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The Kererū and the bumble bees

I’ve made a commitment to myself to spend some more time with family and friends, so this fortnight, I went and spent some time drawing with my niece. I had two design ideas locked and loaded, as it were, so I printed out some inspiration photos to bring with me. I gave Miss R first choice – she chose the bumble bees and clover, so I had the ​Kererū. Here are some of our inspiration photos.
We worked on blocking in the major elements of a composition, looking at relative scale, and how you interpret what your eye sees and use it as inspiration for a design, rather than copying (or tracing!!) exactly what you see.
People seem to assume that I draw my images by tracing, or drawing over a photo in a different layer of an image editing programme, but I draw on paper by eye. If I superimpose my sketches over one of the inspiration photographs, this becomes very apparent!​


I worked on paper and combined several inspiration pictures into a single design, starting with a pencil sketch, which I then inked.
As usual, I scanned and coloured the images using MS Paint, but this was a much more complex composition – usually, it takes me around half a day to take a design from initial scan to completion, but these took almost four times as long.
This is a much more involved repeat than I usually use, so it took a lot of fiddling to get it where I wanted it to be. I used placeholder colours to help differentiate between the different zones while I constructed the design. Once I had a final version, I worked on the ‘real’ colours.
And after I finalised the colour scheme for the main design, I added in background colours and patterns.

Clover and bumble bees – Miss R’s version

Meanwhile, my niece had created and inked her two-page repeat. I took the drawing home, scanned it, joined it up, and this is what we had:
To demonstrate for her how the next step can work, I coloured it, created a more complex repeat using the elements of her design, and uploaded it to Spoonflower so that she could see how it would look.
Next time, we will swap inspiration packs – or even do something different again – but at least now Miss R understands how to design a repeating pattern, so she can take much more control over the process in future. I look forward to seeing what else she comes up with!
In the meantime, look out for the new ​Kererū ​design as jewellery and fabric, and even colourables, soon!

0 thoughts on “The Kererū and the bumble bees

  1. Really interesting learning a bit more about how you do what you do. Love the designs too!

    1. Thanks, Alison! It’s great motivation to know that people enjoy reading about my process 🙂 I really appreciate the support.

    2. The flora and fauna is an interesting place for artists to find tranquility and sketch whatever their heart desires. The colors which it encompasses is a natural way for our mother Earth to be depicted austere. The captivating sight of our shared environment should be immortalized for generations to come. Sketching can be a way to provide everyone a chance for visualization. I remember the day when I visited our camping site. All we did that everyone was to draw the majestic beauty of nature.

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