I’ve been working my way back to starting a big project. I’ve not done a hands-on big project in a while and that means getting back into the swing of things again has been a slow process. To help me not stay stuck I started with a small custom stationery project. And slowly, I’ve worked my way back to a bigger project.
This project is still not as big as my usual size (it’ll probably end up being a 24″ square). But I find that starting small is a sure way to get back to big. So I’m not trying to rush it. In fact, I’m allowing myself to play a lot with this piece (you’ll soon see what I mean a little later). I’m doing this because I believe playfulness helps you get creative.
So let’s see what I’ve started work on. Not much so far, but still some progress.
I changed things up a little this time. Usually, I start with a sketch in my sketchbook and then later project an enlarged image of the drawing on fabric. But this time I decided to draw directly onto fabric. This was challenging because the fabric slips a lot when you’re drawing on it.
To help minimize that, I tapped my fabric to a board to make it steady.
When I see this drawing it makes me really happy. Because a few years ago, my process used to involve tracing photos. I didn’t dare draw myself. I’ll be honest with you, I’m still learning to draw. I haven’t arrived yet. Sometimes, I get so frustrated with myself and question why I don’t make it easy on myself and just go ahead and trace. But the prospect of the joy, I’ll get if I can successfully draw my subject keeps me trying harder.
Below, you’ll see how I struggled with getting the jaw and ear just the way I wanted them to be.
Next, I decided on my color scheme. I usually have a dominant color, primary (accent) color and some neutrals. Here’s what I decided to use.
Here you can see the proportions in which I intend to use my colors.
So, what’s the next step for me? Where do I plan to take this sketch? I’m playing a lot as you can see. One of my plans is to use the circles as a feature in the background of my sketch.
Then I’ll draw the sketch with my sewing machine using thread. That’s all I know for now. I’ll figure out the rest as I go.
As a creative, it’s important to have your own creative process so you can get up and running as fast as you can with things that are familiar/predictable to you. Yet your process should be flexible enough to allow for serendipity, getting off-track, trying new things and making some happy accidents. In short, make room for creativity.
Do you have a process for creating your projects? How do you get started? Share your thoughts below.
Sita Dubeau says
I really like the colour choice and shapes. Congrats on the head. Hard to draw. Love her hair. Also hard to do the hand, I find, to get the proportion right between the fingers and thumb, etc. I will be interested to see how you end up completing the figure in your project.
As for me, I usually start with the colour wheel and often start with a small project too, like a pillow cover or a mat. I find the small project is a good place to practice skills like free motion as well as nail the colour and shape choice for the bigger project, or not, as the case may be. If I am stuck for a subject, sometimes I will just play with the colour and use repetitive shapes like squares and rectangles. Or sometimes, I have a piece of fabric I want to highlight. For example, my mother is a handweaver and I have some bits of fabric she has woven so I can use that as a central piece in the project. Thanks, Clara. Really enjoy reading your blog.
Clara Nartey says
That’s awesome, Sita. Thanks for sharing your process. It’s interesting how everyone develops their own unique process for making things. I’m so glad to hear you’re enjoying my blog. I appreciate you for following my blog.
Claudia Ziersch says
Love your new project! Try ironing your fabric onto some freezer paper before you draw on it. That might help.
I also wonder how you manage the logistics of following through on just one project – I always seem to get distracted – and how do you save all the ideas that come up when you’re working on the project for later?
Clara Nartey says
Thanks Claudia. That’s a neat idea – to iron my fabric to freezer paper first before drawing on it.
When working on a project, I don’t view my project as one large project that needs to be completed. I think looking at it that way can be overwhelming and can even get boring when you can’t see the end in sight. Rather, what I do is treat my projects as a series of small tasks. That way, completing a task gives me a sense of progress and momentum to complete another task on my list.
I like working on one thing at a time because I find that in working that way, there’s an inbuilt reward system. I get to work on something new and interesting as soon as I complete a project. This increases my chances of completing my projects. However, I can understand how if your typical projects are very large you can get bored working on only one at a time because they take several months to complete and that can get tiring. The antidote to that is scaling down and working small.
I record my ideas in my sketchbook, on scraps of paper, and on my phone if an idea strikes when I’m on the go. I find that if I keep track of the ideas that come to me when I’m working, I’m never short of something new to work on.
Thanks for your comments, Claudia.