Book Review: Digital Textile Design

I bought this book when I was working on the Laurie King fabric collaborations and I saw that Laurence King publishers were having a massive sale on all their fashion and textile books. I already own all the Pattern Magic and Drape Drape books in English, but I was intrigued at the idea of this one and I’m really glad I picked it up as I don’t really know of any other books like it.

This book is really aimed at the beginning textile designer and has full tutorials for Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator to show how to get a bunch of different effects. I really like the style that this is written in (it’s much easier to read than a textbook!), and the screenshots and steps in the tutorials are really easy to follow along with.

There’s a fair amount of design inspiration from cool up and coming designers playing with digital prints, plus some advice on good design aesthetics, but I’ve learned the most from the tutorials, like this one which shows how to map out photo-realistic prints exactly where you want them on your pattern pieces.

Even if you’re not a fan of the Versace look, it’s a great primer on photo manipulation, scanning, placement, and printing (though of course it’s easier for me since my designs are already digital).

If you’ve ever played with Spoonflower or other digital printing sites, you know all about repeating patterns, and how frustrating it can be sometimes to get them to line up (off by one pixel, arghgh!). I learned a lot from this tutorial showing how to use the pattern tool in Illustrator to get everything looking absolutely perfectly before changing colour palettes, etc.

There are about 20 different tutorials in the book, I’d estimate, but I just wanted to show you this one as I’ve seen this effect on clothing sites and I had no idea this was how it was done! Essentially, you take photos of your model wearing an entirely white garment, and you can then take various prints and make them look like the clothing is in that print.

So clever, right? I was impressed!

Anyway, I’d really recommend this book for anyone who wants to start in textile design and has access to Photoshop and Illustrator. I’ve also hard through the grapevine that the author is working on a new book, which I’m very interested in now!

“Digital Textile Design” by Melanie Bowles and Ceri Isaac. I bought mine from Laurence King publishing, though it’s available elsewhere too, of course.

Up tomorrow: one for the men!

I’m currently on a much-needed holiday through Central Europe, ending with running the Berlin marathon. I’m trying not to work while I’m away, so I’ll respond to anything non-urgent once I’m back. Thanks!

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