From Instagram Message to Nursery Decor: The Making of the Moon Board!

When I started The Nerd Lady, one of my many hopes for my creative projects was to create artwork that could get girls excited about science and adventure. I wanted to create dinosaur and outer space art for little girls like mine so they could dream about discovery and exploration. There’s plenty of this for boys, but not much for girls. As I started focusing more and more on literary lettering, however, I let go of this hope.

Until this year.

One of my college girlfriends contacted me about creating an outer space chalkboard for her baby girl. You bet I jumped on that opportunity!

Here’s how this nursery art went from an Instagram message all the way to a chalkboard that landed itself in Midland, Texas!

It all started with an Instagram message…

Y’all. This is my dream message. Something where you know you want a thing, but you’re not really sure of the design. That means that I can play!

To be honest, designing this piece challenged me. Combining both her name and “We love you to the moon and back” was tough. When I sketched things out, I would get the name right, but not the phrase–or vice versa. Because Katherine wasn’t under a time crunch, I took time to research, practice, and research some more. I used Stefan Kunz’s technique of forcing myself through multiple designs, then landed on these 8 that I sent to Katherine:

From there, Katherine and her husband picked their two favorites. She asked if I could possibly combine the two designs. Here are all three:

She picked my favorite.

we love you to the moon and back sketch by @nerdladydraws swapna gardner

My heart squealed. I cannot tell you how exciting it is to get to work on a project where not only does my client get what she wants, but *I* get to have fun, too!

The work started…

supplies for sketching out art on a chalkboard
Wine and nerd gear are a must for me (those are Lannister socks in my Harry Potter slippers…)

And I sent her all the process pics.

chalk sketch of nursery chalkboard
Chalk sketch to make sure we were both happy with the size and look of everything.
process picture of a nursery chalkboard
I love painting moons.
close up of nursery chalkboard lettering by @nerdladydraws swapna gardner
close up of nursery board by swapna gardner

Until we finally had this beauty.

final product by swapna gardner
Tools used: White water-based Sharpie paint marker for the letters, acrylic paint for the moon and gray letters, white Posca marker for the white line work on the gray letters + the stars

I am so so happy that Katherine found me and asked me to do this piece! I am learning that I absolutely love working with chalkboards… and I love painting moons and stars 🙂 And it fills me with such gladness to know that little Kalleigh Ryan will grow up with the moon and the stars to inspire her!

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