Anyone interested in turning their craft hobby into a legitimate business will find that two words will come to own them- Time and Effort. When I first set out to sell my little hand-made trinkets and doodles, I was very aware that there may come a day when I regretted turning the pass time that I loved into my 9 to 10 job. Because that is the reality of working for yourself, being your own boss and selling products that you have made and advertised. You are up until gone 12 at night making products and then up at 6 ready to set up for your next craft fair.
After years of Shiny Creations being built up and developed from just one artist filling her bedroom with jewellery, art work and coke bottle chandeliers, (they’ll be on the site someday soon,) I am proud to say I still love creating, perhaps even more so than when I first started.
The best example I can give is by showing you a sneak peak of the amount of work that goes into making just one of our hand-drawn Cartoonifications. These are cartoon pictures that are drawn from your photographs.
First I gather as much information about what the customer is looking for. Via email, we discuss whether the picture should be a near exact cartoon copy of the photo provided or if they want to be in a different background, or pose, have specific clothing, props or pets in the picture as well. As long as I have a few clear pictures of what you look like, I can make up the rest based on your wishes.
Once we have agreed what the Cartoonification will look like, and once we have received cleared payment, I start to sketch out the design. This part is just good old fashioned paper and my lucky HB pencil, (it really is lucky!) This part can take quite a long time as you have to get all the proportions right and fit everything into the picture without it looking too cramped.
Done with the pencil and on to the pen! This part of the process is called inking, and is much the same as how comic books are created. Carefully going over the pencil draft, I use a black fine liner to define and sharpen the whole image. Then I must remove all the pencil lines, if any marks are left on the paper that isn’t in ink, it will corrupt the image when it comes time for scanning.
We use a beast of a scanner, with great detail resolution, so it creates a beautifully clear, digital version of the original drawing. Then comes the trickiest and most time-consuming part of creating a Cartoonification- colouring. Yes, yes, we know you have been colouring in your mother’s walls with crayons since you were a toddler, (or was that just me?) But this form of colouring is entirely digital. This way, we are able to create bolder, even toned colour and allows the image to be reprinted in almost any size, expanding the image without blurring the detail. Using an image editing program, I colour, shade and highlight between the ink lines to bring the image to life.
Sometimes, customers want a message adding in to their commission to make it extra personal. On all of our commissions, ‘by Shiny Creations,’ is featured somewhere in the composition.
After all this effort, it’s time to show a watermarked version to the customer via email. Then I wait to hear back from the customer to check they are happy with the finished product. And I cross my fingers that they will like it, as it is very difficult to edit the image once it has been drawn and scanned. However, sometimes, to make sure the customer is happy, I have had to re-draw sections of the picture. This can take a lot of time and effort, but I want to make sure I create exactly what the customer is looking for. Once approved and ready, the Cartoonification is off to be printed in the size requested which can be anywhere from a set of A5 greetings cards to a great big A1 poster.
This whole process can take a very long time, especially if we have lots of orders to complete. But I take great pride in providing a service that you cannot simply buy off a shelf. They are carefully constructed to be completely unique and personal and
personally, I think that’s worth a little time and effort.
Creative Head of Shiny Creations