Ketubah process

Star ketubahThis is about the process of developing artwork for your ketubah.

By the time we get to this point, I assume you’ve taken a look at my portfolio and got a sense of my general style.

If there’s something particular you like, tell me. Maybe you like the shape of this one, the colours in that one, the hard-to-define feel of that other one. Rachel and David liked this one.

Now what you do is send me some images which make you happy. If you can tell me what about them makes you happy, that’s a bonus. If not, don’t worry; part of my job is to figure that out.

Circular Persian designPersian designRachel and David looked at a book of patterns and images. These are some of the ones they picked out. They liked the vines linking the flowers, and the circle design, and the deep blue background.
Old ketubahThen they looked at a collection of old ketubot. They liked these cheerful, simple red-and-yellow flowers and the sense of connectedness.
White china jug with pattern of blue vines and leaves.White china plate with border of curling linesCoffee table with interlaid wood design of vines and flowersThey also sent me some pictures of china they’d picked out together, and of furniture they liked.

We talked a bit about what they did and didn’t like about all these things. Often they couldn’t quite say, and that’s okay. My job is to pick up common themes from the visuals you give me, link them together with definite ideas, and make that into art. (See this post for more about that.)

At this point we talk about budget. I price text per word, so that if you have a long text it costs more and if you have a short text it costs less. Printing is also an option; a print text and custom artwork can work out cheaper, especially if you have a long text. Artwork costs depend mostly on size and complexity; most couples decide on a budget and we take it from there. Art borders run $200-$2000+.

You also tell me what sort of size you’d be happy with. Some people want their ketubah to be letter-size; some want it to be the main focus of a room.

All this tells me how complex your design can be, and I start to make sketches. Sometimes the sketches have several different options, and I get your feedback on them:

Grey and white pencil sketch of a circular design with flowers. Parts of the sketch are labelled with pencilled notes.

Pencil sketch of a complex design featuring flowers and vinesAn obviously incomplete piece of art; a pencil sketch is partly painted. Deep blues, reds and yellows.If the basic idea is feeling okay, we go on to something a bit more precise, and if that seems okay, we do a trial run for colour. Sometimes there are several options, textures, or patterns which I’ll get your feedback on. Maybe you’ll decide you want more purple, or less white.

Finished result:

Circular ketubah

Jen Taylor Friedman's Torah site