Arctic Pattern Creation

Originally published on Knuffel’s Blog.

A little bit of the process creating one of Knuffel’s new winter designs!


1. Planning
During the spring/early summer, the holiday season seemed very far away. I thought I’d have plenty of time to create and test different designs (spoiler: it’s not a lot of time.).
I had a rough vision, and it included creating a winter-themed pattern for notebooks - and with that abstract idea I got started.

2. Inspiration
I tried to soak in the feeling of the freezing air and cold color palettes. you’d think living in Montreal should make it easy, but it was august, 34 degrees Celsius, in a city with no AC. But, luckily the internet is here to remind me how winter looks like! one of the things I like doing is watching short videos about the topic I’m focusing on. I especially loved watching these:

3. Sketching
I decided to focus on the arctic ocean with 3 subjects- wildlife, scenery and human presence. I sketched a layout and colored it with colored pencils. The colors weren’t final, but it was a basic color feel I was testing out.


4. Advanced Sketch:
I did another layout sketch - this time a digital version - in order to make sure that it looks right as a repeat pattern. I tested it out on larger surfaces, and made several adjustments in positioning the objects.


5. Final Illustrations
Once I have a solid sketch, I draw everything with pen on paper, scan it, and then color digitally.


6. Test Printing:
Personally, I feel that printing out a sample of the pattern is super important. It’s true for every visual piece, but especially with patterns, since it has many details that need to work harmoniously together. Looking at a hard copy is an effective way for me to identify glitches and rethink some details. After printing a sample I went back and made minor adjustments - moved an iceberg a few pixels here, moved a boat a few pixels there. Finally looking good!

7. Applying the Pattern
Now that the pattern is ready, the next step was to apply it to the different products!
Of course that was a whole other phase, that can easily fill another blog post (or more).

I hope you found it interesting to see the different stages. Let me know in the comments if you’d like to see more behind the scenes of the designs, or perhaps you’re interested to see how the physical products are made? I myself am still refining my process, but if you have any questions - comment below and i’ll do my best to help :-)

Thanks for reading!


The Rustic forest wedding project is a little bit of everything: print and digital, web and stationery, ink and animation. This project is all about getting the guests into the rustic, forest themed vibe. It was important to focus equally on the digital aspects as well as on the physical paper goods.

Most of the guests will visit the website multiple times - getting the first details, clicking the RSVP, later on looking through the registry and checking the directions. Some will even visit again after the wedding to post pictures and read what others wrote in the guest book. Thats why the goal was to make the website feel as special and crafted as wedding stationery feels.

Early Sketches

I started by laying out the wireframe and sketching a rough concept for each section:


Festive forest color palette:


Starting To Illustrate

I started with the RSVP section, testing the colors and making sure it has the right feel. I usually start with the simple elements, because there can be changes along the way, and especialy since the concept continues to evolve and become more refined.


Final illustration:

Testing Animation

The next thing I wanted to test was the the animation. First I started with the ink illustration for the guest book - the dream catcher:


I colored the illustration, erased the background, cut the different elements into separate layers, and added motion in After Effects.

OK, I have to admit that at this point the animation wasn't looking right.
So I watched some random youtube videos of baby mobiles and laundry hanging in the wind - trying to study the movement of lightweight objects in the wind. 
And then I started over. 

still needs some work

still needs some work

After watching baby mobile videos

After watching baby mobile videos

Much better!

Chilled after the baby mobile videos, I continued with the illustration for the accommodation section. My initial concept was a tree house:


This was a pretty detailed illustration, but only after cleaning it digitally and coloring a part of it I realized that a bird house could work here even better.

bird house


The illustration for the directions section was quite straightforward:



Moving on to the homepage gif: Like in the wireframe sketch, the first version was noisy and too detailed.

But it was looking much better in a minimal and clean version.


Him & Her gif process:

After Effects puppet tool

After Effects puppet tool


Final Thoughts

I repeated the process with the rest of the illustrations and gifs. Some looked good on the first try, others required further attention before they were ready. For my next project I might try to do flat color sketches before diving into the final illustrations - perhaps that way I would have noticed earlier on that some details weren't looking right. But this was a really fun project, I learned a lot from the process and I'm looking forward to the next ones!

greeting cards

Greeting cards - available at Knuffel.

Thanks for stopping by!


This year I joined the Inktober challenge - a 31 day ink-drawing challenge during the month of October. I'm really happy I was able to complete the whole month. It wasn't always easy to say no to netflix after dinner, but coming up with a new concept and then creating the illustration every day was fun and rewarding.


For all the 31 illustrations check out my Instagram where I shared them daily.


I was commissioned by Sial publishing house in June 2017 to illustrate a book for a mature audience. The story was an allegory of dealing with symptoms rather than with the actual problems we face in life. The task was to present a surreal feel in a mature way that will draw the readers into the book.

Cover illustration:
I started by presenting 2 different ideas that represent dealing with symptoms rather than the problem. The water theme was present in both options, since fishing and water were a big part of the story.


The author and the publishing house chose the first option, so we proceeded with that illustration:


Character design and inner pages:
The character was described as friendly, outdoorsy, and the author pictured him as a wobbly, bald, sweet man.