Saturday, 17 March 2012

Self Reflection - part 1

Self Reflection part 1

There are roughly two months left until the final hand in date for my final major project work. Since January, I have again learned much and am nervous for the deadline coming as I feel that I am still learning even now. These two months will undoubtedly fly past and that makes the overwhelming feeling I have even more intense.

So, since January, I have learned first and foremost that I need to produce more thumbnails to show where I see my work going. It is a point that Ian made during one of my tutorials, that although I made one rough (which is a development in itself as I usually just work from the image I see in my head, but I understand that potential clients can’t see inside my head and require something to work from) there needs to be more. Roughs and small thumbnails of progression don’t take long to produce and once in the ‘zone’ I can produce around 20 in a half hour period. To show development of ideas and to see if they work in a small space shows me that if it doesn’t work small scale it will never work to scale. These only have to be quick pencil drawings and although they a very rough they do show vital progression and development qualities.

I have learned to persevere. Last semester I flitted form one media to the next, from one process to the next and from one technique to the next, each time only skimming the surface of each and not exploring either to its full potential. There was painting, stitch, collage and printing all added into the mix. This semester I have decided to produce collage characters utilising a similar process to my James and the Giant Peach characters where stitch plays a key part in the design too. It has been very frustrating at times when I couldn’t get the shape quite right or the edges of a shape were too fiddly, not turning to trusty paints was a challenge. On reflection however, I think that it was a worthy challenge and has so far produced some fantastic results. From this I have now decided to produce an artists book titled ‘Into the Garden’ where I have illustrated several animals which are found in the garden. My next venture will be another artists book titled ‘Under the Water’ which will feature illustrations of animals that are found under the water. Although I am working on the main animals at the moment I have also started to play with process in screen printing which has produced some good results too. Alongside the main books I will also produce some toddler merchandise such as baby-gro’s and bedding sets as this will be my target audience for the books.

I have learned to play with colour more. Currently I have a bright blue walrus and a purple octopus which are not reflective of the actual animals. I think that it is important to keep a sense of play in my work; by keeping the animals parallel with reality they bring nothing new to the table they would be just a mere representation of the world around us. However, the key to my work is their distinctive shapes, although my walrus is blue, my audience can recognise it being a walrus immediately due to its iconic shape and features. I have tried to keep the colours complimentary with each other too, for example my walrus is blue and when you turn the page to the next element such as the jelly fish, the colours don’t clash or contradict each other; rather they compliment each other instead. In my printing I have more control over the colour application as I can select which colours I want to use rather than being limited to a set size of magazine paper. On my bedding for example I have used the same yellow for the bumble bee, the frog’s tummy and the star fish.

I have researched my media thoroughly. At first I was using old magazines which I had lying around which were difficult to use because they quality wasn’t fantastic. Additionally, they only offered certain sizes of colours and textures within the page which was struggle when trying to make elements which required larger areas. My tutorial group suggested trying origami paper, which I did. The quality and texture of the origami paper was very similar to that of magazine paper and for that aspect I was pleased I had found a possible alternative. However, I soon realised that the colours of the origami papers were limiting just as the magazine paper was limiting in the area of colour. It is for this reason that I decided to revert back to magazine paper but went to go and buy some better quality magazines in a bid to try and improve the quality of my collages. I think so far this has worked. Although the prices of the magazines were exceptionally higher, the quality of the work being produced is also exceptionally higher making the magazines an investment rather than a luxury as they would be for many.

Type is something I have really struggled with in the past. I have now started experimenting with existing types rather than trying to fool myself into think that types I produce myself are any good. The type I have found particularly interesting is when I cut up an old book and glue it down in my sketchbook, scan it in and erase all the lighter areas around it. The result is a grainy looking replica rather than the crisp original and it compliments my work well, as well as having the backing of my tutor which is always a bonus. It is nice to know that the type doesn’t have to be in a straight line either, another distortion of reality which makes it far more interesting.

In summary, I’ve learned that I’m still learning. If I ever stop learning about my trade I’ll let you know. But for now I’m reviewing all that I am learning to try and make the best out of my new found knowledge and make it pay off in my work. I hope to apply all that I have reviewed here and make the best possible grade, passing out into the world of illustration with a greater knowledge of what is going on around me.

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