Last week a customer from Instagram contacted me wanting to know if she could order a custom designed hand painted bowie. I've done plenty of custom orders before when it just involves picking out the fabric, but I'd never done a custom hand painted order. I, of course, said yes because a) anyone in business knows that it's all about what the customer wants; and b) who wouldn't want to get paid to be creative and paint any design they want?
In all honesty though, I was a little bit nervous about doing it! What if I couldn't come up with any new designs? Or what if the designs I did come up with were crap? Kicking those anxieties to the side, I got on with the job. I found out what type of colour schemes, looks and feels my customer, Emma, was after. Emma was a star customer because she seemed to know what she was talking about, which helped a lot. I found out that she wanted something with bright pops of colours, something with a funky but sophisticated feel, and something that wouldn't clash with her boyfriend's skin tone. As for the look, she liked some of my past designs but also gave me complete freedom to come up with anything I thought would look good. So I got to work!
I created Emma 5 different designs in my sketch book. Some were based on past designs I've done, others were brand new experiments. One of them looked cool on paper, but when I tested it out on fabric it didn't work in the same way. Emma picked 2 of her favourite designs, then suggested taking out or adding specific colours to the design. It was great to have Emma's enthusiastic input during the process. In the end, the above design was the winner. Often a design will look great on paper or on fabric, and then when you turn it into a bow tie it looks even better! That was definitely the case with this one and we both couldn't be happier with how it turned out!