Create floral typography with Affinity Designer for iPad

Nastya Kuliabina AKA Jungle of Colors, walks us through how to create her signature floral characters by illustrating 1.8 to celebrate our latest update.

Before you start…

Floral illustrations are some of my favourites to draw and I love to experiment with colours and shapes in them. Here are a few things to consider before getting started:

  • Choose 2-3 characters for your artwork. I’m doing ‘1.8’ but you can do anything, maybe even your initials!

  • Sketch the floral elements before starting the illustration—on paper or in Affinity Designer’s Pixel Persona.

  • Set up your colour palette, you can use the colour palette I used if you wish!

The process

You can follow along with the video I have made showing my process. I have also provided some written steps to help you too.

Setting up the text

  • Set your canvas to 5120 x 5120 px.

  • Type in the characters you want to add floral elements to (make sure they’re large enough!). In my experience, the best fonts are rounded fonts.

Drawing the plants

Blue leaf

Video Timestamp 00:22

  • Choose the Pencil Tool, and make sure you have Rope Stabiliser selected on the context bar. Select Use Fill and select your fill colour—I’ve used the mid-blue as my fill colour in this step. Set the Stroke to None. Draw a leaf shape and adjust the shape with the Node Tool if needed.

  • Now turn off Use Fill, and turn on the stroke colour. Use the darker blue colour in order to draw the leaf structure—you can adjust the stroke pressure and width in the Stroke Studio if needed.

  • Once you are happy with the result, select all the drawn curves for your leaf structure by selecting these layers in the Stroke Studio, group them together and then place the group inside the leaf shape, thereby masking them.

  • Now, create a New Pixel Layer in the Layers Studio and make sure this layer is masked inside the leaf curve.

  • Switch to the Pixel Persona and select the Paint Brush Tool. In the Brushes Studio choose the Finest Spray Rade brush from the Sprays and Spatters category. Increase the brush size to add shadow and light colours to achieve a grainy texture.

We’ve now finished our blue leaf!

Pink plant

Video Timestamp 02:44

  • Now, go back into the Vector Persona and select Pencil Tool again. With Use Fill enabled, select one of the lighter pink shades and draw the stem. Once this has been done you can then draw the pink plant leaves. Adjust your pink leaf shapes with the Node Tool if needed.

  • Once you are happy with the leaf shapes, select the pink stem and go to the Edit menu and choose Expand Stroke.

  • Now select all your pink leaf shapes in the Layers Studio and go to the Edit menu and choose Add. At this point move your pink stem layer above your layer with the pink leaves in the Layers Studio, and recolour your pink stem a darker shade.

  • Turn off Use Fill and set your stroke width to 3 pt. Start drawing the veins on your pink leaves using a darker colour stroke (like the stem). You can play with the stroke pressure curve if needed (found in the Stroke Studio) and make any adjustments to your lines using the Node Tool. When complete, select all your leaf veins and in the Layers Studio go to the Edit menu and choose Expand Stroke and then select Add. Now, add your pink stem to the leaf vein lines.

  • Now, create a New Pixel Layer in the Layers Studio and make sure this layer is masked inside the pink leaves layer.

  • Switch to the Pixel Persona and select the Paint Brush Tool. In the Brushes Studio choose the Finest Spray Rade brush from the Sprays and Spatters category. Paint the shadows with the dark pink shade and paint the highlights using the light pink shade.

  • Group all the elements of the pink plant if required.

  • Go to the blue leaf layer and create another pixel layer inside, then paint the shadow from the pink leaf using the dark blue shade. Use a smaller brush size for this.

  • At this point you could select your pink and blue plant in the Layers Studio and resize and reposition them if necessary.

Now the pink plant is finished.

Orange Plant:

Video Timestamp 05:30

Let’s move onto the orange plant with the flowers.

  • Go into the Vector Persona and select the Pencil Tool, if Use Fill is not disabled, disable it. Increase your stroke width and select the orange colour. Draw a few lines for the plant’s stem as shown in the video tutorial.

  • Continue with the Pencil Tool turning off the stroke colour and turning on the fill colour and draw several leaves as shown in the video tutorial.

  • Don’t forget to group the shapes in order to keep the Layer Studio clean and organised as it will be much easier to work with.

  • Now draw red lines inside the orange leaf shapes with the Pencil Tool. Mask the curves inside the leaves shapes.

Flowers

Video Timestamp 6:40

  • Use the Pencil Tool and draw several lines to form the base of the flower head as shown in the video. Once you are happy with the base, choose all these curves, go to the Edit Menu, press Expand Stroke then reopen the Edit Menu and press Add. Now your curves are joined into one shape. Repeat the same process with the red and white colour.

  • Create a new pixel layer and mask it inside the orange flower shape. Switch to the Pixel Persona and use the Finest Spray Rade from the Sprays and Spatters section.

  • Use several colours in order to add shadows, lights and create volume: light blue, pink, white and red.

  • Repeat the same with the other flower shapes as shown in the video tutorial.

  • Use the same technique to add white lights to the orange leaves.

  • Now you can add one more flower plant, changing the orange colour of the leaves to the red and adding white lines to the leaves.

  • Once all the plants from the first character are drawn, duplicate the plants and put them on top of the other characters.

  • Adjust the sizes and composition following your own requirements. Feel free to invert the curves colours, for example the blue leaf: dark blue background with the light blue accent.

Masking

Video Timestamp 14:12

  • Once you are happy with the plants’ composition, group the plants for each character.

  • Duplicate the text curve. Go to the edit menu and convert the text to curves and then press Add in the Edit menu.

  • Mask the group with all the plant drawings inside the text curve by dragging the group into the text layer in the Layer Studio.

  • Change the fill colour of the text curve to the no colour option. Then use the Pencil Tool with the Sculpt turned on in order to create ‘inside the text’ effect. Follow along with the video to reveal parts of the plants and create the composition.

  • Once you are happy with the composition, select the background original text and in the Edit Menu hit Convert to Curves and again in the Edit Menu press Add curves. Now your text is one curve and you can use it to mask a pixel layer inside.

  • Use this pixel layer in order to add the grainy gradient for the text. Draw with the darker blue colour in the bottom part of the text and with the lighter blue colour in the top part.

You should now have your floral text art!


About the artist

Nastya creates illustrations and artwork on the iPad using Affinity Designer and Procreate—she has a Youtube channel with lots more great content and tutorial/workflow videos. You can also keep up with her latest art on Instagram.


Artist relations
Umar is part of our artist relations team. He likes to tinker with computers, build things and play competitive games. His favourite colour is green and he enjoys bouldering, which is basically climbing without any ropes. It’s less dangerous than it sounds.
Credits & Footnotes

All illustrations used with permission of Nastya Kuliabina, Jungle of Colors.