The final thirteen stickers that I will be posting all over the school as part of my show piece:
While my main show submission is going to be displayed on the show reel as an ‘animatic’ visual essay piece with a voice over, I really wanted to show off the paintings that I have been doing this year as well. I’m really quite proud of how far I’ve come in terms of my technical ability and how my paintings have evolved over the course of this year, so I think that it would be a shame not to show this off in the summer show, if I’m going to really show off my work I may as well commit to it fully. The larger paintings that I’ve been doing this year have been around A3 and A2 size, and I really want to get to show them off at this full size, I’ve been pushing myself to work on a larger scale and to get out of sketch books more, these paintings are a perfect example of how I’ve been doing this.
The paintings will hang alongside where the screen for the show reel is on display so that they are closely connected in the space. The three that I chose where all examples of how I’ve been using bold colours and mixed media to really impress emotion and tone with in my work. While I am very happy to have my work incorporated into the show reel, it was also really important to me to show some of my favourite pieces in their own space in order to do them justice. With the show only about a week away and my work largely completed, I’m getting really excited to see how everything comes together and what people think of my work.
(The bellow images have been placed in the order in which they will hang)
Over the course of this year my practice has become much more focused. My drawing, observation, skill and confidence have all improved so much since the start of the year. Coming back to university after second year, I definitely knew that I waned to focus on my drawing and working with colour, based on the work that I’d been producing at the end of second year I knew that these where the areas that I wanted to improve in the most and are both things that are key to my artistic practice.
At the beginning of third year, I started by simply starting with what I knew, my work was centred around narrative, colour and landscape, because I hadn’t really decided exactly what subject I wanted to centre my project around but I knew that those three things were what I wanted to focus on in my final year.
Moving towards reportage and crisis awareness was a very natural process, one that I didn’t even have to think much about when I realised that that was what I wanted to go into. I’m a very political person in a lot of ways, being aware of current affairs and keeping up with causes and charity appeals that I care about or actively support, has long been something that I have felt strongly about. So it was very easy to combine passion my illustration with my passion for activism. By looking at illustrators like George Butler and Dan Peterson I realised that observational and reportage illustration are at their best when they are produced by someone who has a real passion for what they are illustrating.
I’ve long had a keen interest in the growing class divides and financial deficits, the rise of homelessness ad rough sleeping in the UK are an extreme example of this, one that is getting bigger and bigger. My research into this topic only increased the strength of my feelings towards wanting to draw the attention of the public to the growing community of homeless and rough sleepers in our doorstep. The more I looked it to the ways that our government and benefit systems are failing to prevent the dramatic rise in people loosing their homes and falling out of society, the more I wanted to talk about it and represent these people as individual voices in my work.
During the course of this project, my confidence in how I was expressing myself through my illustration practice grew and great deal. The strong sense of direction and purpose I felt from what I was doing gave me a fantastic drive to create and to really emote in my work. This has directly benefited the quality of the work that I have been producing, my natural observational drawing has improved a great deal, as has my understanding of colour and my use of material. Something that I am very excited about are the paintings that I have produced this year.
Working with mixed media and using very vibrant contrasting colours has given me a massive confidence boost and so vastly improved the way that I paint and combine medias. Looking at the work that I produced at the start of this year compared to the work that I am now submitting to hang in the degree show, I feel a strong sense of pride in the obvious difference:
Painting and mixed media pieces have been a strong theme within my work this year. Developing my painting skill and my understanding of different medias interact within my paintings has given me a great deal more confidence in y abilities as an illustrator. The way in which I paint has quite a fine art approach, some of my favourite pieces are not necessarily what someone unfamiliar with my work would refer to as illustration, however, the way that I seek to communicate and the incorporation of works and narrative with in what and how I paint are what, in my opinion, tie it into the discipline of illustration.
I love working with this mixture of ink, water colour and pencil crayon because it has a very loose feel to it while still being quite detailed. I can paint with quite loose movements and gestures, using bold colours and contrasts, and still achieve a level of detail within my work. Painting and illustrating in this way is a cathartic and natural process that builds in layers of colour and contrast. It often takes me a full day or two to complete, but the result is always very rewarding. It’s through working in this way that I’ve really come to appreciate my process, building up my pieces in this way creates a balanced and considered colour pallet.
One of the most important lessons that I’ve learned from all the painting that I have done this year and my research into artists like David Hockney, is that black is literally the worse colour for shading! It’s not a shade that appears in nature very often and shading with black has a tendency to flatten your colours. Using dark blue, purple, green and brown tones create a much more diverse and lighter pallet, lifting and mimicking natural tones in a much more effect manor.
As a side part of my main show submission, I’ve created 13 stickers that will be placed around the summer show, the aim of these stickers is to be hidden in plain sight. I’ve printed them on vinyl from illustrator with very close cut-paths at about A5 size and the plan is to put the on the edge of corners and on the bottom on the lifts, places that people will see them but not easily. The point of this being that we all notice homeless people, we all see them where ever we go, but we don’t pay attention to them. We rarely stop or make eye contact with them.
Our show this year is on the top floor, which is perfect for this type of exposure, my audience will travel up through the building before reaching the source of the hidden figures, so they will have plenty of time to notice them and to think about why they are there or who they are. By the time they arrive at the illustration section of the show, hopefully, their interest and their curiosity will have peaked.
To test this, I printed off some examples of the first four figure that I created and placed them around the building in order to get a good idea of how they would look in the space.
Based on these examples I was defiantly been able o get a really good idea of what size I want to print out my stickers. The 13 that I have done overall should be plenty to dot around the building without being overly conspicuous, some of them I plan to put in much more obvious places than others, and at the opening of the illustration space I’ve got these original four printed to a much larger size so that people will hopefully immediately make the connection between what they have been seeing around the building and were it was coming from.
With the show only a few days away, we’ve finally just about finished the publication project! This morning we (Jamie, Ruth, Sophie and myself) visited the printers that we have negotiated our printing costs with to have a look at how the piece will look once it’s perfect bound and printed.
Jamie and Sophie have done a fantastic job editing and curating the publication and have produced a nearly finished mock up of the finished article. W’ve managed to raise a total of about £1400, which has give us enough to print 240 copies of the publication (which is 68 pages long) and get it perfect bound. While we didn’t reach the target of £2000, that estimate was based of a slightly different product and as we progressed, we realised that we wouldn’t need that much for the printing and we negotiated with the printers to get the best deal that we could for our money.
Some examples of the finished pages:
Reportage illustration has been a big theme in my work this year, both in my professional practice and subject research in keeping with my current activism based illustration project. Dan Peterson, who has been a key tutor for our professional practice module this year, has experience in this field from his own professional life. Dan has acted as an official war artist accompanying the British Army in Helmand Province in 2011, and in 2015 he accompanied the Royal Navy in their reconnaissance work saving refugees and migrants of the cost of Libya.
Given my keen interest in reportage and editorial work, I took the opportunity to have an interview with Dan in person on the subject of reportage his experiences working in that particular field of illustration.
Our conversation was insightful and very useful, but also a little sobering, considering Dan’s advice on how difficult it is to get proper representation and pay when working on reportage projects. But he did also stress the important part it can play in PR and how getting your work published through reportage projects has great potential to lead you on to other paid projects and increase your visibility as a Illustrator. Danwas keen to impress that he has gotten some great clients and future projects off the back of the reportage work that he has done. He was also adamant that the reportage work that he has done and the experiences that he had working in the field were extremely valuable to him, on both a professional and personal level.
Coming out of this conversation, my main take away is that reportage illustration is all about passion and commitment. It’s not an easy job and it often doesn’t pay well, but it is more than worth while and the rewards greatly outweigh the costs in the long run. Additionally, Dan suggested that, based on fellow reportage illustrator Richard Johnson’s experiences, the American market has a better attitude and outlook than the one currently in England. While I am now far more knowledgeable about the down sides of reportage illustration and the challenges that one faces when looking to go into reportage professionally, I also feel emboldened and inspired to engage in reportage illustration as an activist and as someone who would use it as a platform to raise awareness for causes that I feel passionate about.
reportage is a slide line
its hard to get paid because the publishers often don’t want to pay for illustration.
they don;t want to have to pa everyone
illustrators like George butler don’t often get paid
he gets paid for his talks (sometimes)
Refuguee project from the other year – has connections with George.
George Butler does not do what he does on his own money, he is from money and his parents fit the bill (find a less accusatory way of saying this…)
You need to be good with PR and you need to be London based if you what to do what Butler does.
‘Bullwalk’ (Helmand 2011) done through military connections. However, you have to deal with a lot of different people because the turn over and reassignment in the military (and also in charities) is very high.
Story: Dan got on board the ship for the Bullwalk (refugee work) and they then got a call from the guardian who asked to get George butler on board to do story for them. Dan had already offered them the story exclusively but wanted to be paid, only the guardian knew that they wouldn’t have to pay George so they wanted to go with him in stead.
it’s who you know not what you know.
Artist to look up: Olivier Kugler: he doesn’t drawn in situ, he takes a lot of photos and does a lot of interviews. is he therefore a reportage illustrator? he’s not a front line artist.
It’s very important to draw as much as you can but people/organisations often don’t realise how long you need. practising quick drawings and getting drawn references of what you will then work on later is really important. drawing from photographs have a very different feel.
Look up ‘urban sketches’ – very specific LIVE sketches.
Financially (western mail paid for one story but then didn’t pay for the follow up) your never going to make a lot of money out, but you can get other work from it, reportage is goos exposure (when you can get it published with a visible credit). if you work it right then you can go on these great adventures and cover your costs.
Dan got a job doing a comic book based on his reportage work because they want that style. He is pushing to get a live experience of what they want him to illustrate to get that feel to the work because the product will be better, he is therefore given them the choice to pay his expenses’ to do this.
You need to push the boundaries and always make your argument to get paid.
George only has three commissioned pieces in his website. they are small pieces from the guardian. George Butler and reportage illustrators like him aren’t helpful because they don’t get paid very often. he will have done a lot of talks that he won’t of been paid for. The guardian is taking advantage of him as someone who doesn’t need to be paid and this put the industry in a bad position cause if there are people who don’t need to be paid then no one will want to pay those who actually do.
You have to fight to get paid. get your expenses paid or more if you can. it’s your time and it’s your individual skill that they are after.
You will have to do work for nothing sometimes because thats how the industry works. but you should always try to get something out of what you do (ie. dan is doing work for a small local festival that is paying him in free tickets and food ect)
Charities do have a lot of money that they spend on media and advertising. so you shouldn’t feel guilty about asking to be paid because they are a charity, they often have huge budgets and will spend vast amounts of money on very similar media.
You’re got to be aware that charities make a lot of money and spend most of their money on PR. your part of their marketing and you need to discuss it as such.
Play the PR angle. don’t under sell yourself.
Don’t feel that you have to work with people who take advantage of you.
Illustrators need to change the attitude and change the climate around illustration. we need to always to emphasise the fact that your time is worth something.
BBC radio: great animation no credit:
a lot of the tuff they do is in house. when you’re paid properly you don’t always get a name credit. it’s part of a commercial contract so they don’t have to pay.
dan did some work recently on the bc radio wales twitter and got a very visible credit on his work. he did the a great piece for them of his Bangladesh illustrations. this was negotiated so that dan got a very clear water mark on the work but this was partly because he was not paid for it. it was work he was going to do anyway and he did other work for some of the people it connected him too. aid work for the general election. out of the refugee work only one actually got used. he lost some creative direction, he made a plan and a story board that wasn’t used. they ran somethings by him but they also didn’t run the second video by him because they are tight on deadlines.
if the bbc can take stuff on then they are a much better platform than the new papers because they have a much larger audience that reaches much further into the world. plus they are predisposed to not want to be paid
We always have a place online
Artist to look up: Richard Johnson
Moved to America because they have much bigger budgets and audiences that therefore pay better. he did a great piece on medical centres for the Washington Post that went up on their website and was one of their biggest hit. because it was illustrated. people do respond to it.
There is very much a place for this type of work but its going to be while before there can be any serious money made from it.