An everyday item becomes a fabric pattern

I have got myself merrily side tracked creating this. I set about to do one of my everyday drawing challenges  and then decided to scan and digitally manipulate it into repeat pattern. This is how fabric prints are designed.

scissors sketchHere is my original sketch for prompt #105 on the EDM challenge list As you can see they are scissors. If you click on the image you can see a larger version. The drawing was done in a Strathmore mixed media sketchbook using watercolours,  and pitt pens. As I worked the scissors I decided that I did not want a shadow behind the objects because I wanted to turn it into a design. I knew I was going to take it into photoshop and set the objects on a transparent background and I did not want to have clean out the shadow.

scissors patternOnce I had scanned it I decided I liked the red handled pair and created 3 versions each with different coloured handles.  I then arranged them and set them into a repeat pattern. Fabric designers do this so that the pattern repeats seamlessly across the fabric. This is what the pattern looks like in repeat. I have a larger version of this which people can see if they click on it.

scissors patternMost people like a simple background of one colour. So at this stage you could make the background white layer a colour.

scissors pattern But I like to play with pattern on pattern. It makes it more complex but I like complexity. If you click on the image you will see in the larger version that there are wavy lines behind this.

scissors pattern I liked the effect and tried some chevron stripes. Once again if you click on the image you will see better what I am talking about.

scissors pattern

Then I decided I wanted a lighter feel so experimented with laying another pattern behind the scissors.

scissors pattern I then tried a subtle second texture over the grid.

I am still experimenting and having fun with this. Of course I created and stored the scissors as a photoshop pattern preset too- so now I will be able to set it behind other pieces! I feel a sewing theme coming on.

Its interesting what can be done with simple sketch let me know if you want to see more because I think I started something… Off to go back to photoshop!

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Drawing is good for mental health

sketch of art materials Science says drawing is good for mental health. Not only does it make you happier it is good for your brain. Print.com recently ran an article by Robin Landa. Draw Yourself Happy: Drawing, Creativity and Your Brain makes some very interesting points in favour of establishing a drawing practice.

Researchers have found that drawing not only effects the brain but also improves makes you happier. I think most people who draw know this but it very nice to have science back you up on this! So, instead of an art practice being a guilty self indulgence it becomes an activity that promotes good mental health!

Another confirmation of a personal belief, is when I talk about the muscle memory of drawing things like an elipse or a circle or even a straight line – I discovered I am not talking rubbish. Discoveries like this is always a relief and obviously just has to shared. (She says with a grin)

In another piece of research “Drawing on the right side of the brain: A voxel-based morphometry analysis of observational drawing” used voxel-based morphometry which is a scanning method, used in this case to study how observational drawing effected the brain. They worked with art students and non-art students and measured the volume and performance of grey and white brain matter while drawing. Guess what they discovered?

… drawing relates to changes in fine motor structures in art and non-art students. Also, the scans revealed that the art students had more grey matter in the precuneus in the parietal lobe, an area of the brain linked to a wide spectrum of integrated tasks, including creativity, visuo-spatial imagery and more.

So put simply (I think) is that when we draw we grow more grey matter in the area of the brain that is responsible for things like creativity. What this says to me is that practice really does lead to improvement because what is happening is that your brain is developing. So the mantra practice, practice, practice makes scientific sense.

Also when drawing dopamine is released but, as James E. Zull points out,

the dopamine is released in the newest region of cortex, the part that we use to create ideas, make decisions, and plan our actions. Thus, we feel rewarded when we create new objects or actions. And since creativity is based on the decisions made by the creator, the reward system kicks in when we are in control and inventing things that we have thought of ourselves.”

This  little nugget had me thinking, particularly the phrase “the reward system kicks in” I think it kicks in even stronger when others recognise the activity. The reward is enhanced in social situation which explains why various internet drawing challenges work so well. This is my hunch, but I am sure somewhere in the world researchers are looking at social learning and the internet. What do you think?

Anyway over cuppa do pop over and read Robin Landa’s Draw Yourself Happy: Drawing, Creativity and Your Brain

sketch of art materials About the images. These are a couple of recent sketches. I have decided that this blog needs a redesign so I am drawing art materials and working out ideas. These were done in a Strathmore mixed media sketchbook which is 5.5 in x 8.5 in (14 x 21.6 cm) using artist pitt pens, Derwent watercolour pencils and watercolour paint. Click on the thumbnails to be takes to larger versions.

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New sketchers group in Canberra

I woke this morning with a little voice that whispered “Will anyone turn up?” I felt like a big kid as this week I have been taping away on the key board emailing folks and posting to facebook with the news that a new sketch group was forming in Canberra.

The time was set at 10.30 with people to meet at the cafe outside the National Gallery. I need not have worried as 9 brave souls gathered with sketchbooks in hand, with 2 people going the extra mile literally as they travelled from Goulburn.

sketchbooks and meet up I really liked the share and not compare attitude that everyone embraced. We had a lovely day and decided that we would make this a regular event meeting the first Sunday of the Month and that we would embark upon the formal process of becoming an Urban Sketchers group.

Flugelman sculpture sketchI chose to tackle the Bert Flugelman sculpture “Cones” The contrast between the shiny stainless steel and the greenery around it was interesting and a challenge! If you are interested in finding out more about this sculpture The NGA provides a short video on their website.

All in all a great day!

Added later: For another viewpoint of the event and much better photos of everyone see Leonie Andrews blog post “This could be the start of something big

If you are a Canberra resident and interested in the next meeting email me and I will make sure you are in the loop.

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Finding a feather

sketch of a featherI found a Sulphur Crested Cockatoo feather on one of my morning walks. As I carried it home to draw I was wondering if there was a little sketching project about found objects. I walked up the hill to our home I realised most of Canberra is suburbs and probably the most interesting thing to find would be the odd dead shopping trolly but the idea may have some merit so this morning I am pondering…

This sketch was done in a Strathmore mixed media sketchbook which is 5.5 in x 8.5 in (14 x 21.6 cm) using artist pitt pens, Derwent watercolour pencils and watercolour paint as one of the daily prompts provided by a facebook group called A sketch a Day .