THOUGHTS and TIPSTER TUESDAY May 1, 2012
FINISHED DESIGN TO CREATING A PATTERN PACKET
Hi my friends, thanks for coming back for a visit. As mentioned in my last post I promised I would guide you through how I take my finished original paintings and create a pattern packet for you all to enjoy. So here I am ready to take you on my pattern packet making journey. This is how I decided I wanted my pattern packet line to be developed and my process works for me, but might not be the best way for you. I am providing suggestions and ideas. I too have made changes along the way. Change is good….means we are getting better at what we do. Or better yet I/we paid close attention to our customers and students. They are our best critics.
I have to confess when I developed my very first pattern packet I had no clue as to what I was doing or what direction I wanted to take. Just knew I wanted to be different. The following thoughts traveled through my mind as I dove into this new adventure:
Will my customers or students understand what I am trying to tell them?
Will my directions be easy to follow?
What kind of format do I want to use for my pattern packets?
Do I need to tell them everything, brush size, where, when, how and why?
Should I worry about how long the directions will become?
How do I want to package my pattern packets?
Will they like what I have to offer?
At the beginning I did put together a rough draft as to how I wanted things to look.
Page layout… fonts… spacing… format… instructions… line drawings
Over time I have made quite a few changes but have never, ever lessened my directions. I have altered my formatting because it was taking me way too long to type and proof read my patterns. I was using too many bullets and lots of times I would miss things as I proofread my work. Now I use the Step 1, 2, 3, etc. I write the directions in the same manner as I paint each element.
When I first decided to design and create pattern packets I knew right away I wanted everyone to be able to paint my designs. Yes I am DETAILED (do you think?!!), it has become who I am. So with that said, I felt it was essential to make sure everyone was being told how to paint what I did, let them know what brush, and how, when, where or why I did what. I include a technique guide in every single pattern packet I create so if you just have no clue as to what I am trying to do you can refer to this handy guide. It goes into a lot more detail of each technical process I use throughout my designs.
As I am painting my new design I write down everything on a note pad. I do not go into detail at this point, but just write down what I need to remember. I never, ever rely on my memory and think I will be able to write my directions just by looking at the final painting. Not a good habit and it will take so much longer to write the directions. It is not fair to your customers or students to miss important steps or skip things just because you cannot remember what you did. There have been times I have repainted an area just because I failed to take good notes. I occasionally type my notes on my laptop but I lack table space, so find my note pad serves me well.
One thing I find important is to write down all the colors of paint that I used within the design. I actually keep these colors in a container and label it with the project name. I also place a paint swatch next to each color listed on my note pad. It just helps to make sure I do not forget to list any colors in my palette supply list or directions.
The past few years I am doing step by steps of all my designs. I just shot the pictures right at my painting table as I go along with my painting. I know this might sound like a lot of work but trust me it has helped me in so many ways. Not only does it help in the writing of my directions, but maybe my notes do not make sense and now I have another reference to jar my memory. Also the step by steps has become good tools in the classroom. Sorry about the poor picture I shot the picture right from my computer screen.
My directions are now completed and the proofreading begins. I print out a set of instructions so I can make all necessary corrections. I check my palette, supply list, preparation, formatting and all else that is needed. I then go back to my computer and go page by page to type in my corrections. I proof through my directions several times. Yes, I am crazy like that. I am human and after all this proofreading I still can miss something. It is a good idea to have someone else (preferably another painter) to read over the directions. They might find something that you missed.
My directions are proofed and complete. Now it is onto the inking of the designs. Before I spray varnish my painting I take the project and place it onto the glass portion of my copy machine. I cover it with a piece of fabric because most of the times I have to leave the lid open. I then proceed to make a color copy of the project. Make sure you see all areas of the project on the copy. Make necessary adjustments.
You will need a light box. I have two sizes one to fit 8 ½-in. X 11-in. and 11-in. X 17-in. paper. I take the color copy and tape it onto the light box. Place a white sheet of copying paper over the color copy and then tape into place. Best to only tape it down in a couple of spots just in case you want to lift to review the inking process. I turn on the light box and begin inking. I do find I have to shut off my lights in my studio so I can see thru to the color copy. I have found this process to be a huge help in not forgetting any details or areas of the design. I have a C-Thru ruler handy to make sure all my lines stay straight. Sometimes I will use a pencil to trace some of the areas and then ink after I remove the paper from the light box. I find it easier to control my straight lines or a more detailed area.
A few years ago I started inking a base coating guide and this has really been a big help especially during a seminar. The students do not need to worry about the details at this point and much easier to determine what needs to be traced onto their project. Also, if you have a beginner student they could just use this base coating guide and forfeit the details until they become more comfortable with their abilities.
For the base coating guide I ink all the areas of the design, minus the details. It is like a blocked design, what you would see in a coloring book. Before I continue on with the next inked patterns I take 2 copies of the base coating guide--will be used for the detail and value placement guide.
I take the copy of the base coating guide and ink my value placement guide. A little suggestion when I am inking the Value Placement chart, I go back to my completed pattern packet and read each step as I am inking the shading, highlighting, tints etc. I know I will not miss anything. I also have my painted project handy during this process. When complete, I sign and set it aside.
I take a copy of the inked detail guide and follow the same process as above to complete the final line drawing. This inked design includes crosshatching, dots and final details. Hope my inking process makes sense. Sounds like a lot of work but it really is not.
Now time to create my front cover. I have a template that I have created on my computer so all I have to do is cut and paste. Easy….but I make sure to change any or all information for the new design. I like to make each front cover special for each design. Like to change things up, but can easily just have one design for all pattern packets.
I am now ready to take my photos. Oh hum….have to admit this is the most stressful part of the whole pattern packet process. I give my painted piece only one light coat of varnish. I never, ever varnish my pieces with several coats of varnish because it will produce poor photos with lots of shine. However, a light coat helps to pop the colors because acrylic paint has a tendency to be flat. I take numerous shots at all angles. I take all photos outside, hopefully on a cloudy day. I make sure I have a great front cover photo. Remember that is the first thing customers and students see. I then edit my photos and select which ones I want to reprint. I then find a very good photo processing center and have my prints made. Thank goodness for the digital world. What a huge time saver.
Pattern is typed, proofread and completed. All guides and line drawings are inked. Photos complete. Now it is time to copy my new pattern packet. I use the two-sided process when copying my patterns (saves lots of paper) and then copy my guides and line drawings. I have selected to place all my pattern packets in plastic sheet protectors. There are other options.
Now I am ready to present my designs to the public… Opened my website www.Heavenlyheartcreations.com on December 5, 2011. So much more to be done on the site, but I want to thank you all for your support.
I attend several conventions throughout the US and I am always so humbled by all of my fellow painters and it is because of you that I keep on designing.
I knew right away that several people do not get the opportunity to paint with a teacher every week, or take classes, seminars, and attend conventions on a regular basis. I wanted to become that paper classroom and become their behind the scenes teacher. I not only love to paint and design but most of all I really love teaching. I told myself I wanted my pattern packets to be packed with as much information as possible. I wish we all could get the chance to paint with each other along the way. I am always telling my students, my designs are detailed but they are not hard. It is the tricks of the trade and learning how I do things and it will be so much easier for you to realize you can paint anything.
I, along with my fellow designers work so hard at creating something different, unique and interesting to share with the painting world. It is so important to know what goes into designing just one design, pattern packet, a booklet or a book. The process just does not happen overnight and hours of hard work goes into a design even before it is released to the public. We all design these special projects to share with our painting community. Our world is now so different because we are surrounded by so many things via the internet, blogs, Face book and websites. But it is important to respect these designers, artists, creators, teachers and writers because we want these creative people to continue sharing with all of us and be our inspiration. Stay true to yourself and be you!!!! Stop and think about your fellow artist.
Thank you all for giving me the opportunity to do what I LOVE… I BELIEVE we all have a place in this creative market and I hope I have given you a little more insight into my design world.
Paint always with a Happy Heart,