Now that the festive season is well and truly creeping upon us, I’ve created a set of Christmas illustrations for the occasion. Little Santa and reindeer moveable puppet dolls, as well as some stars, robins and fairy light for extra cheer. The full set is now available over on my Etsy store.
I had been planning to do some form of design or illustration for the holiday season, but I was drawing a blank until, while looking for some stationary supplies in a local shop, I noticed a set of brass fasteners. I have fond memories of using these as a child in school to make little moving figures, so that first set me off on how I could combine this idea with some Christmas decorations.
They also brought my mind back to a company I’ve admired for sometime; Crank Bunny. Crank Bunny create amazing little paper crafts, as well as brilliant animations, using a traditional tattoo-inspirated look, something a little akin to the Sailor Jerry’s style. I’d always wanted to try to do something in this style, so, well, there’s never any time better than the present.
After some time researching traditional tattoo design and the Sailor Jerry’s aesthetic, I realised this combination would work better than I’d initially thought. Two of the biggest motifs when it comes to the Sailor Jerry’s look is the bird and the star, both of which mirror Christmas standards. So with a little bit of a play-about, the Sailor Jerry’s bird became a robin, and the star morphed into more of a snowflake shape.
The next step was to do some doddles, trying to get a good idea of how each figure and element should roughly work, before redoing the best of these concepts in a style emulating the Sailor Jerry’s aesthetic. Then I took my now consolidated ideas for the Santa Claus and reindeer and work out how the puppets could potentially work, enabling each to have a nice range of movement.
A few paper templates later, I was able to nail down the sizing and positioning of each body part, and moved onto the actual final pencil illustrations (you can see some of these experiments over on my Instagram). The last step was to bring each finished illustration into Adobe Photoshop and give them all a nice bit of colour.
So finally after a few days of idea generation, experimentation and illustration, I was finally at the stage of printing out each figure. I printed them onto thick card for stability, and spent a full night actually cutting each part out, leaving a little bit of white around the edges to help each pop against their background, and to ensure no part of the illustration was cut off. Then holes were punched into the Santa and reindeer body parts, and each character was brought to life.
Using some of the left-over card and some double-sided sellotape, I made a simple little tag on the back of each figure, and slid them onto a length of rope the perfect colour of green for Christmas. And, voila, some Christmas bunting! I also, using a few left over robins, glued two together with some nice gold ribbon in between for something that could be hung simply onto the Christmas tree.
So it’s been a bit of a process, but I’m really delighted as to how these little decorations came out. And you can download the full set yourself over on my Etsy store.
And as a little added bonus, I’ve created these Christmas wallpaper freebies using the same illustrations used on the printable downloads.
All graphics remain the property of myself. You may link to this post, but you are not allowed to claim them as your own, give them away or charge for them.
I’m looking for some bloggers out there to help spread word about these decorations, so if you would like to exchange a blog post for a set of these printables, give me a shout and we can see what we can do.