Using the heat press is a really quick and fun way to generate print samples. I enjoy this method as it gives me the freedom of experimenting with paper collage yet the end result become embedded in the fabric.
By selecting my colour palette from adobe colour wheel, I got them printed onto sublimation paper, which then gives accurate results once is has been in the heat press.
For the first sample I quickly cut different shapes, including lines, circles and rectangles, and lay them on the fabric in a roughly structured composition. I was focusing on how the colours sat on top of each other and how they blended once you reprinted them.
I then began to focus on circles and stripes, simple shapes that occur often on computer circuit boards, and that can be used to create many different exciting repeats and compositions.
The colours become faded the more you print them, which can be used to your advantage if this effect is what you require with your prints.
As you can see in image 3 above, I duplicated shapes but due to the colour fading, they are not too overpowering against the solid bright colours.
With image 4 (above) I began to include typography from my sketchbook. I think it works well however the letters are limited due to the piece of fabric being so small. In order avoid words being made, I rotated letters to accentuate the playful nature of the print.
Using my colour palette and my sketchbook for inspiration, I started developing some larger prints that are more refined than my initial experiments.
To begin with I was only using paper stencils cut from newsprint, which works well but they are not reusable after you have printed with them. This is something to bear in mind which is why I stuck to simple shapes that were quick to draw yet relevant to what I have been working on.
As you can see from both samples I used the same yellow stripe motif yet changed the colour of the background. This helps me to see what amounts of colour work well together.
Instead of repeating the samples in different colours, I changed the imagery that went onto both of them in order to generate inspiration for composition.
With sample 1 I kept to the theme of repeat pattern, and used pigment ink with binder to apply a quarter circle shape in vertical lines. This has added rhythm to the print and also a little texture because of the way the binder sits on the fabric.
Sample 2 includes sections of typography, which contrasts what is happening in the background. Again this is applied with pigment and binder, and the bold clash of colours makes this piece appealing.
For a final touch I added foiled sections to the prints. At this point I have had a screen exposed with circuit board imagery, in order to replicate accurate lines and shapes on my prints.
The blue foil works well as it adds a subtle texture and shine that is not enough to distract you from the rest of the print yet still suggests a focal point.
This workshop was designed with the intention of getting us to open our minds as to new ways of drawing and collage. I prepared my fabrics with Magenta Red, Lemon Yellow and Turquoise Blue procion inks, and used this page from my sketchbook as the starting inspiration for my collage.
It was difficult initially not to just copy the page design, so for this reason I used the technique of choosing motifs to work with which would be easy to arrange into a design.
The magenta sample of cloth was used as the background, and I cut out from the yellow and blue which were backed with transfer adhesive. This helped to emphasise the idea of layering, which worked even better once I added elements of stitch.
The piece became texturally interesting once I added the non-textile material of magic tape, and I also feel it added another dimension. The more tape that was layered up, the more opaque it became. I would be interested to explore this further in a different design.
After this workshop I now feel confident that I can use collage and cloth more feely together and should definitely develop it as a way of drawing within my work.
I was feeling inspired after the repeat pattern workshop, so I decided to head down to the print room to experiment with possibilities in my work. I was interested in the build up of the layers, so I have used 3 different printing methods on all of my samples.
Base: I started with plain white cotton, and then dyed all the samples with procion, using either a cut out stencil from newsprint or just an open screen for a block of colour.
Layer 1: I then printed shapes over the top using pigment ink and binder. This was to create a solid colour over the top, rather than them blending together. I like the solidness of binder, and the rigid feel it brings to the fabric.
Layer 2: To add another texture that was certain to stand into the foreground, I opted for foiling. The metallic idea stemmed from looking at the circuit boards, which I noticed had a lot of silver lines running through them. The silver lifts the designs, and finishes off the layering with a strong focal point.
These designs have left me with a good understanding of my processes, and with new ideas for how to develop them further.
It is important to be selective with your colour palette, and before the workshop I had already started working in just CMYK colours (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Key Black). My reasoning for these 4 colours is I am looking at computers which are linked to printers, and printers work by layering these 4 colours over each other to create further colours. Secondly, the products from the brand museum have all been printed out, therefore will have been generated from CMYK. Therefore, I have every reason to work with these colours yet not be limited to, as I can experiment with layering them over each other within my work which will lead to unexpected outcomes.
In this workshop we were beginning to develop our drawings into becoming a large scale pattern. By choosing between 4 and 6 motifs, we had to cut each motif out 6 times, and then rearrange them on the paper in a repeat pattern style. As I already had my chosen colour palette, I had prepared large pieces of paper in the appropriate colours, which gave me an advantage in having accurate colours.
I feel as though my design works well, the textures from the printed paper really give that handmade quality and add a bit of depth to an otherwise flat piece of work. The colours work very well together, however I feel the white background doesn’t allow the colours to pop as much as they potentially could. I also notice I did not use any black within the design, therefore I could try this again but on black paper to see how that colour way would work. Another way I could develop the design would be to rotate the motifs around, particularly the letter ‘P’. The rotation would add lively movement to the design and also help it look less like typography.
Completing this workshop has opened my eyes as to how simple it can be to create a design, and has inspired me to start working outside of my sketchbook more often. I am now aiming to complete a few more drawings, and then approach this way of working again, which I will then be able to move forward into printing onto cloth.
One of the creative drawing workshops I have undergone already was about using collage to draw with. Collage is a method I am definitely familiar and comfortable with, so I was excited to get started on creating pieces.
The workshop was set up to a time schedule, where we had approximately 20 minutes per collage, developing a new technique with each one we created. They were all to be A6 in size.
This is the most abstract collage I created, whereby I focused on using pieces that represented the photograph rather than cutting and drawing exactly the right shapes. It works well where the layers stick off the edges of the paper, allowing freedom of not being restricted to a box.
This collage was instructed to include use of line, and I decided to draw the typography onto the textured background. I think that this piece how it sits now is almost too ‘obvious’ with the text how it is, I would be interested to fill it up a bit more, then cut it up and collage it back together in a different way. This would then break up the boldness of the type and bring it back round to the idea of collage, rather than a drawing on top of a collaged background.
The use of line was also a requirement with this third sample. I chose to keep it very simple, as the stripes in the background are very intense. I am pleased with the way I used chunks of magazine text to cut into larger letters, as I feel this adds depth and texture to what otherwise would be very plain. This contrast in textures is something I need to develop further, as this will help with the overall idea of hybrid within the project.
With this collage it was about focusing on layering. As I am familiar with Photoshop, I understand the importance of layers and how even a slight shift can change the entire look of a piece. I did not finish this collage in time to fill up the whole of the background, however it does begin to layer up well. The tracing paper allowed for you too see the underneath drawings, without them dominating and becoming too much to look at.
I began my day with casual drawing, to help me get used to controlling the pen and help me realise what my main focus would be. I found it really helpful that I had pre-prepared my pages, which prevented me from working onto a white background. Although I did not have a specific colour palette in mind, I kept the colours pale so that I could use bold over the top which would therefore stand out. The acrylic paint gave a slight texture that worked well with my use of sharpie pens, plus the additional textured mark making on top that I applied with a sponge added contrast to the drawings I produced on top.
In the afternoon I set myself a taxonomy-like task, where I split up my page and decided to capture further elements of repeat pattern/structured line work that had potential to be set on repeat.
I found working with the bold primary colours was working best, particularly when drawn with the thicker pens. However the fine liner pens worked well for adding more detailed sections.
I will now go on to develop these initial drawings by using different textures and backgrounds to emphasise certain areas. For example, thinking back to use of mark making and using wet materials with the drawing, which is something I could not use in the museum. I will also create more relevant, collaged backgrounds to work onto. I will not focus on a colour palette until I have visited the other museum and studied the subject matter there as well.
The aim for this project is to create a hybrid conclusion from two museum collections/archives. The first museum I chose to work from is ‘The Centre for Computing History’ in Cambridge (http://www.computinghistory.org.uk).
I chose this museum because I knew it would be very interactive – I would be able to touch and use all of the machines, which would help me to get a better understanding of their materials and construction. Secondly, I knew that the internal parts of a computer could be very interesting with their visuals of colour and pattern, and I would have a lot to work from visually.
The second museum I am working from is ‘The museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising’ which is in London (http://museumofbrands.com).
Packaging and brand typography is something I have always adored – the bold statement it makes from the shop shelf, and the beauty of looking at how brands have developed and refined themselves through time. I knew I would have a lot of material to work from with this museum, and I am interested in continuing my ongoing experiments with using typography in a way so that it does not always look like text in the work.