Friday 23 July 2021

Painting a Carry On Jacket

Can you believe we have finally reached the end of the Simon Snow trilogy? I’M EMOTIONAL. Carry On is easily one of my favourite stories of all time, something I’ve been shouting about from the rooftops since I first read the book in 2015. My love for Simon and Baz knows no boundaries. With the trilogy coming to an end this summer, I wanted to do something special. So I decided to paint my own Carry On themed jacket! 

During our first lockdown in 2020, I delved into the world of fabric painting. It was something I’d always wanted to try, so I picked up a cheap paint set and got to work on a few denim jackets I had lying around. I spent a year practicing by painting various KPOP logos that were simple enough for me to sketch out on the fabric. 

As some of you may already know, I lost my wonderful Dad to cancer right before Christmas, and it turned my world upside down. I lost my motivation for the things I loved for a while. But art was always a passion we shared, and he was constantly cheering me on. So I became determined to improve because I knew he wouldn’t want me to abandon my love for art. That was when I decided I wanted to try something more challenging in my fabric painting, and the idea for a Carry On jacket was hatched

I decided to go with Kevin Wada’s gorgeous cover art for the first book because I’ve always been completely in love with it. But I’d never attempted a project so complicated before, and I was so convinced it was going to go horribly wrong that I decided to work on a very worn denim jacket of mine, just in case I wanted to scrap the whole thing. 

Getting the sizing right was difficult since I’d only worked on smaller pieces before, so I printed out the refence picture to the size I wanted it on the jacket in order to mark out how tall Simon and Baz would need to be. Originally, I didn’t plan on including the dragon in the background because I had zero confidence in myself, but once I had Simon and Baz in place, I was able to pop the dragon behind them as well. 

The smarter thing to do would have been to paint in the background first, but for some reason I started painting Simon and Baz, which I 100% regretted when I realised I had to paint a dragon and a dark sky neatly behind them. I’m notoriously bad at staying within lines, so there was a lot of going back to remix the colours of the boys’ clothes in order to neaten things up. It was a long and messy process. 

Over the course of five days, I was able to get everything fully painted, and used a fabric market to neaten up some of the harsh edges. All that was left to add was their faces and the stars

I’m so happy with how the jacket has turned out and I love that I have something to wear that shows how much I adore this series. I’ve been wearing it out on my trips to bookshops since they reopened! It might have caused several emotional breakdowns, during which I ended up dropping some paint all over the floor, but I’m proud to be able to promote Simon and Baz out in the world.

To anyone who wants to give fabric painting a try: go for it! There are plenty of affordable paint options you can find online to get started with. If you're intimidated by what to paint, or feel like you're no good at sketching, you can always print out some shapes or something you like, cut around it and use it as a template!

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