Back in March, the kids exhibited their art work on nature in the small garden at school. The parents were invited for a tour and as a good mum I mainly focused on my kids work. They both made fantastic pieces and I was very proud of them of course. I looked at their drawings and paintings with a different eye as I usually do and I noticed one of Emile’s drawings: a leaf filled with different patterns on a brownish painted background. I took a couple of photos and a few months later, I have decided to use them to make my own patterns.
This is how my collaboration with Emile started!
Emile and his classmates were asked to paint a background with autumnal colours and draw a leaf with black felt pens on it. The leaf is transparent but has been filled with different patterns between its veins. Emile’s leaf was one of the best looking from all. Ok, I might be biased… But honestly, the patterns he drew were very detailed and well executed!
In order for me to be able to use it to create repeat patterns, the first step has been to get rid of the background and keep the black lines of the leaf. I’ve done that in Photoshop. Then I’ve imported into Illustrator to vectorise and smooth it.
After this tedious task, I was finally free to create different patterns.
Emile’s leaf is so refined that it was very important for me to keep all the details he drew. This is the reason why I tried to make large scale patterns (you can read my post on scale here). Basically, a pattern with big motifs will show all the fine drawings of the leaf whereas they won’t be visible if the leaf is too small.
As I said before, the leaf is full of details and for that reason it can result in a heavy pattern when it is repeated over and over again. There are different ways of avoiding that:
- use an analogous colour scheme. By minimising the contrast between the leaves and also with the background, the details will not stand out as much.
- use the shadow of the leaf. By keeping the outline and filling with one colour, it can be used simultaneously with the original leaf to give a lighter effect.
Finally, another aspect to consider was how to arrange the leaves together: vertically? Upside down? Or in random directions to make the leaves fly?
After thinking about all these aspects, I have finally worked on 4 main patterns.
The leafy patterns in collaboration with Emile
Here they are!
By playing with colour and arrangement only, I have managed to create very different styles from Emile’s drawing of the leaf. That is really incredible!!
And this gives just an idea of all the possibilities. Creativity is limitless really, the only limit is the time!
To be fair, I got carried away by this exercise and I created more patterns. Actually, I created a whole collection. But you’ll have to wait until my next post to discover it. Be patient!
What do you think? Can you imagine other patterns using this leaf?
My last words will be to congratulate my son Emile for his beautiful drawing and thank him for the inspiration he’s given to me! Merci mon chou!