Life is a Circus -
Behind the Scenes of a collection

For all my repeat patterns, I begin by browsing Pinterest when I should be sleeping, and creating mood boards in my sketchbook for inspiration. I love to be completely immersed in the subject I am going to illustrate, so finding videos, books, music – basically anything that will help me dive into my pattern theme – is extremely important!

While I gathered references for my "Life is a Circus" collection, I became keenly aware of a darker side of circus life (scary clowns, the treatment of animals, creepy curiosities, etc.), but wanted to keep my designs lighthearted and whimsical, playing off the sense of childlike wonder the circus creates.

Below is a concept page from my sketchbook. This is the first step in my process. Here, I'll doodle and brainstorm every possible idea I can think of that pertains to my theme. It's a great chance to be completely free and let my imagination run wild.

Of course, eventually these sketches are whittled down to my final six patterns. But along the way, there are plenty of art redirections, color alterations, and designs that did not make the cut. Here are a few samples of raw, unedited options that were discarded for various reasons.

And, finally...(drumroll please)... I present the finalized art for my circus-themed collection! It was truly a pleasure to be whisked away in a fantastical dream of feathers, sequins, show lights and applause. The creation of these designs reminded me not to take life too seriously and to remember "Life is a Circus" – at times chaotic with the occasional risk, but always adventurous and wonderfully unexpected.

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