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how I work...

digital drawing

My sister came along last night as I was drawing up some new patterns on the computer. She thought that my process was interesting, and so I thought I might show you a little of this as well. I don't do this with all of my illustrations, but I've found that it is helpful for me.

First, I sketch and doodle and draw. As you can see in these pics, it's on lined paper. For some reason, I just like it.

Then, I take a picture of the page. Yes, I could scan it, and it would probably look nicer, but a photo is faster. (You can even see my finger holding the book below)

YIP2010 - 061

I import the photo into Adobe Illustrator and, using the Pen tool, I outline my drawings. (I use a mouse, not a tablet) Sometimes they are an exact trace of my original sketch, but more often, they are a little different. The nice thing about working in Illustrator is how easy it is to change the lines so that I get them just as I want them. (when you see shapes that seem a little wonky, I meant to do that!)

It's easiest to trace with just an outline, but when I've finished an illustration, I add the colors. The process is the same for when I make embroidery patterns as for illustrations for other printables, but there are some differences. Of course, the patterns stay as outlines, but the elements often line up differently. So if something is both a pattern and a printable, I make adjustments for each.

Oh, and when I feel bold...I don't even import drawings to trace. I just freehand it!

digital drawing

In case I haven't said this enough lately...I love making these kinds of things. And I love sharing them with you!


  1. Thanks for sharing Mollie. It's so interesting to see how you work. I don't have Illustrator (too expensive!) and I free hand most of my patterns (except for large circles or something). Freehand sounds very 'easy' but I draw and re-draw my patterns lots of times! :)

  2. So funny, this is exactly how I do my graphics too.

  3. Thanks for sharing - that's so very interesting and inspiring - keep up the great work!


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