Week 16: Lacrosse Kids


Sketches: Scanned, manipulated and printed on collage paper

This week I had a lot of fun sketching my 8-year-old son and his teammates at lacrosse practice. To provide some more versatility, I scanned the drawings and vectorized them in Illustrator. I could then scale them up and down, flip or reflect the images, and move them around to fill the page.  When I had a good variety of figures in different sizes, I printed them out onto various natural fiber collage papers.  I saved the digital file to be manipulated later for pattern design applications.

Beginning the collage with a painted ground

Next I prepared a painted ground for the collage, using colors inspired by the playing fields: the bright spring greens and yellows of new grass, the red-brown of the Virginia clay, and the deep green of the established turf.  I let the color push and pull the space around to create a place for the figures to play. I used fluid acrylics and kept it loose and playful. Observing kids is always a great reminder to just have fun and be in the moment, no matter what you are doing.

Playing with the placement of paper figures

Once the ground was dry, I began playing with the placement of figures. I like to tear the collage elements rather than using scissors, to create more organic and interesting shapes. I also chose to use two different colored papers this time. This brilliant orange paper is similar to the color I always use as an underpainting on the panels. Often you will see this orange underpainting showing through the paint layers as a warm glow.

In the final composition, I added jersey numbers. To keep the piece more personal, I actually went up to my son’s closet and pulled out all his old jerseys from the last three seasons of football and lacrosse (First through Third Grade), and used the numbers he had actually worn. I could still hear myself cheering for him, “Go Number 9!”

Lacrosse Kids, acrylic collage, 12 x 12

Here is a detail that shows the loosely painted surface with its drips and smears, the ragged edges of the torn paper, sketches of players and numbers, plus the diagram of the playing field articulated by ink lines drawn right onto the panel.

Detail, Lacrosse Kids, acrylic collage, 12 x 12

After working through the handmade collage, I switched gears and got back on the computer. In Illustrator, I cleaned up the sketchy figures just slightly to make them a bit more legible and simplified, while still retaining the hand-drawn feel.  I then added some red jerseys, more numbers, and played with the size and scale of the motifs. If I were to develop this further (which I plan to do!), I might experiment with a wider color palette and more depth and layers to the background. Here is the start of a pattern design that might be great for bedding in my kid’s room or maybe boy’s pajamas!

A first draft for Lacrosse Kids pattern design

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7 thoughts on “Week 16: Lacrosse Kids

    • I had so much fun with this one! The integration of art, design, and life felt so good. I think that is what I really wanted out of this project. Reflecting on my adolescence as a violin playing artist athlete made me laugh and remember that it is OK to just do what you love and be your authentic self. Our identities are in our own hands and need not conform to the usual molds. I want to teach my son this, but also needed reminding myself. This is one of the most important ideas of My Suburban Life. What is a creative life in the suburbs really like? What is a Suburban Artist Mom in America? There are millions of answers, all surprising, unique and different.

  1. Laurie, you continue to amaze me with your artistic talent and descriptive writing to get across your inner self. I really loved this entry, Lacrosse Kids, because we all seem to love this sport
    so much and because it touched on your precious son, Max,
    and his friends. I miss all of you. Come for a visist real soon.

  2. Pingback: Week 17: Backyard | My Suburban Life

  3. Can I buy the lax draft sketch for my nephew? I love reading and seeing your artistic process. It is inspiring and uplifting!

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