Friday, September 8, 2017

Pamela Farmer -- A Sketchbook Conversation

Today's Sketchbook Conversation is with Pamela Farmer. Pamela is a freelance surface pattern designer living in the Bay Area of Northern California. She says her work has been described as “quirkily sophisticated.” I hope you'll enjoy getting a peek into her sketchbook and her pattern design process.

Here's Pamela's story:

I’ve been keeping a sketchbook since 2010. It’s a place to play, or to work out ideas for my surface pattern design. Obviously the times when I get into the zone, and cover an entire page in a design are sheer delight. But if I only produce a page of unrelated doodles, that’s original fodder for future designs too. In fact, often I’ll just work on ideas and individual motifs for a pattern, and those will come together in Photoshop or Illustrator.

sketchbooks, Pamela Farmer, Pattern Design, Art Process, Sketchbook Conversations, My Giant Strawberry

sketchbooks, Pamela Farmer, Pattern Design, Art Process, Sketchbook Conversations, My Giant Strawberry

sketchbooks, Pamela Farmer, Pattern Design, Art Process, Sketchbook Conversations, My Giant Strawberry

Recently I’ve been doing the #100daychallenge, and posting my work to Instagram. I chose to work with flowers, and I expect to be done in the next week or so. It’s been fun to see the reactions to my work. It’s helped me to remember that even the simplest designs have a place.

sketchbooks, Pamela Farmer, Pattern Design, Art Process, Sketchbook Conversations, My Giant Strawberry

sketchbooks, Pamela Farmer, Pattern Design, Art Process, Sketchbook Conversations, My Giant Strawberry

I love to work with Winsor & Newton gouache. It’s a totally different experience to approaching a clean page with a pencil and eraser. Spontaneous decisions come easier with a brush in hand. And you can always paint over something that didn’t quite work out. Hand painting brings a lot of richness to a piece that you can’t match with computer aided design.

I also love Copic markers; they flow beautifully, giving surprisingly smooth color for a marker, and the brush tips are especially versatile. (Some of the images I’ve included show the front of one page, with the reverse of the previous one.) The bleed and feathering can be a bit of a problem, but recently I experimented with Live Trace in Adobe Illustrator to make a repeat from one of my Copic marker doodles and found the result to be quite satisfying after just a little finessing.

Often I’ll lay down blodges of color with my Copic markers, and then paint over them with my current gouache palette.The toning colors really make me happy.

sketchbooks, Pamela Farmer, Pattern Design, Art Process, Sketchbook Conversations, My Giant Strawberry

I’ve been working in Blick sketch books or Canson Mix Media pads. Both are hard to get on my scanner, so lately pages have been being pulled out. (Eek!) Ink bleeds through the Blick pages, so you can use only one side, and they aren’t heavy enough for gouache or watercolor. The Canson paper is great for painting on, but I don’t like the big coil that holds the pads together. I guess I’m on the hunt for my next favorite sketchbook; something that lays flat, with paper strong enough to carry wet media.

sketchbooks, Pamela Farmer, Pattern Design, Art Process, Sketchbook Conversations, My Giant Strawberry

I know I’m at my most creative when I’m making art everyday. I’m more engaged, less timid, more inspired to create. As a bonus, I toss aside “mistakes” less often, instead working them until something interesting emerges. Overall I’m just happier! So if you’re starting a sketchbook practice, keep going with it, and sketch sketch sketch!

sketchbooks, Pamela Farmer, Pattern Design, Art Process, Sketchbook Conversations, My Giant Strawberry

Thank you, Pamela for sharing your sketchbooks and your art process with us today!

Dear reader, you can connect with Pamela:




Missed the other Sketchbook Conversations posts? It's easy to catch up at the series web page.

And for even more inspiration, check out my Artist Interviews




*Photos in this post ©Pamela Farmer. Used with permission.

2 comments:

  1. Another great sketchbook conversation, Anne. Pamela's surface designs are beautiful, and her process is very interesting. Thanks for sharing this!

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  2. So glad you enjoyed peeking into Pamela's sketchbooks, Judy!

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