In winter 2020, we held a public contest to choose artwork to be printed on a new chapter t-shirt. The winning artwork is a stunning digital creation by Rachelle Boyd - a hand-lettered design with some of the artist’s favorite native plants forming a wreath. Rachelle selected plants that she enjoys spotting on her many hikes in the San Gabriel Mountains.
Rachelle is an illustrator, fine artist, and outdoor adventurer, based out of Southern California. She graduated with a BFA in Illustration, Summa Cum Laude, from Syracuse University. By day she is a senior designer at Clementine Paper in Los Angeles, producing stationary and home decor for national retailers. In her spare time, she can be found hiking and rock climbing in our local mountains. In addition to her design work, Rachelle has exhibited landscape paintings in galleries throughout California and is a member of the California Art Club and the Laguna Plein Air Painters Association.
We interviewed her about her love for native plants, what inspired her design, her creative process, and what she is working on now.
Q: What is your relationship with California native plants?
A: I was born and raised in Southern California, and have always had a great love of the outdoors. I spend as much time as I can hiking and climbing around the Sierras and our local mountains. Over time, I became interested in identifying plants and birds when out on the trail. It's become a hobby in its own right, and I never leave home without a guidebook or iNaturalist open. On the weekends when I have no plans for adventure, I turn to gardening for that connection with the outdoors. Five years ago, I designed and converted the front lawn of my parents home in Orange County into a native garden. The small manzanita we planted is now taller than me!
Q: What was your inspiration for the t-shirt design?
A: I wanted to select plants that I frequently encounter out on my hikes in the San Gabriels. Plants like toyon and manzanita are so emblematic of California, and are often the first plants we learn to identify. In the case of the mariposa lily, it is a rare joy to spot one in early summer. Hopefully, I selected a few favorites.
Q: Can you tell us about your process in creating the design?
A: I made a small sketch on paper of the rough design, then gathered images of the plants I wanted to include. I knew I wanted the design to focus on the hand lettering, with a wreath of native plants surrounding it. I worked mostly in Photoshop, drawing the lettering first, then adding the outline of the plants. Once I was happy with the layout, I used Illustrator to clean up the type.
Q: Do you have any upcoming shows or projects you would like to share?
A: I am currently working on a project featuring native milkweed to raise awareness for monarch butterfly conservation. I hope to do more design work in the future to support environmental causes.
You can see more of Rachelle’s artwork and outdoor adventures on her Instagram: @rachelleboydart