Katie Wilber

Graphic Designer, Artist, Shar-pei Mom

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Zen Inspired Pattern

I had fun doing this project, but I must admit, it was harder than I thought it would be! Just goes to show that I need to exercise creativity more often :)


Mood Board:

I wanted to steer away from too much floral. I didn't want to be overly influenced by the gorgeous designs that Elizabeth has created. I started gathering peaceful, nature inspired images.

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Sketching:

I tried to bring in almost too many concepts. At one point I was trying to make an abstract deconstruction of the patterns in a zen garden. I may come back to those spirals at a later date, but it just wasn't working. I really liked the simplified rocks though.

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Vectorizing:

So it had never crossed my mind to work from sketchbook photographs. I've always been so careful to get a good scan of my work. For this process though, it makes total sense and saves me time by not having to alter the picture in photoshop. I then used the blob brush and my tablet to trace my drawings, cleaning them up with the smooth tool after.

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Final Pattern & Mock-Up:

Here it is! I ended up going with my stylized rocks and a shoot of bamboo. I tried a couple different colorways but really still liked the muted, neutral, calming gray and green. I'm a visual person, so I need to see how this would look in the real world. I mocked it up as if it were a fabric used on a tote bag.

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EDIT 04.07.16 - 

I was asked in the comments how I got the brush look with the blob brush. My original sketch was done with a brush tipped ink pen, so that automatically gave me the brush "look" to work with. When I was tracing over the sketch in illustrator with the blob brush, I just made sure to trace every little bump, curve, and groove. Most of the time I do this and then use the smooth tool to get rid of all of the excess anchor points. In this particular instance, I really liked how it keep the brush look. So for that little stock of bamboo, I did not use the smooth tool. Below is a screenshot of my workspace. I'm zoomed in at 300% but will definitely zoom in more. You can see how the original sketch definitely looks like it was drawn with a brush and then next to it is the trace that I did. I also captured my palette of brushes I use with the blob brush. Only certain brushes work with the blob. I rotate between an angled, oval and circle of various sizes. 

TL;DR - I zoom in a LOT and use very tiny brushes to trace as much detail as possible  :)

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