Monday, 13 December 2010

V&A Illustration Awards 2011

I thought I'd have a go at a competition so I've entered the well-renowned V&A Student Illustrator Award! I decided to enter some of my illustrations from my last project on school and I know it's a long shot but the experience of entering things like this is good practise and a good way of getting your work seen by people in the industry and elsewhere!

Check out all the entries on the website (below) and keep your eyes peeled for the amazing work of fellow UCA students!

Thursday, 2 December 2010

The Museum of Everything Visit

My tutor recommended I visit the current exhibition (#3) of The Museum of Everything, which is full of Peter Blake's stuff on circuses and freaks, fair's and carnival ephemera so really relevant to my current project. I really liked looking at the old photographs of Tiny Tim and Tom Thumb, and the Bearded Lady. I find looking at old photographs really interesting; the funny sepia colour, the wrinkles of the photos as they've been from era to era, the really staged compositions that make everyone look totally bored as they don't smile for photographs (people smiled back in the old days I'm sure!), the clothing and props... it's all an entirely different world to the one we know and it's fascinating to delve into! I also liked looking at things like the collection of matchboxes, the exquisite room dividers and the massive fabric posters- I would love to work that big! The way you are guided around the exhibition was also really well done and it fitted well with the subject matter; the tight spaces that opened up into bigger areas, the up and down stairs and the dim lighting, all seemed to add to the works exhibited. The wibbly, wobbly mirrors were a plus too!

I wasn't so keen on the clown pictures and puppet things as I have a massive phobia of clowns (particularly the more contemporary bright vibrant scary ones) and anything that remotely reminds me of them, such as ventriloquist dolls, Punch and Judy puppets and porcelain dolls- It freaks me out! Clowns just aren't funny!

I know what you must be thinking- "Why and how are you doing a project based on circuses if you can't stand clowns?!" This was a major factor for me to think about when I was considering both reading the book and then writing my project proposals. It may seem silly to some but I was having real issues with it at the time!!!! The answer I eventually told myself is that I totally fell in love with the book and there wasn't really much mentioned on clowns, so I felt it was pretty safe to do as I could maybe avoid them! I thought it might be a sort of therapy for me too! I will admit, I have had to avoid certain books for research and have squealed at a few things but so far- touch wood- it's been ok!

I didn't really like the Walter Potter bit of the museum as I'm not a fan of taxidermy... in my opinion, you don't go around museums looking at stuffed, preserved-to-a-more-or-less-realistic-quality people so why do it to animals?! But for someone who likes that sort of thing, it is well-worth seeing and the way he has done it to illustrate nursery rhymes and stories like Cock Robin was quite interesting.

All in all though, I really enjoyed the exhibition and I'm really looking forward to seeing what The Museum of Everything is going to do next!!

Have a look for yourselves at:

Catch-Up November

November was mainly dissertation month as the first draft was due in at the end of it. I managed to write about half of what needs to be done but I'd rather write half well than try and rush and write a load of rubbish!! With the project, I started to look at circus posters, particularly ones from Eastern Europe and started to consider narrative posters as an idea. I had a go at a few collages and paint mixes (see below) but I didn't really enjoy doing them so whilst looking at the posters, I got the idea of paper cut-outs/ silhouettes into my head and had a go at making some roughs that related to the story.

I really like doing this sort of thing, although I haven't done anything like this at uni, and looked at the work of Emma Van Leest and Rob Ryan for inspiration. However, I really need to work on my images being more gritty and dramatic to reflect the sinister side of the story. Obviously these are just rough ideas, same as sketching with a pencil only it takes longer, but it was a useful experiment to do to see what I could do with the medium.

I'm considering trying these out on a bigger scale as they are currently only A5 size. Also, I have started to look at Film Noir and some of Tim Burton's work for inspiration. I love how Burton exaggerates form and plays with light and dark to create atmospheres and characters so hopefully I can gain some valuable inspiration from him for my final pieces. I am still unsure as to what format my final images might be but I'm working on ideas!

Catch-Up October

October I spent mainly researching for my minor project on Water for Elephants and for my dissertation on the "changing role of women in vampire fiction". My project work was just doodling ideas from descriptions in the book and old photographs of 1930s circuses that I found during my research. I like to just doodle things down before getting an exact idea on what I'm doing as I feel the more I get into a project, the more of a journey I take with it and doodling seems to help. I'm still struggling to find a style that I feel comfortable working with but maybe my style will just be a bit of everything as that is what I seem to do!! As well as 1930s circus footage and photographs, I looked at Dorothea Lange's photography of the Great Depression which are so amazing- they depict such a strong sense of the lonliness and despair that was felt in the era and they really make you think. At this point, I was working towards an idea of the final pieces being some sort of narrative, albeit as a book or just a narrative sequence. These are some of my initial doodles playing with charaterisation and setting...

I'm officially the Worst Blogger-EVER!!!

I'm clearly really terrible at this! It's December now and I haven't written anything in months!!! My bad! I am ashamed and will endeavour to write more in the future... actually that can be a New Years Resolution for me (if I remember to do it!)!!!

I'll do a few catch-up posts now :)