Artists use Dropbox Paper + Adobe to capture what it’s like to be in a flow state

The artists' final pieces on the show floor at Adobe MAX
The artists’ final pieces on the show floor at Adobe MAX

How do you feel when you’re in flow, that blissful state of losing yourself in your work? We asked three Los Angeles-area artists to capture this feeling in an illustration or photo. Each used Adobe software to create their ideas, then turned to Dropbox Paper—a real-time workspace for bringing creation and coordination together—to collaborate on their concepts using the Dropbox-Adobe integration. The finished pieces were displayed at Adobe MAX. Here’s how each artist’s concept evolved, including the final products.

Justin Fantl—An aerial concept of flow

Sometimes the world appears the most fluid from high up in the sky. Justin began with a series of aerial images, each capturing the flowing nature of the world below, whether in the form of people, buildings, sports, or agricultural topography. He started with a mood board of nine different ideas.

Justin’s early concepts in Paper
Justin’s early concepts in Paper

Justin went on to explore a few more concepts, including more urban settings, people on a beach, and a few shots more explicitly focused on planes and pilots. In conversation with the Dropbox design team, he found himself drawn to the more nature-based expressions of flow.

“Dropbox Paper was the perfect vehicle for pulling this project together. I was able to present imagery in a cohesive way. I could make my own notes and get great feedback from the team on specific images as well as the entire grouping of images. This enabled me to bring images back in Adobe Photoshop to and make the right edits. I will definitely be using Dropbox Paper on future projects!” – Justin Fantl

For his final piece, Justin returned to one of his original ideas: an overhead view of Owens Lake, accented by a splash of burnt orange (a muddy brine within the dry lake). The photo has a mesmerizing quality, where viewers can lose themselves in the wavy layers of troughs cut into the earth far below.

Justin’s finished piece
Justin’s finished piece

See Justin’s Instagram:

Claire Hungerford—Flow in composition

What better way to capture flow than in the classic act of composition—letters, fonts, and writing, all with a pen in your hand? Claire began by simply writing down her intentions on a colorful notepad. Her initial idea? To create a brand new font “inspired by the early pen-to-paper stages of my design work.”

Claire collaborating in Dropbox Paper
Claire collaborating in Dropbox Paper

“I spend about 6 hours of my day in the Adobe suite. Any program or product that helps to increase communication with a client really improves my design process. Dropbox Paper really helped to crack open the brainstorming and sketching process, ensuring that we were all on the same page. It was like an insurance policy against going down the wrong road.” -Claire Hungerford

After creating her new font, she was mostly satisfied with her progress, but she found she wanted her final piece to be “more colorful and psychedelic.”

Claire’s notes in Paper, midway through her creative process
Claire’s notes in Paper, midway through her creative process

In order to truly capture a sense of flow, she illustrated her pen-to-paper concept in the form of a hand holding a pen, “with the ink flowing into a garden.” The final piece shows a rich bouquet flowing from a single pen—an image that captures the intricacies of creative design with the seeming effortlessness of being in flow.

Claire's final piece
Claire’s final piece

See Claire’s Instagram:

Daniel Savage – Flow as connection with others

For Daniel, flow often comes in the chaotic sea of a large social event, where hundreds of people move around, interact, and make connections in the midst of a busy conference like Adobe MAX. He started by illustrating a series of geometric figures, with an emphasis on the diversity of the people involved.

Daniel’s early questions and commentary in Paper
Daniel’s early questions and commentary in Paper

He went on to add color and a bit more symmetry, an update that began to draw out that sense of social fluidity and connection.

Daniel working in Dropbox Paper
Daniel working in Dropbox Paper

Throughout the process, he found Paper’s real-time collaboration essential for getting the feedback and reactions he needed.

“It was a nice way to collaborate with a remote team in real time. Keeps everything from the brief to the feedback in one organized place.” -Daniel Savage

His final design adds more individuality to the faces, while maintaining a strong splash of reds and pinks for added emphasis.

Daniel's final piece
Daniel’s final piece

See Daniel’s Instagram:

For Justin, Claire, and Daniel, flow came in different forms, from the aerial farmland to the act of composition to the organized chaos of a conference. How would you describe your sense of flow? Which concept resonates most for you?

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