Over the summer, due to the fact that I work while I’m home and always have quite a few different irons in the fire; the main focus of my summer work was focused on my artistic practise and keeping up a steady stream of creativity over the break. In short, I simply kept up my artistic process and tried my best to produce a regular amount of work over the course of the summer.
Within this, I explored new mediums and expanded on the mediums that I’d already started to work with. The focus of this being on digital work and working with coloured markers, as well as a little further work into embroidery.
In addition to the practical work, I did quite a lot of dissertation research, reading and taking notes on some of the books that I identified as good research material. This proved to be really interesting and I added a couple more books to my list, found for me by a friend, who knew they’d be relevant to my subject.
This year subject has been really focused in my creative process, and in producing a high quality product with an emphasis on professionalism. The first project that we were set, collections, was pretty much the hardest project for me for the whole year; this was due only in part to the fact that during first term we had all three (Subject, Constellation and Field) modules running simultaneously. This first project was so difficult due mostly to how my creative process works and how I’ve learned, over the course of this year, it is best managed. Doing one project for a full term is not something that works well for me, the fickle nature of my creativity fairs much better with shorter and more intense projects. Working on a project for too long leads to me second guessing myself frequently and ultimately becoming disillusioned with all the work that I then produce. Therefore, while I was ultimately pleased with the end result of my much longer book project (which was not in fact technically full completely til late into the third term) the editorial briefs that we focused on in the second term were much better for me and suited my practise much more. Practising editorial style illustration, with all of the time constraints and tight demands that it invokes, really opened my eyes to the ways that I could improve my practice.
Working in roughs and development, allowed me to look further into the importance of colour, and simple and abstract imagery in my work. When working to produce a single image that communicates an entire article, news story or opinion piece, these choices become very important to how the illustration talks to and engages its audience. Editorial work really made me look at my work in a different way and forced me to face the problems head on, it was through doing this that I really got to grips with how to get the most out of myself creatively. In addition it lead to new found confidence in my abilities with programmes like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, which in turn lead to me taking my skill set in a whole new direction by introducing me to both Gif animation and digital drawing.
While this year has been a hard one, when it came to compiling all of my work, I really got to appreciate the amount and quality of what I have produced this year. Seeing everything come together on my desk and picking work to go into the end of year exhibition, made me truly appreciate how hard I have worked this year and how much I feel that has paid off. The emphasis on professionalism this year as really upped the final outcomes in all of my projects and I feel that I have gained a lot over the course of this year, in terms of confidence and skills, when it comes to my practise. When it’s all said and done, while I hope to get a strong grade from this year, I’m happy with what I have produced regardless.
Field this year opened the doors to two great departments that allowed me to revisit some skills that I’d been neglecting since A-level, both textiles and ceramics used to be a much bigger part of my practice, and having not really used these skills in a while, it was really refreshing to use them again.
Figurative field, working with figure in clay, took me back to a medium that I’d used a lot in A-level but not much since, it reminded me of how much I love to work with such a tactile and hands on material. This is definitely something that I’d love to explore much more next year in my illustration practise, the potential in clay is something that I want to carry through into my subject. The interactions between drawing and ceramics was not something that I had truly considered previously, how it adds a new layer to a narrative and can add an new context to a piece. The drawing symposium that we took part in with this field project gave me some real inspiration for the connections that can be made between my subject practice and ceramics, particularly the work produced by the MA students that spoke at the event. Incorporating ceramics into my illustration work is something that I will definitely try to do next year in subject. Getting back to working with such a hands on material was such a great experience and has really renewed my enthusiasm for this way of working. Though I do still find the ceramics department quite intimidating, everyone in there has such a high skill level and it can be a bit daunting to ask the simple questions that I don’t have the experience to know the answers too. In order to overcome this, I intend to use my student connections in the department to get some free lessons and maybe a bit of confidence in the department.
Similarly, my Morocco field took me into a previously much more intimidating department: textiles. The access to these high skilled departments, that I often feel quite under qualified in, is truly the best thing about field as a module and really affirmed my confidence in my field choices.
Going into the Morocco Field module, I had very little experience with a sewing machine, which has unfortunately not changed, and with fabric dyes and printing, which has now very much improved. This gave me a great opportunity to go into a medium, that I had effectively abandoned since A-level, and refresh my knowledge of it and applying it to my practice. The heat transfer printing workshop was a real eye opener for me, as I’d previously assumed that any kind of fabric printing/painting was really very time consuming, and therefore not very practical for my subject practice. The work that I produced in this work shop was one of the things that I enjoyed doing the most and got the most out of. This Field also really got me back into the potential of simple printing and lino cutting; experimenting and playing with these mediums was really rewarding and came out with some work that I’m very happy with. Definitely something that I want to take further and use to produce work in my subject practise.
Other all field this year has been a fantastic experience and has left me inspired to carry the practises that I’ve learned and relearned through into my work next year in order to improve and add a new context/setting to my subject work. Most notably, the heat transfer work will be a great asset to have in my arsenal, as the vibrant colours it produces is very relevant to how I work in subject.
In the last couple of days of this project, I took my work to Anna once again, and she gave me a lot to think about. The two complete designs that I’d designed for the hard back and paper back covers, while good, where also very busy. Anna suggested that I take the designs back to a more basic style, focusing on the fish as a more central feature and taking the background down to a more simple design. While I found this hard to hear, due to the amount of work that I had put into the two designs, I agreed to give it ago and recreate my designs with a simplified look. Sometimes the time that you spend on a piece doesn’t guarantee a better piece, and at the end of the day, producing more versions of the design and of the cover, gives a professional finish as it offers a great deal of choice for a client.
The two redesigns that I came up with striped the cover back to the basics, the foot prints and the circle of fish that took the most important focus:
These more pure designs are quite strong, and I feel that they where definitely worth exploring, giving a client options and not taking the last minute criticism harshly is important in professional practice.
Both pieces have corresponding QR links to the gif animations of the fish on each design, much the same as the previous two: