Croquis Designs – evaluate and critique 

I’ve decided to name this week Croquis Week; from Tuesday onwards I have been designing, experimenting and creating croquis. 

On Tuesday there was a lecture about croquis which helped a lot with all the niggling confusion about what I was aiming to create; sizes where talked about, layout, as well as coordinates (which I had been struggling with) and then tasks were set. From your motifs, experiment with layouts before finally painting a croquis, using gouache paints. 

I wasn’t happy with the motifs I had to start making my croquis straight away, so I went back to the images I had gathered and started a fresh, and what a good idea that had been. From these motifs, and my tutorial with Helen, I was inspired and wanted to start creating. 

Firstly was working with layouts, I photocopied my motifs and started to play with layout using photoshop. I find it much easier, and faster to consider different layout approaches on Photoshop. Once I had pinned down a layout that I was really itiching to paint, I set to work. While painting each different colour, I created colour chips which I could then display with the finished croquis. 

With the help of my hairdryer, the overall process was much quicker that it could have been. The background was easy, the next layers not so much. I found it quite difficult to keep the graphic nature of my motifs while using paints and a brush, but once the whole thing was completed, I still liked what I saw. I think the colours work well together, although if I could, I would have had a lighter background. One thing I can say is that while I was painting, I couldn’t help but think how I would be able to change little bits, like the background colour, easily on photoshop. But once I’d seen the overall effect of the hand painted croquis, I could definitely see the difference between something created by hand, and something created digitally. Not that I couldn’t see the difference before, but because I’ve been working a lot with photoshop I’ve stopped seeing the effect of hand painted designs. 

With my first croquis completed I moved on to the next task, which was to create the same motif but with a different process; I chose collage. 

I love paper. Coloured paper, patterned paper, textured paper, you name it, I love it. Searching through my paper stash I selected a few different textured and coloured papers, while making sure that it still linked in with my colour scheme, though not necessarily the first croquis. Where my painted croquis is quite refined and plain, my collage wasn’t. The papers I chose were loud and colourful, with beautiful patterns; one that compliments my work with minerals, and one I chose because of the colours and design.

I didn’t expect to like the collage but once I looked at the finished article I feel in love. The textures and colours mixed amazingly, made better but the edition of free machine embroidery on the mineral detailing. 

  The two croquis, while having the same layout were completely different to create. The collage was very fast to make; I didn’t find it difficult to chose the papers. I saw what I liked and chose it, nor did it take long to cut the shapes of the minerals. The painting took quite a while, the mixing of the right colours wasn’t fast, nor was tracing the different minerals to get them into the right position before painting the five different layers.  

While I love how the collage looks, I think that the painted croquis is much more appropriate for my client. Working for the high-end contract market, my deisgns have to be refined and sophisticated while speaking of luxury and elegance. My ‘client’ (the company I have chosen to deisgn for) Kelly Wearstler have very paired back designs, using minimal colours and marks. I feel that my original croquis would work quite well for the company, whereas the collage might be too loud and experimentative. 

From here I moved on to creating more croquis. I had started to think about what my coordinating designs could look like; because I have a tossed layout in my original croquis, I decided to go for a very set pattern of stripes. Instead if painting this croquis (which I plan to do on Friday) I spend the day embroidering it first. I already new what I wanted the deisgn to look like from my layout experiments on photoshop, so i jumped right into the creating. I decided to use appliqué and free machine embroidery to create my designs; linen made up the background of my croquis, I decided to use organzi as the base for my mineral forms. I used two different coloured threads, a golden brown for the lighter shadows and a dark brown for the outline and dark planes.  

 This technique was completely different from both painting and collage, though it was much more similar to painting. It took a lot of time and preparation, but the creation was very methodical and I enjoyed be process. The collection I am deisgns is for table linen, therefore I don’t know how appropriate embroidery is. I really liked the added texture of having different materials and surfaces mixed together but they could easily get ruined if used for what they are intended. That’s being said, I decided to take my croquis and scan it into photoshop, where I started to experiment with having the look of embroidery, which wouldn’t get ruined half as much as the real thing.

This then inspired me further. As you know I’ve been experimenting with fabric manipulation with the idea of designing table cloths, but Helen suggested that i scan in the manipulated fabric and manipulate it further digitally, so that the result would be a design that featured the look of the manipulation, but not the feel. This way the deisgn could be used for any table wear fabric. I’m really enjoying the idea and the process of creating these deceptive deisgns. I’ve experimented with different colours and have found that I’m really loving the results. 

I plan to paint my two coordinating corquis on Friday, and moving on to alternative colourways on Monday.



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