Friday, December 17, 2010

Sketchbook profile: Jamie Fingal

 Jamie Fingal is an award winning full-time artist who lives in Orange, California and the author of “Embellished Mini Quilts."

My whimsical and abstract work has been juried into International quilt exhibitions and featured in many books. I have written articles for Quilting Arts, Cloth Paper Scissors, Gifts, and Studios magazines, and have an instructional DVD. I've been a guest on Quilting Arts TV in Series 200, 400 & 700. I am most known for my playful approach to quilt making with zippers and metal. My work is in private, public and corporate collections. I am also a grown up Girl Scout and my artwork is featured on an Ecco-Bag for ABC Bakers for the 2010 Cookie Sales. My piece "Metal Measures" won the grand prize in the "New from Old" contest for the Alliance for American Quilts this year.  I believe in giving back, and have just finished coordinating a "Welcome Home" house quilt project for all of the houses that Habitat for Humanity built in San Juan Capistrano, CA - 18 houses total, working with 18 interior designers, and 13 quilt artists.  I also co-curate art quilt exhibits and teach at the National level with Leslie Tucker Jenison for Dinner at Eight Artists. Read more...
Why do you keep a sketchbook and how often do you work in it?
I have been working in sketchbooks all of my life, mostly for ideas and inspiration.  I also have keep journals for sketches and record keeping of the pieces that I have created from year to year.  I carry one small one in my purse at all times, because you never know when an idea will come to mind.  I love to write things down, be it text or doodles.   My journals are written in and updated as I make any type of work as a quilt artist.  In waiting at offices, airports or anywhere else, I love being able to draw, as it passes the time.

Do you work in just one at a time or do you have several going at once?
I have several depending on what I am doing - can you really have too many?  I am drawn to them in book stores.  Sometimes my watercolor book is desired, but most often I love just a plain piece of paper to doodle on in a book.  They  are all over my studio, at home, in the car, in my purse.  And I need one when I travel too, a larger one that the purse size one.  You can tape your airline boarding pass, tickets, maps, program pages in it to keep a record of where you have been.

What's your preferred format (sketchbook size, type of paper, single sheet,spiral bound etc?) and preferred medium for using in your sketchbook? watercolor, pen, pencil, crayon, collage etc?
I love the watercolor pages of some, the graph paper in another and the blank pages.  All sizes, types, colors, and I love everything that Moleskin makes.  I have an on-going 2-year sketchbook/journal that is my main "go to" book.  It contains sketches, notes, ideas, goals for each new year and photographs of my work.  I have piles of sketch books all over my studio because they appeal to me.  Call me a sketchbook hoarder.

My "go to" sketch/journal is a 8x8 square quotable journal - like a book. I carry a small Moleskin in my purse.  Then I have several other journals that I have at home or take with me on trips.  I am more of a cut and paste kinda girl.  Give me a good black Flair pen or a Pilot Razor Point.  Sometimes I may add a bit of color,  but it is rare.  I love the art of collage with paper, stencils and what do they call it "ransom lettering" - my favorite.

What advice do you have for someone who wants to keep a sketchbook but doesn't know how to begin?
Find a book that appeals to you artistically and just begin by writing you name in it.  You may want to jot down some things that inspire you.  Then let the doodling begin.  Find a small one to take with you wherever you go.  Sometimes I transfer things from my small book to my large book.  You could do an entire journal about what interests you - patterns,  architecture, flowers, colors, words, travel, fruit, free-motion machine quilting stitch ideas, people, dogs, etc.  Find a topic that you like and expand on the idea.  What do you like to do?  Paint, color with felt tip markers, Crayola crayons or pens, colored pencils, cut up magazines, and oh the great pens that are out there to play with...don't get me started.

Anything else you'd like to add?
Have fun with it.  Don't stress out about it.  Make it work with your own artistic style.  Imagine the possibilities.  Start small and then grow your supplies as needed.  Get your art friends to create a sketchbook too and get together to inspire each other.

Visit Jamie's website here to see more of her work.

Get all the details on the Sketchbook Challenge here.


  1. I love the quote about creating yourself. What a great prompt for 2011!

  2. I just downloaded the Sketchbook Challenge button for my blog...can't wait!


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