Saturday 27 February 2010

A peek at my process

There have been some really fascinating posts about "process" in creative blog land recently, with lots of designers sharing how they take a sketch or a doodle and end up with a finished pattern/print/illustration.

It reminded me of this old photo I took a couple of years ago when I was designing my bluetit brooches. Like most of my designs, my birds started out as some very quick sketches on a bit of scrap paper (I've got a whole folder full of odd scraps of paper covered in all kinds of scribblings!)

In this case, I was doodling ideas for how to draw robins for my Christmas range, and the more "realistic" design gave me the idea to try other bird species. With the help of some bird books, I did a rough sketch of a bluetit with colour annotations and rooted around in my felt stash for the matching colours.

I then re-drew the design more neatly and the size I wanted my brooch to be. I'm not that confident at drawing, so it sometimes takes me many, many attempts before I get my drawing looking the way I want it (and some designs never get to that point) but this design came together quite quickly and I got the bluetit looking a) enough like a real bluetit and b) quite cute and fat which is how bluetits are in my head!

Finally I traced over each part of my drawing to create paper patterns for each colour block, used the pattern pieces to cut out the various felt pieces and stitched together a prototype.
There's a huge difference between the simple line drawing and the finished design. One of the best things about working with felt is how quick and easy it is to test out a design - it's quicker and easier for me to cut out the pieces and sew a brooch together to see how it looks than to colour in a drawing to test out how the colours and shapes look.

Sometimes designs I like as a drawing just don't work when they're sewn and other times the colours aren't quite right. It's rare that I make a design that doesn't get a bit of tweaking in its final version, even if it's just a few stitches. In this case I chose a lighter background colour for my finished design.The Bluetit brooch is still one of my favourites and he's been joined by lots of other birdies over the past couple of years :)

Want to read some of the process posts that inspired this one? Check out these posts by Cicada Daydream, Treasuring, Daisy Janie, Jenean Morrison, Stephanie Corfee, Jezze, A Little Hut, Betz White and Tula Pink


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing! One of my favorite knitwear designers, Ysolda Teague, also shares her creative process from time to time and it thrills me! The other day she had a few interesting thoughts on how much to share before the actual design is finished: centering around finding the balance between sharing the process with your fans and the impatience that arises if the period from the sneak preview to the release of the final product is long (or the fans' disappointment if the design doesn't work out in the end). Here it is, if you want to take a look:
Have a great weekend!

Robin Dini Photography said...

This is so cool! Thank you for sharing. After discovering your blog I went out and grabbed a few sheets of felt from the craft store. I want to try and make a few brooches for my mom and sister for their birthdays. It's awesome to see the process behind the design and is quite helpful for this newbie. Awesome stuff!

Unknown said...

He looks great! And I agree with what you said about felt, that's why I love it. :D

Michelle Engel Bencsko said...

So great! I think your sketching is quite good- and what's so nice is that all your items look/feel like they were all done by one hand. Thanks for sharing this! He is a handsome little fella- I don't think we have them here in the US.
I've added your link to my post-

Nellie Mae said...

Very cool, love the sketches and the finished bird!

Anonymous said...

I really love the finished little birdie! He is soo cute :)

I love seeing artists process, I show my process a lot and I think it's really interesting to see how others work too :)
Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this! ^_^
While reading, I was just thinking "It happens exactly the same to me".
I have a folder burning with drawings... but it is hard to get one or two of them to look exactly the way I want them to be on felt.
So they are kept in my to do list for ages.
Your work is impressive ^_^

Anonymous said...

Really nice to see, I like all the different angles of the birdy before you settled for your fave!

Bugs and Fishes said...

Thanks for the comments everyone! It can be a bit nerve wracking sharing the "behind the scenes" stuff as well as just the polished & finished things I think are shop-worthy :)

fridica - thanks for the link to Ysolda's blog post, very interesting stuff! I have to admit to being really bad at that sort of thing, I'm forever writing about things I'm making and then neglecting them for months...

Robin - I hope your brooch making goes well!

jayne said...

love the little chap xxx We have a challenge this week themed add a bird !!!!
come and show us your creation on our craft blog the fiskarettes would love to see x

Flora said...

Thanks for showing this - I've found these creative processes really inspiring and at the same time heartening. My designs always start off on odd scraps of paper and I always think, well honestly Flora, this isn't the way the PROPER artists do it. But they do! Funnily enough, I often find the very first scribble I do has the most character and life.

Em said...

What I love about blogging is you get to see lots of very clever people making wonderful things.
Your blog has just inspired me to make something for a blog swap.
Thanks Em x

Maria Flor AtĂȘlier said...

Perfect! kiss
AlĂȘ from Brazil