One Hour Challenge: Texture Hunt


Hello everyone! Chelsea here. If you are a current or former member of our Textile Design Lab community you are probably familiar with our One Hour Challenges, but we wanted to share these with our wider Pattern Observer audience at this time where a lot of people are stuck at home with time on their hands. We will be releasing two of these challenges per week over the next month or so, and hope they will help keep you motivated and inspired during this trying time!

I originally developed the One Hour Challenge in response to a concern I’ve heard time and again from designers in our community, who have said that they struggle with perfectionism and have trouble deciding when to call a pattern or a collection “finished.” This really stuck with me and I wanted to do something that could help combat these tendencies, which can stall your productivity and affect your confidence in your work. The goal of the One Hour Challenges is to help by setting a specific time frame (one hour, no cheating!) 😉 which will help you practice working to a tight deadline, and accepting “good enough” when your inclination might be to overwork or nitpick your designs. Putting a One Hour Challenge into practice even once a week will help establish a habit that puts you on the road to becoming a more efficient and creative designer. And most of them are great activities to do with kiddos, too!

A Few Words on Photo Reference

I am a firm believer in having a library of your own photographs to use as reference for your pattern designs. Using images you have found online is generally not a good idea and can lead to messy legal issues, so working from your own photographs is a great way to ensure you are protected if a company calls upon you to show the origins of a design. You also would have proof showing that you are the true owner of the idea and how it was developed, if you ever run into the unfortunate issue of someone copying your own designs.

Your photos can be filtered or otherwise digitally manipulated to create unique textures and layered effects, or can simply be used as reference if you need to draw a particular flower or leaf shape but aren’t able to sit outside and draw from life. You can use pieces of them as collage elements, or use the color picker tool to create color palettes from them. They are just super handy to have around! If you don’t already have a collection of photo reference started, now’s your chance to start.

Birch bark

Let’s Begin!

For our first One Hour Challenge, I invite you to hunt down as many textures as you can in one hour, and capture them in some format, whether a photo, a scan, or perhaps a rubbing using crayon, pastels or colored pencil like the example at right.

These could be textures you find around your house such as wood floors, a window screen, tiles, carpet, countertop, etc., or you could venture into  nature (practicing appropriate social distancing of course!) to find interesting textures such as tree bark, rocks, or lichen.

Textures are a very popular pattern style and are in demand in nearly every market, including men’s, women’s and children’s apparel, home decor, paper products and quilting fabric. They are a nice way to round out a pattern collection in place of, or in addition to, more classic coordinates like stripes, plaids, or dots. 

How to Take Part in the One Hour Challenge

We aren’t setting any particular deadlines for the One Hour Challenge, this is meant to fit into your schedule whenever you have the time or need a creativity boost. If you would like to share your results of this challenge on social media, please use hashtag #patternobserver. You may see your work shared on the Pattern Observer Instagram feed or Facebook page! 🙂

For ease of sharing on social media I am providing the grid template that I used for my own photos shown at the top of this post. In the full file the grid can accommodate 25 pictures (5×5 rows.) Please also feel free to collage or organize your photos in a different way to share, the grid is just an option. Have fun!! -Chelsea

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

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