Product Introspection: Hand Sketch



Hand Sketch

When someone explains that a product's design was "hand-sketched," what kind of manufacturing process pops up in your mind?

Some people might envision a process that consists of an initial sketch where the graphic or pattern is done by hand, followed by converting the sketch into some form of data or perhaps a mold and finally applying the design by utilizing a machine or silkscreen.

Of course, the manufacturing method that gets used depends on the nature of the fabrics that you're working with or the end use of the product, but when describing the "hand sketch" process used for the creation of visvim's products, it consists of seasoned craftsmen using dyes, pigments or special inks and actually drawing the designs by hand directly onto each individual T-shirt or each individual piece of fabric.

Just like the dyeing techniques used for "Tegaki Yuzen" (hand-painted kimonos), a process that requires expert craftsmen to conduct almost every step by hand. Naturally, this takes a significant amount of time and effort to complete. This method is mostly used for production of expensive one-of-a-kind items where it is rarely ever used for mass-produced products such as T-shirts and Sweatshirts, where the priority is generally placed on productivity rather than quality or character.

The〈0118105010030 JUMBO HOODIE P.O. FOLIAGE SKETCH〉from the SS18 Collection, which features arabesque designs drawn across the entire surface, requires five fabric panels (panel size: 800 x 900mm) in order to make a single hoodie.

Even an experienced craftsman can only draw about 2-3 fabric panels per day, which means that it can take up to two full days to create the foundation for this one particular hoodie.

A scene from the "hand-sketched dyeing" manufacturing process at a dye studio in Kyoto.


The "hand sketch" method was seen in early techniques such as "Edo (Tokyo) Yuzen," which was a popular technique among the commoner of the time. Today, however, the opportunity to see authentic hand sketched designs drawn by craftsmen is steadily decreasing due to the spread of more affordable and efficient methods such as inkjet printing, which is commonly used to replicate the Yuzen patterns on kimonos.

It is not our intent to inherit these techniques only for the production of expensive traditional craft, but to also create something new that can be experienced in everyday life where the craftsmen's techniques and passion becomes more apparent. When one sees and senses the unique aspects of these sorts of creations the depth and joy of these traditional manufacturing techniques should become obvious.