Watercolour in Profile

— Wedding Stationery Trend

Watercolour in Profile
Watercolour in Profile

With a remarkable ability to convey a sense of ‘water’ and ‘fluidity’ through the dry finished canvas of tactile paper, the allure of watercolour is as elusive and changeable as water itself. Beautifully unpredictable, undulating across the page in an ombre of marbled colour and barely there washes of pigment, our appreciation for this technique - and the artists who create it - never fades. 

Realised in age old motifs of soft florals and wreathes of leaves, to the more abstract incarnations suggestive of smoke or liquid, the stationery possibilities for beautifully unique paperware are infinite. With the possibility of a completely customised, individually painted by hand approach (with no two alike!) or the option of a bespoke design, brought to life through print, the markings of watercolour lend themselves beautifully to a diverse range of moods and aesthetics. 

We called upon Queensland based Cass Deller (the serene host of our Watercolour Workshop earlier this year) to talk techniques and things to consider for those drawn to this aesthetic… 

What attracted you to working with watercolour and paper?
I’ve always dabbled in watercolour from a very young age, however it wasn’t until I studied graphic design that I picked it up again. We had a hand made project to create and I chose to use watercolour, it was then that I realized how much I loved it and wanted to pick it back up again. It wasn’t until the next year though that I started my business and started introducing watercolours into my designs.

Do you have a favourite colour palette to work within? Or recurring motifs throughout your work?
Ahh yes, I’m always favouring a blue palette. Its my sunshine coast lifestyle I think, I’m just constantly mesmerised by the ocean and inspired by the beautiful coastal colours. I don’t think that will ever change.

What do you love most about the process of watercolour and what you do?
I love that I can create a piece of unique art for each and every client. The biggest compliment is when I have my clients ask me to turn their wedding suite illustration into a piece of art for them, which they can cherish forever. 

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The most common mis-conception or expectation people have? Or the thing that you find yourself educating people on the most frequently?
Watercolour is very on-trend at the moment, which is great because most of my couples appreciate the art, however sometimes clients may not realize how much time a piece of art can take. For example if it’s a detailed bouquet of flowers they are after, then this could take 3-4 hours to paint, and that’s without designing the actual invitation suite on the computer. In saying this, I can do a lot of things with photoshop, so if we need to change the colour slightly, or crop an illustration, we can do this quite quickly without having to pick up the paint brush again. 

Talk us briefly through the steps involved in creating a customised watercolour wedding suite…both the process and the time involved…
Each wedding suite starts with the lovely couple contacting me online to generate an accurate quote. Once the quote is accepted, we start the process off with a wedding questionnaire, which allows me to gain an insight into their wedding theming, and their personal style. Typically brides already have an idea or concept in mind before we get started. They have either seen a watercolour design I have already created, and love, or they would like me to paint and design something specific to them. Once we have established a detailed brief, I create a mood board to reflect their ideas, and explore new ones that they may not have thought about. When my couples are happy with the direction of the design, I start painting! 

Depending on how detailed the illustration is, it can take anywhere from 1-4 hours to create the watercolour design. Most of my design suites also involve calligraphy or watercolour lettering, so this is created at the same time. Once I am happy with the artwork and lettering, I scan the original pieces into the computer where I’m able to use photoshop to enhance and manipulate the design to create the desired effect. When I use this process, it allows me to create a few options for my clients and from here I use the artworks to generate multiple invitation concepts exploring different compositions, fonts, layouts, etc. These concepts are then sent to the couple where they can either select a design as it is, or request changes. Once the invitation is approved, I design the rest of the suite based on their chosen concept. Depending on the number of changes required, designing of the suite can take anywhere from 2-6 hours, each client is unique. The main thing is, we keep going until they are in LOVE with the stationery and the suite perfectly reflects them.

What factors influence the varying costs? 
Considering that they all involved hand illustrations and/or lettering, I think my stationery prices are very reasonable… and time is not an issue, as I don’t charge extra for taking longer to design a specific suite. However stock, embellishments (ie. gold foil) or special printing techniques like Letterpress, are where the additional costs lie. We are so lucky to have access to a huge array of finishes and special effects, however these will all cost extra due to outsourcing other services.

What kind of our hours do you keep in the studio? 
3 months ago I would’ve said 24hours a day, 7 days a week but throw in a small human to look after and those hours have severely diminished. At the moment I’m only working whilst our little boy sleeps, so I’m in the studio anywhere from 2-4 hours a day, and I usually leave painting to weekends. I’ve just hired a talented young designer though who will be assisting me with my wedding stationery designs, and liaising with our wonderful couples, so hopefully that means we can take on some more work again!

If you weren’t doing this you would most likely be… 
Sailing around the Greek Islands - haha… wouldn’t we all !! If I had all the money in the world, I would still be doing this! Not only do I love working in the beautiful wedding industry, but I love to constantly explore new ideas and new designs. 

Find a complete list of our hand picked Stationery designers and Calligraphers from around the globe in The LANE Brands, including watercolour specialists Cass Deller and Mon Voir.

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