Behind the Scenes of Bubble and Geek's New Product Labels

Posted on 07 December 2019

Now that I am roughly 95% finished with updating the labels for my candles and melts, I'm comfortable with finally writing about the process a bit more in detail.

While I adored the simplistic, single-color backgrounds gracing my products for several years, I started feeling like it was time for an upgrade. I mulled over various ideas for several months, and finally decided to try out simply replacing the single-color backgrounds with an artistic design (???) of some sort.

Bubble and Geek's first watercolor art for candle labels

Then one day I got the idea to try out some basic watercolor patterns myself, and ended up with some designs that, to my great surprise, actually looked kind-of decent. This is largely in part due to the forgiving nature of watercolor as a medium, at least when the goal is to create nebulous abstract backgrounds.

The photo above shows my early watercolor attempts for several of my Game of Thrones scents using a watercolor pan that I'd bought after seeing some YouTube tutorials. I was very pregnant when I first bought the watercolor pan set, with grand ambitions of creating art for my daughter's room, gifts for friends, etc etc. (Spoilers, the set went basically unused for about a year and a half, until I started this label art project. Oops.)

At this point I realized how much I enjoyed watercolor as a medium. I enjoy that the watercolor itself is the one mostly in control, and the seemingly random directions and fun surprises that can result. I had experience years ago in school with acrylic paint, which I enjoy also, but acrylic is a much more controlled medium. Using watercolor felt like a breath of fresh air, and I became a little bit obsessed for a while, watching as many tutorials as I could fit into my days over the course of several weeks. I also ended up purchasing three or four books by Jean Haines (whose style I greatly admire) and a couple of other authors to get a better grip on some of the basics.

In one of Haines' books (I forget which one), she spoke of her preference for tube watercolors over the pans because the tubes allow you to use more pigment for "juicy bursts of color" or something to that effect. It really resonated with me, so I decided to try out some tubes. Turns out, I prefer them now too for the most part! The blue and gold forest painting above, which is the background for my "Appalachia" scent, was one of my first attempts at using tube watercolor.

Watercolor painting set-up with basket of watercolor tubes

Here you can see my watercolor tube collection. Most of them are the Cotman (aka budget-friendly) brand, but there are a few lovely Daniel Smith colors as well.

I worked (mostly) diligently through summer and fall of 2019 to finish nearly 100 mini watercolor designs for Bubble and Geek's various scents. I created them in batches-- that is, I'd be in painting mode for a week or two as I cranked out 5-10 new designs, and then I'd swap to editing/production mode in which I edited the designs in Photoshop and updated/printed the new labels. Then I labelled the candles/melts, took new photographs, and updated the product listings on my website. The photo above shows one of my favorite designs from this project-- the label for my Harvest Moon scent.

In each design, I try to capture the essence of the scent or some aspect from the original inspiration in the painted design. Some of them are more obvious (as in the This is Halloween design, below), and some are more subtle or abstract.

Above is an in-progress shot of my This is Halloween design. I used watercolor to create the moon, but I used acrylic for the rest of it to achieve the opacity I wanted.

Above is the finished result, with which I can say that I'm pleased as punch. ^.^

Above is a side-by-side comparison of the label update, using Dark Arts as an example (it's another of my favorites).

And here's Halfling Garden, one of the more recently-updated labels.

 

What do you think?

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