Here’s an overdue post to let you know that I hope to teach at Quilt Symposium Christchurch 2017 in October. As some of you know, my teaching engagements are few and far between at the moment (due mostly to my prioritising family time here at home), so this is a rare opportunity!
I’m listed to teach two workshops.
The first is ‘Designing Your Own Pieced Botanical Quilt’, with more details available here. This is the workshop where you come armed with a bunch of photos of a plant that you like, and you create your own quilt design based on those. We also work through the basics of beginning to piece your beautiful botanical art quilt. This includes fabric selection; creating a working pattern from your quilt designing, cutting out the quilt, and making a start at piecing the bits together. Phew! That’s a whole lot to cover in two days. I’m going to work you hard!! This a crash course designed especially for all of you who have asked many times for a workshop to cover my quiltmaking process.
The second is ‘Enriching Your Quilt with Hidden Imagery‘. In this two-day workshop, we work through ways to enhance your free-motion quilting. I love to use the quilting process to add another ‘layer of interest’ to my art quilts. I like the quilting to help in telling the ‘story’ of the quilt. Together we’ll work through a number of ways to do that. In the workshop, we work through a bunch of samples, to equip you to apply fantastic quilting to your future quilt projects!
If you’re going to Quilt Symposium Christchurch, I look forward to seeing you there!
In recent weeks I worked on a drawing assignment for an international competition. We had to design teacups and napkins for a cafe. I didn't make the final for the competition, but working on the illustration was an enjoyable challenge for me. I'm pleased with the final result and with what I learnt along the way.
This drawing is a digital composite of many scanned and edited drawings. A project like this still has me a bit confused with regards to a clear plan of attack/ process. I would love learn more about how experienced illustrators approach a task like this. I'm sure that it will come more easily with more experience. I also feel like my digital drawing skills are still holding me back. I would have loved to create a richer-looking backdrop with some texture, but wasn't quite sure how to do that. That's definitely something I plan to learn more about!
You might like to check out the 50 beautiful illustrations that made the final over here.
Meanwhile, here are some of the drawings and designs that went in to this illustration:
By the way, I suspect that quite a large number of you will be receiving this post via email for the first time (those who signed up for this via the pop-up box on my website). Having a look at it this week, I don't think that this automatic 'mail out' has been working up till now. I think I've fixed it now, and just wanted to explain why you are suddenly receiving these emails! Thanks for signing up!
For the past school term I've been working on an illustration workshop by Lilla Rogers. We were taught about five different potential markets for illustration work (bolt fabric, children's books and more). We learnt what works best for each market, and how to present our artwork for consideration in these markets.
The workshop was self-paced and online, which always requires a bit of self-motivation and discipline. I always make myself work through every single exercise in an online workshop, partly so that I get as much out of it as possible, and partly because I know that it is pushing through the hard bits that helps to make one a better person and better artist. It was tempting to skip an assignment in this workshop, or at least to change it to suit myself, but I gained so much from working through the projects as dictated by Lilla. I always enjoyed the assignments way more than I expected to, even when I was initially unimpressed by the subject choice!
Here are the five assignments I submitted:
And finally we make a piece of wall art, to fit a number of criteria, one of which was to use yellow and pink.
Long term readers of this blog will know that I have done other online workshops through the years. Some have been illustration/drawing based, while others have been focussed on the business side of being an artist. It's part of my challenge to myself to keep growing and developing! Have you enjoyed an online or in-person workshop recently? If not, what sort of workshop would you love to take if you could?
I take a lot of photos as reference material for my artwork. Especially when it comes to drawing children. Thankfully, I don’t need brilliant photos to draw from. It doesn’t matter if they are blurry, or if the children are far away. In fact, sometimes I find it best to view the photos as icons on my computer for drawing purposes. That way I spend time getting the pose of the child right, rather than getting distracted with details.
I have several little quilts cut out, based on some of these quick sketches.
Do you remember to capture your children playing every so often?
Meta's quilt is all drawn up now. With the need to represent specific children rather than a 'general' child, I took extra time with the faces. I'm happy with how they're looking.
To draw up the quilt, I enlarged the composition I shared in the last post with the photocopier. I used a sheet of tracing paper and a fine liner to draw the pattern for the quilt by tracing over the enlarged composition. As I draw a pattern like this, I need to think about all the seam lines. Each 'space' will be a separate piece of fabric, and I need to think about whether the size of the pieces and the tightness of the curves/corners is manageable.
The next step was to make a colour plan. To do this I took a clear photo of the pattern I'd just drawn and opened it in Adobe Illustrator. This program has a function which traces images into vector illustrations (to put something very complex into very simple terms). Having a vector illustration of my drawing means that I can colour it in with simple clicks of the mouse – select a colour, click on the spaces in the drawing that need to be that colour, and repeat. The wonderful thing about doing this digitally is that I can easily try out different colour schemes.
I've asked Meta for some feedback on this colour plan – is it too dark? Is it too light? Should the colours of the clothes be changed at all? More blue? Less red? And so on. At the same time, the plan is only indicative. I usually change things around a bit when I start cutting out the fabric.
For those of you who are newly visiting, this post is one in a series sharing the process of commissioning a custom textile portrait. I look forward to creating more custom portraits of children in the future, but to kickstart things, I asked for a ‘guinea pig’ to try out the process with me. Meta is my guinea pig. You can follow the whole process here.
We have a basic design for our textile portrait. We took one of the layouts that I presented to Meta and changed out one of the sketches in it, to better capture that child. Meta is happy with the layout. With three children captured in more 'serious' moments, or really, moments of concentration, and one shown having a laugh, Meta says this captures her four children well!
I was able to meet with Meta at her home, which was good for getting a feel for her decorating style. I might make it a future part of the homework package to include a photo or two of the family home or room for which the artwork is intended. The other purpose of the meeting was to confirm that Meta was happy with the overal design, and to note any potential areas of concern. One of the children's faces was looking at little 'heavy' in the sketch, so I made a note to lighten his brows a bit, either in colour, or by thinning the lines.
Now I have been entrusted with some of Meta's treasures to work into the quilt – snippets of special fabric from children's clothes, and stories written by the children during their early years at school. The children's writings will be stitched into the quilt later. It's good to have them already now, so that I can think about how best to incorporate them while I'm putting the quilt together. I asked for the snippets of fabric already now so that I can incorporate them into the colour plan.
The next step is to draw up a working pattern of the design, showing all the separate pieces of fabric, and to make the colour plan. Actually, the pattern is already drawn up – I was itching to do that after meeting with Meta on Friday. It's currently hanging in our living room, so that I can see it often during the day and be sure that I am happy with it before proceeding. I'll share it soon.
Oh, and Meta asked if it wasn't becoming a chore. Absolutely not! I am loving this process and the extra challenge of depicting and capturing someone else's children. And I can't wait to start stitching up this design.