Selecting from your drawings and developing design ideas

It’s only when I see all my work laid out that I appreciate just how much drawing and painting I have done over the past few months. I found selecting work a little tricky as I have seen most of my sketch work to date as being practise pieces rather than a source of ideas in their own right. It seemed logical to me to tackle stages three and four as one. My ‘sketch a day’ schedule has been really helpful in building a collection of source material, and I have done a combination of landscape/location sketches,still life sketching and working from my photograph collection. I have been a very keen photographer for almost ten years now and spent an afternoon looking through all my old work for inspiration.  The pieces I have chosen for development here have all begun as drawings from life over the past month or so.

I took this oil pastel sketch of my fruit bowl and isolated an area that appealed to me in terms of colour and form, and I felt the selection made a harmonious composition with a rhythm of curving lines throughout the frame. I started by building a collage of torn and cut tissue papers as a study of shapes and colour.

Next I drew the selected area extended in mirrored form, photocopied the resulting image to cut and arrange in an interesting tesselated design.  I used oil pastels again at this point as I find my drawing style is looser and suited the curves and circles in the arrangement. I could have used Photoshop to do all this, but I am enjoying the evolution of ideas that happen when physically moving the pieces around the paper.

I then painted the design in ink, and worked it twice again, each time stylising and developing the shapes and lines. For me this work was remeniscent of African printed cottons. I preferred the background yellow broken up to let the white show through. This has potential as a piece for development as a printed design.

For this page I developed the lines and shapes in a slightly different way, still using the ideas of repeated forms and lines within the composition. The final design on the right was particularly successful with a nice balance created by the sweeping lines and blocks of colour. Again I tried to allow some of the background white come through and play it’s own part in the design.

For my next piece I took a watercolour sketch I had done of a Ha-Ha on Portland and worked studies based on shape, colour and marks as in the previous exercises. The shape study was a collage of newspaper painted over with gouache and oil pastels. In the marks study I developed a design for the stones in the foreground that contrasts against the simplicity of the sweeping lines in the background.

The final painting was watercolour and sepia ink pen on perforated paper. I am not completely sure that the ratio of heavy marks to sparse background works here, and it may look better either cropped or with a more gradual movement of tone from bottom to top. It does however follow the rule of thirds and has interest in each quadrant.

I wanted to use a painting I really liked from my first assignment, which was a wax relief painting of a sunset I saw on my way home from work. I liked the way that colours were concealed and revealed throughout the painting, but it lacked energy for design purposes. I photocopied it twice and the blue ink on my printer was running out. As this happens it was a happy accident and created variation in colours throughout each copy that accentuated contrasts when I cut and weaved the two together. I weaved them in such a way as to preserve the movement of lines from left to right. I selected an area of the weaving where areas of high contrast were placed in a dynamic arrangement within the frame. This was then redrawn in oil pastels. I first used vertical marks blended with Zest-it, and horizontal lines over the top once dried. I used this piece as inspiration for my initial attempts at patchworking sheer fabrics with a Fabric Master soldering iron.

In my last assignment feedback, it was suggested that I might like to look into embellishing machines. As an initial exploratory exercise I have bought a needle felting kit, and used this technique to make a sample based on this composition. I layered various organzas with dyed wool tops on a black felt base. I enjoyed the effects produced by needling the sheer fabrics and distressing them. The design was free machined over with three colours of metallic threads.

With printing designs in mind, I made a selection from a watercolour sketch I did on holiday of a window of Beverley Minster. At first I thought about making a tesselating pattern with the window shapes, but this seemed quite unoriginal. I selected some shapes that I particularly liked in my selection, looking at the spaces between the windows as well as the windows themselves. I spent some time playing with these shapes and layering outilines on tracing paper.

I cut two lino designs inspired by this work, and as you can see I decided to simplify one of them as I cut.

I printed this design with floor tiles in mind, particularly Victorian style flooring or those found on the floor of Hereford Cathedral. I used blue and gold as a reference to the ecclesiastical source material.

I had a brainwave at our local furnishing store, where they supply free samples of various textured wall coverings. I was interested in the interaction between the texture and design of the printing block and the fabric or paper being printed. This could be explored further using Xpandaprint fabric paint before printing.



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