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  • Kaaren Poole

Finally Free

Good news! I’ve given up, for the time being (and most likely forever) on my attempt to use Adobe Illustrator to create a repeating toile pattern of hares. It seems doable, but only with a whole lot of hours spent trying to figure out how to do what I would need to do in that complex program. But all is not lost!


Drawing the elements of hares, trees, and floral springs was a lot of fun. Plus, drawing in ink was new for me. I’d always avoided it because I love the range of grays one can get with pencil just by changing the pressure and occasionally switching to a softer or harder lead. But I gave ink a try and I’m glad I did. I’m not sure I’ll use it often, but at least I now have some experience with it.


Oh, but there’s another wrinkle. I used waterproof India ink felt tip pens, so the lines are all uniform thickness. If I’d used a crow quill pen with bottled India ink, I could use varied pressure to change the width of my lines. I’ll have to try that next time I work with ink.


Anyway, once I had all those little drawings, I decided to create a ‘toile style’ art journal spread, so I made several copies of the images in different sizes and got to work arranging them on the page. I 'glued' them down with acrylic matte get medium then covered any parts that had no medium - I wanted a consistent surface to continue to work on.



But what would be next? First, I wanted to add some more ink elements to fill in much of the blank space.



A traditional toile style would have line-work images (usually blue, red, or black) on an off-white background, so I’m mostly there. If, however, I had been able to bring my vision to life in Illustrator, it would have been blue lines on a uniform pale blue background, but leaving the space inside the wreaths encircling two of the hare images white.


In my art journal spread, I could achieve this look, but it would be exceedingly tedious if I had to work all around the jagged edges of those images. But I suppose if I used a sufficiently pale transparent blue I could just wash over the whole page, with the exception of leaving white inside those wreaths. We’ll see.


Anyway, I hope this inspires you in some way. Maybe it will be “oh, I want to try that!” On the other hand, it could be “wow, now there’s something I want to stay away from!”

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