Part two of the course has focused on developing your ideas through a creative process, from a brief to your finished illustrations. Overall your response to part two has continued to be very good; you research well, experiment visually and analyse what could have worked better. Your strongest work in this submission is the ‘Using Reference’ image, the Bela character design work and the assignment drawings.
I loved working on the Bela, It is really one my elements, character design. I’m happy with “using references” as it was an area I didn’t have much confidence within, and I did okay within.
Project: The Brief Your first exercise focused on writing a brief for a chosen illustration. You looked into the notion of the brief very well, considering different publishing contexts and Your finished brief for ‘Night Monkey, Day Monkey’; is good. The exercise is asking you to demonstrate how you unpack an image and related concerns (text style, scale, palette) and you addressed all of these.
Your moth drawing is a charming extrapolation from the monkey idea, but maybe it could have been a night moth and a day butterfly (or vice versa?).
I enjoyed mainly using liquard watercolour for the first time that I may have overlooked a finishing touch to the illustration such as similar wording/font for “night moth and day butterfly. I’m glad I covered what I needed to for the brief, I think I helped myself by putting myself into the mindset of a “client”.
Project: Generating ideas Generating ideas is a vital skill for illustrators to compliment overtly visual skills. You were asked to generated ideas through a spider diagram for a number of words and reflect on your strategies. You completed these well, and asking other people for their responses was a good experiment. Your spider polaroids are an amusing collection of images.
I amused myself creating the spider pictures. I found this useful and will be something I do more of in the research stage.
Project: Words to pictures Working visually, you were asked to generating ideas through drawings and a mood board. You chose ‘Travel’, and your sketchbook visual inventory is very good, documenting not just ways of travel, and the things you see inside modes of travel like the train, but also objects you need to take. You note that you didn’t experiment with materials or swatches of colour and texture as the exercise asks, but your critical reflection is good. This exercise should prepare you well for the children’s illustration exercises later in the course.
I’m the type of person if I do not try something right away, it will be something I look for doing in a way in the future. It will be something I know I will revisit.
For your moodboard you chose ‘Destruction’ and here you did incorporate more material experimentation to break out of your comfort zone more. This worked well, and progressing onto your character Bela was really interesting to see. As you know there has been a vogue for ‘bad girl’ type characters in comics and games like Vampirella, Snotgirl and Witchblade for some time, but your Bela has an original quality of her own. Your drawing is great here, slightly manga-esque in the current style, but with strong drawing underpinning it. A well-developed exercise!
I love characters like Vampirella, snotgirl and witchblade. I agree it was good to break out of my comfort zone with this. I think it challenged me and in turn that really inspired me.
Project: Using reference Illustrators need to have a mine of visual resources that they can refer to when creating images. You were asked to collect as much reference material as you could find for the 1950s period from a range of categories, from which you then made an illustration to give a young person of today an idea of the era. You researched very well here, and I’m glad you discarded the more critical ideas around the finished image, like parodying the ‘perfect nuclear family’ stereotype. The exercise is much more about using reference than satire, which is explored later in the course. Your finished watercolour has an element of the John Bull cover/Ladybird illustration aesthetic, but updated and slightly darker. The composition is great, and the clever positioning of the figures created the right-hand corner space for you to place elements like the cupboards and shelves on which era-specific items were put. The colour palette is also subtle and muted in keeping with the time. Another well-completed exercise!
I was most worried about this one (and finding the content) while I was impressed with the composition myself, I had carefully planned like that a movie director to find the best angle that can fit everything in without looking like I was trying to cram everything in.
This was out of my element so I glad for this feedback.
Project: Mark making Through the exploring drawing and painting exercise you were encouraged to explore the creative possibilities of different papers, drawing implements and investigate mixed media, as well as undertaking objective and subjective drawings. Your apple experiments are great, especially the soft pastel on Kraft paper and spray paint on clear plastic, but overall you have experimented well.
These are my favorite results as well.
Your objective drawings is a little flat, not as good a study as your older converse drawing, which has very good variation of texture in the laces and shading, so maybe it’s the umbrella itself which doesn’t lend itself to detailed observational study.
I agree with this, the other thing about the older converse drawing it was timed (think was two hours) maybe I would be better picking a more textured item and timing myself and seeing the results.
Your Hendersons bottle is a simple but effective drawing, reminiscent of the Absolut vodka campaign where they commissioned artists to create their own versions of the bottle:
I will be getting in touch with Hendos and seeing if they will run another campaign. maybe something to get students involved in or even if could do a limited edition bottles where can draw your own images on…
Project: Black and white You were asked follow a process to produce a simplified graphic image in black and white. As you note, you didn’t follow the exercise exactly in terms of cutting and collaging, but you did mimic the steps digitally. The difficulty is that maybe the image is too narrative or unusual to be experimented with formally. Something like the Pinterest Cite Noir image of a street or city scene might have allowed you to experiment with the elements more, but your drawing only has the two elements of the fish and the moon rays to experiment with. It’s not a bad drawing, but more visual information to manipulate would have allowed you to test the exercise more.
Yes, I think I will in time take on this as an experiment and cut / college as soon as I have a new printer. I felt like I was “held” back with what I had access to at the time so was a case of making it work with what I had. This will not be always the case so something I can look into more when have the means.
Project: Choosing content Working with an extract of text you were asked to define, research and develop ideas to visualise the main character with in the setting suggested. Again you researched well, finding the original Scotland Yard and sourcing original reference like Dick Tracy. I’m not sure the newspaper coat works, and the placing of the telephone at the bottom of the character is a little compositionally ‘clunky’. Perhaps the phone could have been placed further to the left of the desk to break up the line of the figure? Otherwise your painting has a good atmosphere of the time and is suitably gloomy.
I really like the newspaper coat, but I may have been blinded by that to see if actually works. As I’m moving though part three I can clearly see could have made better “edits” on this. I have redone a little based on this feedback, stubbornly I’ve kept the coat but made it “less” within the image. (see below)
I should have trusted myself a little more to edit this, as I was never 100% sure about composition as I was with the thumbnail and felt a little “off”.
Project: Visual metaphors After collecting examples of visual metaphors you were asked to create a drawn visual list of object and subjects that could symbolise a number of words. Once completed it was suggested that you let someone else critique your work – did your drawings communicate as you intended? You chose ‘broken relationship – your ‘red thread’ illustration is a good, direct editorial-type illo but the swirling thread shapes mean the heart shape is a little lost. Perhaps if the thread was stretched taut horizontally as two people walk away from each other out of the edges of the picture and the thread snapping created a heart shape would have been more ideographic?
I redid this today how I’ve been feeling I wanted to do with taking on board the two people walking away. I did (below) but as I emailed you again I would really like to see if can explore and evoke the emotions that Adrian Tomine creates, even if this ends up becoming a personal project.
I think in my quest to explore I need to ensure do not lose sight of the purpose and the “me”.
Feedback on assignment – ‘Point of sale display’
The assignment asked you to respond to a point of sale display brief in which you were asked to illustrate fruit or vegetables associated with summer and autumn. Your designs are good, with the fruit and veg in the corner of images to leave space for the text. The issue is the background colour – it seems like the summer background could be much brighter blue and the Autumn background an earthier brown. As it is they are quite tonally similar and therefore not distinctive enough. Your drawings are good but could probably be given a little digital ‘boost’ in the printing.
I do love doing digital boost, I held back on the original as I wasn’t sure if was best course of action for this when I FIRST started, but thinking on it I should have at least explored this as I went along. I will try the background colours as you can see this was an area I was falling short at and wasn’t getting what I wanted with, maybe this is the solution.
I will explore with this piece more over the next week.
Sketchbooks Your sketchbook work continues to be very good, especially the ‘Travel’ and ‘Bela’ pages.
Your learning log writing is very clear. You have begun to edit a little and focus more clearly on how you develop ideas, material experimentation and critical reflection.
Pointers for the next assignment The next assignment explores the process of transforming your ideas into a form that best communicates them. This is an opportunity to experiment with more experimental and diagrammatic approaches like abstraction and instructional graphics.