Drawing patterns is an old dream and I did my first course on the subject in 2018 (with the lovely Elizabeth Olwen on Skillshare).
I got way too busy with other things, time passed and I forgot the little I learned.
I enrolled in a course by Ana Sanfelippo at Domestika and it is exactly about what I wanted to learn: tell stories with patterns.
1. Chose the theme
I was inspired by a short scene in the movie Gosford Park. I love the bedroom furniture and ladies style.
If you want to read my full analysis of this bedroom click here.
2. Define what to draw
My drawings were divided in 3 categories:
Characters: the ladies who socialize in the bedroom Elements: the furniture and window Miscellaneous: small objects of the room and wallpaper details
3. Decide where to use the patterns
Early on I decided I wanted to apply the patterns mostly for decoration. Fabrics, wallpapers and art prints are my main goal.
4. Search for references
I always like to get extra references for my projects, so they feel very unique.
For this project I also got inspired by:
Chinese scrolls and vases
French Toile de Jouy fabric and wallpapers
5. Draw the elements
This part took forever but it’s so important! I drew all elements by hand in my personal style, then digitalized all elements on Illustrator. It was a very long and exhausting process but now that I’m done I understand how important it is to draw each element very carefully.
Slide to see before and after!
6. Pattern creation
For this collection I drew 10 patterns, but in this first moment, I’m publishing just 3:
Brick / Toile inspired
7. Have fun with mockups!
I can’t finish an illustration without testing on a mockup. That’s how I adjust colors, proportion and other small details. When I worked as an architect, I couldn’t live without 3D models and mood boards.
I guess my brain still works the same, I need to see it in the real world!
8. Print fabrics and licensing!
Ok I’m not there yet! I’m still waiting for my fabric samples to arrive, but we will get there and I’ll be here updating you ASAP!
In the mean time check this super cute video I did for my my Instagram, speaking about my pattern process.
Gosford Park Scene: NBC Universal / Video Music: Spring @iksonmusic
If you love it and would like to see more, please check my portfolio page:
Gosford Park is one of my favourite movies and I was so glad to watch it again now that it’s available on Netflix. The movie features amazing set designs and costumes, and a great and original story that includes one of my favourite actress, Kristin Scott Thomas.
We follow a group of rich and snob people who gather for hunting at Gosford Park, an English country house. We see the whole action through the eyes of the servants, specially Mary Maceachram, a new maid working for Lady Constance Trentham. The house is magnificent and full of contrasts. The upstairs are opulent and highly decorated. The downstairs, in the servant quarters, are functional and austere.
The house rooms are all different from each other, some are very full of heavy details and others more delicate. There are different wall colours, linens, furniture…. Some masculine and feminine designs.
I understand Lady Trentham is an honoured guest and she stayed in one of the most beautiful bedrooms in the history of the movies. That’s what I want to show you today.
The bedroom features a peacock and flowers wallpaper with a soft light blue background. I love the blush curtains, the tall windows and brass details in the furniture. The fringe lamps on the nightstands and dresser are so charming and well placed. The canopy frames the bed beautifully and I cannot forget to observe how the pastel rug connects everything harmonically.
We enter this bedroom through a door beside the large wardrobe. Above we can see Mary bringing a wood tray with the breakfast for the lady (I love the silver pieces on it). I won’t show the pictures in the chronological order. Instead I’m showing the bedroom during the day and in the evening. I’ll start with the morning sun.
Beside the large wardrobe there is a tall mirror and then the bed set with two nightstands. Although the wallpaper pattern is very fluid and organic, the furniture placement keeps the structure and symmetry, reinforced by the table lamps and round picture frames.
I found interesting how the dressing table is placed right in front of the window. The same happens with the desk, in front of the other window. The triptych mirror certainly make it special, what a beautiful piece! Notice how the wallpaper behind Lavinia shows much more flowers, it’s a very interesting pattern alternating flowers and birds.
How about the tassels everywhere? Tassels on the curtain holder, tassels on the table lamp, tassels on the perfume bottle. There are fringes and tassels everywhere, I love it!
Did you notice the objects on the silver tray? I think those are beauty products. Don’t you want to exchange all modern plastic packages for those? I do.
Here we go, composition, contrast and symmetry again. The wallpaper pattern is asymmetric and dances around without following any grid. But the structure is there, notice the repetition of another triptych mirror, symmetrical amphora vases and twin sconces. Everything is ornamented, from the picture frames to the fireplace golden details. I also love the tall white baseboard, make such a neat edge.
Beside the fireplace there is a door that I’m not sure where it goes. There is also this black and gold cabinet that is shown very little during the movie but it’s very unique and got my eye, it looks like a Chinese cabinet. I find intriguing how the black doesn’t look heavy, but it’s well balanced with the large wardrobe and all patterns of the bedroom. The wardrobe is not shown on this picture but I like how it makes a pair with this black cabinet and it’s opposite to the pair of the windows on the other side of the bedroom. Also note the vase of flowers on a stand, it’s also placed opposite to the large vase of flowers that sits between the bed and the dressing table (check the first picture).
The bedroom is a social space and the ladies enjoy talking and gossiping while the men go hunt. Here we can see how the wallpaper pattern is heavier on the bottom and lighter on the top. Also we can see the sofas and chairs around the fireplace (in front of the bed). I really like how the structure of all seating is apparent and slightly golden. The only thing that we feel it doesn’t belong the the bedroom is Mary, dressed in all black with no ornaments. I’m sure that was the director’s intention, to show how the servants were there almost like a shadow, with no life of their own.
Here is a nice shot of the bed and its canopy. Notice how all shapes reinforce the heavyweight on the bottom and lightweight on the top. Mirror, lamps and canopy are all wider in the bottom and narrow on top creating a illusion of a heavy base that communicates perfectly with the wallpaper pattern.
And again we see fringes and tassels everywhere, on the canopy, on the table lamp and even in the reflection of the curtains on the tall mirror. The wallpaper behind the bed is the richest and most original, peacocks with yellow orange tails and some very asymmetrical branches, probables inspired by old Japanese prints. It’s the contrast of the wallpaper with the furniture that makes this bedroom special. Can you imagine the same furniture with a regular pattern wallpaper? Or with no pattern on the walls? How traditional and boring!
In the evening light I cannot tell if the wallpaper is green or blue, it looks greenish for me in those scenes. Here is a good view of the beauty containers and the gorgeous table lamp. Maggie Smith portraits such a detestable and self absorbed lady, it’s hard to forget her character and poisonous remarks. It’s so natural how she distills her disdain, she is a master in the art of contempt.
Here’s a last look on the bedroom with a good view of the wardrobe and the bed. I absolutely love the bed head and foot, specially the curve that holds the mattress and the golden ornaments. The mirror and wardrobe are very beautiful, unfortunately I don’t know a lot about types of wood but you can’t help but notice how the wood veins on the wardrobe door and nightstand drawers are strong and rich. And although I’m focusing on the decor, how not to notice the gorgeous dresses of the ladies? The antique pink of Constance dress even matches the pink pleats of the canopy over the bed, such an achievement from the visual department in this movie.
So that was it for today. Lady Constance Trentham is an old snake and Sylvia follow her steps closely, but behaviour and class struggles aside, I can’t help but to love this bedroom and find it a masterpiece in decoration and visual composition.
Did you like it? Leave a comment! I’ll post about the kitchen and the rest of the house another day, keep in touch!