Degree Show Reflection

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.

Open Brief – Roughs and Experimentation

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.


Scan_300520182991_001Next 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.


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 – 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.

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.

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.