Last month, I attended a thumbnail sketch workshop, done my Tansy Hargan, of the UK. She did a tour of California, and offered classes from San Diego up to San Francisco. Since I’m a fan, I jumped at the chance to learn from her.
If you haven’t heard of her, I found her on Instagram, with posts like these:
She creates the mixed-media image tiles, and then later creates fabric tiles that are inspired from her journals.
Her work is so inspiring! I’m fascinated with her process for creating those colorful tiles on paper, so when I heard she was coming to California, I jumped on the chance to go to one of her workshop.
In San Francisco for the day
She held one workshop at the cemetery, at St. Dolores Mission, in San Francisco. Since I live not too far from SF, a day trip is very doable, especially since my pal Pamela was joining me.
I had never been to Mission Dolores. The cemetery is beautiful. I forgot to take pictures to show you some general characteristics, but I’m sharing these creative commons, Flikr photos.
Tansy was lovely—very approachable, and happy to share and guide us in leaning to find interesting imagery.
Here’s one of me looking mightily perplexed. How exactly am I supposed to do this?–I was probably thinking.
Here is another close up of some of Tansy’s blocks. Sometimes she adds scraps of collaged paper before she paints. Each one is so different, but there is a theme. I also love how she takes notes around the blocks.
She said that a good way to go, is to start with a series of, say, 4 to 6 blocks in one sitting. You choose your location and then look for color themes and repeating patterns. Start with pen/pencil line drawings. You are not sketching. It seems to me you were drawing impressions. You are conveying an idea from a tiny snippet of an area.
We borrowed these boards to work on. In the photo above, at the very top, you can see that viewfinder holes have been cut out of the wood. This allows you to look through a size or shape to really narrow down what you want to focus on.
So, here are mine. I decided to work on 6 blocks. They are tiny, and a bit monochromatic, but I feel like I succeeded on picking a theme and illustrating that. They are overly simple, but I wanted to get the basic idea that Tansy was trying to get us to understand. I think I accomplished that.
I hope to work on more in the future. I like the idea of sitting somewhere outside, quietly watching what goes on around me, and make these little blocks that I can color or embellish. It’s like a visual diary, and it looks like it will be so rewarding when I’ve got a collection of them.