New Project: Tiger (work in progress)

I am embarking on a new piece, and while I’ve often shared works in progress in the different stages of completeness, I’ve rarely shared a lot about my process. So for this piece, I thought I would share a little bit about how I work.

I start with what I call an under painting. Depending on the piece, the painting can be very detailed or just a rough impression of the subject that I will be quilling. For this piece, I made the under painting more detailed even though 95% of the canvas will eventually be covered in quills.

For the quills, I use 8.5 x 11 sheets of card stock in a variety of different colors. I use a paper trimmer cut the paper in to roughly 1/4in thick strips. Depending on the project, I can easily go through dozens of sheets of card stock, each one I cut individually by hand.

Once I get the paper cut and assembled, I’m ready to start quilling. To adhere the quills to the canvas, I use Mod Podge thinned with a bit of water. I use the pallet to pour the glue onto because it gives me a larger, unobstructed surface when I’m working with larger strips of paper or quills. To roll the paper up I alternate between a slotted quilling tool, an cross stick or embroidery needle, or yarn needles each one depending on what kind of coils I’m trying to make.

Every coil starts out as a circle, then I press the coil into different shapes depending on what I need for the piece.

For the Tiger, I’m primarily going to use this squashed ellipses shape through out the canvas.

You can see here how I’m starting to add the quills. I typically like to start around the eye area and work my way outward. I use the painted image as a guide but I don’t necessarily have to follow the painting exactly.


Here is a close up of the quills on the canvas.

Here I’ve gotten a little farther working on either side of the face. When it’s finished, the only parts of the canvas that won’t be quilled will be the eyes and just a bit around the edges.

A piece this size, with the amount of quills that I intend to add to the image, can take anywhere from a few weeks to a couple of months. I will continue to update the page as I progress with the piece.

In the meantime, please enjoy a short time lapse video of working actively being done on the tiger.

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