Featured post

Copyright for all text and images @bellabow.studio

Sketchbook - Coughton Court, image step-by-step


  1. I learned Karen's process during Sketchbook Skool Revival and was more taken with it than I anticipated. But I have a difficult time envisioning the end product so where I placed my tape and stickers and bits of painted papers did not produce a background that said anything to me in terms of sketching over. In fact, I loved the results as they were so much that I found myself in the same boat as I often do with a piece of manipulated hand-dyed fabric - so beautiful on its own that I don't want to "ruin it" by adding on top of it. I need to get over that. :-) It helps to see how you started with an idea of what you wanted in the end and see the step by step of how you added things to get there.

    1. Hi IB, I think it's an important part of the process to do those initial layers without any thoughts as to how it will fit in to your intended sketch. I just stuck things on to give a pleasurable array in itself, using tickets, paper bags, bits of text from a visitors leaflet etc. I truly didn't even look at the building I was going to sketch until most of the stages had finished. I put in a skyline of the building as my first part of the image, and then roughly added the rest. I knocked back with gesso and posca quite a bit at all stages of the drawing. That's not to say I'm happy with it particularly but I enjoyed the process and the freedom this way of working gave me.

    2. That's interesting, would not have guessed it wasn't more planned out. I did two of these backgrounds, the second because I had a better handle on the process, and neither one have much there that suggests a taking off point for citiscapes as hers do. I know I can do some knocking back of some areas and additions in others but it amused me that there were partss that I wanted to show more and got too covered up! Oh well - I had a lot of fun with it and may get back to trying it again, now that I've seen yours. :-)

    3. I havent really seen a lot of Karen Stamper's work (must google!) but I'm guessing this is a style she has developed over time. I was drawn to it, and indeed the Kemshall's methods of collage, by the fun of cutting, sticking and gesso making textural and coloured backgrounds. At the moment, none of that background informs the finished sketches, but I'm sure that will come with practise if I let the process develop. As it's a new thing for me, I'm trying lots of ideas out, but then I guess I'll move on to something else and just allow this to pop up as and when. To me, these pieces seem very heavy - not overworked exactly - but too much going on. My mission (should I choose to accept it) will be to lighten up a bit!