Sunday, 6 December 2009

From scruffy sketch to finished design - 3D pop-up Christmas cards!


The weeks before Christmas are very busy for me as an artist, and I have had very little time for blogging! For this post, I thought you may like to see some of my working methods, with a Christmas theme ...

One of my previous commissions has been to create ranges of 3D pop-up Christmas cards, a task which was very enjoyable and challenging. I began the process in my usual way - by doing a rough spontaneous sketch using biro and cheap felt-pens. (A friend of mine, on seeing the above sketch tentatively asked, "Will the animal on the finished card - er - actually look like a fox?") I hope it does!



3D pop up Christmas Cards by North East UK Artist Ingrid Sylvestre Arts & Entertainment Illustration Commissioned Artwork Live Events Entertainment North East UK Newcastle upon Tyne County Durham Sunderland Middlesbrough Teesside Darlington Northumberland North Yorkshire UK  Fine Illustration Interpretive Panels Greeting Card Illustration Greeting Cards Design Bespoke Wedding Stationery Live Wedding Entertainment Caricatures Silhouette
The image above is from scans of the finished artwork. I used artist's quality watercolours on heavy watercolour paper - following the traditional method of using no white paint, but using transparent washes to allow the white of the paper to show through for the highlights and white areas.

This design was printed onto both sides of one piece of card, laid out in absolute precision so that when the card is die-cut, scored and folded, little tabs slot into place creating a 3D structure.





This next card, 'Woodland Xmas Eve', was much more complex in structure than the Fox. I began with the scruffy sketch and cut it all out to make a mock up to test the paper engineering design.


3D pop up Christmas Cards by North East UK Artist Ingrid Sylvestre Arts & Entertainment Illustration Commissioned Artwork Live Events Entertainment North East UK Newcastle upon Tyne County Durham Sunderland Middlesbrough Teesside Darlington Northumberland North Yorkshire UK  Fine Illustration Interpretive Panels Greeting Card Illustration Greeting Cards Design Bespoke Wedding Stationery Live Wedding Entertainment Caricatures Silhouette
Above you can see the separate paintings I made, which all had to be scanned and a proof printed, including lots of little tabs and slots. My next task was to very precisely cut round the proof print, and assemble the card. This was then sent to a company who make die-cutters so that the card printer would be able to cut the cards after they had been printed.

The various components fit together to make a deep box-like structure emulating a hollow tree with a Christmas wreath at the front.

3D pop up Christmas Cards by North East UK Artist Ingrid Sylvestre Arts & Entertainment Illustration Commissioned Artwork Live Events Entertainment North East UK Newcastle upon Tyne County Durham Sunderland Middlesbrough Teesside Darlington Northumberland North Yorkshire UK  Fine Illustration Interpretive Panels Greeting Card Illustration Greeting Cards Design Bespoke Wedding Stationery Live Wedding Entertainment Caricatures Silhouette
Above is a photo of the finished product.
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After cutting out the proofs for many designs, I had blisters on my hands and neck-ache ... But this has been one of my favourite commissions - and I hope you have enjoyed the little journey into the creation of pop-up cards!
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You can see all 24 of the 3D Christmas cards by visiting my 3D Christmas card site

North East artist Ingrid Sylvestre, Durham artist, England UK. Greeting card designer, illustrator, Fine Art paintings for sale, greeting cards for sale, 3D pop up greeting cards for sale, paper engineering, Portrait painter, animal portraits, English landscape painter, internationally renowned artist Ingrid Sylvestre.
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For further information about Ingrid Sylvestre's Arts & Entertainment work please visit her main site  Ingrid Sylvestre Art
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 3D pop up Christmas Cards by North East UK Artist Ingrid Sylvestre Arts & Entertainment Illustration Commissioned Artwork Live Events Entertainment North East UK Newcastle upon Tyne County Durham Sunderland Middlesbrough Teesside Darlington Northumberland North Yorkshire UK  Fine Illustration Interpretive Panels Greeting Card Illustration Greeting Cards Design Bespoke Wedding Stationery Live Wedding Entertainment Caricatures Silhouette

37 comments:

Jasmine said...

Your work is amazing, I'm in awe. I love the transformation from the 'scruffy sketch' to the finished fox.

Diane AZ said...

Fascinating to see the preliminary sketches and the finished artwork. The 3D cards are creative and beautiful!

Phoenix C. said...

Thank you Jasmine. I have done a lot of demonstrations over the years, and find that people do like to see 'before' and 'after' pics!

Phoenix C. said...

Diane AZ, thank you. I sometimes wish the finished artwork could be done as quickly as the preliminary sketches and ideas, but I do enjoy building images up layer by layer, with lots of detail!

Garden Lily said...

This is amazing work. I especially like the wreath design, and you have so many wonderful variations of it available for sale on your website, I enjoyed looking through them.

RuneE said...

I'm impressed - no wonder you had blisters on your hands and neck-ache.
I envy you those artistic skills.

Phoenix C. said...

Thank you Garden Lily. The wreath design on this post was partly inspired by the coloured winter stems of Cornus. I'm not sure they would retain their colour in an actual wreath, but one can use them artistically!!

Phoenix C. said...

RuneE, thank you. I often seem to have blisters and neck-ache, usually from gardening!

Rob (ourfrenchgarden) said...

Hi Phoenix C

Well what can I say, these are some of the nicest Xmas cards I've ever seen.

I like them all but am drawn to the view through the tree trunk.

Kinda Hobbity if that makes any sense.

Rob

Anna said...

You are a talented lady and so lucky to have such a gift. I am always intrigued by 3D cards - some of them are feats of engineering. The robin is probably my favourite but I like them all :) Hope that your neck and hands soon recover.

Phoenix C. said...

Rob - thank you - and my work may be influenced by hobbits, as I've loved Tolkien's work since I was very young! These things take root in one's imagination and influence us through our lives.

Phoenix C. said...

Thank you Anna! The paper engineering was an intriguing aspect of designing the cards, and I'd love to do more of this.

My blisters etc are fully recovered - it was a while ago that I designed the cards - though it needed a holiday in Lanzarote in the sun for the aches to fully disappear!

PERBS said...

What a beautiful creation! Very artistic! It surprises me that people don't put in orders for your creations in the summertime when you have time to work and not rush on it. lol You did great and I hope they appreciate it. Looks like a labor of love!

Thanks for dropping by. I plan to start my new blog after the holidays.

Phoenix C. said...

Thank you PERBS! It was indeed a labour of love and I enjoyed it immensely. (BTW - It is not this project I have been working on artistically over the recent weeks - this was much earlier so wasn't rushed! It is other projects which are keeping me away from blogging currently!!)

Looking forward to seeing your new blog.

Prospero said...

These are easily some of the most amazing Christmas cards I've ever seen. The 3D effect of the box cutout card is very effective. The fox is so incredibly charming.

This must be enormously satisfying work. The end result is very warm and genuine. Congratulations on such exquisite work.

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

You are so talented! I absolutely loved seeing how these came together. I just love them all!
Have you ever illustrated any children's books? I know I would buy them for my girls if you have. I really love how you use nature in your art.

Phoenix C. said...

Thank you so much, Prospero!

The work was very satisfying. The entire range of cards took quite some time to complete, and often entailed working through the night - which was actually a delight to do because I enjoyed the project so much! It was a real challenge to come up with the ideas, and then experiment with 3D models to make them fit together so they looked good flat in the packaging as well as popped out to 3D. I want to do more!

Phoenix C. said...

Catherine, thank you!

I have done illustration work, and also written and illustrated my own books. This is something I aim to do more of - one of my major goals!

James A-S said...

Thank you very much for dropping in on my blog and for thereby introducing me to yours.
Loved your pictures of the Marquis of Londonderry on his journey to London for repair.
Make sure you get him back and they don't melt him down and turn him into plumbing pipes!

Phoenix C. said...

Thank you James A-S.

Plumbing pipes?! Now I wonder if that is why my plumbing makes strange snorting noises from time to time - it's all those recycled Equestrian Statues!

lynn'sgarden said...

WOW! Such skills and talent in those hands...you're very inspiring, P.C. As beautiful as these are in the post, I'm sure in person they are 10x more lovely. Thanks for sharing the process...and I can certainly understand your aches and kinks...lol!
Lynn

Phoenix C. said...

Thank you Lynn! Fortunately I am left-handed for drawing and painting and cutting out, and right-handed for the computer mouse, so the aches are kind of level!

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

Hi Phoenix, is your friend kidding? Even your "rough sketch" is way better than most people could do. And I absolutely adore that the finished fox card. Not only do I love pop-up cards, you've captured to exactly the essence of a fox... it looks natural and wild, but definitely has "warm fuzzies" about it, too. I just love your painting style, and I'm so glad you are able to make a living doing something you love. I'm usually very cheap, but I'm going to the card shop right now (I hope you ship overseas...). :)

Phoenix C. said...

Thank you, Monica! I do endeavour to capture the essence of my subject matter, and am glad that you think I have. I particularly enjoyed painting the wildlife cards, and the whimsical 'woodland' ones too.

Your cards are on their way!

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

Inquiring minds won't rest until you can confirm or deny whether Raph and Maureen are in fact, or in any part, giraffes! :)

Phoenix C. said...

Nextraordinary though it may seem, I believe they are, Monica! :)

Nutty Gnome said...

Wow!
What more can I say really? I love them! :)

I hope this works this timne, but the cat is trying to hellp me type!

Phoenix C. said...

Thank you Nutty Gnome!

I wonder if I should borrow your cat - blogger is running really slow at present, and it takes ages to access blogs and comments - maybe your cat's keyboard skills would speed things up! :)

Ana Maria Castillo said...

Me encanta su arte tan peculiar y hermoso, se nota el amor en los detalles y los colores vibrantes llenos de vida y de naturaleza.

Realmente es un honor ver su trabajo. ¡GRACIAS!...

Unseen Rajasthan said...

Beautiful 3D Designs!! I Must say that you are a real artist..Great work

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

They're here! The cards arrived today, thanks so much. I really like them though I'm hesitant to remove them for their packages... Thanks also for the bonus card. The package arrived in good shape, no thanks to my mail carrier who jammed it diagonally into my mailbox--which is not a bad thing per se, but the box is about a cm or so too small for that to have been ideal! P.S. My cats tell me Nutty's cat isn't trying to help, but in fact taking part in the Worldwide Cat Union's Human Antiliteracy Campaign by preventing typing. In fact, their cell could be behind all the weirdnesses of Blogger, too!

Phoenix C. said...

Thank you Ana Maria Castillo! I appreciate your comment - GRACIAS!

Phoenix C. said...

Unseen Rajasthan, thank you - I'm glad you like my work!

Phoenix C. said...

Glad the cards arrived safely, Monica! I'm glad Raph & Maureen put pieces of cardboard in with them, as your post deliverer jammed them in your mailbox!

Hope they give you lots of pleasure! You will get the 3D benefit if you take them out of the packets and fold them out to pop up. They can be flattened again after Christmas and put back in their packaging.

I wonder if it is an unknown feline who is making blogger go intermittent here too! I'm finding it really difficult to get onto people's blogs, and leaving comments sometimes means logging out and logging in again, which takes up lots of time. I shall ask next door's cat - she does like to rush in and play hide and seek! :)

Rachel Fox said...

Got here a bit late evidently! With my surname I could have used some of these cards...definitely. Maybe you'd like to do a card swap (if you have any left). I have a range of poetry postcards. Email me if you're interested.
author@crowd-pleasers.net
x

Phoenix C. said...

Sounds good, Rachel! I have a few fox ones left and will be getting more.

fiona said...

hi, its very beautiful, Neck Ache , thanks