Developing My Croquis Designs

I experimented with developing my croquis designs by using digital programs such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. I tried both creating a digital motif and using a scanned image to create a design. I also experimented with putting in a coloured background and varying the brightness, contrast and opacity to create the most balanced design.

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I also tried using the digital stitch machine to create motifs. I created a digital version of the design by tracing over a scanned image in the Easy Design software. I experimented with colour combinations and outlines as well as the colour and types of fabric. The stitched motifs give the design another texture and raised surface. By using the digital stitch machine I can create very precise stitching that you couldn’t get by hand. This fits in with high quality of workmanship that Sanderson expect.

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Repeat Design Workshop

The repeat design workshop taught me how to accurately repeat my motifs or convert a croquis into a repeat. I chose to use the hand method, as this requires more skill and practice than doing it digitally. After several attempts I got an accurately repeating design using a block repeat. This method creates a subtle repeat.

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We also learnt about spot repeats – by dividing up your croquis into a grid you can create a 3,4 or 5 spot repeat. The 3 and 5 spot creates diagonal lines out of your motifs, the 4 spot creates a more random effect. This method can be improved by using several motifs at the same time for adding motifs into the background.

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Week 5

Making, Drawing and Writing:

The task for this week was all about walking and drawing – we were given an area and had to draw while we walked round. The drawing could be done anyway we liked, I chose a fairly literal interpretation and drew things I saw. While others were more expressive and did lots of mark making.

After our 10-minute walk we had to describe our walk in 10 words, which we then passed on to our neighbor. They would then draw their interpretation of the words we had written, it was very interesting to see someone else’s point of view and how different the drawings were. The final part was a refection on our walk and a second drawing looking back on it. I did a more expressive style this time to convey emotions and feels rather than being descriptive.

We also had a talk from Cathy and Celia Johnson – a lot of Celia’s work involves drawing on walks. She says walking stimulates the senses and allows you to come up with new ideas and see things you had never noticed before. Celia mainly does continuous line drawings where she is constantly looking at the environment not what she is drawing. She finds that walking tends to trigger memories and makes you see things anew. She takes her sketches into a studio to develop them into a final piece.

This week proved very insightful, it made me look at different ways of sketching and gathering ideas. I also learnt about alternative ways of developing ideas in the studio such as using words. Celia gave me a good idea about the life and workings of an artist is like.


Here is my initial sketch whilst I was walking, followed by my words to describe my walk. The next is my neighbour Hannah’s drawing of my words, which involves more mark making and expresses emotions. The last is my reflective sketch looking back on my walk.




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Initial Croquis Designs

A croquis is not a precise repeat; rather it is an impression of what a rhythmic, repetitious flow of motif may look like. It only implies repeat.

I started my designs with creating a background – I gained inspiration from my sketches and experimented with splattering and dry brush techniques. These create a random free flowing effect that gives the design layers and depth.

I then experimented with motifs to go on top of the background. I tried using different media such as pencil, charcoal and different types of paint.

These are a few examples of my first croquis designs.

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Week 4

Making Stories:

The first part of todays session is all about stories, a story can give your work meaning and keep the audience engaged. This is particularly important for exhibitions and publicity. Cathy came up with an exercise to practice our story telling using objects as inspiration. We had several objects which were all passed round the group, individually we had to think about what they were and what story they could have behind them. I chose this seedpod that had a design burnt into it. I had to give this object a meaning and purpose and created a piece of writing about it; This baby’s rattle comes from a small tribe in Western Africa, within their tribe it is traditional to give a new born baby a rattle made of a seed pod from the sacred tree. This tree is believed to be the bringer of life and a rattle is meant to be good luck. The markings on it are made by the women of the tribe wanting to wish the new arrival good luck, the designs are created using a hot poker. This object is actually a musical instrument however it had a very different meaning to me. This illustrated to us how objects can bring back memories and trigger very different emotions and meaning to each of us.

We also had an attempt at story telling using an old envelope as a starting point. The writing did not come easily to me and I found this exercise challenging – however after an initial brain block I had an idea and ran with it. We also had the opportunity to read them out, it was amazing how many different ideas there had been. It is clear to me that story telling can really enhance your work.


Digital Storytelling:

We had another lecture from Leah McLaughlin this time on her research work in Centre for Applied Research in Inclusive Arts & Design (CARIAD). She was using her skills of documenting work by using video to create short clips that show the work CARIAD do. I learnt how important it was to have a story behind the video, this gives it much more power as people can relate easier to it. Using video is a very good way of communicating – it is much more engaging and appeals to more people. A silent video or one involving no talking also had the advantage that it doesn’t matter what language you speak, everyone can understand the meaning.

Leah gave us several examples of her work on

We also had a talk from Richard Crandon from On-Par Productions – which are a small film company. The main aspect of their work is documentary film, however they also do commercial advertising as well. Richards’s talk gave me a clear insight into what starting up your own company is like and some advise on things he has learnt. Such as building up lots of connections at university that may come in useful later. I’m sure this will prove very useful in coming years. It was also a great insight into documentary film and using film to tell a story.