Posts Tagged ‘guides’

Composition Guides, Design Tools and the Lazy Artist

July 31, 2013

A painter friend, Janne Henriksen, was talking about art at a party recently. We discussed technique and process, and how she paints, and what tools or guides she finds useful. That’s when I realized I would be a much better artist if I would first find and then use the many tools I have bought over the years.

 

My favorite design tool is graph paper.

 

Lani Longshore graph paper

 

Graph paper is the single most useful thing a quilter can stock. My sketching skills are minimal, but give me a pad of graph paper and I can recreate the lines and angles of interesting shapes in a format that will help me create something wonderful in fabric.

 

I’m also fond of marking tools.

 

Lani Longshore marking tools

 

Colored pencils, markers, slivers of soap – anything that lets me add a line to fabric is welcome in my studio. Sometimes I need a sewing line, sometimes a cutting line. Sometimes I want to intensify the color of the fabric, sometimes I want to hide it (and sometimes I want to hide where the seams don’t quite meet).

 

When my free-hand drawing skills fail me, I turn to stencils.

 

Lani Longshore stencils

 

Stencils are great for quilting, embroidery, or beading designs. I like to look at them when I’m stuck for a piecing idea, too. No, I don’t do curves or pointy-points, but you’d be surprised at how the brain kicks into problem-solving gear if the fingers think they’re going to have to do something hard at the sewing machine.

 

Of course, even the most highly motivated creativity session can end in disappointment. This is where the most important design tool comes in handy.

 

Lani Longshore trash can

 

I decided long ago that agonizing over $1.15 worth of fabric and half an hour of my time was silly. I give you permission to bury your mistakes, too.