An Interview with Tati Abaurre
Tati Abaurre is a Brazilian pattern designer and illustrator living in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Her drawings, which are full of love for nature and all its loveliness, display the delightful and marvelous elements of day-to-day life.
Are there certain species of birds or flowers you gravitate toward as inspiration for your designs?
I love all flowers and birds! I love the different shapes and colours and I'm always looking for new species that I don't know and that are not so commonly illustrated to add interest to my work.
Do you spend much time in nature looking for inspiration?
I love spending time in nature to find inspiration, looking for ideas and natural elements to add to my work, but I also find a lot of inspiration in botanical illustrations so that I can get to know a wider variety of flowers and birds from different parts of the world that I've never seen before.
When you started surface pattern design, what was your biggest challenge?
My biggest challenge when I started was improving my skills so I could create pretty patterns from the ideas that were in my head. I'd often have ideas of what I wanted to create but couldn't get the end result to match these ideas, so I worked a lot on my technical skills.
What did your process look like when you first started creating patterns?
I started out creating mostly designs for the kid's market. I would sketch cute characters by hand, trace over them with pen and ink, scan them and vectorize in illustrator, play with colours and create my patterns there.
How has that changed over the years?
It has changed a lot! At that time I had tried creating raster patterns in Photoshop using my Wacom tablet but it didn't work out for me. I was also mostly focusing on patterns and illustrations for kids. But once I got my ipad and started drawing in Procreate, I fell completely in love! Now I almost always design on my ipad using procreate, where I create raster drawings and patterns that are filled with details and now my favourite things to draw are flowers and birds.
How has your Brazilian culture and living in Slovenia influenced your designs if it has?
I feel like my Brazilian culture has definitely influenced my work, since I believe it was growing up there surrounded by gorgeous nature and beautiful fashion and design that got me inspired to be a pattern designer in the first place. I was surrounded by toucans and lush florals that are certainly the seeds of inspiration that I always carry with me. I also think that every place I've ever lived in and every new place I've visited has contributed and added a lot to fill me with ideas and inspiration. Slovenia also has the most beautiful nature, lovely lakes and mountains and is definitely a very inspiring place.
Were you formerly involved as a designer in another capacity, or was this an entirely new field for you?
Yes, I am an architect! I always knew I loved design but initially started my creative journey with architecture. I graduated in architecture and urban planning and got a masters in sustainable architecture and green buildings, which I still love. But after I graduated I wanted to express myself creatively even more freely and fell in love with pattern design and illustration.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced running your own art business?
There are many challenges of running your own art business. Finding your first clients can be hard, creating your own business plan and sticking to it... Knowing that your income and career growth is only in your hands is both empowering and scary. You have to be very resourceable and open to growth and change to keep learning and adapting so your business strives, but also learn to balance work and personal life. Also believing in yourself so you keep going even when things get hard. These are all challenges I still face!
How did you learn what you know about surface pattern design?
Did you take courses, study tutorials, or learn through trial and error? I took many, many courses. I took some in person illustration and painting courses and many, many online courses. I spent well over a year "studying" full time to improve my skills. I took courses on licensing designs, creating patterns, illustrating animals, painting... and of course, I also learned a lot through trial and error.
Can you walk us through your design process?
My process now looks something like this: ideas, finding inspiration to refine idea, sketching all the elements by hand, refining the sketch in procreate on my ipad, finding colour inspiration, painting all of the elements, creating a repeating pattern tile in Illustrator and finishing up the pattern as raster in Photoshop plus adjusting colours. And of course, placing these on a variety of mockups.
Which programs and art media do you use to create your designs?
Pencil and paper for sketching, Ipad and procreate for refining sketch and painting the drawings (using many beautiful brush sets I've purchased throughout the years!), Illustrator for creating the repeating tile and Photoshop for creating the final raster pattern tile.
Do you have a favorite design or collection of designs?
It's so hard to pick a favourite. I love so many of them because they each represent a different phase of my creative journey. But one of my favourites is my "Romantic birds" pattern because it was one of the main patterns from my first product collection for my own brand "By Tati Abaurre", which represents a very special step for me. I have it all around me on the cover of my weekly planner notepad, hardcover diary, screensaver... :)
How do you use product mockups with your designs?
I am a huge fan of mockups! I use them as a part of my creative process to test out if the scale, spacing and colours of the pattern are working for the product I'm designing and I also use them to show off my beautiful patterns on social media and to clients.
Which Creatsy mockups you’ve used are your favorites?
I absolutely love the Little Fashion and kids accessories sets. They are so cute and well made! Super adorable. I also love the Fabric factory sets! So incredible and real looking. I use these daily as part of my creative process and as part of my social media strategy.
How would you describe your design style?
I like to describe my style as whimsical and romantic nature inspired art with a touch of cuteness!
Which of the products you design and sell are your favorites to create?
I love creating repeating patterns for fabric and clothing! But also love creating greeting cards and stationery :D Hard to pick a favourite!
The colors you have chosen for your designs are divine. How do you find your inspiration for your color palettes?
I love soft and romantic colour combinations! I'm always looking around for colour inspiration in nature and I also use pinterest, some websites and blogs to create my own favourite combinations. I create colour palettes in Procreate from my inspirations so I incorporate them easily into my work.
What advice would you offer to anyone who struggles with putting together the perfect color palette?
My advice is to find out the colours you love! What colours do you like to wear? What are the colours of the stationery you buy? What colours do you surround yourself with? Then go to pinterest and search for colour palettes that have some of these key colours you like and experiment with them! I often create the same artwork in a variety of colourways to find my favourite. With time and practice you'll start to know which colours reflect your style and you'll start creating colour palettes that reflect that.
Describe your typical working day. What—if anything—would you change to make it a perfect day?
I typically start my day sketching a lot of ideas for around an hour. After that I will usually work on client projects until lunch time and in the afternoon I usually like to colour my sketches and patterns. I am more business and focused in the morning and creative and relaxed in the afternoon. What I've been trying to change is to make sure I do my sketching sessions daily. It's usually the first thing that I stop doing when I start getting busier, but I think it's so valuable to sketch out my ideas freely every morning and it always makes a difference in my day when I do. I also want to add painting time into my schedule :)
What is one thing you wish everyone knew about you and your art?
That everything I create comes straight from the heart! I create art because being surrounded by beautiful things brings me joy and my goal with my art is to bring joy into other people's lives too. My dream is to keep growing my art to make it even more inspirational and joyful for everyone who sees it, so I can share the joy I feel when surrounded by nature's infinite beauty and other artists' work.
Have you had any unusual, comical, or extraordinary experiences while creating your designs and products?
I'm always laughing at my incredibly rough and sketchy sketches. Sometimes my drawings come out wonky and I've certainly created a few little creatures that have never made it into any illustration or pattern.
Is there anything else you want us to know about you and what you do?
I would like to share with anyone that is starting out their journey that "done is better than perfect". There are many ups and downs in the creative journey and we just have to keep going and following our joy!