Leaf Venation

Welcome to a surface pattern design case study called « Leaf Venation ». It was inspired by the fine design the smallest of nature’s creations. Through magnifying leaves, the translucent structure offers an opportunity to marvel at its intricacies. 

The highlighted venation system reminds us of the life pulsating in their veins, as well as our own connection to all living things.

This pat­tern design pro­ject was a part of my ongo­ing col­lab­or­a­tion with Kidspattern. If you’d like to learn more about them please vis­it their web­site HERE. Alternatively, view the archive of our pre­vi­ous pro­jects HERE, in which I dis­cuss in detail the his­tory and nature of our work.

All cloth­ing-mockups presen­ted here are provided cour­tesy of Kidspattern and are used for visu­al­isa­tion pur­poses only.


This pat­tern design series is a briefed com­mis­sion for a Spring — Summer Collection for boys aged up to 36 months old. It was dir­ec­ted by Kidspattern, whom also com­posed the col­our palette, which you can view below. It is an eleg­ant selec­tion of a duo of blues, matched with a camel shade and con­tras­ted with an indigo which is so dark, it’s almost black. This design shares this base of a duo of blues with anoth­er pat­tern set from the same group. To view “Graphic Botanicals” please click HERE.

The main concept for this design involved the botan­ic­al ele­ments being sub­stan­tially enlarged, scattered and layered on top of each oth­er. The res­ult­ing over­lay­ing effect makes this series not only very dimen­sion­al, but also full of inter­est­ing tex­tures, which emerged from the ele­ments blend­ing together.

In this series, the pat­tern is also often sup­port­ing a com­pli­ment­ary stan­dalone, place­ment illustration.

Pattern Elements

With digit­al print tech­niques in mind, a mixed media tech­nique was used through­out the process.

These were based on high detail pho­to­graphs taken by Kidspattern of ivy leaves and a snip­pet of an eleg­ant green­ery. This formed the base ref­er­ence mater­i­al, which was then altered and topped with an addi­tion­al lay­er of com­ple­ment­ary digit­al drawing.

Smooth Transitions

In this ver­sion, in order to place more focus on the inter­ac­tions between the tex­tures and col­ours with­in the leaves, the lin­ear draw­ing was removed. Furthermore, this focus is emphas­ised by hav­ing both con­cepts visu­al­ised in a large size. This allows the pat­tern to soak up the sooth­ing blend­ing between the eleg­ant shapes and soft, warm colours.

These were also recol­oured in a del­ic­ate mono­chro­mat­ic palette and placed atop match­ing light brown, as well as light blue col­oured back­grounds. A lay­er of depth was added by chan­ging the leaves to a dark­er shade. This makes them sink gently into the back­ground, as the white ones rise to the surface.

Lastly, the single white ivy skel­et­on, though under­stated and almost imper­cept­ible, adds a lovely fin­ish­ing touch.

Venation Drawing

Both pat­terns incor­por­ate the use of the hand drawn vein net­work in the major­ity of the leaves. These were then recol­oured in dark­er blue, which serves to draw the eye in by cre­at­ing a meshed structure.

Using this enhanced detailed imagery offers a much fuller print. Furthermore, pla­cing it on a crisp, white back­ground sup­ports the desired con­trast ; bring­ing the opa­city down gives the leaves a trans­par­ent qual­ity to them which provided a light and airy design.

Lastly, both of these pat­tern designs focus pre­dom­in­antly on the dark blue aspect of the palette ; each one match­ing it with either light blue or camel brown. Additionally, they are both visu­al­ised in a large size on tops aimed at boys.

“The leaves and the light are one.”

Albert Einstein