Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A designing process // A brief step by step // From a cold crystal winter hike to a collection of woman's accessories

Since the cold weather is kicking in this week I thought it would be a good idea to talk a bit about my winter inspired collection, a series of designs I have worked on during the winter, and talk about the process of creation. From a walk through a cold winter forest to a collection of woman's accessories. From start to finish.

Last year I was asked to make another collection for Veritas Belgium. I just came back from my trip through the backwaters of India when I started the process of designing a new series of surface pattern designs during the freezing cold winter days of 2014.

With the raw images of India still in my head and after some winter hikes throughout the cold Dutch nature I started my research for this new series of prints. The first step is choosing a material. Usually I start drawing with a pen or pencil, but for this I felt like using a more raw material to make my drawings. Ink and dry brushes to represent the sharp edges of a winter day. The raw outline as an intense reflection of my present being.

White paper & black ink
I always start my drawing process on white paper with black ink. Color is something that will be added in a later stage. First I try to find a shape to represent what I want to create and what I feel. A combination of those two. The new collection should have a little look and feel of the collection I created a year before. This collection should be a logic follow up on what was already made. But a year later there is a different perspective to translate into the new design series. What I know already is that I want to use the raw intense emotion of the cold weather: create a translation of this raw winter woodland. The harsh shapes, clean crooked branches and cold winter weather vegetation.

100 pieces of paper
Finding the right shape for the foundations of the design takes up most time in the designing process. Searching for a base shape can take up to weeks. This collection was made with Indian Ink so that means I will have to be patient until the wet ink is dry too. This process of painting still is a pure translation of how I feel. Thoughts only get in the way of creating a pure output at this stage. How I look and feel can be brought back into simple shapes and if that shape is found I try to improve it and start repeating it until I feel it is just right. That means ending up with piles of paper with similar repetitive shapes. Painting is like a meditation. No thoughts only conversions of emotions translate to paper.

In search of composition
After finding the basic shapes the process begins of making the analog drawings into one colored vector shapes. My scanner is my best friend in the studio and is making a lot of working hours. Luckily for this process I have an assisted digitalizing the work. For this particular series of designs I have created almost a hundred pieces of paper filled with ink drawings. All these shaped will be imported into one vector document. From there the search to a strong basic repeat starts. Making combination of shapes, create layers add little textures and detailing. Another shape will evolve from here. The final prints should be related to one another but also need to have a design that is strong enough on itself. Should the shape be smaller of larger. Should a basic repeat be companied with a more tossed and contrasting composition?

Balancing colors & new compositions
Adding colors is the next step. Shapes can have a very different feel if you combine colors. Will the shape be strong enough? Will details fade or will they be too aggressive? Usually I start out with a few color schemes. Swatches I put together out of a pack of Pantone cards. For this series of designs I also had some color input from my client to work with and I will have to be looking for the right balance of working on a trend and creative a Little Smilemakers design without losing the authenticity. With a selected color scheme I will add the digital color.

When the colors are integrated into the repeat the files will be prepared for the sample printing process. That means the designs will be send to the client who will produce the final product with the print. At this stage the samples will result in small color tweaks. And then it can take up to a year to finally see the entire collection as a whole. But when it is finally there it is time to celebrate!