Surface Design, Botanical #1



After taking some general online courses on Surface Design, I came upon this one by Bonnie Christine on Skillshare.  I started this project in late February, and kept a lot of detailed notes on my progress.  Can I tell you how much I've learned in the videos from Bonnie Christine's class?  It's crazy!  I have been using Adobe Illustrator for over 10 years, and I thought I knew my way around, but I learned so many new tricks in this class that I hadn't ever even thought to try!

I was humbled by the class and how much I have left to learn about design and my favorite software.

Also, as you know, I've spent all of March working on MATS projects.  So, in between my projects and the fast-pace of each week, I've been tweaking and applying my new skills to this pattern repeat.

Here's what I did for the class:





And here's the diary of my entire process...
February 23, 2015
Choose a word, short phrase... Bloom?  Blossom?  Botanical?  Not sure yet, but I think I'll go with one of those.
Favorite things in nature... red squirrels, muscari azureum (grape hyacinths, and also bluebonnets and bluebells), new leaves, buds of flowers, dogwood blossoms, peonies and round blossoms, cacti, lithops & succulents, daffodils and narcissus, orchids, etc.  Bright saturated colors.

1 colorful photograph (for palette) & 3-5 photographs (thematically related, to draw from) -- See mood board labeled "Botanical #1".  I love this bouquet I found on Pinterest.  And, I found other beautiful photographs on several photography sites.  I'm personally not that great of a photographer and so I looked on Pinterest, Flickr, and used keywords of my favorite things to find inspirational photographs.  

Mood-board Photo Origins: I searched for the origins of the peonies bouquet, but to no avail.  The leaves, curled seed pod are from photographer Alan MacKenzie a very talented wildlife photographer.  The daffodils and muscari azureum on the top right of the moodboard are from Better Homes and Gardens magazine.  And the red squirrel is from Birds in Berlin blog.




February 24, 2015: Choose 10 - 15 simple/med complex sketches  I'm thinking the squirrel, hyacinths, and the succulents will be my complex elements and perhaps I'll simplify everything else into 1 or 2 colors.  Maybe I'll use just the filled-in outline for some, and/or the line-art.  Time to play!

February 25, 2015: Digitizing the sketches
This was somewhat tedious, but in a zen-like way.  It's digital tracing using a bunch of different techniques.  Some I used my own custom brushes in Illustrator, then expanded the stroke.  Others I used the blob brush as instructed in the videos.  Then Others I used a black marker and filled in areas using my tracing table, and then scanned, and did "live trace".
March 1, 2015: Simple Repeat
Alright.  I have to say it.  This class is ROCKING my world!  I just tested my simple pattern repeat, and using my palette, I "recolored" the artwork.  To my amazement and wonder, I now have 3 colorways that I absolutely love.
What do you think?

March 4: Complex Repeat WIP  
Here's where I am with the motif for the complex repeat.  I've struggled a bit to get it where I want because one of my goals was to add texture to my work.  So, I made some textures, scanned them, etc. and got them to be vector-friendly.  Then, I learned that you can't make a pattern repeat from something with a pattern in it... so be sure to expand all your elements before trying to make a pattern from it!  I learned that after a while of trying to drag it into the swatches panel with no success.  Oops!  Lesson learned!
March 18, 2015: Complex Repeat WIP The past few weeks I've learned a few things about repeats.  I bought and read several of the books that Bonnie recommended (mastering the art of fabric printing and design & the field guide to...).  I also learned some new work-flow for Photoshop and back to Illustrator in order to add texture and correct alleys and holes  and too easily recognizable repeated motifs.

Also, I went back and re-inked some of the original motifs that felt a bit lacking, and here are the newly inked icons.

March 30, 2015 And, if you look at the version I submitted, you'll see the versions above were the ones I used.  

The next steps for this project:  
  • add more geometric/abstract patterns
  • refine the color palette
  • find a fabric manufacturer who would like to work with me to print the collection!