Here I am, super happy that this is the children’s book cover this year. I always wanted to produce one of the children’s covers as I felt I could generally be alot more fun and illustrative with any outcome I produced without it being ridiculed for being too cartoony for adults! The idea that I went with stands with the red socks protest. I loved the idea that in a world where Adrian feels misunderstood and ‘grey’ that a splash of red could cause such a stir.
As a Harry Potter fan I kept writing 9 3/4 so it’s lucky I spotted that before I wrote it wrong on the cover! As you can see the amount of times I tried to write Adrian Mole perfectly..
I wanted his legs to look long and gangly, almost Quentin Blake inspired. He’s in his school uniform yet if it weren’t for the upturned short trousers he may be ‘mistaken’ for a 9-5 worker, he describes himself as a misunderstood intellectual in the blurb.
Constellation has been a mixture of high points and low points. Starting the term from my previous sixth form, I was both nervous yet intrigued by the concept of constellation. Initially I was drawn to my course of graphic communication by the idea of being able to mix and integrate fully with the art school as a whole; making contacts and friends. Yet I still was unsure as to what it would entail.
My original worry was that of past knowledge, when starting the lectures in term 1, all were primarily art/ art history based in which I was unaccustomed to in my previous learning, however I found that I really enjoyed the theoretical side especially the theories applying to my current course including post-perspective and concept of sonic art relating to original art formats. Some of the main hall lectures in my opinion, for example ‘The Sensorial Object’, seemed to just be irrelevant to any learning, although I understood the importance of broadening knowledge of arts and culture, there sometimes was no link to course content and found the ideas very confusing to even understand in the first place. I would dread attending the lecture theatres in fear of falling asleep, which was a frequent occurrence for myself during term 1…
It was quite a shame because I loved the feeling of being in the large lecture theatre with the entirety of the art school, yet failed to establish a connection with the information given to us each week by the lecturers. For myself, constellation lectures were supposed to be the key of a theoretical framework and unison of the art school but it turned out not to be the case.
Study skills were something I found a lot more useful, in smaller groups, debating and analysing the art of argument and image etc. I was given some sightly information and techniques for example, Cath’s columns which have been applied to my essay writing further on in the term. The sessions allowed us to become more familiar with the tutors and students from other disciplines and I found it so useful being able to debate ideas with students who entailed different schools of thought to my own. Obviously a product designer, ceramicist and graphic communicator will have contrasting views but I found this a challenge that helped me to grow in confidence and express the views of my own subject.
The Controversy essay was a great challenge for me. For only 500 words, it would be assumed to be so quick and easy, yet the difficult part seemed to be actually trying to include any detailed information within the limit at all! Most of my blog posts tend to be longer than 500 words, so I found it quite a struggle to keep in the constrains of the word count. In reflection, I can see the reasoning as it enabled the skills to filter and cut out only the necessary information. After receiving formative feedback sheet for my essay, I knew I could further improve in the future. Simple feedback of writing statements not questions is something I continued onto my term 2 essay, as well as formatting critiques including double spacing. In hindsight, I definitely left my essay to the last minute as I assumed the short length would be completed in an instant, however research and referencing takes more time than I originally thought. I am not too experienced with academic writing, however the initial skills learn from the initial essay were key to my development further down the line.
When starting term 2, I still had that initial worry of how my past knowledge would affect my learning in the subject groups. If I was too late applying for lectures, I could end up in a room of experienced art historians with myself not knowing what in the world was going on! Luckily enough I was given my choice of The Body in Society, which initially I did not realise how personally interesting and informative to my course it would be. I have always been interested in more psychological theories, asking questions and debates, as they apply to my interest of graphic design and ideas of how the mind and body are influences for example. I was overjoyed when given the opportunity to learn more. Every lecture was easily comprehensible and I found for the first time I was learning some real in-depth material that could actually help in my future course and career.
Each week had a focus on the essay as an end point, so when it came to start researching and writing I found it simple to have a basic groundwork and knowledge to continue with. I found each of the eight weeks incredibly eye-opening and interesting but had a particular interest in learning about the psychology of what forces influence the body. and makes a body react to the stimulant.
This led me to choose my essay title of “To What Extent are Bodies, Expressions of Individual Preference over Powerful Influences in Society?”. After researching theories of Panopticon, body projects, male gaze, reflexive bodies, habitus and free will, I applied these to my question and took an approach that still tied in with advertising, branding and communication from my graphics course. By integrating the two I found that when continuing my subject lectures and projects, concepts and theories would seep through and give me a greater understanding and knowledge of graphic communication as a whole. I was easily able to find sources and references both in the library and online with summon and webpages/programmes and by using the academic writing notes on Blackboard, established a referencing system simple for me to use with my bibliography.
In conclusion I have thoroughly enjoyed constellation throughout the year, most definitely term 2 and 3, over term 1. Having the ability to learn something that is not necessarily course based, yet still stimulates my mind as much as my passion for graphics, is something I was unsure I would find by the end of the year. I have a strong belief that the theories learnt in my term 2 lectures will benefit my learning greatly in future projects on my course and simply in day to day life. I have found that I have grown greatly in confidence, often being the main speaker of my group and answering questions which is something I would have never imagined when initially being thrown into a room of complete strangers only a few weeks earlier.
All that’s left is to bring on year 2!
New project, new tutors, new groups! We have now began the field module of the course whereby the entire school of art and design are split into multidisciplinary groups for project work. Based in the illustration studio I was paired into my team of myself, a fine artist, a maker and a fellow graphic communicator. We were given the same brief to the rest of the term of The City, and were given the initial task of creating a collage to generate ideas and develop our teamwork.
The words that originally jumped out to our group when creating our collage were ‘masked’ and ‘psychological’. These became the foundations of our project and we began to think about the idea of identity within the city. People are so quick to make assumptions about other as they walk down the street, especially the youth generation and within our city project we wanted to somehow create a way of creating a contrast between typical stereotypes and the true personality of a person.
With the idea of identity in mind we began to mind map and establish ideas to actually produce later on. My sketches below show the stereotypes of clothing, hair and tattoos for example. When excluded from the person, the stereotypes show their own personality assumptions and are almost a mask of what the people are really like on the inside.
Our plan was to edit images of people and form our own assumptions of them based on our initial stereotypical view, and then ask them for 10 words to describe their personality and see how they actually compare. Stereotypes aren’t always bad. and this is what we wanted to show with our images. Because a person has tattoos it doesn’t mean they are violent or feared, it could be because they are an artist or want to express their creativity. We each took 3-4 photographs and then swapped them with other members of the group to edit. Below are the original words and images from my final outcomes. We held back from looking at the words so that our initial view was not biased so we could obtain accurate interpretations from our own minds and not others.
Below are the three images I photographed to allocate to members of my team. I was really pleased with my outcomes as they each had a unique composition and enough white space around so that my team members could play around with scale and layout. It was interesting to see the final outcomes as since I knew the individuals, I could compare the accuracy of the generalised stereotypes based only on their apperance.
From the original images, below are my final five outcomes for my edits. All the images and everything within the outcomes were fully created myself, including photography, drawing and editing. The overall idea with the images was to show the contrast between our stereotypes and the actual person and what they may or may not be like inside. I wanted to mix different mediums and techniques to create a rich content and visual appeal to create truly expressive imagery. Although they were time consuming I thought they really captured the internal view of the individuals.
With this image I have excluded the tattoos, piercings and hair from the girl’s body and colourised them onto a black and white image. Her clothing is revealing of the tattoos, not concealed as generally expected, making me think she is proud to be creative. She also has brightly coloured short hair which portrays that she may be bold and confident with her appearance. Because of this I took the colours from her hair and tattoos and creatively splashed paint onto the background to represent a possible artistic side.
In my opinion this girl looked sweet, shy and pretty and decided to base the edit around the same connotations of a flower. I photographed a vase of daffodils in my bedroom and transformed the image to make it appear as though they were blooming from inside of her, representing beauty and happiness.
The hooded figure in this image reminded me of stereotypical youth culture which is often misunderstood and mistaken. I blanked out the face and created pixels over the eyes as connotations with crime and CCTV footage. I researched the definition of identity and quoted it to the side with dictionary words scrambled and piled at the bottom representing a confused mind.
The girl here looked very happy, energetic and joyful in her original image so I transformed her movements into pattern to show this. Using scanned fine liner doodles I removed the background to give the effect of excited energy. I covered the eyes in all of my images to draw attention the the stereotype of the body as opposed to the facial expression. People avoid eye contact so often and can never see into a person, only their exterior. This is what I wanted to recreate in my images. that what we see behind the eyes is more important than what we judge on the outside.
With this happy image of myself I wanted to create a reversal. I took a black and white image of myself holding a blank piece of paper and edited my portrait over top to create the contrast of darkness to happiness. What we see on the outside is not always what is on the inside.
After all our images were collated and looked at, we decided as a group that we wanted to put the images together in a collective to show a grand scale and express the creativity of our identity interpretations. I was very pleased with all of my outcomes as they had a professional feel and quality to them and were all individual and detailed within themselves.
We see them as a group and it allows us to wonder who each individual is and what makes them different from each other. It is so easy to judge people as you walk down the street without taking a second glance at what their personality or identity may be, not just the stereotypes of age, gender or clothing. However, our project aim is to change perceptions and allow the public to think about the positivities of young people, not just the negative stereotypes.
My idea was to place our posters around the city in areas which would make an impact to passers by. It would be interesting for the idea of changing perceptions of the youth generation by locating the posters in areas where they are often judged, for example the streets. In a way our youth’s identity has been lost, hence the slogan of “Have you seen our identity”. My aim was to try to show positive aspects of young people and not just bunch them into a stereotype of hoodies, lazy and stuck to their phones, but to show their personalities and creative sides.
I found working with my group really quite difficult with the vast majority of my groups ideas coming from the graphic students of myself and one other team member. After being the only two to attend our meetings for a long time we took it upon ourselves to create and research our ideas to follow on with and lead the group. We were also the two members to spend the most time on our project and put our all into producing high quality outcomes, whereas others were not as invested in the final outcome as we were. After my graphics teammate had to go abroad for the last week I took it upon myself to create the group presentation and writing for each slide, and created secondary outcomes of the collective image, posters and photoshopped images to present to the course. I was very pleased with my work and final results as I put a lot of time into not only creating the images but producing positive feedback from the presentation and ideas behind the project.
London! The long awaited trip to the Four Designers conference had finally arrived. Two nights and three days in one of the largest design inspired cities, I couldn’t wait. After a long coach journey we checked into our incredible hostel (with a London bus in the bar!) and wondered what would be in store for us the next day at Logan Hall.
The annual Four Designers conference is an event that has been built up to us from the very start of Term one. Highly acknowledged by past students as an event all Graphic Design students need to see, I was very excited to say the least. The day gave us access to some of the most exciting designers in the industry. The Speakers showed their work on the big screen, talked about their influences and the challenges of working in such a demanding and exciting field. They also took part a question and answer session, where we were able to gain invaluable advice for our future careers.
Below are the main factors I was able to benefit from during the day..
- a chance to be exposed to the creative work of leading designers
- broadening knowledge of the real world of creative practices
- an insight into the importance of traditional & new media, ranging from 2D, 3D, typography, photography and digital media
- opportunity to interact and ask questions during the Q & A sessions
- tips and advice from the speakers’ wealth of creative knowledge and experience
- invaluable first hand advice and expertise on how to break in to the creative world
- demonstrating the opportunities of future study & career choices
The four designers who spoke were Alan Dye, the Owner and Creative Director of NB Studios, Dave Palmer the Owner and Creative Director of Love, Bruno Maag, a renowned Swiss typographer and Chairman of Dalton Maag Ltd. and Phil Carter, the Owner and Creative Director of Carter Wong Design. I found all the designers so inspiring to listen to, although there were some definite differences in content which I both agreed and disagreed with.
The speaker that stood out most to me was Phil Carter. I found his work truly inspiring and I came out of the conference with only his name and ideas in my mind. He seemed to me, to be one of those designers who has the ideas and the passion to be a designer, not just a person who uses a computer to design for him. He is a traditional designer who does not rely on the likes of PhotoShop or Illustrater, he instead relies on the most basic but complex tools of his mind and a pencil. Design programmes in my opinion (and Phil’s) should generally be used as a finisher, as a final outcome to a project. It is not the computer that generates the idea, it is the person, and that is what makes a true designer.
“The computer doesn’t generate the images. That would be like calling traditional (design) Pencil-Generated Imagery. No matter what the tool is, it requires an artist to create art.” –John Lasseter.
I really felt that every word he said sparked with my own thoughts and I absolutely loved it.
His ideology was that by making mistakes and allowing the creativity of say.. ink splats and smudge marks, that you can achieve a far more personal and loveable piece of design work. Not to say that the trusty MacBook is any less valuable, but an idea has to start somewhere and that is in the mind of a designer.
In comparison to the freedom and creativity of Carter, was that of the renowned typographer Bruno Maag. His mindset was on the other side of the spectrum, precise, detailed and a perfectionist. One sentence that really stood out to me was when speaking of his typography lectures. They would sit and draw perfect lines and perfect circles for hours on end, this fascinated me as definitely design requires an awful lot of precision and dedication however I can’t shake the idea of Carter’s explosive creativity and I feel so inspired to follow in his path to a fun and vibrant career.
After the long and eye opening day, we were left to our own devices to explore the city and, well, how can I say.. make the most of the cheap hostel bar.
The next day we set off in groups to visit some live design studios in the city. I had the privilege of visiting Dare design studios, a new digital agency. Working with famous brand names of EE, Aviva, Coca Cola, Barclays and Sainsbury’s to name a few, I felt honoured to meet the people, and explore the studio behind the work.
The studio space itself was so relaxed and creative, with picnic benches, astroturf and an adult play area to let ideas explode! We were taken into a room and briefed on the agency, how they go about their work, how they came to be designers and what inspires them. I loved being able to listen close and personal to somebody in the business and we were able to have our questions answered about life in the real world of the design industry. I then had the pleasure of meeting a gentleman who’s job was an experience designer..
What an incredible job! To design experiences. His thought process was an interesting one in the context of design, based on the idea of persuasion and manipulation. For example, we were asked the question “What would give you a better experience, 5 minutes quicker on your train journey, or french supermodels serving expensive champagne and strawberries up and down the aisle”. We all said the latter due to the excitement and novelty of the experience. In a business point of view, by creating an experience as such, you can often save a vast amount of cash and provide your customers with a better quality journey.
My group were then whisked up into an exercise with a live brief for Vue movie theatres. In small groups of three, we were each given a part of the movie experience, for example buying tickets, finding your seats and sharing thoughts after the film. We then had to invent a new way to make the experience more appealing to the consumer. With buying tickets in mind for my team, I quickly had the idea of turning tickets back into a collectable item. In the past movie tickets were physically a beautiful thing, designed to make you feel special. Nowadays we see them printed onto a thin and disposable receipt, my idea was to bring the magic back into the ticket and provide it as an experience itself. We had the idea to create movie branded tickets for event films and even have lucky tickets with the chance of winning free food/ money off your next visit. We presented our ideas to the rest of the group and designers, then had a quick tour around the busy working studios.
I felt incredibly inspired after the day and was amazed when we each received an invitation to come back any time for work experience or to watch how design is undertaken in a live studio environment.
I then spent the rest of the day exploring London, visiting the British Museum and art gallery. Seeing the cultural differences in design was amazing to cast my eyes on before the long coach journey back to Cardiff.
All in all the London trip has greatly inspired me to be a more creative designer and not to be afraid to take risks, as that is where the best design work comes from! Nobody ever made it big by playing it safe that’s for sure.
Not only did the experience inspire me in the present but it has also shown me how amazing it would be to be part of the creative design world and business. We learnt such valuable information from talking to creative directors and has given me the strive to be part of it too.
Our task? To document a five minute walk. We could go anywhere we wanted but the key was to include as much information of sight, colour, shape, size, feel and texture as possible. The task was originally in pairs however after around 15 minutes of brainstorming ideas I was left to finish the project on my own due to my partner’s important commitments.
The below image is what I ended up creating as the final outcome. My initial idea was to not draw what I could see as I believed it might be common for the majority of the groups to sketch instead of show more about the journey other than just the appearance. On my journey I used words to map out the area, documenting what I saw and how long for. I tried to create my own typefaces to represent the different aspects of my journey. For example the floor in the graphics studio, where I began my journey, is long, smooth and sleek so therefore I used my pen to mark this out in a way that shows the size, feel and texture of the floor. The dashed line floor was representative of the dimpled affect I walked along near the top of the stairs.
The majority of my journey was interior and therefore simple studio colours of black, white and grey, however when I reached the exterior of the building it hit me how cold it was when I first stepped foot on the icy slabs, portraying this with splashes of blue to show the temperature chance. When I was outside, I was blinded by the sun and felt a sudden warmth, with my type I decided to therefore make it bold and vibrant, taking up a vast space as it was so overwhelming when experiencing it.
That long awaited moment has finally arrived.. the storybook brief!
Continuing on from The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe theme from my last exercise, our next brief was to create a handmade book to tell our chosen story. I began my undertaking some research, I read so many synopsis’s that I lost count, and summarised them into fourteen key scenes that I would use as the pages for my book.
I looked at many artist books for inspiration and found love in forest themed books as they reminded me of the Narnia woodlands. When choosing a material, I was inspired by the snowy scenes and thought that white paper would portray the vibe of a wintery narrative to the reader, delicate and fragile like the snow. I always have a huge attention to detail and my favourite thing about researching other books was the intricate detailing and the precision of the folds and cuts in the pages, something that I reallywanted to recreate with my own storybook.
After viewing numerous book formats the idea of a three dimensional tunnel book stuck out to me. I meticulously used a scalpel to cut shapes using numerous paper types; from thin card and paper to tracing paper, all with the concept of creating depth as a silhouetted forest.
To create the tunnel section I then used card to create a thin box and made a tightly folded concertina to glue each layered forest scene to. By painting the back layer black I was able to add contrast to the scene. My next challenge was to make the pages considering I didn’t have paper long enough..
I created concertina pages and glued each section together, seven each side to create the total of fourteen, with two pages for the front covers. In my mind I wanted the format of my book to be as unique as possible so combined the opening book, concertina and tunnel themes together into one. The image below is of this stage before any progress had been made with the scenes.
I began to draw small thumbnail images in my sketchbook to plan out my pages and find simple iconography to represent key elements of the narrative. After much thought process, I settled on images that I would be able to cut out in detail to depict my chosen story. They included:
- The Pevensie children waving goodbye as evacuees
- The wardrobe
- Narnia lamppost
- Lucy and Mr Tumnus talking with a thought bubble to the castle
- Lucy trying to convince her siblings to believe her stories of the magical world
- The white witch with a box of turkish delight
- Mr Tumnus held captive by the forest
- Large Narnia scene
- The witches castle
- Aslan meeting the children
- Aslan’s sacrifice on the stone table
- The war between the Narnians and the witches army
- Aslans resurrection
- The death of the witch and spring coming into bloom
- Four thrones in the castle
I then began the heart wrenching task of beginning to cut out the A5 scenes with a scalpel, all I will say is that my fingers did not work properly for the next week and I never want to see a scalpel again for as long as I live.
None the less, it was so worth it. Because I tried to include as much detail as I could, I was so overjoyed with my final outcome and really felt a sense of achievement with my story book. Initially I had planned to leave enough white space on each page to allow me to handwrite simple sentences to narrate the story, however after finishing the detailed cutting I didn’t want to risk ruining the outcome by overcrowding the pages with words. The paper makes the pages so delicate and fragile and I decided that words could be a harsh contrast to the visual appeal.
For the front cover of the book I created a wooden effect for the wardrobe doors to fit the concept of the story.
My final book eventually scaled to roughly two metres in length, the scale is not very obvious in the image but it really did create a huge impact in the studio when presented to the course. I had really positive feedback from the group and it made me happy knowing that people found enjoyment from looking at my work. One of the comments I received was that I had created the depth of a hidden world of my own, each aspect of my pages portrayed an element of the story and by revealing the book from beneath the wardrobe doors, felt as though I had created a story of my own.
The finished piece!..
The tutor’s comments were mixed compared to my course mates. I felt as though I hadn’t really done enough to gain their approval but I was still really overjoyed with my outcome. The main criticism was that of the material used, I had chosen paper to recreate the vulnerability of Narnia and to mimic the delicate snow on the ground but they suggested I used card instead. If I were to improve on my outcome I would try to use more hardy materials.
I thought it showed an original way of showing the narrative rather than telling it and I thought that the format of my book was really unique by combing many artist book features into one.