Subject Reflection

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. finished 4In 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.

mappa mundiWith 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 noughts and crosses black 4 with ink textand 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. fangtastic-new-text-gif-gifThe 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.

front cover.jpgIn 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.

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.


Urban Sketching – Reflection

A short reflection on what I have learnt and what I have enjoyed from the urban sketching project.

For the final week of the urban sketching project I went to the centre of Cardiff and did a couple more continuous line drawings. I decided to use the technique of sticking scraps of coloured paper in my sketchbook and then drawing on top of them using my pilot pen and my ink brush pen. I think this technique works to best out of all of the different techniques and media I have experimented with throughout this project.

Throughout this project I have experimented with a number of different techniques and materials, this has allowed me to develop my observational drawing skills and the way that I draw including drawing with an ink dip pen, charcoal, biro pen, water colour pencils and using techniques such as the continuous line technique.

I have enjoyed this project, I needed to do more observational drawing as part of my practice and this has been a fun way to allow me to do this. This project has also enabled me to develop my drawing skills and I feel I am now more confident at drawing from observation. This has also allowed me to incorporate drawing into final pieces or sketches which is something that I wanted to explore as I usually use a lot of collage within my work.

This project has also enabled me to sketch people from observation with more confidence. Before starting this project I was anxious of observing and drawing people on a train or out in a street but this project encouraged me to just go out and sketch people, focusing on capturing their body language in a more gestural way.

I  think that I will continue doing urban sketching when I can as I have enjoyed this experience and I think that the skills and techniques that I have learnt from drawing from observation and the different exercises we have been given can easily be incorporated into my practice.

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.

Editorial Project Summary

A short summary of The Editorial Project in which we had to choose two articles and produce an illustration in response to each of them.

I have enjoyed this project as I have been able to explore a new type of visual language that I haven’t worked with before although I have found the project challenging because of the fast pace that is required for this type of work. I have enjoyed playing with materials in this project and experimenting with collage. This has given a new dimension to my illustrations which has helped to portray messages and ideas through them which is an important aspect of this project. This project has also allowed me to learn about the way in which I work and that my practice relies heavily on experimenting with materials and making them an important part of the images that I produce.

final imageFor my first article the image that I produced was a direct response to the article. I picked up on certain aspects of the feature and decided to illustrate them, making the link between the image and the article clear. I tried to include aspects of the whole article but I think that I failed to include the idea of the article being about online dating as well as disability. However, I feel that my image is quite empathetic and sensitive in communicating the themes of the article. I also think that the use of collage adds a certain charm to the image.

finished 4

For the second article I chose to take a less direct approach. I decided to portray the theme of the article rather than actual events or discoveries discussed within it. I decided to convey the theme and main idea of the article, which is the fact that people enjoy frightening themselves, in a fun and light-hearted way. I chose loud and interesting textures to fashion the haunted dolls house. I think this combination of materials gives the image charm allows it to communicate in a quirky, playful way. I think this works well with the article as it adds some interest to the serious article.

Editorial Illustration

A short analysis of a piece of editorial illustration and how it works within context.

Spite is Good. Spite Works.

By Natalie Angier

Illustrations by Serge Bloch

This article is about spite and how it affects human behaviour. It talks about how psychologists view spite as a negative trait but now it is being considered as something positive because of the role that it may have played in developing some positive traits such as cooperation and a sense of fair play. 

Serge’s work illustrates the theme of this article well through the use of colour and subjects. The sickly green colour is commonly associated with negative feelings such as jealousy and spite. The purple contrasts with the green colour which portrays the conflict between the two characters in the images and the conflict that sometimes ensues because of spiteful individuals.

I think that the first image clearly illustrates the idea that spitefulness is ‘the urge to punish, hurt, humiliate or harass another’. It portrays this in a simple almost diagram like effect which is easy to follow and understand.

I think that the second image shows that there is no winner when you are spiteful. It clearly demonstrates that if you go out of your way to hurt or offend others then it will do you harm as well. The simplistic art helps to make this clear as it communicates its message simply.

Serge Bloch has responded to this article with two simple images that communicate their message clearly without unneeded complexity.


Subject Reflection

My reflection on the subject module which is made up of many projects and workshops.

collage.jpgAt the start of this module I took part in many different workshops. From these workshops I learnt about how words can have a massive impact on a piece of work, how colours can be interpreted differently, I learnt how to dry point etch, how colours can effect a composition and I have learnt that negative space is important within a piece. I learnt all of these things from workshops such as words to draw by and the colour workshop. I was then able to use these skills and knowledge throughout the year when completing my work.


developed 4For the project A Streetcar Named Desire, based on the play, we chose inanimate objects to represent the characters which we then had to personify using colour and other techniques. I learnt that colours are an important part of telling a story as they can be used to portray emotion or the relationship between two characters. I also learnt how colour can be used to personify inanimate objects and so can the framing of an image. I also learnt how motifs can be used to help bring inanimate objects to life and how the angle and framing of an image can be used to exaggerate emotions within that scene.

anticipation.jpgThrough this module we also did life drawing. In these sessions we focused on different things, one session was about capturing movement in an image whilst another was about capturing the moment before something happens. I found these session helpful as I was able to learn new skills as well as improving my life drawing, I learnt how to use lines to portray tension in muscles. I also practised using verbs when drawing to make a line look like its pushing, or scratching in order to show movement.

test set.jpgIn the project Metamorphosis, based on the book, I learnt many skills including how to draw with a scalpel in order to create looser forms and how to work in a group as we had to work together in order to put on a puppet show at the end of the project. I enjoyed working as a team for this project as we were able to bounce our ideas off each other and select the best ones to develop. Working in a group also enabled us to combine our skills as one person knew how to create and edit the sound we would need for our performance, whilst others were skilled with a scalpel and able to cut out intricate designs. This project also allowed me to develop my compositional skills as composition is very important when working with shadow puppets.

The 12 days of illustrated christmas news project allowed me to develop my skills with paper as I created an interactive pop up book. This project also enabled me to create satirical work which wasn’t something I had ever done before. This project challenged me as I found it difficult to find 12 interesting news stories that I could illustrate but doing this improved my research skills.

I also went on a trip to London where I visited the Whitechapel Gallery to see William Kentridges work. I found this very interesting, especially the way that in one of the instillation pieces sound and music was used as a way to immerse you in the piece. The strange machines and noises partly inspired some of my field work.


I took part in various technical workshops including dry point etching, block printing and lino cutting. The block printing and lino cutting workshops were very similar but I enjoyed them and these workshops allowed me to learn new techniques that I had very little experience with. I didn’t use these techniques in any of my projects but I would like to experiment with them further.

IMAG0084The final project in the subject module, the Children’s Book Brief, allowed me to bring together all of the skills and knowledge that I’d learnt in the first year which I could then demonstrate in my work. I was able to use what I had learnt about colour and composition when creating the pages for my book. I was also able to use the skills learnt in the words to draw by workshop as I needed to carefully consider what text to use and how I would incorporate it into my book. I also used the knowledge that negative space is important when designing the layout for my pages. I also incorporated new skills such as how to bind a book, and I have been experimenting with a watercolour and conte pencil technique that still needs development. I also enjoyed creating 3D sculptures of my characters that enabled me to improve my drawings of them as it helped them look more life like and it helped me to give them more character. During this project I was also able to develop my researching skills as this was a major part of the brief. It allowed me to critique work and explain why I chose to look at it. Some of the artists that have inspired me include Shaun Tan and Anastasia Izlesou. This research and analysis came in useful when a small brief for critiquing some work from the degree show was set .