Archive for the ‘Art & Drawing’ Category

frankenstein-bookmarkIt’s been a while since we added something to our line of embroidered bookmarks, so we’re thrilled to finally unveil a design we’ve been toying with for a few months now.

Inspired by Mary Shelley’s immortal work of science fiction, our Frankenstein bookmark depicts the hand of the newly created creature stirring to life for the first time against a stormy sky. The lightning in this design is rendered in glow-in-the-dark thread for an extra cool finishing touch. Get it now for just $10 from our webstore or Etsy shop.

If you love the design but want it as something other than a patch, head over to our Redbubble shop to get it on phone cases, laptop skins, T-shirts, stickers, and other items.frankensteinrb


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I recently finished taking a drawing class at the Worcester Art Museum. Going into this class, I had only very basic knowledge of drawing — I was okay at contours, but knew nothing about shading, or proportions of the body and face, or perspective. And I want to be better, both for myself, and for Storied Threads.

During the first class, our teacher had us do three drawings so she could assess our skill levels. She had us draw our hand (to see what we knew of contours), do a self portrait (to see what we knew of shading), and draw a corner of the room (to assess our knowledge of perspective).  When I got home and told Mike about the class, I showed him my hand and corner drawings — and wouldn’t even let him see the self-portrait. It was THAT bad.

I tell you this because I’m still not going to show you that travesty of a self-portrait. But it’s important to know that’s where I started, so that you can fully appreciate what comes next.


My hand, done as homework after our first class in which we started talking about shading.

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A lily, drawn during the lesson on flora.

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From our lesson in body proportions. I finally understand all the rough sketched ovals artists use!

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Homework after the body proportions lesson, drawn from a photo of myself as a toddler. I sent it to my mother and said, “Ignore the face. I’m rubbish at faces.”


From our second lesson on drawing faces. Drawn in the Roman gallery of the Worcester Art Museum.

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From our final class, drawn from a model in the classroom. 

What I find truly fascinating is this — When I told my mother I was rubbish at faces, I really was. (Although looking back at that drawing, I can see a cool cartoon-face aspect to it that I kind of like.)  And having a good teacher, somebody who was able to communicate well to me the techniques that I didn’t understand and help me work through my stumbling blocks allowed me to improve leaps and bounds in just two months. At this point – I genuinely ENJOY drawing faces! I’ve started drawing portraits of my family, using photographs as a model just for fun.

I still have quite a lot to learn about drawing and about art. But in this class, not only did I learn a lot technically – I learned that drawing is something that I truly love. And that is invaluable.


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Top hat with goggles, take one.

When I sent in my application for the OtherWhere Spring Steam Faire, I started looking at my selections of Steampunk themed items, and noticed a giant hole — I had no Steampunk Geek Merit Badge! I immediately started thinking about what image to use for such a patch, and quickly settled on the idea of a top hat with goggles. I sat down and drew out my idea, and when I was happy with it I brought it out to show to Mike. I thought my design was darn cutes, and I was feeling pretty proud of myself.


Top hat with “goggles” to use as a model.

Mike looked at the drawing, and heard me make my pitch for a steampunk geek merit badge along these lines. He said, “I think this is a really good idea, and a really good concept. But what if you try drawing the hat so it’s not straight on? I think another angle might give it more depth and visual interest.”

Now, I’ve improved quite a lot as an artist in the last couple of months, but I still wasn’t up to visualizing what he’s suggested and putting it down on paper. I did have a vintage top hat in the closet, though, so I grabbed that to use as a model. The tricky bit was goggles — I don’t own a single pair! So instead, I took the lids off of two spice bottles, and tied them to the front of my hat with a piece of heavy thread.


Steampunk top hat, final artwork.

And then I started drawing. Having an actual hat in front of me was amazingly valuable – it let me see the shape of the brim, where it touched the table and where it lifted up, and the shape of the crown. It let me see the angle of the “goggles” and how, in three dimensions, they would stand out from the hat itself. And from there, extrapolating the goggle details such as the strapping and the cups at the sides of them  became much easier. You can still see, in this artwork, the ghost of the clock hands that I decided to eliminate from this version – with so much other detail, they became unnecessary, and even cluttered the image.

SteampunkOnce that was done, it was a matter of scanning the image to my computer, and re-working the design in my embroidery software, using this drawing as my guide.  We showed you the final patch last week, but here it is again, the final step in this artwork evolution – our Steampunk Geek Merit Badge!

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