Sunday, August 31, 2008


Look what I found on-line - some of my pyjama's in REAL LIFE! The next summer ranges should be out now, so I have to get out in store and have a bit of a look!

In an attempt to give you something of interest to read, I thought I might as well chat to you in a bit more detail about my current freelance work, and the processes involved. You will find some more of my detailed ramblings on the design process here, but for now, here goes with the current stuff!

I have also taken on some more book illustration work, and have been invited to be on the panel to judge a design competition - of sorts!

I did not mean to attempt to make these posts more interesting by making them longer (which NEVER actually works!)but if you are interested in reading about any of this in more detail, then just click the link below:

I have spent the weekend finishing off x4 Baby Apparel ranges. I love doing the baby ranges because they are all about colour and graphics - my two favourite design elements! The styles don't change too much in this age range, and it's not particularly trend driven, so it suits me really well.

Unfortunately I can't share any of the files here due to copyright concerns, but I will try to describe the process a bit for you.

With this apparel business, I am usually given a design brief that documents all requirements before I even start. From this, I put together a Quote which breaks down how long I think it might take me to do each particular requirement. Some companies may prefer to work on a flat rate amount that is negotiated before the work is commenced, (which tends to be how the book publishing has worked for me) but most of the apparel businesses I work with prefer an hourly rate. Obviously I charge difference hourly rates, with the most being for the design hours (which I guess you could argue is the uniqueness that you bring to the project) and a little less for the finished art which could technically be done by anyone if you handed over the artwork.

The designs were all signed off on last week, so the weekend allowed me to put together the factory ready art. This is quite time consuming, and a little fiddly but all part of the job!

What does this involve exactly?
Well each apparel company has their own standard and methods for this, ranging from highly detailed technical specifications, to general illustrations. In the case of this company it involves 2 stages:

1 GARMENT SPECS: Each garment needs to be drawn in a front and back view, with detailed written support outlining all fabrics, and materials that would be required to make the garment, such as buttons, zips artwork etc. It also involves indicating all colours of these elements including stitch colour. Obviously each garment is given a specific number to help identify the item and to assist communication with the factories and the apparel businesses.

With the business I am currently working in, this process is quite straight forward, but when I was working full time in this industry it was a highly technical and process driven area, supported by a full QA team of garment technicians.

2 ARTWORK: Artwork is supplied at ACTUAL size where possible. Obviously for baby garments, this is easy as the art is usually quite small. All colours need to be indicated on the artwork, as well as detailed indications of what might be embroidered, printed / appliqued etc.

I usually send these off for approval too so that if I have misinterpreted anything it can be picked up before sending it off to the factory. Once I get the OK, I print 3 copies of EVERY file, burn it all to disc and send it off to the client. I am usually given several reference garments at the start of the process and these will all need to be returned as the are often sent off to the factory as support. (I could write a whole novel about how the Australian apparel industry relies too heavily on overseas garments to "design" ranges, but that will have to be a topic of discussion for another day!)

One of the main reasons that I continue to work with this client is that they DO allow me to create my own designs, and they are REALLY organised and clear about their requirements. They make the whole process so easy, which is currently the deciding factor in me taking on freelance projects now that I am working full-time. It just means that these sort of projects can be a lovely "bonus" job, rather than a required chore.

I would have to say the same of my book publishers! I have just taken on a new book in the series I have been involved with and they have asked me to come up with some brand new characters which will be pretty exciting, as I have spent a lot of time working with their existing characters in a very established series.

I have also been asked to be on the judging panel for a large National, Australian business who are running their own "in-house" competition to design their businesses Christmas card for this year. I thought it would be an interesting process and I am looking forward getting involved.

Ok - well that's it for now...but thank you for reading if you have managed to get this far!


nina seven said...

your pjs are so adorable! it makes me wish my kids were small again, so i could get them some!

Bella Sinclair said...

FABULOUS! They are so cute! Where are they online?

P.S., Happy, happy birthday to you!!!

Tamsin Ainslie said...

Hi, I often read your blog, you are very inspiring with all your work, I have seen your PJ's in the shops too!

Mônica said...

Oh, I'm so glad you left a comment on my blog (thank you very much, by the way!)
It brought me here to yours and your work is terrific! I'll be bookmarking you so that I can come back often.

Oh, happy belated birthday to you! :-)

mercedes de la jara said...

Your pjs are so Adorable!!!

crystal driedger said...

CUTE pjs! weee, that is too fun to discover. Wonder if they're sold in Canada?

-J.Meyer said...

I adore your penguin PJs!!!
They are sooo very cute.

(I've been oddly interested in penguins lately)

Alicia Padrón said...

These are awesome Dan!!!! All of them!
You really do amazing work. Sorry I've been so out of touch.. really. I promise I'll start visiting you more often :o)

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