Thursday, October 2, 2014

Ballet in the Field: Dancing Mice

It has been a couple of weeks but I am back in the Spoonflower Contest swing of things this week my design:  Dancing Mice for the theme Ballet.  For this contest I wanted to do something playful and fun that was also delicate and girlie.  My whimsical ballerina mice wear cute outfits in shades of pink.  I have them dancing among pink flowers because little mice are best found at home in the fields than on a stage!  I hope you love my design as much as I do and if you do!  The contest is over, but you can find my design now for sale HERE.  Happy dancing everyone! 

Dancing Mice
Zoomed in Detail View

Printed on Kona Cotton
Coordinating Pattern:  Ballet Flowers

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Bookworms Everywhere!

A new contest on Spoonflower has prompted a new design that once again was inspired by a note card design I created for my card line:  BdoodleZ.  The theme for this contest:  Libraries seemed like the perfect opportunity for me to create a pattern using my very popular Bookworm illustration.  But why stop at one?  My little bookworm needed some friends!  Thus, my "Bookworms" surface pattern design is a celebration of many book loving not-so-creepy crawlers.  I am in love with this playful design and I hope you love it too!

The card that inspired the design

Design Copyright Brenda Zapotosky
Design Copyright Brenda Zapotosky

Friday, August 8, 2014

Going Retro with some "Hip Hexagons"

See my design along with all the other
designers work in the Online Gallery.

Looks like School's IN for summer!  In a good way.  This summer I have decided to participate in a fun (and free!) Surface Pattern Design Summer School hosted by the team at Make it in Design.  This "school" is not made up of classes, but rather three unique assignments to help you stretch your design legs and maybe think outside your normal box. I chose to participate in the Intermediate Track for the first assignment which focused on color and had a fun retro theme!  For our first challenge we had to design a print with swimsuits in mind.  The theme was retro geometrics that should be bold and yet still modern AND also infuse your personal style: Quite a list of criteria!  My mind went almost immediately to hexagons, a shape I haven't personally worked much with but one that really screams retro to me.  We were provided with several color palettes for inspiration.  The one I used has bright and bold oranges and yellows with a deep brownish purple to ground it and a nice light pink to round things out.  I love this palette as I think it looks both modern and retro at the same time.  I applied it to hexagons of varying sizes that were scattered in a random pattern to form a seamless repeat.  And to add that special "Brenda Zapotosky" touch:  Some fun hatchings thrown about!  I am super happy with the finished design and think that it really reflects my style while still fulfilling all the requirements. 

Hip Hexagons swimwear mock-up

I plan on creating at least one coordinating print to go with it and at least one other color way of the designs so be on the look-out for them to appear in my Spoonflower Shop this fall!

I am really happy to be participating in this summer experience.  As part of our Summer School we have an online group set up specifically for all the participants and it has been so much fun seeing everyone post their work and getting to know some new designers!  So between that and the interesting assignments I would say that this summer experience gets a good grade so far!  There are still 2 more assignments to go so please stop back to see what other fun designs I will be inspired to create!


Friday, August 1, 2014

Tennis Time!

It is challenge time again at Spoonflower and the theme this week is Tennis.  For this theme I wanted to steer away from a novelty style print and instead create more of an abstract pattern.  I was inspired by the grid of the net, and thus my "Nothing But Net" design was born!  To add a bit of contrast in both shape and color I threw in a few tennis balls "caught" in the net.  It is a simple design, a bit out of my normal box which I think is kind of fun!  If you would like to vote for it, Voting is open until Wed. August 13th!  And if you would like to purchase this design as fabric, wallpaper or gift wrap it is available in my Spoonflower Shop.  Thanks for stopping by!

Printed design on Kona Cotton

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Beauty of Dill

A new contest is approaching on Spoonflower and the theme is:  Herb Garden.  My design for this challenge went through many iterations before I settled on a final design that I liked. Initially I thought I would do something very rectilinear, depicting herbs in boxes both from above and in elevation view.  But as often happens when designing, the vision in my head and the translation to the drawn art were not in sync and I decided to take a different approach.  I thought that perhaps I would just do a tossed-style pattern of a variety different herbs (no boxes).  I pulled out my sketchbook and began drawing herbs.  I thought they were looking very pretty on the page, but I wasn't very excited about this concept either.  Just having  herbs tossed about didn't seem very unique or interesting to me.

Hand-drawn herbs in my Sketchbook
While I was drawing these herbs, I stumbled across a plant that did inspire me:  Dill Flowers!  I had no idea that the flowers for dill were so pretty: Delicate spirals of little buds radiating from slender stems. I was finally really excited about an idea for this theme!  So I ditched the sketchbook drawings and went back to Illustrator and began drawing my version of these pretty plants. 

Finished Dill Flowers Pattern
There is so much detail in these pretty little plants that I decided not to add too many other elements to the pattern. A simple pale yellow circle pattern over classic white creates a subtle print behind the dill flowers.  A funny thing does seem to happen though in a zoomed out view of the print:  The yellow in the spirals almost create a blur of color around the stems.  For this reason I wanted to share a close up of the design so you could see the detail of the flowers.
Zoomed in Detail of Dill Flowers
Printed Fabric View
I hope you love this summery print as much as I do!  Voting is now up for the Herb Garden competition and runs through Wed. July 30th.  You can vote here:

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Doodle Book Thursday: A Throwback Thursday Instagram Project

It seems like Throwback Thursday, a.k.a. "TBT" has become a bit of a social media phenomenon, and lately I seem to be seeing more and more posts of old photos.  This new trend has inspired me and from the inspiration I have decided to start a new Thursday Instagram project.

In addition to being an illustrator and surface pattern designer, I am also a longtime greeting card creator.  My original BdoodleZ Card Line was sold for many years on Etsy.  This card line was originally inspired by my "doodle" sketches that I started drawing in college (way back in the 1990's! oh my!)  Throughout college and for many years afterwards I was seldom without my doodle book, especially in class or the architecture studio.  In it I created complicated abstract designs all from my imagination.  Sometimes they had a theme, or a specific doodle style, other times they were completely random.  The idea was that if I was already going to be doodling anyways, I might was collect them in a specific book, rather than along the edges of my notes or other pages.  The credit for this idea is owed entirely to my little sister, a talented graphic designer, who came up with the concept and shared it with me.  And so I began to "formally" doodle, a past-time that I loved, that relaxed me and actually helped me stay more focused during class.  Many of my peers knew about the book and an often occurrence was the passing around of the current book so that friends could look through (and usually point out their favorites).  For many years people would suggest I sell these doodles, and eventually I did!  Sort of.  The BdoodleZ card line began as the literal transformation of these black and white sketches to greeting cards but eventually evolved into a colorful card line that incorporated my "doodle" style.

The result of all this doodling, is that I have a pile of sketchbooks filled with doodles.  And it is that collection of books that I plan to showcase in my new Instagram Throwback Thursday project.  Each Thursday I will post a snapshot of a doodle book design from back in the day!  I hope that in addition to enjoying the doodles I post, that maybe I will get a little feedback too, like back in college when my friends would flip through the book.  So many of the designs would make really great surface patterns, and I would love to hear which ones people would like to see made into patterns!

I have so many old designs, at one snapshot a week I could literally do this for YEARS to come.  That is a lot of Throwback Thursdays!  Not a follower of my Instagram feed?  You can find me here:  Or find me at @BdoodleZ.

And if you aren't on Instagram but still want to see the designs each week, I will also be posting them to my online portfolio website here:

So without further ado... Here is Week 1!  (Please note: none of the designs have a title, I didn't do that back then :) )

Monday, June 23, 2014

Stitches and Notions

It is that time again.  Contest Time!  I am really excited for the upcoming contest themed "Sewing Notions".   I had so much fun creating my main print:  "Stitches and Notions" and all the fun coordinates to go with it.  This contest required 4 different prints on one yard of fabric, so the overall view doesn't really allow you to see all the detail that I put into the design.  I wanted to share a few extra views so you could see a bit more of the designs!  I hope you like it as much as I do!

Sewing Notions Four Prints
This block shows the four patterns together that make up one yard of fabric.

Stitches and Notions

Button Bursts

Sewing Lines
*** Designs Copyright Brenda Zapotosky, 2014.  Permission required to repost or use online or off in any way.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

A Cosmic Voyage to a land of Alien Architecture

As we approach the beginning of Spoonflower's Fabric8 contest for this year, I thought it would be fun to share a few close up looks at my entry.  The theme of the contest is Cosmic Voyage.  At first I wasn't very excited about this theme, and planned on just doing an abstract star type of pattern.  But after I read through the contest description a second time through, I realized that the parameters were a little wider than I first imagined, since you could include what you might FIND when you took a Cosmic Voyage!  Once I changed my perspective an idea that I WAS very excited about came to me!  ALIEN ARCHITECTURE!  With a background in architecture I already enjoyed dreaming up out of the box buildings, so imagining a world of space buildings seemed like so much fun!  So that is exactly what I did!  For colors I went with a deep blue space sky, with a layer of cosmic clouds and bright light blue stellar stars.  The buildings are depicted in two of my favorite teal tones with a pop! of orange. Light blue outlining and detailing add to the space feel of the print!
Alien Architecture, Stellar Stars and Cosmic Buildings!

A close up look at a few of the buildings in this Alien World.