Monday, February 7, 2011

Special Guest Sketchbook Profile: Beryl Taylor

Beryl Taylor was born in Rotherham, England, and grew up in the Manchester area where, after showing artistic talent, she studied at the Manchester High School of Art. She spent many years as a wife, mother and nurse until her artistic leanings were reawakened when she discovered creative embroidery. She trained at the City and Guilds textile and embroidery program and later started the textile group Threadmill with other City and Guilds graduates.

Beryl moved to the United States from England with her family in 2002 and now devotes all of her time to her art. She imaginatively manipulates, dyes, paints, stamps, embroiders and decorates her papers and fabrics to produce enriching textured effects and vibrant colors. An enduring theme in Beryl's work is the incorporation of the heart motif which is, in her own words, a reflection of her love for her art. Beryl is currently living and working as a mixed-media artist in Monroe Township, New Jersey.  She is the author of Mixed Media Explorations: Blending Paper, Fabric and Embellishment to Create Inspired Designs

Why do you keep a sketchbook and how often do you work in it?
I've been keeping a sketch book for as long as I can remember but initially I was not aware it was a sketch book; for me it was doodling, putting down ideas before they disappeared, sometimes on bits of paper or the back of a writing pad, in diaries and address books. I am now a little more organized and I have a formal sketch book but I still scribble on anything at any time. I tend to work in my sketchbook when I am visiting museums, galleries and other such places of interest and also when I am traveling.

 Do you work in just one at a time or do you have several going at once?
I do have several on the go at the same time but I use whatever is nearest to me when I need to get an idea down. I tend to use media that sometimes takes a while to dry so I can work on another sketch book while I'm waiting.

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 like smaller books 5 x 8 being about the largest. I go for watercolor paper as it can really take some abuse and spiral bound gives you the freedom to add those chunky pieces. I always paint the pages usually with acrylic paint then adding gesso, water soluble oil pastels, glitter, modeling paste and glazes. The pens I prefer are "Uni-ball Signo" white and black. I have a real passion for rubber stamps and paper punches.

What advice do you have for someone who wants to keep a sketchbook but doesn't know how to begin?
When starting a sketch book don't let the pristine white page scare you off, start by painting the page and if you don't like the color then paint over it. Take the fear out of starting by knowing you can just paint over  something you don't like.

Anything else you'd like to add?
I usually keep a small sketch book in my handbag when I travel ( together with drawing pen ) because you never know when or what will inspire you so it is as well to be able to make a quick sketch when the inspiration strikes.  

Visit Beryl's website here to see more of her work

Learn more about the Sketchbook Challenge here


  1. Thanks for sharing this, Beryl! I have your book, and have developed some of my favorite techniques from it. Beautiful drawings in the sketchbook!

  2. It's a case of synchronicity! Three months ago I moved from the US to Italy and my household goods just arrived a few days ago, so every now and then I open a box and peek inside. Of course I kept all my copies of Cloth Paper Scissors and yesterday, at the top of one box, I found the January/February 2010 issue all by itself. Pulled it out and was reading it early this morning (always fascinating even a year later) and what did I read word for word? Your article "Building upon Layers", then came here and found you again. I love your work and am inspired by it, now I have to do research and discover what "fabric paper" is.

  3. I like the idea of painting acrylics and THEN gesso. I've always done the opposite. Need to try this out! Thanks for the interview {:-Deb


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