I was finally inspired to blog again and post about my process when I came across printmaker and fabric designer Lizzy House's blog about her story and her new line of fabric called Lizzy Dish. I came across her blog because she was featured on the wonderful print & pattern blog.
So without further ado... my process (with some ramblings in between). I felt it was time for a new design phase and nothing kicks things off like a brand new sketch book. My favorites are the Moleskine sketchbooks. They are a good size and I can fit them in many of my handbags (I usually don't purchase a new purse unless it passes the sketchbook test). I'm not exclusive to the moleskines but they house a majority of my illustrations. Sometimes when I am having trouble finishing off a design just right I will pull out tracing paper or marker paper and start tracing my designs so I can draw new version a little faster.
Another handy dandy thing I cannot leave home without is my circle template. I really like the template that is in the photo above because I can make really big circles with it!!! People think I have magical circle drawing powers but I don't — it's the circle template, baby! I think I have about 5 of them now but one or two are always lost. It's a rotating schedule of unfindable items.
Below is the first illustration in my new sketchbook. This design will probably not become anything but I like the clouds and the flowers streaking out of the clouds design I came up with so that has the possibility of becoming a part of another design.
When I sketch I just like to let ideas flow. Sometimes I have very specific things I am trying to reinterpret but a majority of the time I just draw. This method also means that I really need to draw A LOT because out of 5-10 illustrations I may only have one that I want to develop further or it takes me 10 tries to get the illustration where I want it.
After I have an illustration that I know I want to take to the final design phase I scan my hand drawn illustration into the computer and then I use Adobe Illustrator to redraw it. At the computer stage I am sometimes struck with new inspiration and my design may change slightly or not at all. The best way to redraw in Illustrator is to use a Wacom tablet. Instead of a mouse you use a pen-like tool to control the cursor on screen and it is easier to draw with than a mouse. It is also a great way to avoid carpel tunnel syndrome. The mouse kills my wrist if there is a lot of clicking and cursor-action involved and since I am a designer that's pretty much all I do (especially when I use Photoshop and Illustrator). Below are a couple examples of the hand-drawn illustration (on the left) and the final versions in Illustrator (on the right)
Here's the big question — Why do I redraw things in Illustrator? Couldn't I just scan my original illustrations and use those? The answer to the second question is yes I could do pretty much all my letterpress with just hand drawn images scanned into the computer and outputted properly. The reason I redraw everything in Illustrator is so I will always have my illustrations in a very high quality digital format that I can resize and edit easily. I can also then take multiple illustrations and create new composites and repeating patterns. Sometimes it is also easier to print an old design and trace new concepts over it then look for that original sketchbook. Those randomly get lost as well — they are usually having parties with the lost circle templates. Most designs aren't perfected until the computer phase anyway. It is also a completely perfectionist and time-consuming thing to do and I am very persnickety about design things.
Well there you have it... The ramblings of me! Did it make anything clearer or are you more confused? Next time. Repeating patterns. I have some great links to help clear up this little head scratcher.