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Final Major Project Lost in a Rhyme

Holley Wilkes Student Number 0604068

FMP Proposal My Final Major Project has not differed greatly from my original proposal, my subject and format were made clear to me from Independent Practise where I created a ‘Ten Green Bottles Book’( http://issuu. com/humptydumpty/docs/bottlebook ) and the right image a Dolls House Project from my previous Foundation Year. The most recognizable style of work I could produce came from my unique mixture of illustration and 3D pieces. During Independent Practise I also discovered a format which suited my work, this embodied an A5 book. The small publication fitted the tone of voice which would be a whisper of a story being told, it also mimics my small and delicate work and gives it a personal level as it has to be held close to the body. As well as my illustration I wanted to combine this with my ideas, to give my work context and a secondary meaning to for fill the role of an interesting publication.

Chosen Subject Nursery rhymes and fairy tales is something which has always intrigued me. The characters, moral teachings and stories which unfold. My previous dolls house project (as can be seen on the right) took well know Disney stories and showed them in their true light, their original morbid stories are depicted in this dolls house. This is what I wished to recreate with well known English nursery rhymes in My Final Major Project.

First attempt I created these images as soon as the FMP started, as I enjoy the creation and combination of illustration I was so enthusiastic about starting in this style that I had not considered the context of my work. It was useful for building my confidence again in a style and technique which I had up until now put to one side. When I now compare these to my final images I can see how far my illustrations have come and how they retained a certain style, which I consider key to my illustrations being recognizable and successful. The rhyme I considered for these images was ‘Hey Diddle Diddle’ however I took a step back from this as I had not yet found a context for my work and creating images was not useful when considering the idea and meaning to my work and I felt deeper research was needed.

Sketch book As the time scale for this project was considerably longer I found it useful to referred to my sketchbook when ever I found myself losing interest and concentration which would result in a lack of ideas. When looking for inspiration I merely concentrated on my work and looked inwards. However after a mental block as to which direction I should go with the message to my publications leading me to look outwards, towards the book ‘How to be an explorer of the world’ by Keri Smith. The double page spreads of my sketch book are the ideas which exploded from reading the book and gave my project and enthusiasm towards it a new liece of life. Sketchbook Part one: finalskechbook1as Part Two: humptydumpty/docs/finalskechbook2rrr

Areas of realization After looking through the scanned images of my sketchbook I realized there were six main areas in which I struggled with and had to resort to my sketch book for help. These included research, realization of my audience, feedback from crits, to do lists, critical reflection and evaluation on current work. I find it useful to now take the next few pages just to analyze these and explain how each of these areas helped me in making critical calculated judgements on my work.

Research My research included studying nursery rhymes using web sites such as uk and It is through my research I discovered the origins of the nursery rhymes and their historical history. My interest in this grew as my work developed I considered the two sided story the innocent rhymes and the gory historical stories behind them. So my research in this respect really shaped my project. I was intrigued by the double sided story and went on to considering censorship, war letters and hidden messaging. My research also included looking at various rhyme and story books considering and making note of layout, pagination and the relationship between message and meaning. Which would later encourage me to leave breathing space in my final publications and consider the noise and tone of voice in design.

Audience I do not intend to consider a select audience for my publications as it is completely personal preference. The books consider English history truths in well known children’s nursery rhymes. Therefore my audience will be taken back to their childhood or placed in thought about time spent with their children. Therefore this project will make contact on a personal level with people who have heard these nursery rhymes and believed them to have no deeper level. I considered my audience’s common interests with my work, including what genera of films and books considering how these artists with similar techniques have made their way into the industry with their unique style. These include Polly Becker, Lauren Child and Tim Burton some of the artist which I looked at. I am disappointed to say I did not take any influence from them, I merely find it extremely comforting that they have made a success in the industry and I can find similarities in their work with my own. To further my interest in this I have contacted clients they have worked with to ask why their work was right for their product or purpose, to understand further where I would place my self and who I would pitch my work to.

Crits and feedback Feedback was a massive help in my FMP because I was so focused the only time I would step back and look at my work would be in the feedback sessions. I aimed to have a different prototype for each tutorial to experiment with every idea I felt inclined to try for my publication. This enabled me to sift through ideas week by week and made quick and very to the point decision about my work. For example it was in these crits where I realized my censored idea was not working and not giving the results I wanted, this was realized and discontinued.

To Do Lists My work was very much trial and error, I worked with some pure accidents which I had created. Therefore a timetable would have been very vague and would have changed every week. Therefore weekly, some times daily and after crits with tutors and students feedback I would make to do lists. I found these the most useful as they were direct and to the point and I would give my self time limits in which to complete the list which enabled me to manage my time very well.

Critical Reflection My critical reflection was key to not wasting time and cutting out any ideas which weren’t working. This happened mostly in crits as fresh eyes from tutors and student helped me to see flaws in my work which otherwise I would not have noticed, as I had been so focused on my work. As I discuss in my book of prototypes the technique of using acetate was cut out of my work from critical reflections like this. Through this critical reflection it also enabled me to create specific to do lists which were to the point and always moving forward in my work. PROTOTYPE BOOK

Evaluation Of current work In my regular evaluation I wanted to look in depth into the current work I was creating, I would do this every time I chose a new material or type in order to see quickly and clearly whether it was benefitting my work. As you can see on the double page spread of my sketchbook I also considered the noise and pace of my book. The louder pages are spread evenly and built up to by quiet pages. I also found it useful to take print outs of my work and comment around the pages. My Prototype Book ( protypes_book ) really helped in this technique of evaluation. I found it useful to take the positives to my next prototype and leave the negative ones as a mistake which I had learnt from creation and feedback of my work.

Work sheets I would like to point out that I found the work sheets given out really helpful, as I studied the questions and asked them and almost interrogated myself on my work. I found them to the point and I considered them thoroughly, as this was the direction I needed to head as it was true to the assessment criteria.

Typography Typography I would consider to be my nemesis in design. I knew for this project to give my illustration style meaning and message I would need to consider the relationship between my image and type. This is a small selection of the typography and size which I used. It is so varied because I felt I was so lost during this project when considering my type. However I feel a great sense of achievement when looking through my final publications as I think my type holds the correct tone of voice as well as my method of censoring the meaning.

Edwardian Script 30pt Times 12pt

AMERICAN TYPEWRITER 14PT American Typewriter 14pt

Eccentric 30pt Birch 24pt

Two Turtle Doves 18pt Century Gothic 12pt

Kids First Print 20pt

Line drawings Humpty Dumpty is the first scene I intended to make in full and to test a publication. I thought about the relationship between the origins and the nursery rhyme. As my take on the factual findings of the origins I created these simple line drawings as it was only fact I wanted to relay to the audience. This seemed suitable as it was too the point, no decoration, or trying to be something of fiction. These drawings were left behind however as the relationship with my 3D illustrations was hard to cater for all in one small publication as I wanted my books to be simplistic and a sense of unity between the pages.

Behind the scenes: Humpty Dumpty In this portfolio I intend to show how the illustrations in my final publications were created from relatively simple scenes and through Photoshop and careful camera angles a clean finished image can be created. The images on the right of Humpty Dumpty the effects of Photoshop can be seen. The image has been cleaned up and an orange photo filter placed over the top. However after I revisited these images I found the fresh and untouched images were much more interesting than the edited ones.

Behind the scenes: Humpty Dumpty I wished to show these images on the right to portray the atmosphere in which I wanted to capture in my images. The photographs were very much trial by error and I would take around a hundred to get one scene correct, as a sentence from the rhyme would need to be depicted correctly in the photograph. The smashing of the egg was the most enjoyable and the most effective part of my illustration as the character instantly became so real, touchable and something which the audience in my weird illustrations could relate to.

Behind the scenes: Mary Mary I started creating ‘Mary Mary quite contrary’s’ garden my second nursery rhyme of choice a few days before a crit. As I always aimed to show something new every session to gain fresh feedback and ideas. This simple character I felt was not working as the mixture between the very 2D and 3D materials felt awkward. The garden is made from various foods such as lentils and peas which I felt was working and I kept the relationship between materials in mind when creating my next character.

Pretty maids all in a row I would like to highlight the ‘pretty maids all in a row’ was the hardest image to create as the angle had to portray a row, as the lyrics entailed. Some of the darker images I also created without using the flash as I find this gives a lot of atmosphere to the image. Finding the perfect image often resulted in a re-shoot as I could not find the exact image which represented the lyrics in the rhyme. Something else which I struggled with was the scenes were static and the lyrics implying movement of a different scene in each sentence, I overcame this by different angles and close ups.

Behind the scenes: Hush-a-by-baby The next nursery rhyme which I created was hush-a-by-baby, the only one in which I photographed each stage. I think it’s an effective way of documentation, however I don’t enjoy showing it as I think it takes away from the imagination of the final image, when I create I want to leave the audience guessing how the scene is made and what it is made from. This however lays it all bare and I think takes away from the final outcome and the confusion when viewed.

Behind the scenes: Hush-a-by-baby Atmosphere in my scenes is something I considered every time I took a photograph. The lighting in these images was actually a mistake the dark lines created by the flash. However I took a second look at these and saw they mimicked the feeling of laying under dappled moon light or sunlight. Therefore I ended up keeping these images and using them in my final piece. The images felt personal as if leaning in the crib to find a baby sleeping in the moonlight.

Falling These are just some of the images in which I tried to catch movement. The cradle fell in the rhyme as did Humpty Dumpty so the same technique was used. I attached string to the cradle and let it fall naturally sometime successfully catching the movement in mid fall and sometimes not. This was extremely difficult and took many attempts. I think the final images are successful and the feeling the audience get when turning the page and capturing the character mid-fall is very successful.

Shopping List As I used food and other materials in my work I would now like to point out where and what in this ‘shopping list’ of items. I find this is one of the main reasons why my work looks unique, I can look at any item and bend the known and taught rules of that item and re create it for my own use in my work. The textures and the fact I can mold them easily is why I use food in my work because of its practicality.



broken egg





vanilla pods

tin foil



cinnamon sticks

coca powder icecream cone herbal tea bags

Sickly sweet My illustration style has a strong macabre and uneasy feel to them, there is nothing pleasant or stereotypical fairy tale like about them. It was discussed in a crit how my subject and purpose is to portray the contrast between the light and rose tinted rhyme and the horrific historical stories. Therefore I created these sickly sweet images, however I discarded them as the images looked fake and the original color brought an interesting finish. I also saw it as a waste of my design as all my colors I used had been selected specifically which I would have lost.

Materials I struggled with the material on which to print my books, after realizing I could not use different paper on the university printers I found my self making the books my self. However I was not satisfied with my book binding skills and the quality of the paper. Therefore I visited a small printing company and chose glossy thicker paper which gave my books a much more professional finish. I am happy with the quality however I would have preferred a harder cover however the weight of the paper is acceptable for the small publication.

Final Publications Overall I am very proud of my three final publications and have enjoyed and kept my enthusiasm throughout this Final Major Project. I chose three publications because I was not sure of how long it would take to perfect the typography, layout, format and overall message I knew I would need to spend the majority of my time on this. The troubles I encounter and found the hardest to overcome was the relationship between the nursery rhyme and the original historical meaning. I think the children’s hand writing and the historical meaning works really well the mixture of the two do not fight for attention and it easy to tune into either and read both. I think the images have worked really well, the unique style and the quality of the photographs compliment the experimental type. Problems I really encountered are all shown and evident in the amount of prototypes which I created. Typography I consider to be my nemesis, this was something I was so nervous to take into this project. However I knew to create meaning, context, message and substance I needed to consider my typography as well as illustration style to create meaning. The three publications I have created with the Title ‘Lost in a Rhyme’ and the subtitles ‘The Heir of King James II’ ( ), The Reign of Queen Mary’ ( ) and ‘The siege of Colchester’ ( ).

Evaluation I would like to assess my own work on a personal level, my project has been specifically based around my use and love of materials and illustration combined with my interest in ideas and context for my work. My aim was to create a small range of publications which would intrigue and interest my audience. I also believed there to be an aspect of reeducation in these books which give direct and clear information. I would consider a Graphic designer to have an extensive knowledge and understanding of how image and type and their relationship in design. To achieve I wished to relay my subject’s message and meaning to the audience to achieve this goal. During this project I have struggled with type, layout, format, image, photography and materials all aspects. However through my enthusiasm and constant preservation I battled with my lack of skills in typography, which I think I have achieve a high standard of in my publications. It is definitely clear to me from this project that my enthusiasm and use of materials and idea are my strongest factors to myself and my work and I aim to promote my self in the industry through these skills.

The End of the beginning Holley Wilkes


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