For me, designing a new print or range is a long process. I come from a design background where speed is key & repurposing old designs is the norm. I really missed working on original designs, which is one of the reasons why I started my own business.
For the most part, I always start with a hand drawing or painting. I definitely don’t have a natural flare for sketching, but I find it helpful to get some ideas down on paper that can be refined later. Depending on the design, there might be some painting, dying, or something messy involved - l love experimenting with colour, but unfortunately I’m pretty clumsy, so it tends to go everywhere. For the Nomadic print, I was working with a simple colour scheme, so I just did some initial sketches.
The next stage is digitising the print, in this case I used Adobe Illustration to start. After scanning in my sketches, I start to fix some of the imperfections in my hand drawings - I don't fix them all though, because I love to show a bit of the handmade quality in the artwork. This is the part where I wish I wasn’t a perfectionist. Despite a decade of experience with illustrator, it’s easy to get caught up looking at every tiny detail zoomed in at 500% and spending hours on something that no-one will ever see!
Once the shapes are complete, I start putting them into a repeat pattern. A repeat pattern means that you can basically print the design to infinity, without any lines or marks in the design - it lines up seamlessly. I think this is something that can take a lot of designers hours to work on and a lot seem to stick to ‘placement prints’ (where there’s no need to do a repeat). But, after years of practice and learning a few tricks, the repeat comes together naturally. I play around with lots of different options for colour, scale, layout & have fun putting the design together. In the end I never seem to be able to choose a favourite, so I generally offer a few options.
When the print repeat is done, I then start using it on some products. If you follow me on instagram you might have seen some of the new items in the shop. I’d chosen a pared back colour scheme for the Nomadic range, but I know a lot of people like punchier colours, so I added some other options & offer custom colours free of charge, ideal for those looking to keep their stationary & decorations within the same theme.