Yesterday was my first workshop day at the House of Illustration. For this time the workshop was leaded by two illustration students at Kingston University. As I came earlier I had time to chat with them and learned that they were new to this kind of workshops. They were asked by one of their tutors at university to do this as so they could gain some experience. Also we talked about our courses and looked at each other’s works and after our chat we started to prepared the space and materials for the workshop. We were expecting 16 people, 6 adults and 10 children. The workshop was about making a lenticular collage: one way was going to show the past and the other the future.
We prepared the lenticular papers by folding A3 sheets into eight long strips so that people would have more time to do the collage. After that we filled the tables with colour papers, magazines, sizers, pencils and glue. When the materials and the room was ready it was time for me to go upstairs to receive the people and bring them down. A moment later everyone was sitting in the place to choose and started working in their past and their future. And here came one of the most beautiful moments in which the flow of concentration felt as if each one was in their own world and at the same time very much united to the rest by a sense of peace and wellbeing. The room full of mainly children and some adults…. silence in the air. This connection to the spirit is what I most love of arts, sometimes I even think that I love it more than the piece of art coming out of this state. This is what I really pursuit by doing arts. When people started finishing their works conversations started slowly between people that they didn’t know before each other: what would you prefer; to go to the space or under the sea in a submarine
The results were beautiful. More than what I expected. People slowly left in peace and love and Joey, Holy and me with another volunteer left the room tidy and ready for the next time.
Yesterday we had a presentation in our signage work. That took us the entire morning and part of the afternoon. It was interesting to see what kind of signs each one of us search with the same brief and how differently we develop ideas. Our tutor gave us good insights in response to our work and the presentation and critic passed by very pleasantly.
We went to collect signals, posters, graffitis etc in our local universe for this presentation. Then we show and reflecyed on them. This are some examples of my choosen images collected fdrom the street.
I selected those becouse of the semiotic message:
This one, although we don’t know its message we read “Good Luck”
As for this one bring us to the idea of England and the queen.
I was enthusiastic to start an animation video for this brief as I am always with a new brief. Although the process is usually very similar: I have been giving a brief with which I became very enthusiastic, so I became easily full of ideas. The difficult part is to put them into action, to make them happen. I, generally, struggle here because I tend not to get the easy path; I just wonder why I do it like this! Anyway, I am habitually happy with the results, not so much with the outcome as much as the process of learning and the experience. I always end thinking “this could have been much better if I did this, or that” but thing is that I know that now I know better for next time. Time at university flies, I wish we have more time with briefs to fully deep into new things. I feel like when you are starting to understand something is time to move on. On this brief we were asked to do a video in which we need it to ask for money. The example to follow was Kickstarter.com. I realised that I need nothing! So I couldn’t possibly make a serious video asking for money. I thought of asking for someone in need or maybe a charity. But I wasn’t sure about this since I wanted first to be sure I can make a it with some decent result before offering my skills to someone else. So this video is a kind of testing. Is about one of my cat asking for £500 to buy a cool strong box made by a designer to play with and to sleep in. I learned how to use a program called Movie Maker which I will use more in the future and I know the next one will be much better! This seems to be the easier way of making a video. Now I am also chasing the adobe premier pro which is more sophisticated. The only problem now (and again) is time. Anyway, is in my list and it will happen! The video has a narrative in which I tried to expose in one minute the introduction; a playful cat that loves boxes. Followed by the body of the narrative; cardboard boxes are too weak and they don’t last. So the cat is sad and the conclusion is the cat asking for help to buy a cool £500 box made by a designer. I think I have been successful in making very clear the whole narrative in one minute. Yet, I wish I had more than one minute to expand scenes of the drawings. Also more time to make this video. Unfortunately animations are a really time consuming work and what you see in one minute is the work of days -and nights. For this animation I ended using slightly less than 300 images. I started with handwriting messages and I ended in the last two days having to change it with fonts from PhotoShop because of the lack of time. I choose MoolBoran because of its curves and diamonds endings. I thought this gave the drawings a friendly turn. I decided to change sizes and colours to make the message playful. The video has at the end a dedicatory to all my cats and the credits: the song of The cure and me. As for title instead of a name I put the cat walking from the left and disappearing in the right side of the image.
The music definitely it had to go without lyrics so the viewer could concentrate in the delivered message. I looked for songs related to cats and… Bingo! The Cure with its Lovecats sounded perfect! I found one Lovecats song without lyrics for Karaoke which was exactly what I need it.
I wrote the previous words the day before the handing in of the video. It was late in the night, I was really tired, just those moments when the big mistakes happens, so I decided to leave the post for next day, which it came to be two days. But here I am, back to write about the feedback.
The video seemed to like, people smiled and laugh. The feedback from Cecile is that the typography was not matching the beautiful drawings. She suggested changing it, which I hope I can do, only if I have enough time since my studio and dissertation are highly demanding and revisiting an animation means a good lots of hours. I wish I can do it!! Let’s see. Up to now the most important for me is that I feel ready and inspired for a new animation adventure when I have more time.
As for my colleagues I saw really good things. Some of them I really enjoyed like Angie’s video about animals. It had bright colours and a great message on animal awareness. Also Joana Santos showed a video with a girl playing the piano. Images were taking from inside and outside the room through a window. It related to me about the dissertation I’m writing about the theory of flow and education on crafts and arts. Very professional and elegant look. Tara’s video was really funny and I love the touch of simplicity although it might have been complicated to make it, this is something that most of the times the viewer doesn’t know. I liked also from Eduardo’s video the intriguing sound; the touch and clapping of things. And there were many other good ones. I realized seeing others people’s videos that I thought the brief for the video was restricted to one minute and it seems that the rest of the videos went from one minute to around three, so maybe I was wrong in this. All together a great morning!
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.
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!