We are so excited to present our first guest blog featuring the work of the vivacious, talented, and wonderfully creative Norma Andreu and her illustrated world of Cara Carmina! Norma wrote a post to help inspire you to take the leap from paper prints to your first fabric creations. Read about her experiences creating leggings and see how her collections come together.
My process for creating a new collection of leggings or (any of my product) is an instinctive one, I get inspired by something I see or something I hear and I have an idea, sometimes I keep this ideas for a while inside my head but eventually I make them into something. I go with the flow and I create as I feel inspired, I don’t really have a method, I just do what makes me happy.
I draw all my work by hand with pencil on paper and then I go over it once more with ink, I scan the illustration and color it on Photoshop and so I have my work on digital format at the end. I’m not a pro using any of my tools / programs, I’m very curious and I’ve learnt to use them by myself on my own way, I’m not scared of making mistakes and when I don’t know how to do something I Google it and find tutorials, I think nowadays we all can learn to do anything we want and if you are resourceful there is everything for you out there.
I follow the specs on Art of Where’s design guidelines to design my products and they are really helpful. For each product there is a different sizing so I go for a bit bigger than that to be able to place my work the way I want it. I never make an illustration thinking on the leggings, I’m not a pattern expert although I do make patterns and love making them! As I said, I go with the flow and I found my own way of working and creating.
For this new 3rd collection all started with a mistake as I was retouching some illustrations for a print. I pressed the wrong button on Photoshop and the illustration transformed into a negative. It looked really interesting, almost as lace. So I tried it on a pair of leggings and it looked very nice. I decided to keep exploring this with a collection of illustrations I did last year for the arrival of Spring, these illustrations have a series of girls surrounded by flowery patterns and it worked so well that I decided to go for it, I also decided to go for a different palette, a more subtle one, still with contrasts and bright colors but using very few colors (3 maximum) on each design to give a different feeling from the first 2 collections. I think contrasting them with colourful clothing and layers will look great!
For this 3rd collection I transferred my work into the new canvas (the leggings) I focused on dividing the image in two sections; I left the less intricate part of the illustration in the middle / down section so it gives blocks of color to it this is important as the surface on the lower part of the leggings has less fabric. The flower patterns on the top look really great on the higher part of the leggings which is bigger; there is a great balance into a very busy image and a less intricate one. I’m very happy with the result!
There was a lot of pre-design experimentation with the coloring of the illustrations but after lots of trials I found the one that made me happy.
The more I design fashion with my work the more possibilities I see! It’s a lot of fun to wear my own art and to be able to transfer my colourful work on my everyday life! I love crazy, colourful clothing! I find we don’t use enough colors in our life! I would like to keep designing clothes with my art, it’s been a great creative experience and of course when I see people wearing them and liking my clothes it’s awesome!
More about Norma Andreu:
Norma Andreu is a Mexican visual artist living in Montreal since 2009. She is the creator of the world of Cara Carmina. Her work has found singular recognition in the Montreal art scene . Illustrator, designer and entrepreneur. Cara Carmina wears multiple hats to keep her career as an autonomous artist afloat and, above all, nurture her passion for art. She is a published children illustrator with 2 children books in Montreal and 1 in Argentina and has been an Etsy seller since 2008, she is also active on the street art scene and has pasted her work in Rome, Findland and Montreal. Active personality on social media and on the Montreal entrepreneurial scene.
Her work aims to portray the beauty of simple things; she tries to interpret the world in a whimsical, childlike way. What she enjoys the most is transforming simple elements — a piece of paper or a scrap of fabric — into something fantastic, giving life to different characters and products, telling stories, creating in a simple, yet beautiful way. Norma's work is passionate, full of expression, imaginative and whimsical; it is both a reflection of her background and of her personality.
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