After a relaxed Christmas break and finalising my Investigative Study ("Exploring the effects of the application of surface design, which take an illustrative approach"), I was extremely happy - and somewhat nervous - to receive my Pre Major grade and feedback! I'm definitely one to care about my grade and stay consistent, but since my degree I've become more aware - and more caring - of a decent portfolio over anything.
So! I'm really happy with my grade, but mostly the feedback. It was great to receive both during a one-to-one tutorial, as I felt I could properly understand it all and kickstart my Final Major Project. The key points discussed between my tutor and I, were:
Over the last couple of months, I've continued to develop my practice and professionalism towards finalising images.
Looking back on my second year at uni, I feel like I had struggled to fit my work around the briefs, and to find an area of illustration that worked for my practice. I learnt a lot, but being able to develop my own brief this academic has helped to bring confidence back to my work.
I'm still looking towards surface pattern design, however keeping communication and the visual language of an image at the forefront has taught me a lot about how to develop my imagery. After the tonal workshop, I have begun to work digitally and tonally, in black in white first, to build the composition of an image and bring focus to areas of importance. I still want to bring hand drawn elements to my work, and use my own textures and lines to add depth to the image, to then add colour.
Since working with risographs, I've been thinking of images more in terms of how they can be printed this way eventually; using tones to build an image, as well as a bright but limited colour palette. This led me to create a finalised series of images for my Pre Major Project, to reflect and celebrate the area of the Mediterranean, with the eventual intention of working these as surface designs.
I feel like I'm back to creating work that I enjoy - both in creation and finished outcome - which feels as though it belongs to a portfolio of mine. Working on from this project and into my Final Major, I aim to progress this series with a more abstract approach to then build a series of surface design pieces. I will be able to produce more tactile, physical pieces and products, and develop my knowledge in these areas.
Over the last week or so, I've been working on a few of the points picked up in my last critique (mentioned in my post, Developing to the Decorative).
Mostly using a few bright colour palettes - sourced from holiday photos and paint swatches I like - and adding hand drawn textures and patterns. I've also been thinking about composition a lot; adding in more "human" elements and characteristics.
A tonal workshop from illustrator Bridie Cheeseman has helped my work develop hugely! She taught me to consider the dark to light tones of an image, and then the colour palette: Using the tones to pick out elements you most wish to be seen/communicate an idea. The varying tones also help limit your palette as they create the variation. This helped hugely in composition, how the visual language works, and working better with colour.
Here are a few images I've been working on recently: A lot more refined, working part digitally, and images that have surface design potential:
In a discussion this morning with tutors, I've been told to refine my colour palette further but that the bright colours and working tonally is working great! As well as to continue with the hand drawn elements, to work up textures; possibly using inks to bleed and blend and compliment the scenes, etc. They liked to see that I've been considering my mistakes and developing images in different ways, etc., as this as clearly helped to push this unit and practice. Also to work to the same format, i.e. all square, to help the uniformity of my images.
I'm really pleased with the points made: I'm really enjoying working this way and I feel it's working well for me too. It was also noted these would work well as surface designs, which made me super happy! But application is something to think about a bit later one, once these have been refined further.
The scope of images were received really well, and agreed that the colours and landscapes celebrate and compliment my theme.
Illustrator Christoph Niemann's work in ink was mentioned as a style and method to consider. I can really see a resemblance and will take into consideration his palettes and line quality, as a development and great work to consider.
Over the last few months, I've really been exploring the abstract world of illustration and have come to LOVE it! I'm all about those bold contrasting and complimenting colours, and find so much inspiration from the world around me -- in food, in flooring patterns, in nature; there's so much! Adding textures and shapes only makes for the better!
A lot of my inspiration comes from contemporary illustrators and designers; both established and students. I find most of them on Instagram, and a lot from word of mouth, or prints or designs I've seen out and about! I'm always searching for more.
So here are a couple of my current favourite people, that I've been looking at for my recent uni project:
Tom Abbiss Smith ( @tomabbisssmithart )
Slowdown Studio ( @slowdownstudio )
Mark Conlan ( @markconlan )
Kitty McCall ( @kittymccall )
Studio Proba ( @alexproba )
Lizzie Hillier ( @lizziehillierstudio )
Timorous Beasties ( @timorous_beasties )
At the start of the week, I presented in a small critique group of peers and tutors to show where I was at with the project. Using my last post and some digital images, I was able to demonstrate my theme, my want to design surface patterns. I explained my ideas to combine the two in a functional yet decorative manner through design.
I explained that taking a lot of inspiration from my own tie holidaying in the Med, I wanted to create imagery to reflect those scenes and moments through colour and abstract form. Suggestions of society and human presence, and a beautiful setting, but more to celebrate this area.
I also explained my outcome ideas and aims, sketched out in my last post: The tutors really seemed to enjoy this! Inspired by Martin Blanchard's rugs, this tightly crosses over with my Investigative Study area, to explore the themes in illustration and design concerning functionality, aesthetic, and narrative. Creating an illustration print never feels quite finished for me: I enjoy and want to apply it to something, like a product, producing something tactile and physically admirable.
My illustrations and ideas were received really well: My idea of a physical outcome with an illustrative approach, was really liked, as well as the visual approach and methods. I emphasised my decorative approach and attraction to surface design, which was accepted by encouragement to push towards illustration until my work was refined enough.
I gained some really useful feedback and insight into my work, which I will use to develop my illustrations further: