Welp, got another few designs to catch up on! Happy July!
Furthest back, the theme was something based on the Shakespeare play "A Midsummer Night's Dream," which additionally had to use only these colors:
Color by COLOURlovers
I unfortunately got sick on the days leading up to the deadline, so I had to keep my entry simple. I focused on a few key motifs: the flower that cast the spell causing people to fall in love with the first being they saw, Bottom's donkey head, and fairies. (I didn't realize until I read the Wikipedia article on the play that the flower - called "love-in-idleness" is actually explicitly a pansy!) Then it was just a matter of putting those in the classic "scattered grid" layout. The background is actually polka dots, of the yellow shade on the gray background.
This came in 95 out of 160 with 92 votes. Pansies, fairies, and donkey heads, unsurprisingly, all turned up in many other entries. My favorite fairy-centric design was the repeat of wings followed by the dancers; for pansies this one (which came in second), though this airier one (that came in eighth) is my next favorite. There were also a few general floral entries that were less literally specific to the play but (obviously) used the color scheme, including this one which was my favorite entry overall (and came in ninth), this doodley one, the midcentury style flowers, and the leaves. There were also some more ambitious designs that showed toile-like vignettes from the play, like this very lush illustration (that came in third), these two more modern takes (which came in first and fifth), and this one that looks like it should be the endpapers for a deluxe printed edition.
In other news, when browsing around for inspiration, I found this handdrawn logo that I really like - except the name of the play is misspelled! Oh well.
Next up - citrus! One of my favorite beverages is Earl Grey tea, which is flavored using the essence of Bergamot oranges. So I went with that. Fun fact - the tea glasses I drew in this design are the ones once used by Captain Picard to drink that very beverage. (Which I myself am drinking as a type this - yes, I drink hot tea even in the summer heat, why do you ask?)
This came in 302 out of 403 with 34 votes. I liked the crumpled paper design, the one that looked like it was made with potato stamps, and one that reminded me of a vintage orange label. This one with cartoony oranges also stood out since it had a more subdued palette. Plus I liked this Escher-like lime rind.
The last one to catch up on was the picnic theme. I had a hard time coming up with an interesting idea for this one. I didn't want to do any kind of overhead picnic landscape, since I've noticed that the majority of my designs feature green - so no grass or trees this time! Finally I thought of the reverse - a sky above a picnic, with clouds in suggestive shapes.
This came in 199 out of 260 with 33 votes. I really want to redo this one day using 3D renderings and more subtle lighting/shading to really make it look like photo-realistic clouds. Gingham was a popular theme, and my two favorites were the dishes/flatware and the strawberries. I liked the design featuring clover. As for those overhead/landscape type designs of picnic scenes, my favorites were the dancing fruit and the bear and deer eating together.