“But I can’t draw!”
“I don’t have any ideas!”
This is something I hear often when asking people to sketch out their jewellery designs on paper but in reality a drawing jewellery is often done just to get an idea across.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a stick drawing or a masterful photo-realistic work of art -it’s not the product, merely a representation of what the piece will be like when it’s made.
Drawings are used to show:
- an understanding of the request for a piece
- overall : design of the ring or pendant
- detail : catches, patterns
- views from different angles
- a thought process and to help get the creative juices flowing
It is widely accepted that sketching out ideas is a great way to progress the design, or solve a problem – regardless of your area of business.
I like to work directly with metal and shape it into what I see in my minds eye. My husband is different, he prefers to sketching things out in pencil and play with shapes, textures and layers to firm up an idea. If you’ve decided to design your own piece of jewellery, you may prefer to draw it out too.
The drawing is not hard. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It just has to be good enough for you to turn your idea into reality or get your point across. If a stick figure drawing does this, then that’s great. If you have to draw it out in photo-realism, then that’s fine too.
In this blog post we’ll start to look at how to how to generate ideas, in a way that is fun, creative and part of the solution-finding process. Be warned, if you’re starting out making your own jewellery, you may draw something that is very hard to make but it’s still part of the fun and learning.
You’ll start to get a feel for what is possible with the metals as your jewellery making experience increases, and you start to incorporate it into your designs so that it’s easier to make.
Choose a topic
For this exercise I’ll be doing a pendant with a Rennie MacIntosh-style horse theme to it.
So get onto Google and do a search for “horse head”.
Looking good so far, but there’s one further down that catches my eye.
Get down the basic shapes
Next is to get a feel for the shapes so I’d simplify them a bit and start thinking about how they will translate into metal.
Simplify, Structure, Surface
Simplify some of the ideas and start thinking how to depict the shape while still having enough material to support the elements. Make sure lines cross, meeting or otherwise join so that the pendant will not only hold together but will have enough strength to withstand daily wear.
Here are the ideas so far.
The dark areas will be the silver – note how there are a lot of spots touching and joining up.
These ideas can then be refined even more, and then printed and transferred onto your piece of sterling silver sheet and then cut out with a piercing saw!
Don’t forget, when you are designing a pendant, to add the bail or a hanging point and make sure you don’t have any silver pieces hanging in space, attached to nothing.
For a great video on drawing jewellery, have a look at Zachary DaCosta’s video:
Have a look at the student jewellery gallery >> to see some of the pieces students have made. A lot of these students said at the beginning that they weren’t artist and weren’t creative – an then went on to produce stunning pieces that they wore home as finished jewellery.