One of my favorite themes for inspiration is the Coast and I love how many perspectives one can take to approach it. One I’m really into lately is all about peace, quiet and escape. It breathes tranquility, vacations and disconnecting from the city/the internet/the modern world, your pick. It has a very reduced color palette and all evoke the feeling of stress-free beach days.
Many top influencers like Jess Ann Kirby and Julia Engel have been posting the most beautiful photos of their visits to flower farms like the ones above and I can’t get enough of them. These flower fields are probably some of the most stunning photo locations ever and also a great source of inspiration. If you’re looking to get on board with this trend I highly recommend reading Erin Benzakein’s book (here) or following her on instagram (here) where she shares a behind the scenes look into her own flower farm business.
This desert-inspired trend has been growing stronger for a while and I really like how it has expanded to several industries, from home decor, fashion, art prints, photography productions and stationery. I find it hard to explain what defines it because it’s not always literally about deserts but the concept and general feel of places like the Grand Canyon. One of the biggest commonalities is the almost-exclusive warm color palette: oranges, reds, neutrals, beige, sand tones. In terms of graphics and artworks, I’ve seen lots of geometric hand-painted abstracts that evoke the same feelings.
I love art and design pieces that are very minimalist in color palette and style. One trend I love in photography are beautiful images where at least 50% of the image is white yet the way they play with shape, shadows and texture creates incredibly appealing art. I tried to show exactly that in this moodboard, adding some fashion, graphic design and art.
If you know Julia Engel and her Instagram, blog and brand Gal Meets Glam, you’ll know exactly what this style is all about. I’ve seen a lot of images on Pinterest that have this romantic, joyful, optimistic, feminine vibe with the most beautiful colors: lots of blush pinks, pastel blues, lilacs and yellows. The elements that best represent it are florals, beautiful small towns, bows, nature, ribbons and more.
I love this mystical, enchanted universe trend I keep seeing on Pinterest. It’s all about wander, freedom, movement, stars, fairies, constellations, moons, witches and more. The predominant colors are gold, black, yellow and some pinks/purples. I love the organic shapes and the universe elements. It has a female perspective, a mix of fairy, enchantress and witch character.
This month I’ve been working on creating a collection with a distinct style and color palette. When I was preparing my portfolio for Surtex, I realized how important it was to organize my designs in collections. Due to lack of time, I prepared my designs by themes, like florals, Christmas or greenery for example. It was organized but buyers tend to like if it’s presented in collections, like French country cottage. The difference is that a collection is united by color palette, mood, feel and a specific concept in mind as inspiration. They can vary a lot in what is depicted but they share the same style. This is not only a great way to present designs that mix-and-match perfectly but also a great way for the artist to find inspiration.
I decided to create a series of blog posts throughout the rest of the year dedicated to sharing my process on how I find inspiration for each collection, how I keep up with trends, how I create a moodboard that will guide my designs and finally, how that translates into my own illustrations and patterns.
Bright and Happy Collection
So without further ado, my first collection is “Bright and Happy”. This collection is all about rainbows, having fun, creativity, being crafty and celebrating. I know that seems like a lot of things at once but hopefully, if you check out the moodboard below, it will make sense what I’m saying. The colors in this collection have lots of personality and are a guiding force in the designs. They are bright, fun and happy.
If my collection were a person, it’d be the type of person who is super creative, crafty and overall fun to be around. This person is very present in the moment, very social and confident. I chose some movie/tv characters and real life people that have some of these traits:
Charlotte (from Sex&The City-movie/tv)
Kimmy Schmidt (from Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt-tv)
Kate (from Mr. Kate- YouTube Channel)
Reese Witherspoon (actress/entrepreneur)
Brittany Jepsen (from The House That Lars Built- blog/book)
Joy Cho (from Oh!Joy- blog/brand)
Susana Torralbo (entrepreneur/photographer- Website)
Jen Gotch (from Ban.do-brand)
I know these women are extremely different from each another but I chose them because they inspire me in their uniqueness, positive mindset and overall spirit. They might not necessarily speak to you as they do to me but I thought it’d be cool to share this part of the process too. You can share your inspirations in the comments cause I’m sure you’ll come up with other great ones for this theme!
Another source of inspiration and probably the reason I was inspired to start with this theme was a fun event I went to in New York that Minted created to celebrate their 10th year anniversary. It had a theme with bright happy colors. I’ll share some images below of the balloons, the invite, the awesome cake, décor and more.
Let’s start creating!
After analyzing my designs I realized that some of them could fit the collection perfectly if I just tweaked the colors a little bit. I love how the first one now looks like confetti and it changed the vibe completely.
I created a fun alphabet that ended up looking kind of superhero-esque. And I wanted to create an inspirational quote so, after looking around Pinterest, I found this amazing quote, which I did with that alphabet. It fits my vision of female empowerment and the collection style perfectly.
Below I’ll share some exercise designs I made to find my own color palette within this theme. Some of the colors on the original moodboard were neon but they don’t fit my own personal style and watercolor technique. It was somewhat challenging for me to think in as many colors as the rainbow cause I usually tend to choose a narrower color range from one to three colors max.
Here are some mockups and designs of the finished collection. I imagine this collection will fit great in a variety of products. The most straightforward applications are party related products like paper napkins, tableware, craft paper, wrapping paper and greeting cards. Here are some:
Finally, here's the final Collection. I'll definitely keep creating patterns with this theme in mind in the future to keep adding to the collection. I hope you join in on my next style series. Make sure to check out my Instagram: @gardeniawatercolors to find out what my next collection is going to be all about.