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Cartooning Weaving Technique: How to weave a picture on a loom
Posted on: 9 Aug, 2019
tapestry cartoon


Weaving an image on the loom can be created free hand or with a sketched plan, or also known as a tapestry cartoon. By drawing a simple line drawing and placing it under or next to the loom you can easily follow its map of the weaving.

In this tutorial I will teach you how to make a cartoon for weaving through weaving two different types of images of a rubber plant leaf. One uses a cartoon, while the other explores the using no cartoon but some color exercises instead.

Instructions for tapestry cartooning

tools needed:

a drawing tool (an ink pen, pencil, etc.)



stable surface (a table, cardboard, etc)

How to make a cartoon for weaving images?

cartooning weaving images pictures

A tapestry cartoon can be used for weaving abstract to realistic images or concepts. A cartoon is not to limit your weaving, and can always be edited to fit the project.

Above: My goal of this exercise was to weave a rubber plant leaf with a cartoon. I think that the image would have been clearer if I has used perhaps a higher density of warp yarns or worked on a larger scale. But, overall I am pleased with the result. I tried to focus on the cartoon while weaving but took a few artistic liberties, especially when I knew I couldn’t fit all the details into the piece.

Step 1: Prepare a drawing tool and a piece of paper that is the size of the area of weaving.

Step 2: Draw the outline of the image.

cartooning weaving images pictures

Step 3: Add detail or notes to signal texture or color changes in the weaving. This can also include interlocking or slit methods you want to use in these sections.

cartooning weaving images pictures

Step 4: Attach the cartoon to a fixed surface. This could be the table or wall behind your work or you could attach the cartoon to the back of the frame loom using tape and cardboard.

Step 5: Adjust the drawing in place at a suitable height and begin weaving.

cartooning weaving images pictures

For small pieces, I have found it helpful to be able to move the cartooning and compare what I have woven to the plan. Depending if you want to stick strictly to the plan, you can also use the cartoon loosely.

cartooning weaving images pictures

cartooning weaving images pictures

Must you use a cartoon for weaving images?

No, you must not. Images can be created in a free hand or free style manner. Especially when creating abstract pieces, you can be your own guide.

Remember, cartooning is used to guide the weaver in size, proportion, and placement of the woven shapes.

How to weave with out a tapestry cartoon?

cartooning weaving images pictures

Above: In this weaving exercise, I did not want to use a cartoon but rely on the essence of the plant. My focus was to focus on the movement and color interaction between the various shades found on a rubber plant leaf.

Although I did not use a cartoon to weave this, I could of created a cartoon for this before weaving and used it. Working at such a small scale for this exercise it was not too difficult to manage this. However working at a larger scale with many colors, it could be a good idea to use a cartoon to help track movement and color placement.

Step 1: Think about your concept of the weaving.

Some things to consider:

form– (What shapes or forms are created? geometric, abstract, free flowing, etc)

size– (How much space does each image or shape take up? large, small, etc)

composition– (Where are the shapes placed through out the piece?)

color– (What color palette is used? I wrote an extensive color guide on this post, Weaving color Color Pallete)

Below: I wanted to weave a loose image of a rubber plant leaf. My concept focused on the movement and line work present in the leaf. Often the rubber plant has 3 or 4 colors splattered on it, making for beautiful natural patterns and compositions. I wanted to capture this. So my focus was not to follow an exact plan, rather experiment with color, composition and form.

cartooning weaving images pictures

cartooning weaving images pictures

Step 2: Decide how to connect the shapes used.

Different weaving techniques can affect the appearance of an image. Using warp and weft interlocking methods give structure to the weaving. Weaving slits give a seamless appearance between color blocks and images. Mixing interlocking and slit weaving methods can create a dynamic piece.

You can find a full tutorial on these three weaving techniques on this post, Weaving Techniques.

Below: Using a mixture of both interlocking methods and slit weaving changed the manner that the colors flowed together and created separation.

cartooning weaving images pictures

Step 3: Weave shapes in place.

Weaving shapes and structures as you go can be helpful for mapping out where you want to weave. Often when I am weaving, I like to weave a few sections ahead to see how certain colors or shapes might fit into the weaving.

TIP: Weaving ahead or behind parts already woven can disturb these sections. So be careful removing and adding the yarn.

Below: After ever section, I tested the color and placement of the new set of colors by weaving a few rows ahead of the previously woven sections. Some weft yarns loosened up because of the movement of the warp yarns. So, its important to check the tension of the weft yarn as you continue weaving.

cartooning weaving images pictures

cartooning weaving images picturesConclusion

Tapestry cartooning is a helpful tool for planning your next weaving project. Although there is nothing wrong with weaving with out a plan, cartooning can be an option for weavers of all levels to weave with more structure and strategy.

I hope that this post has helped answer your questions about cartooning! Thank you for visiting my website.

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