Water Pistols Pattern Design

Water Pistols Pattern

Water Pistol Find

I found a pack of four water pistols in a pound store – they would be ideal for a pattern design. At the time I thought the design would be for children, but after developing ideas they began to look a lot more like Andy Warhol than Andy Pandy. The water pistols are very translucent and in four wonderful lurid colours. Elephant Squirt Gun is embossed on the side, perhaps they were made in India for an American market?

Photographing The Squirt Guns

The first photos were shot with strong lighting from below, but this made them into silhouettes. Adding an extra light on one side with reflectors all round worked the best. I shot all four water pistols, but found the blue one had the best definition. This was then cutout with a clipping path. It was then easy to set up different hue and saturation layers to achieve all the different colours.

Converting To Illustrator Files

I used Illustrator’s Auto Trace to convert the blue photograph into just six colours. I then converted the six colours to different opacities of the same hue. It was then possible to use the same image 6 times over using different colours.

Adding Colour Behind The Pistols

As the design progressed, I wanted to be able to re-colour the pistols quicker. So instead of using six different opacities of the same hue, I changed each one to six different opacities of white instead. By adding a layer behind of the entire water pistol I could easily alter the colour quicker.

Drop Shadow

I experimented with adding a drop shadow generated by Illustrator, but it looked old fashioned so instead I used the background shape moved slightly. Then making it 20% black. So would take on the effect of the background.

Coding The Files

The letter code refers to the design, the number refers to the code of the background colour. So A33 would be design A with a black background.

Creating This Page

With so many colour combinations it would be impractical to show all of them. Here I have chosen a selection of combinations that I feel are interesting. Rolling your mouse over an image will display its code.

The Future

The pattern would be great for wallpaper but also fun for gift-wrapping and fabric too. I would love this design to have another life taken up by a manufacturer. Please contact me if you would like a high resolution file or to talk about how we could work together.