Constellation – Reflective Post Term 3

A reflection on what I have learnt from constellation so far this year from a previous study group and my own research and how this can then be applied to my own practice.


Through researching concepts and theories for my dissertation I have discovered what has already been written about the subject I will be discussing, female monsters and the materials that they have been made of. I have also looked at theories and concepts that relate to my topic such as, research on femininity, female monsters, monsters in general, abjection and the grotesque. Through reading many books on these subjects I have discovered theories that I will be able to apply in my dissertation, where I will analyse selected images of female monsters from stop motion films.

I will be able to apply what I have previously learnt from the study group Glamour and the Grotesque in the first term of this year at uni as we looked at monsters and how they look. We also explored theories on materials and material ‘CVs’, the different connotations that materials can have on an object or an image and the massive impact that these ‘cultural CVs’ can have. What I have learnt about objects and the materials that they are made of made me consider the materials, textures and colours that I use in my own work. It allowed me to choose elements in my work more carefully and consider the connotations and meanings attached to them when including them in a piece of work.

From this study group I also learnt about how an artist can contradict themselves in a piece of work that they have created. I have, and can now look for contradictions in an image and identify what aspects of the image that create those contradictions. This will be useful when writing my dissertation as I will be analysing images of female monsters that will most likely contain contradictions between femininity and monstrosity.

In the study group I also learnt about liminality and shape-shifting. This will be applicable to the female monsters that I will be analysing as two of the monsters that I will be looking at go through a transformation. This theory is also similar to the concept of abhuman bodys and abject bodies, bodies that cross the boundaries of the inside and outside, bodies that are falling apart and vulnerable, these are theories that I read about when doing research for my dissertation.

The analysis techniques that I learnt from this study group will help me greatly when analysing the images in my dissertation. I will be able to confidently identify aspects in an image, explain the connotations of these aspects and then back up my analysis with theories from academic papers and books. I have also learnt to revisit my analysis in order to include further arguments. I have also been able to apply what I have learnt about analysing images to my own work in my practice. When reflecting on my work or explaining decisions that I have made I will now be able to use ‘Cath’s Columns’, a tool for analysing images that was given to us in the study group, to effectively analyse my work and others, including any artists work that I have researched for a project.

The theories that I have learnt about from the study group and from doing research for my dissertation have taught me how I can use motifs within my work to convey these theories. From learning about these theories I now also know how I can show them in my work, for example after learning about abhuman bodies and abject bodies I now know what I need to include in my work or what to look for in others work in order to portray these theories.  

I also now look at images differently because of the theories that I have learnt about.


I think that the way that I read academic books and papers has changed and improved. I find it easier to skim texts looking for information that applies to what I am writing about. I have also found it a bit easier to find books and papers that relate to what I am writing about. However I have found it difficult looking for applicable information in books that I thought were related to what I am writing about. I have found it hard as I have read through many books that I have been unable to find anything applicable that I can use in them but I have discovered that this is just part of the process. I have also changed the way that I work slightly as I now find it more effective to do an analysis in parts, I find it easier if I return to analysis after a few days with fresh eyes and I also find that after reading theory I can find new connotations in a piece of work or an image that I hadn’t noticed before. I have also found that by analysing one image it can give you ideas for theories that can apply to another image and that by comparing them it can result in new arguments.

I have found the process of planning and researching theories for my dissertation informative but tricky. I have struggled with writing about the research that I have done as this isn’t really something that I have done before, however, I tried to apply what I have learnt about essay writing from completing previous essays for various study groups. I also found it difficult when writing about how I will set out my dissertation, for example what I will put into each chapter, but looking at examples of dissertation research proposals helped me to understand a bit more what I needed to do.

Overall constellation has helped me to be more considerate when selecting the materials, textures and forms that I will include in my work as all of these things have their own connotations. It has also taught me to be more inquisitive when looking at other peoples work and to be mindful of the theories and concepts that I have learnt about from study groups and from doing my own research.


Creative Conscience – Final GIFs

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.

cookie-gif-new-text-giffancy-a-pint-gif-gif-4dont-be-a-sucker-new-text-giffangtastic-new-text-gif-gifI 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.

fangtastic poster fbfangtastic advertfacebook adbus stop billboardbillboard 2I’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.

Blank Billboard Banner Media Light box Subway station with blurr

Creative Conscience – Development

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.

cookie-gif-3For 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.

dont-be-a-sucker-blink-gifFor 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.

fancy-a-pint-gif-2-gifFor 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.

fangtasticI 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.

Creative Conscience – Developing GIFs

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.

cookies-gif-2I 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.


Creative Conscience – Making GIFs

The development of one of my initial ideas, making some rough GIFs of some of my ideas.

I decided to experiment more with the idea of making an animation or a series of GIFs for the creative conscience brief.

I started by doing some quick storyboards of some ideas that could be turned into GIFs. The idea was for them to be simple and to convince people to give blood or just to get them thinking about it. I wanted to use the vampire character as I thought it would be a fun and quirky way of getting the information across.


I then did a couple of short story boards for an idea similar to the vampire one but using Frankenstein to teach about organ donation. I only did a couple of these as I realised that this could be an insensitive way of talking about organ donation and could be seen as offensive to people.

I then did some quick sketches using my tablet of what the vampire looks like, I then used these sketches to make images that could be used to make some rough GIFs of the story board ideas.

Creative Conscience - Sketch 3

I also drew the vampire using a brush ink pen and watercolours, however I don’t think this version looked as good as the digital one as the colours weren’t very bright and it didn’t stand out as much.

watercolour vampire.jpg

I then used these images to make a few rough GIFs, I say these are roughs as I made them mainly to refresh myself on making GIFs and to see how my ideas could potentially work.


I think that these GIFs work quite well, they are short and simple and they explain a bit about blood donation and what your donation can do. To improve them I will experiment with different backgrounds and font for the text. I will also experiment with how the vampire moves as its quite clunky at the moment but I think that this adds charm and humour to the GIFs. I could also try using these GIFs to make a longer animation that incorporates sound as I think this will make the GIFs more effective at capturing peoples attention.

Creative Conscience – Initial Ideas

My initial ideas for the Creative Conscience Brief.

After looking at existing campaigns I had formed some ideas. I started by sketching these out in my sketchbook, this then helped me to form other ideas.


One of my favourite ideas was to create an interactive leaflet or booklet that included pop ups of flaps. The idea is that the leaflet would look like the game operation but instead of removing the organs they acted as flaps that when lifted they reveal information about organ donation. I thought this idea would be a good way to get peoples attention and to physically involve them whilst they learn something. I made a quick mock up of the idea using paper and watercolours, I think it could work but I would need to experiment with media and processes to find the most suitable way of doing it.


My second favourite idea was to create an animation or series of GIFs that got people to register to give blood. Part of the idea was to teach people about the process and what their donations can do. The idea was to use a vampire character to do this as I thought that it could be funny and make the campaign a bit more fun and light hearted.

vampire idea.jpg

I also had the idea of making the leaflet / booklet in the shape of people and join them all together with red string or a red line to represent the blood that has been donated that connects them. However I don’t think this idea was very original or engaging enough.


We also did a sketching exercise as a group to help us realise what we want our campaign to do / change and how we are going to do it. We had to draw a series of images depicting how we wanted our campaign to make a change or what we wanted it to make people do e.g. make a donation, change a behaviour. We also had to draw how they would come across our campaign, for example, I drew a leaflet being pushed through a letterbox and a pile of them left in a doctors surgery. I found this exercise useful as it got us thinking about what we wanted to achieve through our campaigns and how we would want it to be seen in the real world.



Creative Conscience – Research

Some research into existing charities and campaigns that raise awareness about organ donation and giving blood for a new project.

For this Creative Conscience project I hope to create an animation or interactive booklet that communicates with people about why they should give blood or register to donate their organs and hopefully get people to sign up for blood and organ donation.  I chose this topic as blood donations are essential in order to treat people with serious health problems / issues. A single donation can be used to treat cancer patients, newborn babies, people who have been in serious accidents and people who need open heart surgery. In order to treat these people over 450 donations of blood are needed each day. Organ donations are as equally important, they can save lives and greatly improve the quality of life for many people. Out of the patients waiting for a lung transplant in the last 10 years over a quarter died whilst they were waiting.

I started this project by looking at existing charities that all ready do this and the campaigns that they use to do it.

The first charity that I looked at was The Welsh Blood Service. Most of their campaigns are about sharing peoples story’s whose lives have been saved by blood donations. Their most recent campaign is titled The Chilled Out Way To Save a Life, it focuses on getting young people to join the Welsh Bone Marrow Doner Registry. The idea of the campaign is to share images of dangerous, life-threatening ways to save a life in order to highlight how easy and safe it is to join the bone marrow registry. The campaign highlights the slim chances of finding a life saving match and this is why they need more donors, to increase these chances. This campaign is quite fun and silly which is more the sort of thing that I would like to do however I don’t think that the images really convey the importance of donating and it doesn’t explain why you should. I think that the focus on how easy it is to save someone’s life by joining the bone marrow registry is possibly the wrong way to go about it as it doesn’t really educate the audience on why they should.

I also looked at the campaigns used by the NHS to get people to donate blood. One campaign called the Missing Type Campaign got well known companies to remove the letters A,O and B from their adverts on the web, social media and in print. The aim of this campaign was to highlight the need for new donors. I think that this campaign was effective as it captured people’s attention because many companies took part and at first didn’t explain why they had removed these letters which created some suspense and made people curious. However though I don’t think that it was the most effective way to get people to donate their blood as it didn’t explain anything about the process which can be seen as scary, or explain anything about the reasons why their donations are needed. However I think that it worked well to get peoples attention.

The NHS also created another campaign, Bleed for England, which used rugby players to encourage people to give blood. The campaign ran alongside the Rugby World Cup, they described the campaign as a ‘rallying cry’. This campaign was effective as it encouraged 101,295 people to sign up to become a blood donor. I think that these posters communicate the need for people to register quite well but again they don’t explain anything and they aren’t really emotive considering that donating blood saves lives. I also think that the colours used are very typical and the images aren’t especially eye catching and they could easily be overlooked in public when competing with other posters.

The NHS’s most recent campaign called Make a Date to Donate uses celebrities to give an insight into the donation process and what happens when you go to give blood. It also touches on the reasons why these people chose to donate their blood.

I think this video works well to communicate how easy giving blood is and how anyone can do it. I also think it’s good having an insight into why others choose to do it and that after doing it for the first time they will continue to do it. I also think that this video is aimed towards younger people which seems to be the focus of most of the campaigns as they need new donors that will continue donating for as long as they are able. I think that the campaigns that are more fun and less serious are the most effective and I think that is something that I would like to explore in this project.

I want my project’s call to action to be to get more people to be blood donors and to sign up for organ donation but I also want to educate people on why they should give blood and how easy the process is as I think that this will help to get more people to register and donate.