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On Originality (Also, an Octopus with a Balloon)


So this morning I woke up and scanned a rather unique drawing which, when I first drew it, seemed to have popped into my head unformed.  I was quite proud of it, and even got the post half written before it occured to me to google the basic concept.  Because really, just popping into my head?  Things don’t do that with me.  Maybe I had seen it somewhere?


Turns out, one of my favorite artists drew the same concept years ago!  I must have seen it then (I’ve been following her work for years), then forgotten I saw it while keeping the kernel of the image in my head.  So much for originality.


So you don’t get that image.  You get this one instead, and a warning about googling your original ideas before you launch them!  Because who knows how our brains file things- I once had a friend reproduce a drawing of mine she had glimpsed six months earlier down to the position of the hands, and not realize it until she saw my drawing again.  And don’t worry; I know how this image got into my head, and weird as it is, it’s all mine.


The ocean may cover 3/4 of the planet, but even with all that at your, erm, feet sometimes you still want to get out and see that other 1/4.  This is how the octopus decided to see the world.


In the full drawing I did of this, she was checking out the Rockies with snowcapped peaks and fluffy clouds at her back.  Perhaps, if I embroider it, she’ll be visiting the Great Pyramids, or the Outback.  It’s a pretty cool planet, after all, and if you really want to be out there, why let something like “water dweller” stand in your way?


I hope you enjoy this little homage to adventurousness and determination as much as I do.  And hey!  Now I have even more octopus patterns.  That’s good, right?  You can never have enough octopus patterns.


Click on the picture, and you’ll get the full-res.  I release these free bits of line art under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

You are allowed and indeed encouraged to do whatever you want with the piece(s) (use, reuse, abuse, remix, share), just follow these two simple rules:

1) Give me credit (a link back is always appreciated- that way, everyone else knows they can use it too)
2) Don’t make a profit off any use or modification of my work.

To be fair, should you really want to use them in a profit-making venture (ie: stitch it on something you then sell in your etsy store, use it as a print for your own fabric line, etc.), talk to me and maybe we can work something out so everybody wins.  Should you want to say thanks, leave a comment and/or tell a friend or six.  Finally, if you do make something, let me know and I’ll happily blog it!

You can find a reminder/introduction to embroidery, including basic stitches and a by-no-means exhaustive list of methods of transferring patterns to fabric in this post (there’s also a good round-up here and another one here).  Finally: if you’ve got suggestions for embroidery patterns you’d like to see, I would love to hear them (no promises, though).  You can find the rest of my patterns under the Embroidery Patterns category.

13 Comments leave one →
  1. 10/19/2010 8:13 PM

    Went to Denver Museaum. Saw IMAX 3D Under the Sea. Obsessed with Cuttlefish now.

    Just thought you should know.

    • 10/21/2010 3:11 PM

      Join me in my cephalopod obsession!

      I need to go down and check the IMAX. I haven’t been to the DMNS since they revamped it.

  2. 10/20/2010 6:48 AM

    Well now, that’s just adorable. Thanks for sharing her flighty adventures.

    I agree on the brain thingy. Sometimes we remember details in the backs of our mind better than trying to recall something. I have created “original” works, only to find similar items in my magazine collection. This is why I cringe when people cry “copier! get the pitchforks!!” because often the copy is not intentional or malicious, merely inspired by a forgotten source.

  3. giddy99 permalink
    10/20/2010 7:10 AM

    This is fun and different! Thanks for the free pattern!

  4. Lady Jane permalink
    10/26/2010 4:07 PM

    Why don’t you embroider your octopus on a sheer fabric and then set up a rotating picture cylinder behind it, so the view always changes (or can easily be changed)! That way the octopus can see all of your favourite bits of the 1/4 not water surface and not get bored!

  5. Mizzkodak permalink
    11/25/2010 8:24 PM

    Thanks so much for this beautiful pattern!!!
    I love Cephalopods and I am trying to decorate a whole room with them. Thank you!

  6. 03/09/2012 1:58 PM

    In case you were interested in how someone else did this.


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