SillWill Land – The Blog

A few months ago I received a sweet surprise when I got a phone call from a friend I hadn’t heard from in a long time. Trish Potter reached out to me in welcome friendliness to commission me to design an invitation for her wedding reception. She and her new husband Gregg had gotten married in Mexico and were wishing to hold a reception for friends and family back home in June. Now that the reception has come and passed I am free to tell the story of the design I rendered for this amazing couple.

 

A major bonus of this project was the fact that Trish and Gregg had a strong idea of what they wanted and as there was a bit of a time crunch that really helped to speed up the process of the illustration. Trish wanted to see a design that featured “a Scottish Wolf and a Ukrainian Bear in a decorative celtic style”, the colours, ideally would feature those taken from the Potter family tartan. I can’t express how lovely it is to work with people who know what they want. So smooth. Yet, as time was running short. I restricted myself to coming up with six really rough thumbnail designs. From there, Trish and Gregg chose two to be taken to a finished pencil form and after that they would pick a single design to be finished for print. Below, you can see the scratchy thumbnails.

With some extra research I learnt that the official flowers for Scotland and the Ukraine respectively were the thistle and the sunflower and decided they would add an interesting touch. I should point out that I also learnt that the actual “official” animal of Scotland is the Unicorn. Leave it to the Scots to choose an imaginary animal…like the Welsh and their dragon, I suppose. We stuck with the wolf.

Of the six thumbnails Trish and Gregg decided they wanted to see the two above in a refined form. The first design was inspired by the old, renaissance custom of combining the initials of the wedded couple in a heraldic design. I eased up on the heraldry side of things but kept the idea of entwined initials that combined the bear and wolf with the thistle and sunflowers alongside. I added a heart motif that is reflected throughout, including in the shape made by the touching noses of the two animals. The second design pulls together the wolf and bear in a entwined embrace while crowned with the flowers. Trish and Gregg felt a special affinity for the first design so it was onward to the finished or painted stage.

 

Again, in order to hasten the completed design and get it to print quickly, I rendered the artwork digitally in the Clip Studio Paint software I use for a lot of my comic oriented work. It allows you to save your work in Photoshop format too, if you wish. Using the dark green, navy blue, red and yellow pallette from the Potter tartan made for some easy choices and complimented the neutral tones of the animals. The brightness of those decorative colours also balanced the purple thistles nicely and tied them into the design. Once approval of this design was obtained I uploaded it to Vistaprint.ca and had the cards shipped directly to Trish and Gregg’s home. The rest I left up to them.

Is there anything better than happy clients? Happy friends, I’d have to say.  You know you’ve rendered a successful design when the printed card is framed; guests were asked to sign the matte around the image and then it was to be displayed prominently in Gregg and Trish’s home. It was great to witness their joy at the reception and an honour to have had a special part in the celebration. Here’s wishing Trish and Gregg all the best and many happy years to come! Congratulations!

 

If you like the celtic feel of the invitation but aren’t looking for a commissioned piece, you’d probably enjoy our celtic-inspired fantasy-adventure graphic novel trilogy, The Sorcerer’s Children available through our store. There’s also some truly cool merchandise featuring the characters on t-shirts, stickers, posters, and more! You just might find a sweet surprise waiting for you.