Activity 2.1.3


Activity 2.1.3

  • Collecting words and letters for inspiration.
    Begin to collect examples of text. Search newspapers and magazines, advertising materials, old greetings cards etc and cut out those which appeal to you. Paste them in your sketch book.
  • Take your camera with you when you are out and about and take shots of letters and numbers in the environment. It could be a signpost, a house sign, numbers on a bus, direction signs at the station, labels in the market, posters pasted on a window. Begin to look for interesting shapes and colours. Choose your favourites, print and paste into your sketch book. 

Right, let’s get this show on the road again! I have had a break because my mother was ill, and I dashed off in a hurry, and spent weeks looking after her. Fortunately, she is much better now, so I’m sorting out the rest of Module 2, Chapter 1, which was more or less done, but couldn’t be posted because I had no access to the internet.

This activity is the one about searching through magazines and such like for text that inspires you. However, I seem to have gone off at a bit of tangent, and all sorts of lettering has appeared – print, handwriting, inscriptions on monuments, painted tiles and all sorts of oddments like alphabet rubbers and alphabet spaghetti. And somehow the whole thing has merged into 2.1.4 (the one about recycled paper), and I’ve amassed all sorts of cuttings, books, photos and object, which keep getting muddled up together, even though I keep trying to sort them out. Some of them are things I like, and some are things I found interesting or quirky.

I’ve tried to display them artistically, with notes about  the history of some things, and what I’ve done, but I must remember that I need to write more clearly on decorated surfaces. I went over some of my handwritten text in darker colours, with varying degrees of success – some of them look a bit fuzzy.

But I have remembered to scan pages on to the computer at a higher resolution, which should make the images better. But they are still not that wonderful, and the colour reproduction is very poor on the whole. Either I’m doing something wrong, or I need a decent printer. Anyway, here we go. First up, an explanation of what I’m doing, which is really notes for myself, but I’ve included the pages here anyway.

Inspiration 1a

inspiration 2


The next two are self explanatory I think:

inspiration 3

inspiration 4

And so is this, written with a white Uni-ball on black paper:

inspiration 5

And here I’ve used a silver pen on black pen, but my writing is not to be compared with the wonderful lettering produced by the 12th century scribe who worked on the Mappa Mundi:

inspiration 6

The sketchbook pages still speak for themselves… And I couldn’t resist including something from an old decorated manuscript, because pages like this are so beautiful:

inspiration 7

inspiration 8

I love the lettering on these tiles in Postman’s Park, which is one of those hidden corners of London, and is one of my favourite spots in the city. I like the way each tells a story, however brief it may seem, because each story is true, and I love the whole rather grandiose concept of a monument to heroic self-sacrifice – I’m sure only the Victorians could have thought of this:

inspiration 9

inspiration 10

Another tile, but this one has been photographed and turned into a card, which I’ve mounted so I can still open it, and the mounting unfolds as well, so I could print a bit about the artist:

inspiration 11

inspiration 12


I made a collage on the page below, with bits cut out from a nursery rhyme book – the font and illustrations for each rhyme have been designed to match the words and feeling, and it’s all so jolly. and so well done, I’m sure it would inspire a love of words, poems and stories in any child, as well as a love of colours, lettering and pictures. I used children’s fancy-edged scissors to cut the pieces. I couldn’t resist including the mouse – I think he’s gorgeous!

Inspiration 14

Next is a bit of an oddity – the pages are about an Elizabethan painted room, which includes text passages, and I’ve included it because it’s so unusual:

Inspiration 15

Inspiration 16

Another collage… Logos and brand names this time:


And this (below) is my ‘Mother of the Bride’ goody bag that Lucy, my elder daughter, made to hold favours at her wedding. She bought little paper carrier bags (I’ve scanned it in lying on a sheet of A4 paper, to give an idea of the size), and she painted one for each guest – all with lavender on the front and the person’s name in purple writing, which is why I’ve included it here. She and her husband made up little gifts to put in each bag, and also asked me to stitch embroidered heart-shaped lavender bags, which took a lot longer than I planned (all in shades of purple, and each one slightly different), but was very enjoyable, and very soothing – the wedding was back in February, and the house stills smells of lavender! Anyway, I am using my bag to store a selection of postcards, bookmarks and other bits and pieces, all bearing some kind of lettering.

lucy lavender

I’m leaving it at that! I seem to have so many bits and pieces, and photographs and stuff, I think I’ll just try and use some of them as I go along! And I don’t think I’ve got any photos of shops – shops are usually boring, and they’re nearly all part of national chains, with a brand image. What I like is signs, milestones, notices on monuments, gravestones, really old shop or advertising signs, and stuff like that – mementos of places I’ve been to or know and love. So that’s what I’ve got.






8 responses »

  1. Hi Chris
    Got an WordPress email stating that you wished permission to access my blog ( I had decided not to use WordPress and am using blogspot instead. I am currently also working on Module 2 of Creative Sketchbooks but haven’t posted anything for that Module yet. That’s tomorrow’s homework. I am trying to get a journal cover stitched for our Needlearts guild for Thursday so have been neglecting the C.S. work. Send me your email address and I will add you to my blog reader list so that you can access my blog. Mary Ann


      • Absolutely. I don’t give emails away unless I have permission. Will get you set up tomorrow. Also hope to go through your blog a little more closely – behind on my reading too! Question – is The google in your email actually written out or is it gmail?


      • It is written out. I get behind on everything these days. Never used to when I was working on the paper – I always hit my deadlines. I’ve got a couple of bits I want to add in to 2.1.3 later today, and a photo for 2.1.4, and then I’ve got a pile of handwriting-covered paper to finish sorting out for the start of Chapter 2 (I did some of that while I was looking after my mother while she was ill, so I used what I had to hand, and I’m trying to neaten it up a bit). Then, hopefully, I’m back on track and should be able to crack on with the rest of the chapter.


  2. Doesn’t take much to get behind. So easy to get sidetracked too when doing the exercises! Why not try this …or that…maybe this. Hope your mom is doing better now.


  3. Hi Chris, what super work! Your enthusiasm and fertile imagination just shine out of the screen. I’m doing the Embroidery Certificate course and we are also looking at lettering in Module 4. You’ve sparked off lots of ideas in my head and things I want to try. Thanks for sharing your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. Part of my reason for doing this course was to see how ideas could be translated into designs for embroidery and textiles, and after looking at other people’s blogs I can see how this works. You can apply the same basic information about colour, pattern, mark making, line etc, but use different materials and tools. Thank you for visiting my blog.


  4. Hi Chris
    Have had a chance to look through your blog. It is just so informative and lovely to read your thought processes. I’m afraid I’m rather terse and don’t provide a lot of documentation. I may take a chapter out of your book and start a separate documentation journal in a smaller size to keep thoughts in as I work. I tend to forget them as I finally get to the blog. Enjoyed it so much. Mary Ann


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