For the Creative Conscious live brief, I have created two characters called Dave and Steve to act as a platform to talk about mens mental health; superficially how important it is to talk to your friends when they are struggling and to show them your support by being a goo friend and a shoulder to lean on.
From the Most recent feed back that I got from my peers and tutor during crit, I knew that I had to do a character design rethink on my two characters, they where not perceived as relatable enough and didn’t hold enough of a personality; in short Dave and Steve needed to be rethought and further developed as characters if they where going to be successful.
In order to do this, I took their designs pretty much straight back to the drawing board. Unfortunately, due to the fact that I was going to be home for a month over Easter and the deadline for the brief was going to be during that period, it meant that I also had to change mediums. Not having access to Photoshop, Illustrator or any other digital drawing tech, I had to also take Dave and Steve back into a traditional media; in this case I chose Water colour, for both vibrancy of colour and because of my large amount of practise in using this medium. It was a little disappointing that I had to do this because simply my limited technology, but I felt that if I was going to submit to the brief then I wanted to do so with a stronger piece of work, and therefore this was my best and only option.
I started out with a really basic redesign, where I took into account the feedback about making my characters appear older by changing their face/head shapes and by giving them hair, getting rid of the too simplistic circular head shapes that I’d previously given them. I kept them easy to replicate, but gave their faces more structure and added in a simple hair design, this has definitely aged them up and given them a clearer design.
Once I’d done that I looked at how I might want them to interact and the kind of message that I wanted to communicate. It was definitely going to be aimed at the ‘Steve’s’ of the world, encouraging the audience to look out for the more obvious signs of a general decline in the mental health of their mates, while not being too specific to, so as not to pigeon hole the message into depression too much. So it was Steve’s role in the relationship that I wanted to focus on, and it was his actions that I wanted to advise; though I wanted to make sure that the advice was geared more towards general support and opening up a conversation between the two characters. The point of the illustrations being to get people to be more aware of their friends and more open to talking with them about mental health; as I firmly believe that at the root of tackling mental health, is de-stigmatising the topic and normalising it as a common topic of convocation between friends. Providing safe spaces and decreasing the pressure to bottle up ones’ problems.
The series of images that i came up with created a basic narrative between the two mates that can function both as an independent poster campaign and a zine series, this way it can be placed into a verity of contexts and on a wide platform base.
While this project did not go in the direction that I wanted it too, and unfortunate fact that I had both a job and other uni work to do at the same time, I am still quite happy with this outcome. I like the new characterisation and feel like I successfully took on the feed back from my final crit before the end of the Spring Term. Dave and Steve, while not in the medium that I wanted to use, did benefit from this redesign and I feel much better about submitting my work to the brief.
Over the Easter break, we were asked to do a small brief that we easily fit around general catch up work from the previous terms; the brief was to simply do some observational drawings of figures in the every day. This is actually an activity that I love to do in my own casual day to day practise anyway, and was therefore super easy to incorporate into my time off, it’s also pretty fun to do and so I had a really lovely time taking 5 minutes or whatever time I had spare to do some basic observations of the people and animals around me at home. This of course meant that I did quite a few drawings of my parents and my two pets, a cat and a dog, but they didn’t seem to mind me playing the art creep in the corner, provided they got to see my drawings after(though the cat, I’m sure, really wasn’t that interested).
Some of my observations where done in simple pencil or pen, as they where the materials that I had on me at the time,
and others I did in coloured pen or pencil,
The fast pace of editorial briefs and the quick commitment to my concepts that they’ve required has been a really great experience. I’ve long struggled with a tendancy to flip flop over my ideas and the directions of my projects; lacking confidence in my work because of this. The tight deadlines and the rough developmennt stages, that have been the major features in tackling the briefs that we’ve been set in the last couple of weeks of term, have forced me to work past these issues and given me much more confidence in my final outcomes for both.
In light of this, I feel like editorial brief work is definatly something that I’d like to look into doing professionally after uni. I feel like this way of working really helps me to focus and brings out a professionality in my work that I’ve not felt that I’ve previously achieved.
Having given myself about twice the work, I produced two diffrent sets of final images for this brief; while this is not something that I’m going to make a habit of, the true advantage of working mostly with digital images is the speed that it can be done. Once I had all my meterials scanned and put together, I could play around and manipulate them in anyway that I wanted in photoshop.
The two sets of final images that I produced had to include the 15×15 300dpi image, a gif and an example of how the image would look in the context of the article:
Finished Concept 1:
*unfortunatly the main image has colour corrected in a strange way – the other two images have been unaffected*
Finished Concept 2:
Before my final tutorial for this brief, I showed the two sets of images to students in the studio once again; they all, annoyingly, all agreed that they still prefered the first concept. Though I have to agree. Especially in context, the first set of images are much stronger and have a much more striking effect; with the additional of a texture water colour backdrop, I feel like it really stands out and definatly adds something to the image as a whole. While it’sa little annoying that I spent so much time on the second concept, I’m still glad that I carried it through, if I hadn’t I’m sure that I would of continued to be really disatified with the first concept, and feel like I’d missed an opertunity to see through my other ideas.
My final tutorial with Amelia, she also agreed with the genral consensus that the first set was the better outcome. I showed both on the off chance that she might like the second, and also to show the full extent of the work that I’d done on the brief; the feed back I got back on both was good and she seemed pleased that I’d really thought about my two ideas and the amount of work that I’d put into both pieces. Overall I’m prett happy with the outcome of this brief and the feedback that I received; these editorial briefs have been a really fun and engaging way to finish up this term, and definatly a form of illustration practise that I’d like to persue.
Having come up with my basic frame amd concept, I set about making a Gif to go along with the image. After I changed the colour scheme to a more muted pallet, after further discusion with some other students, in and around, studio; I carried out the basic idea that I’d based the image concept on in the begining. Having the light flash off and on over my figures head had always featured in my initial ideas; from my tutorials I’d also been advised to add in text, either as part of the gif or as a background, inorder to tie it in more closely to the article.
But, dispite all the good feedback that I’d recieved, I felt that, my idea wasn’t going in the direction that I wanted it to; I felt like I wanted to make a piece that featured less digital textures and had a more traditional feel. So while I continued to work on the digital peice, I changed my direction slightly by also coming up with a different concept making that into a digital piece and gif alongside my intitial piece.
This second concept, was much more traditionally based, working with and based on scanned water colour paintings; the biggest issue with my first concept, in my opinion, was the lack of texture in the colour, and working from more traditional medias was the logical step to fix this.
From this I developed a few diffrent images based around the concept. Part of this concept that I really felt was a strengh, was the fact that the profile persective of the head enabled me to place my figure in the ‘frontal cortex’ of the brain; directly referencing the article, and giving the piece more scientific relevence.
From the offset, I had a pretty good idea of the kind of piece that I’d like to create for the article; this was based on works that I’d seen illustrators produce for the publication, and also, based in the initial inspirations that I got from reading the article.
While I’d explored many more concepts at the begining of the previous editorial brief, I had a much clear idea of my concept and pretty much stuck to my intitial ideas, as I felt that they where strong enough.
The figure sat at a desk in the brain was the very first idea that I came up with, and I decided, that it was a feature that I wanted to carry through all of my ideas. I also knew that I wanted to keep my drawings very simple, and therefore, very quick and easy to replicate digtally from scanns; as digital was definatly the direction that I wanted to take. So with the basic frame of my first strong concept, I headed straight to the mac suite and produced a digital version to work with. From this I coloured and added more detail to the head in two diffrent variations:
Based on the feed back that I got from my groupd tutorial, it was clear that the solid colour version of the head was a much stronger image than the blue textured head; so this was the image that I took into further development.
As part of furthering and building on my Morocco field module, I took some of my responsive pieces to a heat transfer printing workshop; looking further into simple printing techniques and building my own skills to take into future illustration projects.
The workshop itself was a really fun exerciser, transfer printing is both super easy and super quick; making it a perfect technique to both revisit in future projects and to generate some more work for my Morocco response. Though at first the colours appear to be quite muted and dull, which can be a little off putting, once they have been put through the heat press, the colour comes out super vibrant and intense. These bright and striking colours are perfect at illustrating the rich colours of Morocco and the warmth of the culture.
Seeing the transformation of the bland colours of the pre-pressed paint and how the heat breaths a new life into my illustrations was super satasfying, and really inspired me to make more and more prints. The final outcome of the workshop being, that I produced far more prints than I’d anticipated, and spent far more time in the print rooms than I’d planned to.
In addition, I had a really great time after the workshop playing with the images and colour hues:
Heat transfer painting had some much more going for it than I’d antisipated, and has produced some really encouraging and inspiring work to add to my Morocco field response.
This is absolutely a technique that I’m glad that I have explored and will definitely be using it in furture. One idea that it has given me, prehapes for a future a breif, or something that I can use my new prints to make, is that of using this technique to make a printed fabric book! This little spur of inspiration has really given me something to aspire to and keep in mind for a new and fresh take on my approach to any furture projects that I might otherwise not be able to think of an idea or concept for.