Here's an initial palette, moodboard or visual brainstorm for Halloween project I'm working on. I really enjoy this style that I discovered when I was making The French Collection , combining ink, hand lettering and watercolours. It feels so carefree and expressive.
Here's my next theme, jelly! Or jello (jelly-O) as it's called in the U.S. Spontaneously, I come to think of bright, fruity colours, transparency, wobbliness, and glossy shine. When I encounter a new topic I like to start off by doing some research. So let's see what I discovered.
The History of Jelly and Gelatin
As it turns out, gelatin has been used for cooking since the 1400s. In the Victorian era gelatin was popularised with spectacular and complex "jelly moulds". Gelatin desserts were still served only in the households of Royalty and the elite. Until the mid-nineteenth century, making gelatin was a laborious and expensive task. In the early 1900s, with the event of powdered gelatin, it became easy and cheap to make jelly.
With such an interesting story behind jelly, and so many impressive copper moulds, it's easy to get lost when you're preparing for your illustration. There are always several ways to go with a subject matter, more literally and more imaginatively. Both directions can appeal to me!
Going With Your Instinct
My first thought though, was to capture those shapes! Perfect shapes, yet wobbly and broken in bits. I thought vectors would be a great technique, so despite all of my research, I turned to the more modern vector style.
Creating Vector Sketches
I love working with vectors. It's all about finding the shapes and forms. Reducing the subject matter to its essence. But the clean shapes can feel like they lack some personality and that's why I like to marry my vectors with my ink sketches and also with grainy or grungy textures. Below you can see how my vector sketches turned out combined with my ink sketches.
Here's my presentation of a cell phone cover for the gift market with a design based on my cuckoo clock sketches. I've drawn the iPhone 5s model for the mockup with vectors. The prototype includes a coordinating mobile phone wallpaper, my colour palette and my name.
Here are my final illustrations for my cuckoo clock project. I named the illustrations Schwarzwald, because my first sketch was inspired by the original clocks that were made in that part of Germany.
I had tremendous problems choosing which of my sketches I would take to the next stage, and ended up selecting the one that's most true to the traditional clocks, leaving my other variations as possible candidates for further explorations.
My sketches had a whimsical, imaginative, and folksy feeling to them, and I wanted to create a bit of an edge by setting that mood off a little with the style I created for them. What I came up with is this style that gives you the feeling of a slightly offset print. I've used pastels to create the grainy colour strokes and for the background I made a hand painted texture to bring more life into the artwork.
This spring I'd like to take some time to develop my style, adding fresh signature pieces to my portfolio. Explore trends, palettes and create a strong body of work that's ready to sell in multiple markets. When my fiend Wini suggested that we join the Assignment Bootcamp from art agent Lilla Rogers, it sounded like a perfect way to stay on track and inspired with this project. And an extra bonus to be working side by side with my friend!
As you probably suspect by now, the first assignment of the bootcamp is based around cuckoo clocks. The first conceptualising phase has been wonderfully playful. When I was sketching my cuckoo clocks, I realised that they are little worlds, inhabited environments, and it lead me from bird houses and nests, to a 50s ski lodge and then to these cuckoo clocks with a twist, the weather clock and the tropical clock. Lots of fun!
With just a couple of days left to go, everything is falling into place for the Christmas Market where Anne Vilemsons and I will be offering our handmade design products.
Anne has been designing and sewing beautiful work (like the chef's apron shown on the right) and I've been creating Christmas cards and mini prints.
The market hasn't even started, but Anne has already sold a few pieces! Several tea towels and this wonderful tote bag. She's also received a few commissions for design products made to measure!
Anne is so creative and bursting with positive energy and ideas, and it's such a joy working together.
So yes, where did I begin again? Winter lights and laundry labels? Yes, that's right, I came home late after a big battle with the printer over printing laundry labels and decorated the balcony with winter lights. What a difference it makes!
Hope you can pop by and see us at the market!