Drawing With Thread, Paint, Paper, & Pen

Hi all!

I’m so glad to be here at Cloth Paper Scissors! As the online editor for Artist Daily, this is my first opportunity to pop in at CPS, but I hope it is the first of many. One of the things I love about the artistic process is that we all share the need to put our creative energy into practice, we do it in so many different ways, and yet we usually have a lot of overlapping interests.

The one that springs immediately to my mind is a focus on drawing. Across media—including oil painting, collage, watercolor, sculpture, pen-and-ink, charcoal, fabric, and mixed media—I’ve found that the artwork that really stands out and captures my attention has a solid foundation in drawing.

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Courtney Jordan
Artist Daily
Online Editor
harding-c Whiskey Creek (Spring)
By Kate Harding, 2008, found leather garments, thread, grommets, and steel hooks, 54 x 35.
Drawing and sketching are sometimes relegated to the equivalent of art in first gear, perhaps because drawing is what many of us learned first when we were growing up. But I see it a different way—drawing is an essential! It’s the basis of most artistic practices (think about all the sketchbooks you’ve gone through over the years), and it’s how we work out design questions and wrestle with challenging compositions, create compelling figures or motifs, and even incorporate gesture and detail into a finished work.

Fiber artist Kate Harding predominately uses graphite on paper when designing her sculptural works, the most recent of which she has made from scraps of leather garments. Her Whiskey Creek series, featured in a recent issue of Drawing magazine, is made up of pieces that represent the landscape of her Midwest childhood home as it changes throughout the seasons, and each finished piece was made using the same drawing as a template.

harding-a Whiskey Creek (Autumn)
By Kate Harding, 2007, found leather garments, thread, snaps, hook and eyes, grommets, and steel hooks, 54 x 89.
The artist has done similar works based on views of New York City that she has drawn over the years. “I started looking at those sketches…and made patterns out of them and sewed them together the way you sew pieces of fabric together when you make a garment,” Harding says. “They ended up as mural-size sculptures—painting without paint.”  

Whiskey Creek
By Kate Harding, 2007, graphite and tape on paper, 17 x 23 1/2.

Harding’s approach is just one way of incorporating line drawing, tracery, patterns, and sketching into the artistic process, but all of these have drawing principles and practices as their source. Drawing magazine is a unique resource for artists because it’s all about recognizing how drawing can enhance your art, no matter what materials you use. The magazine is filled with tips and techniques for improving one’s draftsmanship and mastering drawing fundamentals, and it showcases the work of contemporary artists doing noteworthy things, all of which may provide renewed inspiration and energy for your own practice.


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