Do I draw?

I was recently asked how I use drawing in my process which made me think.

I am constantly telling myself I need to sketch more however I admit I don't use drawing very much to feed my work and don't have many filled sketchbooks since my student days. Bad practice for an artist!

I do sometimes use sketching when I'm out on walks or on holiday but only for rough ideas and notes. I collect ideas for details such as seed heads, leaves, skies, colours. I take lots of photographs and annotate the most interesting ones with notes on possible fibres and textures for them. When I'm waiting somewhere boring, I collect patterns and shapes in a sketchbook to inform textures and lines in fibre pieces.

Instead of drawing I tend to use small pieces of felt (10cm) to play with ideas and see how fibres work for a particular idea or which fibre will help me construct the texture or shape. I would say this is like sketchbook drawing but in fibre. If I know I've got studio time straight after a walk I can come straight in and get playing with what has inspired me. If not I make notes and scribbles to remind me.

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I sometimes use drawing to work out compositions of larger pieces and play with colour palettes. Very occasionally I'll draw rough outlines on the felt in soft pencil to get the scale, composition and position of key features set before starting with the fibre. Though these lines usually get lost under fibre very quickly they help me get the main structures in.

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So although my answer would instinctively be 'No, I don't use drawing in my work', I guess I actually do use it in my own way!