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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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Inspired by a sassy sheep

I get inspiration from all over the place but for this particular print design it was this sassy sheep that started it all off.

Sassy sheep at Sewerby Hall

I spotted this fabulous creature on a trip to Sewerby Hall. After calling the sheep to see if I could get it to look at me for a photo, it gave me this look. The character in its face was brilliant and I knew I wanted to make it in to a print design.

For sketching the sheep I chose to work in pencil. This gave me the ability to create a fluffy outline but also focus in on the character of the face.

Sheep drawing

The shape was surprisingly tricky to get right as the sheep was just so poofy. When I was eventually happy with the outline, I scanned it in to the computer.

Digital colouring

Sometimes pencil drawings can be a real pain to manipulate digitally as the soft pencil marks don’t scan in well. Thankfully the sketch was bold enough that the computer could pick up all the small details. With a little bit of cleaning up the sheep was ready for colouring.

Sheep drawing digitalised

I wanted to create the feel of the wonderfully textured fur. To begin with I digitally coloured layers of different shades of creams and greys to get a base. I then took snippets of fur from the original photo and blended them in to the base colour to achieve the textured look. This is quite a difficult process as it’s important to get the balance of colour and shading just right to make it look realistic and not too computerised.

Digital sheep drawing coloured in

Finally it was time to assemble the design.

Creating the final sheep print

Similar to the cow print, I knew I wanted the sheep arranged in clusters to look like a flock. By scaling, rotating and skewing them, I made little family groups of sheep. Once I was happy with the layout, I worked on the background colour.

Sheep print design with white background

I always start every print design with a white background to check that I’m sure on the layout. Sometimes I keep the white background but I didn’t think this worked well with the sheep.

Sheep print design with cream background

Next I tried it with a warmer yellow cream colour which I thought was more successful. The sheep stood out from the background colour better than on the white.

Sheep print design with green grass background

Finally I tried a green background with tufts of grass to look like a field. Picking the right shade of green is always a difficult task but I’m really pleased with the one I chose here and I think this colourway is my favourite.

Let me know what you think of the new sheep print design by commenting below!

Sheep in the wild

You can find the sheep print design featured on the following products available to buy now from my shop.

Sheep coin purse
Sheep coin purse
Sheep wash bag
Sheep wash bag
Sheep passport cover
Sheep passport cover
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Back to the drawing board

Cow pencil drawing for the cow print design

The last post saw the first stage of the cow print design. Continue on to see the next steps…

After the realisation that the oil pastel drawing wasn’t going to work for the base of the print design, it was time to go back to the drawing board. I’ve been enjoying using thick pencils recently so I started there. I knew I wanted to use something that would pick out the layers of the cow’s shaggy hair so a simple pencil seemed the best way to go.

Pretty cow serving as inspiration for the new cow print design
Such a pretty cow

Although I liked the effect the oil pastels created for mimicking the cow’s hair, I felt that they missed some of the details. The cows had such beautiful faces and really pretty eyes so I spent most of my drawing time focused on the face.

The finished cow drawing for the new cow print design
The finished pencil drawing

I think the pencil drawing captured the character of the cow much better than the oil pastels did. I’m really pleased with how the face came out, isn’t he just so adorable! I still wanted to get across the texture of the fur so I decided to digitally colour the hair. On Photoshop I planned to use several layers of photographs of fur.

The cow drawing scanned in really well and is ready for being made into a print design
The pencil drawing of the cow scanned in much better than the oil pastels drawing

Thankfully the pencil drawing scanned in much clearer than the oil pastels did. By fiddling with the levels and exposure, I was able to get a really solid outline. This works great for print designs as it shows up better on fabric. I was also able to clean up all the little lines that I’d drawn slightly wrong so I was completely happy with the drawing – thank you Photoshop!

Stay tuned for the final blog post in the cow print design series to see the finished print! You’ll also find out what items I decided to make with the printed fabric. Feel free to drop me a message in the next post if you want to reserve anything.

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Hello Mr. Cow

Cows inspiration for a new print design

It’s time for a new print design and for this pattern we’re off to the farm.

Growing up in the Derbyshire countryside definitely gave me a lot of inspiration for my print designs. From the patchwork field landscapes to the farm animals on the doorstep, it’s come through in my work more than once or twice.

I’ve already created a couple of designs inspired by farm animals. The chickens came first (no pun intended) when an escaped flock of chickens made a break for it down the village road. The gorgeous colours of their feathers made me grab my colouring pencils and blend those tones in my sketchbook. If you’ve not seen the chicken print design before, click here to take a look at this chicken pencil case.

Next up was the goat print, inspired by my sister’s love of goats. They are pretty great little fellas aren’t they.

Goats always ready to eat anything that’s going.

When I was thinking of what prints to design next, I took a look back through the photos I had taken over the years and came across these beautiful cows.

Fluffy cows to inspire a new cow print design
How fabulous are these cows!

I absolutely love the cow’s hair (hair/fur/coat?). The texture leapt out at me and the blend of colours was lovely and warm. I knew right then that the cows would be my next print design.

The wiggly texture of the hair drew me to oil pastels straight away. I thought this would translate really well so I rummaged through all my pastels to get a warm colour palette.

If only I could draw this fast in real life…

I really liked the effect of the oil pastels but I wasn’t sure it would translate well as a print design. The rough nature of the oil pastels look nice on paper but they don’t scan very well in to the computer to make a digital print, so it was back to the drawing board…

Check out the next blog post for the next instalment of the cow print design!

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When your job calls for studying photos of pandas you know you have a good job

Drawn by Rhiannon panda

If you’ve joined me from reading the previous blog post, hello again and thanks for continuing with me on my panda journey! If you’ve just landed here from out of the blue then it might be best to check out the previous blog post first to see what’s going on.

Every time I want to design a new print I start by researching. I always try to design prints from things I’ve seen and photographed so that I can get a real feel for what I’m going to be drawing. As I mentioned in my previous blog post, I took some great photos of pandas when I visited Edinburgh zoo so to begin the print designing process, I took a while going through my panda photos and having a really good look at all their features.

Drawn by Rhiannon panda

Next it was time to start drawing. I chose to simply draw in pencil for this design. Most of my designs are full of colour so knowing that I would only be using black and white was a real challenge for me. By using a soft pencil I was able to add some areas of grey shading as well just to give a bit of depth and tone to the drawing.

Drawn by Rhiannon panda drawing

The first panda drawing took inspiration straight from the panda I saw at Edinburgh zoo that was sat eating bamboo right in front of the viewing window. I just love how cute and chubby they are!

Drawn by Rhiannon panda drawing

I always knew that I wanted two pandas in my panda print to represent the two pandas that live at Edinburgh zoo so I set about drawing the second bear. This one took a bit more imagination as the photo I had of the panda standing up at the zoo was surrounded by bamboo so I couldn’t see all the details. Using a collage of the photos I had taken, I worked out what should go where and how the panda’s frame would sit. Just look at his cute little smiley face!

With the drawings all sorted, it’s time to scan them in to the computer ready to be made in to a digital print. Check out the next blog post for the finished design!

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It began with a banana

Drawn by Rhiannon banana drawing

Every print I design starts with a hand drawing – you see why I named the business Drawn by Rhiannon right? I always like to have either a photo of the item I’m drawing or the actual item in front of me so I can get all the proportions and colours spot on. Luckily I had a few bananas in the fruit bowl so it was off to a good start.

Drawn by Rhiannon banana hand drawing

If you read my last blog post you’ll know that I have a particular style in mind for this print design which starts with a thick pencil drawing. I tend to like to draw lots of scruffy lines in light pencil to begin with and then go over the best lines with a thicker pencil when I’m happy with the shape.

The next stage is digitising the sketch to get it ready to make into a digital print. Some sketches translate better than others and luckily the bananas were one of the easier drawings; just a bit of tidying up around the edges and removing the sketchbook seam line and it was ready to go!

With the outline sorted it’s time to start on the colour. I use all sorts of different materials for colouring but I’ve decided to use watercolours for the fruit print range. I love how the colours blend so well and show a great range of tone and light with a few brush strokes.
After scanning it in to the computer and defining the colours, it’s ready to be dropped into the outline image.

With a few layers and lots of blending, the colouring-in is complete! I’m super chuffed with the colour effect created by the watercolour paints, but let me know what you think by commenting below.

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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!