Sunday, 30 October 2016

Art Licensing Show - and 'The Monthly Challenge'!


Some of you may know that I'm a member of the Art Licensing Show website from my previous Christmas blog post. This is a great site where artists / designers pay a fee to host their portfolios in a completely private way. (We have to be soooo careful about posting too much publicly online as things sadly do get stolen). Art directors can sign up for free and I can then connect and share my work with any company that I feel might be a good fit for my brand. I love the fact that I have complete control over who can view my work. My portfolio is obviously also hosted by my agents, Jewel Branding, but this is an excellent additional way to strike up new art licensing relationships. The above image shows my thumbnail from the site and is all images from my 'Tea Party' collection. If you haven't discovered Art Licensing Show yet you can find out more about how it works here.

Another great aspect of the site is the other artist connections I've made. Everyone is so friendly and it's a lovely supportive community where many ideas are shared. There are a number of groups on the site where we can discuss anything from industry news and trend prediction to tabletop and greetings cards, but one of my favourites is the 'ALSC monthly art challenge.' As the name suggests most months we are given a brief to help us build our portfolios. For example, in June we were tasked with creating a new typography piece based on our favourite quotes. I chose to add to my 'Well Hello There!' art licensing collection with a new piece, 'Live Life In Full Bloom'. I love the idea of living life to the full, but also this quote meant I got to doodle some flowers, which I always enjoy! :-)


The challenge in August was to design a bookmark with a coastal theme. I absolutely love beach huts, so this was my summery entry... (I found it surprisingly difficult to illustrate within such a small space!)



Sometimes there is an added competition element where designs are judged by art directors on the site. This month's challenge is especially for surface pattern designers and will be judged by the amazing people at Robert Kaufman fabrics. I would absolutely love to license my designs onto fabric at some point in the future so the opportunity to get work in front of these very influential art directors is a must! The brief is to design something with a Valentine's theme, so I am entering some of the very girly pieces from my new range 'Something Special'. It doesn't have a traditional Valentine's colour pallet, but I hope it is suitably soft and romantic for an alternative Valentine feel. Fingers crossed they like it!


Talking of fabric, my agents have been very busy this weekend at Quilt Market in Houston showing all of my new and existing art licensing collections to potential licensing partners. I've been really busy over the last few months creating lots of lovely new designs for this, but that are also suitable for licensing across many other types of product. If you missed the show, but would like to view my portfolio please contact beth@jewelbranding.com  

Sunday, 9 October 2016

My Design Process - 'Something Special'


As a designer I often get asked how I create my images and if I draw everything by hand. I thought it might be fun to answer these questions in this blog post to give you a quick overview of the process of how I work to create my designs. 

At the moment I'm working on a new range of greetings cards, which is something a bit different for me... but the process for each design is similar to how I work for creating all surface pattern designs or placement graphics for products. The starting point is always an idea. Sometimes this comes in the form of a client brief and sometimes it's the spark of an idea in my head. For these greetings cards I decided I wanted to create a range of cards based on my existing typography range, 'Well Hello There!', but with sentiments that were more focussed on the greetings card market. Often at this stage I create an ideas board, but because the look of the new range is to follow existing designs I simply reviewed the existing work as shown above and researched the greetings market. After making a list of possible different sentiments to include in my new range I set to work in my sketchbook...


So do I draw everything by hand? - The answer is yes! Every design I create starts out as a doodle or a sketch. Normally I will roughly mark designs out in pencil working out the layout / composition... I like to have fun with typography letting my imagination run wild to draw whatever letter shapes pop into my head. I also love geometrics and these often creep into my compositions!


Then once I am happy I outline everything using my trusty fineliner pens! I like to create wonky lines as I feel these give my designs texture and character, so I use a very fine nib, but go back over the lines several times before block filling large areas with a Sharpie and adding any extra detail the design requires. 


At this stage I transfer the design from my sketchbook to my computer to work it up into final artwork. Once in Adobe Illustrator I use the 'Live Trace' function, which converts my drawing into a fully scalable vector file, which is ideal for factories to work from because it can be easily re-sized to fit any product without losing any of my original detail, or the warm appeal of my original hand drawn image. It is also an ideal format for me to add colour. 


I can quickly and easily try out different colour pallets until I find the one that best suits my design. I love to use bright and vibrant colour combinations that really make my designs stand out! For this range I decided to use the same pallet as 'Well Hello There!', but I have mixed the colours together differently within each piece to create a range that has a real colour pop!
When I have chosen a colour pallet I am happy with I can set to work colouring each element of the design individually. 


This is also a perfect time to add in extra textures. I love to create a slight distressed look to my artwork and often use a textured background grid as part of my signature style. This stage takes time and patience, but because I use pantone colours it means that my finished artwork not only looks fun and appealing, but all my designs are factory ready, which makes things much easier for manufacturers when it comes to using my designs across different products for production.

When I am happy that the design is ready, my final stage is to create a mock-up visual in Adobe Photoshop of how the design will look as a product ready for presentation. 

This card celebrates moving house and is part of my brand new range called 'Something Special'. 

If you are an art director / manufacturer who would like to review my portfolio please contact my agents, Jewel Branding & Licensing for further information. 
(Beth Franklin - beth@jewelbranding.com)