Saturday, December 21, 2013

Winter themes

The latest two contests I have to write about were to be inspired by "ugly Christmas sweaters" and skiing, respectively. For the ugly sweaters, I was inspired by one of my favorite Christmas movies, "Nightmare Before Christmas," and drew sweaters to fit the silhouettes of most of the main characters. I figured that most people would use a traditional red/green/white color scheme so I tried to differentiate myself by using colors from the movie poster - cream and navy. This was also partly pragmatic, as I knew I'd never be able to finish on time if I tried to draw fully-colored sweaters for each person.

And in my bones I feel the warmth that

The representations are:

  • Jack Skellington: allover bows = maximum festivity
  • Sally: cat with hat, since she seems like a cat person
  • Mayor: candy canes to help him stay on the cheerful side of his face
  • Oogie Boogie: ornaments (showy and shiny, like his lair)
  • Dr Finklestein: reindeer, of course - these are more than skeletons though
  • Lock (devil kid): snowflake (a cold day in hell!)
  • Shock (witch kid): shiny hard candy (sugar and spice and nothing nice)
  • Barrel (skeleton kid): penguin (black and white...?)
  • Wolfman: a big Ho Ho Ho (awoooo!)
  • Behemoth: a tree, in honor of the axe embedded in his head
  • Vampire: a tall glass of milk, to have something more seasonally appropriate to drink

This did pretty well in the contest - 111 votes, and 41st place out of 110. My two favorite entries were the hearts and unicorns, and the take on the nutcracker.

For the skiing contest, we were supposed to do it in a "retro" style, and use these colors:   Spoonflower_Skier
Color by COLOURlovers

Plus white. I knew most people would do designs using white or the light blue as a background, so I stayed away from that. I decided to go as retro as possible and was inspired by some of the earliest rock carvings depicting skiiers, like this guy.

Rock carvings of skiers

The background pattern is based on the sashiko-style design I used in the star designs, and the red-and-yellow in the foreground is my good 'ol eucalyptus. This came in 89 out of 120 with 46 votes. My favorites were the mountains and cocktail ingredients.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Mid-Holiday catchup

Here's what I've been up to for Spoonflower designs!

I made a bonsai-inspired entry for the "fall leaves" contest. I'm pretty happy with how it came out, but it did not resonate with the community and got only five votes (and came in second from last). That stung a bit!

Bonsai Maples in Autumn

I think that perhaps the trees are too close together and so just get read as blobs. Maybe a less dense arrangement, and in a one-way-up orientation, would work better for this. My favorite entry was this exuberant nature assortment, followed by the tessellated oak leaves.

I used a couple of patterns I had on hand - the background is from the isometric graph paper and the leaves use the lattice pattern I've used in a few places before. And speaking of that graph paper set, somebody bought the scantron design on a roll of giftwrap! I bet that's for a present for a teacher. (Someone else also got the snow angel kids as giftwrap - I bet those will be some cute presents.)

And speaking of giftwrap, the next contest was to make a small-scale print, with a mitten theme, to be used as giftwrap. I thought of the way my son adds extra consonants to words - pitcher is "pist-stir," button is "bun-ton" - and mitten became "mint-en." So I drew mint leaves in the shapes of mittens.


I used these colors:
Color by COLOURlovers

I'm very satisfied with how this came out. I ordered a roll of it on giftwrap to use for the presents I'm giving this year! It got 31 votes and came in the bottom quarter of the contest. My favorite entries, any of which I would happily use as giftwrap, were these: one, two, three, four.

And most recently, the contest was for a design that fit on a yard of fabric that you could hang up as a festive decoration (in lieu of an actual Christmas tree, perhaps). My husband suggested a tree grown into the shape of a menorah, with Christmas-tree-type lights as the candle flames. I didn't have time to do a fully rendered take on that idea, but I at least suggested it in a minimal way.

Golden Vine Menorah Hanging

The idea here is that you hang up the bottom portion, and cut out the individual lights and put them up in the usual Hanukkah way. The background dots are the same as I used for (again) the graph paper and the firefly molecules. The branch/vine texture in the menorah is based on the howling spirits/haunted ghosts pattern, just with all the features filled in and the bodies joined together.  It came in the bottom third, with 51 votes. So the design I threw together in about two hours at the last minute, got more votes than the previous two - which I had put quite a bit of work into - combined! Isn't that the way.

The best straight-up traditional all-out Christmas tree entry was this Victorian one. I also really liked this stylized geometric one. The ones I liked that had more of a twist were the pressed flowers, New Zealand Christmas, Japanese crest, and Indian block print. And the best one that had an interactive element like mine was this "Twelve Days of Christmas" tree.