I’ve had a few really coo artists and proactive students email me about my process lately. I thought I’d share a bit. Instead of photographing a tutorial as I go along and showing you everything once it’s done, I decided I’d give you a hint of how I work on something over time.

Here’s my step 1: Decide what I’m going to sketch. You’d think more goes into this. On occasion I look at upcoming trends and think about plans and things. More often than not I just draw what I want to draw. I think that trends are worshiped too much. If something is good it will sell. If you know your market, you can create for them. I’d much rather start a trend than follow a trend. When I’m drawing what I want to draw I create authentic designs that are happy and energetic. BE ENERGETIC!So here’s a typical page of focused sketching: I started this after getting back from a Pilates class Saturday. My brain wandered so much during the session that I didn’t get a lot from it other than drawing ideas. I ran straight home to take care of my itchy sketchbook fingers.

While I’m sketching I’ll put check marks next to stuff that I think has promise:

Then I crop the page and pull each little individual sketch into Photoshop where I rename it and save it. I like to darken everything up. It’s easiest for me to do this in Photoshop by adjusting Black and White Levels. I’m a hot key queen, you should be too. We get here super fast this way: Alt+Shift+Cntl+B


Once I crop and save every picture. I dump them all into my development folder on my desktop for later, because now they’re boring to me. I refuse to ever work on something that is boring. Soon they’ll be shiny again and then we’ll really have fun. Now I am off to draw me some fish. Fish are never boring.

2 replies »

  1. Very cool. Thanks for the insight. Obviously your concept drawings are all done by hand. Would you say from that point on you are doing the rest on the computer? I haven't gotten there yet and don't have the programs needed to do it but see that in the future it will be important.

  2. Hi Meagan! I cannot think digitally without a blueprint! So yes, all of my concepts are done by hand. I do have lines for licensing that are almost completely done by hand, like my Pammy Kay series and the Baby Mermaids. For the most part though, my surface designs and teen designs start in my sketchbook and are then pulled into the 'puter. My computers are really important to me, but no substitute for the hand. Think of them as another tool, like watercolor or expensive paper. I think they make my work cleaner and neater but it's vital to keep the energy of a hand drawn sketch. Keeping the liveliness of an idea is kind of hard once you constrict yourself to the inside of a monitor!

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