Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Project 1: Explorers! Research: Page Format

More development than research really - I had a quick look at a couple of picture book makers that I know had used landscape images as key parts of their narrative, to get an idea for what kind of size I wanted to work on for my landscape images.Bearing in mind I was considering using the images as individual prints or within a book format.

Grandad's Island - Benji Davies (2015)

Print area of a single page shown on A3

W:27.9  H:24.7 CM

I found these dimensions the most attractive for a single page, simply because it is the widest of the three examples. It is also the only example that I own/could get in hand and just looks like a good shape for a landscape print. Probably the best of the bunch if I were to look at single-page images.

 Print area of a spread shown on A2

Doubled up to a full page spread the image area just about squeezes onto an A2 sheet. If I were to decide to print on A3 instead, I think it might feel like the image size would suffer a bit. Simply because there's a lot of height space that isn't being utilised. I'm not sure if an image would seem uncomfortable or look good on a wall if it was so squeezed either.

Shh! We Have a Plan - Chris Haughton (2014)

Print area of a single page shown on A3

W:24.9 H: 25.9 CM
Print area of a spread shown on A2

Less width than the previous spread dimensions and with more height than the other two options makes for a good choice for a double page spread. Thinking about the images potential to be printed as a book; the just-about-portrait format of the single page is probably a plus when considering a cover too. 

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild - Peter Brown (2014)

Print area of a single page shown on A3

W: 25.4  H: 25.4 CM

Print area of a spread shown on A2

There's something appealing about a square book. I think I have a soft spot for symmetry. I've  worked with a square format for landscape images in first year; check out my responses to a workshop with Rob G Fresson. As well as earlier this year with a piece for Taripulan Illustrator's Contest, so I'm not against it! The spread looks just as good as the format prior. too. I just have a feeling that little bit of extra height will come in handy somewhere. I can always crop stuff later on if I change my mind too.    

I'll be using the dimensions taken from Chrish Haughton's 'Shh! We Have a Plan.' As they seem most appropriate in both single a double page formats, bearing in mind the potential use of the image as an A size print and booklet/zine/book concept. This wasn't intended to be some intense study of the sizes, just trying to inform my work by looking at book sizes that are actually in print at the moment and using those to decide on a template, rather than comign up with some random dimensions or trying to fill an A3 sheet.  

Friday, 20 November 2015

BAIL301: Part 1: Formative Assessment: Responding to Comments

The first half of the term this year wasn't my best. Though I engaged with all 6 workshops in Stage 1 of this module; I struggled with a slow work pace and became a bit overwhelmed with the idea of all the work that there was to do, leaving me with two finished outcomes and one work in progress.

I've learned from those difficult first few weeks, though. And I've created a daily plan to help me deal with the workload of BAIL304 and the three self-initiated projects of BAIL301 Part 2.

We recently had a group crit in which we discussed out stage 1 outcomes, below is the feedback for my work and what I plan to do with it. 

Painted Texture Collage Workshop with Caroline Pedler:

This image was quite well developed through feedback with peers and tutors by the time our 'deadline' came around. Recommended amendments were limited; with a suggestion of removing the heavy texture from the oar, providing more contrast against the boat by opting for a light, block brown and playing with the oars general shape, scaling it a bit better to the other elements. 
  We agreed the image was a really effective use of the techniques introduced in the workshop and that collage should be a method of image making that I utilise more often. I plan on making amendments to this image so that I can sell it as an art print.  

This image is the second half of the image above. The two images were split so that they could  fit better within a portfolio. 

  Moving beyond the boundaries of the workshop task;selecting two animals, one lucky and another unlucky, and having them interact with each other; I decided to create a narrative image based around rhyming. 
  So the goats were put in a boat, whilst the dog sat on a log accompanied by a frog. The dog was based on my own pet, Russett, whose litter were named after apple varieties before we owned him. I decided his little froggy friend could be called Granny Smith; hence the grey bun and funky purple cardigan. 
  Although the characters were considered fun, we decided the composition of this half of the image was less effective than the former. Looking straight on from behind gave a clunky silhouette that lacked expression and detail and became lost where the figures overlapped with the log (particularly the frog) and the water. This is partly attributed to me not developing the image before working into photoshop and digitally cutting the constituent parts - this image was more of an afterthought in comparison to the goats. 
  As this image requires some quite major amendments and the  image of the goats works well on its own, I think that I will avoid returning to this image for a while, perhaps returning to it for a portfolio piece as part of BAIL302. 

Widecombe Fair Poster Workshop with Phil Trenerry:

There wasn't much said about the image as a poster in terms of the typography. There were some positive comments about the characters, and that it was obvious they were going to some kind of family event. However Caroline noted that without the text, the image didn't communicate 'Widecombe Fair,' but suggested it would make a good basis for some sort of sequential narrative based around the event. I think these comments were justified, as my focus was on the design of the characters and a representation of dartmoor, rather than blatantly representing the event; instead having details within the characters that would hint towards it. Perhaps a few additional elements could help hint towards the actual fair, like a maypole or the corner of a tent in the bottom right of the image. But most importantly I think would be to remember the purpose of the poster and not let my personal interests overpower the focus of the image if I were to take on poster briefs in the future.

Taripulan Illustrator Contest: SOS with Phil Trenerry  

This was an open brief, the contest simply asked for a square format image in response to the buzzword SOS. I decided to approach this subject from a christian perspective with an image of various people worshiping within a church. 

Phil and Caroline and peers made note of the strong composition and effective use of the quote within the focal point of the image. Tristan made note within the portfolio surgery that the black and white iamges seemed out of place in comparison to other projects. All agreed the image seemed unfinished.
Again this was down to a lack of critical awareness and perhaps having tunnel vision, trying to get the perspective to work, rather than considering a achievable response within the time frame I had.    
  Phil and myself suggested using tonal elements to break up the image - perhaps filling in with grey washes. Caroline disagreed that some kind of filling in was necessary and suggested that the presence of a human silhouette would help to finish off the image nicely. I'd be open to exploring both avenues, but I do agree with Tristan that this image doesn't have much of a place within my portfolio. I also do not think that honouring my faith through my work in such a blatant way is necessary. 
  It would be nice to finish this image off, but it doesn't sit as a top priority of mine. It was interesting to explore perspective and I am glad that I managed to pull it off, but I will bear in mind my time constraints in the future when I consider applying it to other briefs.

This group crit was more about understanding how we could develop our personal practice by analysing these outcomes, rather than producing a list with which we can update the images.
  What is most evident from these images is that I have yet to settle on a niche method of responding to briefs, a strong visual identity is something I am going to have to work towards this year; perhaps that can be achieved by pulling away various elements from these different approaches to image making. 
  I don't think Stage 2 is going to allow me to look backwards and finish off this Stage 1 work. However it may be good to amend the stronger images for portfolio or fund-raising purposes later in the year. (The goat image perhaps sooner, rather than later.) 

Friday, 13 November 2015

Project 2: Penguin Design Awards- Emil and the Detectives: Research: 1920s Germany

1920s Clothing (a few examples are from western countries other than Germany):



As well as visual references, I’ll be looking at the description of place within the book.

Neustadt (possibly Titisee-Neustadt in the Baden-W├╝rttemberg area of Germany. Grand Duke Charles of Baden would support this to be the case.)

*edit- according to the most recent publication of the book (a puffin book with facts etc.) the town is Neustadt an der Weinstra├če in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate.*


1920s German Trains:

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Project 2: Penguin Design Awards – Emil and the Detectives: Research: About the Book

Target audience
The story is dominated by male characters and most likely was written for boys. Aged 9-11 (according to

Story elements:

·         Marks pinned to Emil’s jacket
·         The mysterious Max Grundeis
·         Max Grundeis offers Emil chocolate.
·         Emil sleeps and Grundeis takes his money.
·         Emil chalks a red nose and black moustache on a statue of Grand Duke Charles.
·         Emil and Gustav assemble 24 others to help solve the crime; ‘The Detectives’
·         The detectives spy on Herr Grundeis in his hotel.
·         The detectives follow Grundeis to a bank.

I’ve taken these story elements from various synopsis around the web. I’ll grab a copy of the book to get an idea for how important each element is and descriptions of the location and characters. Points which are in italics are what I perceive to be important/recurring elements from what I’ve read about the book so far. 

Previous cover designs:

Film posters:

Theatre production posters:

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Project 1: Explorers! Research: Environments

A quick thought session helped me to think up and decide between several environment types:
Local environments: Fields, Woodland, Beaches, Towns, Cities
Typical environment types found in videogames etc.: Desert, Jungle, Forest, Tundra, Arctic, Volcano.
Environments with exploration: Caves, Graveyards, Scrapyards, Woodland, Desert Islands, Mazes, Abandoned Buildings.

With pre-existing prep work I’ve decided to stick with one of the images being a Desert Vehicle Graveyard like the one in Oranjemund.  Through thinking about personal ‘adventures’ over the summer I’ve decided to create images based on a Woodland River. And for a bit of contrast an Icy Tundra.    

Below are some visual references from across the web to help me with initial concept sketches.
(I've got quite a large range of elements - I don't intend on including everything seen here, but I figured it'd be best to pick and choose later rather than find myself lacking.)

Woodland River – Cadover Bridge/ Cadworthy Wood, Dartmoor. (River Plym)


I’ve also used some friend’s photos as reference, from days out to the River Exe and the River Plym at Dartmoor, but haven’t shared them here for the sake of privacy.

Dartmoor Woodland/River Animals:


White throated dipper:

High Brown Fritillary Butterfly:

Blue Ground Beetle:

Grey Squirrel:


River Exe animals:

Cattle – South Devon:

Mute Swan:

Mallard Duck:

King Fisher:



This one is from a tundra-inspired area in the game World of Warcraft (The original image can be found here:

Tundra Animals:




Snowy Owl:

Arctic Hare:

Arctic Fox:

Polar Bear:

And rough work I had already produced for a Desert Vehicle Graveyard as part of Stage 1:





Character Designs:

Now to get drawing!