Month: February 2014

Watching presentations

Posted on

When I was told I was going to watch presentations which were done by students ahead of myself from 9am to 4pm I thought one word…boredom!


I know I shouldn’t think like that because I’m learning and supporting people whilst showing their work but when it is a nice sunny day and your stuck in a small warm room it’s not the most fun you could have. However, during the day there were a few presentations that I enjoyed because they were similar to how I would work. Showing how they have developed an idea and what topic they were researching into. No one had based theres on a children’s book theme but that could be a good and a bad thing. Bad because I won’t have any idea what to do as it’s new but good because it means no one has done it yet.

When watching the presentations they tended to stick to the same layout:

Diploma Stage – Part One

  • Keywords
  • History of the topic
  • What problems occurred
  • How they dealt with the issues
  • How they dealt with past critiques and how they dealt with them problems

Part Two

  • Practical Progress so far – experimentation
  • Objectives
  • Artist Influence
  • Proposal
  • Preliminary Audience e.g. magazines, newspapers etc.
  • Books/ theorists they have looked at

MA Stage 

  • Research Question
  • Why they picked that topic – link to dissertation from previous year?
  • Target Audience
  • Current Research – Video?
  • Artist Research – list of names and examples
  • Why have they used these specific artists
  • What would you gain from their work
  • Development – thumbnail sketches are fine
  • What will the outcome be

I’m glad I watched them in the sense of I now know what to roughly do and how the presentation should be laid out. Also, how much work to put in and other aspects that I didn’t really think of linking it to such as the dissertation. One student based their project around cooking and making it simpler for viewers and children. I thought this was really interesting because I tend to assume you have to do everything linked with art and thats it nothing else. She hasn’t and has ventured into something I love – food! It has given me more confidence as I am learning that I liked to have a plan or at least a rough idea of what to do for future things. I’m not very good at sitting and doing nothing, waiting for something to happen. Although, I am still terrified of presenting in front of a lot of people and then people speaking about my work out loud. I always want to please and I have to learn I have to create a bit of armour around myself so I don’t break down every time someone questions my work as not everyone is going to like my work. Thats life!

Image from: camp skunk,. 2013, boon docking basics: solar panels [internet] Available from:, [Accessed 28 February 2014, 3.55pm].



Posted on

From the last post I said that I would research into Dyslexia and how people who suffer from it, see a library. After a chat within groups with lecturers about our work I was told that I shouldn’t really focus on dyslexia because it was too narrow and I was just finding an ‘easy’ route to create work. At that point when I thought I found a solution and was told the opposite I wanted to break down and say what do you want from me! However, I did not do that as that wouldn’t be very unprofessional and I would look like  silly billy! Instead I am going to try and channel this confusion and uncertainty into my work and hopefully improve it.

My aim now is to try and illustrate frustration. Already I am finding it hard to think of things that are new and interesting, but this is whats it’s all about to push me out of my comfort zone and explore. Eek! One of the comments they made was maybe to write down what you (me) think are strong at within our work, by doing this you can then focus on these aspects and use them to your advantage. I find this a bit weird because I don’t want to sound big headed but I might as well have a go. So I am going to use this image I made last week and see what my strengths are:

horse jumping
Horse jumping on large books, showing anyone can be who they want to be even if they are Dyslexic it shouldn’t stop them.
  • Colour
  • Perspective
  • Angles
  • Ratio
  • Lines
  • Textures
  • Tone
  • Sequential
  • Shape

Ok, I can’t really think of anymore. Now I know what my strengths are I can hopefully use the to improve my images, I don’t know how but I guess I’ll know when I get to it. Looking back maybe I was narrowing down my options too much and using the word frustration is large enough to experiment but not too large I have no clue. I think because I am used to getting a brief and then illustrating whats there or exactly what they want e.g. 2 final A4 finals, this new way of thinking i’m finding really hard to adjust to. What I really want to do is illustrating children’s books and I think I’ve got to find a way to link the word frustration and sequential illustrations so that I can improve my way of working and tackling new future projects. So I am going to start with creating a large mind map with frustration in the centre of it.

Presentation Number One

Posted on Updated on

I had to do a presentation with three other members and I was terrified! I haven’t done one in quite a while and it was to a new group which I wasn’t used to. We had to sum up a text by Glyn Davis and it was called From Mass Media to Cyber Culture (2005). I chose the chapter called Life Online: Fear and Loathing (pg. 223-225) which I found easy to understand. Basically it was about the negative aspects of the internet which included:

  1. The dangers of online gaming: how some gamers can become detached from reality and think they game is real
  2. Paedophilia
  3. Pornography
  4. Racial and Homophobic hatred
  5. Sites that show how to make dangerous weapons
  6. Lying about your Identity

At this stage of the presentation I included this video of an advertisement about people hiding their identity:

This video created by Save the Children Organisation created in 2009, is quite strange and I didn’t think it was going to turn out that way (trying to type without giving it away). I think from the reaction of the viewers they were quite disgusted and found it creepy so the advert obviously got their point across and received the right response from viewers.

The presentation wasn’t being marked but overall I think it went well and everything ran smoothly, if I could improve it I would try and feel less nervous and sound more confident as well as maybe adding more images to the slides. The nerves aspect I guess I have to practice more maybe and try visual techniques of it running smoothly.

After our presentation we looked at Modernism, a break down of the word:

Modo (latin) – just now, recently

Modernus -living in the present

Temporal – present time in contrast to past times

Qualitative – something progressive in contrast to something traditional.

Adolf Loos (1870 – 1933) – a theorist, designer and architect said that a beautiful object requires more than just skills – they need to think more deeply than just what it is.

Post Modernism – Paintings in the late 20th Century was the first art form to be classed a post modernism. It captures the revival and merging of old historic painting techniques and styles.

The difference between Modernism and Modernity:

‘Ism – Often refers to an artists movement.

‘Ity – Refers to any aspect that concern the world at the time.

Post Modernism in Illustration

An era that used a mixture of styles but using traditional techniques from past art. It also included reproduction of famous work that could be now placed in anyones home. Technical reproductions of:

  • Photography
  • Musical Performances
  • Computer simulation
  • Prototypes

Philosopher Walter Benjamin spoke of the loss of aura of an artwork through reproduction, not getting the grand scale of it – the whole feel. We are exposed to experiences or events before we even see them in reality. I agree as you can enjoy a piece of work in the comfort of your own home but when you actually see the genuine piece there is another level to it. Reproductions of work don’t have the same feel compared the the original, maybe thats due to the quality difference or the atmosphere you are seeing the work in.


Benjimin Loeb, Ken Tsui, Randy Che, 2009, Save the Children Commercial [internet]. Available from:, [Accessed 18 February 2014, 3.44pm].

Critiquing my work

Posted on

Last week I produced these two pieces and I am going to practice critiquing my own work so that in the future if I am on my work I can decide whats wrong with it and alter it before I send it to a client.

horse jumping
Horse Jumping on a large book, Dyslexia didn’t put her off from living her dream.

A few pointers on how to improve it:

  • I like the basic angle of this and how there are a few riders and horses in the background and foreground.
  • The colour green stands out and it’s not all neutral colours which I kept doing last term but maybe the rider needs to stand out more than the ‘grass’.
  • The horse on the right in the foreground is too big and needs to fit in slightly better.
  • I like the black horse in the background as it is quite detailed and the tone is lovely on it, compared to the other horses it look different. I would either change it so it didn’t have so much detail or add more detail to the other horses.
  • Maybe the book that is closed, the pages could have people sitting on there so it looks like a stand of spectators watching the competition.
  • Do all the horses need riders instead of roaming around free?
Dyslexia didn’t put off from getting his dream job of being a director nor of her becoming an actress.

A few pointers on how to improve the image:

  • The director looks a bit annoyed and if he’s living his dream maybe his body position should be more alert
  • Maybe the scene layout needs a bit of a reorganisation as it’s a bit higgledy piggledy – people in odd areas
  • The text on the actress would need repositioning as it blends in with the other text
  • There is a lot green in this scene – maybe different coloured clothing
  • The colours on the director and the actress should stand out more as they are the focus- reduce the background colours.
  • The camera should be actually pointing at the acting and not off in the distance.

Overall, I think I am quite quick at pointing things out that I would like to change but the problem is, is that I may not like it but someone else may think it looks better as its unusual. I can only make an image better in my eyes and I think thats what I have to stick too but not go over the top. For clients I would have to bow down to their opinions and I can only suggest how I would improve it but I can’t be disheartened if they don’t accept my advice.

Do the images portray the message that Dyslexia shouldn’t be allowed to hold someones life dreams back just because they can’t read or read out loud very well for example and the answer is … yes. There are ways of getting round obstacles and other people can help with a mental disability like Dyslexia. The only problem with these images, they don’t wow me or it’s nothing new. I think I’ve got to reanalyse what I am looking at through the text The Library of Babel.

Avant Garde and Kitsch

Posted on

Avant Garde, one of the words I haven’t grasped easily just like the others as they all tend to go into deeper meaning and use complicated longwinded words that take me ages to understand the definition. Maybe I’m just a person who appreciates the basics of an image or whatever and doesn’t like going deeper – a bit like a cat being put in a cat cage, all arms and legs fully out whilst the owner trying push me into that small cage. But I’ll have a go but again if I’ve got this totally round my neck I apologies now!

Avant Garde as a signifier connoting style shows the wacky ‘out there’ creations. It poses their own style to create art that opposes the main stream current state of quo. An example of this are movements through time:

Pop Art

Whaam! 1963 by Roy Lichtenstein 1923-1997
Roy Lichtenstein 1923 – 1997 – Whaam!

Whaam! was created by Roy Lichtenstein  using oil and acrylic resin on canvas, a bold and colourful piece that is showing the shooting down of a jet. The movement that gave hope and optimism during post war consumer boom in the 1950’s to 60’s. During the popular demand of the Beatles and Elvis it’s showed art that was hip and popular with young culture at the time.Using bold colours and shapes it was made for the masses culture, media and production. Although it came in many forms and materials from all over the world which was different compared to other movements.


Pablo Picasso – Weeping Woman 1881 – 1973

Created using oil on Canvas it is a very bright and colourful piece of work. Picasso was the first person along side Georges Braque to create a abstract style of modern art. Avant Garde – they went against the traditional perspectives of a painting and aimed for showing different angles at once, heavily influenced by African Masks.


screaming man
Edvard Munch 1893 – The Scream

Expressionism was the movement where expression and emotion influenced the painting using colours and lines rather than the typical perspectives and the literal interpretation of the topic. Created by the artist Edvard Munch in 1893 using oil, tempera and pastel on board. With distorted perspectives and vivid colours it is Munch screaming out into the wilderness. It’s quite scary!

These are just a few movements that has happened in the past. Clement Greenberg comments ‘ The function of avant grade was not to experiment but to find a path along which it would be possible to keep culture moving in the midst of ideological confuse and violence’ (Advant Garde and Kitsch, Pg. 49) The last big Advant Garde mainstream change was Pop Art with the creators such as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein (I love Lichtenstein work!).


Meaning cheap, tacky, art that is for decoration and for mass production. Art work that was for people to put up on the wall and not really understand the meaning behind it. It is a culture for the masses that enjoy kitsch without the effort.

Ok, I hope that I have covered at least something of this topic and that it is right. I understand it more than before but relating it to todays world I think it will be quite hard to create another niche that was as big as Pop Art or expressionism as most things have been done. Although how do we know that as we can’t see into the future and something that might rise and all we can say is ‘why didn’t I think of that!’


Cubism, [internet]. Available from:, [Accessed 12 February 2014, 11.07am].

Expressionism, [internet]. Available from:, [Accessed 12 February 2014, 11.18am].

2000, Pollock and After: The Critical Debate, London: Paul Chapman Publishing Ltd.

2004, Roy Lichtenstein Whamm! 1963, [internet]. Available from:, [Accessed 12 February 2014, 10.57am].

Work work work

Posted on

Ok, I’ve created a few images for the text I don’t know if they are going to like them;

operation book
A operation on a book

The thought behind this was what would happen if every book had the actual object within the pages, so for example this is a biology book with the anatomy of a human heart. You could then operate on the heart and explore the biology behind it.

time letters
Time for useless letters

For this image it was originally egg timers throwing out the sand at the bottom but the sand were letters. However, after looking at it more it reminded me of all the letters that people delete when writing a text or letter or email and this is where those letters go forever deleted in a mound.

By creating these images it made me think of dyslexia and the jumble of words, which led onto if you were dyslexic and you had to go into a library how would it feel. I’m not dyslexic and I know the library can be complicated at the best of times but for people who live with this disability can cause stress and unfamiliarity. Friends who I have spoken to express how they feel confused and over run by the amount of information coming their way. I think this is what I am going to focus on, I will research into how dyslexia affects people in their day to day lives.

Back to the Drawing Board!

Posted on

After my lecture it has totally turned my world upside down! I was told that we could do anything to the response of the Library of Babel but now I have been told we are not allowed to develop a story or sequence, characters or just illustrate whats there. For two and a half years I have been developing the way I work to match whatever brief I got and to illustrate/ communicate the message of the text. Now I can’t do that! Yes I know the Masters is meant to push the way I think but now I just don’t what to do or what they want.

Ok…rant over…

I still don’t know what to do but I’m just going with the flow and hope for the best. This is my new plan, I am going to focus on the text within the text, confusing right! Here is my map of thinking…


Looking at the text within the text I thought that you have to obviously be able to read if your going to a library with every book in time, but then I thought what happens if you can’t or struggle to read e.g. dyslexia. So this is what I am going to focus on, I don’t know where it is going to lead me or what I am going to produce but I just hope I’m on the right track!


Posted on

Semiology, the most complicated word I have come across so far. I’m going to have a go at trying to explain the basics of it but even I’m struggling with getting my head around it so apologies in advance if I’m wrong!

Semiology – made up by the signifier and the signified.

Signifier – is the object itself e.g. a tattoo, a picture, the way someone is dressed on an advert.

Signified – is the meaning conveyed by the signifier.

There are many words and definitions within semiology which describe ways of seeing things so most of this blogs are definitions of words…

Compositional Modality – Focusing on the composition – Interrelations of parts of the image.

Social Modality – Based on the meaning the viewer gets from the image.

Anchorage – Anchorage is how the text secures the meaning of the image e.g. a picture of a dog (we know it’s a dog) but by putting ‘woof’ next to the image it secures the meaning, thats its definitely a dog.

Appellation – meaning the image or whatever media is hailing tot he viewer.

Syntagmatic – All the items within an image creates the meaning e.g. the, mat, sat, cat, the, on. put these words in a sentence and the meaning becomes apparent – the cat sat on the mat.

Paradigmatic – This is the opposite to syntagmatic, the image gains meaning from contrast with all the other possible signs.

Icon – the direct object to identify, representation of the object e.g. a tree, we know it doesn’t look like a tree in reality but we still know its a tree as it represents it.

Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 14.44.57
My attempt at a basic tree

Symbol – Changes from likeness to association, connotation – what it creates e.g. a heart can mean love and valentines day rather than the muscle inside the human body.

Index – A very close relationship between the signifier and the signified.

Denotative Reading – A straight forward meaning – literal meaning e.g. a picture of pasta is just a picture of some pasta

Connotive Reading – The possible relation, association e.g. same pasta as before but you would associate it with Italy.

Metonymic Sign – a typical sign that adds other meanings e.g. Baby = future.

Synecdoche Sign – One item symbolises the whole thing e.g. Eiffel Tower = Paris/France.

Codes  – Subliminal messages, ideology.

Ok I think thats it so far, there are plenty more definitions that are linked with the signified and the signify but for now thats all I can take in when it comes to big fancy words and definitions. Even though there are so many I found it quite enjoyable to learn these and now I have a little more understanding of what semiology is all about and I can now refer back to this when creating a new image or starting a complex essay.

Looking Back

Posted on

In this post I am going to look at the work I did last semester and see what I could improve on and what is strong in my work. I can then apply this to future projects…

Firstly is some work that was based on a story that I made up about a mouse.

Stair Monster created using scanned in material and digital collaging

The stairs monster… the stair monster os something that came into my head quite early in the project. I have used the same techniques as I did before with the Babel piece. My method at the moment is to scan in materials and collage material and then organise into a pre-drawn image that I have done. Changing the colour, position, size – if I want to see the texture or have it small and smooth, shade etc. I also like to play around with perspective…

Same technique as above but using different perspective.

In this image (double page spread) the perspective is from a totally new angle, the viewer sees from the monsters point of view and not the mouse. It then flips back to looking at the mouse and the monsters. I love easing around with perspective because you can either empower a character or make them look weak and innocent. When picking colours I don’t pre-plan on paper what is going where, I tend to go what I think would work and feels right, obviously somethings are set for example carrots traditionally are orange and peppers in this case is red.

Day Brief -Flexible
Octopus – with flexible arms it was a perfect animal choice for the brief.

For this image the brief was just one word – flexible. Straight away I thought of an octopus as they are very agile and flexible. Using just one piece of material that I scanned in I used Photoshop to change the tone of some areas to add depth and put a basic dark colour in the background so the creature stood out.

My strengths:

  • Perspective – I think I am alright when it comes to thinking outside the box when trying to aim for a unique angle
  • Colour – my colours tend to compliment each other
  • Layout – I try to pull the viewer in when looking at my work
  • Sequence – I find it easier to create a sequenced set of images as I like the flow of it

Need to work on:

  • Colour – I know I just said thats its a strength but I also have a problem of making things all the same level so it become dull or neutral. I need to experiment more with bringing out a certain colour or use a different palette
  • Composition – theres always room to improve the composition as it changes for each brief
  • Day briefs – Summing up a text in one image I find difficult as I find I want to create a story out of it
  • Reference – I’m not a natural when it comes to drawing from my imagination – I know what I want it to look at but it never comes out on paper the same. So this means I have to take lots of photos of everything from a tall building to soil on a wet day, this will help me when I need to reference a particular thing for a brief.

So after having a mini analysis of my past work I can look forward to future projects and use my strengths to create a strong illustration but also practice my weaknesses which would hopeful become a strength and establish a style of illustration that works and is unique. Easy as pie! (fingers crossed!)

Development of a piece of work

Posted on

Screen Shot 2014-01-31 at 10.26.31
Start of the development

In this post I am going to show the development of a rough piece of work that I created for the Library of Babel. This is what I would think the landscape would look like…

The basic outline of the stairs, I wanted something large in the foreground and so the image has depth when I add the smaller detail in later.

Screen Shot 2014-01-31 at 10.38.17
Adjusting the handle of the stairs to make them more realistic

I have now smoothed out the wobbly lines on the stairs and added banisters to the steps. I have to put in the details in now because when it comes in adding the material it’s easier to selected and deleted areas of texture.

Screen Shot 2014-01-31 at 11.36.04
Adding the background of the scene – more depth

I have now added most of the basic lines of the scene, stairs, clouds, smoke coming out of the volcano in the background which is winding round the hexagons. After looking at it for a while I decided that it still needed depth to the image and so I thought this place can’t just have one set of stairs…

Screen Shot 2014-01-31 at 12.32.04
Focusing on the distant stairs – this style doesn’t look correct

I started to added smaller stairs in the background, this was the first design of the steps. stairs that came on and out of the helix shape. However, when I talked to my friends they said it reminded them of candy or a ribbon – not stairs. So I changed the design to this…

Screen Shot 2014-01-31 at 12.31.51
Improved stair cases – fits the style and is a lot neater

I think it looks a lot better and not so clumsy, it also matches the main stairs. So I added these to the scene but changing the size of it depending how far they have been placed in the distance.

Screen Shot 2014-01-31 at 13.01.53
Final basic drawing of the scene now I just have to colour it in

The final layout of the landscape, now the other stairs are in the scene has a lot more depth in it. I think where the large stairs are it invites the viewer to look deeper into the area. Now I just have to add colour…

Screen Shot 2014-01-31 at 15.09.32
Added the background colours and mid ground textures

I have used a grey colour for the hexagons as I think they would be solid structures that would dominate the land. The sky looks quite thick with lighter areas of cloud and the volcano is pouring out the smoke too twisting and winding through the valley. I added the volcano as I thought the land would need some essence of nature and volcano are strong and hard to destroy so I left t in the landscape. The diamond thing in the middle is a Photoshop tool to rotate the image and it was stuck on my screen but thats not part of the image.

Screen Shot 2014-02-02 at 12.57.43
Final image with lots of colours and textures

The final scene with colour, from previous work tutors have told me bring out a dominant colour and in this scene it would be the red stairs that tower over the land. Adding shadow the clouds and darkness to the hexagons exaggerates the depth and expanse of the land. I think this image shows that this isn’t a normal landscape like we would see of a city, it is an alien land that has a repetition of hexagon and stairs. Overall I like the image and sense of mystery to the land but to make it stronger I would maybe add a character or figures to put life into the image. This scene would be the start of a sequence that would take the viewer into and through the land exploring what it’s all about.