If You Are A Cake Decorator, How Much Sketching You Do?

Business By julia01945 Updated 4 Jun 2010 , 3:07am by Mabma80

julia01945 Posted 23 Sep 2009 , 4:23am
post #1 of 39

Hi Everybody,

I have a question. I have been looking through the cake galleries and was wondering about how much of drawing you have to do when you deal with the clients? Do you really have to know how to draw well to stay in bussiness? How important are drawing skills?

Thanks

Julia

38 replies
Texas_Rose Posted 23 Sep 2009 , 4:26am
post #2 of 39

I always sketch stuff...but I don't think everyone does. If you're really worried about it, print out some basic cake templates (think there are some in the galleries here) and then just draw on them with markers or colored pencil to show your idea.

LaBellaFlor Posted 23 Sep 2009 , 4:34am
post #3 of 39

I DO NOT think I can draw, but I do okay when it comes to drawing cakes. Go figure. I feel it is best to have some type of sketch so they can see what they're getting and you can have something to go on. But it may not always be neccessary. For example, I gave the person who did my wedding cake a piece of stationary that reflected our wedding style & told here to do what she wanted. I told her the theme of the next party & told her to do what she wanted. I ordered a b-b-q grill cake. What's to sketch? It's a b-b-q grill. And yes, I have payed someone to do cakes for me when I know I don't have the time. And no she does not charge Wal-Mart.

ButtercupMama Posted 23 Sep 2009 , 4:47am
post #4 of 39

I sketch cakes all the time, and am trying to get my employees to do the same, although they are reluctant.
For wedding cake purposes, I want the B&G to get a preview of what we're working on. Just this year, I started bringing colored pencils to the meeting. Once I get it sketched out in pencil, I'll fill in their colors. This serves two puposes;
1)They see it and LOVE it even more
2)I know at a glance what it is supposed to look like, so no major mistakes (Oh crap, this whole thing was supposed to be iced in pink, not white!)

Basically you will find yourself sketching many things over and over, and it does not have to be fancy OR hugely detailed. As a decorator, I am a visual person, so when filling the order, I like to see it, rather than read about it. (Of course, I write out all the details as well!)

Do a little practicing, and you'll be more confident!

cakemaker30 Posted 23 Sep 2009 , 10:36am
post #5 of 39

I've only done a couple of sketches and it was because the brides were a little difficult so I wanted to make sure we were all on the same page. Most of my brides come to me with pictures of the cake that they want and so there isn't a whole lot of designing on my part. If they didn't have a picture already though I would do a sketch for them. I have used the templates in the galleries here for cakes. Doug has a ton of them. He's really nice for sharing all of them for us graphically design challenged peopleicon_smile.gif I am able to save them to my computer and use an editing program to move the cake templates around and add or change things to make the cake the way I want it. I wish I could explain it better than that, but I don't really know how to explain, I can only do it icon_biggrin.gif

DefyGravity Posted 23 Sep 2009 , 3:39pm
post #6 of 39

I just drew my first sketch for a birthday cake I'm doing in a couple weeks. I suck at drawing, but this came out pretty well. I'm going to swing it over to my friend and see what she thinks of it.

It is already helping me, because I have pictured cakes in my head one way and had them turn out like crap. This way, I'm able to see flaws in my plans, or think of how to improve other aspects. I really wish I would have started this sooner. I guess I'll be picking up a sketchbook pretty soon!

RobzC8kz Posted 24 Sep 2009 , 1:16am
post #7 of 39

Since I do a lot of 3D cakes, or really involved special occasion cakes, I will provide a full color and inked sketch to every client. Mainly, because when I tell them the price, I want them to already be in love with the design!! Also, I want them to really see what the difference between a sheet cake with a picture of Thomas the Train and a 3D Thomas the Train really looks like!

I can usually sell the price once they see the sketch!

It really helps to be artistic in this business, but it's not mandatory!

cakesdivine Posted 24 Sep 2009 , 1:52pm
post #8 of 39

I have only sketched about 3 cakes in my 25 years of this. Most brides bring me a slew of photos and we pull ideas from each, very few request a sketch. I am horrible at drawing so I don't offer and usually they don't ask.

cakesdivine Posted 24 Sep 2009 , 2:01pm
post #9 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by RobzC8kz



It really helps to be artistic in this business, but it's not mandatory!




Um you don't have to be able to draw to be artistic. icon_confused.gif I sculpt extremely well, and am extremely artistic in other areas (ie: dance choreography, writing, theater arts, music, other arts & crafts...etc.) If I draw really slow I can produce a good sketch, but most who are skilled at drawing (like my daughter) don't even have to concentrate on it, it just happens. I have to painstakingly concentrate and move very slowly to get the pencil to move exactly how I want it. That is why if I have a drawing on a cake, I get my daughter to do it...LOL! Weird thing is I can pipe an image on a cake no problem...go figure...HA! icon_lol.gif

indydebi Posted 24 Sep 2009 , 3:19pm
post #10 of 39

i never sketch.

tx_cupcake Posted 24 Sep 2009 , 3:30pm
post #11 of 39

When I get an idea for a cake, I have to draw it so I don't forget. Plus, I like to show potential clients that my cakes come out the way I want them to. If I can draw it up, I can make it. I even have a section on my website that shows my sketch and the resulting cake.

dkltll Posted 24 Sep 2009 , 3:38pm
post #12 of 39

I don't sketch for clients but I always sketch for myself. Not sure if this is the same thing, but it helps me to sketch out my ideas to scale so that I have all of my ideas clear before I start.

grandmom Posted 24 Sep 2009 , 3:45pm
post #13 of 39

I always sketch my cakes, although I don't sell cakes. It just helps me so much with the design.

Actually, I sketch everything, all the time, ad nauseum. I can hardly tell a story to a friend without drawing a picture of something. When coworkers see me heading toward their office, they get out a sticky pad and a pencil.

I do this because my ears are not connected to my brain. They are good only for music and earrings. Tell me something - it slides into one earhole and out the other. Show me something - it sticks like glue.

majka_ze Posted 24 Sep 2009 , 4:11pm
post #14 of 39

I always sketch my cakes, but as somebody who cannot really draw, I use a computer. It is easier for me to play with my ideas and fine tune it on monitor than do the same sketch on paper over and over, because my proportions on paper are always off. I would need to start my "paper sketch" as engineer drawing, not as an artistic sketch.
If you are not really artistic but proficient in a drawing program, this can be a way out.

But a sketch definitively helps out - I even sketch how to cut rectangular cake to get a 3D cakes from it - and this is something you wouldn't show a customer icon_smile.gif

cakesdivine Posted 24 Sep 2009 , 4:47pm
post #15 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by txcupcake

When I get an idea for a cake, I have to draw it so I don't forget. Plus, I like to show potential clients that my cakes come out the way I want them to. If I can draw it up, I can make it. I even have a section on my website that shows my sketch and the resulting cake.




then Cassi you come sketch mine for me...I'll send you the images via telepathy, cuz ya know we roll that way... icon_lol.gif

tx_cupcake Posted 24 Sep 2009 , 5:18pm
post #16 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakesdivine

Quote:
Originally Posted by txcupcake

When I get an idea for a cake, I have to draw it so I don't forget. Plus, I like to show potential clients that my cakes come out the way I want them to. If I can draw it up, I can make it. I even have a section on my website that shows my sketch and the resulting cake.



then Cassi you come sketch mine for me...I'll send you the images via telepathy, cuz ya know we roll that way... icon_lol.gif




LOL! You bet! icon_lol.gif

KHalstead Posted 24 Sep 2009 , 5:33pm
post #17 of 39

I sketch here and there, but usually when the person is having trouble visualizing something on the spot.

Like I had an order for a wedding cake that was a slot machine and the lady ordering it had trouble visualizing where the particular sayings would go.....so I sketched it really quick and took a picture of my sketch and emailed it to her. IT was really helpful and it got her even more excited about the cake (I have yet to get photos of that cake, my camera died and I borrowed my mom's ...gotta get those pics))

Anyhow, here is the sketch......it's very remedial, but it did the trick
LL

DLo912 Posted 24 Sep 2009 , 6:05pm
post #18 of 39

I almost always sketch out my cakes. It is a rare thing if I don't. I even have a sketch book specifically devoted to my cake sketches, which are done in full color, with descriptions of what kind of cake each layer will be, what certain things will be made our of, colors, etc. It helps keep me organized and to have a game plan, but it also gets me even more excited about making the cake! : ) I loved to draw before, but I feel like drawing cakes is even more fun than cartoons and whatnot!

cakesdivine Posted 24 Sep 2009 , 7:13pm
post #19 of 39

Okay another weird thing is I can sketch costume, bridal, and evening gown designs easily but cakes always look so bad when I sketch them...don't know why I can only draw costume/dress designs but thats me.

tx_cupcake Posted 24 Sep 2009 , 7:49pm
post #20 of 39

Perhaps you should start dressing your cakes in costumes... thumbs_up.gificon_lol.gif

KHalstead Posted 24 Sep 2009 , 8:34pm
post #21 of 39

[email protected] in costumes.........you would think drawing evening gowns and such would be WAY harder than round/square cakes?

dandelion56602 Posted 24 Sep 2009 , 9:35pm
post #22 of 39

If I do sketch it's for my benefit. So I know colors mainly & how much icing/fondant/gumpaste I'll need in each color. Nothing worse than coloring too much/too little icing the right color! But I did a sketch for my most recent teacher appreciation so I could get a feel for how I wanted to lay out the top & how big I could make the FBCTs. It was soooo funny b/c my dd (who's 7) said that's ok mom. So, then when she saw the finished cake she said "wow, your cake looks way better than your picture. I think you should just make cakes". I never said I could draw---that is the talent that God gave my dad & brothers, but they couldn't decorate a cake or cookie to save their life.

Cookies on the other hand I do sketch to give myself an idea of where I need to pipe---gives me a visual so I don't end up w/ a wonky cookie!

Deb_ Posted 24 Sep 2009 , 9:40pm
post #23 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakesdivine

Okay another weird thing is I can sketch costume, bridal, and evening gown designs easily but cakes always look so bad when I sketch them...don't know why I can only draw costume/dress designs but thats me.




How about if you sketch your cakes using a piping bag with icing but instead of doing it on a cake do it on paper? icon_lol.gif

tripleD Posted 24 Sep 2009 , 9:58pm
post #24 of 39

I hardly ever sketch. Most of the time I have no idea what i'm doing until the crum coat goes on. I like to talk to the people and I just get a feeling.
I really can't explain it. I even understand colors they want with no samples.

adree313 Posted 24 Sep 2009 , 10:31pm
post #25 of 39

i cannot draw to save my life. seriously, if it came down to me drawing a decent *anything*, or death, death it is! (i can't even draw a star without all the lines in the middle) i can trace like nobody's business, but not draw.

that said, i do like to do extremely rough drafts of a cake just because i like to plan things out. i like to draw them and make notes about things. someone else mentioned it, but doug has some awesome templates. i printed out several 2/3 tiered cakes and draw directly on them.

oh, and if you look in my pictures you'll see exactly ONE tiered cake... i have tons of sketches of cakes i want to do/practice when i get my dummies icon_biggrin.gif

chefjess819 Posted 24 Sep 2009 , 11:08pm
post #26 of 39

i sketch a lot of my cakes before i go into cutting and sculpting them. i am an extreme "plan ahead" person. usually a month ahead of time i am doing sketches or looking for ideas, on here of course. then i put my ideas into designs on the regular paint program on my computer so i can see colors and other designs i want. if i am adding specific items like fondant baseballs, i find a pic of a baseball online and place it on the cake where i want them. it just helps me get my mind around what i am wanting to do.

catlharper Posted 24 Sep 2009 , 11:11pm
post #27 of 39

I do sketch...on paper and on the computer. I have an artists sketchpad that I drag with me everywhere since I find inspiration in the weirdest of places (weirdest place so far? A cemetary) but I also sketch in my "Paint" program on my computer as well. Last night I designed a new Halloween cake I got a request for out of the blue. I have a "day job" which is a desk job and I spend hours basically waiting for someone to walk in or call so I tend to spend those hours sketching out cakes, especially wedding cakes, that I want to do. Now, here's the real question...can I draw? Uhm, not really. Not too sure I'd ever show these to a client but it helps me to remember what it was that inspired me and how I translated that inspiration into cake. LOL!

Cat

prterrell Posted 25 Sep 2009 , 2:40am
post #28 of 39

I draw more sketches than I actually make cakes. If I get an idea for a cake, I sketch it out and save the sketch for future reference. I even purchase bridal magazines from time to time and tear out pages with elements that inspire me and sketch cakes based on dresses/stationary/jewelry/tiaras/bouquets/etc. I clip the magazine page and sketch together and add them to my file. I have at least 50 wedding cake ideas ready to go, just don't have time to do all them all up in dummies, yet. icon_wink.gif

chryscrazy Posted 25 Sep 2009 , 6:19am
post #29 of 39

Anyhow, here is the sketch......it's very remedial, but it did the trick

Are you kidding me? That is an amazing sketch! If I tried to sketch a slot machine, it would look like an 8 year old did it with an etch-a-sketch.

I student taught in Kindergarten and the kids laughed at my drawings.

Texas_Rose Posted 25 Sep 2009 , 6:26am
post #30 of 39

Another thing, you rsketches don't have to be drawn perfectly to scale and shaded to look 3D in order for your customer to get the idea. I did this one for my sister's best friend and she's printed it out and been showing it to everyone she knows...you can see it's not perfect or even close, but it's good enough to show what the cake will look like.
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