Pattern Before/After with Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator Creativity Pattern Before/After

This post shows how I turned a painted bouquet into a repeating surface pattern that became the springboard for a floral collection of 8 patterns and several spot illustrations.

Here's the original, scanned watercolor painting:

Five Patch Design watercolor bouquet

Next, using Adobe Illustrator, I:

  • removed the green grass-like strokes; 
  • added two little sprigs at the base of the bouquet;
  • moved some of the individual shapes to balance the composition;
  • used Object -> Path -> Simplify set to 95 percent; and
  • reduced the colors from 15 to 13.

Here's how it looked after those changes:

Five Patch Design Watercolor Bouquet

I liked the palette and decided to just brighten and deepen it using inspiration from several Gauguin still life paintings (for example, Still Life with Mangoes and Still Life with Fruit, Brittany):

Five Patch Design palettes

Happy with this palette, I recolored the bouquet and decided the two sprigs near the base were unnecessary. My least favorite part of the piece was the black hearts. To quickly eradicate them, I added a background and matched its color to the color of the hearts. I also spent more time rearranging individual motifs to further balance the composition:

Five Patch Design watercolor bouquet

I felt like the bouquet was almost done but I didn't like the background color. I used the Recolor Artwork tool to try different color combinations and quickly settled on one with a dramatic dark background:

Five Patch Design watercolor bouquet

I wanted the bouquet to pop off the background just a bit more, so I lightened some of the loose pieces floating around the top of the flowers. Here are the final results, clockwise from top left:

  • the final pattern, a half-drop repeat;
  • the pattern adorning the entrance to a conference room, presumably the corporate headquarters of a florist or fabric company;
  • a blender print I made from the little sprigs I removed early on;
  • mock ups using two of the spot illustrations from the final collection.

Five Patch patterns and mockups


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