I have always been interested in behind the scenes stuff. Even as a kid, I wanted to know about the author behind the story, what was happening behind the curtain on stage or where the animals went when they weren’t in their enclosures at the zoo. On Mister Rogers’ my favorite part was always the Picture Picture How Things are made tours, especially the crayon factory tour!
I’ve never really outgrown that curiosity and this blog leads me to all sorts of interesting stuff. Like my series, Designer’s Sketchbook, for which I share the work behind the work of one designer/crafter/artist. I think it’s just utterly fascinating to learn how people come up with their ideas and how they implement them and then to get a glimpse into that process with some pictures. Don’t you? Of course, you do, that’s why you are here!
For this edition of Designer’s Sketchbook, Polly Danger (not her real name, but how cute is that?) shares her sketchbook and process with us. Polly is a crafter & blogger and you can find her handmade bags + accessories HERE and her craftaliscious handmade notions HERE.
I’d love to feature you for Designer’s Sketchbook! Just shoot me an email along with some pictures and I will take a look.
Where do you get your inspiration? Why do you draw/create?
I’m inspired by fantastical and magical environments. Sometimes they are places that I have actually been, sometimes they’re scenes in books or movies, and sometimes they’re just places in my imagination. I fall in love with those places, and when I make things I’m trying to take other people there too. Some recurring scenes and themes that find themselves in my shop are ornate tea tents in summer gardens, sweet shops, blustery walks to school, and trips down the boardwalk.
What is your creative process like? Do you work in steps?
First I fall in love. Either with a fabric, a shape, a passage in a book, or a movie set. No matter what I’m making I know that I have to absolutely, positively be completely in love. I’ve made the mistake of making mass quantities of something that I think will just sell well, and I realized that making things is only worth it if I’m making something incredible.
Once I’ve fallen in love, I draw a basic sketch and let the idea stew in my brain until I have a more concrete idea of the shape and use for my product. I let that brew some more and go back and draw a more detailed version. Because my fabric combinations are so integral to my product design I like to go through my fabrics and glue fabric swatches onto the design page. Next I make and re-make a pattern until I get just the thing that I had in my mind.
How long does it take you from your original idea to a finished drawing (product)?
That depends on the time of year, actually! There are times when I have extra free time and I feel so inspired that I can complete a project in a single day. Other times the process can take a whole month. Sometimes a project remains on hold until I find just the right fabric to suit the work.
Do you use all the ideas & sketches you come up with or do you or weed your ideas before bringing them to fruition?
I weed like crazy. I used to make a sample, like it for ten minutes, and then start cutting fabric to kingdom come. A couple of weeks later, I’d have tons and tons of fabric cut only to realize that I wasn’t really that fond of the design. I wasted a lot of time and money that way. Now I make a product and let it sit in my office for a while. If I find myself thinking about how cute it is at random points in the day for the next few days, then I know I’ve got a great design and I can push forward and make more.
What has been your favorite project or design as of late?
My Candy Shop Totes are by far my favorite project. I made the first one more than two years ago, but it’s impossible to get tired of the lovely round shape and scalloped appliques. I like to experiment with pairing polka dots with floral prints, stripes with solid fabrics, etc. They’re relatively simple, but so sweet and feminine that I just swoon for each and every one!