Take Note - New Notebooks now online :)

I must admit, I am a bit of a notebook hoarder! I like to be surrounded by beautiful things to look at and I expect functional items to be just as pretty as anything else. I find a pretty collection of sketchbooks, boxes and folders in my work space cheers things up and keeps me inspired, so that's how I justify my insane (and very pretty) mad of stationery!

I created this capsule collection of notebooks with this in mind. A portable slice of lushness to carry around and transport your ideas and thoughts within.

One of my key brand goals is to create patterns and designs which give people the same uplifting feeling I get when I'm surrounded by lovely things. Hence my tag line, Happy Surface Design :)

Floral Hyper Lush Zipper Pouch Design

And so I have reached the end of a much enjoyed, thoroughly stretching and exciting 5 week course by Lilla and this is my final piece of work. MATS Part A has been a massive eye opener for me and has challenged me massively while giving me so much inspiration and direction. I still have the rest of this year's Bootcamp to look forward to next week, but I will definitely miss the daily posts and weekly skype videos from the legendary Lilla Rogers.

This week's market focus was Gift. Covering anything from bags, to stationery, to you name it! Hyper-Lush, ram packed gorgeousness was the aim and I'm pretty happy with the outcome.

Succulent sketches

Image from http://www.succulentsandsunshine.com great site, check it out!

This week I am focusing on design for the home decor market. Florals are always popular and (excuse the pun) spring up every year. That said, it's no good churning out the same old same old print. The trends evolve and a new and fresh take on an old favourite is always well received.
I'll be focusing on the weird and wonderful shapes, colours and vibes of succulents. They're gorgeous, unique and a little odd - the perfect subject matter for an updated florally look. 

Thanks to Lilla Roger's coaching in MATS, my approach to working on a new design or print of a specific theme or object has changed. I begin by taking time out to really look at details and shapes to get familiar with what ever I'm drawing. I do this by sketching observations, looking at key things that stick out to me, jotting any notes, ideas or thoughts down as I go. I'm not concerned with having any of these sketches for the final piece at this point. The main focus is to experiment, warm up and get confident with the subject matter.

Then I can step back, see what's working. Have any interesting shapes become apparent, does a certain sketching style work well? What do I need to redraw? 
I tend to switch between pen, pencil, brush pen, and watercolour (used more for line work than anything else). I also so some sketches digitally, working on my Wacom Cintiq away from the computer, then saving the sketches either as pdf layers or a flat png if I know I'm going to take the drawing straight into illustrator.

Once in Illustrator I live trace all my images, playing around with the settings until the traced images are a true enough representation of my original sketch. Sometimes this just doesn't work, so I will re-draw the object in Illustrator. 

Now comes the tedious part. Ungrouping, deleting, manipulating, regrouping and organising onto layers. Time consuming but I actually enjoy creating multiple variation of my icons using, the different segments and creating silhouettes. 

At this point I should be left with only my favourite pieces and a few "hmm maybe you'll work somewhere" objects ready to be arranged and recoloured. I upload my colour swatches or create new ones and off I go! Here is a quick tutorial on how to create colour swatches in Adobe Illustrator CC.