Theresa Berens

graphic designer + illustrator

423

5

Exotic Air Plants

2-WEEK PATTERN DESIGN CHALLENGE 

d8d1704c

Mood Board & Inspiration 

I've been creating patterns for my blog, Freckle & Fair, and for personal projects for several months now, but hearing Elizabeth's story and creative process was so helpful! Although mood boards are always a part of my process for client work, it's something I sometimes skip over for personal projects without good reason, and the two-week challenge seemed like the perfect chance to break that habit.

I decided to create a pattern based on air plants, which I didn't know existed until my best friend and blogging partner Katie wrote about them in post about pet-friendly indoor plants — amazingly, they don't actually need soil and can be suspended in the air! They also come in some incredible, exotic shapes. The more I researched, the more hooked I became, which led to the creation of my mood board. I'm excited about the next steps!

891df8db

Sketches

I had so much fun sketching tonight! I love the weird wild shapes created by the tendrils of the air plants. Drawing organic forms has always been a favorite of mine, even though those types of shapes end up in my more graphic work far less frequently. 

I also began sketching some potted air plants. Although I had a great time designing the surfaces of each of the pots, I began to feel the sketches were more about the containers than the plants and that they were straying from my mood board. They also began to feel very similar to another pattern I created a few weeks back. I often feel like I repeat myself, so for this project I really wanted to push myself to do something different and focus on a more organic than geometic from. Does anyone else here struggle with repeating themselves? 

I'll think on this more tomorrow, but right now my plan is to incoroporate some of the design elements of the pots into the background of the pattern and let the plants, not the pots be the focus. 

Digitized Sketches

I've been thinking a lot lately about how much of an impact the process of transferring your sketches to a digital format can have an impact on your personal style. My sketches often feel just like that — loose, with lots of extraneous lines. Maybe it's the graphic designer in me, but I've always been thick, chunky forms, almost like a papercut (very unlike my sketches!) As I began digitizing these sketches, I tried out three distinct styles: sketchy, loose and flowing (like a brush), and sharp and geometric (see all three in that order below). 

9e5a89d5

Ultimately, the geometric form felt the most right to me, both for this project and as part of my ongoing effort to hone in on a personal style. There's something about the sharpness of the shapes that feels extra lively and bold. The style also seems to allow me to give the illustration a bit more personality instead of being too precious or perfect in tracing the original drawing, which is something I struggle with otherwise. I enjoy that these look a bit wonky — they feel alive to me! — which is why I decided to stick with the style for the remaining sketches. 

34038abc

Final Pattern

OK, designing the pattern block was definitely the best part of this process! I couldn't wait to see how things would come together and whether I was going to be able to create a pattern that felt on point with my mood board, but right now, I'm feeling good about things! I'm glad I decided to keep one potted air plant in order to introduce some variety and color into the pattern. 

Here's the pattern block: 

6f468b6a

And here's the 3x5 repeat: 

345179ee

What a fun process! I'd definitely like to look at this in other colorways and think about extending it into a pattern collection. I'll be posting more patterns/process work on Instagram — let's be friends!

Comments

Please sign in or sign up to comment.