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My Project 365

If you haven’t been on Instagram, you haven’t been seeing the little Project 365 I’ve been working on. Normally this is a photography challenge, where you take a selfie a day or a picture of your morning walk. Maybe you give yourself a theme for the month and try to work with that. For me, my Project 365 is a jewelry design a day. I’ve been using the hashtag #sjdesignaday to mark them. A lot of people have asked about my design a day and exactly how I go about it. So, without further ado:

How to draw a jewelry design a day:

  1. Get out a precut square or rectangle of semi-transparent drafting vellum. Cut down 8.5×11 sheets into quarters or sixths to make sure you design at a sane size.
  2. Tape it down to the drafting board. (I like to use Alvin Drafting Dots.)
  3. Pick up your Faber-Castell 6H pencil and stare at the white space.
  4. Get up and pace around.
  5. Use your T-square and a triangle to draw centering lines so your design will be balanced.
  6. Get up and look through some Dover design books. Question your talent.
  7. Sit down and stare at the white space again.
  8. Turn to the Internet for “inspiration.”
  9. Cuss when you realize what time it is and go back to your little square of drafting vellum with two lines on it.
  10. Sigh heavily and refill your drink. Wonder why you started on this madness in the first place. Remind yourself of the Sunk Cost Fallacy and of the fact that you are under no obligation to anyone to do this.
  11. Sit down and glare at the vellum while it mocks you with it’s blandness. The two lines you drew on it earlier only add to the scathing contempt you KNOW it’s directing at you.
  12. In desperation, grab a drafting template at random from your drawer and pick a shape to trace on the vellum. It doesn’t help.
  13. Look back at your previous work, back when you had Creativity and Ideas, before the vellum sucked it out of you.
  14. Draw some more lines around your center shape. This is your focal stone.
  15. Draw a few more.
  16. Erase those lines – They sucked.
  17. Draw more lines, and bring some of the old ones back. They weren’t that bad.
  18. Erase the guidelines from step 5.
  19. Darken your main lines. I recommend an H lead.
  20. Refine and darken as the design comes into shape. Resist the urge to shade with your pencils.
  21. Carefully pull off your tape and flip your design over.
  22. Pull out your Copic (or Prismacolor) markers and begin to color your design on the back. Lay out flats for the metallic parts first.
  23. Use a colorless blender to give some areas of highlights.
  24. Add shading with your markers. Be conscious of the height of the gemstone while shading.
  25. Pick out a color for your gemstone or stones.
  26. Hesitate as the Doubt begins to creep back in.
  27. Start coloring in the gems anyway, ignoring Doubt as it calls you a talentless hack.
  28. Darken the gems, but don’t use gray unless the stone itself is that color. Grays muddy it up.
  29. Now to add shine. Get out your trusty Sakura White Gel Pen and add highlights to the metallic areas.
  30. Smile to yourself when you see the work really start to “pop”.
  31. Add white to the stone to show areas of shine. The gel pen is fine for small dots of lights on small stones, but I like to use white acrylic ink and a small brush to cover larger areas.
  32. Sign and date your design.
  33. Share it on Instagram!

See? Nothing to it!