Saturday, 22 October 2016

Chef Portraits

Our first 'official' assignment for our class was to produce 20 portraits of a past chef, which we chose from a list of 9. We had to use both conventional & unconventional methods to create these portraits, and also had to consider incorporating symbolic aspects into our pieces, which reflected a certain part of their life.

After doing some initial research of the chefs, I decided on Elizabeth David. I think what particularly drew me to her, was her interesting life which was full of traveling and adventures. I thought that her life travels was one aspect that I could focus on representing in one, or many of my portraits.

As we had to produce so many portraits, I decided to get stuck right in, I didn't want to experiment much before hand, as I felt like experimental nature of my portraits would enable me to have some more successful than others - which is all part of the learning process. I began by creating portraits using conventional materials such as, pencil/graphite, biro & ink, but then decided that it would be important to 'think outside the box'.

I began experimenting with the food that David commonly worked with, e.g flour (for bread making), pasta, spices and lentils. These food combinations enabled me to create some very unusual portraits that were relatively successful!

Below are some of my portraits that were completed for the task:
 Pencil, pen & wash, chalk & colouring pencil, continuous line using biro.
 Watercolour & masking fluid, black colouring pencil & collage, pen & ink, 3D effect on photoshop.
 Pasta, lentils & spices, machine stitching, brio drawing on her book cover & glass chillies, miniature acrylic stamp painting.
Stencil paper cut on top of one of her recipes, flour on granite, biro on her first book, toast image (using stencil under the grill)

My favourite portrait that I created was this one: 
The reason for this is because I feel like it holds a lot of symbolism, as it shows Davids's travels from London, Paris, Italy & Egypt. Also by complete coincidence, the stitching has created an outline of a chilli which is very fitting!

Peer Assessment
I received some feedback from my peers which was overall very positive & helpful. Some had commented on the fact that I had used just the one image of Elizabeth, which many found to be effective when the portraits were displayed together. I agree with this, as because one of the key focuses for this project was to experiment with different materials, I felt that the outcomes of these would be easily comparable if they were all of the same image. This way you can effortlessly see which materials enabled me to recreate the image in an effective way, and others that perhaps didn't. 

Others also commended me on my wide range of experimentation, and many picked out my toast portrait as my 'most successful piece'. 

The only piece of advice I received, was to gather more source material - which I agree with!

Self Assessment
I feel like I responded to the task well, & creates a good balance of portraits made from conventional & unconventional materials. I also stepped outside of my comfort zone to experiment with unusual materials, & even creates some really successful portraits from it! I have found some really effective techniques and approaches that I may end up using again in future projects. 

I will continue t explore different materials and the unique outcomes they create. I also have learnt to document my process more in my sketchbook to give my work more context. This is an area of my practise that I need to work on. 

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Experience Reflection - Photoshop Layers - BAIS300

What was the experience/workshop/session?
In the workshop we were taught how to create a character on Photoshop, created from layers of paper drawn on a light box.

We started by drawing our monster, firstly drawing the outline, and then layering a piece of paper on top to add detail and different textures. Each section of the image was drawn several times, using different mark-making techniques, in order to create a large portfolio of materials to use later on. Next these layers were scanned onto the computer, and opened in Photoshop. Each layer was cleaned up by cropping and altering the 'levels' in the adjustments tab. Each layer was then aligned on top of each other, changing the layer type to 'multiply', so that they almost became sheets of acetate - allowing you to see all of the layers stacked on top of one another. The layers could be changed colour using clipping masks, which allowed you to create an endless variety of outcomes in a short amount of time.

How do you feel about the process?
The process opened so many opportunities for me as it taught me so much about Photoshop. In addition to this, the actual process enabled me to change my designs quickly, so that I ended up with a large quantity of outcomes, which would be very useful when trying out several different ideas in the future.

How will you apply this in the future?
As mentioned above, this process could be applied to a variety of different projects. The ease of changing textures and colours, would allow me to play around with different concepts when trying to find the most successful version for a project brief.

What would you like to build on?
Perhaps the thing that makes this process successful and so versatile is the layering of different textures. Therefore, maybe I would like to build on the range of mark-making techniques that I utilise in the initial stages, so that my outcomes would be even more successful and effective.

How could this relate to Gods & Monsters?
I have already used this process to create renderings of my monster, however it could be used to create scenes and landscapes too, so that I could make images for a zine or poster.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Reading The Map - BCOP100

Today's lecture was based on 'reading the map' and how maps that we use and see in our everyday lives are somewhat deceiving and are not what they seem. Maps without any context are almost unusable, as they can be years out of date and would no longer relate to the dynamic world that we live in. Likewise, maps from fantasy worlds and video games are inadequate in the real world, yet are crucial to find your way around in a made up reality.

One of my favourite maps is the Tube Map, which was designed by Harry Beck in 1933. It revolutionised the way that maps were designed and read, and is still being used to this day.

Before, the tube map was somewhat easy to read and follow, but with the addition of new lines and stations, the map begun to look overcrowded and impossible to read:

In 1933 Harry Beck re-designed the look of the tube map, which used clean lines and colour coding - enabling travellers to read the map quickly when on the go:

To this day, the style that Harry Beck introduced in 1933 has been sustained throughout the expanding travel networks, and still reads perfectly:

I think I love the tube map so much is because of its simplicity and use of colour. I am someone who works well with colour and visualises certain words in certain colours. Therefore when in London, I actually find it fun to use the map to work out where to go and what train to catch. I also love how timeless the design is, and despite the pressure of time and technology (which normally constrains old designs and pushes them to be re-designed), this design has persisted throughout these changes. In addition, the map isn't geographically accurate, and instead Beck placed the designs in a way that worked for him and what visually looked right. Most maps are designed to be accurate in this way, but this one works much more efficiently with the locations not being in the right place:
(What the tube map would look like if it were physically accurate - very complicated to read!)

So although the tube map is deceiving in terms of accurate geographical location, it does work, and has done for over 80 years.

After discussing maps, we were asked to make a map of the college. It didn't have to be of the college itself, so I decided to make one of my journey to PCA. I took slight inspiration from the tube map in the way of it not being to scale or the locations being relative to each other:
Made using watercolour and pen

[1] BBC News (2013). [online]. Tube 150th Anniversary - How the underground map evolved. Available at: [Accessed on 18th October 2016]
[2] Buzz Feed (2015). [online]. This Physically Accurate Tube Map Will Change The Way You Think About London. Patrick Smith. Available at: [Accessed on 18th October 2016]

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

First Lecture! BCOP100

On Tuesday 11th October we all had our first lecture in the lecture theatre with Jason. Upon entering the room, we were all greeted with 80s music videos, which introduced us all to the idea of reading into visual stimuli in order to gain knowledge about the context of a piece.

The particular part of the lecture that I found most interesting was when we began analysing the famous painting 'Las Meninas' by Diego Velàzquez (1656). We all started brainstorming what was immediately obvious to us, like who was in the painting, and what was going on. However upon closer inspection, it became evident that Velàzquez himself was depicted in the piece, and was actually positioned in such a place that it looks like he is observing the spectator (us). Furthermore, on the wall, there is an illuminated picture which is in fact a mirror - thus suggesting that the King and Queen of Spain are stood in the same place as we are, and so are too positioned in the gaze of the artist.
Las Manianas, Diego Velàzquez (1656)

Up to this point the painting seems to make perfect sense, this was until we were told that the only painting that Velàzquez ever painted on the scale that is depicted in the piece, is itself 'Las Maninas'. This mind-bending piece of information created a paradox where many people began to feel their brains ache. This means that Velàzqyez painted himself painting the painting, but positioned him doing so in the scene of the painting. This sense of confusion is something that I particularly enjoyed, as it was something that I came across frequently while studying Philosophy & Ethics at A-Level. Therefore to have created a tautology in a piece of art felt oddly familiar, and was something that excited me greatly. I love how a painting, such as Las Meninas can seem relatively mundane and common, but when you really read into the history and the symbolism of the piece, then it becomes so much more captivating.

Throughout the lecture we continued to look into other famous works of art, such as ones by Picasso, who had re-imagined and re-painted Las Meninas 53 times in order to create odd, yet familiar pieces of art. Then we started to analyse the famous photograph of Buzz Aldrin on the lunar surface, where we discovered that Niel Armstrong is too in the photograph, as his reflection was captured in the visor or the astronaut. All of these examples backed up the idea that you can endlessly read into any image in order to gather information about the context of the piece.

Buzz Aldrin (Apollo 11, 1969)

Our task at the end of the day was to find an image from a book (in groups), and practice the same technique in order to gather contextual information. We chose an illustration by Sir John Tennel, from the book 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland' (1866) which be began analysing. The image below shows you what we discovered:

Friday, 7 October 2016


I went onto Beehive Illustration & found the following illustrations that I found particularly interesting:
Shane Clester

Lee Holland
 Terry Austen