These are a few questions I get all the time, so I thought I would create a FAQ to answer them.
Q. What are your prices for design?
Pricing is not something I have set because it’s not like a fixed product. Many factors determine the price of an artwork such as the length of time it will take, what will the design be used for (a logo, invitation, part of a campaign?) obtaining rights to the artwork, licensing, how quickly do you want the design? These are a few questions I will ask before I can determine an estimate price.
Q. How do you turn your drawings into digital pieces (vector format)?
A. Usually the drawings I use to make into digital pieces are inked, then I scan them as a black and white image at a high resolution of 300 px or sometimes 600 px. After that I open it up it photoshop and tidy up any specs or jagged edges, meaning I clean up lines and little mistakes. Then I re-save the edited image and open it up in illustrator. I use the live trace tool to make it into a vector. I prefer to clean up the lines in photoshop and use the live trace tool in illustrator over the pen tool because I like to maintain the hand drawn design although I do need to edit the paths when I use the live trace option because I don’t get an exact replica of the drawing. If the design is quite complex and I think it may just take more time to clean up the lines then edit the paths after live trace I would choose to use the pen tool instead. To me, both ways are time consuming and there’s isn’t any quick way to getting it done unless you draw directly in illustrator using a graphics tablet (working from a scanned/photographed pencil sketch), you may not get the desired hand drawn effect due to the variation of thick and thin lines but you can experiment with various brushes in illustrator to get a similar effect. I haven’t tried this option as yet but I will surely try it some time to see which one is less time consuming.
I have a small tutorial that you can find on my blog Floral/Flourish Design Tutorial
Q. I am using the live trace tool in illustrator as I found it to produce a more hand-drawn feel to the patterns, rather than tracing them with the pen tool. How can I break down the pattern so I can colour each part separately?
You can achieve the separation by editing the image in photoshop. Make duplicates of the original image, and erase the parts in sections so you should end up with multiple layers. Then save each individual image and on a new artboard ‘place’ them one by one without repositioning or scaling it. This way they will line up. Then use the live trace tool on each of them. Another way to achieve this is to open the image in illustrator, use live trace, make duplicates of the image, and erase the bits you want to have separated using the erase tool.
Q. How do you choose your colour combinations?
For my colour combinations, I really take a good amount of time to decide which colours compliment each other. Something it’s determined by my mood, the phase I’m in and I also consider things like, do I want to give off a serious vibe, or do I want to be playful, or should the colours be bold, it really depends on the context of the design. There are websites such us Kuler that generates colour palettes for you, you can also browse the gallery for inspiration. This website is also very resourceful in colour combinations Color Scheme Designer.
Two things I bare in mind when choosing colours:
- Colours may look good next to each other but when they are layered on top of each other it doesn’t always work very well because it may be in the same tonal range or they may have the same value. For example placing yellow above lime green, this is a no-no for text because it makes it very hard to read.
- Screen colours and print colours are not the same. I may choose some lovely colours for my design and later find that they don’t match and some colours appear much darker on screen. It’s best to use a lcd screen and to calibrate your monitor. Unfortunately my laptop does not display true colours which is why I depend on this CMYK Colour Chart. I got all the pages printed at the printer I use and I match my colours for colour accuracy.
Q. Which programs do you use to create your pieces?
My favourite program has to be illustrator. I also use photoshop but only if I’m mainly using images and I need to have specific effects which I can’t achieve in illustrator.
Q. What kind of paper do you recommend to use with drawing pens?
I usually use printer paper, A4 size. I either sketch out my designs in pencil on the printer paper, or ink it and then trace them over using tracing paper. For me I find it’s much better because there is less bleeding on the tracing paper as opposed to using printer paper. You can however use acid free paper if it’s being done as a one of a kind, final piece and not simply for sketching.