Retro Floral Patterns - Process

  • I have always been interested in Art Nouveau and the 1960s – the former having experienced a resurgence in the latter – and have longed to show my appreciation for the vibrant colour palettes and delicate floral patterns which were prevalent during these eras. This is an homage; my take on the free-spirited, frivolous hedonism of the past. 
  • Sketches
    At the time, I had been very inspired by Art Nouveau style floral renderings, especially those by Alphonse Mucha. As I drew I tried to keep in mind the flow of the lines, and the contrast between the different line weight and textures. 
  • Creating Pattern Swatches
    After scanning in my drawings to Adobe Photoshop, I do a bit of clean-up and start selecting the most favorable elements (1). I arrange them into a 'bundle' of sorts, almost like putting together a puzzle (2). I prefer working with a square canvas, as it repeats more evenly as a pattern.
  • The bundle gets repeated all around the edges of the canvas (3), so that the pattern becomes seamless. This action creates identical looking gaps throughout the swatch, and to fill these up, I create a complimentary bundle (4, highlighted area) and repeat this all around.
  • For visual interest, I use an Adjustment Layer to make the lines coloured (5), and then add a background colour (6).
  • Finally, I add the main (7) and the secondary (8) colours. 
  • The Final Series
    I used the above process for all pattern swatches in the series. While deciding on colours, I referred to the bright palettes found in popular fashions of the 1960s. I wanted just enough punch in contrast, without going over the top, so each pattern swatch contains a muted colour to for balance. To ensure cohesiveness throughout the series, I periodically "stepped back" to see what the nine pieces looked like together, as a whole. Here's an overview, plus close-ups of the swatches:
  • fern
  • lily
  • fall
  • fire
  • petal
  • spring
  • blossom
  • star
  • daisy
  • Concept Applications
    For the sake of creating a sense of unity and context, I came up with the fictional home and lifestyle brand Swing, under which the pattern series could be incorporated. Named after the style of music, Swing's brand identity is luxurious, yet quirky.
  • Products range from stationary, home decor and apparel, to coffee, vinyl records, and published books – a bit of a stretch, but I can dream! :) 
  • If you are interested in the real-life application of these prints, good news! There are pillows, throw blankets, laptop & mobile phone skins and more at my store! If you would like to keep up with my art, you may follow me on my social media pages for regular updates. Facebook / Instagram / Tumblr / Twitter / LinkedIn
  • All images © Kat J. Weiss 2015. Do not reproduce without 
    the expressed written consent of Kat J. Weiss.