Themed Sketchbook for Final Project

The brief for the final project is to produce a series of four prints, of at least A3 size including the borders, based on a theme. I have chosen butterflies, inspired by my local area. I have a hut on Portland Bill close to a butterfly and moth conservation area, and we are getting to the time of year when my eyes will be constantly on the lookout as I walk. A friend has also given me a collection of ephemera used by an entomologist in the 1950s, together with a couple of beautiful lunar moths.

As a starting point, my preferred approach is to start with a themed sketchbook. I start by researching the work of other artists, and general sketches based loosely around the theme before formulating my ideas into more of a plan. A few pages of my little book are dedicated to Warhol, Hirst, Escher and Whistler. Damien Hirst is well known for using butterflies in a number of works, and he has also collaborated with Alexander McQueen on a redesign of his skull scarves as anniversary limited editions. I won’t go too much into the details of my research here, as I have already written in my sketchbook, and don’t want to duplicate work. I have also looked at vintage cocktail trays, which were decorated with real butterfly wings arranged under glass.

Having looked at lots of images of tessellated butterflies by Hirst and Escher, I started arranging diecut butterflies on coloured paper. I tried a less rigid design using colours from a Hirst piece.

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The waste paper was looking just as interesting as the butterfly shapes, which led to this page arranged with tissue paper. It has started to look like a woven fabric – a design that I may wish to develop in another module.

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A church in the nearby village of Moreton has etched glass windows by Whistler. One is a memorial to a war pilot, and has butterflies prominent in the design.  This is a sketch of detail from that window.

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Having drawn this negative image in pencil, I then drew a positive pencil image, and a number of other sketches in various media.

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I took inspiration from various sources including the aforementioned collection, stamps and grocers collectors cards.

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Thinking more about butterfly collecting, I made this sketch.

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Amongst the grocers cards, I found a picture of a ‘map’ butterfly. I had an idea incorporating the map of the fields where my hut is situated. It is quite often that you see artworks with butterflies cut from maps. Perhaps an unusual paper for chine colle or a base paper?

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This page was thinking more about chine colle possibilities. It is a pleasing looking page in itself, with echoes back to Warhol.

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I saw a blouse with a heavily patterned design of overlapping butterflies that inspired this page.

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There are lots of ideas here that could take me in a number of different directions.


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