Celebrate. Commemorate and Comment

Civil Rights.


From a starting point I wanted to illustrate the poem ‘I Know what the Caged Bird Feels’, by Paul Laurence Dunbar which follows:

I know what the caged bird feels, alas!

When the sun is bright on the upland slopes;

When the wind stirs soft through the springing grass,

And the river flows like a stream of glass;

When the first bird sings and the first bud opes,

And the faint perfume from its chalice steals –

I know what the caged bird feels!

I know why the caged bird beats his wing

Till its blood is red on the cruel bars;

For he must fly back to his perch and cling

When he fain would be on the bough a-swing;

And a pain still throbs in the old, old scars

And they pulse again with a keener sting –

I know why he beats his wing!

I know why the caged bird sings, ah me,

When his wing is bruised and his bosom sore, –

When he beats his bars and he would be free;

It is not a carol of joy or glee,

But a prayer that he sends from his heart’s deep core,

But a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings –

I know why the caged bird sings!

This poem has great significance during the Civil Rights movement and was the source of inspiration

for Maya Angelou autobiography ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.’

The following are a series of sketches that were attempts to outline this idea:




As this project progressed I found that the significance that I was hoping to achieve was getting lost in the renderings, I therefore shelved this idea and progressed onto a more celebratory piece of work that could be visualised as a final piece. During my research I was struck by the use of the slogan ‘I Am A Man’ and was a potent declaration of independence. This was used prolifically by campaigners of the Civil Rights movement. The question ‘Am I Not a Man?’ was brought up during a landmark trial by the US Supreme Court vs Dred Scott regarding the status of slaves in 1857. During the trial this slogan was uttered by Dred Scott. It was then reproduced during protests promoting justice, humanity and freedom. I then planned a series of illustrations around this and other slogans from the civil rights movement with depictions of protests and important figures such as Martin Luther King and Malcolm X.



Further sketches of ideas:



The challenge was to create a series on montages that once complied together convey a unified composition of themes. In this instance it was the juxtaposition between protest. The children represent the innocence of conflict, caught in the middle, whereby the black rights activists stand tall, with their hands in their pockets, as a contrast to the police that are armed with batons and gas masks. These renderings were drawn from the Voting March in Selma, Alabama of 1965.


Critical Reflection:

The final result of this project were two final pieces. Each four feet long that illustrated a celebration of black history and a commemorative acknowledgement to the protests of the time. Not confined to just the 1960’s there are further references to the current black history including the Rodney King riots of 1992 and the Black Lives Matter campaigns. The aesthetics of the two pieces are very reflective to the style of illustration that I would characterise as my own. With the freedom of space to render these images I was able to exploit my frenetic pencil style and I really enjoyed doing this. In addition to composing each section into an overall montage I carefully utilised my research into a thoughtful and considered final piece of illustrative art that I am very proud of.




Research of Capatalism

The Ism I chose was Capitalism. With each book various idioms were contextualised about the nature of capitalism and how it is represented as both an economic doctrine and a functional strata of society. I was initially intrigued by the concepts of what capital and money represent. Each book highlighted the origins and placement of wealth and with differing historical backgrounds.

I found this brief would have to visualise the many different perspectives of capital to an audience without words. During this part of the process I explored how to incorporate easily identifiable signifiers as a means of representation. I discovered an old Vanity Fair cover that used the financial times as part of a collage denoting the difference between the rich and the poor.

Starting Development

At each stage I tried to utilise some components that I felt translated capital. For example I printed off £50 notes and Dollar Bills and then explored various ideas around cuto out imagery. Above was an attempt at creating the Comedy and Tragedy masks as money. As I progressed with this idea I realised that this did not communicate sufficiently the Ism of choice. In turn I abandoned this concepts and re focused on a more abstract series of imagery.


With this development I played around with identifiable characters, such as the Monopoly Man and a cartoon interpretation of Superman, which I re-created as a superior banker. I felt that I could communicate an overall aesthetic using clean images with a collage of cut out money. I found that I couldn’t plan how each idea would materialise. It appeared more as an accident. By placing the cut out on the paper I illustrated around the collage and then turned it into a concept.

For example, the Monopoly man walking the bull from Wall Street original consisted of the bull on a blank piece of paper on which I then drew

Final Outcomes





This was an enjoyable brief to engage with. I developed an illustrative style that I felt could communicate the Ism without dialogue and in the most succinct manner possible. I utilised key signifiers of the subject to further confound this message and overall felt I achieved this. Each rendering offers a different perspective of capitalism and using the research as a foundation to this subject I created a small body of work that succeeds at conveying the brief.


Independent Project Two

Independent Project Two

For my second personal project I decided to adapt and finalise projects that I have previously been working on in my spare time. The three main subjects for exploration were:

Ismail the Mouse

Grand Parade

Shadowboy Revisited.


Underneath my kitchen sink there lives a mouse in an old tuna can. He told me that he has come from a dangerous place and that his journey was long and perilous.


He doesn’t speak English very well so I drew his journey the best I can. He is worried that people will be afraid of him because to them he is a strange little creature from a dangerous place….we will have to wait and see.


Over the course of the summer I started working on this idea of a silent comic. Condensed into four pages I illustrated the journey of this mouse and the world he had left behind. I used one Prussian Blue pencil and a discarded sketch pad that I found in the studio at the end of last year. The story is that of Ismail the mouse who had to leave his country because of dangerous forces only to arrive in a city only to be considered as the dangerous one.

Final Outcome

Finished Book


Of all the projects I decided to attempt this was the closet I got to a finalised product, however feedback has suggested that it is too subtle to be a silent comic and needs captions to further illustrate the story.

As part of a sequential study I feel that the narrative reads quite well, if time is spent studying the images, and the overall effect is a stylised and interesting piece of work. There were many suggestions regarding where the story should go and I feel confident that this narrative could carry forward into a final conclusion.

Grand Parade

I started a field project of documenting Grand Parade. Throughout the term for 2-3 hours a week  I continued this illustrative exercise using a sketchbook made in Book Arts last year.  I started from Market Street gradually working down to Edward Street which is where I finished by the end of Semester One. My intention is to continue until my second year is complete.

Grand Parade is perhaps one of the last streets to be gentrified in Brighton. There is a stark contrast to the Parade. Below we have the seedy and dirty street yet when we look up there is the majesty of the Edwardian and Victorian vistas.

 Start 3rd October 2016


Production of Artwork

Creating a product out of the original artwork was complex. The entire work ran a length of 15 feet when laid out as one piece of work. I had to devise a way of creating a book that did not compromise the integrity of the work and also presented the street as I had intended, which was as one continuous parade.

I scanned in the original sketches into Photoshop and made several master-files that could then be imported into Indesign and then constructed into a layout design that could then be made into a book. Once this was completed I then created a small dummy to test the folds of the pages so it could then be pulled out as one piece of work.




Creating a Masterfile

The masterfiles were complied into Photoshop as one continuous piece of work. Each one consisted of splits where the sketch book had been scanned in. I then had to re align the artwork so the joins could not be seen. I then tried to make the folds of the book align with this aspect so it wouldn’t be too noticeable in the final product.

Several attempts were made at trying to get this part of the project correct.

Title Page

In addition to the work I also considered the front book cover. As a reflection of the project I titled it BN2 after the postcode of the street. Within the type I placed an extract of the work, which I would spell out the title. I printed the cover in book cloth and on separate card mounted the final book together.

Finished Book


This was one of the most challenging projects I decided to do. The production of the book was very complex and because of the size of the artwork it was easy to make several errors whilst manufacturing the final outcome. I was disappointed at the quality of print, which was due to my not knowing that Indesign reverts files to RGB rather than CYMK. This was why the final product has a slight blue tint to the ink. This was not my original intention, and as a consequence I would like to reprint and re-construct the project to a more finalised outcome.



Development from sketches

My aim was to re create this narrative into a more cohesive product. I started by touching up all the original drawings from concept layouts to the final artwork. There was a total of 33 drawings to re-render.

These are process shots of the work undertaken. Each step required spending considerable time in mastering all the originals. I then utilising the work done so far into a contact sheet. This enabled me to review the story and pick out any inconsistencies that may have been overlooked in the original concept drawings.

The following is an example of the contact sheet I created.


Book Layout



The final result of this of my project was not an overall success. The type font used was not appropriate for the story and the layout lacked any drama. There were several errors I made as part of production and the final result lacks the quality I had intended.




Exploring Communication

Joy Lofthouse and Mary Ellis. The women who flew Spitfires


Joy Lofthouse (93 years old) and Mary Ellis (99 years old) pictured, were part of the ATA, Air Transport Auxillary, during the second world war. During an extrodinary time they flew, solo, grade I and grade II planes. Delivering them to airfields across the country. Grade I planes were single engine fighters such as the Miles Majester, pictured lower right. Grade II were twin. Mary also flew bombers including a Wellington, on the left, and Lancaster’s. For Joy her favourite were the Spitfire’s.



As a starting point from the research I would like to create packaging of a model Spitfire with Joy and Mary as the pilots. I felt this was a charming interview and from further research discovered that Joy has a love for speed including sports cars.


Illustrated are some examples of model spitfires including an orthographic construction of the interior. In addition are some World War II posters. What is striking is the simplicity of the design. As a development process I would like to recreate the packaging to include Joy and Mary as pilots using this style as a starting point. From here I would include a brief outline of their story, the missions and routes that they would take with the statistics of how many planes they delivered

Rough Ideas For Posters and Packaging

The illustrative concept would need a portrait of both pilots in the style of the posters that I had researched. The initial sketch was a first draft of the main concepts I wanted to include. The layout was intended to be clean bold design with type.

The following are examples of posters I had reviewed and my fist sketch of ideas.



Final Outcome

The Final poster that was rendered in Photoshop and with the original hand lettering replaced by computer text.


I wanted to keep many of the original elements such as the RAF symbol and the London skyline that I had originally painted. One of the main challenges was the portraits of Mary and Joy, which I attempted as part of the original painting by removing unnecessary details. The Spitfires were sourced from the internet and pasted into the artwork.

In conclusion, I was not happy with the final result. Although the attempt at the idea was realized the final product looks poor. Trying to communicate the brief was using the format of a poster was not the best way to convey so much detail. I limited myself to this idea partially out of time. And having spent so long researching I failed to manage this project as best as I could have.



Music Collaboration

This collaborative project developed around the idea of David Greenberger monologue ‘Snakes’. The principle concept was divided and then articulated  based around various styles and how that can be achieved in context. Some members of our group explored gifs and landscapes. I attempted to create a short animation of type.


David Greenberger


Click on link below for the first rough cut



Rough Cut


In addition to the sequences of type I also complied a sort animated piece of a hummingbird that could be used during the monologue as part of the visualisation of narration.



The following are pieces that were emailed for later discussion.


Further to the work I attempted digital collages, again to be used with the dialogue. Timing the work to the speech patterns of Snakes was an real challenge. There are sections that are slightly out of time. This was very frustrating. Each piece was then edited to both George and John for editing. There were issues regarding communication and time management which did impact on this project.

Edited Work




Rough Cut


Final Cut


Critical Analysis

The introduction to utilising our environment and therefore structuring a narrative was really a frustrating process.  Using  key elements of the dialogue, once edited,  built a more semantic short film relying  on these components to propel the narrative which seemed hectic and disjointed. Visually I think my animation is scrappy and underdeveloped however it does convey the general idea. Developing technically the ideas needed to be more coherent. The overall composition was still not completed by the time of the final crit. In the presentation another version had been shown that had further edited my work out of the film, which was with out my knowledge. This was a very steep learning curve and was an extremely challenging project.











Ideas and archaeology: Anthropomorphism


My initial interest with this brief was to explore the subject of anthropomorphism. Something that I felt would be best illustrated by the cartoon character Mickey Mouse. I wanted to de-construct the famous scene from Steam Boat Willy. I started by locating a skeleton of a mouse on the internet, that once arrived had to be re-articulated into the pose from the cartoon. This was an extremely challenging process due to the delicate nature of the skeleton. It was very easy to dislocate the anatomy. I started with some preliminary sketches that transposed the inner structure into how it would be constructed. I then started to re create the scene by using additional materials such as millput and balsa wood.

Above are some extracts from the first batch of sketches.



I documented the process as part of a progression of the idea. On reflection I think this should have been filmed and edited in the style of a cartoon. This would have illustrated a more clearer vision of my original intention. This brief offered me the opportunity to explore this subject and try something that I have never done before. Each part of the process was very time consuming. The glueing and re-articulation required a lot of patience and a steady hand.

At the start of the project you can clearly see all the ribs, however by the finished product many had been broken in the process.







In addition to the previous project I created a story called the Shadowboy. This was meant as another exploration into anthropomorphism. This time with a short story about a scarecrow that curses a small boy to never be able to go into daylight and has to stay locked up in a barn.

During one of my tutorials I was encouraged to pursue the imagery of the shadows as part experimentation to create a more dimensional visual.






I started by cutting out pieces of paper to recreate some of the key scenes. Then I photographed them using a torch to direct the shadows, hopefully contextualising the narrative.


More examples


In conclusion, this is a story that I would like to explore at a later date. There is potential for this to development and having taken the feedback on board I would like to develop this further into a more finished project.

Critical Analysis

Within the exercises I have attempted to draw upon the experimenting utilising storyboards as a means of exploration and structuralism with the subject matter. Identifying this contemporary setting I incorporated my experimentation into the final composition. Overall the final outcome was rewarding. The project pushed my limits of illustration with a medium that isn’t forgiving and would benefit from more work. The blocking and shading required an attention to detail to the overall composition.





During the first part of this semester I approached an idiot with the aim of producing illustrations for his project, which was a children’s book of poetry about farts.

It turns out this was a waste of my time. The author was very specific about the style that he wanted, which was Quentin Blake. Below are a series of attempts at translating his work in a visual style similar to Blake’s. I was not comfortable with this request to have them be so directly imitative his work. Although the drawings I produced bare a resemblance I attempted a tighter style and came up with the original concepts of translating farts using clouds.

I submitted these concepts but never heard anything back. The last correspondence was that the author wanted to consult an outside party with my illustrations.