From doodle to done: Catepillar and Friends

While I was working on the Queen of Hearts Foodie Kitchen Towel, I had another design running in parallel. But you didn’t see it, ’cause I thought I’d save it ’till I was done and then share the process, start to finish, this time. Sneaky, right? Here we go…

Queen of Hearts - Sketches

Here’s a peek at my sketchbook… messy, messy. I’m flipping through for inspiration, wanna design some kitchen towels and I doodled some designs in here somewhere… Aha! See that furry creature with all the legs in the top left corner?

Queen of Hearts - Sketches

What about her? She looks pretty cute…. Let’s doodle some more and see what we come up with…

caterpillar with friends - sketch

Hum, I think there’s potential here… I’m getting a kinda retro two-color illustration feel… let’s do some research. Let’s look through saved  images I’ve collected and do a Google images search or two, ’till I have a pile of image ideas for brainstorming/reference. I’m cheating here a little, ’cause normally next I use my  nifty iPad  to look at all the images I’ve found for inspiration as I sketch, but — JUST FOR YOU! — I made some quick mood boards with some of the images I used for inspiration on this project.

Caterpillar google image boards

Caterpillar google image boards

Caterpillar google image boards

Feel inspired? Here’s what my new sketch looked like after I scanned it, cleaned it up in Photoshop, traced it in Illustrator and separated it out into two colors:

cat and mice - sketch

Then I printed my sketched two colors out on vellum and turned them into positives for burning a screen. Now I can screen print this silly creature. I call her a Cat-er-pillar, and she’s making some mouse friends in this sketch. Hence – “Caterpillar and Friends.”

cutting out transparencies for screens

And here’s the closest thing to a Cat-er-pillar I have at my house. A Cat-o-blob.


Now, while the screens are drying, we have to check the placement of the design… I think I’ll put it in the bottom left-hand corner of the flour sack towel.

checking placement

And, then we print! … I didn’t take any photos of the printing process (oops – but y’all have seen those pix before, right?), so we’re going right to the final product. After the ink dried and I set it with an iron and then washed the newly printed kitchen towels… this is what I’ve got:

cat-erpillar and friends kitchen towel
cat-erpillar and friends kitchen towel
cat-erpillar and friends kitchen towel
cat-erpillar and friends kitchen towel

Tah-Dah! What do you think? Pretty cute, right?  Today I took photos of the finished towels and posted them to Etsy, so anyone who wants a cat-apillar of their very own, check it out. I also printed some stationery cards with this same image, so if you don’t cook or make messes (heh, who are we kidding?), you can write someone a sweet (if catty) note instead.
cat-erpillar and friends kitchen towel
cat-erpillar and friends kitchen towel

See, that was fun! And don’t forget, I’ll have these towelscards and more at  The Krankies Craft Fair this weekend so stop by, if you can.


6 thoughts on “From doodle to done: Catepillar and Friends

  1. I really liked your creative process and production process narrative. It is inspiring and makes me want to bust out my screen again!

    Great work!

  2. I love to see other artist’s creative process. Everybody’s is completely different. It reminds me of a fingerprint. It’s such a unique and personal thing.

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