We’re Inspired By This Designer’s Creative Paper-Cutting Techniques
We recently partnered with Bounty to support emerging artists and designers in a national design competition. The ask? Design a graphic for a new Brit + Co and Bounty paper towel collection themed A Clean Fresh Start, which launches this month. In this creator spotlight series, we are featuring the winners of that competition to learn more about their inspirations, their design process, and their winning Bounty design. Read on to meet…
What are your design inspirations? I’ve always loved collage art from artists such as Charles Wilkin and Danielle Krysa. And I love hand-lettering from artists such as Jessica Hische and Gia Graham. I think it was seeing Lynn Giunta’s work — she’s a creative artist — that made me realize I could combine my two interests of collage and lettering.
I’ve focused a lot of my energy this past year on making designs for quilting and sewing products. That’s definitely inspired by my mom, Karen Saunders, and her love of quilting. I’ve been crafting and creating my whole life because of her, and now we collaborate on projects together. It’s been such a fun process to work with her to create products with my own art on them — 10-year-old me would be very happy!
Tell us about your design process. I create cheerful surface designs using a paper-cutting technique. I begin my designs by cutting shapes, letters, and icons out of paper. I love to use rudimentary tools, such as children's scissors and construction paper, to keep my designs loose and playful. This helps give the designs a naïve quality that works well for children’s products. I combine this with the technical process I’ve developed in my 15+ years as a graphic designer to complete the design digitally using Adobe Illustrator. I create these cheerful, modern designs for both kids and the young at heart!
How did you get into illustration? I’ve been a graphic designer for over 15 years and for the past 10 years I’ve been a design educator. I’m currently an assistant professor of studio art at Clark University in Worcester, MA. When I moved from Texas to Massachusetts to take this role in fall 2020, as you can imagine, it was a difficult time to feel creative. I didn’t have any local graphic design clients, but in January 2021, I decided to sign up for a drawing challenge on Instagram to spark my creativity again. This helped me develop a habit, and I was able to fit in a little work each day for a month. As I worked, I realized I wanted to shift from freelance graphic design to focusing on getting my illustration work onto products. Imagine my surprise when I won this contest to design for Bounty in June 2021. It was an absolute dream project!
What are three IG accounts you love? All three of these accounts are female-owned small businesses because that’s really what’s inspiring me these days.
- Puzzles of Color is co-owned by sibling duo Ericka and William and together they make puzzles featuring art by artists of color. The puzzles are beautiful and celebratory. William was actually one of my graphic design students in 2013, and now I’m looking to him for business advice!
- Elizabeth Silver is a wealth of knowledge in the surface design industry. She’s been working as a surface pattern designer for 20 years, and I basically learned all my first surface design business tips from the advice on her youtube channel and blog. She’s also a hilarious writer, and I do read every newsletter she sends my way!
- Elizabeth Chappell is a quilt pattern designer and host of the “Craft to Career” podcast. This podcast has been my road map to figuring out how to develop a business in the craft industry…fun fact, I was featured on a business coaching call episode last August. It really helped me think about narrowing my focus because I tend to want my hands in all the creative things!
How do you know when a piece of art, including your winning Bounty design, is “finished”? This is a tough question because each project is different. Sometimes I work through several ideas before completing a design, and sometimes I work through one concept from start to finish, but I might keep changing it throughout the process.
Here’s one example: I recently designed a Halloween countdown calendar, and I knew from the beginning that I wanted a coffin shape and spooky elements like ghosts, skeletons, and spiders. As I developed it, I found that the concept didn’t change, but I came to a point where it wasn’t looking quite right. I ended up taking out several elements and then it finally felt complete. My designs are often very dense, but I had to rethink it in this case because it didn’t work for the type of product I was trying to create.
Overall, it’s hard to describe, but the “finished” quality of the work is part intuitively knowing that it’s done, and part knowing that done is better than perfect!
Be sure to look out for Sherry’s winning design wherever Bounty Paper Towels are sold!