Contents Introduction. Pg.2 Where does it fit? Pg.4 Frames? Pg.6 Working Process. Pg.8 Plan. Pg. 10 Final. Pg. 11 Inspiration. Pg.12 Brave New World. Pg.14 The Crystal World. Pg.16 Online Presence. Pg.18 Presentation. Pg.20 After Graduation... Pg.22 Information. Pg.23
Fantastic landscapes, both fictional and real have always had an immense affect on me. From a young age I’ve been bombarded with national trust gardens and annual family trips to St Ives, in Cornwall. The art I saw there as a child capturing the surrounding landscape still impresses me to this day. The fact that some of the artists I remember from my childhood are still there indulging their love of the area, inspires me to capture the surroundings I love. This passion of mine for awe inspiring landscapes eventually evolved into a love of fantasy books. Children’s novels like ‘The Mortal Engines Trilogy’ by Phillip Reeve or ‘The Edge Chronicles’ by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell captured my imagination and not only described some fantastic imaginary landscapes but also allowed you to explore the world through the narratives taking place there. My work aims to do this too, by mixing documentation of an environment with slithers of narrative.
â€œI have always been interested in a painting where the surface seems to disappear and I feel I can live inside the sceneâ€?
- JAMES GURNEY.
Where Does it fit? After considering my interests, inspiration and strengths I believe my work is most suited to illustrations for novels or concept art. When looking back over the work I completed in my first two years of university I noticed a theme, the majority of my work was extremely environment heavy, these projects were also the ones I enjoyed the most. The concept of exploring a world through my paintings is particularly appealing to me, this is why I believe my work would be ideally suited to environment based concept art, as I would be creating an image which would then be transformed into a more immersive medium such as a film or a game. Therefore the art that inspires this process would benefit from having an exploratory nature to it. From a lecture given by the visual effects company, Framestore, I have found out more about this type of work and feel encouraged that there are opportunities there for someone with my interests. The mix of traditional and digital painting they require suits me, plus the need for a variety of rendering styles, as I have never had a concrete way of working.
IMAGE FROM THE â€˜DINOTOPIAâ€™ SERIES BY JAMES GURNEY
Frames? I have developed a need to depict a place not just as a whole but also the details. This idea of building up a more conclusive experience of an environment is where I believe the use of frames in my work originates from. I find the way comic books and graphic novels use frames to depict a place and time particularly effective. Take for instance Shaun Tan’s graphic novel ‘The Arrival’ in which he often includes an establishing image but also communicates details of the scene on a more intimate level within smaller accompanying frames. For me this technique adds depth and realism to his work, as one would rarely see the world from a removed perspective alone. My approach to image making is highly influenced by this technique and I feel it could be applied to so many other formats of illustration. For example, in the case of concept art, having multiple images on a page could add depth and detail to an environment, it could even add alternative perspectives. However, I realise that when dealing with clients looking for concept art, an industry standard approach would likely be the best and most work generating option, especially as an illustrator starting out.
IMAGE FROM ‘THE ARRIVAL’ BY SHAUN TAN
When creating my self directed work I often paint the frames and then build an image around that starting point. Frequently the image continues from one frame to the next, both within the confines of the frames and pushing outside of them. This is normally to give certain parts of the image precedence and to create a sense of depth. For a time I questioned whether this technique had any purpose due to the fact that I merely continued the image over from one frame to the next, but after some encouragement, I soon came to realise that this technique could be used as a way of manipulating where the eye is drawn to. Since figuring this out I have tried to use this technique to that effect.
“Rather than acting like a bridge between seperate moments, the reader must assemble a single moment using scatterered fragments” 7 - ‘UNDERSTANDING COMICS’ BY SCOTT MCCLOUD
Working Process. I work surrounded by my desktop and laptop which will normally have a selection of reference images on them from which I paint. These photos are either what I have collected specifically for my project at the time or taken over the years. I think it is very important to be obtaining my own reference material, firstly because of obvious copyright issues and secondly because it enables me to have that extra bit of control over my work and consequently gets me closer to the image in my head. Every year I invest in a national trust membership so I can continue collecting this usefull reference material. Often the photos I collect from these places help to build up the landscapes I depict in my work. These photos I organise on my computer and then refer to them for specific projects as I need them. I also use my blog as a hub for this research and for interesting snippets of information I find on the internet. In addition, I find my blog is the perfect place to reflect on the progress of my project and put down my thoughts so I’m actively being critical of my work. Above and to the right: Digital Painting of my workspace. Below: Screenshots of my Tumblr Page. Left: An example of me utilisating reference photos taken at Kew Gardens, 2012, for my project on ‘The Crystal World’
Over the course of the last two projects I have found sketching out my ideas digitally very useful. The advantages of doing this digitally as opposed to on tracing paper (which i have tried in previous years) is that i can cut apart and re-size the sketches in order to test compositions. This is much quicker than drawing the entire plan out again. Colour is also easily layered behind the line work, and i can remove and adjust it quickly and easily.
Final... This image was for my final major project and is rendered in gouache and then finished digitally. I usually paint in acrylic but needing the pieces to be edited digitally afterwards i had to prevent the shine that acrylic paint has when scanned. I heard that gouache had a matt finish and decided to give it a try, I was glad I did as aswell as eliminating the shine I also got a better control of colour and light.
Inspiration. My work is inspired by a myriad of different practitioners; fine artists, illustrators, concept artists, but to name a few favourites: William Kentridge, Shaun Tan, Dave Kckean and James Gurney. James Gurney’s beautiful oil paintings which illustrate his picture book ‘Dinotopia – Journey to Chandara’ particularly catch my interest. I find their marriage of reality and fantasy intriguing and love how the book feels like a documentation of real events as opposed to a work of fiction. Shaun Tan also uses this approach as he often uses real life events as reference for the narratives that take place in his books.
“Imaginary worlds should never be ‘pure fantasy’, and without a concrete ring of truth, they can easily cripple the reader’s suspended disbelief, or simply confuse them too much. I’m always interested in striking the right balance between everyday objects, animals and people, and their much more fanciful alternatives”
- SHAUN TAN, COMMENTARY ON ‘THE ARRIVAL’.
When I have more than a minute to spare I spend my time playing games like ‘Trine’ by Frozenbyte or ‘The Witcher’ by Projekt RED. What these two games have in common is that they both communicate fantastic worlds. There is something about controlling a character as they move through a scene that fascinates me. I often find myself taking screen shots at exceptionally beautiful moments like I would with a camera in real life. Seeing these worlds and knowing that an art team somewhere created it inspires me to be involved in the same thing.
From Left to Right: William Kentridge,’Trine’, James Gurney, David Wyatt, ‘Mirrormask’, Concept art from ‘The Witcher’, Alphonse Mucha, Shaun Tan, Wenzel Hablik, Colin Stimpson, John Constable.
Brave New World. This year I decided to enter the Folio Society and House of Illustration Competition to Illustrate the Aldous Huxley novel ‘Brave New World’. I enjoy working from set briefs but the novel also appealed to my love of sci-fi and fantasy. I took the brief and decided to give my illustrations an emphasis on the environments described in the book, as this is what I’d been more successful at rendering in the past. I feel like this project was the turning point in my final year, perhaps even in my degree as I finally felt able to identify exactly what I enjoyed making and where my work could sit within the creative industries. This identification that I enjoyed working directly from a text with environment as a subject matter later inspired my choice of final major project on J.G. Ballard’s ‘The Crystal World’.
The Crystal World. Previously I mentioned the project I completed on Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World which ultimately inspired my choice of J.G. Ballard’s novel ‘The Crystal World’ as a subject for my Final Major project. For this project I set out to make work which explored the text and especially the environments described within, however I was not sure what form this would take. Since beginning the project it has become clear to me that the structure of knowing what I was aiming to create benefited me greatly so I eventually decided that images to accompany text was the best course of action. Once again I used my method of sourcing reference from my collection of stock images, in particular a visit to Kew Garden’s ‘Tropical Extravaganza’ show and a past trip to the new forest. The collection of crystals and minerals at The Natural History Museum was also a useful resource.
“As he rested against the trunk of a bifurcated oak, An immense multicoloured bird erupted from a bough over his head...aureoles of light cascading from its red and yellow wings” - J.G. BALLARD - THE CRYSTAL WORLD
Online Presence. An online presence in addition to my physical portfolio (A3 Black Prat Pampa) to present to employers is essential, therefore I have created my own website and a number of accounts on social networking sites, in addition to the blogs I have been using through the course of my degree. These sites also allow me to recieve useful feedback on my work as well as being vital for networking. 1 -Twitter (1) -Website (2) -Facebook (3) -Tumblr and Blogspot (4) -Linked in (5)
I have tried to give all my sites a fairly conistent but not identical look. For example I re-used the header from my website on my blog, and a detail of it for my twitter account. The Facebook page also uses the text from the header while using a different image as a backdrop. This still encourages it to be recogniseable as related to my other sites but not repetative. My Blogspot works slightly differently to my tumblr, in the respect that it shows the posts as a portfolio website would instead of in the normal blog format. This lets me look at a lot of my work over a long period of time, and consequently allows me to notice trends and developments in my work. 4
Presentation. Presentation has been a distinguishing concern this academic year, preparing a portfolio and getting work ready to be displayed in an exhibition are obviously skills that are of paramount importance this year, what with graduate shows approaching and the need for a portfolio to show employers. Accordingly I feel like I have spent a great deal of time considering this, especially when preparing a portfolio to apply to the Princes Drawing Trust, MA Course. Unfortunately this application was not successful but I feel I have learnt a lot from the process of preparing a portfolio and can use what iâ€™ve learnt to better my chances if i decide to apply again. The portfolio I invested in for this application was an A3 portrait Pratt Pampa portfolio which i chose because of itâ€™s sleek book like appearance (Pictured to the right). One of my first things to address when deciding this was whether to buy a portrait or landscape portfolio. As much of my work is landscape I initially thought it might be best to buy a portfolio that echoes this, but considering that many of my recent finals are portrait and deciding that landscape pieces looked better on portrait than visa versa I ultimately decided on a portrait orientation. I also needed to encase 3 sketchbooks for this application so I bought an A3 Plax Maxi carry case (Pictured to the right), so the whole application (portfolio and sketchbooks) was safely stored and presented together. BELOW: EXAMPLES OF PAGES FROM MY DRAWING YEAR APPLICATION PORTFOLIO
Considering I have figured all this out, creating my final portfolio for when I graduate is a simple matter of replacing the images to suit the purpose, for example: for the Drawing Year application I only put work in that specifically had drawing elements, as was requested. This new portfolio will be a more general overview of my favourite projects in order of making, with the newest work first. Presenting my work for display at the graduation shows I believe will be a matter of trial and error, and experimenting with what works with the finished pieces. There are a number of options from framing to bulldog clips to suspending pieces on wire. I am aware of the possibilities and the dangers of presentation from first and second year mistakes and also from a lecture on presentation that I attended this year. Hopefully this knowledge will equip me to be able to present my work well at the final year exhibitions. The AUB Illustration Silent Auction was a great chance to observe and learn what presentation styles were particularly successful. It was also brilliant to see a large collection of my peers work and to see what other people thought of my own.
IMAGE FROM AUB ILLUSTRATION SILENT AUCTION
After Graduation... I am aware of how competitive the industry is in both of the areas in which I think my work might be applicable, I also feel like I have a lot more to learn before Iâ€™m ready to start applying for jobs in art teams. Consequently, to get in the position where I feel like I have the appropriate skills, I intend to spend time learning through short courses and teaching myself in order to build up an appropriate portfolio for both my illustration and my concept art. I will specifically use instruction books by James Gurney, as recommended by Framestore and online tutorials by Feng Zhu, renowned concept artist. I also intend to apply for runner and internship positions at Framestore, Double Negetive and other VFX companies. However, I expect this will be difficult as even those positions are coveted, for the reason that they are seen as a gateway into to art team related jobs. Therefore, in the event that I am not successful I intend to live and work from home and support myself with a part time job, while learning as much as I can in order to make myself more attractive to employers.
Waitressing for various events in the Salisbury Area.
2011 – Exhibited at ‘Bespoke’ exhibition at Café Boscanova, Boscombe, Dorset 2012 – Exhibited at’ Unravel’ exhibition, Moontree Gallery, Boscombe, Dorset 2013 – Exhibited at ‘Silent Auction’ AUB Arts Bar, Poole, Dorset.
Waitress at Pizza Hut (2011-Present) Although it isn’t within the creative industries I maintain that I have learned some very valuable and easily transferable skills from my time waitressing. For example: -Commuinication and people skills. -Working well under pressure. -Efficient and fast working. -Dealing with customers Sale Table at Boscombe Gardens and Boscombe Pier with fellow illustration students. (2011) Skills: -Photoshop -Indesign -Corel Painter -Illustrator -Premier -After Effects -GNU Image Manipulation Program -InkScape
Education: The Arts University Bournemouth BA (Hons) Illustration (2010-2013) The Arts University Bournemouth Foundation Diploma in Art and Design (2009-2010) Peter Symonds College, Winchester. Fine Art Classical Civilisation English Literature Media Studies (2007-2009) Website: www.leannecoleman.com
â€œRather than feeling oppressed by all the great art out there, I'm glad now to think that there is a long line, a long tradition, in British illustration, and that I am a minnow in that river and happy to swim along.â€? -DAVID WYATT
By Leanne Coleman
An overview of my work and how i go about making it.