Mark-Making Options for Drawing and Fiber Art

I like variety, and I'll bet if you're a member of the Cloth Paper Scissors community, you do, too. Mixed-media folks get boredwith mark making using just one medium-—we like 'em all! Still, as much as I like to experiment, I tend to fall back on some of the same techniques and motifs.

Jenn Mason found herself looking for some new ideas for mark making, especially drawing, and drew inspiration (pardon the pun) from Gwen Hedley's book Drawn to Stitch.

Here's what Jenn had to say:

Gwen offers a ton of fascinating techniques and processes for altering paper and fabric but what really sang to me (very loudly), was her chapter: Interpreting Line Quality: Drawing and Stitching. The format in this chapter was to list the design references, the observations made, the drawing approaches, and the stitch techniques used. I decided to give myself an assignment on a recent weekend getaway to Portland, Maine, and this is what I came up with:

dark-wood-pic   dark-wood-posterize   dark-wood-sketch
Design Reference   Digital Observations   Drawing Approach

First I took photos. I was trying to look places I wouldn’t normally look for inspiration, and for me, that meant down. A couple of these photos are hardwood floors, one is a cement shot and the last is a photo of the shadow of our bikes on our bike rack—I was enjoying the beautiful weather and the way the bike silhouette changed as we drove by gravel driveways, wildflowers and long grasses.

light-wood-pic   light-wood-posterize   light-wood-sketch
Design Reference   Digital Observations   Drawing Approach

After I took the photos, I messed around with them on the computer using photo editing software. You don’t need anything expensive to do this. Just play with Brightness and Contrast and see what happens. I also turned the photos to black and white images and then played with a posterization option in my software. These were my digital observations. My goal was to distort the image enough that I only captured it’s essence. This is similar to the technique of looking at a piece of work upside down to check your composition.

Numbers-pic   Numbers-posterize   Numbers-sketch
Design Reference   Digital Observations   Drawing Approach

I love how Jenn applied Gwen's process, and I decided to explore an example in fiber, Inspired by Jenn's examples above and the Gwen's examples in her book. I used a photo of an ancient carved wood door that I took at a museum.

Design Reference   Digital Observations   Fiber

I could see this image inspiring a modern patchwork quilt, a collage (fiber or paper), or a block print as well as embroidery. I love how Gwen's process helps open your eyes to the mark-making possibilities.

What's your process of reference, observation and artwork completion? Share your thoughts here in the comments section of the blog. And if you’d like to learn more mark making ideas using fiber and mixed media, order your copy of Drawn to Stitch!


Blog, Mixed-Media Techniques


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