Stitch Brushes

Stitch photoshop brush sampler


For one of the letters (12), there are a lot of references to unraveling, fraying, weaving. Loads of great metaphors around thread and sewing, so felt it appropriate to incorporate this technique into the illustrations for it.

Because the letter is really well articulated and well formed, I didn’t feel I needed to do much in terms of pictures, just forming and layout. I have since changed my mind about this but will go through the process I went through to how I got to that conclusion.

I have been playing with fabric and embroidery thread, trying to create tangles that could be used in a patchwork layout, with text from the letter appearing in alternate squares. I previously played around with surgical spirit in the first module and wanted to bring that back in creating textures that could be replicated digitally. I also used injury tape as a material to work with, creating ripples and textures that could be used as brushes. I also played with creating a turmeric solution, as turmeric is supposed to aid with chronic pain, and used it to dye fabrics.

Here’s the scans of the pages of textures I made playing with these materials. I also wanted to look at embroidery stitches and sketched some using a graphite pencil. I have since turned them into photoshop brushes. Even if I don’t use these in this zine, I think they will be useful in future illustrations. They could even be useful for dividers and cover pages when it comes to the layout design, once I’ve completed the illustrations.]

I also had a go at creating backgrounds with fabric and materials related to health. I used some fabric used for bandages and slings, and used turmeric to dye areas. Turmeric is used to help ease symptoms of chronic pain and stomach issues. I also went back and used surgical spirit with ink to create diffused splodges. I used these to add textures in the sampler above. I wanted to use medical related substances with fabric to keep that connection of health. I probably won’t use these in this set of illustrations, but the idea is there for future images.

I decided that illustrations are required for this text, largely, because there are so many visuals within the text, it would be kind of stupid to not illustrate them. Such lines as: “Another thread comes loose as you tell me I’m too young to be in pain”, “wading against the tide just to keep your brain functioning on a basic level”, “How am I to weave all these loose ends back into something resembling a person?”. There was a strong theme of unravelling, threads coming loose, and felt that by mirroring this in the medium of the illustration, the content doesn’t necessarily have to be too abstract in order to convey the message of the words.

I want to start experimenting with free motion machine embroidery. Being able to recreate line through stitching could translate well in mirroring the words.


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