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.
In March our MATS Bootcamp assignment was to create a portrait of a Suffragette and my Suffragette was Sylvia Pankhurst. I’d never heard of her before but she was one of Emmeline Pankhurst’s daughters.
Sylvia was born in Manchester but spent a lot of time working in east London, championing the working class, who she saw as instrumental in bringing about real change in terms of voting rights. This was one of the things created tension between her and her mother, and her older sister Christabel. Eventually Sylvia became estranged from her family after having a child outside of marriage.
In the 1950s she moved to Ethiopia after becoming friends with Haile Selassie, and she is buried in Addis Ababa.
In February our MATS Bootcamp assignment was to design a cover for a journal on the theme of reading tea leaves.
I didn’t know anything about tea leaf reading so I did a bit of research and decided to illustrate some of the symbols that are often looked for when reading someone’s tea leaves. I also hand lettered a quotation about tea from Arthur Wing Pinero.
Since I love making patterns I also used the images I drew to create a new pattern. I couldn’t decide whether I like the dark blue or the pale background so I ended up with one of each.
This week I haven’t had an illustration assignment to do so I’ve been taking some time to just draw. I haven’t used an actual sketchbook regularly in a long time and I realised that I was missing it. Most of the work I’ve done lately has been on loose sheets of paper, which has made it easier to scan. I went through the stack of sketchbooks that I’ve not yet filled and each one was for a different but very specific purpose.
So today I started a new everyday sketchbook. It’s a type that I haven’t used before – a Seawhite of Brighton watercolour travel journal. My plan is simply to fill a page every day – or most days at least – with whatever I feel like drawing or painting.
We’ve had a hint that our next MATS Bootcamp assignment will have something to do with ‘faces’. For some reason I tend to avoid drawing faces because they feel so difficult but I think it was Tommy Kane who I once heard say that it’s not about being able to draw a particular type of thing, because it’s all drawing – observing something and translating that through your pen or pencil to the page.
So as uncomfortable as it might feel, I’ve started practising drawing faces this week. The first I did on loose paper and the second one is on the first page of my new sketchbook. My ultimate goal would be to loosen up and draw faces in a more minimal or stylised way, but for the moment I’m enjoying learning by creating portraits with a bit more detail to them.
For reference I’m using my own photos – either old family photos or pictures I’ve taken myself. Is there a subject you tend to avoid in your creative work because you’ve told yourself that it’s too difficult? What might happen if you started practising that type of work more regularly?
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.
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.