In this series, we take an opportunity to spotlight great designers from around the world. Each month, Designer Passport brings you new art by a graphic artist we love (created from Shutterstock assets, of course), along with a step-by-step guide on how you can create it (or something equally awesome) yourself.

Italian artist Jonathan Calugi uses his self-proclaimed chaotic workspace to create clean illustrations and patterns. Each piece is a take on his quirky, child-like doodles, with simple colors and sharp, minimal lines.

Follow the steps below to create Jonathan’s colorful Designer Passport project:

STEP 1

First, sketch a few ideas about the subjects of your poster. These can be really rough, and they don’t have to be perfect or exact. You just want to put it all down on paper. Once you’re done, make a scan of your sketches.

STEP 2

Open Adobe Illustrator and create a new document. Any size will be fine, but you can start from a standard A3 / A4 paper size and then change the artboard if necessary.

After that, import your scan and go to the layers palette. Lock the default layer that contains your image.

STEP 3

Create a new layer and begin to draw vector paths over your illustrations.

For this purpose, I suggest you use standard shapes and the pen tool, but be sure to use shapes with as few points as possible.

STEP 4

Sketch a series of lines on paper. Then try to imagine them as a tangle of plants and continue to draw, adding rough foliage and flowers.

Scan your sketch and import the file to a new A3 / A4 Ai document. Repeat the same steps you did before: Lock the default layer and re-mark all the shapes on a new layer. Don’t worry about making it perfect! You can change the composition of the lines later on. The important thing is to get a file with a path / shape as reference.

For the foliage and flowers, you can either draw them as in I’ve done, or you can download vector set of leaves and flowers on Shutterstock. Open the files in your Ai document and select the elements you would like to use. Choose all the different flowers and foliage you want, then fill the lines you drew with the chosen elements.

You can stop this part whenever you like, adding fewer elements if you want to make something simple or adding more to create a thick “jungle” scene.

STEP 5

Lock all of your work with the foliage and flowers onto one layer, and then create a second layer. On the new layer, create a colored background in the shade of your choice (although I would suggest a light color). Once that’s done, drag the new colored layer under the first layer with your drawings and lock the whole thing.

STEP 6

Now you can start adding your subjects (which were animals in my case).

Start with the bigger ones, to make sure you can find the right spaces for them. Unlock the layer with the plants, and adjust the positions / level depth between subjects and plants. Then add the smaller subjects and do the same.

STEP 7

In order to make your poster look a bit “cooler” (I like vintage style!), find a texture for the project’s final step. Once you’ve downloaded a texture, return to your file, add a new layer, and import the texture. Adjust the placement and then set a transparency, selecting “multiply” to 70%.

Explore more international art and inspiration in our Designer Passport series »