Most of the time I sketch using pen and paper, but sometimes I’ll move to Excel if I’ve got an idea that uses mostly squares or strips. Every so often I’ll fire up Illustrator and try to figure out how to get what’s in my head onto the screen.
This design arose from Sunday sketch #21… I clearly have some obsession with constellations, and bright spots emerging from the darkness…
I don’t use Illustrator often enough to be completely comfortable with it yet, so each foray tends to bring more stress than success. I don’t need to do that much — create some shapes, add some lines, fill in some colour — but it’s not always an intuitive or easy-to-use program. Still, I’m learning. This design is not quite there yet, but the good thing about Illustrator is that it gets easier the more I play with it.
I take photos of my sketches with an 8 Mp phone camera. I usually play around with the colours a bit (in Preview or Photoshop), as the phone camera – or the not-so-bright room where I take the photos – tends to make the white Rhodia dot pad look decidedly blue. I never seem to get the white balance quite right, but as these sketches are just a weekly exercise in creativity and commitment, I don’t mind so much.
Today I gave up on getting it right, and decided instead to get it really wrong:
I kinda like how the electric blue reflects the energy in the design – all straight lines and odd angles. It’s a rare occasion when I stray outside the dots! There are no half-square triangles or rectangles here – it’s all improv*. (Or a very big paper-pieced pattern!)
* For regular readers, it will probably come as no surprise that in the 43 Sunday sketches I’ve posted so far, this is the first time I’ve used the tag ‘improv’.
The density of this design (or maybe my tight hashing lines) almost makes it feel like an optical illusion. The repeating unit (a square on point) alternates between black-on-white and white-on-black in each row.
Normally I’d give some hints as to how the design could be made into a quilt pattern – e.g. whether it uses half-square triangles, rectangles or curves. In this case, I think paper piecing would be the best way to manage all those angles and precise points.