Urban Sketching – Cardiff Centre

My sketches from a sketch crawl in Cardiff City Centre focusing on the architecture of pubs.


On Saturday the 20th I went to Cardiff City Centre in order to do some urban sketching. Most of my sketches from this sketch crawl are quick sketches as the weather wasn’t very nice. I decided that I wanted my sketches to link together from a shared theme so I chose to draw different pubs and bars from the city centre as most of these buildings have interesting architecture and they stand out from the other buildings.

I used a dip pen with ink for most of my sketches. For some sketches I decided to focus on just drawing the windows of some of the buildings and for others I quickly sketched the building itself. For the sketch of The Great Western pub I added the colour at home with watercolours as this was more convenient. I decided to use my tablet for the sketch of The Cambrian Tap, this was a more detailed sketch and I though it would be easier to use my tablet than my dip pen.

I think that all of these sketches are successful, they are not accurate but I think that they work well to portray some of the character of the different buildings. I especially think that using the dip pen works well as it requires you to be quite confident as the lines can’t be removed, I think that this helps to add an organic quality to the wonky lines and mistakes.

Urban Sketching

My first few sketches for a new project Urban Sketching.

This project, Urban Sketching, is about drawing from observation, on location. The idea is to capture the essence or feeling of a place in a drawing rather than recreate it accurately. The theme of this project is My Cardiff, so one of the aims is to create an array of work which collectively tells a story or communicates something about the city.

suOne of the first exercises we did was to spend half an hour doing a sketch somewhere in the campus. I went to the student’s union where I sat at a table and started to draw a balcony that was above me. I didn’t time my sketch but I think that I spent about 20 minutes on it. I used a fine liner pen to draw it. I usually draw in pen or with ink, I don’t often draw in pencil as I find that I tend to overwork the lines, and spend too much time rubbing bits out and redoing them.
I think that this sketch is fairly recognisable, but I think that maybe adding colour could help to make it more interesting.


The second exercise that we did was to go on a sketch crawl in Llandaff for a couple of hours. I used a variety of materials including a ink dip pen, fine liners, watercolour pencils and I also did a digital sketch on my tablet.

I don’t think that all of these sketches are successful, the window from the view from the cafe is too overworked, I think that drawing all of the bricks was a mistake as it doesn’t look realistic, it looks too graphic. I also think that my second image from the Bishop’s Palace didn’t work as the perspective is off and it makes it difficult to understand what the building is doing in the image. I think my most successful sketches are the ones that I did on my tablet. I enjoyed focusing on the detail of one window from the cathedral and drawing the spire rather than trying to draw the whole thing. I also think that the addition of colour to the spire worked well.

Urban Sketching – Research

Some artists that I have researched for the project Urban Sketching.

For this project I have looked at a few artist’s who are urban sketchers. I have found that their work is usually vastly different but overall I prefer the looser more experimental work to the more accurate.

IMG_0008.jpegOne of the artists that I have looked at for this project is Marc Taro Holmes. He is an urban sketcher that works in a various number of ways. His work that I find most inspiring are his pieces made using ink, pen and washes. I also like how he focuses just on certain elements of a building and not the whole thing. I think that the way he uses pen and ink has an element of liveliness and I think that it works well to capture the essence of a building. This has inspired me to use my ink and dip pens for this project.

IMG_0012.jpegAnother artist that I have looked at for this project is Sue Lewington. She uses a mixture of techniques including painting and sketching. Her drawings are more detailed and realistic but they are also colourful as she uses a lot of water colours. Her sketches also feature text, usually about what she has drawn. I think that her use of colour through watercolours adds some charm to her images and a fairy tale like quality.

Space is the Animated Place – Reflection

A short reflection on what I have learnt during the project Space is the Animated Space and what I would do to improve my work if I had the chance.

Screen Shot 2017-12-14 at 14.52.41.pngI enjoyed this project as it allowed me to explore a new type of animation that is less controlled and more experimental. I was also able to play with materials and their properties which is something that I enjoy doing. I used a tablet on a tripod to film my animation which isn’t something that I had done before and I discovered that it has pros and cons. It was quite unstable which made some of the films jerky and not very smooth. I enjoyed the process of this animation and making things up as we go along. One scene which I think worked well was the scene where my monster eats a cactus, this was fairly improvised as we weren’t sure if it was going to work or if it would look effective but I the end I think that it worked really well.

I found working in a group to have its advantages and its disadvantages. It was interesting as we were all able to combine our ideas and our different skills in order to create the animation. This was really helpful at the beginning when we were discussing how the animation could start and how all our monsters and spirits could encounter each other. The disadvantages of working in a group became apparent when people were absent as this slowed the animation process as we weren’t able to discuss what we were going to do next and it became harder to animate all of the characters and film at the same time with fewer people.

Screen Shot 2017-12-14 at 14.57.11Some of the things that I think could be improved in our animations are the framing and lighting in some shots. In the clip that we filmed of the spirits going up the stairs it was hard to include the larger monster in shot and to make the smaller spirits noticeable at the same time. We could have filmed close ups of the spirits travelling up the stairs with a better quality camera in order for them to be more clear, we could have then added this in in the editing process. I could have also filmed some close ups of my spirit for the scene where it escapes the sketchbook. This would have allowed me to show my character in more detail and to have more of a focus on it on the screen as toward the end of the sequence it travels to the edge of the frame where it is harder to see. I think that we would have done these things if we had had more time, but as this was a relatively short project we focused on filming the main narrative of our animation.

Screen Shot 2017-12-14 at 15.00.07.pngI was already interested in animation but I think that this project has made me want to explore the idea of  sketchbook animation further and to experiment with the technique of using a tablet to animate as it is an easy, instant process that I think could work really well for short, relatively simple animations. I also like the idea of found animations, creating something from similar shapes and colours, linking them all together.

Space is the Animated Place – Making the Animation

The process of animating the different sequences that made up our collaborative film.

As a group we decided that the animation would start with all of our monsters and spirits leaving their sketchbooks. We all filmed this part independently with the idea of bringing each separate origin together at the end.

I started by roughly storyboarding an idea for how my spirit would come alive in the sketchbook and then leave it.


I filmed my beginning piece on my desk in the illustration studio. I set up my desk with my sketchbook, a pile of book and some pots of pencils and a train ticket. The idea was that the monster would come alive in the sketchbook and then reach out and consume the train ticket, allowing the monster to take on the pattern and colours of the ticket. I then wanted the monster to come out of the book and run over to a stack of nearby books into which it would disappear.


I then roughly storyboarded some other ideas for where my animation could come next. These ideas would use the string model and the cacts model of my monster.


To film the next bit of the animation I met up with another person in the group. Together we animated our spirits meeting in the kitchen area and interacting with each other before mine chasing the other out of frame. We chose to introduce our spirits to each other because they were quite similar, they are both small and the ideas behind both were similar.


The animation started with one of the books from the desk in my first animation being put down in the kitchen. My spirit then emerges from the book, it is now multicoloured implying that it has eaten images in the book. After the spirits meet mine chases the other and ends up jumping into a pile of cardboard. This ending would then enable me to use my cardboard model of my monster in the next frame that it appears in.

I then worked with another member of the group in order for our monsters to meet. As our monsters which such different sizes we placed mine on a table so that it could watch the other monster as it walked past. This also allowed my monster to change from my card model to the cactus model.


For the final part of the animation we wanted all of our spirits and monsters to come together. We wanted to start the sequence with the largest monster standing at the top of the stairs as the others make their way towards it. The little monsters would then dismantle the larger monster and carry parts of it down the stairs. We wanted to film this part through close ups and cut aways which would allow us to focus on each spirit individually as well as animating them all together. The idea for the end would then consist of all of the spirits in the whole group coming together to create a large collage made up of materials, and other elements of spirits and monsters.


This filming process went well, starting individually at first was a good idea as it meant we didn’t have to rely on each other and we could work at our own pace. The collaberative  aspects of our animated film were made difficult because some people weren’t always in so they were unable to help. This meant that for some parts of the final sequence there was only three of us animating all four spirits and filming what we were doing.

The idea was then to incorporate all of our group films into one big film that showed all these different spirits in the School of Art and Design. In order for the film to be coherent we needed to film an ending as a group. We did this by incorporating all of our separate spirits to make one big mash up monster. We filmed this from above on a large sheet of paper. The idea was that different parts of some spirits would be carried to a ball of mess by other smaller spirits in order to create on big monster which would then throw up some spirits and then itself turning into nothing. This process went well but I think that we should have planned it all before hand so that it would have gone more smoothly.


Glamour and the Grotesque – constellation reflective post

A reflection on what I have learnt from the study group Glamour and the Grotesque and Constellation as a whole.

In this study group I have learnt a lot about materials and their connotations. I have learnt that different materials convey different concepts and that materials have ‘cultural CVs’ which can have a massive impact on the overall meaning of a piece. This knowledge has encouraged me to consider the materials that I use within my work with more care. I have also learnt that you can contradict yourself within your work, you can convey two different concepts through the use of materials, forms and objects. Again this has encouraged me to consider the materials that I use, the forms that I create and the objects that I select more carefully as everything has connotations that I may or may not want to imply through my work. In a piece that I made for an editorial project I was more aware of the materials and colours that I chose and the forms that I used as the image was for an article about a sensitive topic and I wanted to convey that sensitivity through my work.

This study group has also allowed me to consider how different mediums can convey the same messages and concepts, for example, we have looked at how the grotesque can be portrayed through clothing, artwork and photography. I have learnt about the importance of tactility and design in relation to the body and how these things can have a huge impact on how someone interprets a piece and what they take from it. I have learnt about liminality and how things can shape-shift through meanings, motifs, physical changes and how people perceive something. I am now able to consider all of these concepts when creating my work, I am now more selective of materials as each material has its own connotations, I consider the objects that I choose to include in my work as different objects hold different meanings. I also think about how I can contradict myself and how multiple meanings can be conveyed through the things that I choose to create and include.

I have also learnt how to analyse my work and others effectively in this study group. Through the concepts we have discussed I am now able to identify them in pieces of work, allowing me to think of certain materials and forms in a way I had not considered before. I can now analyse a piece of work by picking out concepts and annotations and then backing this analysis up by finding theories from academic writers.

I have learnt about how artists can be cross-disciplinary in order to convey messages, for example as an Illustrator I can use materials in a collage in order to convey concepts or create three-dimensional objects and forms to use within my work.

This study group has made me more aware of the motifs that I can include within my work, and that there is a process of selecting and discarding in which I can specifically select concepts and connotations to include or discard in my work.

The concepts that we have discussed surrounding femininity have allowed me to look at images in a different way, It is now apparent to me how castration anxiety and the phallic woman is a common theme in art and everyday things such as advertising.  


My working process has changed since last year, I have taken more time to analyse my chosen images that I used for my most recent essay. I found it easier to start my planning earlier and to repeatedly go back to the analysis with fresh eyes in order to see more within an image. This also enabled me to add more to my analysis by discovering new concepts and ideas through theories which I could see applied to the images I was looking at. To improve upon my last essay I needed to do more independent research into theories that I could use to backup my analysis. I was sort of successful at doing this but I occasionally found this process difficult when looking for quotations from books  which I could use to support my argument. I found some books which related to the topics that I explored didn’t have anything that I could use to support what I was stating in my essay. This wouldn’t have been an issue if I had had more time to do this, but as I only had a few weeks to write my essay this became a problem as the process of looking through books for relevant information was time consuming. I should have also managed my time better as I found it difficult to do this essay and stay on top of my field project work at the same time.

I found the process of planning the essay using the columns analysis just as effective as last time, I find that it helps me to sort my thoughts effectively which then makes it easier to write my analysis is essay form. I think that the idea of looking at the bigger picture when writing a conclusion helped immensely, rather than re-writing what I had already said I was able to talk about my practice and how the meanings and concepts in the images really show how materials and forms can be used to convey meanings.

Constellation has taught me to be more mindful when considering the materials, forms, textures and objects that I want to include within my work as all of these elements have their own connotations and meanings. It has also taught me to question things and to be more inquisitive when looking at a piece of someone else’s work or my own. It has also taught me how new meanings can be created through the juxtapositions of materials and objects and the combinations that can me made from these features.

Space is the Animated Space – Model Making

An overview of all the different models that I made of my spirit that I could use in the animation.

In order to animate my spirit I needed different models that would enable it to transform into different materials. I wanted my spirit to start as a two dimensional drawing in the sketchbook and then eventually change into a three dimensional figure. I started by making paper cut outs of the monsters which I painted with acrylic paint to add some texture.


I then made another set of paper cut outs using train tickets which I then painted a thin coat of white acrylic on top of. This set of paper cut outs would be used for the monster once it has eaten a train ticket so it would look like it had taken on the colours and patterns of the ticket.


I also made a multicoloured set of models of the monster which colour be used if it were to eat some pages of a picture book.


I then decided to start making three dimensional models that I could use in the animation. The first one I made was made from plasticine and string. I used the plasticine to create the rough shape of the monsters head, body and feet. I then wrapped string around these, I then made the arms out of plasticine but I didn’t wrap these in string. The idea for this version of the spirit is that it would look like it had eaten a ball of string.


I also made a model of my monster from cardboard. I started by drawing a net that would create a box for the body. I cut it out and folded the sides so that it made a 3D cube. Then i stuck the arms, feet and ears on. The mouth was made by cutting a hole in the box and adding paper teeth. I thought that this version of the spirit worked really well as it was visually consistent with the two dimensional models and it was really clear what it was made out of.


The final model that I made of the monster was supposed to resemble a cactus. I used green plasticine to create the monster, I wanted it to look really similar to the clay model that I originally made so that it would appear visually consistent. I then used tooth picks to add cactus like spines to the model. The idea was when it came to filming I could make it look like the spines were emerging slowly from underneath the skin. The idea for this model is that the spirit would come across a cactus somewhere in the studios and eat it making him turn green and prickly.