100 Days of Caribbean Patterns

I recently completed drawing 100 days of Caribbean Patterns as part of the 100 Day Project. Many have me asked me what was the inspiration and motivation behind it. Here are some reflections.

Marimekko

I’m in love with Marimekko. I discovered this quirky Finish brand on a university school trip to Finland in 2004 and it stuck with me ever since. At the time, I could only afford to buy a Marimekko oven mitt, but I cherished it for years and it was the beginning of my collection. For those of you who have been to my place, you’ve noticed the duvet covers, tablecloths, bowls, jugs, cups, containers, tea towels, bath towels, shower curtains and other Marimekko knick knacks. I’m attracted to the bold, hand drawn pattens. They remind me of my happy Nordic days living and studying in Scandinavia.

Jamaica

I’m married to Russell. I love him as much as I love my Marimekko. He’s half Jamaican. I resisted going to the Caribbean for many years. I thought the Caribbean was touristy all inclusive resorts, parties and mediocre food. I spent all my vacation time traveling to Europe instead. When I met Russell, he brought me to Jamaica to meet his family and introduced me to all of its natural beauty, warm turquoise waters, wonderful spicy dishes, soft reggae, Negril sunsets and nightly star gazing. Now I have a goal to see every Caribbean country in the next 20 years. So far we have made it to Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, Dominica and soon we will head to Guadeloupe. The rich, vibrant colors of the Caribbean just put me in a very happy, relaxed, cheerful place.

Made With Paper

I work at an amazing company called FiftyThree. We build an iPad app called Paper and a stylus called Pencil. With Paper, I have many wonderful tools at my fingertips to ideate, brainstorm, wireframe and design concepts. Drawing a pattern a day in Paper forced me to use the app in a different way. It felt so great to open a page and just free form draw without a goal in mind or a problem to solve.

Community

I had lots of support. Three of my awesome colleagues were also doing #The100DayProject. Seeing them create every day inspired me to do so as well. Friends and family would write to me and let me know how much they liked a certain pattern. When I took a break at Day 80 for a few weeks, I got constant encouragement to keep going and I did.

Progress

I got better. My first few patterns were a timid but I became more bold with color and style. The beauty of doing something everyday for 100 days is that you can’t obsess over every single pattern. Not everyone one had to be perfect and that took the pressure off. I was creating a body of work and experimenting rather than striving to make a perfect piece each time.

Here are a few of the themes I experimented with:

Geometry

I loved experimenting with the Diagram tool in Paper and giving a sharper more geometric look to some of the patters.

Fruit

I used the Fill and Marker tool to get really nice juicy shapes. Bright colors also helped here.

Trees

It was very calming to do a lot of greenery, leaves and trees.

Wildlife

Applying color to my favorite animals.

Flowers

Flowers were my go-to doodle. It was great to get a few versions out that I really liked.

Aquatic

I dabbled in a bit underwater fun and really was loving the navy blue and red combo.

Bold

Doing really thick lines with the marker tool made the patterns very dramatic and vibrant.

Circles

Circle, repeat, circle, repeat, circle, repeat.

Tiles

Tiles, fences and wall patterns always made for good subjects.

You can see my #100daysofCaribbeanPatterns on Instagram or Mix. So far, I’ve made a tablecloth with some of my favorite prints. Next, perhaps some table napkins, cards or even a clothing piece. Stay tuned…

Thanks for riding along.

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