3 Ways to Design Art Work: The Sketch

seedpod1detail1forwebReady to make an original quilt design? There are three methods of designing art quilts that you may find helpful. And each way of designing has pros and cons to consider. Over the next few days I’d like to show you the three methods I use:

  • sketching a design,
  • creating variations on a theme, and
  • using design triggers.

Please note that the examples are made with pre-fused fabric. (You can learn more about fusing here.) But you can apply the same methods to a pieced quilt as well. It doesn’t matter how you assemble the design, it’s the process of turning your ideas into fabric that matters. Today we’ll explore sketching the design.


Sketch for Seedpods

Sketching the Design
For large art work, a sketch may be the answer. You don’t have to be an expert at drawing but with a sketch or doodle you can work out the design possibilities ahead of time before cutting into fabric.

Pros: A sketch helps you visualize your final design. It helps determine the shapes and placement of each shape in the design and can be enlarged and turned into a pattern.

Cons: One difficultly of working from a sketch is the feeling of being locked into that design. Confining your imagination is not good in art making. So at some point you may want to set aside the sketch and wing it. Give yourself the freedom to change things up.


Seedpods #1 by Laura Wasilowski

Here are some tips when designing from a sketch:

  • Make multiple sketches to develop the shapes in the design, their placement, and relationship to each other.
  • Duplicate the sketch and play with color ideas using colored pencils or markers to help with fabric choices.
  • Use the sketch to determine a size for the final design and use those measurements to figure the amount of fabric you will need to make the quilt.  
  • Work from the sketch directly or enlarge it into a pattern for the design. (See how to transfer pattern shapes to a fused fabric here.)

Stay tuned for the second method of designing art work: Variations on a Theme