So a handful of friends and I decided to make a pretty thing.
You know, cause we’re in third year and have nothing better to do or anything…
But it seems a shame not to make use of the ace University facilities available to us while we’re lucky enough to be here. Especially given that they are, available FOR FREE (3 grand a year free anyway. Well, it’s better than 9.) so we gathered together a little proposal to send out to our fellow image makers on the course.
We wanted to make a collaborative work of illustrations and imagery based on the brief we set. A short, publication that showcases the talent that Bath Spa is about to unleash on the world. We decided to keep it simple, keep it open to interpretation and keep it relevant.
And what could be more relevant than the present? So we asked people to volunteer a simple image in two colours (black and blue) based on their own, personal response to the Right Here, Right Now. We wanted to keep it simple so could spend a bit of time reproducing on the dual-colour Risograph printer in our studio. A cheap and cheerful zine that captures the very essence of 2014’s graduation image makers.
So here’s my design. My personal Right Here, Right Now: A third year on the brink of graduation:
Unfortunately, the project took something of an acceleration which leaves me unable to currently show you the finished product. Turns out, our tutors thought it was a kind of neat project too, so encouraged us to put a wiggle on and get it done in line with a second year study trip to New York so they could take it with them to drop in on US professionals and studios. This is, obviously pretty cool, but it meant we had to finish it in under a week. We managed to get the kindly artwork donations of 12 classmates so it’s a tight little compendium, but the styles are all really varied and I think it looks ace overall. We literally got done binding it with minutes to spare before handing it over to be whisked away over the atlantic, but we’re well in line to produce a few more so photographic evidence will be kicking about soon with any luck.
Ok now, I want you o stand up, turn around and get out, and the rest of us can appreciate how disgusting they are via the means of my little zine, Bears: Don’t Like ’em! This came about last Easter, and since then has been a consistently strong seller at arts fairs and conventions, to men, women and bear haters everywhere. And actually, one or two intrigued bear lovers too.
Having witnessed it’s popularity, I thought I’d bring it to life with a little splash of colour and returned to my usual haunt, the print rooms, to create these three sets of limited edition screen prints from the zine.
And a fox in a tie. That one was really just for giggles though.
Anyone ever read/ watch Cardcaptors? Not to sound like a little fangirl, but it was pretty rad. No joke.
I bring it up only because it had some attractive examples of interesting, illustrated card decks, which happens to be the brief of my most recent illustration project, which I am lovingly bringing to you today as part two of the Second Year Catch Up sesh.
We were asked to create a set of nine cards in the style of Edward Gorey’s Fantod deck of alternative Tarot. And my eyes immediately turned into little dollar bill signs, as this was in November, just prior to Comiket. And card decks are a pretty sell-able deal.
I turned to my interests in media theory for inspiration, choosing to illustrate Vladmir Propp’s theory of set character types. With creepy puppets. Because if a project of mine needs one thing, it’s definitely an air of macabre. (There was research and reasoning to back this up by the way, but, who am I kidding? You don’t care about that! You’re probably going to sneak past the text, straight to the pictures anyway, you cheeky little blog ninja.)
So here it is, The Propp-Up Theatre Deck.
So we have The fist 7 from Propp’s character theory (I chose to omit the Father as a separate character, merging him with the Dispatcher as is often the case with folklore anyway.) Then made up the full nine with the Bottler and Punchman, the traditional workers of the Punch an Judy show.
We had to design the nine cards themselves, then a back for them as well as a Key Guide to reading them, tarot style. I went a step further (in the name of making moolah) and turned my key into a small booklet with information about the concept as well as the cards themselves, as well as handprinting candy bags to echo the punch and Judy, disturbing British seaside vibe.
And did the punters at Comiket appreciate all the hardwork? Damn tootin they did! They were the first thing of mine to go and by the end of the day I only had about 2 sets left. Not bad for a school project/money making combo.
And thus begins the mammoth job that is the catch up posts from the past term. I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but life definitely got frighteningly busy over the past 3 months and, as a result, my little interweb based snippets of work became a little sparse. For those of you that noticed and, more to the point, those of you that cared, I apologise for this, get on my little, metaphorical, digital knees and beg your forgiveness.
You know, in the spirit of Christmas and all that.
Not that I have any Seasonal based works for you, because I’VE BEEN BUSY. So Uni work it is.
So let’s kick start with a bit of printmaking shall we? For no other reason than it makes me happy. And I’m in charge.
The brief was…well just that. Very simply to create a screen printed poster selling our favorite fast food restaurant.
This is all very well and good, except I happen to be a proud, longstanding member of the societal subculture of “students who cook” and, therefore have something of an aversion to fast food. Actually, that’s putting it quite lightly. What I mean is, generally and on the whole, I really bloody hate it.
“Not to worry!” My tutor insisted, “You may employ a use of irony!”
So I did. I employed a use of irony. Actually, I employed a really bloody heavy use of irony and drew, what probably turned out to be the single, most disturbing thing that’s ever been dredged from the depths of my skull, in the name of promoting Yicken, a Chinese take out back where I grew up. You know the kind: greasy walls, tiled floors, an inescapable use of that classic yellow and red colour scheme that desperately attempts to suggest some element of culture.
Actually, if I’m entirely honest, as far as nasty Chinese’s go, Yicken isn’t the worst. It just happens to have a heinously playful name that I thought might be handy in the creation of the poster.
There it is. A vile, possibility regarding the identification of the mystery meat found in that greasy tub of yours.
I’ve actually been sitting on this one for a while, but thought, as I desperately do NOT want to get involved with my summer project, I’d go ahead and load it up for your viewing pleasure.
It’s not procrastination okay? I’m providing a service.
But those of you who have been with me for a while, will remember when I actually DID my university work and didn’t simply ignore it in favour of baked goods and birthday presents. One such example of this was one of my last illustration projects in which I produced a set of sequential linocut prints (to be found hiding here).
In the end, they were presented on a board in a simple layout. I had wanted the images themselves to do the work in terms of communicating the story without the distraction of any further, novel presentation.
But you know me, why make one set of prints when you can do TWO?
And since this project, the duplicate prints had just been sitting about in tissue, getting a little bored and generally feeling a little abandoned (I don’t know that they did feel this way. I never asked them, but it seems like a plausible emotion for an inanimate object to have.)
And that was how they stayed, sad and forgotten.
BUT THEN I had to move out! And suddenly there was a whole wealth of jobs and thing that I really, really, desperately did NOT want to do. And suddenly I couldn’t take the fact they were so, very forgotten. They didn’t deserve such a fate, it was really, really important that I get out all my book binding equipment and allow the little prints the glory they were owed!
And that decision DEFINITELY wasn’t procrastination. The Prints were in NEED! It HAD to be taken care of immediately, and all those silly, little things on the to do list, things like packing and locating various vital documents and repairing any damage in the room I may, conceivably be charged for, could all just wait while I took care of the really important stuff.
I take the welfare of my work very seriously.
So I did a wee bit of book binding. A concertina book, so when you stretch the whole thing out, you can still view the images in sequence, and the story is not lost or interrupted by the physical act of page turning.
I wanted the book as a product to communicate all the research I’d done for the project and adhere to the thematic choices I’d made when designing the prints. It had centred around this wooden mask and I wanted the element of natural to come across, hence my decision to use earthy tones and loosely knotted rope for the belly band.
The choice of title had been a factor I laboured over, probably more than I should. In the end, I had decided on Knots for three reasons. Firstly, as the theme of wood had been such a strong factor in the creation of the project, it refers to the knots you get in the bark of a tree. A lot of my supporting sketchbook had been drawings of these and woodgrains, so it seemed very appropriate. Secondly, the story had to convey an element of home, something I had dealt with by showing our little character flying off to find home in an airship very reminiscent of an old galleon, the captains of which would measure a distance in knots. And thirdly, the object I had been asked to base my story around had been a mask, two images of which show the creature untying the string knots of, in order to remove it and fashion it into the figurehead for his journey.
It’s a one off, firstly as I only had one more copy of the prints to use, and secondly because it took me so frickin’ long . But it’s got quite a nice, handmade feel to it. Quite different from the heavily photoshopped stuff I usually crack out.
Yeah alright, so it’s been an age since my last post. And I have actually been busy too, which is doubly annoying because I’ve actually had bloggables to share with you, and simply haven’t done it due to extreme laziness/business/general heat-envoked fatigue.
So let’s go back an age or two when I was a good blogger and pick up from there shall we?
So, I was lucky enough to get myself a spot at the International Alternative Press Festival on Sunday 5th and have to say, it was a bit of a blast.
As usual for these little graphic gatherings, I met some truly awesome people, had some bat-shit mad conversations and generally flogged a whole load of my stuff.
It wasn’t as manic as Comiket, but given that it was a Sunday and during that mad thing that was the ‘Lympiks (sorry but did you SEE the boxing?? It was frickin’ AWESOME) that was only to be expected.