Let's snuggle up and have some cookies!

Hi there, my name is Nataša Kaiser and I'm glad you stopped by to read our new Blogpost. I decided to share my process of designing a Christmas Card, which was this week's Assignment for the MATS B online class (by Lilla Rogers) that I'm taking right now, as well as Mara, Lisa, Courtney and Adriana from our collective.

For those who don't know Lilla's classes: beside being BIG FUN because of the awesome and very creative briefs we get and having the pleasure to work among very talented and supportive artists, you also learn tons of new things! It's a totally enjoyable experience and I would highly recommend Lilla's classes to anybody working in the design/illustrating business.

So, this week we started off with a so called Mini-Assignment which is there to get you "in the mood". The call was: Go create Cookies! Any sort and in any style you wish. 

How I went about it is pretty much representative for my way of starting an illustration: First I draw what comes straight to mind. Even if it's the cheesiest thing. It helps me, to bring up more ideas if I pour the obvious stuff on paper first.

Here are some snippets of the sketches I did during the first two days:

Usually I like drawing in a sketchbook (e.g. for daily sketching projects). But one thing I learned in MATS classes is to use cheap paper for the first sketches – and lots of it! You shouldn't feel the pressure of making a wrong mark, but enjoy the process of creating many different icons in different styles and mediums. You can see in the photo that I started with watercolor on cheap copy paper. Only as I started to like the look of the cookies I switched to watercolor paper, so I was able to add more pigment without ruining the "canvas".

Here are some more sketches from this first step:

cookies 1.jpg

And then there were different ideas, too. More of the storytelling kind:

After sketching I started to scan in all of the bits and pieces and prepare the most promising sketches in a way, that I could use them for an illustration. I like having the scans kind of organized, because you never know, when they might come in handy :-) 

At first the three little Star-Cookies (Santa, Angel and Snowman) started speaking to me. So I did kind of a layout idea to get going.

I worked on this for some hours and then got stuck. So I decided to have a look at my other icons and see, what I could assemble from them.

I somewhat liked the boldness of the watercolor cookies. Especially the chocolate covered ones. So I thought about some possible layouts I could try with those icons. Since the thoughts came to mind while I was having dinner with my family I sketched them out roughly and began working on the illustration the next day:

When I worked on placing the Cookies in front of the girl and her teddybear I felt, that the picture got to busy and I decided, to leave the two little friends out for now and focus only on a delicious Cookie arrangement.

When eventually the Cookies fell in place I played with different backgrounds. I had some more colors and tones going on, sorry for not saving all of the steps! Here is where I ended up with:


I wanted to make a nice presentation for the final layout, so I popped over to one of my favorite places in the internet: cgtextures.com! Here you can find loads of great FREE textures and backgrounds to manipulate your illos. I downloaded a plywood background, to complement the cozy, rustic and warm chocolate tones of my illo, but made sure it wasn't too dark, so there was enough contrast and the design has a nice "pop".

I liked it so far, but wanted to create the kind of a setting that looks like someone is just about to write their Christmas cards. So I took some pictures of chocolate cookies (that my daughter luckily bought some days before) and a fresh brewed Latte to Photoshop them into my presentation.  Here are the raw photoshoots:

And this is my final presentation:

…and DONE – yay! 

Since I have quite a few Icons left, that I didn't use for this card design I think I'm going to create one or two more – doesn't hurt to have some yummy seasonal stuff in the portfolio, right?

Thanks for stopping by! If you're curious about the next Blogpost by one of my fellow Finches please stay tuned and watch out for announcements on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!