Design Evolution 1: waves

It’s funny how you get from here to there with a design.  They all have their own path and evolution.  Some are born spontaneously, some are extrapolated, some struggle their way into existence only to be constantly morphed until they find a home.  Some expire soon after they are born, others have incredibly long lives.

I’ve been wanting for some time to start a blog series called “Can This Design Be Saved?”. But it is sort of counter-intuitive for people (including myself ) to show designs that don’t work, and even if we show it when it is “saved”, it may not be ready for public viewing.  So in lieu of that, I thought I would show the evolution of a design in my now new Design Evolution series.  I will probably focus on designs that have been published on product so we can really see at least one possible ending!!  If anyone wants to contribute you are welcome!

Today we have a simple, but popular coordinating design in the Tokyo Rococo collection, waves. Its started out as a small little corner painting, where I sat down with blank paper and leftover paints from other projects and just started painting spontaneously.  I started out with the multicolored squiggles, and then added the line work to pull it together.  Kind of liked it, even the weird palette, and so made a larger version of it.

Fast forward to putting together the Tokyo Rococo collection where I was playing around trying to come up with a small wave pattern to add to the collection, and I started making something vaguely similar, so I retrieved the painted waves, which had yet to serve any purpose.  I scanned it in, cleaned up the colors in Photoshop and then put it in Illustrator and put it into repeat and recolored it to the palettes of the collection.  Then, Tokyo Rococo was licensed for quilting fabric with Andover Fabrics, Inc., and now we have bolts of finished fabric!  It was meant to be.


Painting "sketches", win some lose some, but takes no time at all. Don't think, just paint! ©Carol Van Zandt

repainted larger ©Carol Van Zandt

Put into repeat and recolored in Illustrator © Carol Van Zandt

Voila! Now on fabric.

Bolts of the wave pattern of Tokyo Rococo through Andover fabrics ©Carol Van Zandt






2 thoughts on “Design Evolution 1: waves

  1. So cool! Worked on projects this weekend. Did you see the instagram? @stampshacklady . I’m still new to instagram but I added you to the pic.

    Okay….now I want to understand. Is the first photo actually painted pieces? What kind of paint on what surface?

    I’ll send you a few pics of the projects I made soon!
    christie daugherty


    • Yes the first and second photo are actually painted pieces–using gouache, which produces nice flat color and is regularly used by designers. The colors are kinds muddy, but waste not want not if just “sketch-painting”. I love instagram–still learning how to use it! I’ll check out your pic! Oh so cool! I love the bags, so cute! Can’t wait to see it bigger!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s