Today, we had a life drawing session with Amelie Barnathan, instead of the standard life drawing we used surrealism as a starting point. We watched the following video, to help us get in the zone for surrealism.
The session felt like good timing, as it was right after assessment. Therefore, I felt comfortable to just to relax and draw whatever and however. This is quite unlike me as I usually focus fully on what I’m drawing and for what reason I’m drawing it. These aren’t my best drawings and I’m out of practice with drawing the male form however, I think they have a certain energy. Also, to help with experimenting with surrealism I tried using different paper colours and also overlaying them. I think this had a really good effect and I’m looking forward to trying it again in the future.
I was contacted by the indie/rock band Pin Ups to create an EP cover and promotional material for their upcoming release. This was a great experience and taught me a lot about working with real life clients and their needs. It helped my ability to communicate with clients.
I am please with the outcome as are they, here are some colour ways and layout designs of it.
The opportunity of having BIF held at Brighton uni was one not to be missed. For the event I decided to make puppets and Halloween-esque cat lino prints. I really enjoyed making these items for fun and feel like it expanded my knowledge of what sells at art fairs.
DRAWING IN RESPONSE TO THE FILM ‘PRISCILLA: QUEEN OF THE DESERT’
DRAWING AT HOVE MUSEUM
HANDS DRAWING WORKSHOP
This workshop was really useful. As I’ve been developing as an illustrator its often meant that I have left practical skills behind. However, this refresher reminded me how much I enjoy hands as an area of study.
DRAWING AT THE TATE
DRAWING IN RESPONSE TO THE BBC PODCAST ON THE HISTORY OF PERFUME
For my Christmas Card I wanted to create something which utilised symbols that we relate to Christmas and winter. I really enjoyed drawing these and getting excited to spend Christmas with my family. Over Christmas I also created a second Christmas Card using one of my characters from Narratives of the Unconscious.
For the first one I used lino and fine pen and ink drawing, I think this gave it a traditional feel while it had a modern twist.
I was really looking forward to making a physical book to really showcase what I had made over the semester. After going to many bookbinding sessions I felt confident that I had skills to show off. The sessions meant that I didn’t have to reign my ideas in.
Firstly I made some collages to work from. I really enjoyed using these graphic forms and working a bit bigger (A3) made it feel freeing. I was inspired by Sister Corita Kent for these layouts – using bright colours and bold forms.
Below are my own layouts – I stuck to a plum and green for my colour scheme.
For the actual content of my semester book I wanted to keep it simple – an overview of what I was proud of as part of the semester. This really took the pressure off and I really enjoyed making the book it felt like a way to celebrate my high points. For myself I wanted the book to mimic a keepsake, something wholesome and tactical. Therefore I messed around with the size of the document for quite a while. In the end I opted for a size under A4 this meant that it felt easy to hold in your hands. With the added hardback covers it feels very tactile.
I chose to emboss the front of the book with two dancing feet – since first year this has become a bit of a sign off/logo of mine. I’m really happy with how the bind turned out. Overall I am very pleased with the semester book outcome it was a learning curve and I can’t wait to make next semesters.
Upon, beginning this project I was unaware of how fun but also how much hard work it would be. Working within a group is very rewarding and I surprisingly really enjoyed it, however sometimes communication was difficult. This project really stuck with me for a number of reasons; it’s something that I have never done before or even thought I would be interested in, it’s made me consider more options for illustrations and it reminded me of analysising texts and how rewarding it can be. I’ve always loved finding hidden meaning in texts and looking at Sredni Vashtar brought this all back to me.
I chose to be in Set Design and specifically props, I feel like I worked well in the group.
Below are my initial sketches for the interior set (kitchen, bedroom), I went with a Victorian theme – open fire, china set, big heavy curtains inspired by Jane Eyre’s Red Room (shown below). Jane Eyre at times is quite a Gothic text, also in the beginning Jane is in a similar position to Conradin. She is confined against her will by the adults surrounding her.
As well as Jane Eyre, Sredni Vashtar gave me instant flashback to ‘The Secret Garden’- in the sense that central to the story is a child who is supposedly “sickly” like Conradin. Similarly the set design in this room, is heavy, thick and dark to mimic the atmosphere of the room. This is something that I wanted to apply to the set design of Sredni Vashtar.
DIARY OF THE PRODUCTION
After delagating duties between us all and deciding who wanted to be in costume or set, I set about to work on a mock up set design. This design was actually left unused, however it prompted the discussion which I think was an important first step.
Next, I worked at capturing the colour scheme we had been discussing. Sredni Vashtar has two very split stage components. This is the shed and wondrous ritual scenes on one side while the other side is monochrome, moody and dark. I created the digital drawing below to visualise this. I used straight marks on the ritual side to show that despite it being colourful black does not overpower it.
I think this was good visual piece of communication, it helped to identify if we were all on the same page and answered a few questions.
We had a presentation of our ideas that went down well with the rest of illustration.
In props we often worked on things together at the same time to speed up the process. Here are three of us working on a table cloth design, we are using a pattern of “red berries” as a nod to the ritual scene but in the “wrong” place of the kitchen. By doing so we are foreshadowing future events through the use of props.
We worked really hard as a team and I think it paid off, the props worked so well. Especially the shrine scene – we used them to act as a shrine pouring out from under the shed, representing how free Conradin’s imagination was when it came to the power of Sredni Vashtar.As a final send off to the project I drew Sredni Vashtar and framed him to be part of the shrine scene. Looking at everyone’s drawing styles as part of the shrine was really satisfying – everybody had their own interpretation but they looked so complete together.
ASSISTANT TO STAGE MANAGER
As the play started getting into action the prop department was getting less busy so I offered to help my friend Connie Wright in making a cue sheet for all of the lights, sounds, and visuals. I really enjoyed this as it showed how the play was going to come together, also Connie taught me a lot about how the lights would help with the atmosphere and really transform the space we had (which it did).
This I could then report back to the props team, it led us to realise that we needed more for the garden space as it wouldn’t be lit in the same way as the two main scene (shed and interior). Therefore we decided to make more plants and flowers to make the space flow. INSPIRATION FOR A ZINE
As I got more involved in the play I wanted my own personal response to it. My inspiration for this was the play itself and how we interpreted it. I had recently been reading Retro: The Culture of Revival in which it mentioned Aubrey Beardlsley, I looked him up and was so enthralled by his illustrations, I love the mystery and sense of atmosphere behind them. Also I really enjoy the monochrome colour palette, it shows a real dedication to the art – as each illustration says something different to the last while using similar processes. I enjoy the variety of them.
Furthermore, I like how he draws people, leaving the head small while enlarging the body creates an unnerving perspective on the human body. I think it works really well and also felt it would compliment Sredni Vashtar.PLANNING THE ZINE FORMAT
I was keen to carry through the religious imagery which has been used throughout the play, so had an idea to make the book long and thin to mimic a hymn book. Almost as though Conradin had made it himself to worship Sredni Vashtar from.
Due to printing errors this became impossible, so instead I created a card sleeve and tracing paper belly band to give it the appearance of being long and thin. This worked really well and I was impressed by the final look of the zine. I think it met the criteria I set for myself. I was dedicated to finishing this zine despite it not being on a brief which I think took good initiative – which drives me forward to becoming a independent practitioner.
I wanted to create more monoprints as I really enjoy the process. The outcomes were great they ended up looking like eerie gravestones – which fit the gothic theme of Sredni Vashtar. I wish I had used them physically in the zine however I didn’t want to overwhelm the format and decided to keep it simple.FINAL PAGES OF THE ZINE – IMPRESSIONS OF A PLAY
FINAL POSTER DESIGN FOR SREDNI VASHTAR
For the poster I wanted to create something which represented a coming together of the themes in the story in a mysterious way. So, I used collage to literally weave them together – I think this was really effective.
I used red as a stand out colour to mimic the stage design during the ritual scene, against black and white like the interior.
This project really pushed the boundaries which made me do the same. I loved the gothic nature of the play which I didn’t even really think was a genre I enjoyed- I think I liked the atmosphere it created. Watching the play was so rewarding, knowing that we had put the whole production on in such a short amount of time made me consider what more I could do. I loved being in the prop department as it felt like the thread surrounding everything in the play. I feel like our concepts were well formed and consistent throughout which I feel was important.
As for my zine, I’m proud that I completed it and that I worked around the problems I had when trying to print it. I really enjoyed making it and indulging in black line work for once. I wanted the illustrations to be simple but convey character and feeling. I think I achieved this especially on the toothache page where Mrs De Ropp is side eyeing the ferret behind her know that something is going on and she needs to get to the bottom of it. It was also fun to try a more sequential narrative, normally I make a free flowing narrative. However, I felt that despite the play being fleeting moments in my memory to flesh it out in the narrative. If I could go back I would make drawings during the play as I feel like this would add some of the energy from the play to the zine.
Yet, I feel like it is a well formed final outcome with some of my best illustrations this semester.
INTRODUCTION TO SUMMER PROJECT AND HEROES AND VILLAINS
After summer was over I wrote the following about my summer project…
“For Heroes and Villains, I initially I began with a succinct idea which I had been mulling over in my head for years. Lilith, a demon, first wife to Adam, the beginning of feminist discourse and an all round, misunderstood anti-hero. Texts written on her are so interesting and historical while wrapped in a shroud of folktales. Basically, it’s right up my street. However, I found it hard to find much visual stimuli surrounding her, as soon as you see the painting of Lady Lilith (Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1867) its difficult to shake the impression that she is a beautiful, pale, red curly haired siren.
So I moved on to the mystery surrounding her, I did more research and was inspired by the idea that a red ribbon could protect a baby from the perils of Lilith. I enjoyed this image of a red ribbon around babies wrists and cribs, a good luck charm (otherwise known as a nachora bendel) and worked with that for a while. During this time, I watched The Beguiled remake – not a favourite film of mine but it was visually stimulating and the story line I felt connected to something that I was trying to express.
In the film, a school of women kill a man – while the audience is then convinced to feel sympathy for the women. However, in the original, vice versa occurs; which made me consider can heroes and villains play both roles depending on the viewer, short answer yes. In my work I am always considering the woman, I am sympathetic to Lilith thinking that yes she was wronged. My college final piece was about the betrayal of women through the witch trials – how good midwives and nurses were misunderstood and wronged by men. This line of thought felt very repetitive to me and I quickly realised I needed to back track out of familiar territory.
So I went back into looking at the red ribbon and other good luck charms, this felt off course but I went for it. In doing so I found a very interesting article on the Incubator Babies of Coney Island – babies brought to Coney Island as a last chance of survival; would come with good luck charms such as red ribbons and wedding rings from their mothers. This fascinating story really captured my interest – during 1903-1943 when incubators were scarce in hospitals, Dr. Martin Couney used the popular amusement park as a way to promote the use of incubators. Instantly, I was getting the visual fuel I was looking for, imagining this scientific and groundbreaking work inbetween cotton candy stalls and midget circuses was enthralling.
This is where I am currently at, thinking about whether Dr. Couney was a hero or a villain- he saved lives but profited off the exploitation of children. As a continuation of this I have been looking into the early imagery of nurses as angel archetypes. I am really enjoying this direction and am looking forward to reworking some of the drawings I have already made into different mediums and processes.”
FINAL OUTCOME FROM SUMMER PROJECT (ALSO ON MEMORY STICK UNDER HEROES AND VILLAINS
I created this GIF to create an idea of the atmosphere surrounding the Baby Incubators of Coney Island. I used collage material that looked slightly like a cheque to suggest to the viewer to question whether Dr Couney was just doing it for the money or if he was a caring man. This was the balance between hero and villain.
INTRODUCTION INTO HEROES AND VILLAINS
I struggled with whether I should continue using material from my summer project as part of my Heroes and Villains project. I wasn’t ready to stop my research and jump to another project, and I didn’t want to see good work go down the drain. So instead I dove back into the research and endeavoured to find how it would relate to the theme.
This text was very important to my project as it pointed me in the direction of how peoples opinions and attitudes tarnished other people into being the villains of the time. For instance it was seen that young people were devilish due to their behaviour on the dance floor; something which others would say it harmless fun.
I found this concept interesting I could do the everyday heroes and villains of Coney Island, which was in itself everyone and no one.
It was decided that to show the power of electricity as a new invention, they would make a show out of electrocuting an elephant (that had killed 4 people). Stories like this seem untrue, they sound straight out of a film. But, it would appear that Coney Island was a place where anything would go from outright sexual behaviour on the street (blowing women’s skirts up) to the baby incubators. It was a place of two extremes, which is why it worked so well for this project.
RESEARCHING FUNNY FACE
I looked deeper and found this piece on the SteepleChase face or “funny face” as its nicknamed.
Due to the nature of the project I used a lot of secondary research. I watched the videos and would draw from memory of what I was watching. While I used the archival images as part of my collages which would later go in the zine. This pushed me visually as I often don’t like using anyone else’s images, however this was liberating as it meant I could deface them and experiment with them in a way I would feel precious over my own.
POSTER RESEARCH AND LOOKING INTO HANDWRITTEN FONTS
The typography workshop came at a great time in the project, as part of the brief was to include some handwritten type. Through drawing these sections of type from shop fronts I realised that for my own font I wanted something slightly more uniform. I wanted this to go against the confusion of Coney Island while the illustrations showed it as the mix it was.
I was really impressed with how my monoprints turned out. Here was an entry from that day that I wrote:
“Unedited scans from monoprinting yesterday, the text is taken from a book called Cheap amusements: working women and leisure in turn-of-the-century New York – this book has been valuable in my understanding of 1940s Coney Island. I chose one quote “Clams, Hot Corn and Chowder” on account of its banality; however, many patrons would remember Coney Island from its food.
While the other quote “Linear visual study in American class structure”, is referring to the geography of Coney Island. On one end of the boardwalk were cheaper amusements and was largely associated with “miscreants”, late night dance halls and promiscuity. As you moved across the board walk the tone was elevated from the ‘Steeplechase’, ‘Luna Park’ to the more middle class ‘Dreamland’ (which interestingly was the least popular out of the three). Giving the boardwalk a “linear visual study” of class.
I really enjoy the look of the monoprints, I focused on the colour pink while utilising overprinting. I used newsprint to create a used and mottled effect to the paper. It also picks up any little mistake in the inking which I wanted. I used stencils to create them, however I discovered that when inking over computer printed ink that it holds the shape – this creates a ghosting effect over the letters which weren’t cut out.”
CHANGES MADE AFTER CRIT
For one of my triptych I wanted to use the image of the nurse from Dr Couney Baby Incubator – as they are the extreme of hero in my own example. However, it didn’t shine as much as the other posters did, therefore I redid it.
Rather than try and make it out shine the others I wanted it to fit with the others. For instance maybe it shouldn’t stand out because heroes don’t boast or over shine. To make it better compliment the other posters I instead decided to simplify it. I took out the collaged mono print and left it at the bottom of the page to balance out the poster (something I learnt researching posters which you can see in my sketchbook). Also I used the same background colour as another one of the posters so they could match.
I also re-looked at my square format poster as this felt clunky and unbalance. Instead I created some new work for it. I wove together the two other posters and made some into strips, I scanned this in different shapes to look visually pleasing. The concept for this piece is that it will take a lot to unravel and unfold the past, but we can take strands of investigation out of it, just like I have done with this project.
INSPIRATION FOR NURSE IMAGE
We took a trip to the Tate and the Red Star Over Russia exhibition was enthralling, it had an abundance of visual material about a subject that I know very little about so it was interesting to see what the images alone were communicating to me. I was deeply interested in this piece the lady in blue above writing, her face is beautifully drawn and painted. To me she looked like some kind of everyday angel which is I wanted to create with my own poster.
FINAL SQUARE POSTER DESIGN
I feel like this one worked out really well, it’s not as illustrative as the others so as to not crowd the smaller square space. It also leaves the viewer guessing as it’s not telling you everything. This represents the mystery of the history of Coney Island.
I’m really pleased with how the triptych works together and feel like they utilise the mono prints well. Also I feel like it tells the story of Coney Island through three angles. First the heroes the men and women who worked a the Baby Incubator, while the dancing teens are the proposed villains and yet behind it all are the people who profiteer off both the good and the bad the people in power.
DESIGNING A ZINE
Next, came creating the zine. I took Jim’s advice for this after having a crit with him he said try not to think to much about a specific style and instead go for an overall feeling. Just pack all the content from my sketchbooks into it. I really enjoyed this process and designing the zine. At a mid point in designing I felt that I needed some new material so collaged some archival photos, drew more from archival footage and took some experimental scans. This really helped as I had some fresh images to work with. The zine was going well but I felt it didn’t have a pop, I had worked hard to have a candy pink colour scheme throughout. I chose this as I felt it would create a sickly, sweet impression of Coney Island which was covering up the bitter truth. It just didn’t appear like that on screen or when I printed it out. So I tried printing it on some green newsprint I’d just got, this worked really well and the contrasting colours played off each other.
I had also been trying to decide on what size to make the zine, printing them out in A4 I felt didn’t show off their vastness. So, I went with A3 and was really impressed by them, as they had that aged look I was looking for.
This project has to be my favourite of the semester, the opportunity to spend such a long amount of time on a project (from summer to now) meant that I could really dive into my research and push it for every piece of visual energy. I feel like this project is left open ended simply because it was such a wide area to try and culminate together.
I think I really tested my composition skills in this project and are better off for it. Also, I feel like the experiment with the green paper really paid off. Overall, I’m very happy with this body of work.
This project was different to the others as the concept was handed to us on a platter. This was so uplifting to me it meant that I could get stuck in with a concept given to me (by myself of course). This was done through the mediation session, which was eye opening and I think I might use for other projects.
Molly drew my impressions of the unconscious and it was really interesting seeing how she interpreted what I was describing. I imagined a vast, desert scape with little in it but a cactus and sun lounger with a book – there was no feeling of heat just calm. During the meditation I went on a journey which mimicked a children’s fable. I chose the first section of it for my film. A little creature summons me to the cave, it is cool and dark there. The creature seems bothered by something and sits in a corner sobbing. However next he is offering me food and place to sit. We eat together and leave, he waves me good bye.
RESEARCH FOR LANDSCAPE
To understand a desert scape I went back to one of my favourite films PRISCILLA: QUEEN OF THE DESERT. This film has great cinematography especially of deserts, I took screenshots while watching it. I wanted to create a similar contrast between character and the vast desert. The landscape itself lends itself to have a very bold and colourful character which I utilised.
I also watched the Documentary: The Sahara while drawing and writing down notes to get in the zone. (these are in my sketchbook for the project)
I also looked into folktales as I felt like I was imagining a story that I had seen before. I found the story of the Kolobok or Little Round Bun. This mischievous Russian folktale tells the story of a little bun running away from its creator. I felt the face of the bun man was very similar to the face I was looking to create (See below).
I used this cheerful character to inspire my own plate face character.
CONTINUATION OF RESEARCH
I also found a really interesting story on The Djinn, a genie character who lives in desert sands and causes mayhem. They can be seen by humans but only when they choose to be, its said that they sing in the desert. The echoes against the sands travel for miles. This character seemed very similar to my own – he presented himself to me, not the other way round and while wanting me to follow him he was obviously a trickster.
This page from my sketchbook looks into The Dijnn trickster nature and how to avoid or lure them.
PAUL KLEE PUPPETS AND MY OWN CHARACTER DESIGN
I have been obsessed with Paul Klee’s puppets for a while – I like the creepy mood they create, they seem ominous and all knowing. I believe that a lot of this is built on them being stock characters like Death. Furthermore, this is why I was keen on having a stock character behind my own character, this being the Dijjn.
As a quick turnaround from Paul Klee’s puppets I couldn’t forget to take a second look at The Moomins. They are a constant love of mine and I come back to them time and time again. I think it all surrounds their character design, their soft circular forms are wholesome and angelic even. I wanted to create a puppet with half of this feeling and half atmosphere.PUPPET EXHIBITION
My love of puppets doesn’t just stem from this project, I love the traditional storytelling feel surrounding them. So I wanted to do some more first hand research and visited Hove Museum for it’s puppet exhibition. The exhibition was everything I wanted it gave an up close and personal look at the workings and mechanics of the puppets. They were almost all by different artists so it gave you the opportunity to see a wide variety of puppetry. I loved this experience! and took a lot of inspiration from it. It made me consider using textiles as part of the puppet.
I wanted the set design to directly mimic the creature so used wool to create a blanket and lounger. To present the fact that I felt no heat will imagining despite being in a desert I used unconventional materials and you wouldn’t want to be wearing wool in a desert. I think these worked really well. For a while I worried over what I could use for sand after a few trials and errors with using dirt (bad idea) I decided on cous cous it meant that you could see the individual grains and it also made a really good noise when walked on.
Below are two of my favourite pieces of set design. The stove was fully functional (and got very hot!) again it was an unconventional piece of furniture to have in a desert (although it does get extremely cold at night). I made it out of a lemonade can, I like the fact it’s recycled as I feel like that is something my character would do.
I also made some cactus’, I was going to use real cactus’ but I though this might cross the line from handmade to reality too much. So, I made some very abstract cactus’ which I was really proud of out of egg boxes and pins. These broke up from having too much of a crafty feel and gave really visually pleasing initial shots.
On my memory stick you can see the making of my characters head.
(without pupils my character looks extra creepy)
WHY I USED SUBTITLES
I wanted the character to be speechless apart from animal-like noises. (which I really enjoyed making) however during the imagination process I really felt like it was talking to me. I wanted this to resonate also with the viewer – so thought of a non-direct way that the character could communicate.
I used the below screencaps as inspiration, although they were a very small thing I think they changed the feel of the video. It reminded me of a adventure game where you choose consequences.
SHORT STORY RESEARCH
As I began filming I considered what I was actually trying to get from this story. I hadn’t planned for an immediate effect. What was the punchline? It had an end and beginning but no fleshy parts in between. So I began storyboarding (see in portfolio case) and came up with the popcorn popping idea. I considered this through looking into Edgar Allen Poe’s interpretation of a short story.
After reading this it became clear that to make this video work I had to condense the beginning, middle and end of a story into 2-3 minutes. To do this I made the popcorn popping scene very dramatic and used sounds and atmosphere to compliment this.
SCREENSHOTS OF FINAL VIDEO
GIFS AS FINAL OUTCOMES
For my final outcomes I made three GIFS out of my stopmotion sections of the film. (You can view all three on my memory stick in folder Narratives of the Unconscious. I did this to sum up some of the atmosphere created in the film using just lighting and colour. I think the split between desert and cave is very interesting as the colours represent the heat and overall feel of the room.
During the crit for this project I discussed how I was displeased that I couldn’t show the vastness of the desert as my set was so small, this was my own mistake. Also despite all my research I consider form over function when it came to my puppet and didn’t really give it any ability to move apart from flop (which I worked with). All of this aside I think the video turned out really well and this is mostly from my own enjoyment for it. I was eager to start this project and I think it shows as I moved quickly. I’m also from this project came another deeper look into character design and informed my children’s illustration style.
I feel like the character is the best part about the video. He is very fully formed,I think the mischievous nature comes through combined with the trickster in him. I think this was helped by his face and utilising sound.
I feel like it narrates the story well as it’s fully sequential to how I saw it. This was formed by my research into short stories and my background studying during A-Level media on stock characters and the theory of a story.