Midnight Swan - GTS and a look at my process

Sunday, August 30, 2015

I've a fun project to share today that I've been working on the last couple of weeks, it's my entry into the GTS (Global Talent Search) run by Lilla Rogers. I've really enjoyed the whole experience of it all and it really pushed me to explore and develop my work. The brief from round 1 was to design a pattern for a sneaker, we were given details of the demographic we were designing for along with photos to get us inspired. There weren't too many constraints so as not to restrict us creatively! I'm going to give you a peek at my process and how my finished piece came about! This is just a fraction of what is in my sketchbook, I love to explore and experiment quite a bit in the design process.

After initial brainstorming I started sketching lots of sneakers (canvas shoes/trainers!), in all different types of positions, to see what would work best. There was a swan ornament in one of the inspiration photos and it really jumped out at me so I decided to make it the main icon of the pattern. I sketched quite a few swans and refined it repeatedly until I was happy with the shape and look.

Then I wanted to get an idea of the colour palette I might use, using the inspiration photos I picked the colours I was drawn to and mixed them up using acrylic paints and put together all the colours I might possibly use in my finished design.

I referred back to the inspiration photos and sketched some motifs and made them into some hand-carved stamps. I played around creating different backgrounds again using acrylic paint.

As part of the brief we had to include some form of handlettering, so I experimented using various fonts for reference and settled on a mix of two. I'll explain why it's called 'Midnight Swan' next.

One of the inspiration photos had an image of a moon and stars in it, along with lots hints of metallic so I really wanted to include these in my design. I thought the swan would contrast nicely with a night sky so 'Midnight Swan' popped into my head and stayed there!

Here's the painted swan, surrounded by some stamped motifs, I used acrylic paints including some metallic gold paint. I wasn't sure if I wanted to create the entire design traditionally without any digital manipulation but in the end I decided to create a collage of all the different elements in Photoshop, I'm glad I did now because I learned quite a lot in the process! Like how to apply a pattern to an object.

I played around with the handlettering I scanned in Photoshop and added some motifs from the pattern. I was a bit worried about how well the gold paint would scan but I managed to get a nice sheen on it.

Here's my finished submission, it took me a while to get everything to work on the page together but I'm happy with how it turned out.

I hope you enjoyed having a look at my process! I hope you might be inspired to try something new in your process and push yourself a little further, you never know where it will take you! : )


  1. Fantastic. Love watching your process. A true artist. Tracy x

  2. I enjoyed seeing your process Clare. And the Swan and all the surrounding art is just gorgeous: keep it up! I'm sure you'll get your work published in some form one of these days: you are so good!! Hugs, H

  3. Love love love this! Really, I love it. You are very talented.


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