Millie’s sketchbook

Just before Christmas my blog was about my niece, Millie, and the Christmas card she made for a local competition. 

She has always loved making things with me but has recently shown a real interest in designing rather than just making. Some of this was prompted by her finding a sketchbook belonging to one of my ex students. She was inspired by it so much she asked to start one of her own. 

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I gave her an A5 ring bound sketchbook I already had although I was a bit wary as it is a Rowney one and originally cost me over £5! For her first task I showed her how to create a mood board. She is particularly interested in fashion so she used that as a focus. She chose a selection of images, and then used words, paint charts and fabrics to illustrate the detail in the designs she had chosen. I showed her how to tear paper rather than always cut it, and how to consider the layout of a page. Millie quickly picked up the things she was being shown and we both agreed her first sketchbook entry looked great. 

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On her next visit Millie was keen to carry on with her sketchbook but I didn’t expect her to be quite as engaged and focused as she was. She literally spent the whole day working on it, and I don’t think she would have even stopped for breaks if I hadn’t insisted!

We carried on with the mood board theme but this time focused on colour and I showed her how to select images and words based on a colour theme rather than their content. 

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We then extended this to consider how a designer can use an image to inspire their colour scheme. She selected yarns that represented colours in an image she liked. 

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I then showed her how to melt plastic bags to create a new material. Millie loved this technique and it introduced her to using the iron. 

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She produced another page for her sketchbook as well as a piece of melted plastic she could use to create a ‘drawing’ with. To do this Millie created a paper template for a skirt and cut it out in the plastic. She then created a top to go with the skirt out of fabric. 

The last thing she did for the day was some fashion drawing. She was quite wary about this as she finds it difficult to draw. I showed her how using a fine liner pen can make even a poor drawing look good. She wasn’t keen to do this at first as she was worried about making mistakes but I explained that being a designer is all about making mistakes. I showed her some resources I have that help you draw and she used these to create a skirt drawing. I also gave her some of my expensive pens and colouring pencils to use!

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Millie literally spent a whole day doing all of this work and wouldn’t have stopped when she did if her mum hadn’t come to pick her up! She stayed very focused for the whole day and was very keen to learn and picked up new ideas quickly. Her care doing her work and attention to detail was impressive. She needed her confidence boosting at times when things were new, especially with the drawings, but was prepared to have a go. The work she produced was of a really high standard and showed real potential, in fact just as much as the ex student’s sketchbook that triggered her interest (and that student was many years older than her). 

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After her busy day I decided her interest seemed so strong that I would buy her some of the things she would need to do this type of work at home for her up and coming birthday e.g. a portfolio, good drawing pens, good colouring pencils and presentation papers. I also bought her a book that just has loads of ideas for different fashion items. The book is aimed at youngsters interested in fashion drawing and has a simple layout. The drawings can be traced or used as a starting point to guide your own drawings.  

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Millie will be visiting over half term so I am expecting more time working hard on her sketchbook!  

See more of Millie’s design and make adventures!


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