Special Techniques for Designers Session.

Today was our first really creative day back in subject, where I could get stuck in and get my hands dirty. I was thrilled. Beginning the day with a lecture from Helen, I was excited and inspired as she presented previous mark making techniques we had done (stippling, splattering and sponge techniques) as well as some new and intriguing ones (woven, warp effect and embroidery effect). It was nice to see images of all of these techniques completed at a higher level.

It was now time to experiment! We were advised to choose 8 of the 12 various techniques Helen had presented to work with, these had to represent and relate to our themes- as I have previously stated in other blogs my chosen theme is sea creatures, as well as our relating colour palette (blues, orange and black). We were also advised to keep them small and concise so we could compare and flip through these pieces easily for inspiration.

Here is a quick list of the 12 techniques we were presented, the 8 I have chosen to progress with are in bold:

  1. resist techniques (bleaching)
  2. shading separate but related colours
  3. dilution of colour
  4. white areas left as highlight
  5. stippling & splattering technique, also with stencils
  6. sponge technique, also with stencils
  7. woven and warp effect
  8. embroidery effect (use of ruling pen)
  9. dry brush techniques
  10. textures and mark off
  11. photocopy/overlay & intercut
  12. batik technique

Even though we were supposed to pick 8, I am sure of myself that once I start experimenting, I will run free and combined and practise a lot more than just 8.

I began with just rough experiments, to get me back into the zone as I haven’t had a chance to complete any mark making in a while which is a real shame. Getting to know the various brushes again (liners, stippling brush, fan brush) I painted away using blue watercolours. I chose to use blue initially as it is a big part of my colour palette and I wanted to regain a feeling of the colour and it dilutes and moves around the page. This page got me back in the zone.


Here are some examples of me experimenting with the use of shading separate but related colours and the dilution of colours. It’s been interesting comparing various ways of shading using blue and the different effects the use of water has with shading contrasting using block shades of blue. I think the shading separate but related colour suits my theme and chosen company very well, especially with the added black outline. As it adds another dimension to my initial idea of clean cut illustrations. The black lines emphasise that the shading are separate blocks and it add a very unified feel which suits my chosen companies style very well. Progressing with this idea, I want to add this shading separate but related colours to more complex and interesting illustrations.

Progressing with experimenting, I decided to create a stencil that was related to my theme but still quite simple, as I do need to practise my stencil cutting using a knife and creating the stencil pattern. After a couple of attempts, I am very pleased with my turtle’s head stencil and it suits my theme very well.

Here I decided to use the reverse side of my template and reorganise the cut out shapes and use the stippling effect around them to create a form of an illustrative drawing which would be a perfect experiment for my theme and chosen company. This was very difficult as all of the small pieces moved around the page as I stippled up and down, I need to rethink this idea and use some sort of sticking agent to hold the pieces in place which won’t permanently stick down the pieces or removed the paper when pulled off. I have kept all of the cut outs, so I will revisit this idea after learning from my mistakes with more ideas and skills.


Here I used blue watercolours with a flat edged brush and painted over the stencil, I like this piece, although it’s a bit boring and 2 dimensional. I drew around all the areas with a black fine liner neatly which add another edge to it and makes it more interesting and eye catching and relates it to my idea of illustrative drawing. I do think I need to find a more interesting technique to fill in the stencil.


Wanting to find a more interesting way of filling my template, I decided to try the stippling effect. I love the stippling effect over my turtle stencil. It adds this great sense of texture through the colours, while still being in a uniformed controlled shape. Using the dry brush technique also created a variety of texture. I want my designs to be very controlled and clean so the stencil is a fantastic way of doing this. On the other hand, I found filling it with flat colour quite boring, so this technique is perfect. I have even taken it one step further by adding some illustrative images and lines throughout the stencil. I love the combination of these two techniques with the illustrations throughout it, I will be progressing with this idea.



The last technique I experimented with was over lay and intercut. This was a new technique to me and, I found it very fascinating how you can’t even see the seam between the two separate pieces of paper. This was just a basic experiment so I could get to know the technique. I think I could create some interesting design with this idea but adding experimental designs into my clean-cut illustrations.


So, what’s next? Following on from this session, I am very inspired and feeling very creative and experimental. I can’t wait to delve further into these techniques and push my experiments to the limit. I will progress by; experimenting with the techniques I didn’t have a chance to do today, progressing my ideas and thoughts further with my existing techniques and experiments, and creating more experimental techniques to represent my theme of the sea. I will make two primary visits throughout the next week. One to the beach back home when I visit my family, hopefully I will gather a great collection of images representing the movement of the water and the textures and colours that run through it. My other visit to Bristol aquarium to get inspired by all in the interesting sea creatures I can discover.


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First every blog!! I want to explore and share my experience of my BA in textiles.

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