Decorative Patterns from Simple Drawings with Sara Maese

With happy, little characters and a few cheeky bums and tums, Sara Maese creates patterns using the human figure.

She has developed a beautiful, descriptive visual language that makes the most of a few well-placed lines and snippets of colour.

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The decorative elements in Sara’s work fill the page, using every possible space to add fun and humour. But the scattering of tiny marks and drawings are well-composed, never bogging anything down, managing to still seem light and open.

But although the overall effect has a lot going on, the individual illustrations are quite minimal. Sara is great at depicting some, at times, fairly complicated actions using the slightest of little marks with the most carefully considered squiggle.

Sara talks to us about creating these patterns and also about the process and software she has come to use.

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My work, although it starts with an investigation process and the creation of sketches, is completely done with a computer. I use Illustrator for all the process because I prefer it over Photoshop, unlike others illustrators.

It is curious because I learnt to use Photoshop before Illustrator, but I think the first one is much more complicated to use.

When you remove all the specifications that limit the free process creation in Illustrator, I think the program is much more natural and organic, something that fits with my work.

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I started to use Illustrator when I was studying graphic design, and I also discovered my capacities during that year. It is funny because I did not think I was able to work as an illustrator, I believed I did not have potential, but when I learn how to use Illustrator everything changed.

As I said in the beginning I start working from sketches, but the real thing is that I use them only as a reference. I have never scanned them.

Looking at the sketch while drawing with my graphic tablet is enough for me. I do not like guides or previous lines, it does not matter if I am working on the computer or with another tool. This way of working is a limitation, the spontaneity is important.

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Most of the time I create patterns because I feel comfortable with them.

I do not have an explanation for that because I am not an ‘horror vacui’ fan, but the rhythm and harmony the patterns create are amazing. I am fascinated with them and I feel on the same wavelength.

When I draw, I start doing the human figures and then complete them with their clothes (if they are using them), hair and all the accessories. It sounds easy, but it takes its time.

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The creation process takes me a few hours, but where I spend most of the time is selecting colors.

I saved a color palette at my Illustrator desktop where I have all the colors I feel comfortable with, but most of the time I am playing with them. I can spend days trying to select the final palette.

If someone asked me to say a few words about my work, even though it is complicated, I will say that it is naive without being childish.

In it prevails happy colors and the shapes are very important. Those shapes are defined with few lines and this little element changes all the final drawings.

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© Sara Maese, 2015

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