Here’s Norman

I have written several posts about a collaboration between artists which will result in an upcoming exhibition and a coffee table type book. The original sketches that all of these are based on are by Nanci Williams who works at the store with me. We see a wide diversity of people and fashions. It’s getting closer to the deadline to have all the pieces completed and so I’ve finished one more. His name is Norman.

Practicing Free Motion Stitching

I started with Nanci’s sketch and on the left, you will see an attempt to thread sketch Norman without any guidelines. I could have done him that way but I just seem to get the proportions a bit off. So I decided I would try using colored pencil to trace the sketch and then use that to free motion machine stitch over. So that is the middle piece. He definitely looked better than the first attempt. So now to determine size. I increased the original sketch 180% and that is on the right side of the photo. I had some linen that I had dyed naturally and I can’t remember now what it was dyed with. (Note to self – keep better track of experiments.) I backed it with Osnaberg fabric by fusing it down to the back after I had traced the sketch with “Beige” colored pencil.

Stitching Finished on Norman

Then I free motion stitched him on the machine. Here he is after stitching. I actually really liked him without color but I was persuaded that he needed color.

Colored Portrait of Norman in Stitch and Colored Pencil

So I colored him in with colored pencil. And I’m glad I did. He turned out just like I wanted.

Close Up of Norman

So here’s a little closer view. Since I have one more on the list to do, I decided to make the next one with this same method.  But I didn’t have any more of the fabric. So I dyed some heavier cotton fabric with tea and coffee. I dyed more than I needed and I’m sure that was a mistake because now I want to use the rest of the fabric with three extra sketches. Because of course I have nothing better to do! So I’ll see how many I can get done before the March 1st deadline.

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17 Responses to Here’s Norman

  1. Lyn says:

    Stitched Norman is wonderful! I too liked him without colour…until I saw the finished version.

    Nanci is a very talented artist – she can capture a character with just a few lines!

    I think you were right to use guidelines for your stitching of Norman – his character could have changed dramatically if the proportions were not exact.

    • ruthlane says:

      Thanks Lyn! Nanci is very talented in many ways. I am glad I used guidelines because as you say his character would have definitely changed especially the face.

  2. Marilyn aka Pandagirl says:

    Really nice sketch Ruth. It’s good you were able to develop a method to get the results you wanted. Good luck meeting your deadline.

  3. zedster66 says:

    Norman’s great! I liked him without colour too until I saw it added, it really is amazing to see them come to life 🙂

  4. luvswool says:

    What a fascinating exhibit you and your friends are planning. I wonder if Norman and others will attend and see themselves? It would be fun to have a small video cam taking photos of the visitors.

    • ruthlane says:

      Yes Cathy, I think it will be fascinating. We have gotten some work in from other artists, one painted the figures on wine glasses and the other did a paper/paint/mixed media collage. Most of the people that have been sketched are tourists so doubtful they will be back to see themselves.

  5. Norman is great. I like him both ways. I think he travels a lot. I am sure I have seen him at our farmers’ market. LOL

  6. kwinter12 says:

    Love Norman, especially in colour! As he’s carrying a map I assume he’s a tourist so won’t see his portrait – what a shame!

  7. Leonor says:

    What did you work on, Ruth? Is it cotton fabric? I ask because you said you coloured him with pencil 🙂

    As much as I like the end result, I have to give you special kudos for your first attempt at making Norman without a sketch underneath – it was coming out great! You have an eye for detail 🙂

    • ruthlane says:

      Thanks Leonor. I used linen fabric as a base. I have also made another one with colored pencil on a heavy cotton fabric.

      Thanks about my first attempt. It would have been OK but the proportions would have been off and I think in figures that proportion is very important.

    • Leonor says:

      Oh, linen? How hard was it to colour it, then? Sorry about all the questions 😊

    • ruthlane says:

      Not hard at all. It helps if your colored pencils are fairly sharp. And don’t apologize for the questions. That’s what we”re here for 🙂

    • Leonor says:

      Well, I sure learned something new today! Thanks, Ruth!

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