Illustrating with textiles can be challenging, as we try to replicate our imagination. All of the artwork you see throughout my website was brought to me through meditation. Sometimes I’m only given a snippet of a story. After meditation, I quickly sketch any images shown to me and make notes as reminders. Next, I sit and ask a few simple questions and allow the ART TO SPEAK to me.
Here are some of the questions I asked after sketching “Not In Our Coop!”
- What time of the day is it?
- What is the weather like?
- What season is it?
- What emotions are felt…sadness, joy, anger, humor?
- What are my characters feeling?
- What is happening in the story?
I keep a small journal with the answers to these simple questions, and that influences my choice of materials. Taking time to quietly sit with the illustration helps bring my textile paintings to life.
This is quite a large painting for me to tackle, but I am determined to work larger. I treat every illustration as a learning experience and this will be useful as I continue to paint with fiber. I treat it the same way I approach a watercolor—working the background first. The characters will be created last to avoid distraction and I will build the landscape around them.
Close up of the rolling hills of wildflowers I am hand embroidering
After tracing the image onto the duck cloth, I studied my notes and knew instantly that I would be using dyed silk to create the sky. It has subtleties and hues that felt right for the mood I wanted to depict. Next, I thought of the distant tree line. What materials could I use to create a soft edge that gave the impression of trees? A simple layering of dyed cheesecloth did the trick. I will continue to work on this piece and you can find all of the work in progress photos on my FB page.
Meditation can bring scents, sounds, visions, and feelings. Have you ever taken the time to ask yourself, “What does this illustration feel like?” Taking time to sit with the drawing may be just what you need to make your work sing. Simply connecting with your sketch (or photo or whatever you use), will allow the inspiration to come.
I hope this helps you with your future projects. You have all of the guidance and tools needed within you.
YOU are your greatest advisor. Sit with your sketches, photos or whatever you use as a source for your textile work and ask a few simple questions and watch it put that extra spark into your work.
To learn more about meditation please have a look at my book.