two | tinker and tweak
once i've got a rough version of the imagery and text sketched out in my sketchbook i start working on loose paper (usually the cheap, thin stuff as it's makes tracing easier). i tweak and tinker with the everything using the lightbox (which, pleasingly, because of its handle, looks like a huge white suitcase full of light) and my favourite muji fine line pens, i end up with a lot of sheets with sometimes just a few cryptic shapes and letters drawn on them. i then scan them in and use photoshop to neaten, refine and develop the imagery, gradually dividing everything up so that each separation (colour layer) is on a different photoshop layer. sometimes i illegally use the screen of the mac as a lightbox, which isn't a very good idea, i'm not very good at 'drawing' with the mouse and much prefer to do stuff by hand and then scan in so i go back-and-forth-back-and-forth between lightbox, kitchen table and mac many times. i use photoshop in a completely ridiculous, luddite way (much to the amusement of my swish graphic designer / illustrator pals), without any keyboard shortcuts and spending ages drawing things and creating textures by hand and then scanning them in when i could probably do it in seconds with photoshop wizardry. at this stage of the process i consult the o-o (ah, the honest opinions of a child), the lovely m, other family members and friends and ask their thoughts and preferences which helps lots (thanks guys, you know who you are!), i get quite annoying i think, asking people 'which windows do you prefer' when the only person who can really see any difference between the alternatives is me. eventually, i end up with a photoshop document that is ready to print (as individual layers) and turn into a screen for printing. i'd also like to point out that, as you can see in the second photo i completely neglect my housewifery while i'm working, those are the breakfast porridge bowls on the kitchen table in the background, still not washed-up late in the day. other mamas often ask how i do my art when i've got kiddos, i always say the same thing; something's got to give and i'd rather be making than cleaning any day, i squeeze all my airing cupboard industries stuff into wee baby j's nap times (he's asleep on the sofa as i type). the housework gets done (kinda) in a mad rush before m gets home from work.
this is the second in a series of posts about the different stages of my creative process, from first ideas to screen printing in my home studio to selling the finished prints online. you can see the other posts here.