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In Process: Vintage Luggage Inspiration

Sometimes, inspiration comes at you out of nowhere when you're least expecting it. In fact, I would say that's how almost all of my inspiration happens. The traditional "art school" method of quietly observing artwork or architecture and sketching what you see or your impressions of it has never worked for me. Anytime I've deliberately picked an object to ponder as my inspiration, I've been completely bored within 20 minutes and given up. Unfortunately, the "randomly coming across something that smacks me in the head" method is less reliable, and can be sort of like catching lightning in a jar, but when it happens it's awesome.


The inspirational suitcase, as pictured on the Instagram account of @threeriversvintage - you should follow them, they have awesome stuff all the time!

Such as a recent scroll through my Instagram feed, when I rolled right past a photo of a vintage suitcase for sale at a shop back home in Pittsburgh. I paused long enough to think, "that's super cute!" and to note that it had already sold, and then I kept on going. But the Instagram maths kept bring the photo back up in my feed, and all of the sudden I realized that it wasn't really the suitcase itself that I kept pausing to look at, but rather the color and style of the floral pattern fabric covering it. That realization was quickly followed by the tiny, but equally important to the process, voice in my head that said "yeah...I could draw that". And so I did. Real, real quick - like in one evening, while watching something History-channelish. I know something is going to work when it happens in one take, so to speak, when I barely have to use my eraser at all, and adding the ink is easy-peasy.


The original drawing after adding pen and ink.

The next night, I scanned the pen and ink drawing and set about adding color digitally. Sometimes this part is a stumbling block. Rarely can I get the color on the screen to match what I was imagining in my head, and I never like my pen and ink drawings as much after I've colorized them, but again, sometimes it just...works. So, I kept running with it, and turned the colorized drawing into a pattern, and then overlaid the pattern on a envelope template, and voila! I liked what I saw, so I printed it (despite being seriously low on colored ink, which is a chronic issue with me, since I am both a serial procrastinator and a designer with a love of saturated color that eats ink for breakfast) and even liked the sort of distressed look that the low ink issue caused. I quickly assembled a mock-up of the envelope, added a plain but brilliantly colored orange envelope liner, and Bob's your uncle (whatever the hell that means, but I love saying it).


No joke, this picture got more likes than anything I've ever posted on Instagram (which isn't saying much since I'm still very much trying to figure out the 'grams - in fact, I should probably tell you that I'm on IG @cannedhamstudio. Follow me and stuff!)

Just like that, I think I've got the beginnings of my spring notecard options underway!! Stay tuned for these in the Etsy shop...