Doubt your doubts and believe your beliefs.

“I believe…” But do we really “believe”? or is it just lip service or wishful thinking. There is a BIG difference.

Definition of “Believe” – to have confidence in the truth, the existence, or the reliability of something, although without absolute proof that one is right in doing so.

Believing starts in the mind. It’s a seed. You water it with thought patterns. Whether its achieving a goal or changing a circumstance the more you feed your mind with the right thoughts your life will blossom in that direction. Hence I thought it was appropriate to illustrate a bright colorful flower in a hip bohemian way.

Free spirited, fun — BELIEVABLE!

Sewing Up An Innovative Campaign

Taken from Step by Step Graphics Magazine – May/June 1990 by Simon N. Dumenco

KATHY LENGYEL USES DECIDELY NON-TRADITIONAL TOOLS – BRIGHTLY COLORED FABRIC AND A SEWING MACHINE – TO STITCH TOGETHER A THREE-PART ADVERTISING CAMPAIGN FOR A GEORGIA MILL.

You’ve got a problem. You’re doing a new ad campaign for a fabric manufacturer, Thomaston Mills, that needs to reach clothing designers who read the trade magazines. But you can’t depict clothing because you’ve tried that in the past and that made people think that Thomaston makes clothing (it only makes fabric).

The Thread of an Idea – Artist Kathy Lengyel used the advertiser’s actual product, fabric, to stitch together a three-part advertising campaign for Thomaston Mills.

So what do you show in the ad? Bales of fabric? Too prosaic. The factory? That wouldn’t appeal to designers. Artfully arrayed swatches of fabric? Sorry, it’s been done.

How about the fabric as art? In other words, the client’s product actually used as the components of an illustration?

CONCEPTING THE CAMPAIGN

“The timing was great,” says art director Jane Kelley who is with the Atlanta advertising agency Earle Palmer Brown. Commercial art rep Dick Crooks had recently visited Kelley’s office and showed her some pretty unusual stuff – fabric illustration done by a Florida artist named Kathy Lengyel, recent winner of three merit awards at the 1989 Dimensional Illustrators Adwards Show. Serendipitously, Kelley then got involved in redoing the Thomaston campaign.

“The timing was great,” says art director Jane Kelley who is with the Atlanta advertising agency Earle Palmer Brown. Commercial art rep Dick Crooks had recently visited Kelley’s office and showed her some pretty unusual stuff – fabric illustration done by a Florida artist named Kathy Lengyel, recent winner of three merit awards at the 1989 Dimensional Illustrators Adwards Show. Serendipitously, Kelley then got involved in redoing the Thomaston campaign.

“We were interested in replacing a single two-thirds-page ad (run exclusively in the Daily News Record, an apparel industry trade magazine) that we had done last year with a rotating small space campaign,” says Kelley. “We thought that this would increase awareness and the breadth of our message.” But the client wanted her agency to key into “innovation” as a theme, and Kelley and her colleagues were having a hard time thinking up something truly innovative.

Then it struck her: “The artwork in the ad could be made from the client’s product. “The entire ad would be their product, not just a portion of it,” Kelley thought. Her mind raced back to the fabric illustrations Crooks had shown her. “I immediately knew then that Kathy would be perfect for the job.”

Kelley contacted Lengyel. Then, in conjunction with Earle Palmer Brown account exec Libby Whelan and the marketing people at Thomaston, who loved the idea, Kelley began conceiving of a subject matter for the illustrations.

“We were looking for an approach that would show the fabrics as being bright, colorful, innovative, flexible,” Kelley says of their thought process. “I equated it to selling paints to artists – we were selling fabric as a tool for the designer. So what we decided to do was show them, ‘look how much fun we’ve had with the fabric; just think of what you could do with it.”

Earle Palmer Brown copywriter Joe Parris broke the “innovation” theme into three factors particular to Thomaston Mills’ relationships with its customers—flexibility, quick response and partnership. These would serve as the basis for a series of three separate illustrations. Each image would be used in a separate pod of the rotating campaign.

Earle Palmer Brown copywriter Joe Parris broke the “innovation” theme into three factors particular to Thomaston Mills’ relationships with its customers—flexibility, quick response and partnership. These would serve as the basis for a series of three separate illustrations. Each image would be used in a separate pod of the rotating campaign.

Parris wrote a short block of copy for the “partnership” pod that begins: “At Thomaston, we never forget that our success depends upon yours. And we consider ourselves your innovative partner.” Kelley saw this idea being represented visually by an object that demands partnership—a tandem bicycle.

For “quick response” Kelley came up with a machine-age icon: a jet plane. The copy describes Thomaston as providing “superior service that is immediate, correct and thoughtful.”

And for “flexibility,” Kelley devised a witty treatment—a two-driver “tandem car” of the sort seen in circuses and parades. Here the copy reads, “We are rigidly bound to one thing only—satisfying your needs.”

Kelley wanted all of the images to be “very contemporary and graphic,” so the art director came up with tight marker comps for the types of illustrations she wanted. (See Figure 1)

PLANNING THE ILLUSTRATION

(Figure 1) “I sent Kathy as many different colors and textures of fabric as I could get my hands on form the client,” says Kelley. (See figure 2) Usually, Lengyel selects fabrics from her own considerable inventory; but in this case, of course, she had to use Thomaston fabrics exclusively. Then Lengyel was on her own.

(Figure 2) For starters, she rescaled the tandem bicycle illustration slightly, working from a reference photo to ensure accurate proportions. (For the purposes of this article, we will bypass the other two illustrations in the campaign and follow Lengyel’s progress on the bicycle.) Then she ran into her first problem: She had to scramble for buttons for the bicycle wheels.

Though the final print size of the ads would be 6 x 7 -inches, Lengyel worked in a blown up scale, 13 x 15 -inches. She does this every time she sews a picture so that it is easier to stitch even the minutest details of the illustration. That meant she had to find two-inch buttons—and purple ones (her chosen color) at that. Fortunately, a local piece good store was able to fill this unlikely order. (See Figure 3)

(Figure 3) Before Lengyel proceeds with an illustration, she usually does a line drawing and tapes small swatches of different colored fabrics exactly where she intends to sew them into place in her final piece. But because she was working with a tight deadline, she did not even have time to express Kelley such a detailed comp. Instead, she faxed her a copy of just the line drawing and Kelley gave her the go-ahead.

ASSEMBLING THE ILLUSTRATION

(Figure 4) There is much more than meets the eye in one of Lengyel’s fabric illustrations. On the back of the light-colored fabric (in this case, the inner wheels of the bicycle), she irons an interfacing, a papery white fabric that comes in a fuseable (self-adhering) form. (See Figure 4) “That gives it more solid backing and prevents fraying,” she explains. It also prevents the darker colors underneath from showing through.

Lengyel also intended for these illustrations to have a quilted, three-dimensional feel, so she placed a cotton batting beneath the background fabric. Finally, beneath the batting she placed a muslin fabric to hold everything together and to provide an even more solid field on which to sew. The relatively stiff muslin fabric prevents the background fabric from bunching under the sewing machine needle. (See Figure 5)

Now came the tough part: cutting out the tiny bits of fabric that make up the illustration. Using a light box, Lengyel traced the lines from her drawing directly onto fabric with special markers (Fade Away Fabric Markers, White Sewing Products, Cleveland, Ohio) that feature disappearing ink. (See Figure 6)

Unfortunately, tracing on a light box works with light colored, semi-transparent fabrics. For the tires of the bicycles (for which she selected a black denim to convey the color and texture of rubber), she cut apart her line drawing and used the cut-out tires as templates to cut out the denim. (See Figure 7)

Once Lengyel has all her colors and shapes cut out, she employs another trade secret that would not be obvious to the casual observer of her finished piece—she spray mounts fabric pieces into place. (See Figure 8)

Then she sews a loose basting stitch across the piece to keep the backing layers (the batting and the muslin) from bunching up while sewing. (See Figure 9)

Surprisingly, Lengyel does not use straightedges or curved templates to guide the needle of her trusty Bernina sewing machine. She also rarely uses all the fancy stitch options it offers. About the only control she employs is the knob that varies the width of the zigzag stitch. Lengyel’s steady had is her franchise; it is what gives the professional, graphic art edge to what has previously been deemed a folk art or a craft. (See Figure 10)

Like a kid who eats all her vegetables first, then all her mashed potatoes, then all her meat, Lengyel always sews assembly-line style. “I go with all the greens, all the blues, and all of the reds.” And for good reason: She must change her thread color, and re-thread her machine, with each fabric color change. When she is done, Lengyel is always quick to trim the odd, loose thread right down to the base, keeping the art clean.

Finishing Touches – The buttons and the bicycle chain—a clever design grace note which is actually a string of miniature decorative beads—went on last. But before Lengyel sewed them into place, she stretched and stapled her artwork onto a wooden frame. (See Figure 11 and 12) “But I always leave the edges loose loose in case I have to make changes.” Lengyel can make changes if they are relatively minor (such as substituting a different colored fabric in a certain place). But for the bicycle illustration, and the plane and car illustrations as well, Jane Kelley required no changes. The piece was completed in just about a week, from start to finish.

CREATING THE MECHANICALS

Lengyel’s art was shipped back to Atlanta, where Kelley finalized her mechanicals. For the headline of the bicycle ad, the art director dropped in the “Partnership” in Kabel Bold, which she selected for its strength as a headline face. “I also wanted to choose a sans serif face to continue the really graphic, contemporary look of the illustrations” Kabel fit the bill.

For the body copy, Kelley selected Quorum Medium, which she characterizes as “a contemporary face with some character.” Quorum Medium is technically a serif face, but as Kelley notes, the serifs are rather minimal. As such, it serves to bridge the gap between the overal modern style of the ad and the classical feel of the Thomaston logo, which appears at the lower right corner of the body copy.

PHOTOGRAPHING THE ART

One last thing Lengyel is very particular about: who gets to photograph her work. There is one person in the world she trusts with her art: a man she pridefully calls a “German master photographer,” Hans Kaczmarek. Lengyel and Kaczmarek are practically a package deal these days. Until she found him, every photographer she worked with tended to underexpose or overexpose transparencies of her work. Kaczmarek, who says, “I’ve been in photography for 50 years, since I’ve been a kid,” knows how to fix a shadow, how to filter for color balance, and most importantly, how to throw the right amount of light on the subject. Trade secrets, all of these. “I won’t go into detail,” he deadpans. “The Kentucy colonel doesn’t give his recipe to everybody and neither do I.”

THE RESPONSE

Kelley loved the finished work and so did the rest of the folks at Earle Palmer Brown. “Everybody in this office has come and asked me if they could have the finished art when the ads were finished being produced.”

However, Thomaston Fabrics had first claim. Thomaston exec Dan O’Keefe says, “We’re going to frame them and put them up, that’s how much we think of them.”

O’Keefe is also rather pleased with the product image positioning Lengyel’s illustrations provided. The look of the campaign, he says, “is very homey and very much in tune with what’s being reflected in the apparel business itself right now.”

Just in the stitch of time, so to speak.

A FEELING FOR FABRIC

She’d rather you not blab this all over the place, but Kathy Lengyel’s got a little secret about her fabric illustration: “It really doesn’t take that long.”

She’d rather you not blab this all over the place, but Kathy Lengyel’s got a little secret about her fabric illustration: “It really doesn’t take that long.”

That’s great for Lengyel, because like all commercial illustrators, she routinely faces brutal deadlines. “Really, selecting and cutting out the fabric”—translating the picture into three dimensions—”takes longer than sewing it.”

Lengyel has been sewing prolifically since childhood. A native of Bridgewater, N.J. Lengyel learned the basics from her mother. She also took a Singer sewing mini-course that was all the rage in the 70’s. And she has been sewing pictures since college. Lengyel had done a fabric illustration on a whim for a college design competition at Hood College, where she studied, and she scored first place. “Then I just kind of put it aside and went into the graphics field.”

But stuck in the back of her mind were the words and art director she met at a career day in college: “This is it, the AD said when he saw her fabric illustration. “Forget all the other stuff you do. You’re just one in a million there, but this is different.” At the time, Lengyel just thought, “Yeah, but how can I make a living doing this?”

Instead of pursuing illustrations as a career, she headed into graphic design and art direction, working a succession of jobs in advertising and publishing all in the Tampa Bay area. Then at one point she did a few more fabric illustrations, showed them to a rep who liked them, and the spark was rekindled.

In 1987, while still working, she started Kathy Lengyel Design out of her home, still her base of operations and where she has completed fabric illustrations for recent clients which include Publix supermarkets, a Florida hospital, and YKK Zippers. Most of her billing is for traditional graphic design work—brochures, logos, and retail ads for local market real estate and health care—for which she has racked up 11 local Addy Awards.

Applique And Embroidery – Digitizing A Design On A Backpack.

The process of taking my art and converting it to stitches requires the use of digitizing software. Every line and shape is built in layers like creating a painting. Certain elements of the art are placed first. Then the next color is built on top of that and so on. So if you were to start to digitize this piece the first thing placed on the fabric is the blue applique. Then the applique of the top heart and face of the girl. To give you an idea of the number of layers stitched in this piece – there are 46 color changes and 50,812 stitches in this 8 x 11 inch embroidery piece. The photograph above shows the first stitch out on white felt.

The process of taking my art and converting it to stitches requires the use of digitizing software. Every line and shape is built in layers like creating a painting. Certain elements of the art are placed first. Then the next color is built on top of that and so on. So if you were to start to digitize this piece the first thing placed on the fabric is the blue applique. Then the applique of the top heart and face of the girl. To give you an idea of the number of layers stitched in this piece – there are 46 color changes and 50,812 stitches in this 8 x 11 inch embroidery piece. The photograph above shows the first stitch out on white felt.

This one is very close with just some minor adjustments to color and density. I feel confident that these changes will work. On to the final embroidery sew out and construction of the bag.

This one is very close with just some minor adjustments to color and density. I feel confident that these changes will work. On to the final embroidery sew out and construction of the bag.

Create A Movement To End Modern Day Slavery.

I know I am just one person and my vision of a world without slavery can not be done by me alone. Sometimes I just feel so overwhelmed by all the problems in this world. But if I can make just a dent in stopping modern day slavery it will be worth it. Here is my design for our “Deliverance” bag. I purposely chose to convey a blonde female of light color skin because if my interpretation is like most people, the majority believe human trafficking is happening mostly to the women in third world countries. But I want people to realize it is happening to every races all over the world. The hands represent being “taken” while the butterfly and hearts symbolize love and freedom. I would love to hear your opinion and what the design means to you.