Leather projects often include a graphic design. Many of these designs are specially created for particular leather projects, and some are created for any leather project. If there is not a design already created for a particular project, the leatherworker will create one of his own. I have been known to use clip-art for project graphics, as well as drawing a new design from scratch. Sometimes I modify an existing design to fit the project I am working on, and sometimes I even do free-hand art right onto the leather with my swivel knife. If a customer wants something special, I let them do the designing, then I take their graphic and carve it into the leather.
Besides the design creation aspect of leather projects, there is also coloring and finishing. We use stains, dyes, acrylic paints, spirit and water based finishes, and all kinds of other interesting things to add color and life to the leather project. As well as coloring the graphic design on a leather project, there is the rest of the project itself to consider. One of the toughest decisions is which color stain, if any, should be used on a project so that the graphic design is accented, or at the very least, not entirely covered up.
My educational background is in Architecture. I have a Bachelor's degree from the University of Wachington College of Architecture and Urban Planning. I have always been an artsy kind of guy, and have a great eye for color and aesthetic balance. Who would have thought an architect would enjoy leatherwork quite so much?