Friday, 30 January 2009

February Challenge: Tone.

This challenge has taken me quite a bit longer to prepare, I will attempt to show you step by step the way in which I have worked. Please remember that you do not have to follow these steps to the letter. You can deviate from this route at any point and/or come back to it; just dip in where, when and in whatever way it suits you, the main thing is to try something new and have a go as it were.

Now, I have chosen a very fiddly picture for my challenge, but I chose it because it had plenty of light and shade. I am going to suggest that you all try something a little easier with less detail. The photo below was a colour photo and I used a basic photo shop programme to take out the colour. As I mentioned earlier, if you cannot do this on your computer send me you colour picture attached to an email and I will change it to black and white and send it back to you. It is much easier to see tone in black and white photos than it is in colour so this is our first step.

As you can see below this picture I have traced my image, there is nothing wrong with doing this, especially as we will be making a series of drawings, it makes the whole procedure easier.

Before we begin to draw the tone into our traced pictures we will look at tone separately, in the photo below you will see that I have made two charts. Each has 10 boxes in each chart, the first chart is shaded with a pencil a good soft 2b or softer would be great. The second is painted with designers gouache which is similar to poster paint. The idea is that you start with white and work towards black by adding and mixing in a little more black for each box.

There should be a steady progression, this will help to train your eye to see different tones. This is a small tonal chart, when I was studying my Art foundation course we had to make one with 20 boxes, but I think ten is enough for now.

Next I took my first tracing and shaded in the different tones in pencil, working from light to dark with as many different tones as I could work out in my picture. In some of the picture the paper is left unshaded, this is the lightest tone.

Then I used the gouache paint to work into my second tracing.

The next stage is to look at one colour, so I used a blue watercolour/blendable pencil and combined it with a 2b sketching pencil, to make another tonal chart. The white of the paper combines with the blue to make the lightest shade and the sketching pencil provides the deepest tone when blended with the colour pencil.

Then, yes, you’ve guessed it, I made another tonal drawing using the tones from the chart above.

Ok, in the last part of the drawing exercise, I’ve worked in the same way, as above but in paint, so here is a tonal chart using black, white and a colour of my choice to make a chart.

Below is the final picture using these colours, I have tried to simplify the image in this last picture as I am going to be working in felt for the textile image. I will be blending my felt, using dark brown and a cream natural fleece and adding a dyed coloured fleece to add the colour back into the tone, probably colours quite similar to this painting.

I am going to suggest that you choose any material or method to make this tonal piece. I can give you some suggestions but I think that you should work in a way that suits you best.

You could make a fabric or paper collage, by cutting up strips of fabric or tearing tones from a newspaper or magazine. You could even make a tonal chart first using these scraps so that you know what you have ready to make your picture. This particular method has been used successfully in schools for many years to help students see tones.

The images above are about the size of a postcard, you can make your images any size that suits you. Now, have I forgotten anything???? Oh yes, email me with a photo if you need it changing from colour to black and white.

If you have any questions just ask, but please enjoy it and be creative, remember you do not have to stick rigidly to this plan this is a guideline only, so long as your work is about tone that is the main idea of the challenge.

Good Luck Tricia x

A wonderful trade and a lucky find!

I've been such a lucky thing this week, I was approached by Lisa to make a trade, she does the most amazing ATC's often using old photos (ephemera.) I was rather cheeky when she asked me what I would like to choose, I asked her if she could make me something special for my Grand daughter who has recently auditioned in the first part of the process for the Royal Ballet School. For those of you who haven't heard about my talented little Grand daughter, she was a Champion Acro Gymnast winning a bronze for her country last year at the age of 11. She has now changed her direction and is doing extremely well training as a dancer and hopes to go very far indeed.
As she works so very hard at what she does I wanted to send her something special so Lisa very kindly agreed to make me an Atc themed to Ballet. She sent me two! beautiful cards and my Grand daughter is just so thrilled and these little cards will be going in frames to go on her wall.

They are simple wonderful images, they remind me of Degas' work, what do you think?

Here is my lucky find, I subscribe to the local Freecycle groups and I just happened to be reading through the offered goods and look what I came across, over 100 Embroiderer's Guild Magazines, for Nothing! There are three decades here, it's an amazing addition to my library and they were being offered by a very nice lady not 15 miles from here and her name is Patricia, well, of course she is a very nice lady with that name, no seriously I was over the moon. These sites where you can recycle like this are marvellous, you imagine if I tried to buy all these. If these sites were not available they might have ended up thrown away, now isn't that an awful thought. Very soon I am going to be having a clear out and I will be advertising a lot of Machine knitting wool and scraps of fabric to freecycle, so hopefully some knitter might be just as pleased with their find. If you are reading this Patricia thanks again.
The last two images are the gifts that I have sent to Lisa, if you are reading this Lisa and you haven't got your parcel yet, don't look if you want a surprise, lol. Lisa wanted a landscape ATC which I have made inspired by a local view. I have also become quite happy making little fabric brooches and there is one below, made from felt and fabric beads and embroidery. Hope Lisa likes them.
Next post will be the February Challenge get ready for some work on Tone.
Best wishes Tricia x

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

January Challenge

No matter what subject we look at to study when we decide to make Art/Design or Craft we have decisions to make. The very first decision that we should make is how to compose our image. Think for a moment what the camera has taught us. It can help to frame your image, this can be done by making a window/viewfinder.

In the picture below I have shown a simple viewfinder that is no bigger than an ATC (Artist Trading Card) I hope that you can see the measurements I have used. The size is not that important but this is a good size to work with. I am also using this size to draw my sketches into, see pictures below. So once you have made this little card window, you can use it to look through and also to draw around to create a box/frame for your thumbnail sketches.

So, now you have made a window/viewfinder (It doesn’t have to be perfect either, it’s only for you to use.)
Don’t worry, if you feel that you can’t draw, tracing is quite acceptable. If you do decide to trace, you will have to make your image slightly bigger, so that your final image is the size of an atc that is, as big as the outside of the frame above. 60mm x 85mm or 2.5 x 3.5 inches

Your subject will be of your choosing, however there will be a theme. This theme will help you to understand two ideas connected with describing a composition. We will look at two words that do this. The first one is Dynamic (this could mean to set an idea of drama in a picture) It often involves diagonal lines, as in the picture below:

Find an image, this is a photo I will be using

Place your viewfinder over the best part of your image that could describe the word dynamic. Here below I have done just this and found diagonal lines in my picture.

Using a frame that I have made by drawing around the outside of my viewfinder I have drawn only the lines that are necessary to describe the idea of dynamic. See the first of the pictures below.

You will only have to choose one of these words, unless you want to do both.

The next word describes rhythm, for this I have chosen an object that I was able to place my viewfinder over. The image below is showing a red cabbage, within this image are wonderfully repeated lines which can be described as a rhythm.

So once again, I have placed my viewfinder over, but in this case I have looked at different possibilities within the image.

Any one of these could produce a really interesting picture, I chose the middle one because I liked the simplicity of the two horizontal thicker lines of the cabbage. Here it is below:
Just to explain why I have asked you to do this, before we go on to what will do with these images, I would like to add, that as artists/designers/craftspeople we have so much choice, even more choice when working with textiles. It is important to start thinking about choice when we make pictures or designs because unless we think about it first, we are not beginning with the best possible chance of a really great piece of work.

Now to the Textile Work:
Ok, so what will be doing with your sketch? Simply this: Make a background that matches the size of your window/viewfinder, in other words the size of an atc. Make this background in any material of your choice. Then using a contrasting thread work the lines of your drawing in a running or backstitch.

To transfer your image:

If you think you may have a problem working these free hand then you can either use your tracing or a fun way to transfer an image onto a flat piece of fabric like cotton is to rub some crayon all over the back of your drawing and placing it over the fabric draw firmly with a sharp pencil to transfer the image. Obviously the crayon has to be a contrasting colour in order to see it. Hopefully your thread will be thick enough to cover these crayon lines.

One last thing that I didn’t mention is that is the orientation of your image. It is up to you whether you use landscape or portrait for your images. Mine above are both landscape. They could have been drawn either way, try your rectangular window either way to see what suits.

So to recap:
* Make viewfinder (Size of an ATC)
* Choose either of the following words

Dynamic (Creating Drama using Diagnols or

Rhythmic (Repeated lines.)

* Find an image that can describe the word you have chosen.
* Place viewfinder over image and find the best view.
* Draw or trace the image.
* Transfer your image on to fabric.
* Using a contrasting thread work over the lines in either running
stitch or backstitch.

If you have any queries or comments about this challenge please do not hesitate to contact me. Best of luck Tricia x