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November 12, 2012

How I Create a new NMP product

Recently a customer asked me to make gnome holiday cards for her, and I happily obliged. I have a new obsession with gnomes and mushrooms, and well, everything woodland-themed, so I was immediately inspired and got to work (see the finished product below!)

Some of you have asked before how I create a new product for the shop. From start to finish, a project can take anywhere from an hour to several days -- depending on how much I have going on in my "work queue." I draw everything by hand in pencil first, then from there I use my ink pen and/or watercolor pencils to finish the job. After that, I scan everything into my computer and edit my work -- smudges, mistakes, etc. are wiped away using my secret weapon: Photoshop

I am still a Photoshop beginner, but wowzas, since I bought it only a short time ago, it has seriously changed how I work. Perhaps the biggest aha! Photoshop moment I've had so far is how I can use it to change the shades of my watercolors. Before, when I painting something a certain color and wished I could change it, I would have to start over from scratch (which obviously stinks!) Now, with the help of a few mouse clicks in Photoshop, I can change brown to blue, green to pink, black to white and it doesn't look edited at all. Wanna see an example? I drew this party owl, but I wanted to make it holiday friendly. So I did. (And I gave him a red scarf, too.) Photoshop is so awesome. (For those of you who are interested, there is a great tutorial all about changing colors inside an image here.)

When I'm finished editing, I print most projects at home using my HP Photosmart Plus printer and basic paper and stationery I buy in bulk online. I use free Avery templates that download to Word  -- (yes! I use Microsoft Word to lay out my cards and invitations! It's only a little embarrassing) --  and from there, I print, package and ship. After doing this for three years, I have the process down to a science. 

At 29, I now realize that my college years would've been better spent in the classroom of a graphic design instructor (I graduated with a liberal arts degree in Communications, but does anyone really know what they want to do at 20 years old?!) While my college education helps me in other ways, like, you know, communicating effectively, I'm playing catch-up with the graphic design side of things. I highly recommend Nicole's Classes. I'm taking the Adobe Illustrator class right now, and I'll probably take more classes in the future -- the price (cheap), teaching (informative, flexible and straight-forward), and class time frame (short) is seriously fantastic. I'm also attending BlogShop in Atlanta this weekend (hooray!), and I can hardly wait. So, maybe one day I will graduate from using Word to print my stuff, but until then, I'll keep on doing what works!

Back to those gnome holiday cards. Here's the process from start to finish in a few photos: 

So, in short, that's how I create a new product for the shop! For those of you who are design experts, my process probably seems a little strange, but I'm learning. Of course, if any of you have any tips or tricks, please send them my way! 

And, for those of you who are wondering, you can find these "Gnome for the Holidays" cards right here.  

Thanks for reading!

1 comment:

  1. Lovely little illustrations! What paper do you print on? So cute!


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