The Joy of Building a Feather

This is the most tedious, mind numbing, eye burning part of designing fabric. It is also my favorite part. It keeps me in my studio and out of trouble for hours sometimes even days. I love to see people’s process so I hope I’m not geeking out too much by assuming that you might find this interesting. It’s also my clever-ish way of letting you know what’s coming before it actually arrives.


It always starts with a drawing.


Once the basic outline is down I add in the medium and highlights. Now it’s starting to move, I love that part.


Toss in some darks and throw in a pretty little patterned background and I almost have myself a print.


Aaah, little falling feathers. Now wasn’t that fun. If only I had Bob Ross’ skills I could make it “happy” and then I could have my own TV show!

45 Responses to “The Joy of Building a Feather”

  1. Wow, I adore this (kind of like I adore all your fabric). WANT! When’s it coming?!

  2. Geeking out too much?! Are you kidding?! I would read about your process all day. While you’re at it, can you make Erin Michael start a blog? And write about her process? Yes, please. Alldaylong.

  3. So very cool. I love seeing the process. Do you do the digital building it out part in Illustrator?

  4. Wonderful process (and product)

  5. I love, love, love this line… Can’t wait to see the rest. Thank you so much for showing the process behind your beautiful fabrics.

  6. Wow….how delightful. I love this new print of yours! And….what a great comment about Bob Ross….indeed he did make painting “happy”! So do you.

  7. Fantastic! What a great post. THANK YOU For sharing with us. It’s always a treat to see an artist at work. ;o)

  8. How interesting to see how you work on your fabric designs. It must be funny to do….and when it ends up as beautiful as the feathers, then it must be a delightful feeling.

  9. Thank you so much for this post. I love to learn the process that goes into designing fabric. It looks like we are in for a real treat on you next line of fabric.

  10. Cool, I like to see how other designers do their designs. Love the feathers!

  11. If you are geeking out then I’m a geek! I love seeing this. I’m fascinated and curious as to how these awesome designs come into being. Thank you so much for sharing!

  12. Fascinating – thank you so much for sharing your process with us Ms Tula Pink.

  13. I’m enjoying what passes for geekiness on your blog. Tell us more.

  14. Very cool! It’s neat to see how that’s done!

  15. Love it! And I hope to see this in fabric, too– it reminds me of one of my favorite prints in “Nest”.

  16. This is so cool! I’ve been considering getting into the fabric design world, but wasn’t sure what the process was. Now I think I’m getting it a bit more. How did you determine how the feather repeated itself? Is there a trick to it?

  17. geek it up. i went to school for design so seeing everyone’s different processes is fascinating.. i was already eagerly anticipating your next line and now i am even more!

  18. That was fantastic. Thank you for sharing!

  19. ohhh you just keep teasing us! i’m working with hushabye right now, and this just makes me want more fabric. that isn’t always a good thing.

  20. LOVE this. Thanks for sharing a little peek into your wonderfully creative process. Can’t wait to see it on fabric!

  21. I’m fascinated by this behind the scenes peek into the making of a great print.

  22. Oh, this is very happy. I think Bob Ross has leaked out onto you. =)

  23. Oh! this was so great to see, that’s for your post. It is lovely!

  24. So beautiful. Great post.

  25. love hearing about the process. thanks for sharing. love the design.

  26. I love seeing and hearing about the process. The design is absolutely beautiful. You are truly gifted! Thanks so much for sharing. Can’t wait to see the actual fabric!

  27. I love being able to peek at your layers! Like being over your shoulder watching you work. And not being creepy like I just sounded.

    Seriously… I love watching your process and I’m always in awe of the beauty you create.

  28. Ahhhh process! Thanks for sharing. I should be in bed, but having found this depth of delight, I’ve stayed, and stared. Not only do I love your work, but I am also buoyed up by your historical choices. I’ve loved damask and toile for years for its narrative possibilities (I write for fun) and it’s fun to see how those styles get re-visited. Thank you.

  29. That was amazing – and they look pretty “happy” to me! Wow – I’m in awe! I love your fabric and now that I’ve seen some of the process….

  30. Looks like a fun process.. Love your red feathers and can’t wait to see the final design.

  31. Can I ask what computer program you use??? Its time to update my “skills”. I still hand paint/draw/color everything.

  32. LOLOLOL. Make it happy. We’ll put in a little tree back there, just between you and me. Think we need a cloud right over here.
    Awesome, I want to see more!

  33. Beautiful! so lovely to see!

  34. I love, love, love hearing about the process. Thank you for sharing. I would love to hear more, like what program you are using, and do you scan the original drawing? Thank you!

  35. Love love the raspberry colours – ‘sigh’ just some more TP to collect!!

  36. This is amazing. I wish I had the patience to do art in illustrator like this.

  37. Hi Tula! I’m a HUGE fan of yours, LOVE Neptune and Hushabye!! I have both fabric lines, I touch it and iron it almost everyday!! Hahaha, please don’t think I’m crazy, just LOVE beautiful fabrics :þ

    I would love to design my own fabrics, but I have NO IDEA how I would do it – can you please give me a hint on where I can get information on the process (if there are any!)

    I can’t wait for Plume, will preorder it a.s.a.p.
    Take care,

  38. Loved seeing your process. Has inspired me painting wise – but what program do you use? Illustrator? Now that’s a program I need to learn more about. Until then, I’ll keep painting and sewing with your wonderful fabric!

  39. Hey Girlie!!!!
    It was so good to see you at Market!

    I had several people who told me about your “feather building”, so I came to check it out myself. (I don’t have much time to blog, but you are my favorite!)

    Thank you for autographing the quilt for Mary–she was thrilled!

  40. Everytime you show us the process of creating a pattern on fabric, I am fascinated. Before I found your blog, I took all the gorgeous fabric designs for granted, I just love seeing the process. Thanks, oh yeah, and I love your ranges. Gorgeous!

  41. More, more, more! I love seeing the process. It’s a part of fabric design you just don’t see anywhere. Feel free to geek for us all you want. Love it!

  42. Wowzers! I love seeing the process. Is it all by hand or do you take it into Illustrator or Photoshop? As good as Bob Ross and his Happy Little Clouds :)


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