MATS Bootcamp: Sewing Storage

Cathryn_Worrell_Sewing_Trays

For April’s MATS Bootcamp assignment we were asked to design organisational trays/cups on the theme of sewing accessories, or sewing notions. I tried a few different ways of drawing and colouring my ideas and eventually decided on these designs for a tray, some trinket dishes and 3 different storage cups.

For the design of the trays and cups I was inspired by a few things I’d spotted on Pinterest and also in online shops like Anthropologie. With the drawings I decided to stick with simple line drawings in ink which I coloured digitally.

Making patterns is one of my favourite ways to play around with my drawings so I also created 2 repeat patterns using the same images – one using all the drawings I’d made and another that used just the buttons.

This was probably my favourite assignment so far in Bootcamp because the work I made felt very ‘me’. I felt like I was learning new things but at the same time using a style that is familiar and comfortable. We have one more month to go and I’m curious to see what that assignment will be, but in the meantime we have an extra week before that work starts so I’m enjoying a little break and resting as much as possible.

MATS Bootcamp: Book Cover

CATHRYN_WORRELL_Book_Cover_Illustration_Lilla_Rogers
 
Until the end of May I’m taking part in the MATS Bootcamp run by illustration agent, Lilla Rogers. I really enjoy learning new things and feel that there’s always room for my work to develop. We’re given a new assignment to work on each month, which starts with a ‘mini’ warm-up assignment before the main assignment comes out. In January we started by drawing the contents of our bags.

Cathryn_Worrell_Whats_in_my_bag
 
The main assignment was to create a cover for a children’s book, showing what we imagined a particular well-known person/character might carry with them. There were 12 different people (fictional and real life) assigned to the group and I had the task of illustrating what I imagined Lilla Rogers (the agent running the class) might carry in her bag.

It was a challenge and it was also interesting to see so many different styles and approaches to the same assignment. The gallery of our work is now public so you can have a look at the full range of work on the MATS website.

31 Painted Patterns

In January I joined in with Lisa Congdon‘s brand new CreativeBug class. A couple of years ago she taught a class on CreativeBug which was a daily drawing challenge. This new class was similar but instead of making a drawing each day we created a painted pattern. As you know, I love making patterns and I’m a big fan of Lisa’s work so this was right up my street . I also really enjoyed getting more familiar with gouache paint.

Here are the 31 patterns I made this month.

Making Progresss by Working Slower

CathrynWorrell_slowandsteady

My main piece of creative work over the past few weeks has been a single drawing. I originally estimated that it would take me 2 weeks to complete but it’s actually taken 3 weeks from start to finish and sometimes that’s felt a bit frustrating.

During this year’s 100 Day Project I often spent hours each day working on a single illustration. It wasn’t good for me but it became a habit and finding a balance again is trickier than I expected.

Because I’m trying to work at a slower, steadier pace again, I’ve been quite strict about how much time I’ve spent working on this drawing each day. This probably skewed my judgement about how long I’d take to get it finished but luckily there wasn’t a hard deadline.

Mouse Timer

To help keep myself in check, I’ve got back to following the example of my friend, Michael Nobbs, and setting my timer for 20 minutes at a time, with my goal being to spend 20 minutes each day working on the drawing.

Sometimes I’ve done 2 or 3 short work sessions in a day, but more often than not I’ve just spent 20 minutes each day on this piece of work. Not only has this meant that the paint can dry between layers but it’s also allowed me to come back to it each day with fresh eyes, which has probably helped me to avoid making mistakes. It also helps me to keep a gentle sense of momentum with my work so that I can see progress without falling into the unhealthy cycle of boom and bust with my energy that I have a tendency towards.

It can feel really satisfying to work on a piece of work from start to finish in one day. What I’m now realising, though, is that the work I made earlier this year would probably have turned out better if I hadn’t tried to produce quite so much of it, or if I’d at least done what I’ve done in the past and set some sort of boundary in terms of the pace or size of my work.

I’ve now reached a point with my current drawing where I’m feeling ready to start a new piece of work and I’m pleased with the way I’ve approached this one. I think it’s been good for me and also good for the person who will own this drawing.

Now the challenge is to maintain this pace and not slip back into unhelpful habits!

 

Review: Back Pocket Notebooks

Back Pocket Notebooks

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been testing out the Back Pocket Notebook. Although it’s not specifically a sketchbook, I’ve been using it for some lettering and drawings to see how it compares to sketch specific books.

To summarise, if you’re looking for a good quality, robust little notebook to carry around, I would definitely recommend the Back Pocket Notebooks.

Back Pocket Notebooks Back

I have a set of 3 Kraft Plain Notebooks, each of which contain 18 sheets or 36 pages of 120gsm paper and a stapled spine.

Back Pocket Notebooks Spine

At first glance they reminded me of the A6 Eco Starter Sketchbooks from Seawhite of Brighton. The Back Pocket Notebooks are slightly smaller, measuring 9 x 14 cm. The paper isn’t quite as thick as the Seawhite cartridge paper but there are more pages than the Eco Starter and the paper has a nice smooth surface, which I really appreciated when using fine liners and markers.

Back Pocket Notebook Inside

Although it’s described as a ‘plain’ notebook, I think that refers to the cover because it’s pointed out on the band holding the 3 notebooks together that the paper inside is actually cross grid. It’s similar to dotted paper but each ‘dot’ is a tiny cross. I’d never used that kind of paper before but it was kind of handy for keeping my hand lettering straight!

Back Pocket Notebook Felt Tip

The paper in the Back Pocket Notebook is perfect for either pen or pencil. I used a few different fine liners and felt tip pens, and the only pen that bled through to the other side of the page was the Copic marker. But Copic markers seem to bleed through almost all paper in my experience so this wasn’t a surprise or a big deal. I covered some large areas with Koi brush pens and even with the darker colours the dots on the paper do show but that may or may not be a problem for you. It didn’t bother me because I wasn’t trying to create a finished piece of artwork.

Back Pocket Notebook Gouache

I was able to apply a light wash of watercolour in the Back Pocket Notebook without any problems and the paper took gouache quite well too. The paper does buckle with both watercolour and gouache but even some dedicated watercolour paper does that so, again, this wasn’t a surprise or a problem for me.

I’ve carried the Back Pocket Notebook around in my bag and it’s stood up well to that without getting damaged so far. I wonder if rounded corners might make it a bit more robust in that respect if you were carrying it around in your bag or pocket every day.

The Back Pocket Notebooks are excellent quality, and the size means that they’re really easy to carry around without adding lots of extra weight or bulk. I wouldn’t use them to replace a dedicated sketchbook but as somewhere to keep notes and ideas, make simple line drawings and practise hand lettering, the Back Pocket Notebook is an excellent option and, as the name implies, highly portable too!

Thank you to Justin at Back Pocket Notebooks who gave me this set of Kraft Notebooks to test in exchange for an honest review.