The design master plan: Creating motifs and borders

April 2021: I’m currently doing a massive new edition with 12 additional pages and dozens more designs. Stay tuned. I’ll be taking the current edition offline at Amazon soon so I can order a proof book. Last year I created a couple of hundred fabulous designs and just have to put some of them in the book.

Valentina 54 Fiona Schiffl for Design Master Plan

The design master plan shows you how to put a simple drawing through a series of steps to make dozens to hundreds of ornamental designs suitable for any artwork or quilt. You don’t have to be an artist, or even start with a whole shape.  If you’ve ever sat staring at a blank piece of paper waiting for the perfect design to appear on it, this book is for you! You’ll end up with several block and border designs of all shapes and sizes—then you’ll have a bunch of ideas to fill that blank piece of paper.

Most people know to take a simple motif and reverse it, cut through it, invert it, and place it in several arrangements to suit a block or border area of their artwork or quilt.  While the design master plan does all of these things (and about 120 more things), it also allows the design to evolve into so many different shapes and ideas that you’ll hardly recognise the original idea.  You don’t have to play with every concept in the book, but you’ll find that the concepts will allow the design to grow and will solve all sorts of design problems. I realised several years ago that trying to create one block and one border design for a quilt was limiting my understanding of how design works and I used to get pretty frustrated by the process.  Now I never know what to expect from a design session, and I’ve been doing it for a number of years!  It’s so much fun and addictive.

What’s the secret?  Place each motif into a circular design.  This warps the motif and gives you another option of the design that you may not have thought about.  Look at each part of the design, play with the part you are interested in and take it from there.  You will not believe how much you can alter a design just by warping it.

Blog 190116 Books web

The top left design was the original idea.  By following the design master plan, it evolved into many different ideas along the way, and I’m not done with it yet!

How did the master plan come about?  Whilst doing an Adobe Illustrator course at the local community college I asked the teacher if there was an easy way to make a design into a circular pattern.  Yes, there was!  I started playing around with the pattern brush tool and found that it was manipulating the pattern in ways I would never have thought of.  From there, I went home and put every pattern I had ever made into it.  I found that I was repeating the same series of steps in each design session and coming up with totally unexpected and amazing results.  I refined my process and knew I had to share it with you.

I use nearly 600 illustrations to show how I manipulated each design and explained everything I do to a pattern to create a family of designs suitable for every area of a quilt or artwork.  If you ask me, it’s a brilliant book!


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