Cozy Classics was created with an integrated approach to illustration which combines needle felting, scale model-making and photography.
Felting is the process of tangling fibers. It is one of the oldest fiber crafts, dating back as far as 6300 BC, and pre-dates spinning, weaving or knitting. The earliest felting technique, called wet felting, relies on the unique properties of wool and its tendency to shrink and matt together under friction, moisture and heat. For centuries, non-woven felt has been used to create everyday items such as tents, rugs, hats and footwear.
Barbed needles set in looms were first used to create industrial felt products in the late 1800s. However, it was not until the 1980s that needle felting developed as a handcraft. The process of repeatedly “stabbing” loose wool with a barbed needle entangles wool fibres, providing an effective means of shaping felted surfaces and sculpturing fine detail. All of the felted figures (and some objects) in Cozy Classics were painstakingly made by hand with this needle-felting technique.
There are no computer graphics used in the creation of the illustrations in Cozy Classics. For example, in this location shoot, we fixed felt figures to a home-made wooden raft and set the whole thing afloat on Deas Slough in Delta, British Columbia as we photographed.
Here is an example of a scale model set. In the final scene in Pride and Prejudice, we took an image of a real stained-glass window, printed an oversized version of it on transparency, cut out window panes from a piece of black cardstock, and finally placed the transparency behind the cardstock. The transparency was then backlit during the photo shoot.
Our artistic process is time-consuming and labor-intensive, but for us, the unique results (not to mention the enthusiastic public response) are worth it!