Personal Project: Experimentation

For my proposal of the personal project I wrote that I wanted to consider using a layering of techniques in my visual communication of a story. To start this process I drew a series of ink drawings in a newsprint sketchpad, I did like these but they didn’t seem to complete the images like I expected they were too stark and contrasted the colours and feel of the other pages.

I wanted something with a bit more character and authenticity.

For myself this meant getting reacquainted with the print room,  I wanted to look into Gum Arabic transfers and monoprinting. Both, techniques I have used before but only to really make a final piece, so it was really fun to let loose a bit more and just print things as the inspiration came to me.

First, I attempted the Gum Arabic transfer technique for this I made a set of symbols which centred around the common folktale of sunken church bells in the Sussex countryside. These stories are really interesting because they are all so similar but have a lot of crossover making it difficult to know what church bells and locations they are talking about. This made it the perfect story to use a layering technique such as Gum Arabic transfer. I printed out some landscape drawings that I had made on my week long drawing project at Cuckmere Haven and decided to print over them. I used a deep blue ink which looked really good against the monochrome and also pale orange of the landscapes. The symbols came out well I was impressed with the quality of line and the composition on many worked out great. I was inspired to make something more out of these pieces so using a bookbinding slot I decided to make them into simple concertina books. Helen helped me make a prototype for the books and we looked into how best  to fold them so they would hold their shape.

(Above are images from the monoprinting session_

Next, I looked at monoprinting for this technique I really wanted to work on textures, I already had many drawn pieces but wanted something that I could layer up. I chose to crochet a knit sample as I was inspired by some images online of monoprinted fabric, I loved the outcome of the printing and made every attempt to get every ghost print and overprint on every different piece of paper I had. I wanted to use a knit fabric because I felt it symbolised a lot of the folk tale culture; it is an authentic method of creating something which is practical, full of skill but still a beautiful object.

Personal Project: Finding Inspiration

As the project has continued I’ve been researching in the library and making a research book, this has been a helpful place to compile all my research. I’ve also done a couple of self created life drawing sessions, this has been really helpful to get back into drawing the human figure. It’s also been an interesting way to discover how to give a human figure character, I’ve been trying to interpret how I imagine these people who live in this time period. I imagine them at one with the landscape, wild hair, flushed cheek, red noses and freckles. Although this is a stereotypical interpretation it helps to consider how these characters will relate to one another.

Text and Context: Storyboards

I normally make story boards with no intention of actually following them, however, because I had a musician working with me he needed to have some timings for the animation. So I took story boarding seriously for once, and it actually really benefited me as it gave me a basis for the story telling. Without it I’m convinced I would have forgotten an important part of the story line.

Below is a video that I made of the story line with its timings, this has been a helpful guide for myself and Jesse to work by:

Text and Context: Finding the right music

I recently reached out to my boyfriend (Jesse) who makes music, to see if he could collaborate with me on my animation. I had been thinking over what to use as music for a while and I was concerned as to what music to use because music was such a pivotal characteristic of the Sixties. I wanted to do it justice and I thought having an original piece of music would be perfect.

Below is a conversation discussing what I want for the piece of music and his replies:


Text and Context: Finding animation inspiration

As part of my research for Text and Context I have been considering different animation techniques from the 60s to include in my own rendition. Below is ‘Two Faces’ (1968) by Alison De Vere, a four minute animation of painted faces going through a series of emotions. It is a simple animation but has impact and the viewer can follow the story. I enjoy the ink technique and think I could use this in my own work.

If you can read a face like a book, then here it is a book of poetry. Loose brushstrokes sketch a series of portraits of two faces, one male and one female, whilst the verse on the soundtrack tells the tale of both one and a thousand relationships. Alison de Vere was responsible for both the text and images, and the film was released in the same year she worked as a designer on the animated Beatles feature, Yellow Submarine (1968).

Next is a cut and paste collaged animation of ‘Little Tom Thumb’ by Joy Batchelor. This animation is more suited to children but it has a great colour palette and consistently good character design.

It’s probably not an answer to child poverty, but the Thumb family resolve all their money worries by abandoning their children in the woods – twice. There are lots of versions of Tom Thumb tales, but this one follows the 17th century Charles Perrault tale of Le Petit Poucet. Ogres, staggeringly bad parenting, and seven-league-boots are all beautifully brought to life through cut-out animation, based on designs by Swedish illustrator Sunniva Kellquist.

Finally, ‘Transformer’ by Charlie Jenkins is a short promo for the Yellow Submarine, this animation is very simple only being two minutes long however it solidifies elements of the psychedelic scene in the absurdity and colours. Its a slow burner starting small and getting bigger and better.

After the Yellow Submarine came the psychedelic train… This short animated delight, also known as “Cambridge Steam Engine”, was commissioned for the 1968 Cambridge Animation Festival, with the British cartoon industry in a prominent (if not exactly lucrative) place following The Beatles animated feature film.

German designer Heinz Edelmann’s work is instantly recognisable in both films. But they were also both reliant on the animation wizardry of Charlie Jenkins and the artwork of Alison De Vere. Their collaborative Trickfilm studio was sadly short-lived.

Personal Project: Folktale Creation

I recently made my first post on Reddit, a very popular website which I’ve never thought to approach maybe this is because it was a little before my time on the internet age or that it is quite American, I’m not sure. I thought due to the fact that I was a new member I wouldn’t get any replies to my strange request of writing a folk tale, but the format of the website isn’t like say Tumblr where you need followers to have any kind of interaction. So, I actually got a response to this image!

Above is the message I wrote and the link to the image of the cat burglar.



Personal Project: Experimenting with memory

I decided to hold a small experiment by telling somebody a well known Suffolk folktale, and then ask them to retell it in the morning. The first voice note is how I tell it from my notes and from memory. The second is how well the person retells the story.

What I think is interesting from this is that no small details were remembered from the story even though I tried to keep them in such as saying “beer bread etc”. This suggests to me that to remember smaller details of a story they must be brought into the forefront.

Furthermore, interestingly the person seemed to remember major chunks of the story but in the wrong order. I think I will draw back on this information as to me it suggests that sectioning a folk tale in some way could help people identify it. Also, possibly it would help them remember it.

Personal Project: Group Tutorial

I felt unprepared for my group tutorial but tried to steer the conversation towards options I could look into for when I get further ahead in my project so to not feel at a lose for ideas closer to assessment. It was suggested to one student to have a few experiments going on at a time so they could be working in the background.

I like this idea and have decided to take it on. I’ve been reading about how folktales are closely linked to how we share stories on the internet and specifically memes. I wanted to incorporate this into my work but I knew that it wouldn’t be at the forefront, as I enjoy the authenticity of folktales too much to let them turn into memes.

However, through discussion I have been persuaded to consider using the internet to help create folktales I’m thinking of ways I could do this:

  1.  Group messages with friends, I give them a starting image they come up with a few sentences I give them another image and so on.
  2. Forums like Reddit (which I have just joined for this purpose). The same rules apply only.
  3. Find forums simply for Folklorist’s and see if I can conduct the same experiment there.

I’m looking forward to these experiments, they may be a success they may not work but we shall see!

Personal Project Tutorial

I have been playing with the idea of how I’m going to format a final piece concept from the work I have been doing and being met with hurdles along the way. I want to create a piece which encourages; the telling, retelling, sharing and visual play of folktales. Now, this concept is difficult to visualise as it looks into how humans want to interact with each other and why we no longer tell folktales.

Jeremy helped me come with some ideas including an Exquisite Corpse and a Myriorama. The myriorama suggested to me was one by Tom Gauld called Endless Journeys .

This is a good example of a myriorama, however I personally think it is slightly lacking in intrigue. I feel like the sections all look very similar which although in some ways is the point so that they can be re-assembled. Yet, I think it that the colours are muddy and the visuals are repetitive. This is all very well to say but trying to rework this myriorama style will be difficult.

Also, had a brain wave while considering the format of the project “Tell (a) Tale” will get back to that later.