"Koi Galaxy" was my first experience designing an illustration concept for marketing purposes. The brand graphic was meant to enhance the main entrance of a local non-profit organization like Como Zoo and Conservatory, one of the hidden gem of St. Paul, Minnesota.
The idea for this graphic illustration evolved from several prior visits to Como Zoo and Conservatory. These trips were research for another on-going series called “Destination Diaries.” I spent time visually documenting in my sketchbook, special moments, details, textures and fascinating scenes I encountered at the botanic garden as well as the zoo.
The final intricate design concept for Koi Galaxy was a direct result of experiencing the moisture of the humid air, the soft heat of the indoor garden, the rich tapestry of the canopy of leafy branches and vines overhead. In the process, I also discovered a hidden koi pond.
Create a memorable visual asset to showcase the essence of Como Zoo & Conservatory. The design will be placed on a prominent wall in the lobby.The entire image - or single items in the image - can potentially be easily converted to separate graphic elements for Como Conservatory private label products.
CLIENT: Research project
RESULTING PROJECT (Illustration assignment-only):
- One (1) large pattern watercolor illustration available for licensing.
- Four (4) mock ups for a variety of merchandise and one watercolor banner mural.
This design captures the essence of the Conservatory portion of the Como Conservatory and Zoo in an intricate pattern. The branches, leaves and other design elements frame birds, fruit and fish inspired or encountered at the Conservatory. It celebrates the aliveness of nature and invites the visitor to explore the gardens.
The research process started with a few onsite pencil sketches. I visually journaled in a very loose style. Once in the studio however, I tested some ideas with full color and paint mini concept studies in an hardcover altered book art journal I reserve for explorations of topics that really fascinate me.
Imagery collected to provide inspiration and understand ways to create botanical patterns with a story
Image Credit: Maria Kalma, Olaf Hajek...
Thumbnails - Compositions 1 & 2
Testing out organic forms and flowing line, the featured animals of the zoo, fruits and plans of the conservatory and pattern details.
Stitched together 6 different thumbnail panels to create one cohesive illustration pattern.
Pencil Sketch Final Drawing
The final illustration's borders are created with the edges of the art itself.
Color Study Grayscale Value Studies
Studying contrast and areas of shadows to emphasize.
Photoshop Rough digital Color Study
Before & After
Clockwise: Bookmarks, phone case cover, magnets, mugs.
Want to see more watercolor food illustrations? Explore them here.
Written and illustrated by Patricia Jacques. I'm a freelance food & travel illustrator who works with watercolor. I enjoy working with individuals and commercial clients with similar passions for slow food, slow life and slow travel.