My embroidery and creative stitching experiences.

A Short Introduction.

I am continuing my studies with Distant Stitch and am very excited about module 2. This module studys tonal values through the theme of animal markings. It was very hard to choose an animal as I am interested in the markings on big cats, elephants and birds. Each of these except for elephants have to be narrowed down again as all species have its own unique set of marks. I did think about looking at panthers but you have to get up really close to see their marks as they are very dark but their colouring and marks are beautiful. However they are a bit on the scary side and although Edinburgh zoo has one I don’t see it posing for me very often!

Panther at Edin. Zoo

Smaller and less dangerous species of bird are more appealing so I have opted for owls. Although there are some beautiful images of owls out there, the  downloadable images don’t have a very high-resolution and it is difficult to see enough detail to be useful. Any helpful suggestions to get around this wee problem would be useful.

Chapter 1 The Study of Tone.

I have started this new module at last! I have used a variety of materials and marks to create columns showing changing tonal values.



When I was looking for images of owls in magazines I came across these images which I thought were delightful!

The mouse is very cute and if they had more interesting markings I could have gone for them!  The sheep are interesting too because these lambs are born black and go through different shades of grey as they mature.


Charcoal and ink marks

On the left hand side (lhs) I used charcoal and blended it so that it got lighter towards the bottom.

On the right hand side (rhs) I used an artists ink pen which has a very nice brush tip. I crosshatched marks from top to bottom getting wider apart.  I had to go over the darker area to make the tone more dense.


oil pastel marks

I made horizontal and vertical lines using oil pastel. The lines in the darker section are closer together.

I was too heavy-handed with this one initially and it was more difficult to make a good variation in gradual, tonal value.

1.4                              1.5

mixed media marks oil and soft pastel pencil marks

Heavy dark marks were made using oil pastel. This was layered over white soft pastel. (1.5, rhs)

Paper was laid on top of this and pencil marks were made. (1.4).

1.5 (lhs) shows the opposite side of the paper where the pencil marks were made (negative image) and the results from pressing into the oils. I would have expected this to show more of the white pastel however the negative image has turned out well.



I used indian ink on both of these images. The lhs shows printed marks using the end of a cotton reel. The ink was a little unpredictable at times as it clogged the bottom and made very heavy marks until the ink was used up. The rhs was made with the same ink but making marks with an artificial feather. I had to dip the feather into the ink at an angle so most of the ink was on one side. I marked the paper from left to right as it was easier to create tonal values this way.


tonal values from papers

On the lhs,I tore black and white images from a photography magazine and organised them to show a change in darker to lighter tones, from top to bottom. There is a sheep and parts of a wedding dress in there! For the rhs I punched out a variety of flowers from ready-made patterned craft papers. Flowery fun!


1.8 IMG_4940

On the left I used black sugar paper. I went over this with water-soluble, black wax crayon, soft white pastel and added white gouache to the bottom to strengthen the white.

The right side shows a rubbing on white paper of the underside of my ironing board. It doesn’t get used for anything else!  I layered a black oil pastel, water-soluble Derwent sketching pencil (HB) and water-soluble white wax crayon. They worked well together and I think the image shows a good transition from dark to light because of this. This was a good start to module two, I am looking forward to chapter 2.


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