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Part 3 Starting up your studio - Let your interests fuel your work

Part 3 Starting up your studio - Let your interests fuel your work

Part 2 Starting up your studio - Let your interests fuel your work


We have looked at collecting different kinds of paper and mark-makers in parts 1 and 2, and now we need to look at your studio and the different ways you can work.

I suggested that you make lots of marks and shapes and to experiment. Well this playful approach needs to continue in order to loosen up your mind as well as your hand. Regard it as a kind of mind-sketch book.

I also suggested that you put things in frames. The reason for this is that it gives your work a magical lift, makes it important and you can immediately have it on the wall where you can see it at a glance to feed your mind.

Frames and mounts

Collect all kinds of old and new frames from car-boot sales and charity shops. You can have fun painting them, restoring them and generally cleaning them up.
You can also cut mounts to separate your image from the frame.
The basic tool for this are - a ruler, 45o set square, a scalpel, putty ribber, a long metal straight edge (3 - 4 feet) and a large sheet of card to cut on to. A custom-made cutting mat is even better but they are not cheap!

Sketch Books

It is important to have sketch books so that you can try out working ideas. These need to be at least A4 in size to give you room to draw freely.
Always work on only one side of the paper in case you want to frame a page and to prevent unwanted marks coming through! If you put a sheet of thick paper between the sheets, this prevents marks and dents spoiling the next page.

To start with, smooth whit paper will do just fine, later you might like to use a book full of water colour paper, even hand-made acid free paper, but they are expensive.
If you worry about the quality of the paper you may feel intimidated or become too precious and restricted.

If you go to the links page of my web site, you will find a marvelous demonstration on how to make your own book.


Your own studio space

It is so important to have an area even a corner of a room where you can work and where nobody will touch anything. This is important for continuity so that you can return to your work and pick up where you left off. You may have to be firm with others in the house, not to touch or take away tools, paints and paper.
This may seem rather rigid, but other need to respect you creativity.

A table at a good working height, a sloping drawing board with a good hard, smooth surface. Set it at an angle using books or a length of heavy timber rolled in cloth.
A comfortable chair or high stool, depending on the height of the table.
An angle-poise light or overhead light that gives a good distribution of light to all the surface. You can buy daylight bulbs so that you have natural light.

Large pieces of paper can be secured with low-tack masking tape at the corners to prevent putting holes into the paper and board or chrome drawing board clips with a folded paper pad between the clip and the paper. A metal tray with high walls is ideal to hold jars of water (half jars with screw tops are best). Plastic tray-boxes from your local supermarket delicatessen counter are also good for storing water jars, and drawing utensils, brushes, pens and rubbers.

If your drawing area is near a window, then that is also good as it is nice to be able to look into the distance to relieve your eyes while you work.


Collecting Images as direct or background inspiration.

A scrap book is very good for collecting images, I also use books with polythene pages so that images from different sources can be seen in an ordered or random way. Cut out images that you love, like, dislike, hate. This is important because you are building up a new and ongoing sense of yourself as you change and develop.


Consider some of the following -

Faces - bodies - anatomy - humans - animals - birds - insects
Structures - man-made - natural - machinery - architecture - modern - historic - primitive.
Patterns - decorative - historic - primitive
Costume - fashion - dramatic - theatrical - functional - protective - military
Exotic objects - clocks - masks - furniture - clothing - domestic - ceremonial - heraldic
Plants - botanical - structures - regional - tropical
Geometric shapes and forms - crop circles - ancient geometry - mathematical

I hope that some of the above helps to get you started and in part 4 I will help you to use your collection in some very personal, individual and creative ways.

I look forward to being with you on our next stage - Part 4
Good creative vibrations - Zacron





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