About Smoke and Strawberries

Mission Statement

To help others create what they dream.

To do this by;

  • providing great customer service to make sure we are on the same page
  • considering the mediums and possible mediums to achieve the goal
  • attention to detail so the execution of the design is as easy as it can be within the planned design
  • post sales support and advice to not be alone when completing the project

Why Smoke and Strawberries?

Years ago I played around on photoshop with some brushes and created a smoke patterned with strawberries in it. At the time I thought it was amazing and said I would use it for something later. Upon revisiting it starting to do graphics for people I realised it was kinda crap – and designed my logo based more on the concept. I like a different/quirky name – which is flexible i can do pretty much anything creatively and have it fit right in.

About Me

Hey, I’m Cole. I’m Australian. Mother of a young daughter who is being raised bilingually. I have been learning Welsh for many many years now.

My art experience started as tracing images in books as a child and seems to have come full circle.

I have done graphics for as long as I can remember, but only started in December 2016 directly selling them to other people. I got myself a new cutting machine, a scan n cut2 for my birthday in 2016. I joined some facebook groups for crafty cutters and started to help some people with photos they couldn’t get done well and other designs. Many of them offered me money for my help, and having become chronically ill post pregnancy and unable to return to my old career – it seemed I had a new job.

I had an old plotter many years ago when I worked as a sign writer. That plotter was a big ol’ thing. So I started cutting vinyl as a job almost 20 years ago. So when I am designing I know what can actually be cut, if you get your settings right and have a nice sharp blade.

I started creating designs on a computer – well from day 1 that we got a computer – making that little turtle walk around drawing out pictures. I started designing more actively in about 1994 and started on “proper” vector graphics in 1998 when I went out and purchased Macromedia Fireworks – a kinda Photoshop Illustrator hybrid – Adobe later bought that company and latter canned Fireworks.

My Process

I work primarily on a Wacom Cintiq – a nifty drawing tablet with a built in screen that plugs into my computer. I can draw more naturally with the pressure sensitive pen. If you have watched any of my timelapse videos you’ll see me scribbling away in the bottom left corner webcam view.

Because the Cintiq is more of an interface device rather than a stand alone item, I am not limited by the typical tablet’s hardware or software limitations. I work almost exclusively in Illustrator nowdays – and have purchased some add ons to make things easier and/or better when designing my files.

The drawing stage for a photo is just like tracing on an acetate sheet, but I have a handy undo button and can easily draw in negative space too. I don’t just leave it there though. I do draw directly in vectors but I dont jut leave it there though. I spend the same or sometimes ore time checking and adjusting cut-lines. Smoothing, removing any little nicks or bits that wont cut well. I use some scripts to speed it up, some tools to round corners, other tools to reduce the number of nodes for faster load time as well as smoother edges. I also check everything by eye, looking just at the outline view, scouring for groups of nodes, or any stray lines which may upset a good cut.

Photos really deserve a hand created design. Each has a special story. People I will never meet who are very important to someone else, so much they want them memorialised.

The best finished physical creation starts with the best possible cut file – a bad wobbly trace will never look quite right even if the making is spot on.

This goes doubly so for geometric designs and logos – straight lines should be straight – a node at each end – corners should be even. It always make me a little sad and a little cringy to see a great design ruined by poor vectorisation. Maybe some people don’t notice – but I have a high attention to detail so it really stands out to me.