Personalised Wedding Gifts - A guide to creating my one of a kind illustrations

Updated: Apr 6

Wedding season has well and truly arrived!

Even without last months highly publicised royal wedding between Harry & Megan, weddings had been big on my radar for this year. With six weddings this year and commissions to design & create wedding stationery & gifts, 2018 is already a colourful blur of confetti, cake, and champagne.

In this blog I'm going to write about a recent wedding gift commission I completed for an old friend from university, Catherine, who'd been following my work on Instagram and was looking for an original wedding gift she could give her friends who were getting married in April.

Catherine was clear in her brief that she wanted me to illustrate the barn in which the reception was due to take place, alongside the wording of the date and couples names. She also requested that I amend the composition of the reference image to remove the drainpipe and include colourful bunting that reflected the personality of the bride and groom.

The Over Barn - Reference image provided by Catherine

Step One: Initially I sketch rough ideas for the layout based on Catherine's brief, considering the positioning and colour of the elements. Once the client confirms they are happy with the idea and made any requests for amendments I will begin the final illustration.

Initial rough (very rough) sketch of the layout for the final composition

Step Two: Next I began outlining the venue to scale on the final piece using pencil, adding in the additional detailing of the bunting and the wording.

Initial pencil outline of the final image using pencil on high quality watercolour paper

Step Three: After Catherine had confirmed she was happy with the final layout I was able to begin outlining the illustration using fine liners. This is my favourite part of the process, playing with different line thicknesses and mark making techniques to bring the building to life.

Adding detail and texture with different fineliner thicknesses and mark making techniques

Step Four: Once the outline was completed I began applying washes of watercolour paint to build up the bright colours that Catherine wanted included within the piece to depict the bunting, grass, and flowerbeds in contrast to the line illustration of the barn.

Gradually building up colour by applying several watercolour washes to the bunting, grass and flowers

Step Five: That’s a wrap - final piece is signed, packaged and posted along with a recommendation for the frame that would best suit the piece.

The final illustration, signed, dated and ready to be sent to the client

A word from Catherine:

“Working with Chris was easy. He took my idea and made it come to life. The final illustration is exactly how I imagined and I couldn’t be more happy with it. A perfect unique present.”

A word from the Bride:

"We absolutely love it!! It made me cry, so thoughtful and such a beautiful reminder of our wedding day."

The Garner-Mayo's, established the 14th April 2018

This is the process I follow when completing all of my bespoke gift commissions - ensuring that you are kept up to date at each stage to make sure that the end product fits exactly what you had in mind.

To find out more or to commission your own gift illustration, visit my Etsy shop: ChrisMillardCreative today or email

#WeddingStationery #weddinggift #weddingpresent #customgifts #bespokeillustration #personalisedgift #Weddings #Etsy

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Phone: +44 7882 018 068

Brighton | United Kingdom

© 2018 Designs by Chris Millard. Proudly created with