This month’s botanical cover is the work of illustrator and pattern designer Bella Gomez. “I’ve always loved nature,” she says, “and the ability to use it to explore colour and form… it’s a world of inspiration to me. I love that flowers and leaves can be abstract or symmetrical, quite crazy or just simple. There’s so much opportunity in drawing from nature.”
The flowers and leaves are hand painted - Bella’s preferred medium - in gouache and watercolour. She says, “I love the texture that’s brought with paint, and the looseness. Some work calls for a design to be done digitally, but for me that doesn’t seem as free. I like the happy accidents that happen while you’re painting.” The elements are then digitalised, so that they can be applied to all kinds of surfaces, “from fabrics to books to buildings”.
One such building was the Hotel Figueroa in LA, for which Bella was commissioned to design a mural to cover a twelve-storey façade. “The building was originally a women’s hostelry,” she says, “and they commissioned women artists to decorate the place. It’s quite a different beast, getting your head around something on that scale, and imagining how your work translates onto that sort of surface.”
Going from one very large project to one on a much smaller scale, Bella recently finished working on her first children’s book. 5 Wild Numbers is an interactive board book with sliding circular discs which teach children how to trace out the numbers. Bella was commissioned by local publisher Quarto to illustrate the book: “at first it was going to be very 50s and simple, but before long I brought my style to it and it was patterned and decorative and very expressive! I created different scenes for each of the five pages, with different animals hidden within the patterns. It’s a very tactile and innovative book.” 5 Wild Numbers is stocked locally by Waterstones and Bags of Books.
“What I love about my work is what it can bring to people, be it in a space, or in a product. As an illustrator you have the opportunity to inspire, to create somewhere for the eye to rest or to wander, to be narrative or evocative. There’s so much opportunity to interact and have an impact on somebody’s moment.”
See more of Bella’s work at bella-gomez.com