Working from your sketchbooks

I’m not entirely sure that I’ve interpreted this exercise in the right way, but I’m happy with the resulting work of the task I think is intended! I have used  a range of techniques rather than rely solely on dry marks. I am particularly pleased with the reworking of my blue gouache drips, this time done in coloured pencil marks and indigo ink brushpen outlines. All four examples appear to lend themselves to reinterpretation as stitched pieces.

Making Marks Overview

Have you thought about drawing this way before?

 Although I have experimented with painting before, I have not had a lot of experience with dry media and drawing. The approach was new for me, and I found the early exercises very useful as a starting point for approaching my sketchbook and the later pieces.

 Were you able to be inventive about the range of marks you made?

 I think I was quite inventive in my approach and made use of things around me to make marks with. I spent a lot of time on each of the techniques, and enjoyed not only varying the implement for mark making, but also varying the grip and way in which it was used. I discovered more about myself and how I am more comfortable working. For example, I have altered my pencil grip for sketching and have really enjoyed mark making with cocktail sticks and combing.

 Did you explore a wide range of media?

 I think I used a reasonable range of media, although there was much more I could have potentially done, especially in terms of different papers. I tried to stick with what I already have at hand and explore the range of effects possible with each medium before moving onto the next. In the first exercises I naturally wanted to mix media to produce different effects, and tried to be quite disciplined in restricting myself. This forced me to try things that I wouldn’t have otherwise, and I feel I have learnt a lot as a result. I was completely new to gouache and found it to be a very versatile medium.

 Are you pleased with what you have done? Will it help you to approach drawing more confidently?

 In general, I have surprised myself with how well some of my work has turned out. Some pages such as my experiments with acetate and wrapping paper haven’t really worked, but I feel I learnt as much from these as the ones that went very well. I have noticed already a change in the way that I approach drawing, and when I am struggling to find how to start, I have found thinking about quality of marks very useful. I was particularly pleased with my mixed media pieces in ‘Developing textures’.

 Which exercise did you most enjoy? Why?

 I really enjoyed exercise 4 of making marks, particularly the exercises that involved working and reworking marks such as scratching and combing. I enjoy making marks that have a raised and textural quality in themselves. Printing is something that I am also naturally attracted to, and enjoy making the stamps and stencils as much as creating the final prints.

Which media did you most enjoy working with? Why?

 I love inks. Although I shy away from media that leaves a definite mark that is tricky to rework, when it does work I love the clean crisp finishes. It dries to a fairly uniform almost plastic sheen, adding to the crispness of the marks. It is also well suited to drawing with novel implements, stencilling and printing, all of which I really enjoyed.

 What other forms of mark making could you try?

 I could do more work on experimenting with varied paper and collage, and I would at some point like to experiment with texture by applying sand, etc. I could also experiment with salt on watercolour, and scattering powdered pigments on a wet base. Finger painting. Wax resist work. Novel pigments and natural dyes. Lino cutting and printing, woodblock printing. Perforating to create texture. The list is endless!

 How will these exercises enrich your textiles work in the future?

 As I have been working at each stage, I have been trying to imagine how effects could be translated into stitch. The work on pencil marks will be very useful in stitch selection and how to use them to greatest effect. The later textural studies could inform choice in layering of fabrics. I have been encouraged to think more widely in terms of materials.

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