Welcome to Week 4!! The theme for this week is having fun! You have put in a lot of hard work observing and experiencing and drawing your garden and this week I invite you to work intuitively - to respond to the tasks with a sense of play - to look for colour and joy - to take pleasure in cutting and sticking and pattern making - in essence to find your flow.

This may mean you go off at a tangent - let your inner artist lead you. Trust your own intuition. Take pleasure in the journey and if it's not bringing pleasure - switch to a different task!

Over the last few weeks we have aimed to produce quantity - to push through different techniques and get you experimenting. We can't get to the play stage - we cant extract and abstract until we have lots of source material to take those shapes from. In my sketchbooks there is a balancing act between observation and intuitive creation. Some pages seem naive and the shapes are childlike - other pages are tonal, well observed and true to life. The challenge takes us back to the question of asking ourselves what our sketchbook is for?


Is your sketchbook a creative endeavour in it's own right? An endpoint in itself? Did you come on this course so you could develop new source imagery for textiles or paintings? Do you want to use your drawings to create pattern based work? You will all have different answers. 

By this stage I hope you have forgotten the fear of the white page, the fear of getting it wrong. I hope you are enjoying the process and can see your book developing and filling with colour. I hope that you have busted through negative self-talk and drowned out those inner negative voices. But most of all I hope that you have learnt to stay curious!

The focus this week is about adding to your pages and working into your sketchbooks allowing juxtapositions to occur that can initiate new ideas. It's about keeping your faith with the layering - it's also about being daring - embracing the accidents that happen along the way. 

Keep the mantra 'What happens if....'. This might lead to:

What happens if I deconstruct my sketchbook and stitch the pages together to make a paper quilt?

What happens if I stick in new pages made of fabric?

What happens if I cut the pages, cut through the pages or stitch the pages together? 

What happens if I paint over the images that I hate and start another drawing?

What happens if I add pressed flowers or make 'ink' from rose petals?

Remember that your book evolves - you find your flow - and once you do, don't stop - paint up the pages of another sketchbook and keep going! Respond to what went well respond to what you enjoyed, what ink was your favourite? That smudge of pink that was an accident? Recreate that centre-stage on a page and draw over it. Stay curious!

You will know by now that I love layering, colour and texture - but there is still room for pattern!!

I add pattern with collage papers, with cut outs and with printing. I offer a course called 'Print' that covers designing your own stamps but I could't not show you a few ideas here.

This is where we can take abstract pattern and create an overall design. it's where we can use strong shape and colour.

In the tutorial you will see me using craft foam which you can get here and Tim Holtz ink pads which I cant recommend enough! They come in fantastic colours and last for years. I will also be using the humble potato and some leaves - after all this is a garden sketchbook course!

I am a textile designer by training and follow many print designers and pattern makers. I like simple marks and bold shapes. 

Designers who inspire me are: 

Lotta Jansdotter

Skinny Laminx

Orla Kielly

Cambridge Imprint

Hannah Nunn

I have put together a Pattern inspiration board on Pinterest that you can look at for pattern inspiration.

Books on pattern that I refer to are:

Print & Pattern - Bowie Style - she has a great design blog here.

Orla Kielly - Pattern

The Pattern Sourcebook: A Century of Surface Design - Drusilla Cole (checkout ebay for second hand copies)

Let's move on to the last set of tasks......


Helen Hallows


Nurturing Creativity since....

© 2009-2020 Helen Hallows

Copyright of all art works remains with the artist Helen Hallows 

Online course content, blog posts and all design and written content remains the intellectual property of Helen Hallows. Please do not reproduce without permission. All rights reserved. 



Nottingham, UK

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