Creating my own product range was one of the first ideas that sparked inspiration for my brand. I knew the thought: ‘if I can live a more creative, light and fulfilling life, then why can’t you?’ was true, but I also realised I wasn’t going to be able to help everyone with my services alone. Providing inspiring products as well as my creative art and design services was going to be the best way to help spread more light and joy. With my services successfully launched earlier in the year, and with Christmas fast approaching – in September I started focusing on the new Kerri Awosile product range. Here’s a little behind the scenes look at its creation…
Before any of the designing or creating began, the first stage of my new product range was: ideas.
I’m someone who always has a lot of ideas (a LOT!) so, though most had some merits, it was important to really focus in on the ideas with most potential. The ideas I believed my audience would want to see and purchase. After all, there really isn’t much point creating a new range of products if no one wants to buy them.
One of my brand values can be summed up by the phrase ‘aspirational yet attainable’. It’s really important to me that women can feel inspired to live a more creative, light and fulfilling life (in both their personal and work life). However, it’s also really close to my heart that those same women don’t feel like creativity, light and fulfilment are out of their reach. So, I knew the new Kerri Awosile product range had to create a careful balance between the two values. Ultimately the range needed to look good and feel good.
I created a short-list of ideas which, ironically, ended up being too long. I then narrowed it right down and came up with my final selection (only detouring slightly on one concept, after realising it wasn’t quite hitting the mark).
Next it was time to start drawing the initial designs and bringing the ideas to life.
I don’t often paint freehand, without drawing my subject first. It just doesn’t suit my style particularly well and I usually find I don’t get the results I imagined if I attempt to paint ‘off-piste’, so to speak. Instead, I put just as much love and attention-to-detail in my initial design drawings as I do the finished painting. It’s the same process when creating artwork or illustrations for clients.
With the initial design drawings, I spent time to get them just right (not perfect, because I don’t believe there is such a thing and the pressure to aim for perfection removes all joy, creativity and light from a project…but that’s a whole other post).
The initial design stage also helped me start to envision the finished products. I began thinking more about colour palettes and fonts, all the while remembering who I was creating the items for and the values of my brand.
Time to Paint
Once the initial design drawings were complete, it was time to transfer everything to watercolour paper, and start painting.
You might think I knew how all my artwork would turn out by this stage, but that’s not entirely true. Some designs, like the holly and mistletoe, were very clear and fixed in my mind. I knew exactly how I wanted them to look, how they would be placed on the finished products, and which method to use to get the results I was after. The hats and socks, on the other hand, took a bit of experimenting. Did I want them to have a realistic feel with lots of detail and depth? Would they better suit a loose style, with splatters and movement? I actually spent about two days painting before I settled on the right techniques – a simple look, with a touch of shadow, and detailed outlining for the hats, and a similar feel for the socks but with less outlining.
With so many elements to paint (such as over 30 pairs of socks) this stage definitely took the most time. Sure, the ideas stage was more drawn out (with the process of narrowing down concepts being spread over many weeks) but so much love and time went into the painting stage. There was a moment when I feared I would never finish in time, but I persevered – determined to create a new Kerri Awosile product range I could be proud to share with you.
The Edit & Print
In order for my watercolour artwork to go to print, I had to ‘digitise’ it. Which basically means: create a digital version.
After scanning each piece, I used professional software to get the artwork print ready. Watercolour paper has a slightly off-white colour and a textured surface. This means the ‘paper’ of each scan has to be digitally removed – otherwise it would be printed onto the finished products, creating shadows and irregular colours where they aren’t wanted.
There is also a lovely advantage to digitising artwork – you can correct any minor ‘mistakes’. An original would have to be repainted from scratch to remove any little drips of paint or wayward brushstrokes (yes, it can happen – you can have spent days on an original painting only for one little brush stroke to ruin the entire piece, and you have to start again)…but a digitised version can be carefully altered on screen.
With everything digitised and ready, I excitedly sent all the designs off to a professional printing company. I’m not sure if the next few days were more exciting or nerve-wracking. I have seen my artwork in print before, for client projects, but this felt different. Perhaps because there were so many elements and I really wanted to create a creative new Kerri Awosile product range that would inspire you and bring some joy.
The products arrived and I took a deep breath before opening the parcel. Were they going to be everything I had hoped? Were those initial ideas going to come into their own, and was the love and time going to have been worth it?
The Finished Products
I actually squealed when I saw the finished products the first time, quickly followed by an ecstatic happy dance around the lounge. I loved every single one!
It was hard to contain my excitement and I wanted to show you them all straight away. That, however, would have removed some of the fun in launching a new range…and I wanted you to enjoy the moment as much as I had.
I set the date for the launch, photographed the range, and got everything ready behind the scenes (like manually entering the name of each hat for 8 different personalisation drop-down lists on my website shop…phewf, that took a while!).
The launch went well, and I am beyond delighted with everyone’s feedback. Knowing how much you like the designs has filled me with so much joy, and I love that you get to share in a piece of that inspiration and creativity when you purchase an item.
As well as putting the new Kerri Awosile product range on my site Shop, I also joined the wonderful community and marketplace of ‘And so to Shop’. Their entire ethos is based around shopping small and supporting independent makers and creatives. You see – when you shop small you really do make a real person smile and, if the creative is anything like me, do a dance of joy!