How Photoshop for Designers Will Help You Be a Better Designer

Photoshop For Designers WorkshopAdobe Photoshop can open up a world of opportunity for designers. It enables you to create artwork that is more authentic and representative of your true artistic style. With less inhibition from software or the digital world you naturally become a better designer as a result.

All of us at Pattern Observer really do admire the Adobe Photoshop program, which is why we created a Photoshop for Designers workshop. This is the only Photoshop workshop devoted to creating prints and patterns, helping you to up your game and be the best you can be in your design world.

What makes Photoshop for Designers help you? It allows you to:

  • Build confidence in your design skills
  • Benefit from personalized feedback and support from Sherry London
  • Enjoy the insights that come from 61 downloadable video tutorials
  • Learn from step-by-step instruction
  • Complete assignments that help you put your new Photoshop skills to use immediately—a wonderful way to learn and remember
  • Speed up your design process
  • Stay motivated through daily emails and lessons
  • Learn the tools that will do the best job of bringing your ideas to life, therefore helping you improve your design skills

It doesn’t matter how you feel about your skills and abilities with Adobe Photoshop when you enter into the workshop. What matters is how you’ll feel when you leave it! By the end of the course you’ll gain confidence and lessen frustration. You’ll be empowered with the knowledge and skills you’ve developed, making you a better designer because of how you apply what you’ve learned. Photoshop is a big program with a lot of tools—all that are ones you can master with relative ease. You just need a little help from your designer friends and go-to resource, Pattern Observer’s Photoshop for Designers workshop.

Are you ready for your career to take a step forward?

Sherry’s next Photoshop for Designers workshop begins on Monday, March 6th, and includes all the important aspects of working in Photoshop.

Why wait and remain intimidated by Photoshop? Today is your day to remove the fear and become a better designer.

Grab your spot for just $299. Register here.






5 Tips for Working with Your Sketches in Photoshop

Sketching For Photoshop TipsPhotoshop is wonderful resource that allows us to do many of our favorite parts of designing in it. We can:

  • Manipulate photos
  • Draw and design directly in Photoshop
  • Sketch artwork and then scan it into Photoshop
  • And my personal favorite—paint and then scan the painting into Photoshop

There’s no certain way that you have to use Photoshop. Every method listed above is fine—one is not better than the other. But when working with original scanned sketches in Photoshop, in specific, half the battle is making the sketch as easy to use as possible.

In Photoshop for Designers, Sherry London shares countless techniques to help you turn your paintings and sketches into digital artwork. We wanted to share our 5 favorite tips with you today. May they inspire you and help you to build your confidence in using Photoshop to help in your design process.

Tip #1: Sketching Paper

If you know that you generally like to scan your sketches, try to use a sketchbook or paper that is solid white and has no texture. Unless you have a specific need for a different style of paper, this will make scanning your sketches easier.

Sherry likes the Canson 1557 Drawing Paper. It comes in a 9×12 inch spiral pad and the edge along the spiral binding is perforated, making it very easy to tear away from the pad for scanning. Typing paper is also a great way to draw multiple versions of your image without wasting expensive sketchbook pages.

At Pattern Observer, we also like the Strathmore Visual Journals with Smooth Bristol paper. My personal preference is to use a textural paper when I paint because I also choose to leave the texture in my digital artwork. However, if you are sketching and creating a design with smooth lines you’ll want to use a paper with less to no texture.


Tip #2: Media

You might want to start your sketches lightly in pencil. This is a common practice for many designers. You’ll just want to make sure that once you ink the sketch you carefully erase the pencil lines. It’s important to keep your paper as clean as possible.

Pay attention to the pen you use, as well. You have an amazing number of choices of pens—from tiny to huge and fat, to brushes of various lengths.  Wide inks and brushes leave great texture but don’t always play well in the company of thin strokes in the same image.


Tip #3: Darkness, Weight, and Sketch Size

When you scan your image, two things matter:

  • The size of the lines on the scan.
  • The size of the scan itself.

When reducing the size of your scanned image, the pen size and image size become even more critical. Darker, thicker lines take reduction better and also remain darker though enlargement in Photoshop. Even when you draw a large light flower and a dark small one, when reduced to the same size the light one is very light and thin. If you put multiple weights in the same image, it is to find a setting that does justice to all of the lines.

Tip #4: Object Overlap

The final issue to consider as you create your sketch is to decide if any objects in the drawing need to overlap. Overlapping motifs makes it difficult to create a design, pattern, or concept layout.

Whenever possible, paint each motif full, separately, without overlapping motifs.

Afterwards, scan each motif in, cut them out (one of the techniques covered in the full workshop), and move them around as you wish to create your layout.


Tip #5: Scan Resolution

Scanners work by dividing your image into “samples”. Each sample becomes a pixel in the final scan. The more pixels you have in the final scan, the larger your image. You can calculate the size of the image based on either:

  • Your scanning resolution
  • The number of pixels in the image

Your scanner driver determines how it thinks about size. Some drivers give you a choice of “web” or “print” scans. A web scan is usually 72 PPI (pixels per inch) and the print scan is 300 PPI. If you can choose, always scan at print size.

But what happens if you have an original sketch that is about a inch square? You can make it larger in the scanning process, within reason. Increasing a sketch from a 1”x1” original to even 4”x4” is doable on most scanners. Still, the options they give you for this enlargement will differ. You have to learn what to look for!

Scanner software usually lets you set either the scanning resolution or the image enlargement, but not both. So, you could scan the 1”x1” image at 400% enlargement or you could ask to scan the image 1200 PPI (4 times your normal print resolution). Either option should give you an image that is 1200 pixels square rather than the original 300 pixels square.


Unsure about what to do with your sketch after the scanning process?  Consider connecting with Sherry and having her walk you through this process in our FREE course, Fall in Love with Photoshop. Grab your spot here.














New York Fashion Week Inspiration at Your Fingertips

Getting the latest trends and inspiration from the runways —and on the street— during New York Fashion Week (Feb 9 – 16) is as easy as checking your favorite social media platform. Look for the hashtag #NYFW to search for new people and brands to follow.

If you want to see the new styles that emerge during Fashion Week, check out our list that includes some of our fashion insider faves for Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat.

Instagram: The freshest looks and many of the best candid style moments are on Instagram. Here are a few people and brands to check out.New York Fashion Week Inspiration at Your Fingertips














Twitter: New styles and trends are often mentioned first on Twitter during Fashion Week. Here are a few to check out.












Snapchat: You’ll find many of your favorite models, celebs and brands sharing a behind-the-scenes view of shows–and how they get ready for the runway and unwind after. Here are a few on Snapchat to check out:

@doublegiforce (Gigi Hadid)

Facebook: Photos, runway videos, and announcements by the designers appear on Facebook. Check out your favorite designers on Facebook first. (You can find the complete listing of designer shows here.) Then hop on over to Facebook for a few of the fashion insider pages including:







A few websites worth checking out…

The complete schedule for NYFW shows are listed here. You can watch the shows live here. Of course the official website NYFW brand is on all the social media platforms, but Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat are the ones to check out first.

Want to know what to wear to fashion week? POPSUGAR has a great Fashion Week page on its website with tips and trends. You can even download an app devoted to Fashion Week on iTunes.

Pattern Observer will be sharing our favorite NYFW moments on our Pinterest board. Check out the latest trends, patterns, color palettes, inspiration and more here.


This post was written by Pattern Observer team member Chris Olson. Chris is a Colorado-based illustrator and surface designer known for her modern playful illustrations and designs that you can view at She writes and sketches about all things design at her Pattern Bliss blog. You can follow Chris on Instagram at @Chris_Coco_Olson









3 Ways to Overcome Digital Artwork Frustration

Digital Tools Pattern Observer2Diving into the creative process with paints, charcoals, pencils, or other mediums is one of the most rewarding parts of our craft.

This creative freedom is exciting and liberating, which is the opposite of how many designers feel when they begin using Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop. Because the digital design process is so different you feel like your creativity comes to a screeching halt as you enter the world of small boxes (pixels) and the selector tool (the arrow).

You may be thinking, why should I have to learn Illustrator or Photoshop? There’s a good reason why.

In today’s textile design market, both clients and printers are requesting digital artwork. If you are unfamiliar with these programs it’s natural that you may feel that your hands are tied and you’re unable to take your artwork to the next level. You want to deliver great results for clients and buyers—all while maintaining sanity and a smile. Every designer who has gone through this process gets it!

Are you ready to accept that it is important to use Illustrator and Photoshop? But not ready to deal with the frustrations of finding your digital groove? Here are three problems and solutions that may help you. I know they helped me, and made a huge difference in my outlook and the outcome of my efforts.

1. You are forcing yourself to use the wrong program.

Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator are both fabulous programs for creating and editing digital artwork; however, almost every artist does prefer one program over the other. It’s human nature to have preferences, even with technology. Likewise, it’s human nature to resist technology we don’t fully understand.
Painters and fine artists with a looser, more organic style tend to be drawn to Photoshop.
Those artists who are more technical tend to be drawn to Illustrator.
Neither choice is wrong. Both programs serve a purpose and assist in creating amazing digital work for clients and buyers. So, take a moment to reflect on your current “go-to” program and evaluate if it’s perhaps time to switch things up and try something new.

2. You don’t understand what all the tools are, much less how to use them.

There’s an old saying that sums this frustration up perfectly: “You don’t know what you don’t know!” What an appropriate saying, one which applies to using digital artwork programs such as Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. These programs are robust and powerful, which is great when you know your options and have mastered the techniques and tools they offer. But…if you don’t know what tools or options are available to use it can be a frustrated experience. The best way to overcome this frustration is to make sure you receive the proper training to help you learn how to use the tools that help you do your job better. It turns a potentially frustrating experience into a fabulous one.

3. You feel out of control.

When you don’t know which tools will work best for you the software will guide you off of how it’s programmed. Why not know the software and improve your process and experience? Many artists find that they lose their style and creative vision while working in programs they don’t fully understand. Learn the digital tools of your digital trade and avoid the software dictating the flow of your designs. This is all in your control!

Are you ready to up your digital game? Your artistic style and creative spirit does not have to be inhibited by software or the digital art world. These two different places can merge into an amazing collaborative effort.

Your voices and concerns have been heard by Pattern Observer. This is why we’re so excited to introduce a free course about Adobe Photoshop. Find out the details here:

You’re on the cusp of growing as a designer by knowing how to use the tools in the Photoshop program. We’re so excited to help. Get started here.





Found Color Palette: Pink and Green Plants

FoundPatterns_PatternObserver31Images via: (clockwise from top left)  “Pink and Green Coleus” by Lori L. Stalteri “Pink and green” by Quinn Dombrowski (cropped from original),  “Striped shirt” by Quinn Dombrowski “pink” by Robyn Jay (cropped from original),  “flowers, green pink white” by Lisa Yarost (cropped from original),  “a pink leaf” by A of DooM (cropped from original),  “Flower and leaf” by Quinn Dombrowski (cropped from original),  “Echeveria ‘Victor Reiter‘”  by Seán A. O’Hara (cropped from original),  “Yellow on pink” by Quinn Dombrowski (cropped from original)

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At Pattern Observer we strive to help you grow your textile design business through our informative articles, interviews, tutorials, workshops and private design community, The Textile Design Lab.