Weronika, please tell us a bit about yourself and your creative background.
Hello! I’m an illustrator, surface pattern designer, and online educator based in Berlin, Germany. I’m a typical passionate freelancer who likes doing many things at the same time: I illustrate and take on commissions, I teach Korean yoga and mindfulness meditation, I have clients in online marketing, and I teach illustration courses on Skillshare.com.
How did you get to where you are today?
I returned to illustrating and designing patterns back in 2018. I believe that my biggest breakthrough was discovering digital illustration and getting completely hooked on drawing in the Procreate app on my iPad. Two years ago, I discovered Affinity Designer for vector work, and I set a goal for myself that I would like to master this software. I’ve always had a thirst for both teaching others and for learning. It’s never too late to learn a valuable skill.
“Two years ago, I discovered Affinity Designer for vector work, and I set a goal for myself that I would like to master this software. I’ve always had a thirst for both teaching others and for learning. It’s never too late to learn a valuable skill.”
What inspires you creatively?
I’m inspired by nature, colour and all things magical. There was a time when I predominantly created art depicting women, feminine energy and the lunar cycle. Owing to my yoga background, I used to draw many yogi portraits, and I’m definitely planning to go back to those themes in my upcoming pattern collections.
Procreate was your main tool for surface pattern work. Now you use Affinity Designer for iPad around 90% of the time. What prompted this switch?
I came to the conclusion that it is more efficient to create vector-based art because it’s much more flexible. It is a great solution for art licensing because you’re not always certain which dimensions the client might want. Scaling vectors up and down is easier than resizing raster art.
Moreover, I can’t live without my pattern preview tool, which I have built in Affinity using Symbols. It makes my work so much easier.
“I can’t live without my pattern preview tool, which I have built in Affinity using Symbols. It makes my work so much easier.”
Why do you prefer creating your designs on an iPad?
I’m not the type of person who would do any bigger design work at her desk, so I usually opt for the solutions tailored for the iPad. I love taking my tools with me wherever I go—to cool Berlin cafes or when I travel abroad to our home countries, Poland and Bulgaria.
Can you talk us through the creative process behind your work?
It all starts with sketching the objects that inspire me, for instance a specific animal and a flower type. Next, I create a number of vector assets, and save them into my Asset Studio library in Affinity Designer. This step takes the longest. After that I make a colour moodboard in search of the perfect colour palette, and often I create a few rough colour thumbnails to choose from.
Finally, I’m ready to drop the new assets onto my pattern templates and build a pattern out of them. I’ve created a whole variety of templates within Affinity: half-drop, brick, diamond patterns—you name it.
Which part of the process do you enjoy most and why?
Definitely building the pattern from the assets and seeing the pattern come to life on my pattern preview. This part of the process is like meditation, and it’s very relaxing. I’m fully immersed into it and totally focused because I need to mirror my assets correctly to create error-free repeating sequences. The Transform Studio helps tremendously with this task.
We were delighted to hear you’ve just released a Skillshare class about illustrating with Affinity Designer for iPad. Can you tell us more about it and what can Affinity users expect to learn?
That’s right! I’ve just released my first Affinity Designer for iPad course. It’s a very beginner-friendly class based on my essential tips for someone just starting out with the program and wanting to enter the world of vector art. Anyone who wishes to find out more can do so here.
In the future, I am also planning to launch a few complementary courses, for example, on boolean operations, the Asset Studio, and finally more advanced level courses with a deep-dive into vector pattern making.
You regularly share colour palettes on Instagram. Where do you go for colour inspiration, and how do you approach choosing cohesive palettes for your designs?
I really enjoy collecting colour palettes and usually start by getting inspired by one specific colour. For example, I am still riding the wave of mustard and honey yellow. Some other colours that I’ve been obsessed with are: terracotta, sage green and lavender. So you’ll notice that there are some really specific colours with dedicated names. From there on, I search for fitting partner colours guided by the basics of colour theory (e.g. complementary/analogous).
If you could go back and tell yourself one hot tip or piece of advice when you started your creative career what would it be?
I’d definitely transition into digital illustration sooner, because I was very much occupied with traditional media for a rather long time (watercolour and gouache), and I had a hard time digitising my work and showing it to the world. So if there’s a program you’d like to learn, do it now—look for courses and video tutorials and start creating your art!
And a piece of advice on pattern making: don’t “waste” your time learning standard basic pattern repeats. Instead, try more intermediate pattern schemes such as half-drop patterns right away. They look more professional and the repeat line is less visible to the eye.
“…don’t “waste” your time learning standard basic pattern repeats. Instead, try more intermediate pattern schemes such as half-drop patterns right away. They look more professional and the repeat line is less visible to the eye.”
Are there any upcoming projects you’re excited about, and do you have any long-term goals?
I’m starting a Patreon page soon, which will focus on sharing knowledge specifically about vector patterns, and hopefully I can continue building my YouTube channel further and upload a few Affinity tutorials.
You can check out Weronika’s course: Beginner’s Affinity Designer for iPad: Introduction to Vector Illustration on Skillshare, where she is a Top Teacher.