Getting Started on a New Project

Well I had good intentions of finishing other things off first, but I just can’t help start something new! How do you begin a new project? There are lots of ways to get started. Let me show you what I’m doing.

Of course it all depends on the nature of your project. I’m working towards a series of art quilts. They’re going to contain a lot of different imagery so I’m gathering together a variety of reference materials.


I always work in sketchbooks so I start by putting the reference images into my book.


Some images are from magazines, so they get cut out and popped in, but others are from the internet or copies of my own drawings. For these, I like to print them direct to the sketchbook page as it makes them appear more integrated to the book and avoids too much of a ‘scrapbook’ feel. To do this, I tear out a page leaving about half an inch at the spine. This little flap will allow me to glue the page back in. I put the torn out page through my printer (laser or inkjet) and print the image. I find that sketchbook paper works really nicely in my home printer and of course, is so much better quality than cheap copy paper. Once printed on, you can draw and paint on top too.


I like to make notes alongside the images. These might be information about a painting, an artist, notes on technique or imagery etc.


Because I have a lot of old sketchbooks, there are often pages in those which are relevant to a new project. I look through and photocopy the pages and add them to the new book so I have that reference right at hand. In this group of tiger reference images above, the drawing of the eye is a photocopy of a sketch I did in a previous book.


I’m also bringing in images that I’ve drawn on my iPad. The drawing on this page, above, was printed from the iPad and I think should work quite well with the photo reference images.

My tips for getting started:

  • Gather as much relevant visual imagery as you need and assemble it into your book
  • Try printing images direct to the sketchbook paper to help them blend into your book
  • Look through old sketchbooks to find things that might be useful to this new project. Make photocopies (or scan and print at home) and add to your book
  • Add notes if it’s useful to you. Fit them around the images and along the margins.

Hope you’re having a great week. Back soon,