We are beyond excited to announce the first technique in March's Design-A-Day SpoonChallenge: Pencil drawings! Today, Esther Fallon Lau (known by many as nouveau_bohemian in the Spoonflower Marketplace) gives us a closer look at how she incorporates pencil drawings into her design process. Be sure to follow along (on theblog, too!) for the next 15 days as we feature a new Design-A-Day technique, presented to you by one of our many talented Spoonflower Marketplace designers!
Esther: As it’s sometimes said, your weakness can become your greatest strength. When I first discovered the joy of Spoonflower I was forced to hand-draw all my designs in pencil because I had no technical graphic design skills. Now, this hand drawn technique has evolved into the real ‘hero’ of my work. In contrast to digital drawing, the unpolished look of pencil sketches lends a rawer, more organic quality to illustrations. Perhaps it’s the inherent ‘imperfections’ with pencil that allows the viewer a more personal connection with the artist. In an age where handmade and bespoke are having a real resurgence, I have found that ‘hand-drawn’ is a look that customers are really valuing right now.
Ready to get designing? Follow Esther's tips below to help you with today's Design-A-Day kick off challenge!
Build a Pinterest board full of the style of drawing you like. Don’t worry about the content, it is the 'how' that is important. Is it technical, minimalist, folk, naive, or cartoony? If it is an animal, are the legs, arms and head disproportionate or anatomically correct? How is character/personality shown in the eyes? How is texture/pattern/shadow indicated? Now, find a photo (or real life subject) to use as a guide (I don't have ready access to bears in Australia so I used a photo!). Sketch the subject in your style. Don’t get fixated on the perfect line - don’t erase, just use soft lines, make lots of them, experiment. Next, within those lines, ‘seek out’ the best outline with a fine ink pen. I use a Sharpie extra fine point. Now erase the pencil and scan into Photoshop or some other editing program. Blur the image (to smooth out the lines slightly) then sharpen by increasing the contrast (I use Levels). You can add fillers (ex. flowers, leaves, clouds, stars, etc) to create movement, balance and interest. Finally, digitally colour and overlay with texture. Voilà!
Inspired by Esther's tips and tricks for pencil drawings? We want to see! Be sure to tag your designs influenced by today's SpoonChallenge technique with #SFDesignADay!
This method seems very close to what I already do in my own design process, and I was grateful to get into the swing of things with a familiar technique.
I originally found the pattern for the Undercover Maker Mat on Pinterest, and have finally managed to finish sewing my own! It comes from the blog lillyella by Nicole Young and you can see her post and get free pattern HERE. The mat doubles as both a sewing machine cover and a pocket filled organizer to keep all your notions et cetera at hand as you work.
This was a bit of a stash busting project, which required a bit of editing from the pattern. This was almost entirely made up of test swatches which are approximately 8" x 8". The obvious thing to do was try and break each swatch down into blocks of 4" x 4", but since they end up being slightly less than that, I decided to do a bit of fussy cutting to make 2 slightly larger blocks using the unprinted white space to remain attached in the seam allowance.
Here is my rough plan of how to assemble my new pattern. The dimensions changed to 20" x 28" for each side before sewing and seam allowances. It was on…
*Before getting too far into this, let me just go ahead and say that I was asked to create a dream living room post for Arhaus. You can visit their living room section HERE and their Instagram HERE. They aren't compensating me and all of the opinions here are my own.* Most of the images are on THIS Pinterest Board that I used to get my ideas together
So designing a living room is actually quite fun. Since it's a "dream living room" I've decided I'm not looking at prices or worrying about nitpicking a floor plan.
The three major things that I would love is a comfortable couch, a desk to work at, and a huge window seat with built in bookshelves.
So there should be lots of sunlight coming in to fill the room, and high ceilings. I'm imagining on the wall opposite the window a hanging garden set up like this one. The french cleat idea is genius!
For the backdrop for everything, I am thinking a dark blue paint like this for the walls.
Spoonflower Presents The Pointillism Design Challenge We think this week’s theme is spot on! Also referred to as dot art, pointillism is a technique of painting in which small, distinct dots of color are applied in patterns to form an image. Use your favorite medium to create a repeating pointillistic design that will fool the eye.
My entry this week is Fox & Rabbit Watercolor. The pointillism style being the only requirement allowed for a lot of freedom, and I decided to go with an adorable scene with a fox. The sweet little bunny has a black and white spotted pattern to fit in with the theme, and the flowers just complete the look of the whole piece.
I also took a few photos as I was going through the sketching and painting process. So I thought I would share!
I started with a sketch. This one is before I sorted out where all the spots and patches of black would be on the rabbit.
There aren't any pics during the layering because honestly it looked like a mess until the final …