Despite a sputter of uncertainty in my practice and course now and then, I feel - after three and a half years at AUB - I have 'found my forte'! Sometimes I've felt like my work "doesn't sort my course area" or that "I'm not a real illustrator" ... BUT through determination and actually trying not to overthink/care a bit less about how I'm creating work and what I'm creating, I've found a process that I really enjoy; it works for me!; and it produces work I love, feels more illustrative, AND it feels like it's my work. Woohoo!
The answer? RISOGRAPH! No surprises there then! A recent workshop with illustrator Lauren Humphrey helped a lot! A lot of the beginning of this academic year found me trying to replicate the textures and colour-ways of riso printing, and this workshop helped me do just this really simply. Being able to digitally - and really simply - imitate how the risograph machine prints, I am able to build an image that uses colour and negative space to form shapes and a visual language I find really exciting. And - BONUS! - I love the bright riso colours you get, and what the limit of using only a select few colours can have on my images. It's helped force me to simplify my shape, form and even character; an element I dreaded drawing only a couple of months ago. Everything has fallen into place, and I can't wait to keep creating imagery this way!
Riso has helped me to think more about the process of creating my imagery; thinking about the gradient, and deliberately overlapping sections of colour to create new ones... I love building shadow into my imagery to build contrast and add depth, and riso has allowed me to really exaggerate this! What I love most, is when this goes a bit wrong: If your registration is slightly off and the colours move create halos or change the shape of something, I like to own it and make something of it! I think it really plays to the character of a piece and the nature of printing. I like the more hand-made, bespoke finish.
So, I've begun to build a series of imagery for my Final Major Project, to reflect my visual aspects of the Mediterranean and narrative elements of holiday and travel life. Once I've grasped my visual language, I aim to develop and adapt these into repeat patterns for surface design and application; through abstracting the shapes further and overlapping colours more, etc.
You can follow my progress further on my Instagram @belburkill
Some of the images below are risograph prints themselves, available on my Etsy shop, linked through my shop header of my website