Monday, February 4, 2013

Illustrating Beadwork

My days have been pretty mellow, a big stretch of days spent at home, some with company, some with Miss Maya and Mark.  I've been knitting for the little one, a favorite activity, and knocking off designs for The Bead Within, one after the other.

And I am in love with each of them.  I seem to be on a design roll, with each new one coming easily and being executed well.

For Beads in Motion I released directions for the 12 year old Rings of Saturn.   I updated the graphics, but little else about it changed.  Though it has been available as a kit for some time, I couldn't resist including it in the book as it was the impetus for the theme of the book, movement in beadwork.  It was also the first piece I designed that was noticed by the bead stores and resulted in me starting to teach nationally.



For the Bead Within, I will be including My Secret Garden, a piece I first designed and taught around 2001.  It is so much fun bringing new colors and better skills to an older piece like this.  The new Secret Garden will be black and silver with touches of fuchsia and lime green.  It is odd to look backwards at my very mediocre illustration skills at the time.  Documenting beadwork patterns has come a long way and the bar has been raised pretty high by a number of artists that do it really really well.  



I continue my learning curve with Adobe Illustrator and try to bring you the best possible illustration.  Is that something you value when you receive directions for a piece?  Or is it if the the piece really speaks to you, you can overlook some skill in that area?  Do you have ideas on what makes a well documented pattern?  I'd love to hear them.

9 comments:

Just Beady Jules said...

Marcia,

I use illustrations rather than directions. You can compare it to looking at a knitted piece to find out what stitch they used and then figuring it out the rest from there. Yes, I am one of those who puts it together first and if something fails, read the directions. While my BFF Cathey Rimmer is a great follower of instructions. But please don't give up your illustrations, they are wonderful. Adobe can be mastered. Like beading, it just takes practice. Can't wait for the book release. <3

beadyknitter said...

I bead mostly by illustrations--easier for me to follow illustrations or photos of the actual steps--like either equally--(photos must be clear though). This is especially helpful when I buy patterns or books written in a foreign language--if they have good illustrations/or photos then I'm OK. Sure, they may have English translations but we all know what a mess some of the translators can make of a pattern!! And, even if English is their second language and they are writing instructions in both English and their language the English translation some how are just a bit 'off'.

Sally Anderson said...

I think the illustrations are really important. If I look at a book and see something I'd like to do but find the illustrations mind-boggling or confusion or even really fussy, I won't buy the book! Clear, crisp, concise illustrations are my friends!

Barbara Briggs said...

Marica, I really need visuals, but written directions have always been important to me as well. l don't have Adobe Illustrator and fear that if I purchased it, I'd load it onto my computer and it would just sit in my hard drive collecting dust because I get too frustrated with that kind of learning curve. When I create designs, I rely on my Nikon and take step-by-step process photos that accompany my written patterns. I think sometimes it's visually easier to relate to a photo that shows the piece in progress. Of course, having really good clear, close-up photos is of paramount importance.

Jennifer Starchvill said...

I am a novice beader. The written instructions are necessary for me to help wrap my head around what I'm looking at... However, I really find both the use of photography and illustrations extremely helpful. There's something about seeing the actual beads in action that I find most helpful.

Jennifer Starchvill said...

One more thing... Adobe Illustrator is an invaluable program to use for any designer. I suggest taking a class, maybe at a local community college or searching out some online tutorials. Either should give you the hints you need to make your illustrating easier. Creating custom brushes and fill patterns to simulate RAW & peyote stitches, as well as fringes, etc. is easy once you learn the tricks.

AliMc said...

Pics of some type are very important to me, either photos or illustrations. They needn't be works of art though just clear.

LoriF said...

I am not a particularly novice beader...but I agree with Jennifer that the written and illustrated instructions build on one another. I have followed patterns that are completely wrong...but are rescued by the illustrations; and illustrations that confuse me but are clarified by the instructions. Both should complement the other.

Kim said...

I need the illustrations. I do agree with others that said the written instructions and the illustrations build on each other but I depend on the thread path in the illustration. If I can't follow it I have a really hard time. And like others have said, it doesn't need to be a work of art, as long as it's clear.