We recently partnered with Bounty to support emerging artists and designers in a national design competition. The ask? Design a graphic for a new Brit + Co and Bounty Paper Towel collection themed A Clean Fresh Start, which launches this month. In this creator spotlight series, we are featuring the winners of that competition to learn more about their inspirations, their design process, and their winning Bounty design. Read on to meet…
Rachel Mercier | Rachel Mercier Art | @rachelmercierart | Brooklyn, NY
What are your design inspirations? I’m a native Californian but have lived in Boston and New York City my adult life so my inspirations range from the flora, ocean, and mountains in California, to the architecture and stoop gardens in Brooklyn. I also love travel and admiring the work of other artists, both serve as important and necessary sources of inspiration.
To me, inspiration is a feeling. It feels like a spark, something exciting and completely absorbing that makes me stop in my tracks to pay attention and be in the moment. I often find inspiration at unexpected moments. Sometimes it’s the beautiful pattern when I look up at a tree, or a particularly amazing leaf on one of those large Coleus plants, the purple, and orange ombre effect just as the sun is setting, or some amazing coloring book page one of my kiddos worked on.
Tell us about your design process: what’s the first thing you do, the second… the last; what kind of tools and platforms help you be your most creative self? I often have a running list of paintings or patterns I want to make. This list comes from those inspired moments that I kick around in my mind and body until they make sense to create. If I keep thinking about it, it’s gotta be made!
I create a mood board that may include images that I find especially inspiring – photos I’ve taken, textile patterns, and color palettes that spark me. Next, I sketch! Sketching is my favorite part of the process. I love drawing and it gets me out of my head and allows the creativity to flow. Next, I typically will either hand-paint the design on top of my sketch in gouache or watercolor or sometimes will bring a sketch into Procreate on my iPad to trace or refine. If I paint something by hand, I will scan it and bring it into Photoshop or Illustrator to digitize the design.
I took a number of art classes throughout high school and college but have filled in many gaps by taking Skillshare classes. I find Procreate, Illustrator, and Photoshop completely life-changing for digitizing my art and creating patterns. I am so grateful for online learning!
Rachel’s mood board for her winning Bounty design
How did you get into illustration? I have always loved drawing and making things since I was a kiddo. My mom spent a lot of time sketching and crafting (sewing, in particular) and I loved watching her process unfold. She often included me in her process, like picking out fabrics and patterns at the fabric store, and I think this gave me a lot of inspiration and confidence to do it myself. She gifted my sisters and me so many wonderful children’s books. The children’s illustrator, Chris Van Allsburg, was a family favorite and I was always so curious how someone could draw so realistically.
Art and making things were a constant part of my childhood and chasing my curiosity was always supported. I’ve lived many professional lives – as a city planner, designing and producing weddings, supporting small businesses at Etsy, and working at a furniture rental startup. I’m drawn to creating liveable, beautiful spaces whether it’s a city street, event, or home. Patterns in textiles jump out at me so I’m always inspecting how they’re made and appreciating their illustrative quality. I don’t think I’ll ever be tired of learning about design or new ways of making things.
What are three IG accounts you love?
@Chaninicholas – I celebrate the moon, stars, and cosmos! Her astrology is grounded and funny and I love her collage-style artwork.
@lamusadelasflores – Gabriela features the most mind-blowingly beautiful flowers and color palettes. Everything she posts is magic.
@whatisnewyork – I live in New York and I love it. The hilarious, everyday things that happen in New York are so accurately captured in this account. It’s a little insidery, but I think all New Yorkers feel a bond over this account.
How do you know when a piece of art, including your Bounty Paper Towel design, is “finished”? Ahhhh the age-old question of when to stop. I heard a quote that resonated with me: “A painting is never finished – it simply stops in interesting places” [by artist Paul Gardner].
The truth is you could go on and on refining and improving your art but, in my opinion, that can kill the joy of the process and oftentimes the art itself. So I try to stop when the work feels interesting — whether it’s interesting layers, marks, or arrangements. People can feel the energy of your work so it’s important to preserve that through your process and not overdo it!What will it be like for you to see your design on a Bounty paper towel at your local store?
What will it be like for you to see your design on a Bounty Paper Towel at your local store? This is my first project to be on a shelf so this will feel like a real professional milestone. The process of working with Bounty on the designs was the real GOLD for me, and I imagine seeing the paper towels in person will serve as a reminder of how much I love the work.
Be sure to look out for Rachel’s winning design wherever Bounty Paper Towels are sold!