Design a Quilt with an Artist's Eye

It's not every day you get to pose as an artist's model. But that's just what I did when Carrie Bloomston needed a volunteer to pose (fully clothed!) while she demonstrated a drawing exercise.

As I stood in the pose for two minutes, Carrie sketched my basic form using a gesture drawing technique. "Gesture drawing" is a fine arts term for a quick sketch of the human form. The point is to capture the essence of the pose: the lines and angles of the body, where the weight falls, how the head turns, etc.–not to create a finished drawing. Gestural drawings are usually used as a warm-up activity in fine arts classes.

on set art techniques for quilt design
Easiest job I ever had! Posing on-set while Carrie
Bloomston completes a two-minute gestural drawing.

Carrie, who comes to fiber art from a fine art background, used this exercise to demonstrate how warm-ups like this one can help fiber artists improve their quilting designs. It's the premise of her Quilting Arts WorkshopTM video Art Techniques for Quilt Design: Drawing, Composition, Collage, & Stitch.

Even if drawing isn't your strength, drawing and composition exercises can help when you're designing quilts and other fiber art projects, says Carrie.

"Drawing is the foundation of the creative process. Drawing is learning to see. And once you learn to see, you can interpret the world in your designs," she says.

gesture drawing art techniques for quilt design
That's me! At least, it's a quick sketch of my form. Carrie Bloomston says using fine art drawing exercises like this
one can improve your quilting designs.

The warm-ups make you think about positive and negative space, the relationship of one element to another, scale, and proportion-all important design elements.

If you've ever looked at one of your art quilts and thought that something was off, but you couldn't quite put your finger on what, chances are it had to do with one of these design elements.

Try this exercise: Have a friend or family member strike a pose and set a timer for two minutes. Then sketch the person's form, focusing on the basic lines, angles, and where their weight falls. Your goal is to capture the whole form within the two-minute limit.

By exercising your creative muscles, you can open your mind to new ways of looking, and new ideas for quilt design.

If you've ever wanted to go to art school or been excited about the idea of learning how drawing and the techniques used by trained artists could improve the way you approach designing your art quilts, Art Techniques for Quilt Design, is a great place to start.

P.S. Looking for  hands-on approach to learning quilting and sewing skills? Check out a Floriani Hands-On event near you!

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