Wouldn’t it be fabulous to have a bespoke fabric and wallpaper design which does more than just reflect the brand image of a hotel, pub, restaurant, or any workplace for that matter? One which has the versatility to be printed in different colours and can be developed with a change of scale? I find the prospect exciting.

Having decided I’d like to create a toile de jouy design, I began thinking about the drawings I might need. I also researched existing fabrics, discovering a fascinating history. Toile de jouy was first created in the 1750’s in Jouy-en-Josas outside Paris, after the ban on importing cotton was lifted in France (a whole other story). Christophe-Phillipe Oberkampf a manufacturer and Jean Baptiste Huet a designer and engraver, began creating idyllic countryside scenes and printing them onto cotton. By the time Oberkampf died in 1815 his company had a catalogue of over 30,000 designs, created by Jean Baptiste and many other designers.

Toille Wallpaper and Fabric Design

I draw from photographs and have been very fortunate to be able to accumulate an array of my own stock images. One of the many things I love to do for my business is to travel to different places and take photographs of animals, these particular images and the ones I drew from, were taken at Wildwood Trust near Canterbury.

Each image is hand drawn, scanned and then further developed using Photoshop and a Wacom drawing tablet.

It was at this point that I realised I could create a design for a specific business. I had a lovely chat will the owner of The Old Eyre Arms about designing a bespoke wallpaper. The next stage was to look at what images would be suitable, the obvious ones being the building and the coat of arms. But how about making the design even more personal? What could be better than a drawing of the pub owner and his daughter riding, accompanied by the family dog.

To complete the composition other images were needed. Luckily, I often carry my camera with me when on walks, so, I also have quite a few photographs of trees. A single tree was trialed and the three trees were added as a development.

Combining these images into a useable repeat pattern is often a case of trial and error. Although, if you ever consider creating your own design the one piece of advice would be to test the design on a regular basis. Repeat patterns can be created in Photoshop using guides to help with alignment, the offset function to check that the edges match and pattern fill to test the design works when repeated.

The pattern unit can be thoroughly checked by selecting define pattern in the edit menu, and then using pattern fill, in an area multiple times larger than the single unit. Once a repeat pattern has been established, test for pattern imperfections, you may not want an obvious diagonal, so nudging elements can remove these. Each individual drawing is on a separate layer so can be moved independently, although, the layers need to be merged when making a pattern element.

A pattern can consist of distinct drawings with empty space in-between or additional drawing can be added. I experimented by sketching on printouts.

The design development in Photoshop using my drawing tablet was continued, checking that the design flows and whether the pattern works well.

Deciding when to stop is often the hardest decision. I often share my designs on social media when I feel I am almost there. It’s great to get a second or third opinion and you can either take comments on board or not.

At this point adding colour was very exciting.

If you would like to learn more about how to use Photoshop to create your own fabric or wallpaper designs, I will be writing a blog giving more in depth information and lots of pictures, so watch this space.

The one design I have wanted to create for quite a while has been a polo wallpaper. The time is almost right as I am part of a team working on the creation of a new site for Thoresby Polo Club. It is currently a series of farm buildings, but there is going to be a fabulous winter clubhouse crying out for wallpaper.

If you are an interior designer interested in collaborating with me or you are thinking of using my products? Please get in touch.

If you would like to stock any of my products in your retail premises, please contact me to discuss wholesale prices.

Why not have a look around my portfolio, to see the rest of my work?

Or just have a look around my print shop.

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