Gina & Be Genki

New Zealand based Illustrator Gina Kiel shares insight into creating a fabric mural for a happy, healthy and harmonious self-care brand.

I really love the Be Genki brand philosophy, the natural, organic products and their dedication to the overall wellbeing of their customers. This was one of those projects that you know is going to be a delight to work on from the beginning. I was sent a huge box filled with all their delicious products, so I started off the project by lighting the candles and then sketching up ideas while the candles were burning, just getting a sense of the different aromas, and referencing the packaging and branding colours up close.

I think the biggest challenge was incorporating solid black areas into the illustration to be free for writing, and fitting the whole design into a space that would have a counter and various points of sale in front of it. The image was created digitally to blow up to about a 6 x 3 metre mural, to be printed on fabric and hang as a backdrop, something that can be rolled up and easily moved from location to location. I think I live in the right side of my brain most of the time, so switching to something mathematical takes some focus. The measurements changed at one point, so I needed to adjust the composition to fit in a different dimension, but it all worked out well, and meant I could to add the tree on the right hand side. 

While the mural illustration was nature based, I also wanted to make it a bit different and fresh by using bright colour combinations to go with the brand colours, something modern and graphic, but also soft, flowing and dreamy. I was inspired by childhood because that is where I remember feeling the most wonder. Being surrounded by nature that was so grand and so much bigger than me inspired creativity and imagination, creating whole worlds within a flower garden. My mum is a wonderful gardener and my dad was a landscape designer, stonemason. We lived on the edge of a big forest when I was young, which had all kinds of enchanted things to be explored, like old overgrown bird aviaries and a huge rope swing out over a cliff.

I'd love to have been able to see the fabric mural in the flesh. But that's the nature of working on projects that are to be on display in another country, I'm overdue for a visit though! I got really lovely feedback, the clients were so happy. Other than the fulfilment of working professionally doing what you love, a happy client is most definitely the best part of the project!


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