Sucker for Succulents | Vector Paths

At some point in the last few years I have grown to love plants. They’re almost like puppies but you only have to water them every few days and they don’t make messes. (Granted they’re not as cute and lovable as puppies.) For this icon set I decided to show the many varieties of cacti and succulents while still maintaining a cohesive look and feel. 

Step 1: Sketches + Research


Before I even started sketching, I starting looking at all of the succulents and cacti I could find in my apartment. I tried to figure out what made them different from other plants and how they were shaped. I also spent a significant amount of time on Pinterest (because we all know that Pinterest is covered in succulent pictures) and tried to study the images that I found there.

I went through quite a few different ideas with these succulents. I wasn’t sure what I wanted the pots to look like, what angle I wanted them to come from, or even which varieties I wanted to work with. I wasn’t sure if I wanted them to be realistic, cartoony, flat, shaded, etc. 

Step 2: Rough Draft

I eventually decided that I wanted them to be from the side so that you could tell that they were in flower pots and not just inside of a circle. I then took my sketches to Illustrator and went to work. 

These draft icons were based off of sketches number 1, 16, 33, 17, and the two lower ink sketches. I tried to stick to simple, geometric shapes for the most part. I tried to make sure that my leaves were shaded and had some dimension to them so that I didn’t just have green blobs on top of flower ports. I started with this sort of half-and-half type shading because I thought it would add some sort of stylistic spin on it. With the help of my professor and classmates, I realized that this was probably not the best option because there was light coming from two sources and was kind of confusing. 

Step 3: Back To The Drawing Board

Unfortunately, I didn’t feel that any of my other sketches provided enough variety to create six more icons, so I went back to the drawing board and came up with some new ideas. I also consulted a few more pictures which provided a lot of help!

I then took these ideas and went back into illustrator. I fixed a few things from the first draft, added some dimension to the icons, and ended up with the final twelve.

I won’t lie, this project was a challenge. It challenged me to be creative and think of more ideas than I thought I could, and also challenged me to push myself. Usually I’ll reach a point where I think something is “good enough” and will stop there, but I pushed myself and tried to make them even better than “good enough.” It took a long time, but I am happy with the final outcome and learned a lot!



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Lover of of beautiful faces and well-designed spaces. Freelance artist and graphic designer.

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