Does Anyone Draw Their Cakes Before Making Them?

Decorating By sweettreats36 Updated 20 Feb 2009 , 5:06pm by Jayde

sweettreats36 Posted 19 Feb 2009 , 7:14pm
post #1 of 39

I have a graduation cake I was asked to do. I was thinking of drawing it out before I do it to get an idea of what shapes and what it is going to look like. Someone told me that was stupid, that it would make extra work for me. Someone Please HELP!

38 replies
Adrienne0317 Posted 19 Feb 2009 , 7:34pm
post #2 of 39

I have a notebook full of ideas. Some I have drawn to figure out, and some just to get the idea out of my head to make room for the cake I needed to think about.

My son, who is 14, gave me the notebook, when I was trying to figure out his sister's birthday cake a few years ago.

I find it very helpful. HTH

whisperingmadcow Posted 19 Feb 2009 , 7:39pm
post #3 of 39

I do it sometimes. Sometimes I wish I had done it before I started.

As a side note, when I was going to culinary school, we HAD to draw out plate presentations. The Chefs said it helped with the finished product.

Good luck!

tiawanna02 Posted 19 Feb 2009 , 7:42pm
post #4 of 39

I have a sketch book filled with ideas....And you dont need to be an artist either, I'm far from one. icon_biggrin.gif

Win Posted 19 Feb 2009 , 7:46pm
post #5 of 39

I always draw out a concept. It helps me stay organized --then again, I'm a list maker. I find that the cake is not always what I had envisioned on paper (sometimes I'm too ambitious, and sometimes I add details I did not have originally,) but the drawing is fun to go back to at a later date and is always good to have in a file in case a similar project comes up at a later date.

gerripje Posted 19 Feb 2009 , 7:48pm
post #6 of 39

I don't think it's stupid. I certainly don't draw worth a crap, but it helps me sometimes to envision what the end result might be. I don't ever draw it to scale or anything fancy like that! It only takes a few minutes then I have something to refer back to if I get a mental block. (which happens often!!)

malishka Posted 19 Feb 2009 , 7:49pm
post #7 of 39

I draw all of my cakes out before I make them. Just a flat 5th grader sketch. Nothing wow. I also color it in to see if the colors work together and balance. It helps me get my ideas flowing and make any necesarry changes that don't look good or any additions.
Also, when I am finally decorating my cake, I follow my sketch. it helps me organize (in my head) of what needs to be done.

The thing is that when I have an idea in my head I will be itching and brainstorming while I'm at the office. Since I cannot go into my kitchen right away, I brainstorm quetly on paper with my little highlighters. Yellow & blue highlighters make green and pink and yellow make orange, blue and pink make purple, you get the idea. lol

MemphisMom9801 Posted 19 Feb 2009 , 7:52pm
post #8 of 39

Oh, I quite often draw out my designs on paper to see what they'll look like before I go throwing said design permanently on cake. I may still tweak the concept a bit once I get to the actual cake, but at least I have a better idea of what it's going to look like and where I need to place everything. It's not a stupid idea at all! If it helps you, go for it! I think a design journal would be a great idea!

mixinvixen Posted 19 Feb 2009 , 7:54pm
post #9 of 39

i sketch every single one of my designs out. i'm no artist, so the sketch works for no one but me, but it helps me start to realize the angles and lines that i need to mimic when i'm carving. it also lets me figure out the types of sugarwork that will best portray the theme and look i'm going for.

i start out with rough sketches then redraw it with clean lines. then i make several copies, leaving my original in my files. on each of those copies, i do different color schemes or accessories, which gives me a tentative visual and helps me decide on the final design. although i might "throw out" some of those color sketches, i can always revisit them with another client.

basically, at any doctors appt i have, or while waiting for my daughter to get out of speech class twice a week, i'm sitting in my chair with a sketchpad and a ziplock bag of colored sharpies and coloring pencils. (i've also gotten several orders out of doing that, because people see you doing this, asks if you're an artist, you tell them it's for a cake, and they can't believe it! works every time!! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_biggrin.gif )

KimmyCrocker Posted 19 Feb 2009 , 7:56pm
post #10 of 39

Yes, I do. I have a sketch for a future birthday cake on my fridge right now icon_smile.gif I also find sharing sketches with the person who orders the cake helps open the line of communication.

sweettreats36 Posted 19 Feb 2009 , 8:16pm
post #11 of 39

Thanks everyone for your help. I think drawing them out would help a great deal too thumbs_up.gif

Larrimore Posted 19 Feb 2009 , 8:24pm
post #12 of 39

I would think it is a good idea. I wish I had done it for our family Christmas cake. My mother was there while I was decorating the cake and I lost all my ideas and the cake turned out very different and ugly

mixinvixen Posted 19 Feb 2009 , 8:54pm
post #13 of 39

here are some pictures as an example of my process through the designing of my lighthouse cake...please don't laugh at my pitiful sketching attempt!!

initial sketch, which gave the client an idea...

as embarrasing as it is, for bigger cakes, i also build a quick copy of the cake from similar things i have lying around, just to get an idea of the true dimensions

we ended up having to change the design of the lighthouse, but here's the finished product, set up at the venue.

jlsheik Posted 19 Feb 2009 , 9:10pm
post #14 of 39

I too sketch mine out, not some of the smaller helps me...I keep it on file and when I am ready for it, maybe 6 months later it comes right back to me!

PinkZiab Posted 19 Feb 2009 , 9:10pm
post #15 of 39

Absolutely... I sketch every cake I do. Most professionals do this (either sketching, or via design software), so that they can give the customer an idea of what the cake will be when it's done. For me, it's a standard part of the consultation process.

ccr03 Posted 19 Feb 2009 , 9:11pm
post #16 of 39

Um, I thought everyone did!? icon_smile.gif

I have to a picture/sketch before I start, otherwise I pay for it in the end!

Oh, and mixivizen - I'll stack my cake pans so I can get the height of a cake. Ppl at HL probably think I'm weird - b/c I'll do it there too icon_smile.gificon_smile.gif

luv_to_decorate Posted 19 Feb 2009 , 9:21pm
post #17 of 39

I only bake for family and friends but I draw out a lot of my cakes I'm going to do. A lot of times I will draw it on the computer because there are a lot of shapes I can use from word or other software and I can use the colors I want and then I just print it. Sometimes I do a pencil drawing (very crude drawing I must say - can't draw stick figures lol) and write the colors I am using in each area just so I know what colors I need to mix for my frosting. I made 8 different cakes for a big family birthday dinner and I drew each of those cakes either on the computer or in pencil. I find it helps me to visiualize what I want to do and it helps me when I get ready to mix all my frosting colors.

MayWest Posted 19 Feb 2009 , 9:22pm
post #18 of 39

I do it sometimes. The times that I don't I wish I did. I also play around with dummy cakes and design before I start stacking and decorating the cakes.

springlakecake Posted 19 Feb 2009 , 9:26pm
post #19 of 39

sometimes I do, espicially if they are more complicated or I am not sure what I want it to look like. I always do if it is a 3d cake. Fortunately my cakes usually look better than the sketch!

geekswife Posted 19 Feb 2009 , 9:31pm
post #20 of 39

Just like "luv_to_decorate" I use the computer.... most of the time I dream about the cake the night before and rush that morning to get it down before I forget it. (go ahead laugh at the dream thing, my husbnd does-haha) icon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gif

Eisskween Posted 19 Feb 2009 , 9:34pm
post #21 of 39

Not for standard cakes. Only for specialty, or if I am not sure exactly what the client is trying to get at. Then I draw it and ask them if that is what they are talking about; if not, we can make changes. It saves a lot of grief afterward.

LisaR64 Posted 19 Feb 2009 , 9:39pm
post #22 of 39

I build "models" out of household items too. I'm not good at judging size and proportion, so it's really helpful to have a life-size model to look at.

Eisskween Posted 19 Feb 2009 , 9:44pm
post #23 of 39

I do stack pans though. LOL

lostincake Posted 19 Feb 2009 , 9:52pm
post #24 of 39

I'm just starting out so am no professional but find that I need to draw out my ideas. I have a sketchbook just for cake ideas.

The more cakes I make and the more I understand about cake heights, shapes and dimensions etc., the more my cakes look like my initial drawings. Sometimes, they still look totally different but at least it gives me a good visual as to what I was originally envisioning.

Also, I find that there are times that I have a lot of ideas or patterns that pop into my head that I think would make a great cake or one great tier and I have to get it down on paper or risk losing the idea altogether.

I even go one step further and cut out things I see in magazines that inspire me - a colour combination, a pattern on fabric, an arrangement of flowers, an unique swirl pattern, shapes of objects that I think would translate well to cake...the list goes on - and paste them in the same sketchbook.

Everyone has their own way that works best for them. Do what you feel works for you. IMHO, those that tell you it's "stupid" have no understanding of or appreciation for artistic expression.

lostincake Posted 19 Feb 2009 , 10:05pm
post #25 of 39

By the is the sketch of the cake in my avatar - the cake obviously is not exactly like the sketch but it's the closest I've come and not too bad I think. The sketch provided a great guideline for me to follow and kept my idea fresh in my mind. I generally leave colours out so I can envision different colour combos but I do write down what colours I have in mind.

indydebi Posted 19 Feb 2009 , 10:45pm
post #26 of 39
Originally Posted by ccr03

Um, I thought everyone did!? icon_smile.gif

Nope. I never have. Never.

mixinvixen Posted 19 Feb 2009 , 10:49pm
post #27 of 39
Originally Posted by indydebi

Originally Posted by ccr03

Um, I thought everyone did!? icon_smile.gif

Nope. I never have. Never.

show off! we are but mere mortals, and dream of attaining your status. hehehe

diamondsonblackvelvet13 Posted 19 Feb 2009 , 11:01pm
post #28 of 39

I sketch mine out on the puter so I know what the different ideas are going to look like. In essence I "copy" the drawing. I have found that on those few cakes where I don't draw them out....they look like poo!

indydebi Posted 19 Feb 2009 , 11:09pm
post #29 of 39
Originally Posted by mixinvixen

show off! we are but mere mortals, and dream of attaining your status. hehehe

icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif No, only because I had never heard of sketching out your cake. Remember, I started doing this before the word "internet" and yes, even before cable tv, was invented!! I would talk to a bride, we looked at books and pictures, she told me what she wanted, I wrote down a narrative description in my file.

Plus I"m a "until it looks right" cook ... and decorator. I have no idea where I'm going to put the BC flowers until I see the cake and "it talks to me" and tells me where I need to put a flower. Man, if I had to draw that ahead of time..... well, I just couldnt' do it. icon_redface.gif

jennym0904 Posted 19 Feb 2009 , 11:24pm
post #30 of 39

i do! i mean, i only make bday cakes, shower cakes, special occassion for friends and family and I sketch something out. i'm such a scatter brain, i need to or i lose the image i had in a my head! icon_smile.gif

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