Thursday, October 21, 2010

R U Sketchy?

Once upon a time, I had this great idea for a blog post. I'd done something that is quite rare for me - sketching a design out ahead of time - and thought it might be fun to write about that whole process from the sketch through the finished jewelry.

Everything went well right up until the time I was ready to scan my drawings and then sit down and write the blog entry - whereupon I realized that I'd lost the original sketch.

Yeah, kinda hard to do a blog post about sketching with no sketch to use for an example. Still, the blog needed posts so I went ahead and posted the finished jewelry last week and earlier this week.

Then, last night, I found the sketch.


Isn't that always the way? You can't find something when you really need it and then later on when you've given up and moved on with your life, it finally shows up?

Kinda like an ex-husband...

But I digress (as usual)

Anyway, the point is, I'm still going to do the post about to sketch or not to sketch (because I know that is a burning question that you all are staying up nights and biting your nails over) because I finally found the $(#)&&)!!! drawing...and...I have nothing else to talk about today.

So, here are the reasons I don't USUALLY do a sketch:

1. If you've been around this blog for any length of time, you've heard me mention that I failed 7th grade art class. Mostly because of my spectacular lack of drawing skills. So, when I do draw something, not only does it bring back painful memories, but my inner perfectionist gets all caught up in wanting the drawing to be all pretty and perfect and that's a total creative buzzkill, yo.

2. I get easily overexcited by the gorgeousness of the beads and want to just dive right in to playing with them. This drawing sh*t takes too much time - and I don't have a lot of creative time to myself to begin with so anything that takes away from the actual jewelry-putting-together process is a speedbump I don't want to deal with.

3. On the rare occasions when I do sketch something out, the final product never ends up looking anything like the original sketch so doesn't that make the drawing process even MORE of a time waster?

Now, here's the flip side of the argument:

1. Sometimes ideas come to me in mental flashes - like someone just hit the flash button on a camera in my head and POOF! Instant jewelry design. This tends to happen at inopportune moments for actual jewelry creation - like while I'm walking down the hallway at work, driving in traffic, trying not to fall asleep in a meeting or standing in the shower. Chances are, by the time I can actually get to my workspace, the idea will be gone. Making a quick sketch or even listing the types of beads and colors at least gives me a hope in hell of remembering my idea later on.

2. Rather than shopping through my massive stash of beads and getting distracted by the pretty while trying to put together a design, I can use the sketch like a "shopping list" so I only go to what I need for the piece.

Now, let's take a look at my actual drawings and see how they did or did not turn into actual jewelry:

This is the drawing I did for what turned out to be the "Chocolate & Roses" bracelet that I posted last week. It started with the aqua ceramic "button" style links from Mary Ann Carroll. In the original vision, I added some large amethyst chunks along with smaller rondelles of amazonite or turqoise and purple jade, some brass chain and brass sand dollar and seahorse charms.

How retarded is my seahorse drawing btw? LOL!

Besides that, things went wrong immediately when I dug into the stash in search of the purple amethyst chunks only to realize they were gone. I knew I'd used some in a design years ago, but somehow I thought there were a couple left over. WRONG! I didn't have anything else of the right size and shape in a color that worked with the aqua links that I could use in place of the amethyst so that idea was out the window.

Then, I couldn't get the plan I had for wiring the button links into the right place to work. It just felt too flimsy like it wouldn't hold together.

And I'd never been convinced that I could properly balance the weight on this piece as drawn because of having the lighter chain on the sides.


Well, large links from a brass chain turned into jump rings which solved my linking problem and then I had that strand of carved floral chocolate brown beads from Michael's sitting on my workspace anyway so I decided to go with that. Add in an amazonite nugget, pearls and some seed beads and wire and done!

See what I mean about how the finished product never looks much like the sketch? I do think the color combination in the original drawing is prettier and still like the idea of adding in the brass "ocean life" charms, but I may have to pursue that in a different format in a future design.

Now, here's a look at another sketch:

This is the sketch I did for the "Jungle Boogie" necklace I posted earlier this week. My favorite part is the way the brass pendant is so totally out of whack from a size perspective AND that I ended up using a different brass pendant anyway. I was going to go with the leafy one, but it looked too busy with the necklace - which already had a lot going on in it.

I also ended up doing clusters of 5 flower dangles instead of 3 as drawn. I started out with 3, but it just looked kind of wimpy on the necklace and the flowers weren't lying the way I wanted them to.

Also, once I started actually putting the necklace together, I realized that the back half as drawn was a little too sleek and regimented for the wild front. I added extra sections of crescent beads and flower dangles, reduced the amount of the green rectangular beads at the back and broke up their silhouette by adding a few more orange rounds between them.

And that's how I got my "Jungle Boogie" on ;-)

So, what about you? Do you sketch first? Always, sometimes, rarely or never? Why or why not? Are there other advantages or disadvantages to sketching designs besides what I've mentioned here?

Also, do you think my 7th grade art teacher should be tarred and feathered? Or do you kind of agree with her and I should maybe have my colored pencils confiscated in the interest of public eye safety???



lorelei said...

i couldn'd draw the seahorse better than that, I think it looks just like a seahorse!
I want a set of nice markers just so i can do this same thing. I don't usually draw my designs, but have been known to sketch with pen on paper once in while- I just love how your sketches look when scanned and shown here. I think it's cool. therefore, I think you're cool.

EmandaJ said...

Hi Kelly,
I rarely sketch because the beads rarely go together the way I invision. And I know about loosing stuff too. But today I have discovered that my 16GB disc for my camera (that has ALL my vacation photos and jewelry photos and other stuff) has lost its contents too. Waaaah


EB Bead and Metal Works said...

I like your sketches, they are a jumping off point for you to get you started. I also like the colored pencils you used, gives the sketch color and an idea of what beads or components you want to use.
But I am with you, I hate to sketch! I despise drawing and it is a curse to me too. The only reason I have ever sketched was for my metalsmithing and ceramic classes in college! Now if I have an idea, I write it down or I tell mom and make her sketch it out for me. There are advantages to sketching because I have an idea of what I want to do and when I can't explain my idea to mom she says to sketch it out for her, so that is the only reason I can see sketching being helpful :)
Thanks for your post, it was fun!
Have a great day!

TesoriTrovati said...

I do have a nice little sketch book in my purse. I usually only sketch in pencil. I try to date them so I know when or where I might have been. I like the way the color leads your eye. And no, I don't think your art teacher should have said those things. She should have taught you!

Enjoy the day!

SummersStudio said...

Bad art teacher. Everyone has a talent that can be fostered in an art class. You know, I actually see your finished jewelry in your sketches. They have the same rythm as the drawings.

I do sketch but only use it as a spring board to get my design going. I make lots of modifications before I'm done. And my sketches are way way worse than yours.

Courtney said...

Thank you! I try to sketch but can't draw worth a darn! I try to document ideas but do find that I usually work better when I just sit and do.

lunedreams said...

I'm sure if I'd sketched a seahorse the tail would have been going the wrong way (and it would have seemed mysteriously not quite right...). Your knowledge of sea life anatomy is impressive! I'm like you, the only time I usually sketch is if I get a "brilliant" idea somewhere inconvenient. I know I'll forget so I either sketch it out real quick or list the ingredients. They usually morph into something completely unrelated to the sketch. I only sketch in such a way as to remember what I was thinking, and I use labels like you do b/c later I won't know what the heck that blob/circle/rat's nest is. I tried colored pencils but it's usually the sizes/finishes/textures of the beads that defeat the design so sketching in color isn't that helpful. Flunking someone for not being able to draw is like flunking someone for not being double jointed. Damn silly. (You would have excelled in the "American Primitive" genre).

Copper Diem said...

I don't sketch every design, but I do sketch, mostly when inspiration hits at work, or away from home, or if I'm working on a tricky design & I need to think it out. I love using colored pencils. Somehow coloring in the beads is so soothing. Those five years olds are onto something with their coloring books.

Marie Cramp said...

I am not a sketcher, but lately, I will get inspiration from something I see and I draw it. I have actually gone back and used some of those sketches, and the designs turned out pretty good! I only use a pencil though, no colour in mine. Works better for me, I can then add whatever I think will work! Your sketches are fun! I can really see what you are trying to show us, mine are messy fast pencil sketches with no fine lines! lol I really Love what you made, and I adore the way that bracelet turned out!

Michelle said...

I think your drawing is just fine! It looks about the same as mine. My ideas always pop up while at work. My boss has caught me doing a quick sketch and has gotten a chuckle. I usually do mine in pencil or with a black ink pen. At least the idea can go's also helpful when I come up w/a stitching least I have some clue! LOL Keep on sketching!
Bead Happy!