Crabs and lobsters and shrimps, oh my.. crustaceans plates

With the chilly weather in Los Angeles lately it's hard to believe summer is close, but it has to be because May was time for crabs, lobsters and shrimps at Mats Bootcamp. Lilla got us going with crustaceans and multicolor patterns, with inspiration of indian haveli and mexican otomi patterns. Very colorful stuff! 

Started out with lots of sketches of weird crabs, lobsters, shrimps, and hermit crabs from Pinterest, Google and Dover books. And some random corals just because I love to draw those. I was really drawn to the otomi inspiration and thought it would be great to develop an otomi crustaceans pattern. Got a sketch going to test it out (to be continued..). 

The assignment turned out to be plates where we would mash up patterns and crustaceans, as it appears to be a new trend to mix a dark subject over a colorful pattern. And it's true... not just crustaceans, I've seen a pillow with a dark zebra on a red pattern when walking in a trendy boutique on a trip to Portland. So I decided to focus on developing an abstract pattern and pulled some inspiration from Mr. Haeckel, with a book I bought (incidentally) in another store on that same Portland trip.

I developed out some motifs from the book, much simplified from the originals, and constructed them in vector form first. But it felt a little too rigid as vectors I thought for this kind of nautical subject so I ended up painting the motifs with watercolor and then assembling in photoshop. With that I also painted some seaweed and textures to apply on the crustaceans.

And there's the final design below. Check out the May gallery on Lilla's website to see a great variety of designs on the same theme. I'm on page 2 :).