Yesterday we were introduced to a new way of printing, of course a new way just for me. The main benefits of copying with the risoprinter are that after some volume of copies is cheaper than the normal photocopier and the quality is far nicer, it comes with this matt colour that makes the image more homely made, as if it was more artisan. You can print up to A3 size and as small as you like. It comes cheaper if the print is A3. The beauty of these prints also lies in the different opacities of the colours you are using. You can use up to four colours but they interact between them when they come over the other changing the colour as they never line up completely. Also you can use card in this machine so different papers are admitted. The original is scanned through the machine and a master is created. Each colour need to make a new master. The changing of the roll reminded us putting bombs into a spaceship film.
We watched the documentary “Beautiful Losers” by Aaron Rose. This film was produced in the 90s to show a group of artists in New York, the way they interact between them as a team as well as individual artists. The backgrounds of the artists are coming from the skateboard, punk and graffiti subcultures. It brings a nostalgic touch when seeing this group of friends relating so well between them and often talking about the past. The documentary starts with a question that each one of them answers: what did you want to be when you were a kid?
The works are different between each artist yet they fit really well in collective exhibitions. Most of the artists brought me back to Jean-Michelle Basquiat’s works, although they are different. Maybe this is the aura of New York art in some ambiences. I especially liked Chris Johanson and now is within my list of favourite artists. I think you need to be very lucky to have the privilege of finding a group of people getting on so well and all the artists production fits and engages into the team spirit.
Today I spoke with Emily about making a portfolio as FMP. This will includes select, edit, curate and brand my work and make new illustrations to add to the old ones. I was delighted to hear I would have her support in the process of doing this. She came up with more really good ideas as well as advice me to keep working alongside the FMP in our Local Universe theme in our studio which is the right thing for me as I don’t want to miss the opportunity to learn all I can in the illustration field. I only worry about time, would I be able to do everything plus FMP? I hope so.
On Tuesday we had a great introduction to the world of fanzines. Jay brought to the studio table more than 50 fanzines from lots of different authors including him.
It was like music for the heart and the eyes!! Although I felt these fanzines calling me like sirens from remotes islands, inviting to get a day lost in their pages, the reality was that we were going to have a very busy day creating our own fanzine!! Never the less Jay gave us a very inspiring tour to this collection with lots of stimulating ideas. And the fanzines are going to be in the studio for about two weeks! This is a very generous offer since a collection like this as a real treasure for illustrator’s lovers.
He explained cheap ways to produce fanzines and told us he had an important commission after putting them on-line to sell. I would love to know more about this, where can fanzines be sold on-line?
I did not have much time to get deep into any of the fanzines. But I spotted and wrote down some names of authors that I like such as Stephen Marshall, Catherine Osterberg, Lizzy Steward, Zeroten.
Jay added to my collection Nick White after having a look at my sketch book. I haven’t had much time to explore on these authors yet but I am looking forward to it!
The brief for the day was to produce our own fanzine based in our “local universe”. We had lots of inspiration but not much time. That is a good combination: working under pressure with enthusiasm. Minding about time I decided to work only in one colour: black ink. I played with the idea of universe and local and decided to do a story showing the Earth from the universe with two buildings, the one we are at university to the inside of a window in the building we have in front of our studio.
Again I’m using the windows; maybe I will keep working with them alongside our briefs and see where it takes me. I find windows a metaphor of private life seen from the outside, a window it-self can tell a story of someone.
I managed to finish the drawing and photocopy them, make three A5 fanzines with different bindings plus the original. The day passed by really fast, hands busy, mind in the craft, harmony in the ambience. Really enjoyed the day, so my colleagues did. This is the way I love being at university: doing illustration.
Yesterday we started to look at in our Local Universe. We went out, looked for a place to sit and draw people in movement. It wasn’t about making “art” but more about collecting information for a future project. We needed to focus in character, movement and clothing. We also wanted to talk to people about their life to add to our library but unfortunately we didn’t have much time so this will have to be completed soon.
Friday the 16th we had one of this new exciting briefs about investigate and play with the sketches we’ve produced the day we went out in search of buildings. The task was to produce at least 4 images in A3 combining different features from our library and our sketches: design new buildings in our very own way but using the work we’ve done so far! We also had some references from other artists to look at as well as our own favourite artists. Really fall in love with the work of Alfred Wallis. His innocence drawings about houses and boats are absolutely charming. The work of Jockum Norstrum also is very special and I think it really works well the way of putting images that don’t relate between them together. His work reminds me to Brecht Evens in his graphic novel “The Wrong Place”. Of course, Laura Carlin and the classic Paul Klee, always a real gift to go through their work. This always leaves you in an inspire place to start working. My personal practice is always in small format so working in A3 is a challenge. I started making some big images… and felt frustrated. It really doesn’t work with my style. At university I encounter this problem one time after another. But this time I decided to work in my size and then use Photoshop. Here I used collage to represent in a quick way what I was seeing from the train the day out.
What I saw from the train was windows everywhere, without detail. I had the feeling of each window to be alive inside, a unique world going on and I wonder about us, all together in the city without knowing each other. That brought me the idea of being in isolation as much as if you we were living alone in the country side.
I ended working at home in windows, thinking about the human side of these buildings and houses, the inside. I love detail. The only problem of very detail illustration is the huge amount of time it takes to produce every drawing.
Hours in my little studio, alone in the weekend, swapping moments of silence with some programs in YouTube such as the history of Hamton Court, curiosities about China, Jung… I’ve been missing these precious little moments for a long period. Who needs meditation when you can enjoy an autumn weekend drawing at home?
This brief had its continuation on Tuesday 20th. We were asked to create a 3D building in less than two hours. Based in the very detail window I did at home I decided to do a house inside and outside in paper. I didn’t manage to colour it but indeed I finished the drawings!
“It’s Nice That” introduced yesterday the first Hot House event. Emily Gosling gave us a presentation-tour through the agency and talked about the great success and magnitude of this company which was quite amazing! Half of the studio is a creative agency. The way to find content for the agency is through email, Tumblr, Flirck but she recommended the most to meet people in social activities. These is usually the best and most fun she pointed.
Yesterday we had our first “Design Competition” class with Cecile. I am always amazed by the energy of this tutor. We started singing a song! She seems so positive and fun. Once again this year course started for me with good news: one of the themes we are going to look at is about building a portfolio. Just what I need! But this first class what Cecile mainly talked was about how to blog. Things such as writing about what we’ve learn, ways of inspiring people, how to be critique, having a space in the blog for our own reflections, ideas, promotion of our work, recommendations, etc. A key point was to be ambitious and humble at the same time. Nice combination! Her ambitions for us are to do the placement plus the competitions. Most of us find this to be too much work as we really have other modules to work on. I told her about this concern and the fact that I don’t like competitions since I feel each one of us has a singular voice and in most cases they cannot compete because the uniqueness. One of the things I am sad about university is the insistence in trying to make of us very competitive practitioners instead of helping us to find our own exclusive way as artists. Yet I have a positive feeling this year will be different. She recommends me to forget about the word “competition” and work from that place. As for the time she talked about how to organize our time. At the end of the class we put some of our works on the table and left feedbacks on them with post it. I had really good comments about my work.
Yesterday we had a sketching day out. The aim was to observe, do visual research and collect useful sketches for our future projects in “The Local Universe”.
We wonder around looking for interesting buildings addressing things such function and interaction with people, structure, patterns, architectural features, effects and many other things that we could gather when observing a building.
I tried not to take notes but to use only graphic communication through my sketches in short time of observation. Although I have never been keen in geometrical structures I really enjoyed and learn from this sketching day out.
There is so much you can subtract especially when you have little time to observe and gather as much information as possible. These kinds of exercises are very exciting and time flies when you are drawing from observation!
After our visits to the studios on Tuesday we started making on Friday our own studio in the space we have been given on the 6 floor. We are 25 students sharing an open space, only separated from the outside with wood boards, yet without doors. The idea was to arrange the space in a way that we could all use the space more efficiently. It had to be a different place from the rest of the graphics and illustration studios; it needed to be “our space”. I must say that it was quite messy to start with this task in the morning. Some of us for moments were walking around trying to make ourselves useful for what it was the common idea of the arrangement of the studio and at other moments we were fully absorbed in the task we were doing.
This is probably the moment in these years I’ve been at university in which I most had the feeling of team work. Also it was good to work around my new peers, some of them I know from before and some of them are completely new for me. I wonder when I see them about their practise. I will see it, and I will learn new things with them…. we are all starting of a journey together.
First we looked at all the things we had. What was rubbish and what was useful and recyclable? We throw out about one container and reuse what was good from last year. We made decisions on how to arrange the furniture in groups and then all together: tables, shelves, book displayers, computers, chests with paper draws, lockers, tables and other things.
This organisation was based on the way we were going to work for the rest of the year. Trying to make the best of every inch and making sense of space like putting cutting mats on top of chest drawers at right height so we do less effort when cutting.
At the end of the day our studio looked great and we all felt happy! Emily praised us!