Introduction to Sketchbook work

I have decided to do a separate category for sketchbook work as a way of logging my thoughts and ideas in a constructive manner and to show how I am finding I work best.  Many of my sketchbooks are on-going and will cross over courses as I development techniques and ideas.

Although my feedback on my first assignment was very positive and my tutor certainly was happy with my sketchbook work and the use of handmade books I  have had a feeling that for me personally I needed to compartmentalize my sketches i.e. to divide them into separate themes and categories which will enable me to work on each in different ways and collate information, materials and make notes in a manner which flows and also enables me mentally to be able to concentrate on each subject.

I love the hand made books and take note of what my tutor has said about being able to use different papers and I hope in time that my individual sketchbooks will have extra pages of the aforesaid alternative papers added in so that they evolve and take on the appearance of hand-made.

One of the first sketch books I have felt the need to sort out was one for mark making so that it becomes a reference point and effectively evolves into a series of dictionaries of marks – my idea is that as I work on different sketchbooks and stitched samples I do a small extra piece or take a photograph for future reference.

By separating into effectively different themes at this stage is already beginning to show me where areas of interests lie but also which I am finding easier to work with and develop too!

Examples of sketchbook work:


This page shows experiments using a grape cut in half and used with gouache paint to make marks – surprising successful.  The photo on the page was taken of a picture subsequently done using only the grape and also a feather which was used for the branches – this particularly experiment will in fact be used further as I will be trying it using fabric paint too.

This painting was done for my Flowers and Fauna sketchbook and part of a July sketchbook challenge on Facebook – the inspiration was a bottle of Pina Colada as I simply loved the label with its vibrant colours and shapes! What was initially a bit of fun proved surprisingly useful to do as I practice  mixing of tones of colours and also use of wet-on-wet techniques – further annotations will no doubt be added in the sketchbook as I learn further about colour during assignment 2.


This is taken from a specific themed sketchbook that was my initial idea for the ‘themed work’ from assignment 3 onwards – Beauty in Decay using dried flowers and the decaying beauty of flowers.  The page is a fan style made up of various flowers I have collected and pressed and also shows thread samples of the colours that I am thinking of using.  The thread samples are on thin card and ribbon so that as the sketchbook evolves and the work continues more can be added and they can be used on different pages as colour references.

I am aware at the point of writing that some of my sketchbooks contain very little stitched or fabric samples but obviously this is something that will become more apparent as each evolves and I learn the various textile techniques and also grow more confident and learn how to use sketchbooks effectively – I am very much aware that I want to get the foundations right at this early stage and the time I have spent over the past few weeks will be very much worth it.



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