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Behind the Scenes

Designing The Book Lovers Collection

It’s been more than a year since the last time I drew a surface pattern design collection. Reading is one of my passions and drawing a book collection has always been in my plans. I’m also a big fan of the visuals in the movie You’ve Got Mail, since the main characters are owners of bookstores and there are books everywhere. I’m specifically attracted by the decoration with so many bookshelves and cozy objects, I find it simply brilliant. With a bit of inspiration and lots of imagination, here is a bit of my process creating The Book Lovers Collection.

The Book Lovers Collection

This collection is perfect for book enthusiasts, writers, students, all people who loves vintage vibes of old paper books, typewriters, lots of coffee and a cozy environment. Adding a hint of humor, warm elements and colours, it’s a perfect collection for back to school in the fall or to enjoy the whole year.

Deciding what to draw

I decided I wanted to get most of my inspiration from the movie You’ve Got Mail, so I watched it again. There are so many things to get inspired, like the Shop Around the Corner, or NY in the fall, or even the Fox Books store. But the place I would love to seat and read was actually Kathleen Kelly’s brownstone house. You can read my analysis of her living room here.

I wanted to have a mix of characters, objects and miscellaneous designs. Watching the movie, I tried to focus on the people who visited the house, on objects, patterns and colours that decorate the space. I divided those in 3 categories:

  1. Characters: the people who frequent the house
  2. Elements: The furniture and larger objects
  3. Miscellaneous: Small objects that decorate the place

With that in mind I drew each element by hand in my own style, and later digitalized using Adobe Illustrator. Don’t be surprised if you don’t see a likeness to Meg Ryan, Tom Hanks or Greg Kinnear, that was intentional. I placed these characters in new situations and tried to focus in the book lovers theme. I want my drawings to appeal to all book lovers, not only fans of the movie.

Slide the picture below to see my original drawings and the digitalized version

Slide and watch the magic!

Creating a Pattern Collection

For this collection I decided to create 4 hero prints, 6 secondary prints and 6 blenders.

  • Hero Prints: the ones with more colours, more elements and higher complexity. All the characters are in the hero prints.
  • Secondary Prints: patterns with medium complexity, moderate use of colours, medium contrast and no characters
  • Blender Prints: simple patterns with limited colours and no complex elements, low contrast

When choosing colours I always try to imagine if the patterns were transmitting that cozy, cute and fun atmosphere. My goal was to create an attractive universe for book lovers, with patterns that work well in different applications.

Trying a few mock-ups

It’s always great to visualise how the patterns are going to work in products, so I always make a few mock ups to test.

Printing Fabrics and Licensing

I decided to make this collection available for purchase at Spoonflower – that means you can shop fabric by the yard and create your own projects.

In order to sell on their website we need to print prof the designs and make sure all colours are fine. I ordered a sample of each fabric on a cheater’s quilt (an amazing option available on their website, you can make one for yourself!). Here is how mine is going to look like, in case you need some inspiration. (If you would like to shop these fabrics visit my shop ).

Producing Embroidered Products

And of course I wouldn’t miss the opportunity of offering some of these designs in an embroidered version. So hoops and tote bags are available featuring some of the icons from the collection. Visit my Etsy Shop to purchase them.

I hope you enjoyed learning more about my process. I find it amazing and surprising to see how much we are able to create with few pieces of inspiration. As the times passes I’ll have even more items to grow this collection so keep in touch! And please let me know what do you think in the comments!

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Behind the Scenes

The collection saga

Remember when I said I was going to postpone the launch of my collections for 2 months? I thought that would be enough. Guess what? That won’t be enough!

I was working on my Halloween collection last week and I was really enjoying and having tons of fun. But yesterday I realized it’s already September 3rd and I don’t have any completed drawings. Not even 1! You might think, oh you have almost 2 months to Halloween. But I actually don’t.

  1. I have a full time job
  2. I’m going to visit my husband’s family for 10 days
  3. Halloween collection should be released about 2 weeks before Halloween…

So I calculated and basically I have 20 days to do everything (16 pieces, between stickers, illustrations and handwriting quotes). I started to think about cutting some of the drawings and making a smaller collection. Then I thought about skipping Halloween completely and start working on the Christmas collection. But I didn’t like that idea. Why would I publish the whole Thanksgiving collection for September/October and then spend again another month and a half without posting anything again and then suddenly post a ton of Christmas drawings? People want some consistency!

Well, yesterday I was painting the floor of one of the art studios I work at. I love those days when I can do something mechanical, it helps me put my mind back in place. I thought a lot about many things.

Pushing myself so hard is destroying my creativity

Drawing takes time! While it’s nice to work with a sense of urgency, I can’t keep like a machine. I need to be kind to myself. So I took a hard decision, but this will give me peace of mind. I postponed everything for the next year, including the Thanksgiving collection that is already done.

I’m going to create enough drawings to have a “savings account” of drawings. I want to have 6 months of drawing collections ready before starting posting on social media.

This might not make sense for most people. You might be thinking: why don’t you just draw and post like you did before? Why make such a big deal?

It’s been a while I like to work in collections (astrological signs collections, months collections, holidays collections, etc). I prefer to work in collections because it allows me to tell a complete story and I feel very accomplished. The other reason is that collections help organize visually my portfolio and offer a variety of products on the same theme. It’s pretty much like a fashion collection. I’m pretty much inspired by fashion, so it makes sense to plan collections like a fashion designer plans for the runway.

So that’s what’s going to happen. I’ll keep posting behind the scenes here and I’ll offer a few isolated drawings online until I get my collections organized and well stocked. Best news I got this week, I was approved on Giphy, so soon I’ll make lots of gifs available for Instagram and Facebook. Keep in touch!

I love gifs and stickers! 🙂
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Behind the Scenes

Joy and Challenge in the Artwork Process

Hi! How are you today? I hope great! For me it’s been a very productive week with so many insights and personal growth. I drew a lot, wrote a lot and learn so many things.

I’ve been inspired by an online game called Covet Fashion. It’s a funny online game where you dress your “doll” according to a description of a story. You need to use certain clothes or accessories to “pass” a challenge. The game is telling the story of Etta who crossed a portal and now is travelling in the sky. When she arrived in the sky everything was very weird, she saw this strange woman walking on top of the clouds and her pet was an alligator. The game challenge us to style a look using leather boots and acrylic sunglasses. Now I cannot imagine… you cross a portal, fall from the sky on a cloud and there she is, this very cool lady walking her alligator. Ha! Ok!

Covet Fashion Game

I decided to create an illustration based on that. I started to think about how I could show the shoes and have something dynamic with the alligator. I remember those modern paintings from the moderns times, like the Abaporu, by Tarsila do Amaral. I wanted the woman a bit in perspective, feet large and head far in the sky. I didn’t want to exaggerate too much her proportions, so I tried to remember examples in real life. Suddenly I remember this advertise from Nike from many years ago and I was so happy I was able to find a screenshot I took at the time. Nike really knows how to feature their shoes!

I got her some Miista boots with an amazing snake pattern and then all I needed was her pet. After a bit of researching I found a crocodile from an old Peter Pan book and I tried to draw it more playfully and sassy. I also added some pattern to make it connect with the boots and of course, I put it on a leash since it’s a well behavior alligator.

My idea is to create free wallpapers for iPhone and other mobiles. I started using as a background my own lock screen and it’s just so awesome, makes me feel very cool. I imagine I’m this giant woman, facing up the sun with my mind distracted in another universe. My alligator friend tells me something spicy, look how his hand is all sassy, we are full of attitude. We have hours of conversations in the sky, traveling between pink clouds, there is nothing else in the world. Life is really cool! ⠀⠀

The best thing about this illustration is how much I achieved and how well I used skills I’ve been working on. Click on the images to see some of the skills I used in this image.

Drawing on iPhone

I think it’s so cool to create art for iPhone directly on my iPhone! I’ve been drawing all my artwork with a strange (but wonderful) stylus called Pony, using Procreate Pocket. When I downloaded the Procreate app last month, I started by doing a ton of studies with just my finger. Drawing with my finger helped me keep one eye on the scale of the project and have an overall feeling of the artwork. My amazing painting instructors always taught me to start with my largest brushes. Do you know why? Because it gives the feeling of the painting, it directs the composition, fills quickly the canvas and avoids overworking or getting lost in details. Drawing with the finger is like that, your finger is that super large brush. It’s a great start, but at a certain point, you need a smaller brush. That’s why I got a stylus. Buy why this stylus is so strange?

Take a good look on that tip!

IPhone surfaces are designed to react with your finger, a wide surface that transmits energy to the screen. You can try a stylus with a sharper tip and they won’t work, your iPhone is not capable of understanding. So Pony found a great solution, this style with a transparent disk! The disk is wide enough to transmit the information for the iphone, and is transparent, so you can see what you are drawing. It’s connected to the pen by a flexible piece, allowing you to incline the pen while you draw. I love my Pony stylus! People who are familiar with the iPad pencil might get a hard time with a Pony. It’s definitely harder to make precise lines or really express your strokes with that tip. But I got used very quickly and I just love the freedom of making art anywhere at any time. Can you imagine changing all art supplies, tons of brushes, pigments, pencils, papers, canvas, sponges, easels, boards, all that volume of things for something that you already have in your pocket? I love my traditional art materials, but I’m seriously hooked by the digital art and all the freedom and possibilities I see here.

Dreaming about hidden worlds

Imagining different realities has been an amazing source of inspiration. While I was thinking about clouds and sunglasses and strange new things, I started to retrieve memories from a long long time ago, when I was about 7 and my mom hired a girl to help her babysit my sister. This girl was a very funny and was always dreaming about having the perfect boyfriend. She would spend all the free hours of her day looking at gossip magazines and admiring all these guys from the movies and advertisements. This happened during the 80’s and the standards for men were quite different from today, their faces were quite angular and their presence felt a bit distant, sometimes even robotic. In one of her magazines there was an advertisement from RayBan where the guy was standing there, very masculine, with all these clouds reflected in his sunglasses. It was so cool! When I thought about sunglasses and clouds, that was the image that came to my mind. I decided to use this reference and mix with something more current. After searching how people advertise sunglasses today, I found an ad from Lanvin that I liked, the girl was cool and the composition was simple but well done. I especially like the plant on the right side or the picture, it brings a bit of mystery to the story and softens her expression.

I choose to base my drawing on this picture because it is somehow connected but opposed to the energy from the RayBan ad and it was fun to play with these concepts. The guy was facing forward, outdoors in the sun, nothing in front of him. The girl was behind a plant, indoors and in the shadows. But both look distant and in another world. Mix and match with a bit of line drawing and here it is, this designed a cool lady ready to escape to new hidden worlds.

My own version of a person lost in thoughts in an universe of clouds

I found it funny how I mixed an online fashion game with memories from the 80’s and advertisements and got here. I love thinking about the creative process and all these associations of ideas.

Multiplying an idea

Every time I create an illustration I want to create a set of other illustrations that are inspired and related to the main work. It’s an exercise I’ve been doing to multiply my art and transform one concept in many interconnected works. I love the idea of collage and during the quarantine I discovered an app called PicCollage. I stayed hours and hours creating silly collages with any image that attracted my mind, escaping to a world with no limits and full imagination. The main purpose of the app is to add a frame and stickers to your picture, or use it like a scrapbook. There are thousands of backgrounds in all colors and textures, and the stickers are designed by many illustrators around the world, in all kinds of styles and themes. There are also fonts and other features I didn’t discover yet. I started to use the app everyday just for fun and then I wanted to have my own stickers and backgrounds to make even more collages and create compositions with my own works.

While studying how to represent snake pattern, I drew over the boots design by Miista. Then I thought, hey, I can transform these boots in a sticker! So I mix some stickers from other artists and my own and create a silly but awesome PicCollage. Is this a masterpiece? For sure no, but it’s so much fun and helps me release the power of my own imagination!

Creating a collection

In the same idea about multiplying my art and getting more out of the same theme, I’ve been creating simple patterns that brings happiness and hope for those who see them. I plan to design those patterns fast and don’t worry too much about details, but in reality, I actually struggle. The pattern for this collections was particularly challenging. I started with the idea of drawing a swamp full of alligators. I chose my colors and composition, searched for references and started drawing. The more I drew, the less I liked the results. It’s not that the drawing was bad, but it was not communicating what I wanted to tell. After 3 days working on the same idea, I had an “A-ha!” moment. I finally realized my mistake was placing the alligators floating horizontally on the water.

Although that was a fine image, it had nothing to do with my theme, it was too static and realistic. Looking at my own works I saw that I needed to keep the composition more dynamic and that the theme was all related to the clouds and imagination. Alligators on a swamp is common place, what is new is alligators on clouds. The concept was wrong and I was telling the wrong story, no matter how good was the drawing, I would never get the result I wanted.

I spent so much time thinking and researching about alligators I started to see alligators everywhere! I’m very happy about what I was able to achieve and this was important to stay within the concept.

Free wallpapers

Drawing this collection was just so much fun and I feel I’ve been travelling with Etta in this strange new world. If you loved the concept and would like to travel too, you can use one of my wallpapers on your phone as well. Send me a email requesting the image and I’ll be happy to send you. Just choose one or all of the 3 wallpapers below

The joys and challenges of this art process were immense and added so much to my life. I feel I’ve been to a real journey. If you enjoyed learning about all this adventure and had fun while reading, leave me a comment, push like or share this post. I want to know more about your dreams and what makes your head get lost in the clouds. Thank you so much for reading and see you in the next adventure!