NAME: BILLY-JOE ROACH STUDENT NUMBER: BR251261 MODULE CODE: LAUIL603
LAUIL603 COMPETITION BRIEF: SHADOW OF THE COLOSSUS
Link to Video Brief/ Competition Details: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=9&v=6eqDG2dBNNk https://blog.eu.playstation.com/2018/01/24/calling-all-artists-we-need-youfor-the-official-shadow-of-the-colossus-fan-art-book/
An illustrator who’s work I really appreciate (Matt Taylor) was approached by Sony to help them launch a community art competition celebrating the re-release of the updated Shadow of the Colossus on PlayStation 4. Matt would curate the entries and the winners would be compiled into a limited edition art book and sent out to the winning participants. I wouldn’t normally see much point in entering a competition for the sake of appearing in an art book that would only be seen by the people who participated but as I really enjoyed the game back in my youth and am excited for the re-release I figured it would be a relatively stress free side project that could also be a bit of fun.
(**Create an illustration celebrating the re-release of the game ‘Shadow of the Colossus’ and its iconic art style, with the intention of it being printed in a limited edition art book.)
I decided that to keep the project as fun as possible I wanted to focus on my favourite colossus from the game and center the illustration around that particular fight. I was excited to start some drawing after spending the whole of 601 doing predominantly collage work. I researched my favourite colossus from the game (Cenobia) in various iterations from the concept stages to different angles of gameplay so I had a better knowledge of its physicality.
The eyes of the colossus in game are typically blue, and they turn a reddish orange when they are in attack mode. I played around with both of these.
I used a stock free image of a lion as the foundation for my drawing and then I applied Cenobia’s form over the top of the lion since they shared a similar stature! Yey problem solving!
I took inspiration from the images which I researched on the internet, originally I wanted to construct a really complex scene and I wanted to develop an environment for both of the figures to exist in but I’m just finding more and more that my brain doesn’t really work that way and it’s hard for me to visualize something so complex. I’ve definitely made peace with the fact that spot illustrations are more my thing.
FINAL OUTCOME ‘In The Lion’s Den’ As the nickname of the colossus in game is ‘The Lion’ I decided to title my piece ‘in The Lion’s Den’ I thought it was fitting as the image suggests encroaching on this creature’s territory. It denotes a feeling of hostility.
I spent most of the time on this piece drawing the colossus, as a result of this I didn’t get to focus on the rest of the illustration as much as I would have liked, in an effort to meet the deadline and submit on time. I would possible change the rest of the illustration but keep most of the work I did on the colossus if I were to revisit this. Not going to stress over this too much however as I enjoyed making this image overall. I do like this piece, and whilst I recognise that it has my visual signature it does feel different to my usual output. I think that’s ultimately down to the subject of the illustration. I just miss the lack of concept and visual metaphor which I usually apply to my work, so whilst I think visually this is strong, it doesn’t gauge my interest past an artificial level.
I’ve been applying a lot of texture to my work as of recent, I think it works particularly well here, I gathered a few stone textures from a google search and they add a much needed amount of depth and form which was lacking from the flat colour painting.
I went for an abstract background in the end, which I think would look dynamic if it were in print. I wanted to reference the environment in which these two characters meet with a certain amount of subtlety. I used the dark grey brush strokes to mimic the appearance of steps, which is how the creature approaches you in game.
The man is the part that I am the least happy with, I wish I’d focused more on his shadow as the focal point as a reference to the title of the game. I think I missed an opportunity to create something stronger both visually and conceptually!
At the start of the year I had made a digital self-portrait and used it as my icon for a little while. I still really like it as an outcome and think that it is really strong but for the purposes of branding and reflecting my practice I was confident that I could come up with something better. I started to used the ‘eye flowers’ which I created as part of my COP3 project to represent the collage/surrealist direction that my practice had begin to take. Now coming to the end of the year, we have been set the brief of designing a 7x7 self-portrait which best represents our practice at this stage. I wanted to build on what I already had from my COP3 project and take the eye flower icon a step further. I think my digital collage skills have developed a lot since COP3 and I wanted a self-portrait which reflected that.
“Design a 7x7 Self-Portrait for branding purposes, see it as a reflection of my practice at this stage and as a representative for my work.”
I originally started the development of my image by super-imposing an eye graphic into the middle of a rose flower, much like I had done previously for COP3. I took this further by manipulating the flower head of a rose, adding my own linework. I had the idea to add it to a human torso as a representation of a stem, mixing up the human/flower transformation on a deeper level.
From there I had a lightbulb moment of what if I used the human torso as a flower vase, holding a bunch of roses. Then I thought I could have a few roses with eyes superimposed into them and push the surrealist aesthetic working at a level which was a lot more visually complex.
I added the eyes and blended them into the roses by shading in black around them to add depth. I added tears dripping out referencing the print I made for COP3 and it allowed for me to show expression in the eyes by changing their line of sight. For example the one on bottom is clearly reacting to the tear drop which is falling from the rose at the top. I really enjoyed applying this sense of interaction and it made the illustration feel more dynamic. I added the pool of tears at the bottom to show that the â€˜vaseâ€™ had a bottom and was resting on a flat surface and I added lines in the neck hole which graduated in lightness to show that it was hollow much like a vase.
FINAL PORTRAIT DESIGN I played around with gradient mapping for both the full self-portrait and the subsequent icon. I found that I preferred the black and white illustration so I just left it this way.
Really pleased with the outcome of my revised self portrait. Comparing it with the initial flower collages I made for COP3 it is evident to see how much I have grown at constructing compositions using digital collage as my process. I enjoyed the mechanics of this piece a lot and strengthening the interaction between the disparate components resulted in an outcome which is visually complex and eye-catching! I wrote a little poem as a second part to the self-portrait also, as I write a lot now I wanted to reflect this dual role which has informed my practice!
VALENTINES DAY ILLUSTRATION <3 (THROWAWAY BRIEF)
I designed this illustration for Valentines day in the middle of the Shadow of the Colossus brief. I was getting frustrated spending long hours on a single image so I wanted to make something quick that I could post celebrating the holiday. I’ve found collage is great for quick turnaround images (for me anyway.) I’ve always had an interest in the Preying Mantis as a creature, they’re fascinating. I remembered that the female often bites the head off of the male after mating and it piqued my interest. I took the stock free illustration from the top and manipulated it to show the female Mantis attacking the poor male. I wanted to celebrate the unforgiving nature of the animal kingdom and I also thought it was apt for me to approach an illustration for Valentine’s day in a way that reflects the way I twist and subvert things. I added colour to the collage (something which I wanted to expand on after COP3!!) Not really much of a purpose for this other than to keep up the workflow on my Instagram feed!
LAUIL603 THEATRE POSTER DESIGN BRIEF FOR CLIENT
I was commissioned by a client to design a poster which would advertise his one-man show. The brief outline was very specific and I had a clear idea of what the client wanted from the start. The deadline for the poster was Friday 20th April. Overview of brief sent by client: ‘The performance is an exploration of controversial homosexual histories and explores two figures – Joe Orton, a playwright from the 60’s who lived a really promiscuous secret life when homosexuality was still illegal – his presence in mainstream culture and his diaries stood as proof that the illegal status of homosexuality needed challenging and so was a huge part of that – the problem is that he was kind of racist and sexist and slept with underage boys too – he was also killed by his partner right at the height of his career by multiple blows of a hammer to his head (I recreate this in the performance by smashing a watermelon with a hammer) – and Gaetan Dugas who was scapegoated for spreading aids around the gay community in America in the 80’s – in life he was at the centre of an emerging cultural shift with stonewall etc and represents a pre-aids homosexual man who was really beginning to find some progress with liberation. However after aids there were multiple books published and it became common knowledge that he was the reason for aids spreading – they called him patient zero! Now it was only in 2016 where they were actually able to clear his name and prove that aids was in America more than 20 years before he was (he was a Canadian flight attendant) the role he had in the medical trials was vital in learning that it was sexually transmitted and therefore possibly saved many lives however from his grave he was plastered all over books and news- he therefore is a matyr for the gay community and helped highlight the wrong doing of politicising this disease. However he did sleep with over 400 people a year and even when doctors suggested it could be sexually transmitted he refused to stop sleeping around (although this was when he most likely believed that the disease was a political way of getting rid of the gays/ stopping them from having sex) Basically the performance is about highlighting the good and bad things about both men and liberating them from both negative political portrayals and glorifying flattering portrayals that ignore their flaws. I tell it through jazz, music and poetry.
**Design a poster (standard A3 size) intended for the advertisement of a one-man show, reflecting the content and tone of the performance.
I initially researched theatre posters to get an idea of how I would develop a composition and then I started working from the prompts that were given to me by the client. Visually the were quite rich so I wasn’t stuck for ideas. I applied an etching style, instead of just collage through Photoshop I also learnt how to use a vector brush set which replicated the traditional engraving style mark-making. This allowed me to add my own drawn elements to my collage pieces.
Client expressed interest in my collage work and so I opted for that style to design the poster. I was given opportunity to play around with metaphors but I thought that the hand closing around the peach was visually strong and that’s where I started my composition.
FURTHER NOTES FROM CLIENT: Also it’s called ‘A Sticky Season’ so we’re thinking hot summer fruit. In the piece I eat the fruits and have hallucinations and that’s where I come face to face with Joe Orton and Gaetan Dugas. So this hallucinogenic, refreshing, gay, plump peach with a sour punch at the core? Also reference to a song called strange fruit- not so important but the phrase might be helpful. Maybe the metaphor is a really lovely bright, colourful juicy peach with a rotting, bloody heart at the core?
NOTES FROM CLIENT: Fruit as a theme throughout, especially peaches (think call me by your name) and there is a moment where I squeeze a peach and let the juice drip down my arm on my face (perhaps this is a good image for you to work with?) I’m thinking just a simple peach, possibly incorporating the gay pride flag in the peaches colouring? And maybe a fist closing around it, maybe the juice is blood?)
**SLIDE I SENT TO CLENT SHOWING DEVELOPMENT I can also change the colours of the linework through gradient mapping which might make it more dynamic but I’m probs going to keep black linework and then use blocks of colour/ colour the image like the botanical illustration on first slide?? (I wasn’t sure if I should reference the two figures somehow??) I made it look as though a bite had been taken out of the peach and inside I collaged a section of a heart illustration to give that contrast that you wanted You’re wanting colour right?? I assume so if you wanted rainbow flag incorporated in colouring. I’m working on getting all the linework and stuff down first before I add colour. But this is how far I am now with the design.
I was planning on gradient mapping the blood/juice?? This essentially means applying these colours to the blood/juice which is black at the moment. The colours kind of work on two planes as a reference to rainbow flag and it’s also kind of hallucinogenic??
** Still got quite a bit to do but pretty much know how it’s going to take form now!! Please let me know your opinions/ if you want me to add/ change anything??
FINAL POSTER DESIGN
(I wish I’d had a little more time to finesse the image, I think the bite mark out of the peach could use a little bit more work and I also think that the forearm is a little under-developed. I also wish I’d had more time to experiment with type!)
I was pretty happy with the outcome I designed for this brief. I was anxious at first taking on a brief from a client as it wasn’t something which I had experience with but the whole process was surprisingly positive! I think it helped that the client was a fan of my work in the first place, had a clear vision of what they wanted and that I enjoyed the brief that was set and what I was making. I think I prefer the poster on the left but the client chose the one on the right to go ahead with. It was strange that the decision was out of my hands at that stage but that’s just how it goes. I used brush textures to paint the red border and then I used the select tool to keep the border the same width all the way around. The client was thrilled with the end product which was a huge relief. I’m not sure if I mentioned this earlier but I was anxious about working on a brief for a client as I’m very independent when it comes to my practice so I wasn’t really sure how this would pan out. I guess this goes to show that it’s all dependent on the brief and the client and I should be more confident to make work for others!
LAUIL603 VINTAGE VALENTINE PROJECT I’ve been really enamored with vintage valentine card designs recently. There’s something about them which I find completely charming but also I can’t help but recognise how odd they are! Since I like to write and my practice is often concerned with wordplay/ themes of love I thought it would be a fun side project that I could possibly sustain into the future!
“Research vintage valentine cards and gather inspiration to come up with my own interpretation, replicating the style and feel of these traditional designs!”
I came across this design featuring the scarecrow from ‘The Wizard of Oz’ and instantly fell in love. (Pun intended) It’s just so up my alley and the just the kind of illustration which I gravitate toward. I think this is because it is just so quirky and irreverent, yet it also has a slightly macabre feeling in an unintentional kind of way and also I just appreciate the caption. I immediately had an idea for a tin-man inspired design and it turns out there were already a couple vintage tin-man designs but not addressing the fact that he doesn’t have a heart??? Which is the idea I had after finding the scarecrow design. I searched for some vintage stock free illustrations that I could manipulate and settled for the one on the right.
I had a lot of fun with this brief and I really like my outcome! I think thereâ€™s a possibility for me to keep making these using different ideas (I already have a few) and they could just become an ongoing project which could occupy my free time. I wanted to pay tribute to the oddly cut-out shapes of vintage valentine designs so I made sure not to divulge into a standard rectangular shaped card format. I used a lot of different textures to build up my illustration and Iâ€™m having fun exploring different brush sets and techniques in Photoshop! When I think back to second year and even the start of third year when I had one digital brush which I used for everything itâ€™s so encouraging to see how far my skill set has improved! I sourced some weathered, stained card textures online which made the most difference in replicating that vintage aesthetic. I printed off my final design an framed it at A4 size. I was pleasantly surprised with how vibrant the colours came out!
I decided to make a variant for this design and reimagined the big heart as if it were made entirely out of wood. I think this works well with the axe being swung into it but not sure if I like it as much as the original print! I toned down the saturation a little, I think I could maybe do something with the text to make it stand out a little more as it gets a bit lost in the tree ring texture which I applied over the top!
LAUIL603 SELF-INTITIATED BREF 3: DISJUNCTIVE OBJECTS (COLLAGE) DEVELOPMENT
Initially for this brief I wanted to apply the Surrealist practice of random association to create weird and wonderful compositions of disparate elements. Further down the line I wanted to then use this method and apply it to editorial illustration with a more considered approach. I was hoping to use methods of disjunction to form intelligent visual metaphors and strengthen the conceptual side of my practice. I started by designing this composition just by sifting through stock free resources and finding elements I liked. I quite like the outcome of this illustration, not sure what its purpose is other than it would maybe work well as a print? Is it saying anything though? Does it have to?
I wanted to experiment with GIF as I thought that collage would lend itself well to the process. I only managed to make one gif but it worked pretty well. It also showed a growth from a similar design which I had done in first year.
I read an article one Halloween urban myths which circulate every year i.e. poisoned candy, killer clowns, sharp objects in trick or treat bags. I originally was thinking about doing an illustration based around apple bobbing, the image in the bottom right was my inspiration but I didnâ€™t like where the illustration was going and so I switched it. I took the Jack â€˜Oâ€™ Lantern from the bottom left and I hollowed it out, turned the smile upside down and added some sharp objects and poison into the pumpkin. I also added hands around the pumpkin as if they were grabbing for the contents. I think it works quite well as an editorial piece.
SELF INITATED BRIEF 2: POETRY From my COP3 feedback I was advised to continue exploring my own personal signature and voice, particularly in the ways I combine text/poetry and imagery. I’ve previously wrote about how writing feels natural for me at this stage and so it makes sense to focus a brief on this particular area of my practice. I’m really interested in exploring the relationship of text and image and how the interplay of both these forms can contribute toward more complex methods of communication.** I really struggled with writing and allowing myself to be branded as a writer or an author. I’m not at this stage trained methodically in poetic structure and I always felt as though it was elitist/ exclusive and not accessible for someone like me. In the wake of free-verse poetry and a revolution of Instagram poets I became more confident in my writing and the extension of my artistic mind doesn’t just end at image-making. I’ve always been conceptual in my illustration so it makes sense that writing would eventually present itself as an opportunity for me to improve my lines of communication.**
(Explore my voice through combination of text/poetry and visual. This can be under a particular theme or keep pieces fluid and curate a collection for possible exhibition/ poetry recital. Research publishers which might be interested in what I produce.)
I searched for ages looking through old anatomical engravings and finally came across an image which I thought could potentially work. I was initially looking for watermelon engravings too but then I stumbled upon a vintage advertisement for fertilizer featuring this kooky watermelon man. I hadnâ€™t considered also re-appropriating vintage ads and illustrations such as this, Iâ€™d only approached collage through black and white etchings (which is all I used for COP3) and then coloured them myself if I wanted to add colour. I changed the levels of the medical illustration on Photoshop and copied the watermelon in place of the brain. I used the healing brush to remove the arms on the watermelon man and also to clean up parts of both illustrations. I then added my own drawn lines to further the illusion that they were both a part of one image. Even at this stage of the process I was way more confident in the illustration and thought that it better represented the tone of my poem.
For my second poetry spread I decided to re-use the finches that I was drawing for my picture book brief as I had decided against going through with that. I wanted the illustration to show the birds tending to an open wound to reflect a poem that I had been working on. I found an old medical illustration online showing some kind of procedure and so I loaded it into Photoshop and went about fusing the two elements together. I like the idea with collage that I can combine found imagery to make something new but then I can also add my own stuff into it to make it more uniquely mine. I was having a mini breakdown to Pete about my practice becoming solely collage-based and not doing much drawing anymore but I think I have struck a nice balance between collage and still being able to apply my visual signature.
I really was unhappy with the hand from the original illustration as no matter how much I went in to try and improve it the quality still looked quite bad. I decided that I would have to replace the hand so I sourced a vintage hand illustration from a cigarette ad, I saw an opportunity for me to replace the packet of cigarettes with a bird as the position of the hand lent itself to me being able to superimpose something else in. I decided that neither of my bird paintings were working and so I downloaded a stock free Goldfinch and used that instead.
LAUIL603 SELF-INITATED BRIEF 2: POETRY DEVELOPMENT
Looking at these two illustrations I decided that I wanted to propose a poetry book! (I honestly never thought I would be designing another book just after designing one for COP3 but here we are.) I decided that I would aim to make 4 spreads and the covers for my proposal. I wasnâ€™t sure at this stage on a title or theme for my poetry collection so I was just aiming for it to be some sort of anthology and I was hoping that it would all work out in the end! Also I was hoping that my collage process would help to unify the illustrations and it would be a fairly straight forward process to create spreads which were clearly part of the same project! I realised that with not having a lot of time left at the university that I should probably focus on work which I was the strongest at and what I enjoyed the most!
I had to change a lot of the features to change the physicality of the character from male to female. I used the selction/rubber tools to crop the hair into a more boyish cut and reshaped the face to make it longer and more angular. I changed the eyebrows so they werenâ€™t as arched and I made the nose a little larger. I took the colour out of the cheeks and reduced the size of them. I took the saturation out of the lips and re-structure them, I also played around with the jawline to make it a little more defined I moved the hairline up and I also made the eyelashes shorter and a more natural colour! The process was quite lengthy but it was actually quite fun and I definitely prefer the male version over the female version before! Also because Iâ€™ve changed it so drastically I feel like I have more ownership over the image?? I had to paint in an ear and match it with the rest of the face applying texture from the cheek area.
I sourced a new stock free snake illustration after deciding that my two headed snake wasnâ€™t working as well as I wanted it to. I decided to stick with a one headed snake and it keep it simple. The shape of the one on the left worked perfectly when it came to giving the illusion of it slithering through the leaves and the flowers. After I had worked out the path of the snake I started to look for collage resources of other red animals such as butterflies and ladybirds. I was going to look for more animals but decided not to over crowd the image and just stick with these three.
I used the Cormorant Garamond font which I had used for the client led poster brief I completed earlier in the year. I tried a few and I liked this one the best and thought it fit the tone of my illustrations well. It took me a while to figure out the composition of the text for both the poems and the cover, I always find this stage of the book making process really dull, it usually takes me such a long time moving things around before Iâ€™m happy with a design layout, I think I need to read up a bit more and get better on this sort of thing! I decided to have the back cover as a paintbrush with red-paint streaked across. I like the idea of the back and front cover of a book having a relationship with one another, itâ€™s a fun way to summarise a body of work.
Following the completion of my designs for the proposal of my poetry book I wanted to create some mockups since I wasn’t going through with making the actual product myself as it was nowhere near a full books work of poems/illustration. I wanted to use a hardback mock-up as that’s how I see it being printed. I really like how the covers have turned out and I think it looks really strong as product. I’m hoping that this is a project which I can continue after university and hopefully get it published some day.
SELF-INITIATED BRIEF 2: POETRY: FINAL OUTCOME MOCK-UPS
I had to refrain from downloading an array of mockups and applying my outcomes to objects purely for the sake of it. Realistically I imagine that this project could only feasibly either work as a book or possibly extend into prints, so that’s all I decided to mock up. I wanted the illustrations to work as prints when I was designing them. I don’t think I’m necessarily a strong writer and a lot of the time I think the text relies on my illustration and they feed off of each other but I wanted the illustrations to function autonomously with or without the text.
SUMMATIVE EVALUATION: I started this module confused as to how I would separate my work-load from COP3 as my rationales for each module were very similar. I considered live/competition briefs in my initial action plans but it wasn’t long before I decided that I was going to focus on my own practice and self-initiated stuff. I managed to take on a client brief and also enter a competition brief – both of which were very successful. As the year progressed I realised that I had a lot of proposed and half executed projects which worked to my detriment. I wish I’d realised that I require structure and that focusing on a single brief at a time works best for me. I found myself floating between briefs and I wasn’t really making much progress. The struggle to make work which was the pinnacle of three years worth of study was quite daunting! I remember having a tutorial with Pete and he told me that I needed to focus on what was most important for me and put all my energy into that. After COP3 I swore that I wouldn’t design another book but the process of creating my new poetry book for this module happened kind of organically?? Originally I just wanted to explore the relationship in my work between text and image, maybe resulting in a few poetry spreads. After designing a couple of them I decided that they worked well together and I wanted to make a couple more and propose a debut poetry collection. From there the process of coming up with the other spreads and coming up with a title and concept to tie all the work together was such a joy and it ended up being my favourite body of work from the three years I’ve studied at the university. I’m glad that I ended up designing another poetry book because it’s clearly my passion and I see myself in the future sending my work to publishers and hoping to become an author/illustrator. I initially broke down my self-initiated briefs into three categories but my poetry brief ended up being an amalgamation of everything which makes my practice great. I was able to explore collage in a more in depth way that I did for COP3. I was able to strengthen the relationships I create between text and image and I was able to improve my design/ creative thinking skills! I definitely see strength in my spot illustrations and keeping things simple and dynamic seems to work for me. I managed to do a little bit of editorial work and although I ended up with quite a few unfinished briefs it is encouraging to know that I have many interests and ideas for me to carry on with after university. I’m really pleased with how the year has ended, at the mid-way point through the module I was really freaking but I think that I’ve ended on a really strong note and I think that I’m so self-assured of my visual style and the content of my work. I think that my practice at this stage feels very concise and focused, I wish I’d had the opportunity to propose a poetry recital and contact more practitioners and put myself out there but it’s a hard thing to do when you aren’t sure that your work is ready to be put out into the world. I feel really confident in my ability and my ideas so I’m happy to see what the future will bring!! I pretty much work completely digitally now, which I’m completely fine with. I remember in second year when I would only use 1 brush in Photoshop for everything and I’ve learnt so many different processes now that my digital skills have improved tenfold. I still feel more like an artist as opposed to an illustrator? Like I see myself shacked up in a little studio after university whilst working a day job and working on my writing and illustration. I’ve also been considering looking into publishing internships, but I’ve heard that it’s a notoriously difficult industry to get started in. (Should probably talk about this more for PP) Because a lot of my work is digital/ searching for collage elements and writing in my notebook it meant that I was lacking in development for the module. I was conscious of the fact that I had less development than those who still do the bulk of their work in sketchbooks but I didn’t think it was appropriate to share my writing process and all the notes I keep. Also I can’t exactly document all the time spent searching for collage stuff, or screenshot every change I made whilst working on all my digital stuff. but hopefully that isn’t too much of an issue. (797 WORDS)