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Made by hand from start to finish

Rubber duck reusable makeup remover pads being made by hand

At Drawn by Rhiannon everything is done by hand from start to finish.

Every item begins with an image drawn by hand by me which I scan in to the computer to make a digital fabric design. I then make all the items myself on my industrial sewing machine. I also make all the packaging myself, photograph the items and edit them to make them as clear as possible. Finally I list them on my website and write up a description for every item. It really is all done by hand!

To show you what I mean here’s a rundown on how the new rubber duck reusable makeup remover pads were made by hand, step by step. (You can take a look at the finished product on my website here.)

Step 1: Drawings

I love that every fabric I design begins with one of my drawings. I use all sorts of materials to draw with but for the rubber ducks I decided to use promarkers. These pens are brilliant for creating bold graphic designs which was exactly the look I wanted for the ducks. I chose a selection of rubber ducks from my collection (I have almost 100 now!) and started to draw. I initially sketched the ducks in pencil to get a rough outline to work with. Then I went over the lines I was happy with with a black marker and coloured in the shapes. These are the pages from my sketchbook that I scanned in.

Step 2: Digital print design

Once I’m happy with the drawings it’s time to make the digital print design. The drawings always need a bit of cleaning up so I go around the edge of the drawings erasing any fuzzy edges from the scanner. Thanks to the bold line work and colours, the duck drawings scanned in really well and were fairly simple to convert in to digital images. Next I make sure the colours are where I want them to be. For example, some of the ducks had scanned in with bolder colours so I wanted to make sure that the colour depth was even across all the ducks. I never want to over-edit on the computer otherwise the drawings will lose their hand-drawn character. 

I had a good idea in my head about how I wanted the duck print to look which made it easier to arrange the design. Sometimes I’m not sure how I want the finished design to look so it can take a long time to work out a composition that I’m happy with. For the rubber ducks I simply wanted them in lines with a half drop repeat.

Step 3: Making

When I’ve finished the design, I send it to a fabric printing company in London. They print my designs on to the fabrics then send it back to me to be made in to all sorts of different items. 

With the reusable makeup remover pads there are quite a few steps required to make them. First of all I have to cut out the printed fabric and the backing fabric. For the back of the pads I use a soft cotton towelling that I source locally.

 

Once the fabrics are all cut out it’s time to start pinning. About 70% of making anything seems to be pinning!

 

After pinning everything in place I sew the two sides together on the industrial sewing machine. I then topstitch around the whole pad to make sure it’s really secure.

Rubber duck reusable makeup remover pads being made by hand

Then I repeat the whole thing four more times to have a total of five makeup pads per pack. The final stage in the making process is to make the little wash bag that the pads are stored in. I make these with tulle that I buy locally so that you can see which design pads are inside each bag. It’s also a handy little bag to keep for washing the makeup pads in so that they don’t escape and get lost in the wash.

Step 4: Packaging

I include an information tag with the reusable makeup remover pads which also gets made by me. I designed the tag on my computer to include how to use the pads and the cleaning instructions. These tags are then printed on to card and cutout using my cricut machine. The cricut machine saves me a lot of time and cuts a lot more accurately than I would!

Step 5: Photography

Once the makeup pads are made, in their little bags and tied with a tag, they’re ready to be photographed. I do all my product photography myself in my studio. Luckily my studio has nice big windows that let in lots of natural light so as long as the British weather is being kind, I can usually snap some pretty good product shots.

Then it’s just a case of editing the photos to fix the lighting and make sure the colours are true to life. Finally they’re ready to list on the website!

I always write a small section about the inspiration behind the print design for a personal touch and make sure important details such as size and fabric type are listed.

You can see the finished listing here – https://www.drawnbyrhiannon.co.uk/product/reusable-rubber-duck-makeup-remover-pads/

 

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Q&A with Rhiannon

In case you didn’t know, Drawn by Rhiannon is run by me, Rhiannon.

The business isn’t named ironically – my name is Rhiannon and I draw stuff. I’ve had a few questions sent through social media recently so I thought I’d round them all up and do a blog post Q&A! Let’s dive straight in.

How did you start?

I studied fashion design then fashion graphics at university. After the first year of university I knew that I wanted to focus on print design so I moved from fashion design to fashion graphics. My final major project was a collection of homeware items made with my printed fabric – sound familiar? At the end of year show I had several people ask me if I would be selling any of the things I’d made so I was like hey, people want to buy this stuff! Using my FMP as a starting point, I opened Drawn by Rhiannon and it’s just grown from there. The puffins were the most popular design from my first collection so I decided to use the puffin as my logo.

My final major project at university was the starting point for Drawn by Rhiannon

Where do you find inspiration?

Everywhere! I love travelling and many of my favourite designs have been inspired by things I’ve seen on holiday. I’m also super inspired by the beautiful North East where I live, as well as animals, random objects and food.

Do you do this full time?

I work pretty much full time hours at Drawn by Rhiannon but I also work part time in a craft shop. This just makes sure I know all my bills will be paid. Plus it’s great to use some of my skills at the day job too. I would really love to just work on Drawn by Rhiannon all the time as my main income so hopefully one day I will be completely full time here!

How long does it take to design a print?

I get asked this question all the time and it’s such a difficult one to answer! Every print design is completely different so each one takes a different amount of time to create. There’s the drawing and colouring stage, the digital cleaning and then arranging stages. Some things are quick to draw but then take forever at the computer stage. Others take such a long time to draw but are relatively easy to digitalise. The pineapple took over 5 hours to draw! One thing that I can say about all my designs is that they are all a labour of love.

The pineapple design took so long to draw I couldn’t look at pineapples for months afterwards!

What are your future goals?

Like I mentioned earlier, my aim is to run Drawn by Rhiannon full time. I’d love to have my own shop filled with things I’ve made plus other local artists’ work. And I’d have a little tearoom in there too because I love baking!

One day I hope to have a shop where I can sell my items and bake cakes too

Did you always want to be a designer?

Not at all! I was always changing what I wanted to do when I was older. For a long time I wanted to be a pilot but then I found out how much it cost to train and that you had to do physics so that kind of went out the window…

When I first went in to the fashion world, I thought I wanted to be a stylist. Then I wanted to be a fashion journalist – until someone who worked at a fashion magazine came in to give us a talk and told us that it was exactly like what you see on the devil wears prada. I basically fell in to fabric design because I never knew the job existed! It was only after a print design project in my first year that I fell in love with pattern design and knew that was what I wanted to do.

What do you do in your spare time?

What’s spare time again? Running Drawn by Rhiannon whilst working part time in the craft shop too doesn’t leave much room for spare time. But when I do get the chance to take some time off I love to travel. If I could get paid to travel I would drop everything and do that instead! Other than that I love baking and cooking, music (my ukulele featured in one of my print designs), and going to the beach.

Which is your favourite print?

Oh that’s so tough! There are some prints that I honestly can’t stand to look at because I spent so long designing them that I kind of never want to see them again… but I think my favourite prints might be either the bananas or the pandas. The bananas were really fun to design actually and I was so chuffed with how they came out! The pandas remind me of the amazing trip to Edinburgh zoo that inspired the design so I love that print.

Drawn by Rhiannon banana dress
I would love to make a dress with my banana design fabric!

What is your favourite item to make?

This changes all the time. I used to get so sick of sewing zips because everything I made needed a zip. Since then I’ve expanded my product range to all sorts of things that don’t need zips. At the moment I’m feeling a bit nostalgic for sewing coin purses and pencil cases.

If you have any more questions for me just comment below and I’ll answer them!

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Meet the maker 2019 week 3

Drawn by Rhiannon banana dress

Meet the maker week 3 was all about future plans and dreams. My head is always full of ideas of where I want to see the business in the future so this was a great week for me.
Have you seen the first two weeks of the meet the maker challenge yet? Click here to them.
So without further ado, it’s time for meet the maker week 3!

Day 15: Motivation/goals

Motivation/goals - meet the maker week 3
I’ve always loved baking so combining this with my designing would be a dream come true

Feeling motivated can be really hard some days when running your own business, especially if you’re working every hour God sends and still not really getting anywhere. My end goal is to have my own place which is half shop, half cafe so that people can come and relax with a slice of cake and buy some lovely handmade goodies all in the same place.

Day 16: Workspace

Workspace - meet the maker week 3
I have a very short commute to the studio at the bottom of my garden

I’m very lucky to have a fabulous studio at the bottom of my garden where I do all my drawing, designing, making and photographing. I’ve just written a blog post with a behind the scenes tour of the studio which you can read here.

Day 17: What I’m working on

Drawn by Rhiannon printed greetings cards
A whole range of non-fabric items featuring my designs are now available to buy!

I’m currently brainstorming a whole new range of items that aren’t fabric based. I’m thinking greetings cards, mugs, stickers… that kind of thing! These are now available to purchase in my Redbubble shop.

Day 18: Mistake or lesson

I have made so many mistakes with my business I can’t even count them all… but as long as I learn from it then it’s all OK.

Day 19: Dream collaboration

Drawn by Rhiannon banana print dress
I would love to make clothes with my printed fabrics

I would absolutely love love love to see my designs used on clothes! Originally I trained in fashion design so I’ve always got that in the back of my mind. Seriously tempted to make a banana dress to wear at markets…

Day 20: Design process

Drawn by Rhiannon design process
Everything I produce is hand drawn, designed and handmade by me.

If you didn’t know that I design all my fabrics from my hand drawings, where have you been?? So just in case you weren’t sure, here’s what happens…

1. I see something that inspires me which I photograph for later.
2. I draw it – pens, pencil, paints.. whatever takes my fancy!
3. I scan the drawing into the computer and design a digital print.
4. The designs are sent to the fabric printing company in London.
5. When the fabric returns, I cut it up and sew it in to lovely things!

From start to finish it’s all done by me! (Except the physical fabric printing, I don’t quite have enough money for a fabric printer yet…)

Day 21: Throwback

Throwback - meet the maker week 3
My final major project at university was the start of Drawn by Rhiannon

I decided to choose this photo of my FMP show at Southampton Solent University as this is basically where Drawn by Rhiannon began! I made a homeware collection of cushions, notebooks, towels and buttons and several people asked me if I would be selling any of it, so I did ? The puffins were by far the most popular design so when I officially started Drawn by Rhiannon I chose the puffin to be my logo.

Day 22: Proud of

Drawn by Rhiannon craft market
I love doing markets and getting to meet and chat to you all!

To be honest, the thing I’m most proud of is the fact that I’m still going! Running a small business is really challenging so I’m just really chuffed that I haven’t given up. Other than that, I’m proud of all the markets that I do every month. There’s so much prep work that goes in to a market and it’s an early start and a long day, so it would be easy to decide not to do them. But I love seeing all you lovely people in real life and getting to chat to you!

(I realised half way through doing these blog posts that there were more than four weeks in March so meet the maker week 3 and 4 will have extra days in them to fit all the days in.)

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Meet the maker 2019 week 2

Drawn by Rhiannon photography setup

Welcome to meet the maker week 2! Have you read the first week of the meet the maker posts yet? If not, click here to catch up.
Read on to find out more in the meet the maker week 2.

Day 8: Product range

Flamingo makeup bags and reusable makeup pads
Flamingo makeup bags and reusable makeup pads

I love making matching products, especially if they’ll be used together like the flamingo makeup pads and makeup bag ? would you guys be interested in a special offer if you buy a makeup bag and matching makeup pads together? Let me know!
The flamingo makeup bag is available here, and the flamingo reusable makeup remover pads are available here.

Day 9: Story behind the name

Behind the name - meet the maker
My name is Rhiannon and I love to draw

Mine is super simple – my name is Rhiannon and I draw. I wanted a name that wouldn’t restrict me in the further if I wanted to branch out from fabric homeware items so I decided to go with Drawn by Rhiannon as no matter what products I would be making, it would always start with one of my hand drawings.

Day 10: You

Meet the maker
Meet me in real life at a market in the North East.

In case we haven’t met before – Hello, my name is Rhiannon! I design all the fabrics from my hand drawings and hand make all the items myself . I’m one of those people that doesn’t particularly like having their picture taken so I chose one of me behind my market stall from last week at the make and mend market ? I love meeting all you lovely people in real life at the markets so if you’re ever in the north east when I’m at a market, please do come and say hello.

Day 11: Reducing waste

Squirrel reusable makeup remover pads
Reusable makeup remover pads are a great way to reduce waste

This is something I’m really passionate about so I’m working on a whole new line of products to help you reduce waste. This includes the reusable makeup remover pads and the reusable beeswax food wraps. I’m also thinking about reusable sponges and reusable paper towels. If you would like to see any other eco-friendly products please let me know.

Day 12: Hands at work

A sped up video of what goes in to the editing of photos

After all the sewing, the next step is photographing everything, editing the photos and uploading the new products to the website. I use Photoshop to even out the lighting and tidy up the background. I also use it to make the colours look as true to life as possible ?

Day 13: Photography

Photography setup - meet the maker
My current photography setup – very tricky to get right!

Photography is my biggest struggle with running my own business. It takes me as long to photograph and edit the photos as it does to make the items in the first place! I’ve finally worked out a good set up but it hugely depends on the British weather…

Day 14: How I learnt

Meet the maker

I learnt how to draw properly when I started my fashion degree. You wouldn’t believe the difference having proper drawing lessons makes! That’s where I first learnt about print design. My mum taught me the basics of sewing when I started A Level Textiles and then I was thrown in the deep end with industrial sewing machines and overlockers when I started my fashion degree. After two years of unbelievably complicated garment construction I realised fashion design wasn’t for me. When I switched my major to fashion graphics, I learnt more about digital art and started to refine my print design skills. Every print I design teaches me something new so I’m constantly learning everyday.

Other than that, everything I’ve learnt has been through experience. I’ve made so many mistakes and felt like giving up a lot, but I keep on trying. Running your own business is really hard work so a big shout out to everyone who has made it a success ?

Meet the maker week 2 really focused on background information about me. Would you like to know more about my design process, education or past projects? Let me know by commenting below. Week 3 coming soon!

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Meet the maker 2019 week 1

March Meet the Maker 2019 prompt list

If you’ve not heard of it before, March Meet the Maker is an Instagram challenge set up by Joanne Hawker.

It comprises of a list of prompts for small businesses to post about to show people more about their business. I love taking part in the meet the maker challenge as it lets me connect more with all you lovely lot and you get to find out more about me and what I do! In case you missed it, here’s a run down of this year’s prompts.

The 2019 list of prompts for the March Meet the Maker challenge
The 2019 list of prompts for the March Meet the Maker challenge

If you don’t follow Drawn by Rhiannon on Instagram (if you don’t, click here to find me) then you will have missed loads of behind the scenes action so I thought I’d share the pictures on here too just for you!

Day 1: Favourite to make

Water resistant bee print apron
Bee apron

I found this one a really tricky one to decide but when I was making the new aprons the other day I realised how much more I like sewing them than I used to! They always used to be a real struggle to make on my domestic sewing machine as the water resistant fabric they’re made with is super tough. Since I’ve got my industrial machine though it’s a whole new story! The aprons have lots of little steps from beginning to end and it’s nice to work on something different 🙂

Day 2: How you started

How Drawn by Rhiannon started - meet the maker
My final collection of my fashion design foundation degree – my first fabric collection!

The first fabric collection I designed was for my the final major project of my fashion design foundation degree. I took inspiration from nature and random objects to create two print themes for a range of fashion accessories. Seeing my designs printed on fabric for the first time was incredible! To be honest I still find it amazing now every time a new batch of fabric arrives ? I then went on to study fashion graphics at Southampton Solent University where I totally focused on print design, culminating in my FMP of printed homeware items. Lots of people asked if I would be selling the things I had made and that’s how Drawn by Rhiannon was born!

Day 3: Flatlay

Otter pencil case
Flatlay shots are great for pencil cases

Photography is something I’m constantly working on but I feel like I’m getting better at it. I always like to do a flatlay shot with the pencil cases and coin purses to give you an idea of size and how much you can fit in them. The pencil cases are not only great for storing stationery, but they also make great travel sewing kits!
The otter pencil case is available to buy here.

Day 4: Tools and materials

Industrial sewing machine - meet the maker
Almost everything I make is sewn on my brilliant industrial sewing machine

The main tool I use is my fabulous industrial sewing machine! It’s super powerful so has no problem with all the hours of sewing through tough fabric ?
By the way, this photo was taken just after my studio was completed, my sewing table has never been this tidy since ?

Day 5: Detail or close up

Rubber duck wash bag
I loved designing all the details of the rubber duck print

I’ve decided to share a close up of one of my new prints… the rubber ducks! These are all drawings based on ducks from my collection and I love all the little details on them. Who else is a fan of rubber ducks?
The rubber duck wash bag is available to buy here.

Day 6: Full or part time

Part time craft shop
I also work part time in a craft shop

I usually work 30-40 hours a week on Drawn by Rhiannon (though in the past few months that’s been closer to 50 or 60 hours a week which is probably why I’ve been so tired ?) but I also work a few shifts a week in a craft shop so I literally spend my whole life crafting!

Day 7: Less glam side

Reusable panda beeswax food wraps
The beeswax wraps definitely aren’t glamorous to make!

This one baffled me a bit as I wondered what people thought was glam about running a business… as much as I love my job, I definitely wouldn’t describe it as glamorous! Probably the least glamorous part of my job is spending hours scrubbing the kitchen after making the food wraps as the beeswax gets everywhere ?
Take a look at all the available beeswax wraps here.

Stay tuned for week 2 of the March Meet the Maker prompts coming soon!

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A quick introduction

Drawn by Rhiannon

Seeing as I’ve started this new blog and some of you are new to Drawn by Rhiannon, I thought I would make a post of a quick introduction so you know who’s talking to you.

This is me! I’m not a fan of having my photo taken so you won’t see my face much around here (but if you ever want to talk to me face-to-face, come and visit me at a market! Find a list of events here).
I studied Fashion Graphics at Southampton Solent University and graduated with a First Class Honours. I’m going to do a whole different blog post about how I got into print design and my process, but for now, here’s some random facts about me to get a sneak peek into the designer behind Drawn by Rhiannon.

  1. Just in case you weren’t sure, my name is Rhiannon and I like to draw.
  2. I live in Newcastle Upon Tyne by the sea and I love it here! The beach is my absolute happy place and gives me so much inspiration.
  3. I’m not originally from here so don’t be surprised when I don’t talk with a Geordie accent. I’ve moved all over but grew up in Derbyshire.
  4. I have a ridiculously cute pet rabbit called Cucumber. If you follow Drawn by Rhiannon on social media you’ll see snaps of her now and again on there.
  5. I am most definitely a sweet person rather than savoury. I can’t get through the day without chocolate and biscuits!
  6. I love travelling. I’m always saving up for the next adventure to experience new cultures, food and print inspiration.
  7. I’m big into music, especially rock and jazz. I used to play the flute but now my main instrument is the ukulele. In total I have two ukuleles, two guitars, a flute, a keyboard, bongos and maracas.
  8. If you hadn’t noticed from my print designs, I’m a fan of bright colours. My house is literally a rainbow.
  9. I really enjoy cooking and baking so you might see some foodie posts on here sometimes – would people be in to that?
  10. Finally, I love my job! Every day it amazes me that I’m lucky enough to do what I love for a living and I’m so thankful to all you lovely lot for making it possible by supporting me!

So that’s a little insight in to me, why not comment below with some random facts about you?

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Let’s get started

Drawn by Rhiannon watercolour painting

There are so many things I love about running my own business but designing whatever prints I want is definitely my favourite part of my job. I’ve got loads of new print ideas in the works for this year so I thought I’d get started on the first one.

Last year, after hours and hours of drawing, I designed the pineapple print and thankfully you guys loved it! It was one of the most popular prints of 2018 so I’ve decided to expand the idea into a print range full of all sorts of different colourful fruits. I’m taking a slightly different approach with these fruits as I’ve been wanting to try out a new colouring technique for a while now. My plan is to draw the outlines of the fruits with a thick pencil then create watercolour washes in different colours and collage the colours into the outlines on Photoshop. Check out the next blog post to see the results!

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Hello!

Drawn by Rhiannon

Welcome to the brand new Drawn by Rhiannon blog! This is the place to check out all the goings-on behind the scenes in the studio and find out about new print designs and products before anyone else. Please feel free to leave comments with your views, suggestions and ideas – I love talking to you lovely lot!