Speed Drawing

Drawing is often considered as a dirty word by many textilers – something they feel they have to do at the beginning of a project, but are not really sure how it helps … exploring source material … I can feel the shoulders dropping now with a huge sigh/groan!

But fear not, drawing need not be side-lined and just the starting blocks of a project, let’s aim to make it the back bone instead. Let’s change the pace of the way you work, we’ll change the scale and take away the need for realism in drawing … that ‘oh but mine doesn’t look right’ thought!

  • Choose objects to observe – treat this as the first stage to drawing. Try not to anticipate and imagine what a drawing of that group of objects would look like, instead select objects for their meaning and story.
  • Arrange your objects and make a viewing window – start with a small 4 x 4 cm window cut from the centre of an A4 piece of paper. Moving your window around select an interesting composition, every much as you would compose within the view finder of a camera. You should see this as the second stage of drawing … you are composing … that’s drawing!
  • Below are a series of drawing exercises, work on the largest paper you dare [min A1!!!]. Aim to stand while doing these as you will have a larger range of movement and arm extension. Work 4/5 of the drawing exercises directly over one another – on the same piece of paper aim to touch each edge of the paper with your image.
  • Work with a different drawing media each time; permanent marker, pencil, graphite stick, biro, fine liner, large brush & dye/ink, wax crayon, charcoal, etc., etc.
  • Between each exercise change your view finder position and rotate your paper




  • Study your objects for 2 minutes – stare, imagine yourself moving in and out of all the curves & details….what can you remember??  Cover the objects and draw.
  • Continuous line drawing: keeping your eyes on your subject matter, you must keep your pen in contact with the paper [without looking at your drawing]. Time yourself – 2 minutes max. and repeat….try the same thing with you other hand!!
  • ….try more on my DRAWING FOR TEXTILES Online workshop…


It’s vital that you review the stunning marks you have created – using masking tape, paper windows or your camera identify areas of interest – whether for the varying quality of marks, the composition or the new structures that have materialised. Be aware that this ‘identification’ is also drawing.

You show now have sheets of exciting surfaces and marvellous marks. You may see a sense of energy in the mark making or possibly a sensitivity that is a reflection of your chosen subject matter.

WELL DONE In a relatively short space of time you have generated a vast amount of work – you’ve evaluated it and selected areas to progress with.  Let me know how it goes and send in your images.

If you would like to know more and learn how to progress to the next stage join a DRAWING FOR TEXTILES online workshop.