I've been receiving a lot of the same or similar questions regarding my design process so I thought I would answer some of them in this post!
Please be advised that I learned all of these tools and tricks from other professionals, friends and good old Google and am in noway claiming I'm an expert! This is just the way I do things but it does not mean it is the only way or that it's the best method for you. I hope you find some gold nuggets in this post but be sure to do you own research and keep improving your methods.
1. What does your design process look like?
For commissioned projects, I like to have a little pow wow with my client so I can better understand their aesthetic and overall vision for their project. This can vary depending on the scope of the project but it usually includes phone meetings, Pinterest boards and lots of back and forth emails. Once I feel confident that we're on the same page, I do some rough sketches of my ideas and send it over with a short verbal description of each concept. Once my client sends me their feedback, we usually do 1 or 2 round of revisions before finalizing on the design.
For my personal projects, I'm pretty much all over! Sometimes an idea just comes to me and I can pump it out in just a few hours whereas others can takes months of wrestling through and editing until I am satisfied. No matter what the project is, I always get a second opinion before releasing to the public. It's so important to get other people's feedback because they might catch something you missed or it's just good to know whether they love it or not! This person for me is usually my husband or close friends who have similar aesthetics as I do. Just be sure to ask only one or two people because having too many opinions can be overwhelming.
2. Are all of your artworks original or are they reproduced?
This is definitely the #1 question I get asked by curious clients or artists starting out. In the beginning, I thought the answer was quite obvious but then I realized that most people don't know the design process or how long it takes to create just one design. While each project is unique and the timeframe varies on the complexity, I would say each design takes at least a couple hours. Therefore, I create one original artwork and they are reproduced. As an artist and a business owner, it would be impossible to scale and grow if I was creating originals of the same design over and over again. This is actually a great thing for both the artist and the consumer because while I have the time to create new designs, the customers can buy prints or cards at an affordable price point.
While this is true for my cards and prints, my custom orders are completely original and I do not reproduce them for anyone but the client who initially hired me to design it. Due to this nature, custom orders are at a higher price point because the artwork is now in their hands and I will never resell that design to anyone else.
3. Do you ever experience creative blocks?
Heck yes. I think everyone runs into creative blocks every once in a while. Whenever I experience this, I refer it as my art cave. I absolutely love being in the zone and being creative for days at a time but if I stay in this state for too long, I find myself feeling uninspired or bored. I refer this as my art cave because sometimes you just need to crawl out of there and get some fresh air. Some of the ways I do this is to just get out the house. Whether it's just to walk my dog or meet up with a friend for coffee, doing something out of my routine helps my ideas churning again. I also like to take my work with me out in nature or to my travels. A change of scenery is always inspiring and honestly, it's fun!
4. What programs do you use to design?
To ensure the quality of the design, I scan it in a high resolution and clean it up digitally. I spend lots of time digitizing so that each reproduction match as closely to the original illustration as possible. To scan, I use my trusty Epson Perfection V370 Photo scanner and use Photoshop and/or Illustrator for any digital work.
5. How do do large scale projects?
For bigger projects, I first create the layout by sketching it out on paper. Once I have a good idea of what I think it would look like, I take the measurements on Adobe Illustrator for projects involving words OR Photoshop for images. Honestly, the layout process takes just as long or if not, longer than the project itself. Once you've created the perfect blue print, I measure it out to scale on the actual piece using rulers, pencil and painters tape. For this 7 foot mirror, I used lots of tape to make sure everything was centered and that I would allow enough space for 200+ names to fit evenly. There's quite a bit of math involved, which is why it's crucial to create the layout before. Then, you can just pop in the details following that guide!
6. What advice can you give to someone who's just starting out?
Just go for it.
If you truly love something, you gotta go and get it. It can definitely get messy and difficult at times but so will anything in life so you might as well fight for something you love. Life is too short so don't waste it on mediocre things!
And get ready to grind. One thing that really bugs me is when people feel like they are too big for certain projects and that's totally the wrong mentality to have! I get it, some projects may not align with your interests and in those cases it's important to say no. On the flip side, it's also crucial to say YES to lots of different things in order to explore! That could mean interning or doing free projects and all that fun grunt work. It's vital to try new things and stay curious, especially in the early years of your career.
If you have more questions, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or share some tips you learned through your work process!