03 Oct My Illustration process
I though I’d let you in on how I draw, where I draw my inspiration from and the different stages of the process.
It is truly possible to find inspiration everywhere. Recently I found inspiration from a textile pattern of suns on a mid century child’s shirt, combined with a raggedy golden cushion with frayed edges, hanging from a washing line. Spotting these two things sent me off on an afternoon of drawing suns with faces.
I find other illustrators inspiring, I keep a collection of books at my desk and when I have an idea in mind, I pull certain books out that I know will help spark ideas and lead me into the world I want to be inhabiting with my drawings.
I find patterns in nature endlessly inspiring, the shapes, repetitions, the textures and the flowing or jaggedy lines. As my grandmother always told me, nature is the greatest designer (I’m sure someone famous said that, but in my mind it was my grandmother).
I find our home and kitchen inspiring. I am happiest when sat at the kitchen table sketching bottles of olive oil, old ceramic pots holding wilted flowers and half eaten apples.
Also pinterest! What a gorgeous tool that is. A visual encyclopedia at your fingertips.
I start off drawing with pencil and paper, and depending on whether it is my own work, or a commercial commission, I will move onto ink and nibs or I will scan in the pencil drawing and work digitally.
If I am working with ink and nibs, I’ll clean the nib that I should have cleaned after using it last time and set about tracing the pencil drawing without getting too many ink splodges (just the right amount). If I’m feeling colourful I’ll pull out all the colourful ink pots in a row and play around with mixing different shades on an enamel dish. I find this incredibly soothing and visually sumptuous.
The Digital Process:
Once the pencil, ink and paint process is complete I scan the drawing into the computer and then airdrop it to my million year old ipad and start working with the Procreate app and apple pencil. I may use this part of the process to reframe the drawing, tidy up some areas, add colour or in the case of commercial work I will work entirely on here after sketching it in pencil, as this way is easier for making any adjustments requested by the client.
Once the design is finished, it’s time to make it print ready (in the case of cards and prints) or prepare the required digital files for a client’s commission. This is the fiddly bit which always takes a bit of rejigging and patience.
I invested in a printer last year, which I am so happy about as it’s given me the freedom to experiment with designs, as it’s often not until I see it on the paper that I know if it works or not. This way, I can also control the paper I choose to print on, the print settings and I can print cards and prints on demand instead of having stock sitting around that can get damaged.
So, now you know, when you buy a card or a print or I create an illustration for your business, this is more or less the process! I love it.