Blooming Buttercups Collection From Sketchbook To Launch Night

Lucy Gray Collection Design Small business behind the scenes

The new 2021 Spring collection is here and I am so excited to share it all with you. I feel like this Winter has been a particularly hard one, and we all need some brightness in our lives! 

Bee and buttercup luxury gift tags from the new collection

I started this collection straight after Christmas, I got thinking about last spring and how different it was from any other spring I had experienced.What I could take from that to put into my new collection. 

Now last spring was like no other because of course we were all put in lockdown for the first time in our lives. Remember when it was all new and almost exciting? When we were planning zoom quizzes and where we could go on our daily exercise? Feels like a verrrrryyyy long time ago doesn't it!?

Lucy walking through the woods

Spring 2020 - doesn't it feel like a life time ago?

Well, that lockdown was a quiet one, the children weren't at school, we couldn't travel or meet up with a friend for a walk. Everything slowed down for the first time ever, and like others, I began to notice the smaller things that I took for granted every day and every season. 

I began to notice just how many wildflowers we have, the birdsong, I saw winter turn into spring and really appreciated it. The daffodils coming out, the buttercups arriving in the fields. Seeing the lambs bounce around with their friends (of which I was very jealous!).

I wanted to  take this idea of newness and a fresh way of looking at life, especially life in the countryside and put it into a collection for everyone to enjoy. 

As always with collections the first thing I do is put all my ideas down in a sketchbook, I really do hit the ground running and just put everything I'm thinking down. 

Spring collection sketchbook open on a table with paints

I go back through it and then really go over what I like, what's bouncing out on the pages. I make moodboards. My favourite thing to do. Pinterest is my life when it comes to creating a new collection. I love how clean and crisp they are and how they bring all my ideas together visually.

I put those moodboards out to you lot over on Instagram to see what you thought, and I can safely say the strong majority voted for yellows and lambs! I told you we needed the brightness didn't I?

I took that moodboard and delved further into it, I did at one point really want to do garden and song birds so spent a while studying and sketching them. But something kept dragging me back to the yellow flowers and buttercups! 

Open sketchbook on table with paints showing research into flowers

Once I had decided on buttercups I got sketching, I tried out new mediums. I painted with gouache for the first time, I played around using digital painting on my iPad. 

From there is the refining stage, looking at what works and what doesn't. Brainstorming what I want to create, what new products I want to include. One of my main goals was to bring out a planner this year, It's something I use daily and I knew that you lot would love one too!  

Refining designs is probably my least favourite part of the process, I get impatient. I know what I want and tweaking tiny things here and there to make sure they're perfect takes a while and is often boring! BUT you have to do it! It makes all the difference at the end!

I decided to go with some digital drawings this time round, something I've only used with my calligraphy previously. I love the crispness of digital painting, I won't ever go fully digital, I enjoy the process of painting and mixing colours too much, but it was fun to change it up a little! 

Once I had worked out the final designs and products I wanted to create (with a small hiccup of only being able to have 50 sheets on my planners not 52!) it was off to the printers! This is perhaps the most nerve wracking bit, I always worry I've done something wrong when sending off to the printers - that a bleed and trim line is wrong or i've selected the wrong paper (all things that have happened previously!). 

But they were all perfect - I couldn't be happier with how they all turned out! 

This is the first time creating weekly planners - I am so happy with how they turned out! 

Then onto photographing them! I really do love product photography and I think if I wasn't an illustrator I would love to be a stylist. I love organising and creating flatlays. When taking product photos I always think about what else would compliment these products? What else could I have around it to show case it better?


I love styling my products and creating scenarios around them! (I can tell you now my desk is 100% not this tidy!)

For this one I had to get out my Mum's nice sewing scissors (definitely not meant for paper but they look much prettier than my Ikea ones!)

The week I decided to take the photos was particularly grey and rainy and I did get very stressed about the lighting - all apart of the trials and tribulations of running a small business by yourself and not having a professional photographer with lighting! 

Once I had taken the photos, created the listings and spent hours writing SEO (boring Google and search engine stuff) it was time to let you know about the launch! 

I love making a fuss about the launch night, my first ever collection launch was in the height of the first lockdown. When I was desperate for anything to be excited about and any reason to get dressed up for! Since then it's a bit of a tradition, making a display table, getting a cake, popping a prosecco! It's something to look forward to at the end of the process of designing. 

My dining room turned into a florist with lots of flowers, bright table cloths, picnic baskets and cake! 

Dining table with flowers all over and yellow table cloth

There we have it! The whole process! I am so happy to be able to share this collection with you. I hope it brings some brightness into your life after what can only be described as one hell of a rollercoaster year! 

Hopefully it is onwards and upwards from here!!

Lots of love, 

Lucy x

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