Last week I wrapped up one of my favourite projects ever: illustration for a pair of shoes! They were a commission from my dance friend James, who gave them to his girlfriend for Christmas. (She already got her shoes so I’m not spoiling anything!) All the images were hand-drawn with permanent fineliners. I’m super happy with how they turned out and will show & tell a bit of the process below.
The shoes to be decorated were a pair of white canvas Keds — which are favoured by swing dancers, including James’ girlfriend Sepideh. After chatting a bit with James about what Sepideh might like, I sent him a couple concept sketches. We felt flowers would be well-received, with the occasional bunny throughout:
Not wanting to mess up the shoes, I drew on them with pencil first:
After pencils came the inks. Drawing on canvas is tricky because the inks tend to bleed. It was a careful and zen-like process. I wanted the design to look delicate and intricate, so the individual elements are pretty small. A fun challenge was adding Sepideh’s name — in her native language, Farsi. I used a tiny 0.1 marker to help me capture the various accents and width changes in the characters.
I’m sad to be finished this project! But delighted that I got to do it. Sepideh’s part of a professional dance team, so these shoes might actually appear at one of her gigs! In the meantime, I’m tempted to doodle a pair for myself…