Briony Ebdon Year One Self-Directed Project
Context Moving from one city to another has allowed me to meet new circles of people, with different interests and strange habits. I am fascinated by the quirks of people, and the things they may do everyday that makes them who they are. I like the idea of wellbeing being that people will do certain things to be happy in their lives, rather than the typical and assumed ideas of exercise and having balanced diets. Highlighting these things in people and looking at them as a whole doesnâ€™t alienate the person, but perhaps celebrates them as an individual.
Brief I want to create some illustrations that celebrate the strange things people may do on a daily basis to make themselves happy. I want the illustrations to push my drawing ability, and I will make this my main focus for the whole duration of the project.
Zine Fair I went to a zine fair in Sheffield, as this was one of my ideas that I brainstormed. I purchased a few styles of zine that inspired me in some way, whether it was the layout, drawing style or content. I think that a zine would work well, as some of the ideas put forward by people are quite colloquial and amusing, so the informal style of a zine could work well. I also like the idea of grouping all the illustrations together. It is also cheap to make!
Timetable March . Look into different styles of zine (folding etc) . Ask people ‘What strange things do you do to keep happy?’, and quickly illustrate . Develop drawings with different medias . Research artists who are doing something similar April . Think about the zine’s structure - do I want a character throughout? . Continuing drawing and create more ‘final’ looking illustrations . Make mock up zines . Test out different colours, typography, layouts May . Settle on some final designs . Decide on how many zines I want to print . Get the zine printed and bound/folded properly
I have looked at how most zines are made in the most efficient and cheapest way possible. I think these are the best options for me as I donâ€™t have a lot of money to spend on producing these, and they would be quick to make if I made multiple.
Initial ideas I firstly asked people what makes them happy. This was so I could start drawing and develop a style that I may want continued throughout the book. I asked people via Facebook and Twitter, and also in person. Some of the following ideas were put forward: . Riding your bike in the summer . Drinking cold water after a night out . Knitting your own scalf . Cooking for friends . Finding decent vegan sweets . Listening to The Pixies on vinyl . Writing letters instead of emails . Drinking beer in a bubblebath . Listening to accents . Late night pizza . Buying â€˜fancy candlesâ€™ with weird aromas . Finding a bargain in Primark
Quick illustrations from responses...
Character Development Ideas I like the idea of creating a character which can be a vehicle for the ideas behind the illustrations. I have come up with the idea of a cat (continued in a collaged style) who looks quite stubborn, which adds humour. I will try out the cat character in different situations to see how effective it is, and I will show these in my crit for feedback.
Influences... To go with my idea of creating an amusing character, I have looked at the artwork of Ashley Percival. She illustrates animals doing human-like activities or wearing clothing. I like how she has used paint and pen to create different textures, and how her illustrations can build up a character description of the animal. This would work well in my own work because I will be trying to illustrate human-like actions.
Further Character Development As my main goal for the project is to improve my drawing skills, I want to try create some characters which are drawn by hand instead of collaged. I have had the idea of drawing different people and having a small character profile beneath them, including their personal way to make themselves happy. My only worry with this idea is that the way I draw people may not fit with my brief, as my style is quite dark and eerie. I have taken inspiration from the film Amelie, as they show small character profiles by describing their likes and dislikes. This can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mmllotLUU38
Here are a couple of examples of my characters. I think that the dark style could work depending on who I was targetting my zine at. Zine readers tend to be over the age of 16, so it could work. I enjoy working in this style more than collages, as I can work on my drawing skills. I need to remember that this was my main goal for the project.
Crit Feedback The cat collages had positive feedback, as the group found them to be amusing and that they implied the message well. They weren’t too keen on the character description style drawings, as they felt they were too ‘dark’ to convey messages of happiness. I was also told in my crit to push myself out of my comfort zone, which has made me think a lot about my project overall. I want to stick to my main goal of this project, and that is to improve my drawing style. I feel that looking at what makes everyone else happy within this project has made me lose touch with what actually makes me happy! I feel that the cat collages are too ‘cute’ and childlike, which is fine, but it isn’t my true style. The project that I have started has helped me to identify the type of illustrator I would like to be, and I am most happy drawing things with more detail, despite the feedback I had from my work in the group crit. I am going to consider other routes I could take within my project.
Changing My Brief I am changing my brief to something new which will involve my own personal interests, which will also link to the idea of making people happy. This is a massive risk, as we have already had a lot of the given time to complete the whole project. For my project to be successful, I will have to manage my time to the best of my ability, and stay positive about my new idea. I have decided to look at wildlife and animal conservation. This is something I am passionate about, and that will benefit others if supported. I would enjoy discovering and gaining knowledge about local nature and issues surrounding this. I think it is important to look at local nature, as this will help to engage others, and allow them to reflect on their own knowledge of the subject.
Ammended Context I sometimes feel overwhelmed in large cities because of the lack of greenery and fresh air, and I believe that we should look after the local nature we have left. The Yorkshire Dales is an excellent example of some untouched wildlife that exists in England, and this should be celebrated. There are still dozens of endangered animals and plants that grow there, and being aware of this, I believe, is something people shouldnâ€™t ignore. Ammended Brief I will create a series of emotive illustrations that capture elements of the Yorkshire Dales. These images will include different animals and species that exist in the Dales, and they will be illustrated in a delicate way.
I have made a small mindmap to come up with some clear ideas for my new project. I have tried to make it simple so that I can keep the project running quickly and smoothly.
Ammended Timetable April . Research different styles of mark making . Look at artists who are doing something similar . Research wildlife in the Yorkshire Dales and draw from findings May . Create 3 final designs . Look into different ways they could be presented e.g. screen prints, within a book... . Print final outcome
Inspiration My drawing style is inspired by dot work, mainly in tattoo artwork and mandalas. I like the buildup of small marks to create a detailed and large image. I think that this will work well with the delicate and detailed style I am going for with my illustrations. I will try out this technique on some animals and plants which can be found in the Yorkshire Dales.
Dot work within tattoo art is one of my main interests and inspirations. The gradual buildup of dotted ink is really something I admire, as it is time consuming but the results are beautiful.
Drawing Practice and Ideas I have began my research into the Yorkshire Dales by using their official website (http://www.yorkshiredales. org.uk) for drawing reference. It would be a brilliant opportunity if I could visit any nature reserves, however it is expensive to travel and there is not a lot of free time for this. I have done some smaller sketches to practice different styles of mark making. Whilst doing this, I will think of a final outcome for the project. I have also began gathering some facts which could influence or change the style and composition of my drawings. For example: . The Yorkshire Dales is one of the few places nationally that has Flower-rich hay meadows. . There are rare limestone habitats . It is a home to a large number of different species, which are scarce in other areas of the world
I have made a title reading ‘A Look Into the Yorkshire Dales’, created from plants and insects found in the area. This would work well if I was creating a book or a zine, but I feel as though I want to steer away from this idea, as I want to keep the project different from my previous option. I like the idea of larger illustrations, but I will continuing drawing to collect my thoughts.
‘A Look Into the Yorkshire Dales’ - Possible project title/book cover/print
Fly agaric Peacock butterfly
Green-veined white butterfly
Sulphur tuft Ringlet butterfly
Meadow cranesbill Rock rose Wild garlic Buckthorn
Ideas for the Final I think that it would be interesting to look at the decaying side of the Yorkshire Dales, and focus on the animals and plants that are endangered e.g. the red squirrel. I think that this will fit my brief well, as the illustrations will be emotive and will have a deeper meaning than just decorative floral illustrations. I would like the images to be quite large so I can include plenty of detail, so I will be working at A3 size.
Shot pheasant with meadow cranesbill
Red stag skull with ferns, dogs mercury, fox gloves, ringlet butterfly and sulphur tuft mushrooms
Dying red squirrel with peacock butterfly cucoons, buckthorn and rock roses
Screen Printing I think that my designs would work well as screen prints because I can make multiple copies, and also mix up inks to create a desired tone. I don’t want just a flat colour for my prints - I think a warm tint would work well as it wouldn’t be as harsh on the detailed drawings. It is also more of a natural tone. As I will be only using one colour of ink, it will be cheaper to produce and a quick process. This will work in my favour as I don’t have much time left! I will look at paper and pick a suitable surface to print on. I would quite like to use a paper that has some texture to it because it will work nicely with the natural subject matter. My concern with this is that it may be difficult to screen print on, or some of the fine detail may be lost. I had considered creating my own paper, however after my crit I had learnt that the surface would be far too rough for a clear print. It will be interesting to see how other textured paper looks when printed on.
I have used heavy printing card for this screen print. This has created a detailed print, that shows all the marks from the original drawing. I will consider this for my final prints.
The paper I have used for this print was textured Somerset white card. I liked this paper originally, but it looked too white against the ink I had made. I also had to screen print it three times to get a clear print, and it ended up looking too blurred.
I tried out newsprint but it was far too thin. It creases easily, however the print was clear and detailed.
I have printed this design on the Somerset white paper again, and this particular design worked out better. I think this is because it had less black sections, however I still preferred the heavy printing cardâ€™s finish.
I have decided to use the smoother heavy printing card for my final designs. This is because it isnâ€™t too glossy, but gives my prints a clear and detailed finish.
Evaluation I have learnt a lot from this experience, even though I didn’t continue with one sturdy idea throughout. I feel like it has made me recognise my own personal illustrative style. I was easily influenced by other artists, and found it hard sometimes to take inspiration without wanting to create something similar to other successes. I have learnt how to be inspired properly, and to push my own ideas from these starting points. This has helped to develop my drawing skills, and I believe that I have improved. My main goal was to get better at drawing. I was glad that I recognised that my original project idea wasn’t helping me reach this goal, or really pushing me as an illustrator. I understand that my project may not be as detailed in it’s entirety, as I didn’t spend the full amount of time on it as other students did. Despite this, I think that I am just as happy as I would be if I had done this project from the very start. I have learnt that if I want to be a successful illustrator, I have to be passionate and have a connection with my work. Although the other students liked my first project idea, I would not have been proud to exhibit the outcome, because it wouldn’t reflect who I am or my personal style. I want to communicate messages within my artwork, but it is important to reflect who I am too. I have enjoyed pushing my drawing skills and learning new mark making techniques. I was also happy to do some more screen prints, as this is something I would like to pursue more in the future. I have learnt about mixing inks, choosing the correct papers, and also a lot about local nature and the new county that I live in. I will continue to be inspired by nature, mark making and tattoo artwork, and use that to create new and strong illustrations.