Design:  the action of conceiving and producing a plan for something before it’s made.

Delicious, delectable, delightful design…….I just love it!

I’ve sprinkled this post with examples from my Design Portfolio 2006/7.

Design Portfolio by Cathy Jack Coupland

Focal Point

Any design needs an intention, an aim and an objective.  It must include purpose, passion and ambition.  In other words, you really need to know what you’re doing and why.  By asking myself these questions I’m providing the building blocks for how I’ll work and what limitations I need to have in place, if any.

Design Portfolio by Cathy Jack Coupland

Value change in relation to surrounding hues.

Design Portfolio by Cathy Jack Coupland

Value change








Design is my happy place, but I understand not everyone feels as I do.  The delicious, delectable, delightful design I love, may be daunting, dispiriting and discouraging to others.  I don’t believe design should be taken lightly.  It can be extremely uplifting but it can also be a lot of hard work.  The work I put in now though, right at the very beginning, pays huge dividends down the track, in terms of ease of work, storytelling, compositional factors, appropriate techniques, materials and best of all, colour choices.  This becomes my guide, my blueprint for achieving a successful outcome.  That’s not to say I won’t encounter problems along the way, but I’m trying to alleviate them prior to stitching.  Sometimes a design just doesn’t work, for whatever reason.  It’s scary to change a design once you’ve already begun.  Much better to problem solve as much as possible beforehand.

Design Portfolio by Cathy Jack Coupland

Colour Wheel

My best advice to anyone wanting to design their own work, is to passionately study the Elements and Principles of Design and look at how other artists apply them.

Check out my Pinterest board on The Elements and Principles of Design for inspiration.

Design Portfolio by Cathy Jack Coupland

Colour Schemes

I have numerous books on the topic of design, but my go-to resource is my best-loved, treasured Design Portfolio made about 12 years ago.  Why?  Because it makes sense to me.  Because I have actually drawn or painted  most of the examples.  Because for me to have put it in there, I had to actually understand the concept first.  I immediately see and relate to what I need to understand.  And I still go back to it with great love, affection and even pride.  It’s mine!

I highly recommend creating a Design Journal with examples of how each element and principle can be applied.  It will become your very own design blueprint.

Design Portfolio by Cathy Jack Coupland

Colour and Value

Make it beautiful and pour your heart into it.  No half measures here.  It will mean more to you than any other book you may own or borrow.  That’s how I feel about mine.

A Design Journal/Portfolio is a great resource for anyone wanting to take that first step towards designing their own work.  And I’m still learning….isn’t that amazing?

Design Portfolio by Cathy Jack Coupland