Discover how I decided to illustrate my sewing instructions.
Besides sewing and pattern making, I love drawing and painting. I have been drawing and painting for 20 years. When I decided to launch my sewing patterns, I thought that both activities were completely separate, or at least, I simply didn’t think of mixing them.
However when it came to creating the sewing instructions of my patterns, I started to wonder : could I not draw the illustrations myself? This article describes what happened next…
I made a few drawings to see what it could look like, and I made my real first attempt with watercolour. The problem is that I was not really happy with it because I thought it was not precise enough and therefore not professional enough.
So I gave up the painting idea and I tried to make the illustrations on the computer using Illustrator. Oh the result was great: neat and precise as you would expect from sewing illustrations. But I guess it was “too digital”, too grey, and not really reflecting what I wanted for Camimade. Also these were the sorts of illustrations that you can find in all patterns. Even though the illustration style is not the reason why you buy a pattern, I think they can make you recognisable as a brand.
I started to be convinced that my painting and drawing should set me apart from the others. So I came back to the idea of doing my illustrations by hand. After the watercolour attempt, I had in mind to do something more precise, more professional: I tried markers. The result was really really good, with the correct amount of precision and thoroughness which is needed to help you sew. But again…I was not convinced it was the right direction for Camimade.
At this stage, I had drawn and painted so many Dune camisoles that I had to take a step back! I decided to ask my pattern testers and friends what they prefer between watercolour, computer illustrations and markers. Surprisingly (at least for me), they voted unanimously for watercolour. They all said to me that it was different from what you generally see in sewing instructions. Some said that they could relate it to my personality. One said that they prefer the marker illustrations because of the level of precision but if the watercolour ones were more precise, they would have voted for it.
Moreover, a friend of mine had started to design the front page of my pattern instructions, and I had this idea about having a watercolour background for each pattern that was starting to grow in my mind. The first mock-up was really promising so I thought that watercolour was the best choice too.
Finally, all happy about the result of the vote and the mock-up my friend designed, I made my last and final attempt with watercolour, and took it to a nice level of precision. I must say that I am glad I made all this work, because it was definitely worth it. I think this is what goes best with Camimade spirit and my personality in the end. I hope you will like it!
Here is a snapshot of my final illustrations:
The expression says that the first intuition is always right but it’s funny how it always surprises you. You have to try different things before realising that your first intuition was right for you. The thing is you have to try these other things to get to that point.
By the way, I’m currently building another website to show my paintings and drawings…always projects in the making for me!