Elena Wilken

card designer & illustrator



The Secret Reading Cove / Tea Time with a Story

This is a collection I've been wanting to explore for a while but I never followed through with. The magic of it is close to my heart. While I am not even quite sure where it's going to take me, the thought of it has been following me around for months and keeps poking at me. ...Excited to be to be part of this group and workshop, excited to see where this is going to go, and looking forward to all the creativity and inspiration flowing around for the next several months!

Theme :: The Secret Reading Cove - Tea time with a Story
Inspired by my 8 year old daughter who loves to get lost in books, I want for this print to evoke the magic that books and their stories carry. New worlds come to life ...A world where forest animals get dressed up, put on their spectacles and sip on a cup of tea, while reading a new book.
books, vintage armchairs, Narnian street lamps, forest flora, flower umbrella, glasses, berries, tea party, giant mushrooms, tree houses, dressed up forest animals, fox, hedgehog, bunny, racoon, bear, owl



******************************Past Projects********************************

// Wildflower Fields/Window to the Past - focal point repeat pattern



// Whimsical Florals - focal point repeat pattern



// Botanical Sketchbook - focal point repeat pattern


Hi, I am Elena, and I am a graphic designer. I've recently discovered the world of surface pattern design and started exploring it.

Open ended projects, where I can pick my own theme and design to my heart's contentment challenge me the most (I tend to overthink them). I do enjoy that the end results usually carry quite a bit of personal meaning, and hide little gems and unexpected elements that surprise and delight.

As I worked on a few collections I realized over the last few months, that I prefer working with pencils and paints and then scan and play with the artwork in Photoshop.
 I love texture and I have yet to come up with ways to create more beautiful and believable texture in Illustrator (short of placing raster images in Illustrator and clip them using vector paths).

But since this is an Illustrator based class (and workshop) I will stick to using Illustrator exclusively for the 3 patterns. I am also going to attempt finishing a Photoshop based pattern I have already started.

My 3 focal prints are "The Secret Reading Cove - Tea time with a Story", "Wildflower Fields/Window to the Past", "Whimsical Florals" (and the Photoshop watercolor print - "Botanical Sketchbook")

1 // The Secret Reading Cove - Tea time with a Story
Inspired by my 8 year old daughter who loves to get lost in books, I want for this print to evoke the magic that books and their stories carry. New worlds come to life ...A world where forest animals get dressed up, put on their spectacles and sip on a cup of tea, while reading a new book.
Tea time with a Story keywords: open book, book stacks, vintage style armchair, Narnia style street lamp, leaves, acorns, flower umbrella, glasses, berries, tea cup, giant mushrooms, tree house, dressed up forest animals, reading, sipping on tea, fox, hedgehog, bunny, racoon, bear



>>> Still working on sketches and drawings, but I am definitely creating a collection for this theme, in the next several weeks. It's my favorite theme of all of them!

2 // Wildflower Fields/Window to the Past
For the first few years of my life it was my grandma that raised me (my dad was in the army, and mom had to go back to work). I grew up in Eastern Europe, in the country side. It was a magical time. I have the best childhood memories with grandma - cradling a couple of days old baby bunnies as a toddler, sleeping at night under the open sky, in hay (just for fun), learning how to cook later on, laying in the grass on a blanket under the pear tree in the back yard and reading the afternoon away...  Grandma has always been one of the most important people in my life. She past away a couple of months ago. And since then, every time I think of her, the wildflower fields behind her house, past the back yard, come to mind the most. I loved crossing those fields to the woods, to pick wild strawberries every summer.
So, I guess, this is a print to honor her and try and capture that feeling of longing that I can't quite define.
Wildflower Fields/Window to the Past keywords: vintage, child silhouette, woman silhouette, toddler, pear tree, picture frames, window frame, wild flowers, singing birds, butterflies, leaves, grass blades, field chamomile, corncockle, boutonniere flower, sweet william, fox glove, california poppy, heart's delight, wild strawberries, vintage camera.





3 // Whimsical Florals
I thought it would be fun to try and explore drawing flowers interpretations rather than trying to replicate them exactly. I am pretty literal usually in my drawings, so it might turn out to be a bit of a challenge. But I anticipate the results could be fun and enjoyable.
Whimsical Florals keywords: flowers, foliage, geometric shapes, circles, squares, rectangles, rounded corners, arrows, feathers, leaves, pattern within a pattern, lines, muted tones, happy colors splashes, modern.


>>> These are all digital sketches. The colors are not final. I just picked 2-3 random colors so I could keep the different elements in a flower as different editable shapes, while sketching with the stylus on the iPad.
I skipped the traditional pen on paper sketching phase because of the subject matter, but also because the Pen and iPad combo felt more or less like the pen and paper combination, once I got used to using them.


4 // Botanical Sketchbook
This print is inspired by vintage botanical artprints. After creating the pencil illustrations freehand, I painted over with watercolors and then added an extra layer of accents in black ink. A way of marrying the old with the new, and adding a bit of a modern twist to the vintage feel.
Hoping to create monocromatic prints as well as color filled prints past the focal print.
Botanical Sketchbook keywords: botanical prints, flowers, foliage, pencil drawings, watercolors, colorful, monochromatic, watercolor washes, hand lettering, black ink accents, open, airy print, gucci scarf, Princess Grace (Kelly), Dover art and clipart.




>>> One of the drawings is the ink and watercolor scan, and the other a screenshot of the vector Illustrator file sketch. Looking at them side by side, I definitely prefer the traditional original artwork and the textures that come with the watercolor artwork :) Any thoughts?





past project --- HOLIDAY CHALLENGE /// Fall in Love



The print was created using both Illustrator and Photoshop.
I was not able to get the texture I wanted in the artwork I created for my first surface pattern design collection, so I gave traditional painting and Photoshop a try while creating my second surface pattern collection.
I'll post some of the steps I went through in creating the art, here.



And here aresome of the patterns I created from the elements and motifs I scanned and brought over in Photoshop. Because I wanted to preserve the qualities of the watercolor textures, I had to work with them in Photoshop, but used the same principles.





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