One of the questions I get asked often is what kind of process takes place when designing stamps. For me, it starts with pen, paper & a sketch. Different things spur me to sketch. It could be a dress I saw in a store window that day or an ad I saw in a magazine. And I almost always have a *concept* to go along with it, a unique way that the stamps can be used or how they fit together. Anyone who has purchased Papertrey images before knows that we pride ourselves on versatility and customization possibilities. After all, isn’t that the fun part of stamping? And in the end, that means an even bigger value for you, the consumer. This particular page is the original sketch that inspired Beautiful Blooms. I remember coming up with my ideas while I was on an airplane flying back from CHA Winter 2007. My idea all started with wanting three separate pieces to a flower and coordination with the Flower 1 Cuttlebug Dies. There’s almost always more notes jotted down in the margins than actual sketches. I like to write down all of my thoughts so that when I sit down to the computer to start the actual design work, I’m able to get into the same *zone* and mentality that I was in when I was originally inspired. I also almost always make a word association list to help me name the set. The list usually is made up of descriptive words that have to do with the subject, style & use of the set. I then just try to pair a few words from the list together to create the name of the set. Names are so important because they give you the first impression of a set!
After my sketching, I get to work on the actual computer. This is when I create all of the image in pixel form. I usually use a combination of basic shapes to recreate my sketches or draw with my pen & Wacom Tablet. In order to create image that coordinate with something, like a die or punch, I print the image from the computer repeatedly and try it out. It usually takes a lot of tweaking to finally get an image to be a *perfect* fit.
After all of the images are completed, the third step is to arrange them on the sheet within the specific size boundaries established by our manufacturer. An established *margin* area needs to be left around each of the images to insure that they do not meld together during the manufacturing process.
As a final step, *base files* need to be created. These base files are what create the *puddle* of photopolymer underneath the the image. Perfect alignment with the images within the sheet layout is essential for a good quality stamp.
After all of this is done, it’s off to the manufacturer the files go! It is always so rewarding to get new stamps back fresh from the presses. It’s funny how they look the same as they did on the computer screen, but in a way different. Over the last year I’ve learned a lot about what translates well in a stamp and what doesn’t. The whole precess has such a learning curve! But in the end, it is such a sense of creative fulfillment to be able create art that is used by so many people int heir own personal creative endeavors. I don’t think there’s a better job out there that could possibly be a better fit for me!