Monday, January 11, 2010

Cartoon development

I decided on the design for the kudzu tapestry yesterday--at least the first of what may turn into several tapestries based on these ideas.  As I finished the more complex vine drawing I found that it gives me a sense of what I'm hoping to portray--the twining and entanglement with which the plant grows, overwhelming anything in its path.

Because of the vertical dominance of the vines in the drawing I wanted to weave the design turned 90˚ on the loom to achieve as smooth a movement as possible.  I also wanted the image to be quite larger than life.  Cropping was the next step so that I could find a section of the drawing that still gave me an essence of what I was looking for and also allowed for the enlargement.  After trying several crops using Photoshop I decided on this portion from the upper part of the drawing:

Next I placed tracing paper over the cropped and printed version and drew outlines of the major shapes:

This outline was scanned and import into Photoshop where I then resize the line drawing to the dimensions for the cartoon--24" x 48".  I set the pixel size at 72 because I don't need anything greater for the outline.  I next selected and cropped, then pasted separate sections from the overall drawing into a new blank file, making sure to have the same dimensions for each crop and paste--a size to fit onto an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper...

... then printed each section...

... and assembled the multiple pages with tape.  For this design I had 18 separated printed sections that were pieced together a strip at a time and then those strips all taped together.

Next I placed a sheet of Mylar over the assembled line drawing and traced with permanent marker.  The Mylar sheet will be stitched to the back of the warp as I weave.

And, yes, I do have boo-boos as I trace!  Glaring ones are XX out and I also made some contour changes as the tracing was done.  When I weave other changes will happen as well--I want to leave the color and background quite loose to interpretation as I weave.

  On the loom, here's the direction the cartoon will be:

Tomorrow's goal is to stitch on the Mylar and begin!


  1. It looks like we'll be beginning new works at the same time! I look forward to watching your Kudzu grow!

    I have to admit that when I visit the south, I think kudzu is lovely. But I like dandelions, too.

  2. Tommye- I love the drawing. I would have woven the whole thing! What is your colour palette going to be like. I love the greys.

  3. Yes, here we all go again! Happy weaving to you Kathy. And Kathe, I'd also like to weave the whole drawing and might do that on the 60" loom if I make it through this one. Color palette is ?? at this point... we'll see what turns up once I start. Right now I'm thinking of winging it with lots of greens and contrasting with grays of the vines.

  4. Fascinating to see this process described. The devil is in the details! A beautiful design. I will enjoy seeing it unfold.

  5. I am grateful for your documentation of your cartoon development...fills in several gaps I had in thinking about the process.

    Could you please tell me what the major advantages are of using the Mylar-material? It seems as if it would be too shiny. Thank you,

  6. Hi Lisa,
    No, not too shiny at all. Advantages? It holds up well to being stitched on, for one thing. Another is that it's translucent rather than transparent so blocks some of the view of stuff behind the loom. And yet another advantage is that one can add color to it with colored pencils, if desired... sometimes I do that in tricky and intricate bits to help me see what to do. The color is added to the back side of the Mylar... not the side that touches the warp.

  7. What a fascinating process. Thank you for sharing.

  8. I'm so excited to see the process of your weaving. I've been very intrigued with it so far. I can't wait to see how it all unfolds.

  9. I love seeing the process and your drawing is so wonderful. Thanks for always being the teacher and showing the way!

  10. I've enjoyed watching your design evolve. I certainly get the feeling that kudzu gives me---being overwhelmed by it. It is all around me and last Fall I found it on my property. I hope to take care of it before it overwhelms. We talked about someone you know that teaches how to use Photoshop. I believe she lives in Sparenburg. Would you share her name. I am interested in learning to use mine.