It's all part of the process

Brief: to create an A4 wedding card for my client’s nephew and fiancé. It should be black and white with maybe a splash of colour, include the couples initials B and L and show their love of music (he plays the keyboard and she sings). It should be simple and bold.

I wanted to know as much as possible about the couple. My client wasn’t sure what sort of music the couple played but from our chat I felt it might be something a bit chilled out – jazzy, bluesy, indie-y. My mind conjured up images of smoky bars, keyboards and jazz posters.

I wanted a really pared down design – to look as simple as possible despite the amount of work that still has to go into it. A keyboard with the initials made out of the keys. The easiest way was to create a collage. I cut out lots of black and white keys so I could play around with the layout as much as I liked. My most simple design became an exercise in perfect placement, accurate angles and spot-on spacing.

My living room and dining table double as my studio so I traced the design so I didn’t lose it.

I had also photographed it and when I next came to look at the design, something wasn’t quite right. I couldn’t see what and when this happens I need other trusted eyes. As someone who works for themselves, by themselves, collaboration isn’t on the agenda much but I do love it. I am lucky to have a very trusted pair of eyes in my pal and fellow artist Eleanor Hawkins. As I knew would happen, she looked at the photo and had a marvellous thought. She cropped the photo creating a perfectly straight edge along the top of the keyboard complimenting the deliberate wonkiness in the rest of the design. Problem solved.

Not quite. I laid the cut out keys over the traced design and had one last shuffle of things.

Next step was to transfer the design – reversed – onto black paper. I have recently discovered white tracedown paper. Do you remember the magical duplicate books you’d get your hands on as a kid and find you could create multiple identical doodles in one go?....just me then?? Well that but the transferred image comes out – you’ve guessed it – white. Fabulous when you work on black paper as much as I do.

And so to cutting. A few blades later and a lot of concentration and it is cut from a single sheet of paper.

I decided to lay out the offcuts in the shape of the original design to compare the negative and positive images. They both work well but I’m pleased to say my original decision to cut the design out (negative) of black paper was the right one.

finished papercut piano keyboard wedding card

I hope you've enjoyed hearing about this design process. If you have, feel free to share the love on my/your fb, twitter or instagram.

If you haven't enjoyed it, well...keep it to yourselves eh?! Thanks for reading x

#project #commission #photo #papercut #silhouette #paper #papercutting #collage #tracingpaper #whitetracedownpaper #keyboard #blackandwhite #keys #wedding #layout #design #collaboration #negative #wip

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