BBC Get Creative Day 4: Make a sketch!


Are you one of those people who can’t draw to save their lives? Me too! But then I had a go and it turns out, it’s not actually all that hard.

Apparently the skill of sketching is not part of art degrees anymore, which seems a shame as it is so useful. It can be great for recording things and really looking hard at something, but for us as quilters it can also help with the design process. It’s a cheap and easy way to see if a pattern or colour will work, without going to the trouble and expense of cutting up fabrics.

The most important thing about sketching is not to get hung up on creating something perfect. A sketch is just some lines on paper. Even if it’s rubbish, it might give you some idea about proportions or focus.

For example, for a special gift I wanted to turn the following picture into a quilt:


First of all, I simply copied the general shape of the picture in a very simple sketch.


Even though it is really just an outline, it is useful for showing how the shapes ought to be and got me thinking about what kind of pattern would work. The curve, in combination with the seaside theme, suggested Storm at Sea:


Creating that picture allowed me to think further. I didn’t really like how the couple looked against the geometric background, so I removed them altogether. I also thought the proportions were off, and that the blocks of colour should be more or less of equal size.

Now I could turn my mind to colour.


Adding colour showed what might work and what might not, and what kind of (unintentional) patterns might be created if I made certain choices, such as with the yellow above.


Having tried that colour idea and not liked it entirely, I could make a further sketch to explore additional ideas. It takes a bit of time but it is quite relaxing putting pencil to paper, once you accept that your first draft might not be the final product.

So have a go! I find that a proper sketchbook can feel daunting and put me off because I don’t want to ‘spoil’ the paper. I like really tiny notebooks for that reason (not too much commitment …) or even the proverbial back of an envelope. Maybe one day I’ll progress to a real sketchbook.

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