For the last three years, London-based graphic designer and illustrator Iancu Barbărasă has created an ink drawing of flowers for his loving partner every single day. And in his latest video, each illustration has been compiled into a charming time-lapse animation.
An apple a day is supposed to keep the doctor away, but it looks like a flower a day is the key to a successful relationship. At least that is how it seems, thanks to Iancu's latest project, which saw the Brand Union and WeTransfer artist draw over 500 beautiful flowers for his lucky girlfriend.
Drawn with brush pens and pipettes, these colourful line-based illustrations portray both the joy of being in a relationship and the importance of daily commitment that goes into making them work. And because music is integral to Iancu's creative approach, the video has been timed to match Chopin's Minute Waltz.
The video is an evolution of a drawing routine Iancu developed during the first lockdown in 2020. "It was a nice way for both of us to start the day with a smile during difficult times," he explains. "The lockdowns eventually ended, but the habit of drawing flowers has stuck. After three years, there were close to 1000 flowers. Series I, drawn with brush pens, and Series II, drawn with ink pipettes."
Iancu is no stranger to turning small, everyday subjects into more meaningful videos. His previous short film was centred around his cycling caps collection. But that didn't mean that making a time-lapse out of the many drawings he had accumulated was a straightforward process.
"For a while, I wasn't sure how to put everything together," he reveals. "Months passed as I kept writing down various ideas and references. Music turned out to be the key. At some point, I realised that the flowers would work well synchronised with a classical music piece."
Cue the next part of the decision-making process. Iancu spent weeks obsessively listening to everyone from Bach to Vivaldi, Rossini to Gershwin before settling on Chopin. "I wanted something short, fast-paced, light and happy, familiar to people if possible," he says. "Eventually, Mozart and Chopin felt closest to what I wanted, with Chopin's joyful simplicity winning over Mozart's playful exuberance."
Commonly known as the Minute Waltz, the music in the video is Chopin's Waltz in D-flat major, Op. 64, No. 1. Written in 1847, the popular tune has already been featured in other animations, with the 1955 Bugs Bunny cartoon Hyde and Hare being a notable example.
As for the film's title, this was based on a drawing that Iancu did for his brother when he got married a couple of years ago. Meanwhile, the message at the end – "grand gestures are nice, but it's the everyday actions that count" – is one of Iancu's core beliefs which he borrowed from Philippa Perry's book The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read (and Your Children Will Be Glad That You Did).
If you discount the time it took to create the daily drawings themselves, A Flower a Day took a couple of weeks to create. This process involved scanning in and retouching the flowers, drawing the lettering for the titles and end captions, and spending a week and a half nailing down the storyboard in Adobe InDesign. The whole project was then edited in Adobe Premiere.
Inspired in part by the 10,000 postcards textile designer Katsuji Wakisaka drew for his wife, Alan Fletcher's Wild Flowers series, and the end credits in Hayao Miyazaki's masterpiece My Neighbour Totoro, A Flower a Day is a heart-warming testament to all the little things that keep a relationship ticking along. And if you'd like to grab these beautiful illustrations yourself, a veritable bouquet of them is available as prints in Iancu's shop.