First Term Reflection.

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Over the course of this first term, deciding what my general direction and focus for the year, has been the main theme throughout. Opening up to doing process driven project was the key to my inspiration for how I wanted my work to develop, being with the ‘visual editing’ one day brief, set by Amelia in the first week, gave me the first clue as to how I wanted to work. Further developing this process of illustrating then opened me up to developing this maker of working and lead to me pushing further into the exploration of colour and how it can be utilised in my work; working directly in colour and working without black lines liberated my illustrations immensely.
Leading on from this, I looked at improving the overall quality and professional finish of my work, by pushing to work from an observational perspective; as it is obviously a great skill within my illustration practise. By doing this, and becoming more observant of the world around me, I found the theme that I wanted to explore staring me right in the face. Once you open your eyes and look around, it is impossible to ignore the growing homeless crisis, that is growing both in Cardiff and the UK, as a whole. This inspired me to research the local charities and government led initiatives aimed at tackling this problem. Once I had found my focus, I feel like my work really took off, with a cause and a people to represent, my focus became responding and finding an illustrative path to aid me in creating the work that I wanted to create.
From narrative, to observation and responding, I was naturally lead into reportage illustration and the realism that it presents, which is perfect to communicating the narratives that I want to carry throughout my work. Reportage illustration and the professional research that it has lead to has really opened my eyes to it’s potential for the future, throughout this term, my professional practise progress has been very informative of my project work, giving a future context to my work and my practise. The workshops with both, Georgia and Phil Wrigglesworth, have underpinned my progress with a constant consideration to the future of my practise after graduation. With that in mind, I’m hoping that the direction of my project, working with the charity Huggard, will be a great addition to my creative CV; working with a high profile local charaty, that does vital work and provides an excellent service, is a career path that I’d love to follow. As part of my professional practise research I’ve been looking at many artists that work along side charities, or produce work on their behalf; making my current project very relevant to my future professional practise.
While I’ve moved away from my dissertation work, and it’s theme, Doodling, unconscious line and the subconscious, my progress on the research and writing my first chapter, has underpinned the continued artist research that I’ve been doing as part of my continued creative practise. In addition, looking at surrealist artists, such as Kandinsky and Dali, has been an incredibly interesting undertaking. Their influences from child art and dreams is very informative on how an artist might communicate in challenging and diverse ways. In addition my research on Psychoanalysis and our understand of the subconscious mind has been truly fascinating. How can we be sure that the creations that we make when we doodle absentmindedy are as insignificant as we have assumed; David Lloyd Georges doodles from the amnesty treaty agreements (1919-20) give a great deal of insight to the high tension and intense stress of the negotiations, that might not have been recored in such a transparent way otherwise.

Huggard response

Over the course of this term, I feel like the main development in my work, in all areas, has been an overall increase in confidence in my ability to produce work of a high standard. The main areas of concern in all areas of my degree going forward will be, first completing my dissertation to a high standard and getting the upmost out of my research material, getting to grips with a how I would like to move into the world of professional illustration after graduation (the avenues open to me and the best way for me to present my self professionally- in a way that reflects how I would like to practise), and the follow through of my current project, working with Huggard and creating a constructive conversation with them about how my work can aid them in generating support for their cause and informing the public on how they can help this charity.

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Artist research: Yann Kebbi

French illustrator, Yann Kebbi, is an observational illustrator who works largely in pencil crayon. His work often holds a slightly sinister undertone, the otherwise bright and happy scenes often centering around emotional dramas acted out with in the piece; featuring, bike crashes, arguments, and bustling crowds.

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Kebbiis is a prolific drawer, filling sketchbooks full of his travels, his subjects are ostly people and his work is always underpinned by his observational drawing skills; providing it with a very humane response to his subject matters.
Being that my own work is best when it is based on my observational drawing, Yann Kebbi’s work is very relevant to my own, and I find him to be quite a compelling illustrator. His obvious fondness for the human condition and the empathy that his pieces conveys is a quality that I feel I need to be reflecting in my own work, considering that my subjects are some of the most vulnerable members of society who are often overlooked, in order for it be effective, I need my audience to feel empathetic to the message in my illustrations. His use of pencil crayon is very effective at creating his tone, and is a very different approach to my own approach, his use of sketch lines and negative space is something that I’d like to look into using in my own work to explore how that might change the tone of my pieces.

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Though, ultimately, I am moving more in the direction of mixed media, currently using a combination of pencil crayon and ink to create a more fluid and engaging feel to my work. Kebbi’s work remains relevant to my own as his narrative landscapes, and the way in which he engages his audience emotionally, are both aspects of illustration that I’d like to be showing in my project.

 

Generating Feedback

To gain a better perspective on the work that I’ve creating in response to the prosses that I’ve been exploring, visual narrative in landscape, I displayed my work and left my yellow feedback book out as an invitation to anyone who might pass by to give me any criticism, feedback or just general thoughts on my work so far.
Setting up my work in a public space in this way allowed me to get anonymous feedback from everyone and anyone who fancied contributing as they passed by. It was a somewhat successful exercise, While I only got a page of responses, I did see a fair few folk having a good look at my work during the week that I displayed it. This is perhaps testament to the bright eye catching coloured inks that I used, which is something that was often commented on in the responses that I did get.
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for future reference, when I do this exercise again, as I intend to, I will open out a double page spread and try to remember to turn the pages when/if they fill up. It’s a strange thing to observe, that any artists and art students are reluctant to disturb someone’s work and often need an extra push to encourage them to contribute to public opinion. I learned pretty early on, that leaving my feedback book next to my work was largely useless, even with a sign, as people tended not to want to open the book to write in. I’m not really sure why this is, seems a little strange that I had to actually open my book in order to encourage anyone actually contributing feedback, but you live and learn.
In addition, I might see if I can display my work elsewhere in the school, as the corridor that I displayed it in lead to just the illustration and graphics, which really limits my audience and the artistic perspectives that the two disciplines provide. If I could find somewhere to display that would put it in the way of fine artists, makers, designers ect, I’m certain I’d receive of more lucrative response and would definitely get a greater cross-section of responses.

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Summer work: Creative practise continued.

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.

Subject Reflection:

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 Reflection:

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.