Creating a New Design ǀ The 'Lilac Anemone'

Blog post number 4, who would have thought it!

I’m spent a lot of the last few months (these long, yet super fly-by months) looking over old, unscanned, unedited and generally unloved work. I tend to limit  myself to 1 day a week for collage, but my word do I go all out on that day! I can spend a good couple hours filling up one of my bob-basic A5 sketchbooks. I’ll look at what I have created, probably feeling pretty pleased with myself. And then those sweet little snips will never see the light of day ever again! It happens all the time.

Don’t get me wrong, not all of it is any good, but it’s tweakable! So with all these bits and pieces lurking around it means I have got a whole heap of designs in my head just waiting to get made!  

I really want to expand the types of florals and the colour combinations within my collection of prints so having just completed a new design, I thought I would show you how I go about creating a new piece.

Step 1: Ideas, themes, colours, gathering references.

Like with anything that’s aesthetically pleasing and worth while in life, I begin with Pinterest.  I’ve got a couple of feature boards that house all my ‘in the future’ ideas, everything from single florals I want to study, or a great colour pairing I think would work well. 

Now in all honestly I don’t really create mood boards like the one below, well I kind of do, but only in my head. Although after putting this one together I may carry on it with it! 

I’ll move the colours around, check and tweak the tones, then do a few scribbles in my sketchbook to air some ideas out.

Step 2: Sketching and Collaging

After I’ve worked out the focal pieces and colour combos (colours are always subject to change during editing) I’ll do a few thumbnails of compositions, mostly to make sure I don’t collage loads of elements and cram the page. If you look an actual bouquet it is choc-a-block full of foliage, focal florals, accent blooms and textures. If I were to cram all that on one page, it would be a hot mess, so to keep it simple and be as time efficient as I can, I create a ‘cutting list.’ Literally a list: anemone, anemone side view, anemone bud, stamens, Lilac Stock, lime coloured leafs...

I often make more than I need, but then I always have something for a future date- hence the original problem of having loads of unused collages!

Original Skecthbook Art

The image above is a ‘making of’ assemblage of all the ideas and elements from this latest design- ‘Lilac Anemone.’ I’ve pasted the sketchy thumbnails on top of the collage sketchbook scan, to make this A6 postcard to go in with shop orders. In reality I keep a separate ‘no pressure’ sketchbook that is full of scruffy sketches, torn out images and any old things I don’t want to forget.

I’m going to make a few more of these ‘making of postcards,’ I love their rough nature, and I hope it demonstrates the work that goes into each print.

Step 3: The Edit

After the collages are made and scanned into Photoshop it’s time to begin the final design. I scan at 600pdi, sometimes higher, depending on the size of the original collage and how big I want the prints to be. 600dpi is usually enough for me.

I would say I spend maybe 4 or 5 hours editing the final design, not all at once mind you, that would be a chore. I’ll get a basic layout, leave it, look at it again, adjust it, multiple some elements, cut others, often duplicating some elements and tweaking the colours and contrast until it feels right. 

In this case I collaged a side view of the anemone to give some dimension to the design, but after I scanned it in I really didn’t love the shape, it looked really forced, and as you can see, didn’t make it into the final piece.



Have a look see that those pale blue Stock buds, I only created one plant collage, a few extras buds and then used Photoshop to duplicate, colour tweak and manipulate them just enough to be able to have 4 in the background. Trickery eh!

If you peak back to the mood board, you can see the predominant colour was a  dusty rose colour, but in editing I wasn’t enjoying it at all, it made everything look a little static and bland. I still felt that I needed a hint of dusty pink, so I used a few roses to add just enough. I’ve included those roses in a heap of designs, just to pad things out. This time I altered the colour with a little more red and magenta and I’m really pleased with how that warm tone pink pairs with the icy, cool lilacs and blues. I then added those deep violet sweetpeas to give the white anemones something to pop out from.

 So there you have it! From idea to final design.

Available in A4 and A3 with the 'making of' postcard popped in with every order. Hope you enjoyed!