From Paper to Shoe

Putting my designs on to the shoes wasn’t an easy task to say the least. Because of the strange shapes that shoes have and also the fact that most of them were suede and not canvas made this very difficult so I had to trial and error with a few different materials.

On the black suede shoes and the grey canvas shoes I used a white ball point pen to draw the outlines and this seemed to sit on the surface quite well. I did mess up a few time but I found that a black sharpie covered up the mistakes well and also blended in with the suede nicely. One problem I found was when I tried to fill in the outlines I thought that I would be able to do the majority of it with Posca paint pens but they’re very watery so it soaked into the suede and canvas leaving a shoddy looking faded shape.


Seems as this failed I used acrylic paint on the suede shoes and grey canvas shoes instead. I was a little bit worried about this at first because painting isn’t exactly my strongest point and I find it hard to make accurate brush strokes, but I found that the more I painted the better I got through out the process of painting the shoes. once a coat of paint had been applied it made for a far fuller looking outline which was a nice base for the detail.


Once this Base was done I then added the detail with acrylic paint and a thin brush for the Vans and the Converse and also a grey sharpie for the Nikes. I had a problem with making the small details accurately with the paintbrush and had to go over the mistakes a few times with more white paint but as I did this I slowly got more accurate and was making far less mistakes.


I found the white canvas shoes were a lot easier to work with because it was just like painting on a normal canvas but with a more awkward shape. For these I out lined with a black fine liner and where I made mistakes I covered them with the white ball point pen. I then coloured them in with sharpies and a small amount of acrylic paint for the colours I didn’t have.


For the blue suede shoes I wanted a simple design on each with just a black line drawing which I achieved quite easily with out many problems with a black fine liner.


To get the glitter on the Vans I painted the areas I wanted to have glitter on with pva glue and then smothered the shoe with glitter, then tapped all the excess glitter off so only the glued areas were covered. Once I had done all the sections I went over them with another layer of glitter so that it sealed the glitter in. On the Vans and also on the Converse I found the paint had quite a rough, sketchy outline so I went around the painted areas with a black brush tipped pen to fix that problem (progression from no out lines at the top, to completely outlined at the bottom).



Designing the Shoes

Thumbnails – 

To start off I knew I made a mind map of all the shoes I had collected and wrote down the ideas I had and the styles that I had in mind as well.dsc_0052.jpg

I knew I wouldn’t have enough time to do 7 pairs of shoes so I dropped Brad’s and Mat’s as they had the least information to go off of and I didn’t have any designs in mind where as with the other 5 I did.

I got some shoe templates off of the internet and for the shoes I couldn’t find templates for I made my own in Illustrator. In these templates I started to draw out the designs that I had in my mind in pencil and added some colour to some of them as well.DSC_0053DSC_0057DSC_0056DSC_0055DSC_0054_20170625_191259_20170625_191248_20170625_191236

Once I had done this I got some feedback from the owners of the shoes to see what they thought and they all seemed happy with the designs that I had come up with.

Visuals –

With the majority of these thumbnails I drew them in a lot of detail anyway and there wasn’t much more I could do in between the initial design stage and transferring them on to the shoe so I only refined the more complex designs. To refine the more complex designs I made a template that was the same size as the part of the shoe that it would be going on to so I could see if I had enough space to fit all of the detail in.


For the design with the silhouettes I was going to be painting it onto a black shoe so when i originally drew it on white paper I a problem working out the best way to paint it. To get around this I repainted the design on black paper and this gave me an accurate representation of how the design would work on the black suede of the shoe.

Gathering Shoes

For the final outcome of this project I am going to need a lot of shoes so I have got 2 of my own pairs of shoes and also 4 pairs off of my friends and a pair off of my brother. When I got the shoes off of them I asked them a few questions so I would have a basic idea on how to produce the designs on their shoes.

I asked each person the following questions:

  1. What is the most prominent memory you have while wearing these shoes?
  2. Can you describe this memory to me and anything specific that stands out?
  3. If you can’t think of a specific memory is there a journey you remember going on with these shoes that you can describe to me?

I only asked these 3 questions for now as I wanted the designing with them to be an ongoing process where I can get their feedback as I go through the design stages.

Here are the answers to the questions for each person in note form and also my answers for my pairs of shoes (not all answered question 3 as it was not necessary) –

Ben Jesty –

  1. Plymbridge woods in the summer.
  2. Walking through the woods by the bridge and looking over the river and also standing under the viaduct.

Emily Parton –

  1. Disneyland Paris with my family.
  2. Slipping over in front of everyone and laughing about it.

Paris Netherton –

  1. Knee Deep Festival 2016
  2. Going to the glitter bar and getting covered in glitter as well as all the lights and tents.

Brad Dean –

3. Skating all summer and learning new tricks.

Mat Smith –

3. Exploring lots of new places through autumn.

Me no.1 –

  1. Skateboarding over summer as well as exploring a huge abandoned building
  2. Learning tre flips on my skateboard and looking at the abandoned building in the torch light.

Me no.2 –

3. Playing pokemon go all summer.


Research Overview

Overall I have learnt a lot from my research. I have gained a lot of knowledge about the three things that make up my concept and I have applied the knowledge I’ve gained to my concept and how It will influence my project. Through the concept of sentiment I have also researched the subculture of skateboarding and how it links to my project.

I have also researched some relevant artists whose work I can link to mine through the context of the piece or the methods that they have used to create the pieces I studied. I have also looked in to various different styles through these artists that I will be able to apply to my designs.

My research on positive thoughts lead me on to researching depression and charities that support this mental illness as my project is very well set up to support such a cause i the future when it is a community project rather than me doing all the art.

Lastly I have branded my project as step by step by looking at my concept and the other various things I have researched. This includes a logo, strapline, future to the project and also a social media project.



Skateboarding – Subculture

Having the right type of Shoe and finding the shoes that work best for you is a huge deal in skateboarding. As skateboarding has become increasingly more popular, more and more shoe brands have emerged producing skate shoes and also more and more existing brands have jumped on the band wagon as they realise the amount of money that surrounds skateboarding.

Finding the right shoe for you to skate in can be a hard process and can take a lot of trial and error and, unfortunately, money. But once you find the pair that you perform best in you will never want to get rid of them. Personally for me, as a skateboarder, I find that the reason behind this is because once you find a great pair of shoes, you skate great too! This means learning more tricks and feeling confident so these become positive memories and because you associate this pair of shoes as making you a better skateboarder you never want to get rid of them making them very sentimental to the owner.

I asked my friend Brad if he agreed with the above statements as he to is a skateboarder and he agreed completely. When talking about this he gave me a perfect example of this that had happened to him, ‘Once I got a new pair of Etnies for my birthday and seems as my old skate shoes were destroyed I couldn’t wait to test them out, but after about a week of skating I realised that I just wasn’t skating as well as was before my birthday and this made me lose some confidence. After about another week of skating I realised it was because of the new shoes. So I bought myself another pair of the Vans ,like the ones I had before my Etnies, and I was back to learning new tricks and skating consistently almost straight away’.


The meaning of the word sentimental value in the context of my project is as follows – ‘the value of an object deriving from personal or emotional associations rather than material worth.’ Sentiment is what brings my project together I think, because the personal journeys and the positive memories are what make your shoes sentimental.

Shoes are something that can be worth so much to someone in terms of sentimental value. Personally when I have owned a pair of shoes that wear all the time, for a long time and they get worn out, dirty, torn or faded I just keep using them because I have grown to love that pair of shoes. I didn’t realise until I started this project and looking in to it but it is because of all the good memories that those shoes hold and all the journeys that you have been on wearing those shoes.

I think this project is also going to make a lot more people see this and maybe make them not take their shoes for granted as much.


Personal Journeys

I have been looking in to personal journeys and all though it is quite a specific point, the point itself is rather broad so it is quite hard to pinpoint exactly what a personal journey is. I tried to find a solid definition of the term but had no such luck so I think a personal journey is what you make of it.

I think that a personal journey is something a person goes on whether they intend for it to be one or not, it only becomes a personal journey once you have been on it. I think a personal journey can be basically any experience you have that you gain something from (being experiences or skills), makes you change something about yourself or gives you a different outlook on something. I think it can be anything from something as simple as hanging out with friends and you gain enjoyment from it, to something as complex as going on a trip to a third world country and changing your whole outlook on life.

I think shoes are a fantastic thing to remember personal journeys by as a pair will most likely have gone through the entire journey with you bearing marks, scuffs and tears that will remind you of those experiences.

Positive Memories

“Memories are powerful.

Far from being the passive remnants of our history, our memories actively shape our experiences, our relationships and our life stories that we are yet to create. Now, exciting new research has found that our positive memories can also be used to increase positive emotions.

We are wired to remember the things that bring us pain. This is our ancient, highly effective, sometimes annoying, warning system, designed and finely tuned by evolution to keep us safe. By remembering the things that have caused us trouble, we’re more likely to avoid them and keep ourselves alive. This is a great thing for our survival, but not such a great thing for our feel-goods. (Evolution can be a pity sometimes.)

Our capacity for remembering the positive isn’t as easily triggered as the negative, but research has found that with deliberate effort, we can change this and use positive memories to work hard for us. Our positive memories can give us access to a remarkable repertoire of resources that can shape our experiences in positive ways, and strengthen our mental health.

Research has found that by savoring our positive memories we can increase positive emotions. It also has the capacity to reduce anxiety by reducing the way we attend to and experience threat, and it can ease the symptoms of depression by letting the world be seen less through a more optimistic, happier filter.”

This quote is taken from a website called ‘The Best Brain Possible’ run by Debbie Hampton who suffered with depression, tried to commit suicide which she survived but resulted in a brain injury. In this article she talks about how positive memories can be used to prevent depression, strengthen your mental health, prevent anxiety and also make us more optimistic.

I think this is very useful to my project as it is a perfect example of how illustrating positive memories can have a positive impact on people partaking in the project including those with mental health problems.


This project that I have created would be ideal for charity work in the future because it is something that anyone will be able to get involved in. When shoes are entered in to the project to be displayed a donation would be made for the charity that the project is supporting.

I think the ideal charities for this project to support are mental health charities, specifically depression. The reason behind this is because while researching depression and positive memories I came across an article on a site called Science Daily. The quote from the article that interested me was ‘In a remarkable demonstration of the curative power of memory, published in Nature, scientists have established that artificial reactivation of memories stored during a positive experience can suppress the effects of stress-induced depression.’ This relates to my project because one of the concepts of my work is asking people to recall and describe positive memories, which according to this study can help to prevent stress induced depression. Because this is the case I could advertise the project to encourage people who suffer with depression to get involved.

A few charities that I have looked at are The Depression Alliance who work with a mental health charity called Mind.  On The Depression Alliance section of Mind’s website it states that, ‘For almost 40 years, Depression Alliance has been bringing people together to end the loneliness and isolation that can come with depression.’ The reason this ties in well with my project is because step by step would be an amazing thing for the people that the alliance bring together to take part in, bringing up these good memories would help to prevent their depression as well as the fact they are all doing it together stopping the loneliness and sense of isolation.

Another charity I looked at was The Mental Health Foundation. The reason i think my project would be more suited to the above charity is because it focuses solely on depression which is what I feel my project is ideal for, whereas this charity works to help with lots of different mental health problems which might be a bit broad for this very contextually focused project.

Step by Step

Step By Step 2017 Logo acid back ground

I have decided that I am going to name this project Step by Step and the purpose of Step by Step is ‘to visualise the positive memories, personal journeys and sentiment that we hold within the unintentional wear and tear on our shoes, step by step’. What I want to brand Step by Step as is being a community project for people all over the world to recall their positive memories through a pair of shoes, remember all the Journeys they have been on with those shoes and also how sentimental those shoes have become because of the memories that they hold.

In the future I see Step by Step supporting charities that support people suffering with depression and other mental health issues as ‘scientists have established that artificial reactivation of memories stored during a positive experience can suppress the effects of stress-induced depression.’ I think this would be a great way to support people suffering with depression as encouraging them to take part in the project would help their mental health and wellbeing and they would also, with the help of others taking part in the project, be supporting a charity that is there to support them. If in the future i chose to support a charity with this project a strapline a came up with is, ‘Tackling depression together, step by step’.

Although step by step will be for everyone to take part in I think the target audience for step by step would be younger people between the ages of 16 and 30 as I believe the people in this age range are a lot more likely to think of their shoes in this way. The target audience would also include people who suffer with depression.

Coming up with the name for this brand was rather hard but no matter what I named it I had a solid idea for a logo in my head .

A few other names that I came up with were ‘Walk your own way’, ‘The way you walk’ and ‘Walk on’. I didnt think any of these names were as catchy as Step by Step and also step by step was a nice length that would fit nicely with the logo idea I had in mind. Step by Step also fit well in to the strap line. I have also created an instagram account for Step by Step to promote the project and get it out there, it is ‘@step_by_step_project’.

For the logo I had the idea of a shoe outline with the name of the brand filling the shape of the shoe. In the pictures above you can see I drew this up but I thought something didn’t look right about it, so I tried it without the sole of the shoe which still looked wrong. So then finally I tried it with out an outline so that the letters are the outline and this look how I wanted it too. I asked my family and friends what they thought and they agreed that the logo without an outline looked the best.

To make my final logo I scanned in the drawing of my logo and opened it in illustrator in a blank A4 document. Next I drew around all the outlines with the pen tool and filled in the shapes I created black. I then exported this as a PNG with a transparent background and took it into photoshop to add a background. In photoshop I experimented with a few different textures and colours including denim, blue and tie dye but eventually tried an acid washed red and thought it looked perfect. I think the reason for this is because the black stands out nicely on the red and the texture adds a depth to it that a solid colour wouldn’t. With the background in place I used the marquee tool to find the dimensions I wanted the logo to be and jotted them down. Finally changed the canvas size to these dimensions in the image toolbar and recentered the logo before I exported it as a PNG.

Step By Step 2017 Logo acid back ground