Whether you’re designing homeware, clothing, stationery, or anything else—botanicals are an excellent starting point.
Winding through trend after trend, from art deco to abstract to delicate, you’ll always find this type of pattern blossoming somewhere. But anyone who’s tried to illustrate flowers will know how intricate and detailed they are. That’s why a range of expert inspiration can be really helpful, to show you the range of silhouettes and textures that you can incorporate, to create beautiful yet believable illustrated flowers.
Anna Glover (@annagloverinteriors) is a designer and founder of Anna Glover Limited, a studio specializing in fine wallcoverings and surface design. She’s received various awards, including a British Elle Decoration Award, and House Beautiful Editor’s Award, and launched a global collaboration with H&M in 2018.
The "perfect balance of creativity and technicality" drew her to the medium of wallcoverings, and her work features lush and atmospheric botanical landscapes that reflect both.
The seeds of inspiration
Anna notes that many clients are seeking botanical-inspired prints right now, whether out of a desire for escapism or a desire to connect with nature. This means it’s a great time to start learning some of the distinctive forms that appear throughout the world of flora.
In her Domestika course on contemporary print design, Anna outlines several ways to find ideas for patterns and shapes. Fashion design houses such as Dries Van Noten create bold and original textiles, while historical figures such as Korean poet and artist Shin Saimdang can offer visions of timeless still lifes and patterns. Looking outside your comfort zone, at objects, artifacts, and other art mediums, will build a diverse library of imagery.
Of course, one of the quickest ways to access a whole garden of inspiration is to take a look at Instagram. It’s now easier than ever to find interesting floral designers who share high-quality photos, demonstrating the beautiful intricacies of flowers and floral arrangements. The six artists shared below are Anna’s top picks to check out…
Sparse compositions unite with surrealist elements (such as different plant species growing out of each other) in this still-life feed. Muted colors are contrasted with pops of ochre and orange. And as if to honor the full life cycle of plants, you’ll find every stage from buds to wilting heads on display, which gives Josephine Jeannin’s work a mystical—sometimes even ghostly—feel.
For a joyous burst of vivid color, scroll through the feed of this bespoke floral design studio in LA. Maurice Harris has worked for huge fashion brands like Louis Vuitton, Dior, Nike, and more, and each bouquet post gets an exuberant caption from Harris, explaining the exact vibe this arrangement portrays. Look here for high contrast textures too, from the gleaming leathery petals of orchids to fluffy ferns.
Inspired by Ikebana, the refined and often minimalist Japanese art of flower arranging, find artful and whimsical looks in Kasia Borowiecka’s feed. There are plenty of ethereal compositions to choose from, with muted or pastel colors and dainty details that wind or creep across the image.
As well as sharing work with flowers, Kasia also incorporates fruit in a “frukebana” workshop in-person or over zoom.
For moodier, sculptural inspiration, take a look through the denser arrangements of METAFLORA. They are explosions of mood and depth, in darker brooding colors like purple and black alongside vibrant hues like red. The floral design studio was co-created by Marisa Competello, and creates projects for a range of clients in their distinctive style. Often, just two or three species of plant feature in an arrangement, creating a bold contrast between them.
This Berlin-based studio has a "go big or go home" attitude, with stunning displays that turn regular spaces into art installations. Designs are often floating above tables like clouds, or billowing through a doorway to create a truly alien landscape. The collages and 3D visualizations featured through the feed only add to the otherworldly feel.
More Ikebana inspiration appears in the work of Wagner Kreusch. The Brazilian-born florist is currently based in London and shares a range of colorful designs, often in warm oranges and reds. An almost architectural quality appears throughout his work, with interweaving shapes and leaves that curve and wrap around other plants.
The forms, hues, and combinations you discover while researching will help you to create "still life" illustrations that are packed with life. If you want to learn how to turn your inspiration into a gift card, scarf, or wall hanging, don’t forget to explore Anna’s course, Contemporary Print Design: Scale, Color, and Composition.
And for more advice on creating your own homeware and textiles, check out our pattern design courses and printmaking courses.
You may also like:
- What Is Botanical Illustration?
- 10 Online Courses to Learn Nature Illustration
- 10 Online Floral Design Courses to Try at Home
- Artistic Floral Watercolor: Connect with Nature, course by Inga Buividavice
- Floral Arrangement Design with Seasonal Blooms, course by Bloom And Burn