Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Discovering Time in the Spatial - BCOP100

Today's lecture was a continuation from last weeks. We continued to discuss the idea of 'space and the everyday', and how in order to become a successful illustrator, you have to be able to question the ordinary. The digital space of the internet allows people like us, to share our work instantly all over the world, with one simple click - and this space is a totally different type of 'space' that we normally associate with.

After we were taken out on a walk (a walk in the spatial), and discovered elements of the city that showed us aspects of time. We talked about how every city is a palimpsest, as they show traces of history in the physical structures. These are normally intertwined with buildings and new developments that are modern in comparison, but as a collection present a space in which time is evident and history is layered. 

Palimpsest is "something reused or altered but still bearing visible traces of its earlier form" [1], and a prime example of this is vellum, in which previous writings are scraped off the 'paper' in order to write over the top - however the traces of previous text can still be seen underneath. 

On our walk we came across paving stones which were made from limestone, which were pitted in effort to make them less slippery. We also found the same stones that were used to decorate the exterior of church windows - which is now used as a lecture hall, instead of a place of worship. We also found buildings on the campus of Plymouth University which were made of prehistoric stone - in which if you look closely you can see fossilised oysters and ammonites. This material was also used to make the flooring inside too.

The pitted paving stones

The prehistoric stone

All of these examples presented the idea on how time can be found on the spaces that we see everyday. Most people who walked the same path as we did will never stop to notice these hidden details which indicate past history. However it is only until you look in the opposite direction as everyone else, you will discover these treasures that give an entire space a new meaning and reason for appreciation. 

My response
In response to the theme of the lecture, I decided to look through the photos I have on my phone to see whether any of them showcase beauty in the ordinary, or examples when I have noticed something extraordinary:

Its hard to see as the photo is blurry, but this was taken on New Years Eve this year. It's of a table at my friend's restaurant and I had noticed an ammonite in the stone, just like the ones we discovered on our walk. I asked my friend whether she had noticed it before, but she said that she hadn't - this is a perfect example of discovering everyday things by being observant and curious!

This photo looks like it was taken by a mistake, but actually it was quickly snapped from the bus window as I had spotted something quite beautiful:

It was a single perfect yellow leaf. Although mundane and ordinary for some, it is another example of finding something beautiful in the everyday. Most people would have never noticed it, but I personally felt the need to take a photo to document the moment. 

This last one was taken during the first week at PCA. Many of us found the collection of chalk dust quite fascinating and all took photos of it. It could be argued that this is too a kind of palimpsest, as the layering of chalk represents the layers of messages written on the board above. 

[1] Oxford Dictionaries (2017). [online]. Definition of palimpsest in English. Available at: https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/palimpsest [Accessed on 24th January 2017]
[2] Vellum & Palimpsest: Wikipedia (2017). [online]. Palimpsest. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palimpsest [Accessed on 24th January 2017]

Monday, 23 January 2017

Feedback during BAIL102

STAGE 1 Feedback

After receiving feedback for STAGE 1 of my project, I was able to see the areas that I could improve on when moving forward into STAGE 2. I definitely plan to enrich my work with some artist research in the next stage, but I also need to document my thought process more clearly. Plus, to try new processes and to keep pushing & developing my ideas. 

Feedback during STAGE 2

The group tutorials have been very helpful when it comes to suggesting new ideas and processes that I would have never had thought of. I was suggested ways to save time when rendering my ideas, and encouraged to get stuck in straight away with bringing some of my sketches to life. All of these pieces of advice and suggestions all feed into making my final design as effective as possible. 

I also received really helpful advice from my peers and family, which too all helped me to view my designs from a different perspective. 

I think when it comes to making the most successful and impressive illustrations, it is essential to receive feedback frequently, to keep your development of ideas on the right track. 

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Space & The Everyday - BCOP100

Today we focused on the concept of space. We started by trying to figure out what space was, which ranged from: the galaxy, distance, the universe and everything around us…
Descartes describes space as being extension, and so anything that has extension exists in space. 

A place becomes a space when someone occupies it, for example when a street performer occupies a street, it becomes a performance space. The way that we see a space, is how we affect it. 

We can walk in all directions in space: up, down, sideways... and Georges Perec believes that we should look in the direction that others do not. We should take notice of the mundane, common and ordinary and to make them essential to us. In this day and age it's always the rare occurrences and extraordinary events that are brought to light in the media. However, it's the quotidian that we should focus on.

When someone asks you, "what did you do today", commonly we answer "nothing". But really this is not the case, as each day we do so many things and see so many things. We are so quick to gloss over them because they are 'the normal to us'. It's only when we begin to stop and notice the ordinary things is when we can make them essential to our life and recognise the beauty of them. Very often we do things automatically and live without thinking, when really we should be observing every little detail of what surrounds us. 
"question your tea spoons" - Georges Perec [2]

As artists we should document the everyday and question everything, rather than ignoring, assuming and just accepting things that have become 'normal' to us. 

I decided that in response, I would try to look into something 'ordinary' to us all: bus seats. It's something that we all just glance over and don't think twice about, but really there is a reason for the typical crazy patterns that we find:

Really they serve a purpose to mask, hide, and disguise the dirt that accumulates over the years. The busy fabric print works as an 'illusion' which seems to make the dirt invisible. So what seems a 'normal' occurrence to us, really is there to make the seats appear clean and acceptable to sit on. 

"Their complex mind-reading designs are employed to hide unwanted graffiti and disgusting stains so that to the commuters eye, it's a normal (albeit, ugly) seat." [1]

To further my response, I created a collage focused on trying to replicate the fabric pattern on my bus:

Even the simple process of trying to replicate something, whether it be a drawing, painting or collage, you are forcing yourself to notice the details that you would never have noticed before. During this task that I set myself, I looked at each element of the design in order to recreate them accurately: the background 'block design', and then the orange and yellow shapes, which ended up reminding me of bananas and jelly beans - which is something that I would have never observed before.

[1] Short List (2015). [online]. Ever wondered why bus seats always have rubbish patterns? Available at: http://www.shortlist.com/news/there-s-a-good-reason-why-bus-seats-look-so-ugly [Accessed 17th January 2017]
[2] Georges Perec (1973). [online]. The Indra-Ordinary: Approaches to what? Available at: http://daytodaydata.ellieharrison.com/georgesperec.html [Accessed on 17th January 2017]

Inspirational Artist Finds - BAIL102

After being set our 'stage 2' brief for our BAIL102 project, I decided to look for some artist inspiration. I turned to the AOI website to source some potential artists to look into:

What attracted me to her work is her use of ink and watercolour textures that she combines with flat colours. I think it is a very effective way to add dimension to any piece of work & evokes imagination when thinking about textures. I think her characters are really cute too!

I really like Duddington's work as I love how he creates little scenes using found pieces of paper and card. Although these are often simple shapes, I love the addition of organic texture which bring the whole piece to life.

Although perhaps not suitable for this project, I chose Amy Dover's work to include on here so I could always reference her in a future project. I love her imagination and attention to detail which make all of her images seem entirely believable. 

I love his use of muted colours, vintage photos and random shapes which all work harmoniously when combined together. Also his use of negative space is very effective. 

I love her cute little characters and use of colour, which make her illustrations very charming.

Salty Rose / Cynthia Tedy (https://cynthiatedy.tumblr.com/)
I absolutely love the limited colour palette paired with the simplistic, yet modern illustrations which give the images a unique look.

Anna Steinburg (http://annasteinberg.co.uk/)
Her incredibly minimalistic ink strokes provide playgrounds for her characters. I love how something so simplistic can be so effective. 

The thing that I like the most about this illustration is how you and still see the pencil stokes in the penguins. This for me makes the image so much more light-hearted and interesting just because of this subtle texture.

Beatrice Cerocchi (http://beatricecerocchi.com/)
I am really drawn to her harmonious colour palette and stylised characters. I also like her use of texture which fills up the negative space in an interesting, yet effective way. 

I really love Stewart's muted tones in her illustrations, and small additions of soft colours, which add a subtle focus to the image without over-powering the balance of the whole image. 

Other images that provided inspiration for my project can be found on my Pinterest boardhttps://uk.pinterest.com/Helena135/editorial-illustration-bail102/

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Pace & Sequence Workshop Outcome - BAIL102

 After creating story boards from a clip from 'Dial M for Murder', we were set the task to use the compositions that we had created, but with the characters from Little Red Riding Hood.

I chose to use Red Riding Hood, and the wolf, but placed them in an environment that was more appropriate than the movie setting - the woods. I also had to change the phone to a mobile (as she's outside), and her weapon to something that she would grab quickly to defend herself when caught off guard (a rock):

I am really pleased with how the final rendering of the image came out. I think that I was able to incorporate many of the elements that were found in the film, but adapted them accordingly to fit my characters. It was very challenging to be able to show all of the events of the clip in one image, but overall I think I was able to show suspense, which allows the viewer to predict what would happen next in the story. 

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Dioramas (Photos & GIF) - BAIL102

Today we used our images that we created during the 'Little Red Riding Hood Sketchbook Task' to create a diorama. Working in pairs, we used elements from both of our sketchbooks to create 3 scenes, each presenting a different stage of our story. This story could be true to the original, or a complete modern twist, and the final outcome from the task would be a series of photographs.

This is the full model/diorama that me and Sophie created:

First Red Riding Hood ventures into the woods

Then she discovers a house, with the wolf inside

But after overcoming her fears, she befriends the wolf (an alternative ending)

After producing these 3 final photographs I saw the opportunity to add lighting from inside the house, in order to highlight the wolf more effectively. I did this by poking a hole through the base & sticking a fake candle through. I absolutely love the outcome, especially the warm glow on the trees: 

After this I also wanted to extend the project even further, and thought that I could create a GIF of the flickering light to create a different type of outcome. I had to increase the lighting of this one, as the lighting conditions had changed from taking the original photograph, but I quite like the dramatic 'moon lit' shadows in it:

At the end of this workshop I came away with learning an entire new skill and technique for creating scenes. I love the way that shadows and the sense of depth can be effortlessly created using dioramas, which can be hard to achieve in typical drawings. Perhaps in future projects I will create dioramas in order to create amazing scenes that come to life so quickly. 

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

The Concept of Time - BCOP100

In our lecture today we explored the concept of time, how it changes, and how it affects our day-to-day lives. 

Time is something that constrains our everyday: we have to be somewhere or do something at a certain time. However time is a dynamic thing, we spend our time doing different things throughout history. We've gone from telling the time with the sun, to analogue clocks/watches, and now we can tell the time using our phones. Even simple things like setting an alarm can now be done using our smartphones, which would have been unbelievable to people 20 years ago - "times have changed". 

Some people say that time doesn't exist, and that it is completely fictional. I would have to disagree with this. Time itself is undoubtedly a real thing, however the way in which we measure it is fictional. If there was no time at all then we would cease to exist. Time is constantly moving from what was the future, to the present and then becoming the past. If time didn't exist then everything would just be the present at one singular moment and that would be it. However is the way that we measure it, and what words we use (ascribe) to explain this process which is man-made. Time has always continued to move millions of years before humanity even existed, it's just that we have made it into valued intervals in order for us to understand, organise and measure each moment passing - and each moment that is expected to pass. 

Take the example of a cat. Cats can't read clocks, and so don't have any understanding of the concept of 12o'clock for example.  However this is not to say that they don't exist in time or experience time. They still age and wake up in the morning. They still have their own daily routines. The only difference is that they don't have any quantitative measure of time. This shows that time exists independently from our measure of time. Time isn't man-made or fictional, but the way that humanity monitors it is. 

Others may argue that the statement 'time doesn't exist' would still be false, as the word itself 'time' is a manmade concept/thing. Although this is partly true, the concept that the word describes/represents still exists. Like the example of a plant. If I said that the word 'plant' isn't real (just like every name for something is made up) this doesn't mean that the physical object doesn't then exist. We then just ascribe a different word to it in order for humanity to understand the concept. Therefore, although the name 't-i-m-e' is made up, the concept behind it is still undoubtedly real. 

In addition to this, our measure of time isn't perfect. We have to have leap seconds and years in order for our quantitive measure to keep up with the spinning and orbit of earth. Time is constant, but it is humans who decided to pinpoint a rotation of the earth as a day, and an orbit of the sun as a year. This is the part that is fictional.  If we took it away, time would still continue to pass as it has always done. 

Time in Illustration
We also explored how the passing of time can be represented in art. The example of Salvador Dali's 'The Persistence of Memory' is a very obvious piece of art when thinking about time, as it depicts several clocks. 

'The Persistence of Memory', Salvador Dali (1931)

I think what Dali is trying to show in this piece is how time is constantly 'melting away'. Even in this fantasy dream world, it is impossible for time to slow down or even stop. Instead it continues to move against everyone's will, even when you want the singular moment to last for longer. 

Another way that time can be conveyed in illustration, is in comics. Typically the gaps in-between each frame (the gutter), can be altered to show the passing of time - the width is proportionate to the length of time passing between the two scenes. This pause also allows the reader to fill in the gaps, and to interpret what happened in that moment, by taking into consideration: the duration of time, and the events in the two neighbouring scenes. 

Our Task
In response to the lecture, we were set the task of creating an illustration that depicts a typical day for us. I decided to create a series of line drawings of scenes from my viewpoint, adding colour to just sections of the image. I then layered them on top of each other to create a jumble of lines and colours, which almost creates a single 'memory' of a day.

My view when waking up & going to bed

On the bus in the morning

Walking to PCA

On my way back on the bus

Everything combined

The colours chosen in each scene were reflective of the time of day, i.e pink = sunrise, and blue = night. I also like how the colours can be linked together as a cycle, as the blue can lead onto the pink and so on. 

I could have created more than 4 frames, and had initially planned to do so, however I didn't want to make the final image too complicated. In the final image I still wanted to be able to pick out each individual scene, so I felt like the 4 images combined would be sufficient.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Showing Time Passing (Concertina) - BAIL102

In response to our location drawings that we had to collect in a 24h period, we created a concertina timeline. We used the photocopier to reduce, enlarge and to manipulate our original sketches, which were then arranged on a long piece of paper (a concertina). From this we were given the task to show the passing of time throughout the piece, which was reflective of when we recorded the drawing in our observational sketchbooks.

This is my outcome:

(Click to enlarge & zoom) 
*The image was too big to scan in one go, so its been joined together in photoshop, which is why some areas don't line up or are double*

I am really happy with the final result, as I feel like the whole thing flows smoothly from left to right. When using drawings from your sketchbook, it becomes very easy for the images to become disjointed and separated from the others when trying to combine them all into one. However, by extending the poles and windows throughout several of the images, I was able to link the whole thing together. I then added block shading into the windows, which graduates from light grey to black - showing the passing of time. I think that this was particularly effective as it further brings all of the images into one, and also adds the sense of movement.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Experience Reflection - Laser Cutter - BAIS300

What was the experience/workshop/session?
We were inducted and taught how to use the laser cutter, which involved creating a design, scanning/altering it digitally (on Photoshop and Illustrator), and then programming the laser machine. Although I have used a laser cutter previously, I hadn't actually learnt how to set up the machine, or what type of file was compatible. Therefore this workshop was really valuable at enabling me to become more independent and self sufficient if I was to use this process again in future projects. 

How do you feel about the process?
I was surprised at how easy it was to go from a drawing to a laser cut, as I had only used the laser cutter before by drawing directly onto the computer. The process that we were introduced to enabled us to create our designs by hand, and then scanning and converting them into vectors for the laser cutter to read. This technique enabled me to have much more control over the design, rather than trying to create the equivalent straight onto a computer using a mouse. 

How will you apply this in the future?
Laser cutting is something that you see quite frequently in illustration, for example on greeting cards and stationary. Therefore, this workshop was very valuable as it would allow me to create detailed paper cuts for future project outcomes. Furthermore, the laser cutter can cut multiple different materials, and so is really versatile when working on a range of different projects. 

What would you like to build on?
I think that the thing that would make this process easier, would be if I just had more practice. Also I would like to experiment with creating more intricate designs, in order to really take full advantage of the machines capabilities.

How could this relate to Gods & Monsters?
The possibilities are endless of what you could create with the laser cutter. An example could be to create a paper vignette including your monster in a scene.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Who Am I? - BCOP100

Todays lecture was based around the idea of identity and the unanswered question of 'who am I?' Are we our bodies, or minds, or thoughts, our actions...? As it was heavily philosophy based it was undoubtedly my favourite lecture so far.


We started by looking at Plato's 'Allegory of the Cave' [1], which in a nutshell conveys the idea that individually we are all under a deception from culture and the influential forces from our environment. If given the opportunity we should break free from the 'cave' to discover new things about the world. Plato believed that this discovery comes from philosophy, and when we think philosophically about things, we learn the real truth about concepts that we had thought that we knew.

This links to the concept of identity, as although we learn new things from experience and the environment, we still continue to be the same person throughout these changes.

The second main concept/theory that we focused on was provided by Plutarch, and his story of Theseus' ship [2]. If Theseus' ship was persevered for 1000s of years and whenever a piece started to degrade it was replaced, then eventually not one piece would remain from the original ship. Then could it still be called 'Theseus' ship'?

I argue no, as I believe that the essence of being Theseus' ship was for Theseus himself to have been on-board it. However, some would try to disregard this idea by applying the same principle to humans: It's a fact that every cell in our body dies and is replaced over the course if 7 years. Therefore meaning that after 7 years, we are not constructed of the same exact material as we were previously. People would use this to say that if we consider ourselves to be the same person as we were 7 years ago, then through the process of deduction, this too must apply to Theseus' ship - even though if ALL parts were replaced, it would still continue to be Theseus' ship. OR they would alternatively argue that if Theseus' ship is NOT the ship 1000s of years after, then this would also apply to us - that we are NOT the same person as we were 7 years ago.

I disagree with this, as I believe that you cannot make the comparison between a ship and something as complex as a human body. Humans aren't just 'material', instead they are much more than that, we are memories, emotions, desires, ambitions, critical thinkers... So although it is a scientific fact that our material bodies change, our thoughts and memories are transient and are timeless. A ship such as Theseus' does not encapsulate such complexity, and the only thing that allows it to become 'Theseus's ship' in the first place is non-physical (the presence of Theseus on-board), and cannot be replicated 1000s of years later.

Therefore I believe that 'I' am all of the things that make me different from other people. Humans all share the same biological make up e.g skeletons and tissue, but these things can be replicated, just like Theseus' boat, therefore 'I' am ALL of the unique qualities and non-physical aspects that others are not.
I am:
- My name (there are not many Heléna's in comparison to more commonly used names)
- My blood type (AB negative, which is the rarest of all blood types - less than 1% of the population has it)
- My appearance - I have blonde hair and blue eyes (both of the recessive genes, and so is less common compared to other hair types and eye colours). Also no two people look the same, and even if I was cloned, then the other traits would not be identical.
- My relationships to others - I am a sister, a daughter, a cousin, a grand-daughter, a friend, a stranger
- My home - I've always lived in Devon
- My history & memories - what I've done, where I've been to school...
- My traits - kind, considerate, patient, creative, happy, thoughtful, reliable...
- I am also all of my mistakes and successes, which make me more resilient and equipped for the future.

However, I am not just one of these things, I am ALL of these things, which all add up and make me 'me' and unlike anyone else.

"Cogito ergo sum" 
"I think therefore I am"
This is the key to all of Descartes' philosophy - I am a thinking thing, and so I exist. 

[1] YouTube (2016). [online]. PLATO ON: The Allegory of the Cave. The School of Life. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWlUKJIMge4 [Accessed on 3rd January 2017]
[2] YouTube (2015). [online]. Who am I? A philosophical enquiry - Amy Adkins. TED-Ed. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHwVyplU3Pg [Accessed on 3rd January 2017]