Patterns & Paws: Update 2

I got word a few days ago that Jessica Gowling received Patterns and Paws in the mail again, so now it’s her turn to respond to the pages I started, and add a couple new ones for me to see when she sends it back to me. Are you familiar with our collaboration? If not, check out the two other posts I wrote about previously, or visit Jessica’s blog and see her side of the story.

First up are the spreads that I started and Jessica finished up during her last turn.

patterns & paws vol. 1

patterns & paws vol. 2

Aren’t the birds fun? I love the way the colors and dots match the page I created.

When I first saw the next two spreads, I admit that I was a little mystified.

patterns & paws vol. 1

patterns & paws vol. 2

I thought the shapes and the gray tones matched up well, but the meaning wasn’t clear until I read Jess’s description. Once I read her thought process, I was totally over the moon, and now they are some of my favorite pages in the book! Her explanation is definitely worth a read, so be sure to pop on over and check it out!

When I created the full spread for Jessica to add to, I covered the entire page with a pattern as a sort of challenge. I didn’t expect anything in particular, but I felt we’d been a little too “polite” about the marks we each were making on the previous shared spreads, so mostly I was curious to see what she’d do without any “white space” to work with.

patterns & paws vol. 1

patterns & paws vol. 2

Her additions are totally brilliant in my opinion. While maintaining the symmetry of my pattern, the little paw prints add contrast and motion to an otherwise static image. Suddenly the pages seem like maps or landscapes with animals crisscrossing them in their travels.

At this point I want to mention that I received the book back in record time. I’m notorious for taking months and months to send the books back, but I got the sketchbooks back within just a couple of weeks. I was inspired by Jessica’s lightning fast response, so I kept that in mind and decided to work spontaneously during this turn, and most importantly, not over think it!

I was so inspired by the shared spread that Jess started, that it was no problem to get it done quickly. I saw the pencil drawings and collages and immediately knew I wanted to incorporate text somehow.

patterns & paws vol. 1

patterns & paws vol. 2

I was so inspired by the images of the eagle and the lenticular sticker of the eagle claw that shifts to a human foot, that a couple of phrases literally popped into my head. I was a wee bit hesitant to add words to our until-then wordless sketchbook conversation, but I couldn’t ignore the idea once it was there, so my graphic designer self got a chance to shine. I was pretty excited when I realized that both spreads would have the words “Before You” in the colored boxes! Synchronicity!

In Jessica’s post that introduced the following pages, she made a prediction about what I might be inspired to add, “I predict soft colours and the circular motif to surface in Anika’s response.”

patterns & paws vol. 1

patterns & paws vol. 2

At the time I saw her prediction, I had already created the above two responses, and I thought Jessica might be surprised! Looking at it now, the shapes I created were relatively circular in shape, and the colors might be described as “soft” so maybe Jess was right after all!

The colors and textures Jessica used in the next two spreads reminded me of a rainy day, so I knew I wanted to make my additions relate to water in some way.

patterns & paws vol. 1

patterns & paws vol. 2

Because parts of of the dogs cut off at the center seam of the spread, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to continue the shapes, and incorporate them into my drawings.

The remaining three spreads are those that I started, and will be added to by Jessica during her turn.

I’ve been working with a lot of black and white lately. As a nod to my recent explorations, I created a couple of black and white patterns using chisel and brush tipped markers.

patterns & paws vol. 1

patterns & paws vol. 2

After using only black, I decided to inject a little color into the next pages.

patterns & paws vol. 1

patterns & paws vol. 2

Around this time, I created a step by step “Creative Insight” of my painting process for Joanne Hawker’s blog, and it seemed like the perfect type of image to add to Patterns & Paws. This might just be me, but the top image kinda sorta reminds me of a cat, and the bottom one a bat.

For the last two spreads, I was back to black. I had gotten some acrylic paint markers, and was curious to see how they would look in the sketchbook, and to know how the paper would react.

patterns & paws vol. 1

patterns & paws vol. 2

The answer is: they work great! The lines are a very rich black, unlike felt tip markers that can sometimes look a little washed out. It’ll be fun to see if Jessica decides to keep this a one-color composition, or if she’ll decide to liven it up with color.

I made a long comment on one of Jessica’s Paws & Patterns posts:

To me it’s highly interesting to see the different creative paths we take. Last night I was thinking about how when I start the pages for a particular spread, I might have an idea or two about what you might add to it. When eventually I see your response, I’m surprised EVERY time! That is what is so fantastic about this project. Not only doing it, but thinking about the possibilities about what I could do, what you could do, what I think you could do, what you think I could do, and so on. In the end, something gets put on the pages. So far it always seems to be the PERFECT addition to complete a set of pages while keeping the momentum going and inspiring what will come next.

I still feel the same way! One of the things I love most about this collaboration is the constant discovery, inspiration, and surprise. Any guesses on what Jessica might add to the pages during her turn?

9 thoughts on “Patterns & Paws: Update 2

  1. What a wonderful read. Obviously I like to hear your thought process during this adventure, and I agree, there are always so many possibilities. I guess that is the greatest gift of collaboration: opening your mind to the endless options of creativity. Thank you for writing such an awesome post, and for making these thoughtful and beautiful additions. I can’t wait to sit down in my new studio and add to both Patterns & Paws books. xo.

  2. Again, you two have absolutely inspired me. I love reading all about your thought processes as you’re going through the pages. I can tell you both put so much love and care into your individual pieces – and together, the collaboration is stunning! Well done. I cannot wait for more!

  3. I LOVE this project! You guys have such different, yet complementary styles. It’s really fascinating to see the different paths an artist will take to achieve the same ends. Thanks for sharing. This has inspired me to perhaps collaborate with an out of state friend :)

    • I highly recommend this kind of collaboration! It’s lots of fun. If you ever want to exchange sketchbooks with me, I’d love to! :)

  4. Hi Anika! It’s great to see an update on your and Jessica’s project. I love so much what the two of you have put together. It’s amazing what working along with someone else can do to inspire and lead us to unexpected art. Such beautiful work!

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