Limited Edition Skyline Pens
Duration: Mar 2018 – Present
Client: Fine pen company – NDA
Role: Illustration Designer
Mediums: Pencil, Procreate, Adobe Illustrator
The final skyline pens are highly detailed wonders, best explored with a magnifying glass. Each is infused with hidden local surprises, all the way to the full color disc on top.
A list of must-have landmarks is provided by the client and I further research each city through the lens of geography, history, architecture, popular tourist destinations and/or motifs.
Over the years of drawing skylines, I have conducted research using a variety of places such as Google Maps & Earth, image searches, Wikipedia, and location tags on social media.
Designing within the available space on the body of a pen presents its own challenges for thumbnailing and found working in an area double the size helps with layout.
I sketch the landmarks individually and move them around within the allowable space to figure out the layout – knowing the scale of each could increase or decrease slightly. I began with hand sketches for the older designs, but once introduced to the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil, I went digital with this phase.
Each design is a client collaboration with revisions and iterations. There is the color palette to address, and how the design must wrap around the body of the pen in a seamless way. Line weights, placement of the pen clip so as not to obscure vital design elements, and knowing each design will also have a second glow-in-the-dark overlay are also key for production specs.
The final deliverables are vectorized drawings of the skylines. We are all thumbs up from the client at this point as it is the most time-consuming aspect of the project. It is finalized in Adobe Illustrator so elements can be scaled for marketing and packaging design as needed. These designs are sold out usually within days of release and am so proud to be a part in the lines success. As a pen collector myself, they are the star of the show.
I learned quite a bit about post-design production through the process of creating these illustrations. When designing for physical products, it is important to remember that while the screen may allow for great magnification, printers can only produce down to a certain size. Having a printer nearby to see a few test prints while designing can be of great help. I am excited to carry these best practices into all my work in the future.