Well, after four years at AUB, today was my FINAL deadline and I finished uni!!
My degree has been a back and forth fight between understanding, getting it right and enjoying my learning process. Through this, it took a few projects and some break downs to get my practice to where it is now: Whatever happens with my grade, in the last few months I feel I have created a strong portfolio I am happy with and enjoy showing to people!
I veered away from "typical" illustration as I just didn't enjoy it, which led to a lot of frustration throughout my degree, but I persevered and found a method I now love. A lot of my work is colour strong and this has become my biggest influence and material. For my major project I focussed around the theme of the Mediterranean and creating an idyllic, romanticised holiday landscape.
I want to create versatile, bright illustrations that through application can be enjoyed by their buyer. I see myself as an illustrator and surface pattern designer, and wish to head down the textiles/interiors route: Check out my Professional Practice report on my about me page to see what I'm aiming for! So for my final project, I created an array of prints and printed textiles to showcase my colourful Mediterranean.
I am so so pleased with my overall body of work for this unit and finalised outcomes, that I hope to continue to produce to push me into a career path. Creating colourful, fun, typical holiday-esque compositions that I can adapt and utilise as surface patterns. Using the bold process colours (cyan, magenta, yellow) as my palette and playing with overlays to produce new shapes, I designed a series of screen prints, risographs, and fabric deck chair covers: Bringing the Mediterranean to Bournemouth beach!
Over the last week, I've been working on an exciting new idea to combine my love of surface design and new fabric printing skills to bring new ideas to my Major Project! Here are my latest - probably most favourite so far - illustrations. Using my bright colour palette really brings to life the Mediterranean visual themes, and simplifying and abstracting the imagery a little allows more versatility and and a refreshing visual language.
(The following three images were created digitally, working from a hand sketched rough composition layout, BUT after printing them out, I actually prefer the re-scanned images! I think it helps to mattify and give texture to the image)
For a more final outcome to this project - as my final deadline is looming at only 8 weeks away! - I would love to print these designs and/or similar onto canvas material, to up-cycle a Deck Chair for the beach!
I think a brilliant way to realise this project, would be to bring the Mediterranean to Bournemouth beach (where I'm studying). I will be able to hand print these myself and think they would make for a fun photoshoot on the beach here! Bringing together my love for bright colour, abstract illustration and print, and surface pattern design, I have begun to digitally mock up some deck chair visuals ... and have begun to test small paper and fabric samples (scaled down) on a miniature deck chair.
Here are some of my favourites ...
Behind the scenes, I've still been going to my Monday evening's short course for fabric printing! I'm LOVING it, but sadly I've only got a couple of sessions left!
We've learnt how and when to use certain bases for certain fabrics, and mixing the pigments to get that exact colour you want. Fun tip: I've been taking my paint swatch cards with me to help me visualise colour palettes and match the pigment mix best I can.
A couple of weeks ago we learnt how to silk screen print onto fabric using stencils - which takes out a lot of the usual screen prep time of exposing it with UV! After a couple of goes, I got into a rhythm and now don't want to stop! I've just been printing tonnes of different shapes and colours; understanding better how they print and how the colours mix... Also, onto darker fabric and learning I need to adapt my ink mixes!
This is definitely an area of print and illustration I'm going to keep up and invest in. I also have some FAB ideas for my uni final major project to utilise these new print skills ... watch this space!
As initially intended with my current uni project and practice, I've begun to adapt certain aspects of my recent work to use in pattern repeats/surface designs. I've really enjoyed doing this; there's so much you can do with a more abstract, free approach, especially with pattern design. Although, there is an art to it! Beware pattern that have too much odd negative space or too much planning and order; and ones with too "straight" repetitive shapes...
I've been experimenting with current imagery; taking certain forms and elements of a piece and abstracting the composition. I've mostly been playing with the shapes and idea of creating a pattern from them, so wish to do this more in the next couple of weeks. But! I think they make really interesting, colourful prints.
Yesterday I started my first evening/short course at uni - in Pattern & Fabric Printing - and I LOVED it! I've been wanting to do this particular course for a while, as I spoke about at Christmas, and just the first evening was great.
Having the course at uni was obviously easier actually getting there, and I felt more comfortable knowing my way around - especially as my particular course is in my old first year studio! We got straight into it and started discussing fabrics and inks, how to mix pigment colours and how to tell a good printing fabric from others... We talked a lot about what the course will entail, and after a few weeks of learning techniques and experimenting we get our own "project" and can create whatever we wish!
I love how open the course is: It feels great to take a few hours out each week to still be creative and learn a new skill, but to just enjoy it and not worry about criteria. It was also really refreshing to be with a whole new group of people! All different ages, all different backgrounds, and all hoping to get something different from the course. It's so encouraging to start something new and take some time "off".
Ailsa Wilson is the surface design that runs the course. She is super welcoming and it's great working with someone outside of uni that is in the industry. As her day job, she's got plenty of at-home tips which is really encouraging as a student wanting to start in this area.
One of things I liked most, was her method to reuse found objects for printing! I love incorporating textures into my work and adding it to block colours, and Ailsa showed us an easy cost effective method: Plenty of packaging and everyday objects and foods have great surfaces, so take a rubbing or fill it with plaster and hey presto! there's a stamp!
At first, I thought of linking this course directly with my degree, but after the first evening I'm thinking of just crossing over techniques. I really enjoyed keeping it separate and just having fun with the work, as we just played with stamps and colours to get a feel for the printing. I will definitely do more at-home printing now I know how, and I can't wait to see what comes out of the next ten weeks!