Succulents – Cacti | Vector Paths

I am a lover of plants. I love every type of plant there is because every type is so unique and beautiful in their own way. Two types of plants that I fine especially unique are cacti and succulents. Every single ones never ceases to blow my mind a little bit. After brainstorming different ideas for my icon set, I thought why not incorporate something I love, so, naturally, I found my inspiration in the cactus and succulent sitting on my desk at home.

The Process

Before going to illustrator, I went to my sketch book and drew out some ideas.

These were some of my first sketches. I initially had a pretty good idea of how I wanted my icons to look. I wanted them to be simple, but I still wanted there to be a good amount of detail. After getting some feedback from my peers, I decided I should try and mix it up a little bit.


I thought I would try and sketch some different Ideas for the pots. I wanted my icons to be different and fun. Although they looked a little funky in my sketches I thought I would try and give it a shot in illustrator. 

This was my first rough draft in Illustrator. Let me start off by saying, when I first went into it I was expecting that designing in illustrator would be as easy as getting a pen and paper and drawing up a sketch real quick. Boy, was I wrong. However, that didn’t stop me. It’s a learning process and I liked that challenge! 

My first rough draft was a mi of my first sketches and my second sketches. I had an idea oh what I wanted the plants to look like, but the pots were stumping me. I tried making the green in the plants be the factor that brought all repetition and uniformity. However, the pots were too distracting. After trying a few different things and receiving more feedback from my peers, I knew I had taken it the wrong direction and I was going against my objective. My objective was to show off the uniqueness of the plants, not the pot. So I went back to my original sketches. 

This is what I came up with next. This felt so much better. I was able to focus more on the plants, which was the goal. This was progress! But, it still wan’t there yet. I turned to examples on the internet from other graphic designers. I wanted to see what made their designs so polished. I knew I needed to keep the pots simple, but they needed dimension.

I wanted to add shadows and highlights to the pots so that they would have dimensions as well as the plants. I didn’t want them to look as flat as me previous draft. Even though I added shadows and then some highlights, it didn’t feel natural, it felt like it was fighting against my eyes. I went back to my peers and sought out advice from my professor. Together, we discovered that my shadow and highlight were going in the wrong direction. The shadows from the plants were on the bottom left and if the sun was shining from the top right. My pots has shadows as id the sun was shining from the bottom right. So I went back to the drawing board. 

This is what I came up with. I changed the directions of the shadows, and I added a curve to give the cylinder shape of the pot. I resized some of the pots so that there was still a little bit of variety, but not so much that it was confusing to look at. These felt so much more polished and easy to look at. After many sketches and many drafts, I was finally able to accomplish my goal and objective of focusing the attention on the cacti and succulents and their beauty.

What I learned 

I loved this project. It was challenging and a little frustrating at times, but I learned so much. I learned that I was capable of a lot more than I gave my self credit for. I learned how important it is to take the process step by step and I learned how important criticism is. This project left me feeling excited and wanting to do so much more. I know I have so much to learn, and I am so ready.



Hello! I'm Rebekah Sevy, a student at Brigham Young University - Idaho. I am currently studying Communication with an emphasis in Visual Media. My passion is photography.

Latest posts by rebekahsevy (see all)