Our Design Process: Blank Canvas Hop {Giveaway}

Welcome back to our space! Today we are sharing our design process joining the Blank Canvas Blog Hop with other wonderful artists.

We are in the middle of doing so many things like re-designing our whole site, it’s a huge job but it will bring great things. Change is always good!

Anyways, this “Blank Canvas” is about how each of us artists approach it, how do we fill this sometimes-dreaded blank canvas?

My sister and me have similar approaches.

Here is our design process when for our surface patterns, this is the “Hearts in a Row” Collection:

Hearts in Row Collection, check out the design process behind it - daridesignstudio.com

1. We think of the theme of the collection before approaching any tool, for that we get inspired on our daily life, in this example I wanted to design with hearts but adding some other elements that go together well like sweets and coffee. Trends are something that we look, at closely too.


2. A word brainstorm is always very helpful, we think of words that are related to what we will be designing, just write down whatever pops in our minds at the time (Brainstorming writing comes out in Spanish most of the time!)

Word Brainstorming in graphic design - daridesignstudio.com


3. We doodle away wherever we find space or in our main notebook, sometimes doodling and drawing is another brainstorm because even though we’re trying to follow a theme we may let ourselves draw whatever comes out if we feel like it. For this design we also wanted those geometric shapes and arrows to go in it.

Doodles before designing - daridesignstudio.com


4. Sometimes in the design process we scan the drawings to the computer or sometimes we just redraw them in the computer, in this case we didn’t scan them because they were pretty easy to re-draw.


cafe elements for design - daridesignstudio5. We also spend some time in the internet looking for images that might help us, in this collection some croissants and spoons were helpful to look at. Our main softwares that use to draw are Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop, we each have a favorite, my sis Dariana loves Photoshop and she is THE MASTER! and me, I love Illustrator and I’m not sure if I’m a master yet, LOL! But I can handle it pretty well 🙂


6. Now on the computer we might pick a color pallette that we want to use and we start drawing, our canvas is square and we cannot design in the computer without the Wacom tablet! That would be impossible! We both have a Bamboo tablet.

Desin Process drawing with illustrator - daridesignstudio.com

7. We spend a lot of time in the computer drawing the basics and then playing around with the layout. For the hearts collection we started with the hearts pattern (top left in the collage) and then the blue pattern with the arrows. Then the sweets pattern and then the other more simple patterns.


Deciding on the final color combinations is no easy task but if we stick to 5 or 6 colors it helps a lot and we try to see that the collections have variety and not all the designs look similar. This one was all done in Adobe Illustrator but some of them are done with a mix or only in Photoshop.

Hearts Pattern Collection - daridesignstudio.com


This bottom one was done all in Photoshop and we used the same original pencil strokes in the canvas drawing:

Flower drawings design process - daridesignstudio.com


After reviewing our design process we are ready to offer a GIVEAWAY of some of our products! Use the Rafflecopter below to in a set of Dari Design Studio Notebooks and follow along the blog hop for more artist’s processes and more giveaways!

Dari Design Studio Notebooks and Pillows

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sept 8 ….. Karen Friedland
Sept 9 ….. Lezette Markham 
Sept 10 … Cynthia Patton 
Sept 11 … Jennyann Carthern 
Sept 12 … Friday Frenzy: Tori Deaux    Karen Friedland  Kiala Givehand   
Sept 13 … Jan Blount 
Sept 14 … Effy Wild 
Sept 15 … Virginia Simpson-McGruder 
Sept 16 … Dari Design Studio <——YOU ARE HERE
Sept 17 … Susan Miller 
Sept 18 … Grace Howes
Sept 19 … Tori Deaux 
Sept 20 … Kiala Givehand 
Sept 21 … Martin Arkenstone 
Sept 22 … Nicole Piar


  • Fiona
    September 16, 2014 3:28 am

    Hi! I really enjoyed reading about how you and your sister go about creating a brand new design. I LOVE the Hearts in a Row collection – it’s gorgeous! I just thought I ought to mention I had trouble signing up for your newsletter by clicking the link on Rafflecopter – it took me to a “Page Not Found”, so I came back here and used the Subscribe via email link on the right.
    Thanks for being in this blog hop. I’d love to win your set of notebooks and the design pillow. Thank you for the opportunity.

    • dariela
      September 16, 2014 8:25 am

      Thank you Fiona! We fixed it!!! And thanks for stopping by 😉

  • Lezette
    September 16, 2014 6:01 am

    I enjoy the craftsmanship of your process. In art school, we learned to never go straight to the computer because it could stifle our creativity. I think it’s fantastic you research, sketch and doodle your amazing designs out on paper first. I’m very excited to enter your giveaway. – Cheers!

    • dariana
      September 16, 2014 11:46 am

      Thanks Lezette!
      We love doodling and we also want to get into painting first before scanning 🙂

  • Susan Miller
    September 16, 2014 7:07 am

    Dari, I have always wanted to know exactly how to do the process of pattern design. Thank you so much for sharing this with us! So wonderful!

    • dariana
      September 16, 2014 11:47 am

      Thanks Susan!! It feels like we have all of you in our virtual studio. Thanks for coming!

  • ArtistKaren
    September 16, 2014 7:37 am

    I enjoyed the post, Dariana! I’m very impressed that 2 sisters get along well enough to pursue their creative career together. It is so interesting to me to see the ways in which our pocesses are similar and where they diverge. I love the patterns-I am a pattern person & these are rick and delightful! Thank you. ;0)

    • dariana
      September 16, 2014 11:51 am

      We get that a lot! People always asking how we manage to have a business together. We both love it, of course is challenging when we have different opinions yet those differences are the ones that complement and balance out each other perfectly. I’m glad that being a pattern person you like our patterns!! Thanks so much!

  • Jennyann Carthern
    September 16, 2014 8:31 am

    This is something that I always wanted to dive into! Thanks for sharing your process!

  • jan
    September 16, 2014 8:33 am

    Dariana, how cool that you and your sister complement each other so well. I really enjoyed reading about how you work together. I spent some time reading your bios and other blog articles because I found this part of your story fascinating. I love the hearts in a row collection…the color palette is delightful and the design.feels both fun and fresh. Since I have been exploring the potential of licensing my own art I especially enjoyed.seeing that side of your creative process.

  • Tori Deaux
    September 16, 2014 9:11 am

    What a great glimpse at a pattern-designers process… I’ve always admired how the patterns work together with color style and content, but never gave a thought to HOW they come out that way. Love the post and your patterns! Signed, a new fan 😉

    • dariela
      September 16, 2014 12:06 pm

      And even though this is our process is fascinating to see other pattern designers’ processes as well right?! Thanks for being a new fan!

  • Terry
    September 16, 2014 9:47 am

    I love Sandrine Pellesier’s mixed media paintings where she incorporates zentangle. That really got me thinking about patterns in general. This was very informative! (I love my Bamboo Wacom tablet, too!)

    • dariela
      September 16, 2014 12:04 pm

      Thanks Terry! We couldn’t do much without the tablet actually 😉

  • carolyn
    September 16, 2014 11:20 am

    What a team you two are. I luv the collaboration and inspiration between you. My approach is very similar. That’s why I need more notebooks! Thanks for sharing.

    • dariela
      September 16, 2014 12:04 pm

      Haha! Maybe just one notebook so there won’t be so much confusion!!! LOL Thanks Carolyn 🙂

  • Virginia
    September 16, 2014 1:46 pm

    Thanks for this insight. I tend to research things to death and not get anything on the paper. It’s called “analysis paralysis.” I sure need a cure. 😀

    • dariana
      September 19, 2014 12:55 pm

      LOL! I love that term!! You are not alone, I definitely have “analysis paralysis” days and also “organizing paralysis” days 🙂

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  • Emma
    September 16, 2014 3:29 pm

    The designs seem so familiar and comforting and yet striking and unique. I think the fact you get inspiration from the internet is great because I do too 🙂

    • dariela
      September 23, 2014 11:07 am

      Thanks Emma, yes, oh the internet!

  • Martin Arkenstone
    September 16, 2014 4:58 pm

    It sounds like your having fun working with a team of artists. Sometimes I would wish I would have some help creating a sparks of imagination and inspiration to get the work flowing. So I sometimes ask my wife for her opinion.Thanks for sharing your design process it is most insightful.

    • dariana
      September 19, 2014 1:03 pm

      Thanks for stoping by Martin. We are definitely lucky to work together and keep each other inspired!

  • Marylee
    September 16, 2014 6:15 pm

    Love the fun, fresh designs and the bright colors!

    • dariana
      September 19, 2014 1:01 pm

      Thanks so much Marylee!

  • Kiala
    September 16, 2014 10:41 pm

    Dari, I loved reading about your process and it made me eager to watch your tutorials. I have two Wacom tablets and have never opened the boxes. They were both given to me and I keep saying I’m going to play with them, but I haven’t. Seeing and reading your process reminds me that I should just give it a try. I love that you start with the basics and then end up with amazing designs. Love the work you and your sister do. Keep on keeping on!!!

    • dariana
      September 19, 2014 12:51 pm

      What??? you have two?? Oh my!… You know whats funny? My sister always used one, and I couldn’t get the hang of it for the longest time. Then I started to work for a company where everyone used it and I felt embarrassed to ask for a mouse. I was so nervous on day one, but some how right then it started to feel as if I had always used it. And from that moment on I never used a computer without it!! If you end up never using them maybe you can do a giveaway, I’m sure your audience will be very interested in them. Wink wink!!

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  • Trista
    September 17, 2014 12:30 pm

    Wow! Thanks so much for sharing your creative process. I really enjoyed knowing that though you both work differently you still create beautifully together!

    • dariana
      September 19, 2014 12:44 pm

      We love that too! is one of the things that always assures us that we are on the right path!

  • Cynthia Patton
    September 17, 2014 9:21 pm

    Wow. I loved this! So interesting to learn about different creative processes. Over the years I have learned that it’s better for me to do my first draft longhand on paper and then type the second draft on my computer. I found it fascinating that you do the same, so to speak. 🙂

    • dariana
      September 19, 2014 12:46 pm

      I have to confess I sometimes do the opposite. I start on the computer and then go to the paper when I realize what I need exactly. I guess it all depends on the day and how I’m feeling about it! Thanks so much for stoping by Cynthia!

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  • nicole piar
    September 19, 2014 6:58 pm

    I loved seeing the doodles and I also like the idea of doing a word cloud which is not something Iusuaully do but would like to try.

  • Lucy Schmidt
    September 20, 2014 10:06 pm

    I’ve never used a Wacom tablet, but it sounds very freeing. The hard part for me is just to start. I enjoyed watching your process, from sketches to finished product. I wonder if I can get MY sister to collaborate on some things with me. You’ve got a good thing going.

    September 21, 2014 1:25 am

    LOVE YOUR DESIGNS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Kendra B
    September 22, 2014 10:41 pm

    i like the idea of finding inspiration on the internet. the doodling and writing are the two things i struggle with most. great ideas.

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