Archive for September, 2014

September 30, 2014

Giveaway & the Creative Process

10 Giveaway

It’s been a very exciting September, and what better way to finish it off that with a giveaway? Last week I launched three new tote bag designs in my Etsy shop, and now you have the chance to win your favourite! All you need to do is sign up to my mailing list, and then pop over to my Twitter or Facebook page and let me know the design you’d like to win!

This giveaway closes at midnight Sunday 5th October and the lucky winner will be announced on Monday 6th October 2014.

These three new designs have taken some time to finish. It was over a year ago that I drew the initial doodle of a camper van adorned with bunting in my sketchbook, and a similar amount of time for my vintage radio and Let’s Travel the World map illustrations. Now that I am lucky enough to be able to work on Ceridwen Hazelchild Design full-time, I can find the time to take ideas to the next level.

I get quite a few emails asking about how I work and create my illustrations and textiles, and so I wanted to share with you my creative process. Throughout art college I read a fair bit on creativity and how to generate creative ideas, and this research has been very useful now that I’m running a creative business and have to rely on the ideas and things I create.

It is generally accepted that creativity has six phases:

Inspiration

Every one of my illustrations or textile projects has to start somewhere. This can be a trip to a museum, a film, a walk in nature, or a chat with friends. In the case of my camper van illustration, I was inspired by my childhood holidays and fond memories of travelling.

Clarification

I then focus on what my goals are. So after visiting a museum and seeing vintage televisions and radios, I then was driven to draw an illustration which captured the experience and the beautiful forms. This may seem like an obvious step, but when it comes to something like sewing a dress or a bag, setting a goal can be incredibly useful as it is important that what you are making is fit for purpose. For example, what is the bag designed to hold, or what occasion is the dress for?

Evaluation

Drawings

Reviewing your initial ideas is essential as it is all too easy to dive right into making something which hasn’t been fully thought through. This is why I have a sketchbook full of little doodles with variations on composition, size and form. I made several sketches of my ‘Let’s Travel the World’ before taking it to the next level, playing with wording, font and layout. Back in college my class was trained to do this in-depth, annotating each miniature drawing and thoroughly evaluating everything. We found it so tedious, but now I can see that it was very useful training. Nowadays I tend to evaluate in my head, and don’t annotate the illustrations unless I want to remind myself of something when I come back to it, and the whole process can become a lot quicker because of years of experience.

Distillation

Next I decide which ideas to work on and take to the next level. During the evaluation process, I decided that one particular shape of the radio worked best, that a carry strap looked elegant if it was thinner, and that the five stars on the bottom of the speaker added a lovely extra detail. Compiling these elements together, the final design begins to take form.

Campervan Illustration

Incubation

At this point it is very useful to take a step back. Sometimes this is overnight – shutting the door to the studio, playing with the cat, having dinner, watching a film, have a good night’s sleep, and returning to it in the morning with a fresh view. Other times, in the case of these three new designs, it takes longer. It’s so useful keeping sketchbooks, as I can look through and find projects I have been working on in the past and have now reached the end of their incubation time and are ready to be made.

Perspiration

The final part is to actually do the making. Get the water-colour paper out, and the pencils, pens and paint brushes and get started. At this point I sometimes realise I have not fully completed a previous step, when a design just isn’t working, and go back to evaluate, or, in some cases, right back to finding inspiration again. But most of the time this is the part where everything goes smoothly, and I am working on making the image in my head a reality.

Untitled-1 copy Writing the creative process down like this makes it seem incredibly long-winded, but I can assure you that it becomes instinctual. You can read more about the creative process here, with more information about how to improve each step and develop your own creative process.

 

 

September 13, 2014

Kitty Cat Illustration

I have been living with a cat now for a month now. As a dog person, this was a little jarring for me at first. But I am after all an animal lover, and so despite my reluctance, I have grown to adore her.

Nova is a persistently vocal chocolate point Burmese, with a passion for human contact and attention. If a person is within three feet of her, she will purr. Loudly. She will follow you from room to room, meowing until you pick her up and cuddle her. If your hands are full, she will settle for sitting on your shoulders, slowly creeping down your back until you realise you are bent double just to accommodate her.IMG_4024

I’m not going to lie; she’s grown on me. Like most people, I love a cuddle with a fluffy animal, and she is nothing if not cuddly. It’s really nice to have some company in the studio when I’m working alone. And the fact that she meows all the time means that there is a chance I might look less weird when I have conversations with myself.

nova

fabric pocket catI’ve been meaning to draw a new cat design for my Etsy shop a while now. Taking five minutes out for a cup of tea and cuddle with the kitty, I began doodling in my sketchbook. It wasn’t a sketch of Nova – although if anything is inspired by her, it is the cat in my Owl and Pussy Cat illustration. This new cat illustration bore more similarities to the cat I had when I was a child – the stray tortoiseshell we found in the bins, who was sturdy, cheeky, and self-assured. She made it perfectly clear to us that, although we had rescued her, she had decided stayed with us because of convenience and not because she liked us. You had to really work for the affection she gave you. She was full of character, and I can remember only a handful of times where she had ever deemed me worthy enough to sit upon, and each time I dared not move for fear of sharp claws digging into my lap.

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All of my illustrations start out as pencil sketches, which are then re-drawn in a larger size in my sketchbook or on a sheet of cartridge paper. I ink over the drawing using a uniball black pen, or for smaller scale images a unipin. (These are great because they are waterproof, fade proof and go over the paper really nicely!) After rubbing out the pencil lines, I start to colour. If I’m colouring by hand I’ll work with water-colour, adding a first wash of colour, and once that has dried going over again with less water in the mix, to get the bright colours I adore. Once the painting is complete the whole image gets scanned into my trusty laptop for some neatening up on Photoshop, before getting printed out for transferring onto fabric goodies.

cat tote bag close upI really love the unusual markings that occur on tortoiseshell cats, and so drawing the face of this kitty cat was very satisfying. I love the cheeky expression on its face! After finishing off the colouring, it didn’t take long for this design to make its way onto my tote bags, pocket mirrors, and key rings available in my Etsy shop.  They are already prooving popular, and it makes me so happy to see these little guys being sent off to new homes with crazy cat lovers!

cat keyring 2

September 3, 2014

Refreshing Branding

refresh brandingThere are many blogs and articles online discussing how important branding in a creative business, but it is important to refresh and revisit your branding as your business evolves.

I’ve been running Ceridwen Hazelchild Design for two and a half years now, and in that time the tags I attach to my tote bags have evolved with my business.

Things to consider:

Time

As a creative business owner, the time spent on things is valuable. Packaging and presentation are both very important, but it is important to focus on the quality and design of the product first. If you can get things like tags, labels or stickers pre-printed to a professional standard, they will look far better than printing them on your home printer and can improve the overall appearance of your product.

Cost

Keep packaging and labeling costs down by ordering a sample pack or a few designs to check you are satisfied and then ordering in bulk so that the overall cost per label is significantly reduced. This isn’t within everyone’s budget, so consider ways of cutting costs by punching the holes and threading yourself, or ordering something larger with several designs on, which you can then cut up yourself.

Design

Make sure your packaging is in keeping with the style of your work. A cohesive design can make all the difference.

mystic moose tags

When I first started, working under different business name, the tags were made of natural fabric with an applied transfer with the branding on, complete with a brass coloured eyelet, and natural twine loop to attached to the bags.  Although these looked great, they took a great deal of time to make. I spent ages pressing the fabric, cutting them out, piercing and pressing the studs before finally threading the twine.

When I had sudden influx of orders I realised how impractical it was to spend so much time on the tags. I had to compramise and settle on printing out the same design on thick card on my own printer and punching a hole using a regular hole punch. Still, the time spent in front of the printer was time I could be designing, making, and expanding my product base, so I decided to get them printed professionally. I was pleased with the printed versions, but once I changed the name of my business to Ceridwen Hazelchild Design I needed new tags. And now I’ve nearly come to the bottom of a seemingly endless supply of card tags, it’s time to order some more!

I felt I had outgrown my old design and needed to freshen up. So keeping the logo, and incorporating some colour and illustrations I had been working on many years ago, I pieced together my new tags. I also changed the way the natural twine was threaded to make the whole thing look smarter. To coordinate with my new tags, I altered my Facebook page and Etsy logos for a cohesive brand.IMG_3903

business card holder

I usually slip a business card into each package I post from an online sale, which means I tend to get through a lot. A few weeks before I needed to reorder tags, I found I was running very low on business cards, and, again, felt like a change. The old cards featured a selection of my products sitting on a charming blue bench. When I find a really nice business card, I tend to keep it and pin it to my wall, and that is what I wanted from my cards. The new cards feature three of my most popular designs, and also double as a miniature work of art that customers can keep!

Ceridwen Hazelchild DesignThe back of a business card is the place to put your details, so customers know what you do and where to find you. Too much information can be overwhelming and make a card look cluttered, so keep it simple:

Name

Contact

Website

What do you do?

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Selling on Etsy, I quite often get emails from lovely customers saying ‘thank you’ for their orders and letting me know how delighted they are with them. Already I have recieved comments on how much my new business cards were enjoyed, and it’s lovely to hear that it’s not just me that collects pretty ones I come across!

Remember, you can get a FREE fox tea towel when you spend over £25 (that’s around $42) in my etsy shop until Friday 5th September 2014! Treat yourself to something new – bags, pocket mirrors, pencil cases, notebooks, badges or cards!

Remember to ‘like’ the Ceridwen Hazelchild Design facebook page to keep up to date with offers, deals, and new products!

 

September 1, 2014

Free Tea Towel with Orders over £25

offer copy

It’s been an exciting few weeks in the studio, and to celebrate we’ve got an extra special offer for you!

Spend over £25 in my etsy shop and get one of my Fox Linen Tea Towels absolutely FREE!

Head over to my etsy shop and treat yourself – browse my range of tote bags, pocket mirrors, pencil cases, notebooks, badges and cards. Lovely illustrated textile accessories inspired by nature, tradition and everyday objects, with a focus on colourful design and environmentally friendly products.

This offer is available until Friday 5th September 2014, while stocks last! Minimum spend of £25 GBP excludes P&P.

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