too. Did anyone actually know how to play with them?!

Cord necklaces: Yin Yangs, Suns and Moons and peace symbols were all over the place in the mid 90s. They always seemed to be on black cord necklaces with silver balls either side of the pendant. Or on a chocker of course.

Dummies: I guess these were a rave scene thing, that seemed to seep into kids and teen culture through sweets. They never appealed to me, but I remember school friends wearing them and feeling grossed out by the idea of wearing a big boiled sweet that gathers fluff and dust.

Hard Candy nail polish: Oh how I wanted a bottle of this! I never had enough pocket money to get one, and even if I did, I don’t know how I could have chosen a colour and ring from their range. They were all so bright and desirable!

Tamogotchi: Everyone at school had one, or a copy version of the virtual pet. I remember wanting one so much it almost hurt. When I got one of the copies, it was great for about a day before I realised it was a waste of time. Oh well.

Nokia mobile phone: Everyone started to get mobile phones when I was about 16. I couldn’t afford one and there would have been no point as there was no mobile reception where I lived, but seeing the others playing Snake made me want one badly! It would be two more years before I finally got to live the dream and play Snake on my own phone!

Mix tapes: I’ve saved the best till last. I LOVED MIX TAPES. I still love mix tapes. Everything about them excites me. I remember making and receiving them from other people. Sometimes they were beautifully executed works of art, with handmade inlays, glitter, stickers and tip ex, and sometimes they were just straight copies of albums with scrawled listings. I loved them all. They let me get music I couldn’t otherwise listen to, and share music I loved.


Pastel Owls Pattern

Hand drawn owl pattern

I drew these owls the other evening and thought how fun they’d look all lined up together! I scanned them and used Illustrator’s image trace (set at low res photograph) and coloured them in. I’m really enjoying turning hand drawn pictures into patterns at the moment. There is a moment of magic when the flat colour makes them pop that never gets boring.

Illustrated owls

Don’t they look sweet and surprised?!

Kawaii Creatures Pattern

Pastel animal pattern

Little creatures inspired by 1980’s toys: Care Bears, Keypers and My Little Pony. A kitten, a bunny, an owl and a puppy! All in pastel shades on fluffy clouds.

Mockup cushion

Illustrated animal characters

Woodland Doodle Pattern

Simple woodland pattern

A simple woodland pattern made from some basic pen and ink doodles. I scanned the doodles using my little Doxie scanner, and did an image trace in Illustrator.  I like its simplicity – just little brown mushrooms and little pine trees. Here it is mocked up on a notebook:

Notepad mockup

Minty Mushrooms Wallpaper Pattern

Illustrated mushrooms

Its been a few months since I last posted on here. I’ve been rather drained from my day job so my crafting and design projects have been on hold. I’ve still been doodling though – this mushroom pattern is made up of a series of doodles I’ve traced in Illustrator. I like the idea of featuring the little mushrooms appearing out of the foliage.

Mushroom pattern

I’m not happy with the green background in the wallpaper pattern – I think its a bit too warm. Perhaps I will experiment further with it. Although the pattern and design is simple, its been an uphill struggle! I’ve been ill in bed for a week with tonsillitis and this is the first productive thing I’ve done. I couldn’t remember how to make patterns repeat, I think the sickness has eroded my mind!

Mint coloured mushroom pattern

UPDATE: New pattern using the mushroom shapes 🙂 Need to fix the green leaves on this as they bug the eyes.

Retro Owl Pattern

Blue and Yellow Retro Owl Pattern

These owls are inspired by retro owl ceramics from the 1960’s and 1970’s. The pattern isn’t flowing quite right – I’m tempted to re-make it as stripes of owls.

Illustration of blue owls

1970’s Purple Flowers Pattern

1970's Style flower pattern

Here is another floral pattern inspired by the 1970’s textiles I’m so obsessed with. Just simple shapes drawn directly into Illustrator and softened with a round brush. It’s a bit of an odd colour pallet: sort of warm and cool at the same time. I may well tweak this to send it one way or the other, we’ll see.

1970's style flower illustration

1970’s Inspired Mushrooms & Flowers Pattern

Bright flowers and mushroom pattern

I’ve been increasingly fascinated by 1970’s surface pattern designs. They’re so bright and stylistically vibrant. This is a little pattern based on a series of sketches I’ve made ogling Pinterest for exotic retro patterns. Scroll down to see the sketches…

1970s stylised illustration of a mushroom and flowers


Pencil sketches of flowers and mushrooms

Cat and Flowers Cameo Pattern

A yellow pattern with red cats and flowers

This pattern came about after I sketched some cats the other evening. There was one cat in particular that really amused me: it looked like it was wearing false teeth but struggled to keep them in it’s mouth.

I traced a photo of this cat in Illustrator and then added flowers around it. Scroll down to see the original drawing. The flowers and foliage were heavily influenced by 1970’s surface pattern design. Instead of using black to outline the shapes I’ve played with darker shades of the main fill colours – its less harsh, but there is a knack to choosing the best colour and I’ve not worked out what that is yet!

Red and orange cat surrounded by flowers illustration


Pencil sketch of a sitting cat

Pink, Black, Mint & Lilac Flowers

Surface pattern with pink and lilac flowers

I’ve been very busy with my UX work these past few weeks and have not had the time to make any patterns. This makes me sad. Here is a fresh, simple floral pattern that started out with me just playing with pink and black… and it evolved into this.

Pink and black flower illustration


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