Day: February 5, 2014

Back to the Drawing Board!

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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!



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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.

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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.

Work so far

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Before my next lecture I thought I would create a few rough final images so I had something to show rather then just sketches all the time:

Created on Photoshop – I drew the basic lines and then added the textures of materials that I have to create a digital collage.

A pair of hexagonal glasses that are used to read the books in the Library of Babel. I tried to make them look modern but still have an age to them, I picked red for the rims as from my last terms work I was told maybe to highlight one colour so the image doesn’t look bland. The glasses looked lost when set in a white background so I added some material in the background and faded it out so the glasses still stood out. To add further texture to the background I added some opaque brown little hexagons to give a sense of old patterns and a border to the image. In the text it mentioned the letters MCV which keep popping up in books, so I added those letters to the glass. I guess a bit like a company brand logo. Overall I like the image but for me it doesn’t give the wow factor, I’m used to creating scenes for a story and creating one scene that isn’t part of a sequence is hard for me.

Same process as the previous image but I have used different materials that I have scanned into the computer then layered them up on photoshop.

This is what I think the library would look like from standing on the stairs, the shadow creates a mystery to the scene. Who is this person? Why are they there? What are they looking at? I made they stairs a funny angle to make the scene obscure and not the norm. The sky in the background is a vibrant blue/green but I wanted the viewer to guess what it is.. water or the sky? I picked red for the stairs because red can suggest love, passion, anger, danger. The colour stands out compared to the mundane grey hexagon buildings, I picked grey so the scene looks like an industrial area where it just goes on and on – a boring landscape. Maybe thats why I don’t find it exciting because the colours I have chosen are dull (except the stairs) so this image is meant to make you feel bored because the land has no nature in it.

I must admit again the image isn’t amazing but interesting, if I don’t find it exciting then who will? I know all viewers have a different opinions on what is great and not but I think I have to go back to the drawing board and make something better.