Summer Project: Inspiration


The other day me and my family went walking in the Suffolk countryside, walking always helps me think. While looking down at the ground I noticed these cracks in the dry soil, I’m unsure as to why but these in some way resonate to me. I think they look like a map, spreading and diverting – to me this reminds me of smell. How one smell can lead to another, to a memory, to a person, to a place and so on.

I’m not sure where this will lead but thought it would be interesting to document and consider.

Summer Project Thoughts

After being briefed on our new summer project, I was pleasantly excited; I like the thought of using Quora to create instant project inspiration and challenging myself to make it work.

I came across a interesting question straight away after searching the word uncanny – ‘What is it like to have an uncanny sense of smell?’.

This question has been circulating around my head for ages, considering what it must be like to be able to smell when your food is done instantly, or know when a fire is just about to start. It’s one of those every day superpowers and it just seems so cool. I also think it will be really fun to challenge myself into visualising smell, it will demand finding an interesting and innovative solution to concluding the project.

However, I don’t want to get ahead of myself. My next steps are to create some drawings visualising smell – considering what marks and shapes I could use to create a language of smell. Also, doing some research into the nose and how we smell and how smells can be linked to memories. Furthermore, I think learning some people’s personal relationships with smell could be interesting.


Text and Context: Evaluation

My concept for this final outcome and project was to create dark tale about a man who turns into a beetle, gets kicked out of his house and then becomes one of the the Beetles. I wanted to create a surprising storyline to contrast with the sincere stop animation. Although, I don’t intend to be laugh out loud funny I think it is absurdly funny, which is how I feel about Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis.

The animation starts in a monochrome world, Gregor potters around the room after being undazed about how he is a beetle (similar to the short story). The parents hear him in his room and decide to investigate why he is not up for work. He struggles to try and get ready for work, but before he knows it his dad has battled through the door. When his dad catches sights of him he orders him to get out and batters him in apples. Gregor runs away and when he gets outside he sees this technicolour world of the 60s, he is in awe when Paul McCartney runs up to him. He is in deep admiration for him and whisks him away to play a show together. Next, you see Gregor on stage with the Beetles blissfully singing along. The camera pans towards him and the dialogue says “that all seemed to work out ok”. I like this blunt ending because it leaves you with a similar feeling to how the short story does. After reading the story I felt like there had to be more to it than the beetle dying. Obviously I was wrong. Also, mine has a happy ending.

This project has been a up hill battle as sometimes when it comes to animation its difficult to actualise what I see in my head, due to my amateur Premiere Pro skills (which have improved). I started the project by collating visual research which helped my vision for the aesthetic of the video. I also made multiple monoprints for some textures in the video and made some lithographs which I had intentions of making a poster or accompanying material. It’s upsetting that I didn’t have time to make one as I have a lot of unused visual material which would’ve been perfect for it. However, I’m glad that I have my lithography prints which do suit the aesthetic of the video.

I deeply enjoyed making this animation but it was indeed a labour of love. I learnt a lot about Premiere Pro along the way and how to use it correctly and creatively. Given more time I would have liked to have made better use of the background I feel like often there was a lot of white space on screen. This however did create an even better contrast to the technicolour world of outside which was my intention.

Also, if I was to do it again I think I would definitely rethink the character design, although I liked the little guy it was difficult to show responsive emotion on his face as he was so simplistic (which did make him easier to animate).

Overall, I am pleased with my efforts and the story comes through strong for me.

Text and Context: Technical Difficulties and Revelations

Currently, due to technical difficulties this is the portion of my video that I can export. I’m thinking about it positively in the sense that when I look at this portion I can see which bits I need to change. Also, watching it like this I can identify which bits are slightly to long. This can be difficult to figure out when actually making the video I find. So I will be cutting some of this down and editing some sections to hopefully give them a bit better quality.

Personal Project in Review

To successful evaluate this project I think I must look back on my own proposal that I wrote for it:

“For my personal project I am eager to explore a long-time interest of mine, Folktales. I would like to research the structure of a folktale, how this can change and evolve from story teller to teller and how this resonates in modern culture. Folktales combine the mundane with magic and intrigue, they tell stories of local people, myths, traditions and the landscape to name but a few themes. I find that their rich history and range of topics serve as fuel for visual stimuli. For my outcomes I would like to create a body of work which explores experimental book illustration and bookmaking, utilising different bookmaking techniques to visually represent the concept of oral storytelling. With the extensive deadline I feel that it presents the opportunity to create some developed lino or lithography prints as part of the book illustration. I would like to challenge myself with overprinting the pre-designed book to add an element of chance much like the telling of a folktale is different each time it is told. To broaden my scope in this project, I would like to include the opportunity of using animations as part of the book with technology such as Aurasma. Overall, I want the project to be an experiment in modern storytelling in creating a book which gives the same excitement and spontaneity as the oral telling of a folktale.”

I have loved this personal project, it has satisfied a creative urge in me that I’ve had for a while. I’ve always wanted to create a children’s book but things just kept getting in the way, for this project how it was the perfect opportunity. I think this project has worked so well because I was focused on my research. I asked family and friends for their opinions on folk tales, testing their memory when I told them folktales. Also, I did a lot of research in the library looking at different stories and the special collection. I looked at scholarly research into modern folklorist (can be seen in back of sketchbook), these kept me up to date with the study of folklore and how it can be mistold. It took me a while to settle on just using Sussex folktales, but I’m glad I did. Through researching Suffolk folktales against Sussex folktales I realised that each place has a different set of symbols in their folktales, this interested me. Also, through reading folktales I realised that they have a strange format structurally they twist and turn and go back on themselves and back round again. Add to this the Chinese Whispers they often go through there are so many variations on folktales. This interests me, how the same story can undergo so many changes and become five different stories.

Through my research I saw how the internet is a new format for folktales through the form of forums, people tell a story and people add and change things to it. I tried my own experiment of this and drew a picture and asked people to respond to it, unfortunately I only got one reply but it made my day that anybody replied. I realised that this was an unreliable way to get my project going.

So, instead I dived head first into drawing and getting my ideas down on paper. I had multiple group tutorials where I would ask for opinions on my developing final piece. I knew that I wanted it to be creative book binding but  I wasn’t sure how. With help from my peers and Helen (in bookbinding) I made some prototypes of the final outcome. I wanted them to appear authentic and aged so used Gum Arabic transfers over drawings of Cuckmere Haven that I made during a week drawing project. I loved how these looked and decided to bind them as a concertina. Jeremy inspired me to stick to the concertina book idea and develop it.

To add in some extra textures and visual warmth  I crocheted a sample and used that in monoprint. The results are everything I wanted and set the tone for a slower pace of life that is incorporated in folktales. Combining these textures and a make your own story format  I played with page design. I also wanted to have an extra feature of stickers which worked well to give the reader full control over the content of the book. The stickers are designed around common symbols in Sussex folktales to put my research directly back into the outcome.

The final book is Gum Arabic transferrred also and I’m so pleased with the outcome. I decided to submit the final book and the ‘Make Your Own’ book kit, to show the possibility. Below is a video of myself making the book.

I think this project has been so important to me because I feel emotionally connected to these stories, you can get lost in them and book making and I hope to pass on this experience in the user of the book. The kit is formed of the pages, thread, stickers, a how to use pamphlet and a case for it all. Its a fully formed outcome which has purpose and function. I’m proud of how my developed work for this project has grown and I think my passion is clear to see.

Personal Project: Stickers

As part of my final outcome it was important to consider the sticker side of the project. I didn’t want them to look like an after thought that I hadn’t really considered as this would have made a disappointing impact. I decided on four categories of Food, Plant Life, Charms and People this I thought would cover all bases of symbols and give the story some intrigue and structure. I really enjoyed drawing the people for this project as it gave the book a strong drawing style throughout which I find quite difficult to achieve normally.

I chose all the symbols by combing through Sussex folktales and finding which symbols repeated themselves. I toyed with the idea of adding descriptions and special mentions to what the symbols are about but some have much better stories than others and I wanted to let the viewer decide for themselves.

Personal Project: Searching for Research

Parker, Agnes M., and Gwasg Gregynog. Wood Engravings: From XXI Welsh Gypsy Folk-Tales. Gwasg Gregynog, Newtown (Powys), 1997.

I decided to look into the Special Collection at the library to find some hidden gems on folktales. This book that I took out is so beautiful, had a pattern slip case which was mirrored on the cover, all the images above are original woodcuts. I really enjoy how they show the whole scene of the folktale in one concise image. Taking scans of these you can see how intricate and detailed they are. I also noticed the use of symbols (animals, objects etc) which the scenes are epitomised of, they all have a central point which evokes an atmosphere of storytelling.

I think when I create my own final outcome I will think about these prompts to let the viewer see that I am telling a story.

Other books that I have been investigating are below, these have been paramount in my research into how the structure of folktales differ to that of say a fairytale


Personal Project: Group Tutorial

As we are nearing the deadline our last group tutorial was to consider how to conclude our personal projects, a prospect that I am really looking forward to. My whole project is waited for its final outcome due to what message I’m trying to portray. My final piece has to show the layered, misconstrued nature of folktales and how they change and develop. Therefore, I want my final outcome to have an interactive aspect for the viewer/reader to consider and also the piece needs to be able to transform.

I brought my mock concertina books (that I had made as an experiment and ended up really enjoying) to the group tutorial, to see how they went down. I was advised to base my final outcome off of the concertina book style and create a “Make your own Book” kit. I really like this idea as it formulates all my aims into one solution – the kit will have the feeling of recreating and retelling a story in your own way as even the pages can be interchangeable while also being fun and interactive. Furthermore, to add to this I wanted to create a sticker book which works in conjunction to the kit therefore, the viewer can not only have control over the order of the story but also the objects and people found in it.

I’m working towards this aim starting with character design of my adventurer, I want this person to appear unisex to present the gender as completely unimportant (as it was in these stories). The character is just a vessel to help tell the story which the reader will create.

Personal Project: Reviewing Experimentation Prototype

I was really pleased with how my concertina book came out, the Gum Arabic Transfer made the paper crinkled and gave it the authenticity I was looking for. I enjoyed how the process relies on chance, it was very in the moment and gave the feel I was looking for. However, I felt that I definitely needed another area of story telling to the piece to actually read the symbols and understand the project the viewer needs more guidance throughout the book.

Also, I think I should mention the happy accidents I have been having with my NEW scanner. Below, are some examples I like how these are slightly distorted and therefore more modern as it contrasts against the traditional drawing really well.

I’m looking forward to seeing how it goes down during the group tutorial as I am still unsure as to if I like the overall book format.