The Journey of a Bookworm Bookmark

Submitted by diana on Thu, 06/25/2015 - 5:09pm

Hello All!  Don't you just hate it when you computer "goes to sleep" and you hit the refresh button only for the computer to shut down and you lose the long blog you finished about 20 minutes ago???  Oh well!  Starting over again is the name of this game, apparently.  In the meantime I got another 14 bookworms started painting.  A few customers want to know how long it takes to paint a bookworm bookmark.  Saying only 10-15 minutes seems about right however, when I break it down, starting from scratch - yikes!  Once I get the templates nade and the prototype painted and approved, THEN it takes about 6 minutes from start to finish.  "WOW!" I hear - "only that long and you charge $6! That's $66/hour!  I don't make that much!"  Well folks, it's a little more complex than that!  I never paint one bookmark at a time - always always always paint at least two of each new design.  One is the "artist proof" and the other is the "finished saleable product".  Here's what I do to start any new design - this one is Mr. Bookworm, the Bookmark. 

1.  Get request for new design, something avid readers and/or teachers would like to buy/receive as a gift.  Sketching on my sketchpad for a few days until I get the design I like.

2.  Go to Clipart to find a suitable reference to print and make as a template.  I always use free clipart as to not infringe on copyrights! 

3.  Print out design desired, cut out and trace onto lightweight cardboard that will withstand mupltiple useage.

4.  Trace outline onto cardstock bookmark.  The bookworm is a two template outline - the worm and the book - two templates to create, cut and use.  I outline the head and neck and tail of the worm, leaving the book area clean.

5.  Select suitable paint color for client approval.  Once approved, I begin painting the "artist proof" for client review.

6.  Paint worm with acrylic lime green paint.

7.  Outline worm and book with super-fine black Sharpie pen.  Add eyes, hair, glasses, and scallopes to give the worm movement.

8.  "Color" in the hair and eyeballs with fine point black Sharpie.  The wider the tip, the better coverage of hair and eyeballs.

9.  Add red fine point Sharpie to create bookcover.

10.  Using super-fine black Sharpie pen, make 'pages' of the book to give more 2d effect.

11.  Add lettering using same pen type for lettering on bookcover.  In this instance, T.S. is one the left side and Sims is on the right side of the bookcover.  My signature, diana, with '15 will be under the 'tail'.

12.  Submit for client approval and confirmation in writing of order.

This process may take anywhere from 1-6 hours, and at times, more to perfect.  I have lots of "seconds" of bookmarks that didn't meet my approval, little imperfections. Yes, they are for sale!

Got it!!!!  Now that the order is secure, deposit received, I start assembling the blanks, paints, Sharpies, and start painting!  YAY! 

13.  Count out 80 bookmarks, begin outlining the 2 templates; the worm and the book.

14.  Cut ribbon for 80 bookmarks.  I have a large piece of sturdy cardboard where I have measured 12" for each ribbon.  I merely "wrap" the ribbon around until the spool is out.  Makes about 30 cuts at a time, if the spool measurement is true.

It will take about two weeks to finish up the bookmarks.  I paint in stages as not to burn myself out.  Now I have twenty-two 75% completed - need lettering on front, signature, and company name on back, plus ribbon. 

Remember, it only takes a moment to think up a "great idea/invention".  Then the long process begins of trial and error, research and development, design, rejection and approval.  Believe it or not, that process is what I love the most, besides the painting and seeing the satisfaction and look of delight on my client's face.