Sketching Your Ideas

by anna on February 3, 2012

in Anna's Blog

Creative ideas come to us all the time. But if you don’t write them down or, better, sketch them down, it can be a rather short visit. Great thoughts tend to leave our minds faster than a space rocket. I think that for an artist it is a great benefit to always have a sketchbook and something to write with. Or at least have a piece of paper :). It is awfully uncomfortable to write your ideas on restaurant napkins; I’ve tried.

I have a few sketchbooks and always carry with me at least a small notepad (size of a double business card), pen, pencils and an eraser. In addition to that, I try to be disciplined and create computer templates for bigger projects. Even better would be to create them in 3D, but I’m only learning 3D design, so it still takes me too much time to do so.

Below I want to share with you the ways I record my designs, and I would be happy if you shared with me how you do yours.

I sketch new designs in one of my sketchbooks and write down how exactly the design to be made (materials, sizes, techniques, colors…).

I always mark “made” designs that have been completed to have a clear idea of what I yet need to do. This is especially helpful if you have a weekly/monthly quota of designs that need to be developed and created.

When there were corrections in a design either due to the old idea not working :), customer request or finding of better materials, I always write these changes in the original design description (on the picture circled in red). This way, if you want to come back and make another one, you won’t waste your time and materials in case you’ve forgotten about these changes.

For models that are better done with a mold or a template, I create a template using a graphic program. The ones I’m working with are CorelDRAW and Corel PHOTO-PAINT. They are analogical to Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop. Unfortunately, nobody yet has come up with a program that would have it all – excellent drawing functions, as well as nice coloring and special effects :). You can create basic templates using any graphic program, even Windows Paint.

I still start with the basic sketch, then refine details in the template and then create an actual design. As you can see from the example above, small details oftentimes get changed along the way :).

More complex projects require more steps to be done. I would start with a basic sketch, then create a template…

…then write a manufacturing plan describing steps in which a project has to be done and, what’s most important, their order. Well, if I want to get really badly screwed, I don’t write a manufacturing plan :). These plans can also be a lot of help if you plan to later write a tutorial on the project.

Then I follow the steps in the plan and make an actual design.

Creating sketches on the computer often helps to see all the colors and placement of elements towards each other. Above is a sketch for the “Sea Homes” necklace (not made yet). It is a hollow form project. I still haven’t decided if I will participate in this year’s Bead Dreams contest, but if I will, it will probably be one of my entries in the Polymer Clay category.

I hope you find some of the info above useful and I would love to hear about your experiences and the ways you keep track of your designs!

Talk to you soon,


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Eva Rodriguez February 3, 2012 at 6:28 am

I’m new in this business, I do love all the ideas that come to me, but yours… I’t so simple to do and I never though about, thank you so much for shearing it.


anna February 3, 2012 at 2:16 pm

You’re welcome, I’m glad you find them useful. Keeping record of your work is handy, as you can always repeat what you made before. Without templates – not so much :).


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