My Autumn: Templar Publishing: Paper watch project

Templar recently asked UK illustrators to participate in their paper watch project; the watches will then be auctioned in support of Breast Cancer Care. A lovely idea, and one close to my heart, since so many of us are affected by cancer somehow in our lives. I know when my father was ill the support of Macmillan was incredible for my whole family, so I was more than happy to volunteer.

Fundamentally, my work is inspired by nature, so I spent some time sketching out ideas, things that came to mind under the heading of ‘time’, nursery rhymes, stories and since I’m always interested in animals, I found myself thinking about endangered species and their running out of time.

I finally settled on doing something relating to the passing of time in nature. This suits my work well because I love the colours that nature brings, and the passing of the seasons like clockwork. It just so happens I have a piece of work I created for the Affordable Art Fairs entitled Dusk until Dawn. Again, it is inspired by the passing of time, the effects of light and creatures of the night and day. I love the woodland, and so decided to use this piece as the basis to create my watch from.

mini sketchbook29

Being so small I knew this would be a challenge. Also, I was worried about ripping the watch as it’s made of paper. So I started by priming it with some good quality enamel paints to toughen it up a bit. I didn’t really want to draw my design onto it directly as I wanted to capture the detail and subtlety of colour in the leaves of my piece. I also thought it would be better as a 3D paper artwork since leaves are randomly placed in nature and it would act as a sort of bracelet, a multi-function time piece.

From Dawn until Dusk

I wanted to include the butterfly and moth from my work, and the 3D effect meant they would look less static. So I started by working out the size (to A6), cutting out the leaves in Photoshop, and printing the separate elements.

Next the cutting. This was a tricky business as in fact the pieces were tiny, about a centimetre in width. But I found myself reverting back to childhood, as I remembered a book I had where you cut the tiny pieces out to create a theatre set with little dancing animals, (no perforation or die cuts in those days). I had forgotten how much I used to love miniature things, something that would keep me busy for hours, and definitely inspired by my mum who is a fantastic seamstress and makes tiny dolls house quilts and crocheted blankets.

Paper watch 1

Once I had all my tiny pieces, the fun could begin creating the collage. I then varnished the watch several times, again to ensure it could take some wear and to hold the pieces in place securely.

Paper watch 2

I spray painted the back, which was fraught with danger, since you never know with spray paint where the little droplets will fly. I also did this because I wasn’t happy about the white backs of the leaves. (But I really should do this in advance next time).

Finally, after all these applications, of glue, paint and varnish, I left the piece to dry for as long as possible, while I decorated the case.

And here it is in all its glory.

Paper watch 3

I hope you like my autumnal, seasonal, nature inspired paper ‘watchlet’, and hope it raises lots of money for Templar and their chosen cancer charity. If you’re interested in seeing more of my work you can find images about my processes on Instagram and Twitter: @sarahundart and also on Facebook:

And here are the links to the whole project where you can view the work of all the fabulous illustrators involved: and you can follow them on Twitter under: @templarbooks


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