One of the many reasons I love buying from small businesses is that I really enjoy seeing the journey of the products I am buying via social media or, in some cases, YouTube. I love getting to know the face behind the product or service I am buying and what brings something from a fleeting idea into fruition.
I watch a few illustrator vlogs on YouTube and feel their pain when they hit a creative blank and celebrate with them when they make something that turns out so well and people love; it is something that I find so lacking in the bigger picture (read 'big cat corporate word' here!). Yes, small businesses have to charge more, yes, sometimes things don't arrive the very next day, but what you do receive is so much better, contains such a lot of thought and love and really makes someones day when you buy it too (and may be the reason they have an extra spoonful of granola on their breakie that morning... only rock 'n' roll celebrations in our house you know!).
Today I would love to share with you my process when it comes to creating a new wedding stationery collection; every creative has their way and this also depends on what equipment you have, but this is my way and I would love to take you through my process so that, if you buy from me, you know exactly what you are paying for! Feel free to ask questions in the comments too!
1. Scribbles on a page
Most of my collections start life as a very small doodle or painting in a sketchbook. Usually I only decide to use something once I have stepped away from it for a few weeks and can go back to it with a fresh set of eyes, mostly because I hate everything I paint immediately after I've painted it (I hear this is common practice!).
2. Working with the idea
Once I have an idea in mind I can usually see it in my mind as a finished piece, so it is just a case of creating all the elements needed to make up the idea. As an example, my soon to be released (next week!) 'Fern' collection, started life as just three separate paintings of ferns that I had done to experiment for a totally different idea, nothing to do with wedding stationery, but as I painted I thought 'these would look so pretty on a collection', so I decided to develop them into something usable!
3. Scanning the artwork
Once I am happy with the final paintings I scan them into Photoshop and edit out the backgrounds and any other small areas that may need it (e.g. if I can see a pencil line that shouldn't be there). I try not to over-edit as I really don't want to lose the integrity of the medium.
4. Playing around with layouts
Once I have an idea in my mind I will always try and recreate it, but often I will find that what existed in my head just won't work when I try to put it into a stationery piece, but I usually end up with something that is similar, and Photoshop is so handy! I tend to duplicate layers so I can play around with transparency and layer orders and save many versions of everything until I am happy. I have also learnt the importance of printing everything out and hanging it up on the wall as a collection to see how it all looks together. That way I can decide what needs tweaking or adding for more impact. I find that once I have designed the save the date, invite and RSVP, everything else pulls together super fast, so it is just a case of getting through the initial designs and then bobs your uncle!
5. Sending to print
As you will probably know by now, I offer highly detailed sample packs, so one of my first jobs when the full collection is designed, is to have my packs printed. My printer is local to me and they are very helpful. I get proofs before everything goes ahead, allowing me to switch up the card stock/finish/texture if needed or make any final adjustments.
All my collections come with three envelope options, two included in the price (white or Kraft) and a matching option (for an small additional cost). Most of my collections have been easy to match to a colour envelope, but my Fern range was slightly tricky! Try and find a green envelope that isn't too 'Christmas' or Kermit the Frog! I got there in the end though and I am super happy with the colour match!
I do all my own product photos and only use my iPhone. However, I do own two light boxes, which make the world of difference to me. I surround my products in large sheets of white paper, point my light boxes on the products and add a few bits and bobs for decoration. Once complete I will tweak the brightness on Photoshop but, again, nothing too drastic as I want you guys to be seeing exactly what the products look like.
After all that is complete I will set everything up on the website and market the new collection on...well, everywhere possible!
There you have it, there is a lot going on behind the scenes of the business with each new collection and, of course, there are many smaller details I haven't included here, but you get the point huh?!
I hope you found that interesting; feel free to ask any questions in the comments! Don't forget to follow along on Instagram too (that is where I hang out the most!).