Art Stuff

A few folks have asked which sketchbooks, pens, and general art media I prefer. Here’s a partial dive into what I use:

Sketchbooks – I regularly use several different sketchbooks depending on what I’m doing. For sewing plans, media experimentation, and more in-depth drawings/paintings, I LOVE the Shinola sketchbook. It has the exterior beauty of a Moleskine, but with higher quality paper. The paper is a crisp white with a bit of tooth and can actually hold wet media unlike Moleskines.

For my Logbook, I use a cheap notebook from Muji. This isn’t the exact one but it’s very similar. I love it because it’s cheap and kinda crappy, which almost eliminates the fear of the blank page.

To capture my patternmaking class notes and ideas, I use a Canson XL Mixed Media sketchbook. I always affix some fancy paper to the cover, like this Elizabeth Suzann packaging.

Ink Brushes – I use gray and black ink brushes for both shading and covering larger areas (and mistakes!).

Pencils – I haven’t been doing much with graphite lately. I made the conscious decision to draw mostly with ink because it forces me to slow down and commit to the mark. When I do use pencils, Blackwings live up to the hype.

Pens – I use a lot of pens but these Pentel Arts Tradio Stylo pens are super messy and fun to use in my logbook. For a while, I didn’t realize I was using just the refills, which were a pain to hold. Then when we were in Paris I found the case that they fit in.

Sharpies – For my logbook I use a variety pack of Sharpies. I like how they bleed through the cheap Muji pages of my logbook.

Watercolors – I use Case For Making watercolors which are handmade in San Francisco. I took two workshops with Alexis (owner) and most of my pans are from those workshops!

They really are the best watercolors. So much pigment!

I also do love a good Micron Pen. I use a combination of handmade bags and tins to carry these supplies with me.

My best advice for starting a drawing practice is to just start. Be fine with it not looking how you want immediately. It took me about three weeks of daily logs to find my style and I’m sure it will change. Draw your making plans! Drawing became more of daily thing for me when I started documenting all of my sewing plans in a sketchbook. There’s so much inspiration out there, it’s really helpful to capture it on paper. Also carry your sketchbook with you everywhere. I used to feel really self conscious about drawing out in public, but the truth is, no one is looking at you. And if they are, they’re probably interested in drawing too!

And read this article to re-frame your drawing mindset.

Logbook Abroad

My main goal for 2018 was to Draw More. It wasn’t until mid-May and after re-reading Austin Kleon‘s book, Steal Like An Artist, that I was able to figure out how to make it an almost daily thing. I’m so glad I started this practice. I’m so humbled by the challenge of keeping it up, especially when traveling.

These pages include our trip to Belgium and France:

I didn’t bust out my Shinola Sketchbook as much as I thought I would. BUT I did draw a few things and that’s a win.

Travel Plans!

Planning trips in my sketchbook. Please comment with any art, architecture, food (no booze, please), parks, fabric, and thrifting things to do in Paris and Brussels!

Repeat Pattern Party

Remember how I said I was obsessed with making repeat patterns? Well, I’ve made 23 in the past two weeks. Here’s a gif I made of all but the most recent one while trying to figure out Photoshop last night. Once the school year ends, I plan to dive into Adobe Creative Suite and upload a lot of these to Spoonflower. I’m excited.

Repeat Pattern Party

I’ve wanted to try my hand at making repeat patterns for quite some time now. Since I’m lacking in the requisite computer skills and the analog way requires slicing up a drawing, I just kept putting it off. This week I had the idea of making a low-risk tiny drawing just to test the whole process out. I made a little wiggle drawing on a post-it and BAM – a repeat pattern was born. It’s safe to say I’m now obsessed.

Drawing challenges have also been something I’d like to take a stab at, but things like the 100 Day Challenge and even the 30 Day Drawing Challenge have felt too, well, challenging. However, I think I’ve found my introductory challenge project. Tiny repeat patterns take away the hurdle of coming up with a drawing idea each day and the process is really enjoyable.

I’m going to challenge myself to make one tiny (3″ x 3″) repeat pattern a day for 30 days. I’m going to share the patterns on Instagram with the hashtag #repeatpatternparty.

In addition to creating a daily drawing habit, I’m hoping this challenge will also motivate me to learn how to use Adobe Illustrator. I’d like to turn some of these repeat patterns into fabric on Spoonflower.

Repeat Pattern Tutorial

STEP 1 – Draw pattern in the middle of post-it (or paper – it doesn’t need to be square either). Pattern or drawing cannot touch the edges of the paper for this to work.

STEP 2 – Cut paper down the center. Accuracy is important here!

STEP 3 – Bring the left side over to the right side and carefully tape together. Make sure your don’t rotate the pattern.

STEP 4 – Rotate the design and cut down the center (second cut should be perpendicular to first cut). Again, accuracy is important here.

STEP 5 – Bring the left side to the right side without rotating the design. You’ve now taken all of the post-its edges and brought them to the center.

STEP 6 – Fill in blank spaces. Be sure to not take any of the new marks to the edge in this last step. I then like to make three copies of my post-it to check that everything worked out.

SPRING BREAK

It was really starting to feel like Spring Break would never get here. Last Friday felt like five days. And I’m definitely not counting, but there are 8 weeks left of school.  Eight.  8.  E. I. G. H. T.   This middle school teacher really needed some time off.

I’m trying to be gentle with myself this break. I have a tendency to over estimate what can be accomplished during a small amount of time off and despite usually getting a lot done, it never feels like enough.

So aside from one project (pattern testing the new Wiksten Kimono) and my PM&D homework, I’m taking it easy. Going to read this book, probably clean some areas of the house, and visit some fabric/thrift stores.

I don’t have to make all the things.

Lately

It’s the time of year when things start to speed way up, but also move as slow as mud. Example: Where did March go? But how are there 10 more school days before Spring Break? Anyway, a lot has been happening, but it feels like my productivity hasn’t been keeping up.

Sew News Last summer, the lovely Amanda of @ac_makes reached out to me on Instagram and… that’s my mug in a bonafide magazine! You can read the related blog post here.

Sketchbook Sewing Plans I have been impatiently waiting for Sarah Golden’s new fabric collection ‘Around Town’ to be released from Andover. Feeling pretty confident I’ve found the perfect sewing pattern to pair the print ‘Improv‘ with – the cropped Kalle Shirt Dress.

Patternmaking & Design I’ve FINALLY moved on to the second section in my design class, Moulage. I turned in my second skirt design last weekend and will blog about both designs soon, but here’s my first design:

If you’re interested in patternmaking, the owner of Apparel Arts has several Craftsy classes.

Wiksten Kimono Pattern Testing I have the exciting opportunity to test the soon-to-be-released Wiksten Kimono by Jenny Gordy. The pattern, which was originally released in Making No. 4 / LINES, will now have three length options, a slimmer fit with a larger size range, and pocket options! My fabric bundle pictured below arrives tomorrow and I’m ever so excited.

Black Stitched Cotton + Black Square Cotton Bundles by Wiksten

Sewing I’ve managed to throw together two simple tops from my 2018 Make Plans. They both need the necklines finished, and the Shirt No. 1 needs the sleeves hemmed. Not sure it’ll happen today since I have SO MUCH PM&D HOMEWORK.

Happy Sunday!

2018 Goal

I’m not much of a resolutions person BUT I do think it’s important to ponder what you need more of in your life every once in a while. And maybe what you need less of too. And let’s face it, a new year is a good time to reset. Or, you know… late February ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

Sketches from a visit to the University of Michigan Museum of Art

Goal: Draw More!

For me, I’d like to dedicate more time to drawing and painting. Ever since college (maybe even late high school), I’ve wanted to have a sketchbook practice. It’s been a long, hard struggle to get past the fear of the blank page, but it appears sewing has helped me get there. Having a partner who truly enjoys museums and encourages me to sketch while visiting has also been immensely motivating. And I think age makes you realize no one is looking at you in public, so sketch away!

If you’re interested in sketching out in the world, I highly recommend blind contour drawing. It’s a drawing exercise that, in my opinion, always produces great results. Here are a few I did while visiting the Cantor Art Center at Stanford.

I filled my first sketchbook last year and the one in the video above is almost filled. It felt really good to get to that last page and be able to flip through the whole book. A sketchbook is such a great way to document life.

I’m thinking about doing a 30 day drawing challenge and looping in my co-worker for accountability. We’re still hammering out the details, but I’m sure posting my progress here will be part of it. My parents also started a Drink & Draw evening with friends, which I’d like to join remotely.

Assembling an on-the-go sketching kit has been extremely helpful in keeping up the habit. It consists of my Creative Maker Supply Case made with my favorite Spoonflower fabric, which holds mostly pens and markers. This kit comes with me almost everywhere now.

As a birthday gift to myself I attended one of Case For Making‘s watercolor making workshops in December. I now have a beautiful, high quality portable watercolor set. THAT I MADE!

What goal(s) have you set for yourself this year?

Three Day Weekend

This weekend was a good weekend to reflect. I took some time to make some long term plans (moved this lil blog over to my swanky new domain name), did some deep cleaning and organizing (purged our closets), and started a new book: The Hate You Give. I’m still trying to read mainly women authors and this particular book feels very relevant to where we are as a country. Hoping we can drive out some of the darkness soon.

I did make what I was hoping would be a quick trip to Joann’s. It was packed and took close to an hour to get this linen and lightweight denim cut, but the coupons more than made up for it. I’m planning to use these fabrics to make the FINAL version of my culottes.

The Patternmaking & Design certificate program I’m pursuing is split into sections, the first being skirts. At the end of each section, students are required to design, draft, muslin, and sew two designs in fashion fabric.

I’m not a huge wearer of skirts so I was thrilled that my teacher allowed me to draft culottes as one of my final designs. The pockets are heavily influenced by the iconic Clyde pockets of Elizabeth Suzann. I wanted to see if I could take what I’ve learned and puzzle out their construction.

The first draft’s pockets (pictured above) were a little too droopy so I decided to hike them up in the final production pattern (I didn’t like having to bend over to reach the pocket bottom!). My goal is to finish both the production pattern AND sew them in fashion fabric this week before class next Saturday. Putting those words out in to the world to hold myself accountable!

Another thing I reflected on this weekend is how slowly I’m moving through the PM&D program. I really need to buckle down and figure out a system for completing the homework throughout the work week. I think documenting my progress and what I’m learning here will help.