Friday, July 29, 2011

sketchbook studies

I have been watching videos by Linda and Laura Kemshall on Design Matters TV (It is subscription based but well worth it!). Last night, I watched "Pencilled in" and today I decided that my sketchbook needed an airing.
Linda did her sketches in the video using water colour pencils, so I did a little sketch of Helleborus from my garden, which is flowering extremely well this year.  I love the colour of it every day as I walk past.  I might turn this into a small quilt as Linda did...perhaps.  Now to more pressing stuff.
I started this sketch of mossy rocks with my Derwent watercolour pencils, and the rocks, which were grey and white came out well but I had to mix my media to get the moss colours strong enough, and used thick watercolour (not much water, only enough to spread it) and used it like acrylic paint.  Finally, I really mixed my media and went over the crevices, which were really quite dramatic with a fine point black marker.

This second sketch is actually a study for two pieces I am working on.  Now I will go into the thinking mode, puzzling out how I will translate it into fibre.  In the video, Linda discussed, (I already knew this but it had escaped my mind) that the actual process of drawing a more detailed study like this sometimes helps you to work out how to translate it.  Drawing is mark and line making, and so is stitch, so if I find myself using little crosshatches when drawing, I know I will probably use weave stitch or if I am scribbling, I will use multidirectional zig zag.  If an area has even tone or not much texture, then I would use a fabric in that area.  Drawing also gets you close up and personal with your subject, so you are familiar with every little bit of it.  It also helps gear your brain up to stitch it.

In Linda's video, she talks about how she uses her sketchbook as a jumping point for her textile art.  I have discussed this before; that ideas are important to capture when you get them, but that not all have to be translated into media, and perhaps not all should.  I often look back through my older journals when I am looking for inspiration and sometimes I find some in old sketches and plans that have not yet gone further.

I was just discussing with a friend today that I try not to use brand names in my blog, however there is a reason for it in this case.  "Normal" Derwent water colours pencils don't give very intense colour.  I suppose you could equate them to "Student grade" paints or pencils in any brand.  Derwent "inktense" do give more intense colour (but I only have one at present) just like artist quality paint or pencils.  What this is all about is that you get what you pay for.  Student quality have less pigment than artist's quality, that is why they cost more.

Now that I have preached at you about spending your money, remember, experiment, and use what you have at hand. You can always find a way to get an effect ....eventually.