my messy creative process

Something amazing happened last night after what has felt like a week or two of complete creative block. You know when you want to create but you try and you just can't? Yesterday I somehow managed to power through it and ended up creating something from my 'Inner design soul' which is the part where I store all the creative things that make me really really happy.

I love all types of graphic design, I enjoy working in Illustrator but this is the stuff that makes me buzz. Last night I could be seen running around the living room like a crazy scientist with ink covered hands looking for my masking tape, and it made me feel really happy. I can't even describe the feeling, but I even half crawled into our really messy cupboard which is known to have a variety of insect creatures including spiders in it, but I didn't care about the spiders because I had some kind of creative ink buzz. A few people have really complimented me on this style and wanted to know how it was created (The process is a crazy one and I tend to just chuck a load of stuff together) So I thought it would be a good idea for a blog post:

the magic tools of creative wizardry

Black drawing ink - I usually use Windsor & Newton Indian ink but this one's just as good/UHU stick for collaging/Brian Clegg inks - These are my favourite for bright colours they come in a pack of 12/Posca pen/Ink roller/washi tape 

These are the main tools I used, as well as my printer/scanner, some gridded paper and tracing paper. I started off by printing the image of myself with the 'hello' font three times onto gridded paper. I was originally going to do a collage so I stuck three of the same picture slightly next to eachother to give a 3d-ish effect. I also scanned in the original and photocopied (sometimes this can give a cool look). I like to scan in when I'm half way before adding any major elements that could mess the whole thing up. It's kind of like an old school save tool. 

I used this roller that work let me steal which I wanted for lino printing, I used it to create some textures. I'm going to scan these in and use them as textures in Photoshop and Illustrator in the future - don't waste anything! I found that once the black ink had dried rollering over another colour looked pretty cool and added a layered element, much like print making. This of course, excited me greatly. 

I used my Posca pen to create thinner inky lines and to create the writing and some washi tape to add texture and a layered element.

drafts and inky hands

Before the digital stuff happens I have to tidy up the creative mess I've created, which usually includes inky floorboards and hands, anything I touch gets covered in ink and in a rented house this isn't ideal! I also had these two versions printed on tracing paper stuck on my windows - not very practical for digital work because no one would know they're printed on tracing paper, but tracing paper, and acetate can create a pretty cool look especially when stuck on rainy windows or layered upon other things.

getting digital 

This is the final scanned image which I then took into Photoshop. This part is pretty much trial and error and I spent a good hour using different colours only to end up going back to the original one. To create the half digital, half hand generated look I used two different colours and various blend modes (which I've forgotten) - you very rarely get the same look which I kind of like, but it can be frustrating if you need to re-create something. 

With some blend modes they do make certain part less visible. This happened with the text in the bottom right - which I wanted to be visible. I added a new layer for this and used a lighter blend mode, it accidentally made it look like a collaged element (which Lauren complimented). Yay for happy accidents. 

You may be confused as to why the final image is pink, especially due to the fact that I moan about my pink work uniform weekly (well, I like pink in artwork). It was a bit overpowering so I decided to add some digital scribbles and text in white, for this I used a 'wet media' brush in Photoshop. 

Tips & tricks 

  • Don't be afraid to experiment with lots of different medias, you'll be surprised at what can create interesting textures, I like covering masking tape in ink to get a grungy horror looking texture. 
  • Wash your paint brushes/rollers, don't do a me. 
  • Write down your digital process, what blend modes you use, opacity percentages etc. I wish I did this!
  • Don't live in a rented house when you love messy art.
  • When printing on shiny surfaces like acetate or tracing paper remember they don't dry straight away.
  • Be a hoarder of creative materials, you never know when something could come in handy. 
  • Make use of everything, every time you make something textured scan it in and put it into a textures folder for future digital use. 

I hope you enjoyed this post, I had great fun creating it - I hope this process makes sense to you and gives you inspiration and some tips on being a messy creator.
Lauren