Epiphany~ New Freedom

It is funny how something so simple can free you up. Yesterday I was surfing the internet during my lunch break and came across a new blog Visual Basic. Rach does a series called blogger Sunday sketches. Where she draws looks from various fashion blogs. All I can say is WOW! Make sure to check out her site.

Since I have been lax at uploading my long promised how-to’s on croquis I thought the least I could do is share this link to her Sketch How to Tutorial. Or this one she did as a guest post.

So I began this post talking about freeing myself up. Well here was my mad epiphany while perusing her blog. I have tons of work mocked up in pencil. I never seem to get around to coloring anything and hence never share it. I keep talking to myself….chiding myself for not buckling down and getting work finished, ready to post. Bound by my perfectionism the pencil sketches keep piling up.

I looked at her work and realized all I have to do is flush out my pencils….add a little ink and share. This way I can share far more of my ideas without holding out to find the time to watercolor or digitally paint everything. So with this new found freedom in mind I hope I can be more productive. So watch out for more sketches in the future.


A story board also known as “Inspiration board”, “mood board”, “trend board”, “concept board” or “cahiers des tendances” is a summary of your collection’s inspiration and theme. It’s a design tool that will help you remain focused and consistent as your line develops. It’s also a great communication aid when explaining your vision to others (retailers, media etc.). Magazine tears, fabric swatches, old photos, buttons, ribbons; basically any visual reference you desire are mounted onto a hard board. Be sure to give your story board a title, like a book or film”   ~fashionincubator.com

The purpose of the board is to give you a direction, create a theme, and establish your target customer and artistic elements necessary to give you ideas for designing and driving your line.

Inspiration for a line can come from anywhere- online forecasting, designer sites, and your own research or other sources of inspiration such as trend reports, street fashion observations, magazines, movies, musicians, travel etc.

So it is important to keep a notebook to collect your inspiration whenever and wherever it may hit you.

Storyboards are used throughout the design process but particularly in the early phases and are often used in merchandising reviews and line adoption sessions since they capture the creative essence of each theme group. They can also be a powerful sales tool during line presentations to important customers since they can make your line easier to buy and help them understand how their category relates to the realm of fashion, giving them more confidence about why they bought what they did.

As my class toils away creating storyboards for their upcoming design lines I felt compelled to post some moodboard inspiration. I will be working with them over the next two weeks to get everything completed. Inspired by their hard work here are a few of my own.




Storyboard 1: (clockwise) Fall Sign ~Dust jacket attic, Jcrew ~ Apartment 34, Food ~le petit happy, DIY-Autumn leaf bouqet ~Design Sponge, Shoes-Tory Burch Show ~From me to you.

Storyboard 2: (clockwise) Outfit ~tibi blog, Elizabeth Terhune Artwork ~le petit happy, Pride & Prejudice ~Sweet thing, Bedroom and Globe ~ le petit happy.

Storyboard 3: (clockwise) Pie ~Dustjacket attic, Outift ~ Dust jacket attic, Fox & dog Cards ~Sycamore street press , Baked Apricots ~ Dust jacket attic, Wood pile & Grass ~ the fresh exchange, Pumpkin whoopie ~ note to self, Rowen & Wren blanket & pillow images ~Design Sponge.

Here is a link to four pinterest moodboards via the fresh exchange

DCToolbox-Color Stories

“Perhaps no other design element has as much influence on how we feel in a space (a website, a home, etc.) as color. Colors can instantaneously change our moods and alter our opinions. They can make us comfortable, put us in a state of awe, or get us excited. The right color combinations can distinguish, guide, engage and inspire.” ~article by Luke Wroblewski


So do you need a color scheme, color palette? Perhaps you’re updating the look of your logo or launching your website. Where do you begin? Where do you go for inspiration?

When I work with my students on the color story for their fashion lines I tell them to stick to 5-7 colors. Every designer’s style is made up of numerous factors. But Color plays a large role.



Inspiration can be found anywhere these days. A quick google search or photos on flickr can give you a number of choices. One of my favorite websites is Design Seeds. This gal puts together color stories that have offered me endless inspiration. As you can see.


Color Aesthetics can be approached from vaious directions: Impression (visually), Expression (emotionally) or construction (symbolically) and there are various methods out there to developing color each with its own pros and cons.

Technical approach-choosing one or two dominant colors on the color wheel to be paired with a small set of complementary colors. Applying various Basic colour theory concepts like split complimentary, triadic, or analogous. I find this approach a good basic start but ultimately too clinical.

Matching Approach-starting with an image or perhaps a fashion sketch you choose various colors from within to generate a color scheme. As a visual person I find this approach a great way to develop stories from season to season. I like to import a photo into photoshop and convert it to a mosaic. From here it is very simple to pick out individual colors and play with their relationships (hue,value,chroma) to one another.

Intuitive Approach– Beginning with a blank canvas you use whatever colors seem appropriate.  This can give you a fresh creative palette. But without a strong knowledge of color theory can lead to trouble. I tend to use my intuition to guide my choices from the first two methods. This gives me the creative freedom I need in the process.


Here is another example from What I wore a personal style blog by Jessica Quirk.


When creating a color story whether from scratch or photo I like to use Adobe Lab’s color palette generator and explorer Kuler. You can search through existing color schemes or create your own by setting the hex values. Once established they can be downloaded into Adobe Swatch Exchange (.ASE) format for use in any of the Adobe Creative Suite applications. Or use the HEX/RGB/CMYK values to transfer into any other design program you are working in.

Here are a few more Color palette apps.

Color Hunter –uses flickr photos to create a palette. You can search by tag or hex code. You can even upload your own images.

Color Palette Generator– this app located on DeGrave.com allows you to use photos from the web as inspiration. It is a more basic app. You enter the photo’s URL and it generates a color scheme based on the photo.

ColorJack– This online generator allows you to hover over a particular color and see theme’s associated with it. Then you can choose to see your color scheme in (hsv, rgb, or hex) in order to export it into Illustrator, Photoshop or any other graphics program you use.

And some more articles on color:

Setting the Mood with Color by Sean Glithero

Color My World by Molly E. Holzschlag

Color Design for the Web by Vaishali Singh


**Look for regular color story posts to be added to my site.**

Image:(1) colorineverydaylife (2)  mezzoblue. (3-5) Designseeds (6) What I wore

Know thyself and to thine own self be true


When working with my students to develop their design lines we focus in on the demographics of the clientele they are aiming for. Who makes up their market? We flesh out the demographics and define that character. Then they pick an inspirational theme to guide a particular season. Franceline Pratt, an Editor at French Vogue said, “Always remember the great characters you meet in your life, they will inspire you later on and you never know when.”¹ This character development becomes a beacon of light focusing and informing their design decisions along the way.

Inevitably there is so much overlap with their lines and their own personalities’ as people tend to design what they love and in turn for themselves. As Janie Bryant, costume designer for Mad Men, says,” Knowing your “character” is the key to cultivating your style.”² Fashion at its best is storytelling. So it occurred to me, what if I had my students define themselves first?



A while back I applied for a job with an intense questionnaire in which we were asked to define our core values. In the process of  illustrating my character I came that much closer to fully expressing myself.  Photographer Tamara Lackey says it is vital to “define who you are because in business YOU comes up a lot.” She suggests you start with a succinct description of who you are stripped of profession, roles, geography and associations. Tara Gentile discusses this concept in Character Study: how understanding you-as-business-owner helps you to weave a story of success.  

So flesh out your own character. This intimate understanding will become the central message in everything you do within your creative business. Fashion enjoyed a rich period of more personal story telling, starring creative forces like Alexander McQueen, John Galliano, Yohji Yamamoto, Hussein Chalayan, Martin Margiela and Helmut Lang. All of whom found tremendous inspiration in their own life stories.³  Today the best fashion visionaries are storytellers. Once we become connected to ourselves, acknowledging the layers that create our unique life, we find the path to sharing our story.


So do your own character Study. Ask yourself:

  • What are your core values/beliefs?
  • What are you drawn to constantly? What makes your soul shrivel?
  • What skills, abilities and limitations do you have?
  • What are the successes and failures that have shaped who you are?
  • How do you communicate who you are? What language do you use?
  • How do you present yourself? When you look in the mirror do you recognize yourself?
  • Are you consistent with who you are? Or are you living someone else’s storybook version of you?
  • How have you made it to where you are now?

In design, creative businesses and in life you are the central character and narrator of your story. Vogue editor Debra Scherer writes, “Our own life stories will always be, for fashion, the strongest and most powerful reference of them all.”³  So I say know thyself, this is your story. Once you embrace your creative spirit and share your gifts with the world you are bound to thrive in this masterpiece called Your Life.


Reference articles: Op-Ed- Why do we take Pictures of Clothes?, NY Times -The Fashion File: Advice, Tips and Inspiration From the Costume Designer of Mad Men

Images: (1) Christian Dior by Steven KleinOmstiletto (2) Querelle Jansen photographed by Ben Toms for October Issue Dazed & ConfusedFashiongonerogue (3) Autoportraits, la couture Editorial by Karl Lagerfeld-Omstiletto 

DCToolbox-Pantone Color reports

Womens’s colors: Bamboo, emberglow, honeysuckle, Phlox, cedar, deep teal, coffee Liqueur, Nougat, orchid hush, Quarry.

Men’s colors (bottom Row) are  similar with only three variations: Burnt Sienna, Raspberry Wine, Cadet. 

Womens’s colors: Tangerine Tango, Solar Power, Bellflower, Caberet, Sodalite Blue, Margarita, Sweet Lilac, Cockatoo, Driftwood, Starfish.

Men’s colors similar with only three variations: Dazzling Blue, Vintage Khaki, Granita, Hawaiian Ocean, Starfish, Tangerine Tango, Sodalite Blue, Solar Power, Tradewinds, Grass Green.

Pantone’s Spring 2012 Color Breakdown:

 All Images from Pantone

DCToolbox-To Do Lists

I am a keeper of lists. To-Do lists to be exact. In the past I would often become paralyzed, overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of what I wanted to accomplish. Then at a recent training seminar a guest speaker introduced David Allen’s method of Getting Things Done and to me the important concept of the Brain Dump.

I realized I allowed things to trickle out, writing them down here and there throughout the week. This scattered approach left me ineffective. With this new idea I honed my method and redefined some simple steps to conquering To-Do lists.

  1. Quiet the Noise– To avoid overwhelm so you can make clear decisions empty your brain of all your to-do clutter. Do a “brain dump” or “mind Sweep”. Set some time aside each week or each day to write down everything you can think of in your head. Everything you want to do no matter how small or inconsequential, short term, long term, or immediate. Don’t sort it just dump it. Write it down in one place until your head is empty. This way you no longer have to think about it.

  1. Sort it out– Now you can go through the list and sort it into categories that make sense to you. Define What it is. Is it actionable? Categories can be as simple as Business or Personal. Perhaps you want to be more specific…Home, Office, Projects, Calls, Errands, Waiting For and Someday. Now filter this information to set your time frames; what is urgent? What matters the most?

  1. Take the leap– At this point you need to choose where to begin. Does anything jump out as a forerunner?

  1. Don’t spread yourself thin– Pick only a few to tackle. Perhaps begin with 5-10 items. These become your working to-do list. Complete these tasks then pick 5-10 more.

  1. Don’t underestimate the immediate Gratification of completion- Many of us try to tackle too many things at one time. Finish the task at hand before moving on to the next one. No matter how long it takes, 1 hour, 1 day, or 1 week. The immediate gratification of completing a task will build momentum. You will find yourself more productive.

  1. Don’t back down- The thing I have learned about to-do lists is they never end. There is always more to do, more to add. So keep going, everyday. Little by little you will reach your finish lines.

All Images: Simply Luxurious life