Fowl Play: A Murder Mystery Toile

If it weren’t for Spoonflower’s weekly contests that push designers into contemplating subjects they’d never otherwise ponder, I wouldn’t have created a murder mystery toile…ever.

Like, never ever.

But the seemingly out-of-left-field challenges almost always stir up a really fun exploration. The journey of addressing such peculiar briefs typically yields interesting experiments in how I create designs. Toggling between the worlds of tasteful and gross, useable and pointless, appealing and overdone, my brain dances around until I scheme up just the right balance for my sensibilities.

I really enjoy that journey. It’s even better when it pays off.


Case in point, this design. Ladies and gentlemen, I present you with Killed! Two Birds with One Stone, my contribution to this week’s murder mystery toile design challenge

We all know I’ve created toile patterns before. And knowing full well that I’m someone who doesn’t like to do the same thing every time, I thought I’d test new ground here with minimal line drawing along with my own fingerprints. C’mon, obviously a murder mystery-themed design screams (bloodcurdlingly so) for fingerprints all over it. Am I right or am I right? 

It was a whole lot of fun to make, especially as it was my plan B idea while plan A was starting to take way too long with detailed illustration that just didn’t feel worth doing.  

The biggest factor these days is how long something takes to come together. If it starts to drag and feels like drudgery to finish, I just stop. For everyone’s sake, because it’s just not working. If I’m lucky enough to concoct another approach that yields the results I envision in my head, then I’ll give it another go and start down that path.

I’m very pleased with the finished results. It looks exactly the way I pictured it in my noggin. Because it went so smoothly, I can easily see myself making more designs in this style.

But I won’t put the cart before the horse. Wait. Hang on, that might be the next toile theme. Hmmm, slow down brain, let’s ponder this some more…