greeting cards

FolioFocus Sweet Greetings Showcase

kristy decastro

kristy decastro

Following a fab week of creating patterns and illustrations for the greeting cards industry, it's a pleasure to share a showcase of the wonderful art created by FolioFocus classmates for our Sweet Greetings themed brief. Once again we have a couple of designers giving a little behind the scenes look at how they came to their final pieces - Enjoy! 

Sara Aguiar

This week Sara gives us a little insight into her process and how she tackled the brief for our Sweet Greeting Week:

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"First I sketched a lot of anemones in Procreate, then I took them into illustrator and vectorized them. 

I made a repeating pattern using the pattern tool. I also created an illustration for the card. Then I took everything to photoshop and made the mockups card and journals.. I have to say I loved doing this assignment! Thanks Natalie".

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Daniela Glassop

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Classmate Daniela has a background where fabric and sewing has always been important in her life so when there was a mention of looking at embroidery (from this week's trend info), she revisited her Sewing and Embroidery board on Pinterest:

"I was inspired by some photos of flowers that I have taken over time and some greeting cards that I had photographed while looking at what there is already available. I make fibre art too and find that my sewing background is often a source of inspiration.

I always prefer to rough out ideas in a layout pad as the paper is cheap and light and I don't feel precious when making all sorts of notes and thumbnail sketches while working out my designs. I always work with pencil on paper too while thinking and designing, before I have to put a more complex work together.

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When I had worked out what I needed, I started to sketch out some flower forms and work out some colour choices. I will sometimes throw in more elements than I need but I also will sometimes a flower or element that I had not used in a previous design as necessary. When I had a selection, I painted my design elements with gouache. In this case I also drew and painted the hand lettering and made a coloured background which I did not use as it as there would not have been enough contrast between the type and the lettering.

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Once I have finished painting, I will scan my painted illustrations and work with them in Photoshop so that I can easily combine the different elements to get the look I am after. I always prefer to have modelling in my work, so Photoshop is always my preference. I printed off some proofs to check scale and readability as judging these things on a computer screen is not accurate enough"

Heather Powers

Next up sharing her process, we have Heather Powers:

"I started the week creating a few birthday cards but decided to stick closer with the brief and focused on the Mother’s Day theme.

Whenever I start a design I first ask myself what would I buy for myself or as a gift. I looked through some baby animals on Pinterest and when I saw an adorable fox I knew that would be my inspiration for my design. I tied in some of my favorite local wildflowers, adding them to the field surrounding my protective momma and cub.

After my card was finished I moved on to creating coordinating patterns. I pulled the wildflowers from my card, repeating them in an overall pattern by flipping and rotating elements. I decided I needed one more pattern and went with the chicory flower to tie in with my other two designs.

Since I started using my iPad Pro and Procreate this year, I work through the sketching phase right in my drawing. I added a video to share a peek into my process. I also worked up my designs in a few gift related mockups".

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More Wonderful Art for Sweet Greetings

FolioFocus Week 3 Roundup: Mum’s the word!

Last week our Spring 2018 FolioFocus classmates created amazing and adorable cards and gifting designs for Mother’s Day.

Soft & pretty Mother's Day Card Presentation By  Bénédicte B Barrett

Soft & pretty Mother's Day Card Presentation By Bénédicte B Barrett

FolioFocus: Student Gallery

Check out a preview of Week 3’s submissions below; visit the gallery to see more of the fantastic work they created:

https://www.flickr.com/groups/foliofocusspring2018/pool/with/39609701264/

Cute 'Llama Mama' Design By Lisa Norris

Each designer’s own perspective of Mother’s Day is diverse and distinct. Whether it's pretty florals or the cutest animals, these designs are just adorable!

To explore more talented designers and inspiring art, follow us on Instagram and don't forget to sign up to our newsletter.

Thanks for stopping by!

Designer Spotlight: Rebecca Prinn

HELLO, PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF:

Hi, I’m Rebecca Prinn, a greeting card and surface pattern designer living in West Yorkshire, UK.  I worked in house for 10 years, and took the leap of faith to freelance at the beginning of 2016.  I’m represented by Advocate Art, and have been lucky enough to work with clients including Design House Greetings, Papyrus, Hallmark, American Greetings, Paper Magic, and WHSmith.  I love unusual teas, macarons and cookbooks. 

HAVE YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO BE SURFACE PATTERN DESIGNER/ILLUSTRATOR?

Yes I think so, I remember being fascinated by the wallpaper my mum had chosen for my bedroom - little geometric cats, and thought that it would be an exciting job to be able to create patterns for a living!

WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY/WEEK LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?

Each week is different depending on how much client work I have on.  One week I might have the opportunity to build my portfolio, the next week I might have a few client projects to juggle, which can range from greetings cards, diaries, giftwrap, wall art or book illustration.   If it’s a big project, and time permits, I like to concentrate on that in the mornings, and do something more experimental in the afternoons.

IF YOU COULD GIVE YOUR 10 YEARS YOUNGER SELF ONE KEY PIECE OF ADVICE OR AN INSIGHT, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

Don’t be afraid of making mistakes.  My most popular work has come about through experimentation, where I’ve not been at all sure of whether it’s going anywhere, but I’ve persevered, and kept all my sketches and concepts and experimented in putting elements together in a different way. 

WHEN YOU FEEL STUCK OR IN A DESIGN RUT, HOW DO YOU GET YOURSELF OUT OF IT AND BACK ON TRACK?

I love Skillshare, if I have some down time, I pick a class, and try and implement some new techniques or approaches into my own work.  I often find this sparks off a whole new set of ideas.  If I can get myself into a “play” mode and quiet the self doubt, my doodles and experiments often spark off new ideas.  Once I have one idea for a card or wrap range, I can usually go with the theme to make a small collection.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE DESIGN TOOLS?

I love my Mijello watercolours as the colours are so intense and smooth.  They were a bit of a treat, but most of my other tools and cheap and cheerful; a dip pen, Indian ink, and a stamp pad, but most of my tools are found objects.  I love mark making with my husband’s tools, although he isn’t always too happy when they’re returned covered in ink!

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR DESIGN PROCESS? 

I love getting my hands dirty with different mediums, so often I’ll have an idea in mind for a new look, but I’m not always sure what subject matter that will involve.  So I’ll spend a couple of hours mark making, trying to be as loose as possible to create unpredictable results.  I then scan or photograph my originals, and manipulate on my mac, integrating the more abstract shapes and marks into more traditional subject matter for greeting cards, such as flowers, cakes, presents etc. 

I use both Photoshop and Illustrator; if I’m working texturally, I generally keep everything in Photoshop, as I don’t think you retain the same texture in Illustrator, even if you use Image Trace.  For more graphic works, I tend to use Illustrator.  I often use Illustrator for client work if it’s suitable, as it’s far easier to tweak colours, scale etc. 

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITE DESIGN PROJECTS TO DATE?

I loved working on this project for Noel Tatt, this experimental approach was something a bit different for me at the time, and it really gave me the confidence to keep going in this style

WHO ARE YOUR DREAM CLIENTS OR WHAT IS YOUR DREAM PROJECT?

I would love to design a fabric collection, I especially love all the designs that come from the Dashwood Studio.  It would also be pretty cool to see my patterns across a range of products in Paperchase.

THERE HAS BEEN AN ART SUPPLY SANCTION IMPOSED AND DESIGNERS ARE ONLY ALLOWED TO POSSESS 3 ITEMS/TOOLS, WHAT DO YOU CHOOSE?

Indian ink, Mijello watercolours, and my scanner.  I’d have to find some random objects to make marks with!

WHERE DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION?

At the moment, I’m really interested in textures, so will check out kids art departments, DIY departments or found objects on a walk for new ways of mark making.  I take my smartphone everywhere to capture industrial patterns, colour combinations, or an interesting flower shape I haven’t seen before.  Antique shops, vintage packaging and food packaging also really get my juices flowing.

WHO WOULD YOU SAY THE GREATEST DESIGNER IS?

Lucienne Day, her style still looks so fresh today.

Time to Shine: New Card Line by Christine Gardner

This completely adorable set of birthday stationery was designed by Christine Gardner. Starting with a pattern collection, Christine then applied the characters to these wonderful cards. 

"I have just launched this new collection which I was only brave enough to complete after taking your FolioFocus course! I was never confident with characters at all but enjoyed that week on the Folio Focus course so much I thought I would give it a go! I came up with the pattern collection first and then added the characters to cards. I'd like to combine the two soon and create a character pattern." - Christine Gardner

These and many other beautiful designs are available to buy on Christine's site: christinegardner.co.uk/shop-1

FolioFocus Week 1 Roundup!

What a wonderful week of sweet greetings and what beautiful designs!

Here are a few from Facebook and Instagram and our Gallery can be found here: https://www.flickr.com/groups/foliofocusspring17/

Designer Spotlight: Claire Wilson

HELLO, PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF:

Hi! I’m Claire and I’m an illustrator and surface pattern designer, working from a small studio in my countryside home in Northamptonshire, UK. I love to create fun, illustrative and colourful designs to make people smile. As well as producing my own range of greeting cards and art prints which I sell through my online shops, I also license some of my designs through The Paintbox Art Agency for use on greeting cards. I also work with some UK retailers on a freelance basis across a wide variety of projects, some of which have included bedding, nursery products, children’s bedding and nightwear apparel. Over the course of the last year, I have completed all four modules of the Art & Business of Surface Pattern Design and was fortunate enough to have been shortlisted as one of the top 8 for the Printsource 2016 Competition. I absolutely love my job and feel very lucky to be able to do what I love every day. 

IF YOU COULD GIVE YOUR 10 YEARS YOUNGER SELF ONE KEY PIECE OF ADVICE OR AN INSIGHT, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

Be strong and just believe in yourself. You will experience a lot of things in the years to come; some bad, some good and some amazing! Stick with your gut instincts, go for it and most importantly, have fun.

WHEN YOU FEEL STUCK OR IN A DESIGN RUT, HOW DO YOU GET YOURSELF OUT OF IT AND BACK ON TRACK?

I’m getting much better at knowing when to take a break from something that’s just not working, instead of sticking at it and trying to force myself to carry on - it just doesn’t work! I have to take myself away from my desk and do something completely different. Whether that’s exercising, seeing a friend for a cuppa, baking a cake or taking my Springer Spaniel, Bertie, out for a walk in the countryside that surrounds my house. He’s a great distraction and I find a change of scenery can really help to clear my head and allow me to re-focus.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE DESIGN TOOLS?

My Wacom tablet and pen – I can’t use a standard mouse anymore, it just feels so clumsy! I love my retractable pencil and brush pen too, and have several pencil cases full of lots of different drawing pens. I like to work on loose sheets of paper as I personally find sketchbooks really intimidating and feel pressure to make every page amazing which is a bit silly really! Single sheets also make it a lot easier for me to scan in my sketches and work on them digitally.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR DESIGN PROCESS? FAVOURITE APPS AND PROGRAMS

I spend a little bit of time researching and collecting initial ideas and images from magazines or Pinterest, then I put on some music and start sketching! I have music on all the time as I really can’t handle working in silence! The type of music can help to influence and inspire me, and often gets me into a good creative zone. If I’m struggling, often changing the music I’m listening to can really help. I usually start my process by quickly sketching out rough ideas in pencil first to get them out of my head onto paper. I then draw them up in more detail, refining and changing the design as I go. If I’m designing patterns for a new collection, I tend to draw out individual elements first and bring them together in Adobe Illustrator to form a pattern, playing around with colours, composition and scale. If I’m creating new designs for greeting cards or art prints, I usually sketch out the full composition I want to create and then I use my light pad to trace over my pencil lines and create black ink versions which I can then scan into Illustrator and use the Live Trace tool.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITE DESIGN PROJECTS TO DATE?

Being a freelancer, I get to work with some great clients and I love the wide variety of projects that I’m asked to work on. It’s always a great feeling when you can see your designs on real life products for people to buy - I never get bored of that buzz! It can also be quite challenging and often pushes me way out of my comfort zone, making me work in ways that I wouldn’t usually work but it’s a great feeling when I manage to achieve what my client needs. One of the most recent examples of this is a stag bedding design I created for Dunelm.

I’ve also been working with Avon over the past year to develop some cute new characters, Ava & Friends, for use on nightwear apparel and homewares. The first phase of this project has recently launched and it’s great to see the characters used across a variety of products. Characters have never been something that I’ve felt comfortable designing, but I’ve proved to myself over the last year that I’m capable of designing them. So the biggest lesson for me is to believe in myself, to say yes to new challenges and to worry about the how later!

I was also fortunate enough to have some of my designs selected by Cardmaking and Papercraft Magazine during the Make It In Design Ultimate Portfolio Builder Course last year. I was really excited to see the designs published in their recent October edition of the magazine and loved the idea that people could make their own Christmas cards using my designs!

WHO ARE YOUR DREAM CLIENTS OR WHAT IS YOUR DREAM PROJECT?

I can’t resist playing around with product mock ups to see how my designs could be used across different product categories and as a result, there are lots of different areas I’d love to get involved with. I’m a stationery geek at heart and love to collect cards, notebooks and gift bags, so it would be great to work with Paperchase on a collection of different products. I’d also like to see some of my designs used on fabric so I’d love to work with Dashwood Studio or Cloud 9 Fabrics to create a collection – it’s great to see the wide variety of products that people make with those gorgeous fabrics.

THERE HAS BEEN AN ART SUPPLY SANCTION IMPOSED AND DESIGNERS ARE ONLY ALLOWED TO POSSESS 3 ITEMS/TOOLS, WHAT DO YOU CHOOSE?

My pen collection, Wacom tablet and Adobe Illustrator. 

WHERE DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION?

I find inspiration everywhere, from simple everyday household objects to all things bright and beautiful outside. Nature inspires me a lot and being surrounded by beautiful British countryside means I’m never short of inspiration. I find myself naturally drawing lots of flowers and leaves in quite a bright and stylized way, but have recently been trying to develop my hand lettering and character skills too. I spend quite a lot of time doodling and sketching as I find it helps me to unwind and relax. Sometimes those doodles turn into a finished design and sometimes they don’t but it doesn’t really matter, I just love to draw!

WHO WOULD YOU SAY THE GREATEST DESIGNER IS?

Wow, that’s a really tough question to answer, there are just so many incredibly talented designers out there! I don’t really have one favourite designer that I look to for inspiration but I’m constantly discovering new talent and current designers whose work I love and find inspirational. 

When I’m long gone, I hope people remember me for being a hardworking, fun and friendly person who loved to create bright and colourful designs that made people smile and feel happy!

Where you can find me:

Website: http://www.clairewilsondesigns.co.uk

Shop: http://www.clairewilsondesigns.co.uk/shop/

Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/ClaireWilsonDesigns

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/clairewilsondesigns/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/clairewilsondesigns

Twitter: https://www.instagram.com/clairewilsondesigns/

Pinterest: https://uk.pinterest.com/ClaireWDesigns/

 

FolioFocus Week 2 Roundup!

What a wonderful week of sweet greetings and what beautiful designs!

Here are a few from Instagram and our Gallery can be found here: flickr.com/groups/foliofocusaw16/

Here's looking forward to another pattern filled week :)