I had the idea for this painting over coffee last Friday morning, and then spent one day sketching, painting and finishing the piece. The idea was simple – to practice my compositional skills with a painting done in monochrome, in much the style of interior book illustrations or the like.
We work with textiles a lot in our house, and so it was the first theme I thought of. Between the two of us, we sew, embroider, weave, spin, knit, crochet, do surface design and dressmaking, and dye. Lately, I’ve been circling back to handcrafts in my drawing, too.
I started with the idea of a child’s blanket fort/cubby, with patterned and embroidered fabric hung cosily around a central figure, joyfully working away amongst the things she loves. To me, this is happiness.
I scanned in my initial thumbnail sketches, and made a digital copy to print out, plus two more small thumbnails: one for a rough concept of the embroidery patterns, and one with the values I intend to use.
The sketch is transferred to my drawing pad, mostly done free-hand after marking in the main compositional points. (I do not have carbon paper on hand at the moment. It’s very frustrating!)
I worked with pencil and gouache, alternating between the two as I went. I used the gouache in thin washes to allow the pencil marks to show up beneath. I don’t have pictures of the final steps as I got too carried away to remember to take them!
When finished, I scanned it and finished it by cleaning up the contrast, and emphasising a few areas around the face and figure.