Recreating a design by breaking down its elements is a great way to learn and expand your skills.
Why Recreate A Design?
I love creating and using Photoshop art, grunge and vintage brushes and overlays. These are the elements of design. I sometimes wonder though when I post a new collection if people might wonder What on earth would I do with these weird brushes? (Especially the patterned grunge brushes.)
When I was studying art at the university, my teachers sometimes had us copy artists and designers as an exercise. It’s a really great way to explore and refine technique. Looking closely at a design and re-creating it expands our visual “vocabulary”. It forces us to look closely at the details.
The Original Design
I have a confession. I am a thrift store junkie! I’m pretty darn good at it and love walking out the door with a bag full of great clothes for the cost of one modestly priced shirt at a department store. I particularly love collecting printed t-shirts since pattern surface design is a growing interest of mine. Recently, while looking closer at some of my finds, I noticed that they are great examples of using grunge, art, and vintage elements.
There’s no mystery why the t-shirt design below attracted me. The script and botanical elements immediately caught my eye. It wasn’t until looking at it closely later though that I realized just how similar these elements are to those I have created! I felt compelled to try out the design as an exercise and thought it might be useful for you to see as well. This t-shirt is by the French company Daxon. I didn’t notice this t-shirt on their site, but they do have other lovely designs.
Breaking Down The Elements
Here’s a breakdown of the elements used in the design study. I’ve put some of them in black so you can see them better.
Blocks and Brush Strokes:
- French Kiss Dry Brush Masks (Overlays) See, masks can also be used as design elements.
- French Kiss Dry Brush Strokes No.1 (Brushes) Smaller, narrower blocks and accents.
- French Kiss Gouache Grunge Brushes No.3 (Brushes) Light tan colored spots. Set to Screen blend mode so that the botanical images show through.
I’ve shown the botanicals in black so you can see them, but note that in most cases they are clipped to the color blocks so that they are cropped by the blocks.
French Script Brushes:
The vintage French script brushes are used in different layers. Some are behind the color blocks and some are above.
- French Kiss Vintage French No.1 Various vintage French script blocks and postmarks.
- French Kiss Cahier De Botanique Used for the “Cahier de Botanique” title and the “Fleurs” script block.
As this is just an exploratory design recreation, I didn’t spend a lot of time finessing it. I did a quick impression using similar elements. I also threw in a few things just ‘cuz it felt right!
I hope you find it helpful to see how various elements can be combined to create a design. Why not find a design that inspires you and re-create it? It’s a great exercise. Just remember not to post the design as your own work and give credit to the source inspiration. Almost goes without saying, but don’t use the inspiration designs to create artwork to sell.
The specific brushes and overlays used above are linked in the description. You can also shop by category.