|Passion Flower – ink pen, watercolor, watercolor pencils|
Susan Brubaker Knapp here. For years, I skipped working in a sketchbook partly because I thought it a waste of time. Why take the time to sketch when you could skip straight to the main event – making a piece of art? But I’ve seen the light. Here’s a case in point. I did the sketch above working from this photo of a passion flower that I took in the summer of 2010:
Creating the sketch helped me to more closely examine and get intimately acquainted with the structure of the flower, so that when I started working in fabric, things made much more sense.
I started by fusing down pieces of fabric for the leaves and flower onto the background:
And then I started adding details with thread. I call this process “thread sketching.” It is cool to see how much detail – color, texture, line, movement – I can add with the thread alone. Look at how the radial filaments (those squiggly purple strands at the center of the flower) pop with the addition of the white thread:
I’ve just started the thread sketching on this piece. I’ll go back in with a lot more thread colors to make the piece more detailed and dimensional.
When I work in my sketchbook now, I think about how my sketch can inform or enhance the process of making a piece of fiber art based on the same subject. It’s an opportunity to work through ideas, test and refine things, and prepare for more important work.