Monday, May 7, 2012

Surface Design - Week 2 (Sketching)

The second week of the surface design course with Rachael Taylor was all about sketching and mark-making.

The main exercise this week was to "loosen up" by exploring different ways of making marks:

* using brushes of different sizes, both wet and dry - I loved this exercise. I got particularly carried away with using black ink in a variety of different ways with different brushes: splodging, dripping, using an eye-dropper, blowing, splatting, using a fanned out dry-ish brush to get lines, cross-hatching etc. I'm going to keep these and use them as backdrops to provide texture in future designs.

* drawing with the left hand (makes you feel like a child again, but definitely provide looseness to your mark-making):

* drawing with two pencils or pens held together (I used a pen and a charcoal pencil):

* drawing really fast to fill a page with lines and marks in 60 seconds:

* repeating this exercise to fill the page with lines and marks, but drawing much slower and more detailed:

We were then given a technical workshop on using colour to create a basic surface pattern design in Photoshop, which I used to make this design, from the motif I created in Week 1.

I then toyed with different colour combinations, changing the background only, then changing both the background and the motifs:

It's incredible how different a feel you can achieve just with a change of colour palette.

Finally, we were given the task of going out, looking for patterns that appeal to us in homeware and fashion shops and on the internet, collating these into a "pattern love book" which we can then use these as inspiration to sketch our own patterns, in our own style.  I decided to get creative with the front cover of the my book (that grey textured paper is actually the inside of one of those envelopes that you get security numbers/PINs in):

Here's a couple of pages I've started on, but I'm sure it won't be long before I've filled it up.  It'll become like a physical version of pininterest that I can flip through as and when I need inspiration.

Throughout the week, we also were also treated to interviews and insider tips on sketching and the importance of keeping sketchbooks. I have a few different sized sketch books, mainly A5 for carrying around with me and for making notes and sketches on exhibitions I have visited, but when I'm working in my home studio I like the freedom of working on bigger sheets of loose paper. Rachael gave us a good tip about filing loose drawings in photo albums or plastic sleeves and categorising them, so that you build up your own reference library of sketches and they can easily be pulled out for scanning. I think this is a fantastic idea. Particularly as my various sketchbooks and loose sheets of paper have no order to them and I'd probably struggle to find a particular sketch that I might be looking for.  So Rachael has definitely inspired me to get organised!

Next up: Week 3 - Colour!


  1. It really is amazing how different the three photos are of your patterns in different colors. I also like the idea of taking my images I collect and organizing them in a scrap book. I just started scanning them all into the computer to try and organize them. I was thinking of organizing them by color.

  2. Really nice to see it like this. My favourite is the pattern with the yellow background. Love your new book!

    1. Thanks Liesel, yes the yellow is my favourite too. I think I'm going through a yellow phase at the moment!