A reflection on the work that I have made this year in the subject module.
Throughout the year I have experimented with many different processes and learnt lots of new things. In the editorial illustration projects I learnt how images can speak for themselves out of context and how putting them into context can change their meanings. I also learnt how it is import to consider what connotations different materials and images can portray especially when it comes to sensitive topics. I also learnt to consider how an image will be accessed by people, for example on a website or in print and how this can effect how you create an image. I also learnt how to make a GIF in this project, something I had only done once and not very well. I also discovered that I need to make my work neater, especially the haunted house image, making the picture bigger would have made it easier to cut out the furniture and using a lighter pencil to sketch before I paint as it can still be seen in the image. I found this project interesting as it simulated what a real life editorial commission would be like, this enabled me to learn about this process and allowed me to consider doing more projects like this in the future.
With the second project Mappa Mundi I was able to develop my collage skills further however I think I used too much collage in this project and not enough of my drawings skills. I enjoyed this project as I was able to develop one of my ideas further however I now wish that I had explored the idea in a different way. Because of this project I realised that I needed to incorporate more of my drawings into my final work as my drawings are quite lively and expressive and I think that these features are lost in the final pieces where I use collage.
In the Penguin Book project I experimented with dynamic shapes and paper cuts in order to to create a book cover. I was also able to experiment with text in relation to images and develop my own style of writing. This project also taught me about how a book cover is put together and what information needs to be included on one. I was also able to experiment with textures which is something that I enjoy incorporating into my work, I think that this project allowed me to start to discover how I can include textures in my work without using a lot of collage and still being able to incorporate drawing into final pieces. I also learnt a lot about dynamism and how using simple shapes can create lively pieces which attract attention.
In the creative conscience project I was able to develop my animation skills further. I was also able to explore how I could use drawings in my final pieces. My final outcome was a set of GIFs that I created using photoshop. The character, a vampire, in the GIFs was created digitally on a tablet, allowing me to draw but making it easier to convert into a GIF. I enjoyed this project as I was able to create something with the aim of helping others and bringing attention to a deserving cause. The idea of my work potentially helping people inspired me and encouraged me to create something that I enjoyed making and that others would enjoy too. I learn’t many skills in this project as I made a series of GIFs in a way that I hadn’t previously used. This project also allowed me to explore how words and images work together, I discovered that in some cases it is important to have a balance between the words and images and to not let one out shadow the other when trying to convey information and interest people. I am very pleased with the work that came out of this project as I think my series of GIFs achieved my goal of encouraging people to give blood in a light hearted and humorous way.
In the final project, the open brief project, I was able to explore a different aspect of my work, a darker and more serious aspect. This project enabled me to discover how I could tackle such a serious topic using my artwork, which is usually lighthearted and charming. I was also able to further explore how words and images work in relation to each other. I enjoyed this project as I was able to work with a narrative which is something that I enjoy and something that I think my work is more suited to. I think that this project was a challenge for me as I had to illustrate something real whereas I often illustrate the imaginary and I had to do this in a way that suited the topic but I still wanted to create something that was visually engaging, including textures. To create the images for this book project I used a process that was fairly familiar to me, watercolour, however I tried to use it in a way that I hadn’t used before. I also used photoshop to create digital backgrounds, this is something that I have done before but I think that I can still improve this technique. I also learnt about book layouts and how to create a book using Indesign which is an important thing for an illustrator to be able to do.
The final outcome of the open brief project.
After making some designs for the final pages I made a dummy book. I then finished off the final pages. I used watercolours to paint the main features of the pages, I then digitally added the backgrounds. I created the font from my own handwriting, I think this works as it isn’t too messy but it looks more personal than a normal font.
The first page is made up of documents and letters that my Grandfather brought back with him from his time as a prisoner of war. I also included a photograph of him and another of him and some other soldiers.
I am fairly happy with how the pages turned out however there is still many changes that I would make to them. I think that I need to experiment more with how the text is placed on the images as it takes up quite a lot of space and detracts from the images a bit. I also need to improve the quality of some of the pages, I could do this by re-scanning some of the artwork ignorer to make it less blurry. I also need to improve the way that I cut out my images and apply them to flat colour backgrounds. One suggestion from my tutor was to use gouache, the same colour as the background, and apply it around the parts of the image that I wish to cut out, creating a smoother transition between the digital aspects and the watercolour parts. I will try this technique to improve my images. I also went to experiment more with the content of some of the pages, for example the third page, with the image of the boat sinking, I think that an image where the main character can clearly be seen climbing across a rope to the ship would be more effective and visually interesting. I would also like to include more textures from real items in the pages like the wooden box on the fifth page and the blindfold on the eleventh. I could paint on bits of the documents and letters and I have some Japanese fans that I could also incorporate.
I also made a cover for my book using images from the existing pages.
A short reflection of the third year illustration degree show.
For the third year’s degree show a ‘river of books’ was created. I think this table in the shape of a river worked really well to draw people into the space and to get them to interact with the work that was being displayed. I think that the shape of the river table also encouraged people to walk around the space and to explore it thoroughly. I especially liked the work that was at the start of the river, a book that contained templates that could be used to make models of some of the buildings from St Fagans, a Welsh Museum. I think this project was very engaging and it made you want to discover more about it. I think that the placing of the models drew you in to the exhibition and into the project as they were so intriguing. I also liked a concertina book that explored guilt eating. I think as the format of the book was different to all of the more traditional books it drew you in. I also think that the stuffed character drew the eye and made the viewer want to find out more about it. The third piece of work that caught my eye was a tapestry hung on the wall with other images hanging off the bottom. I think because this work was so different to everyone else’s it especially stood out and because of it containing many different images it invited you to come closer to try and figure out what was going on.
Seeing this show has given me some inspiration for my own second year show, especially the concertina book as this could be a format that I would like to explore in the future.
The development of my book for the open brief project.
After doing some initial sketches of my main character and figuring out a timeline of events I created a rough storyboard. Some of the ideas for page layouts I thought could work quite well but other I thought needed improving.
Next I started by drawing out some of my favourite page layouts, I used ink and watercolour then scanned them and made changes or improved them in photoshop. Some of the backgrounds such as the bamboo background I drew using my tablet. There are multiple designs for some of the pages as I made changes to the background in order to improve them.
The final GIFs that I have made for a campaign that encourages people to donate blood for the Creative Conscience project.
I made some improvements to my GIFs. I started by changing the text so that it stood out more and wasn’t overshadowed by the vampire character. I also changed one of my GIFs to make it more interesting.
I think that the new text looks a lot better than the old, it stands out a lot more and I think that it is easier to read. I also think that enlarging different words makes it look more interesting and eye catching.
I also made a rough poster that could be part of the campaign. I made a landscape and a portrait version so that they could be used in different ways. I think that the poster works but maybe doesn’t relate to the idea of donating blood as well as the image of the vampire. I do think that it is an eye catching design and would be effective at attracting people’s attention.
I then photoshopped a series of images to show how my GIFs and my poster could be encountered in the real world and where they could be shown in order to get people’s attention and to get people to understand more about blood donation in order to convince them to do it.
I’ve created two different scenarios, a social media post and a bus stop billboard as these are places where a GIF could be shown and they are common places to advertise. Because of the shape of the GIF it would be difficult to show on a bus stop billboard however you could show two GIFs at once but this may make it too difficult to read and understand each GIF individually. I think that the GIF on the bus stop board with the black boarder looks better but it wastes a lot of space that could have been used.
I then decided to use a different billboard to show how the GIFs could be encountered in the real world, I chose one which suited the shape of the GIFs that I have made. I think this image looks a lot better as the GIFs fit properly in the billboard frames.
Some more of my development work from this project.
In order to improve my GIFs I decided that the vampire character needed to stay in place in each GIF and not move about too much and to instead animate the text so that the GIFs were more consistent. I also knew that I needed to improve the quality of animation still as they needed to look more sophisticated. I also decided to make 4 GIFS as a set for the project.
For this Fancy a Bite? GIF I kept the vampire character in one place and improved the movement of his arm as in the previous version of this GIF his arm moved very awkwardly and clumsily. I also animated the text so that the text moves instead of the character. I think this format works a lot better as this is inly a short animation it needs to be consistent and easy to follow. I also think that this decision also puts a bit more emphasis on the text as thats what changes and not the character.
For the Don’t be a sucker GIF I did the same thing as I did with the Fancy a bite one as the character only moves at the beginning of the GIF, its the text that moves and changes after the vampire has come into the GIF. I think this looks a lot better as again your attention is drawn more to the text. I also slowed the movement of his blinking and made him move from side to side a bit so that he isn’t too static. I also got rid of the flapping cape as I don’t think that it worked very well.
For the fancy a pint GIF I changed the moment quite a lot. I made it more complicated as the character now lifts its glass and drinks out of it instead of just shaking the glass. I think that this made the GIF much more interesting and eye catching. I also made it so the arm with the pint remains visible for the entire GIF so that it doesn’t just disappear.
I also animated one of my latest ideas. This is a very simple animation that doesn’t really contain much information about donating blood but I think that it is still a fun way of trying to get people to donate blood. I don’t think that this GIF is as effective as some of the others as the only animated aspects are the vampire’s eyes and mouth.
All of these GIFs need improving but I am happy with the animation on most of them. I think that the text on all of them needs to be made bolder or bigger in order for it to stand out more as I think that the vampire draws your attention away from it too much so you don’t really read whats there. I could possibly make some of the important words bigger so that they stand out or I could animate some individual words so that they attract even more attention. I think I also need to change the last GIF, the do something fangtastic one as it isn’t very eye catching because it doesn’t move as much as the others.
The development of the rough GIFs that I made for the Creative Conscience project.
To improve my GIFs I wanted to experiment with different background colours and textures. I also wanted to improve the movement of the character in my GIFs as its very rough and jerky. I want the movements to look more realistic but I still want the GIFs to be simple and quirky.
I started by using acrylic paints to create different backgrounds. I then scanned these in to see how they would look with my vampire character. I also experimented with changing the colour of the text so that it stands out against the different backgrounds. I also made a grey/white background on my tablet which is similar to the original red background. After making all of these different backgrounds I think that the original red one is the most effective as it is vibrant and eye-catching, it contrasts well with the text and the vampire character.
I then used the fancy a bite GIF to experiment with the movement of the vampire character. I changed his movements so that they are more sophisticated and realistic.
I think the movements can still be improved but I think that this GIF is a lot better than the previous one.
I also experimented with some new puns that could be used in the GIFs.
As my work has to be a campaign I think that creating three final GIFs would be a good idea. So far my favourite GIFs are the fancy a bite? GIF, the don’t be a sucker GIF and one of my newer ideas, do something fangtastic which I haven’t made into a GIF yet.
I then improved the animation for the don’t be a sucker GIF. There are some things I would like to improve about the movement still but I think it has improved.