The Process of Drawing Tile Patterns

Recently I started adding color to my drawing of a Portuguese tile pattern that I saw at the National Tile Museum in Lisbon, Portugal last summer (although I wrote Porto in my sketchbook). I love the way one block pattern can be complicated enough that it takes 16 tiles to show it!

These are some pictures taken during its progress to being currently somewhat painted. I typically work on my projects about 30 minutes at a time. For these tiles, I start with a pencil and ruler and mark out on my sketchbook page where I’m going to place them. I like to draw a solo tile, then in a group of four, and then, here, in a group of sixteen to show the additional pattern that is made. I find the center lines and diagonals in each square and then start sketching out the pattern. Sometimes I will draw the whole pattern first then ink it, but here the design was complicated enough and my hand would rub off the graphite, I inked some parts before I did more pencil. Once the whole page was inked, I scanned it so I have it available for the future - I was thinking of a coloring book of Portuguese tiles. Then, I added color to match the tiles I had photographed.

It’s a time consuming but very satisfying process. I will continue to add blue watercolor to the rest of the drawing but I rather like partially complete painting too. I will scan that before I continue. Which do you like better - partially painted or fully painted?

Travel Sketch from Porto, Portugal in Progress

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I love to travel and I love to draw and paint in travel journals. I work on them while on trips, but mostly after the fact using photographs that I took during the trip and bits of ephemera that I brought back. This is an in-progress sketch of the first outside tiled church I saw in Porto, Portugal this past summer. It’s from the Capela das Almas de Santa Catarina (Chapel of Souls on Rua Santa Catarina).

If keeping a travel journal is something that you’d like to try, please join me for my next offering of Creating an Ink and Watercolor Travel Journal 6-week workshop on Monday evenings that starts on January 7th, 2019. See my workshops for more information and to register.

Holiday Bazaars Begin

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I am going to be a vendor at a couple of holiday bazaars this fall. The first one is on Saturday, November 17th at the IEOU Hall, 18701 - 120th Ave NE in Bothell from 10:00 am - 5:00 pm. I will have a variety of notecards and prints including my most recent Portuguese tiles. I will also have my quilted coasters and zippered bags available. Those are always so much fun to play with in person. I love to see people’s reactions to my coasters and how they want to touch and handle them - which is okay! Come out and support local artists and artisans at the My Friends & Me Holiday Bazaar!

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Black and White and Painted Versions of Raised Tiles from Porto, Portugal

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I finished painted the raised yellow and white tiles I saw in Porto, but I find that I need to work on my grime technique. Because the tiles are raised and have various nooks and crannies and are outside, they get dirty in the crevices. It’s darker than the shadows but not quite like I painted. Who would have thought painting dirt and grime would be a technique to master?!

Blue and White Floral Tiles from Porto, Portugal

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I took hundreds of photographs of tiles when I was in Portugal this summer. I was entranced by the variety and color and surprise of them. I hadn’t realized that tiles could be used on the outside of buildings and was fascinated to see that all over Porto and Lisbon. Because they were on the outside of buildings it was much easier to take pictures of the sheer variety. I have begun to draw out some of these tile patterns. I thought it would be interesting to see the black and white drawing of just one tile and then have a group of four of them painted to get an idea of a pattern that can be created with that just one tile rotated.