After many weeks… well, ok, after many months, I finally finished up my second round with the Patterns & Paws sketchbooks that I first posted about waaaaaay back in September. If you don’t know already, Patterns & Paws is a collaborative project I’m doing with fellow artist, Jessica Gowling (@jessicagowling on twitter). If you’re not familiar with the ins and outs of this project, it does have a few “rules” that we both follow about the order and placement of our art within the two sketchbooks. You can find out all about the project in Jessica’s thorough introduction on her blog.
I think the holidays got in the way a bit, not to mention a lot of freelance web design that came my way, but excuses aside I finally managed to finish up my turn and send the books back to 100 Mile House, BC to reunite with Jessica. I would also like to mention that my tardy reply had nothing to do with lack of inspiration. Jessica added some real gems to the books that left me overflowing with ideas.
First I want to share the pages that Jessica completed after I’d started off the spreads.
Patterns & Paws Vol. 1:
Patterns & Paws Vol. 2:
Aren’t her additions awesome!? I was so excited to see how my drawings inspired what she chose to add. Each spread was such a delightful surprise to discover.
The next images show the pages she started for me to complete. When I got the sketchbooks, I worked on these pages first, taking inspiration from Jessica’s compositions.
Jessica started off these spreads by creating a checkered pattern filled with various fur and skin textures. I immediately knew I wanted to somehow weave an image through the “open” squares, and since her textures reminded me of little critters, my mind eventually wandered to snakes eating those little creatures, and an idea was born. I actually did quite a bit of sketching to work out the composition of this one since I really wanted the illusion that the snakes were under the pattern to work. The colors of the snakes were inspired by the washi tape Jessica framed the pages with.
I was super inspired by these pages. I love the collage-iness, the stamps, the inkiness, and the colors. I initially intended to use rice paper for the collaged elements. When I drew on the rice paper, I laid it on top of grid paper to use as a guide. The ink bled right through the rice paper, and I was delighted to discover the blotchy drawings on the grid paper. They harmonized so much better with Jessica’s collage that I didn’t give the rice paper a second thought. The shapes I used were inspired by the environments of the deer and walrus, as seen in the stamps. I added colored lines to connect the shapes which created a greater sense of atmosphere and helped balance the left and right pages with each other.
It’s hard to say that one set of pages is a favorite, but boy do I love these. I’m going through a significant gray phase in my art lately, so when I saw Jessica’s monochromatic pencil drawings with a bit of collage, I knew I wanted to capture the feeling of her drawing while maintaining the simple palette. I painted radiating patterns with gray gouache. I worked intuitively, not sketching beforehand. Well, I admit, I had done a few similar paintings before this, but each always turns out so differently. I was really excited about the added element of surprise as I focused on the feeling of Jessica’s drawings while I painted, instead of thinking about form or composition. The end result are two spreads that harmonize incredibly well. I feel happy and soothed every time I see these.
Lastly, here are the pages that I’ve started for Jessica to soak up and find inspiration from.
Finally I had a chance to use rice paper! I drew graphite lines on the translucent rice paper sheet and used it as a background frame for the colorful blob prints. I made the prints by adding little globs of gouache to the surface of some card stock and smushing another sheet on top of it. Voila! Two prints! They are mirror images of each other, but I flipped one upside down, just cause.
It’s no secret that I love triangles and lines. I had these images in my head for a while, and I sketched some of them out in a separate sketchbook. I chose a couple that I liked particularly well as a starting point. I first drew the shapes in the Patterns & Paws books with pencil, then went over the lines with pen, and finally added the line texture with pen as needed.
These final two spreads are the pages where Jessica and I both create in the same space. On the previous similar spreads, we both left a lot of space for the other to work with. While these were all successful pages, I wanted to push things in a different direction. As you can see in the images above, I created two drawings that pretty much cover up both pages. I’m hoping it’ll push Jessica to cover over parts of my drawing, or just find a new way to interact with what I gave her! I’m very interested to see what she’ll add!
A little birdie told me that Patterns & Paws may already be on its way back to me, so I won’t have to wait long to see how this project continues to evolve.
Do you have a favorite spread so far? Is there an, as yet, incomplete set of pages you’re particularly interested to see complete?
I’ll share more as soon as there’s more to show!