30/01/17 – Brussels and the week before

On the Monday of the week starting the 16th, I managed to dedicate a day to work at home! (like I kind of am today) I’ve started to write lists for the day of things I need to achieve, which I noticed had worked Monday but as soon as I stepped back into uni on Tuesday, it just feels like it completely overtakes my life despite my plans – though that week was a busy week and not regular anyway. From my magazine clippings I collaged what I thought would be a start to the scenes with the travelers. I did a drawing from one but I still felt like it’s not my strongest way of working, so I covered the images in guesso and then added colour using copic markers. The copics created some sort of weird resistance to the guesso and slightly altered the colour which was kind of cool! I then drew over the top of what I could see of the original collages, the images turned out so cool! You wouldn’t have believed that originally they were taken from magazines. I also added the carts for a bit more context.

Later on that day I also took some of my collages and decided to illustrate them into scenes digitally. Focusing on my flashback scene – a lot of the images I had managed to create were part of the “Rural Naturalism” movement, so like many traditional paintings they featured over dramatic people and look – out of context – quite horrifying. I found this quite difficult because I was trying to use texture but there’s a limit before it becomes over the top. I also found colour quite hard to use, I wanted something appropriate to the topics used in the scene but also appropriate to the dark nature of the kidnapping.


I really liked the textures on top of Greco’s men (the men in red) – I purposely made them this colour as well as un-identifiable to look a bit more threatening as well as evil. I liked the textures I also used on top of them, but I felt like the whites were a bit too vibrant? I wanted them to look like silhouettes but with something a little more. I’m not sure if next to the women as well they look a bit too much? I experimented a bit with the gradients of grey on the floor, I quite liked how the sky and “behind” floor were the same colour, but you could tell the sky was the sky by the trees and the appearance of the moon. I really wanted the moon to be a red shade in reference to the last season of AHS and the blood moon in Roanoke – something happens every Halloween on each series, so I thought the destroying of the travelers land would also take place on Halloween.

That Tuesday we had our first day in the workshop with Tim Webb. Tim makes animations an films, most of them really bizarre and highly uncomfortable to watch at times but they’re quite interesting. I really enjoyed this film Tim made for channel 4, which he worked with several people with Autism for in order to raise awareness for the condition. Things like this fascinate me in general, I like to think I have a great understanding of people because when my mum was alive she was teaching assistant at my school. The amount of characters she came across when working there helped her and me have a larger understanding of people in different circumstances. The train sequence here was drawn by a child Tim met, he could drawn trains really well and the whole scene was hand drawn whilst the child was standing in one place. He could easily imagine what the train would look like from another point of view! I wish my imagination was that vivid.

The workshop was a laugh anyway, we did some acting. I think the purpose of it was to understand how a scene works and how to portray emotion and storytelling without writing it out or sound – kind of like if you were to make a comic book, eventually you’d add speech bubbles but the images might be able to tell the story themselves. I also found it quite useful because Tim got us to draw out other peoples faces in other expressions, which I feel would help with this unit when drawing my characters.

That Wednesday I did another piece in my sketchbook based on my collages from Monday. This time I decided to take a different approach and use water colour to draw the blocks of colour first and then drawn the collage over the top. I really like how the water colours blended together and created depth. I tried to pair all the colours I used to one character with other colours that compliment in the colour wheel as well. I like the vibrancy of the travelers as I’m re-creating them, I think its a great representation and replicates the carts they live in – even though its probably a very cramped and lower quality of life then what I am used to you can’t say it would be boring anyway. I think when I start to illustrate my characters I might use water colour to draw them over the top of. The texture water colour creates is what I consider to be a “basic” texture, something that still has more character to it then flat colour but isn’t so over the top it distracts from more essentric textures. I have been flicking through Black Dog as an example, Dave uses more “basic” textures which I think can sometimes be more effective and dramatic, even against flat colour or negative space, there is an example below.

(The water colour image of the Travelers will be in my A3 sketchbook if I don’t end up putting it here. I don’t have a picture to hand just yet.)


Wednesday night I decided to go back to my digital illustration of the kidnapping scene. I usually put my work on Instagram in order to gain feedback from other people – a lot of our class are on there. I experimented with the filters again, just to see how it altered my image. Some of them make things stand out more and easier to read.

I quite liked Clarendon and how it made everything blue, It described night time to me more then grey did. So I went back and decided to change the colours using photoshop.

I decided to add a paper texture, another “basic” texture, to the floor to make it more interesting on the eye. I felt like it wouldn’t have mattered too much if there was more going on in the image but because of the nature of the scene and what collages I had planned for this scene it made more sense to me then having loads of blank colour. I also decided to change the colour of the travelers up and the men – using the Disney method of everything evil is green. I didn’t really like the Travelers being grey though. Although its a scene where their confidence is bashed I didn’t really like how the grey washed them out. I also wanted the make the moon a bit “bloodier”. I then took these to Instagram, playing around with the filters again. What I like about the filters is sometimes they change the colour of somethings which opens your eyes up to other schemes. What I also found impressive was the image looked pretty great in black and white too, which is what I intended for the flashback scene…. because its a flashback. I also thought it was a way more gritty colour scheme for a gritty scene – so its an option at least.

I went semi back to the colour scheme I did before after that, using the reds and the yellows. I dimmed out the whites on the men’s textures. The only change is the background textures and making it look more like nighttime. I think I have something that works now.


Then, just out of control on the vibes I was getting from this I illustrated the next panel too!



It’s interesting to see how a story develops!

That Thursday was our second day with Tim, in the morning he gave a lecture on his work. I like his way of making multimedia film. After we made storyboards based on our project, which I’m grateful for someone suggesting because I do think some of the class were struggling to see how this related to our unit. I was debating it myself, probably knowing I was going to Brussels last week as well didn’t help because it took a week off my time. I had a dispute with Tim over my ability to draw feet at one point, though he did help me with story telling and reading my storyboard. He suggested I add some more establishing shots which I’m going to do.

I was meant to complete the workshop with Tim on Friday, but my dad got taken into A&E very early in the morning so I missed it. It was an incredibly stressful weekend but I did manage to go to Brussels Monday.

The trip was pretty sick! On Tuesday I got to see my best friend Heloise and she showed me around Brussels as I had never been before. It was great to learn it’s history and see its most famous land marks. I saw the Manneken Pis, which was a lot smaller then I had imagined and everyone else said so too! But it was the highlight of my day because it’s something I didn’t expect to see ever. On Wednesday we went to Antwerp and spent the day in the Mas museum as well as spending forever finding food. Thursday was another day to ourselves, Will and I did go out for an explore but I think by then we were all too exhausted so I went to the hostel and had a nap. That evening we went to see the band Infinite Bisous though, which was an experience! I reeked of Cigarettes and almost got killed by a falling speaker but it was all good. We came home through Brugges on Friday, but weren’t really impressed and wanted to come home. It was a great trip, However I got no work done. I’m a very anxious person, I think a lot of my exhaustion came from trying to absorb my surroundings as well as not get hit by a million cars or trams.

Next week? Who knows… 3 weeks left though.

12/01/17 – Some things I missed out, as well as my first week back

The confusion of Christmas caused me to forget a massive chunk of stuff that happened! I’m only just putting the pieces together finding the work I never included.

During the last of my Wednesday workshops we learnt about animatics,¬† which before the workshop I only vaguely knew about. During our first lecture, which included Toy Story, John showed us an animatic of how Toy Story was first planned – where Woody is an utter arsehole! (I think I mentioned it before, I kind of loved arsehole Woody to be honest…) We used our drawings from the storyboarding workshop and turned them into an animatic:


I’m not sure if I mentioned possibly doing an animatic for the outcome of this unit last post? I thought that it’d give me the pleasure of an animation without the stress of after effects. However, Andy and Kat showed us this wicked animatic for Iron Man 3 which is SO overdone (I guess if you have the funds right?) but looks great and was probably animated a little in Ae. I think if I were to work on just separate images and then I can have the choice of turning it into an animatic and/or a comic book.

Also within our last week we did a workshop on animating, drawing from film. Our goal was to have a small bit of film look like the film ‘Mother’ by Cristopher Steger. I animated my band playing our first gig, it was a dark video but I kind of found that useful because it just meant there were shapes to copy. Steger’s film wasn’t life like or accurate, but the idea was to understand the movement captured within film. However, I lost my place in the film, so I ended up with 4 frames. Brad singing looked… slightly dodgy so I’ve decided not to upload it due to embarrassing him. My drawings will be included somewhere in assessment though. It would have been really cool to have a decent animation of us though because it could have been the start of a music video or something… you never know! I liked the process but it’d have to be appropriate for my mood, my focus levels and whatever else – if I didn’t feel like sitting down and mindlessly working enough to zone out then I probably wouldn’t enjoy it.

During my tutorial with John, the one where he showed me that odd film (A bunch of school kids came in as well when it got to the weird bit, it always happens. Nothing is ever going to stop art students looking like Satanist am I right?) he also suggested I look at Chris Ware. Ware’s stuff rocks, all of his comic strips just illustrate mundane life. I really like that his work doesn’t really mean much, but I also felt like it’s not really going to help in the sense of my storytelling. Yeah it’s clever because it makes a plot out of the simplest things but I need to be inspired by things similar to my own plot in order to understand how in context my story can develop. I’m interested in his work for the plot, but visually I find it not as sophisticated – it is for him but if I were to do the same cartoon-y style I’d probably feel immature. I don’t really want to get rid of my development and sophistication when it comes to texture and mess, even though cartoons would be a lot easier. I don’t feel like it compares well with the idea of AHS either – vintage comic book style maybe, but doing it in Ware’s style would be like illustrating the Manson Family in the style of Family Guy.

I also saw the 1975 in December! Their stage show is always so impressive! the lights are so beautiful, and their range of merchandise is also equally as amazing. Although I felt like some of their designs weren’t really them but along the same lines as what they have featured before, their aesthetic is there and I think that’s probably the most important thing when representing a band. They also used a range of textures on the stage (On screens), and the use of the 4 panelled screens (usually they’d have one that shows the whole of the rest of the arena the show¬†if you’re not on the floor, except this was split into 4) was really interesting. They also layered up the footage they were taking and it just completely overtook your senses.


Here’s my completed design of Darcy, along with my character design sheet for Fawnie too! I enjoyed drawing Fawnie a lot more, mainly because she had a lot more potential outfit wise – with her heritage she had room for unique features and accessories (Gypsy Women are commonly paired with head scarfs and coins) Sorting out her hair was my favourite bit about her though! I love drawing the long, curly locks. Her costume was a modern take on a traveller, I imagined she’d probably wear hand me downs from her family, and not really worry about clashes of patterns and colours. I also went for a more grunge approach, I wanted her to look quite tough as she was the spokes person for a group of travellers. She needs to look like she could defend her self. One of the most important bits to me as her character is her introduction, the first thing we see of her is her boot crashing down to the floor as she leaves her cart.

On our first day back, we all sat and discussed where we were currently at with the project. I don’t remember how it came about but John showed us some constructivism/Dada pieces and I felt like it would be¬†a good place to look for inspiration when doing my project.¬†Usually I’m not really a fan of the way lines and¬†sharp edges appear¬†in traditional collage, whereas in Photoshop I can kind of¬†blur edges and things and I make it a lot easier to work¬†with and add other things too. I felt like this would be something interesting to work with anyway, taking me a bit out of my comfort zone – I was sort of determined to work with it again after that workshop we did earlier on in the unit. Whilst going around the group we also discussed about the idea of not finishing things you don’t enjoy or not finishing things that you know aren’t going to be a part of the final outcome. It helps a little with time management and puts your goals and methods back into perspective. It also puts me at ease because I’m¬†worried that maybe later on I’m going to finds all the excess of character design¬†SO BORING.¬†Its not be awful so far because the characters I’ve designed have been interesting enough to me to keep interested. However, I guess as they’re the main two characters at the moment I don’t really need to worry about how the others look just yet. I’m pretty determined to start on the experimentation stuff now, especially as I’m in Brussels a week from now and next week we have workshops all week instead of studio time.

On Thursday we had what I think was our last lecture of this unit, we discussed things like The Heroes Journey by Joseph Campbell – something I studied briefly when doing my summer project on Star Wars as it was a huge influence to George Lucas. It’s weird because I understand the theories when I’m in a lecture but as soon as I leave I just sort of forget about it, luckily I take a lot of notes right? This weeks been quite difficult for me focus wise, and occasionally with my mental health. I think I partly have issues with the seasons, I’m not impressed with the snow this week! It makes me very stressed! But also I think we partly have to try and adapt when it comes to coming back after nearly 4 weeks away. I have the desire to work but my motivation Is slowly coming back, however my sleep schedule hasn’t been great – not to late nights or anything – just my body wont shut down to sleep. But I think I’m getting there anyway, I know some of the others have felt similar. Suddenly inspired by collage and just wanting to work, I stole (yeah, stole) a ton of old magazines from the studio and cut out images in order to start collaging. For some reason I wanted to work on the group of travellers, but I have no desire to draw them.¬†So under John’s influence of not doing what I don’t want to do,¬†I thought the best idea would be to collage them and just have them in the background. I spent pretty much the whole afternoon cutting out images and arranging them into groups so they were ready to work on later. For the travellers I focused on the old art magazines, a lot of old paintings show the farming community and horses and things that loosely relate to the subjects I’m looking at. Also what’s great about older art is it’s weird! American Horror Story has this bizarre, creative way of introducing horror – its really hard to describe unless you’ve seen it! But old art also has the same thing, particularly images relating to¬†the bible. I found a lot of images that I thought would go along well with that idea too. I separated¬†some images of statues to represent Darcy’s workers who are re-building the chapel at the beginning of the¬†scene. I felt like they were¬†bland in comparison to the travellers and that was¬†the¬†contrast I was¬†trying to show between Darcy and Fawnie. I had a point where I was worried about how old the travellers would look in comparison to the modern day era, of course in older paintings the fashion is accurate to that time period.¬†Then I realised that it probably didn’t matter, its not like they would have had the money to¬†worry about clothes or the desire to look modern¬†– their lives are all based around community and¬†family. I also thought it would be a nice nod to their heritage. I’m looking forward to getting on with the experiments.

In order to get my life back on track, I’m aiming to set daily goals each day in order to¬†start getting things done! Also trying to make¬†the most of my time before I’m away for a week. Hopefully I can also get¬†some work done there but I need to assess what¬†would be easier to take with me¬†and whatever else. I’m really looking forward to seeing another country though – and my best friend lives there too! So¬†I’m hoping I get to see her (she has exams and I guess it depends¬†on how far uni let me wander on my own) as well.






03/01/17 – Character Designing and Plot Making

Happy New Year!!

Not a lot has really  been going on, I had a few gigs lined up as well as important birthdays and Christmas to get over before I could continue with some work.

Before the break, I managed to pin John down for a tutorial. He showed me a film called ‘Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome’ by an American film maker called Kenneth Anger. Its a bizarre film, something actually really relatable to AHS and my topic of Romany Culture. It relates in the sense that it touches on subjects such as magick, and ritual which is something I noticed were closely linked with Romany women – a lot of related images¬†in a google search include adverts for gypsy fortune tellers and such. It really helps me out visually too because it examples items and things that might be included in that culture, such as rings and rosaries and goblets. I found it a struggle because when I researched things such as Gypsy Symbols, no clear answer came up. This might be because all the topics I’m thinking of all intertwine with others like religion, and witchcraft and paganism and all sorts. It gives me an interesting look at colour scheme as well.

We then began discussing my plot, and what exactly is going to happen and all of that sort of stuff. Although I’ve started this over again over Christmas, John helped me think about how characters would react to certain situations and stuff. For example in my head the characters were just going to argue over the land outside the gates, as well as occasionally the back story of the gypsies ancestors would be tied in – but John said that maybe because the O’Leary’s are Christians they might invite them in for some food or a drink, and that maybe it would be good to move the setting elsewhere.

I’ve just seen a note on another sheet of mine as I’m writing this, it says about photographing and drawing from relevant images. I think my next step, over the next few days before I go back to uni is to draw from AHS as I’m watching it. I’d like to do this because as I’m “working with” such a well know cast of characters I want to be a little bit more familiar with their faces and expressions. I think this with become useful when drawing my comic (if that’s the route I’m going) because then I understand the familiarities of a persons look and face, so even if I draw them slightly different you can tell its the same character by the common features. It worries me I wont be able to nail a face dead on always, I feel like this will help, even if they’re messy, rough sketches. Next term they’re going to start life drawing sessions at uni, so I want to take part in those too in order to get to grips with the human body again. I think my NY’s resolution is to at least attempt to get into drawing again. I also have a friend who was in the band All About Eve, I went over to his for a party over Christmas and he showed us one of their music videos. He’s mortified by it but conveniently it shows all the members riding horses and riding in the gypsy type carts, and the singer is decked out in this gorgeous outfit that looks so accurate to the culture. I think maybe it’d be good to draw from that too.

(above is the only allowed version on youtube, I don’t know why it’s been banned but to avoid copyright it’s been multiplied into 4 sections.)

Back onto my plot, over the past few days I’ve been working on what I’m going to be working on for the next few weeks of this unit. I’ve decided I’d get a lot more joy and variety illustrating the bit where Darcy confronts the travellers at the gates etc. I have created 4 new main characters to accompany her:

  • Damien, her son – who’s face actor is Finn Wittrock. Damien is also the priest that is murdered opening day. Darcy’s thrilled when he says he’ll take on the role and is extremely proud Damien want’s to take up a career in religion.
  • Fawnie, who is the head Traveller in the modern day (Lily Rabe) – she tells her families story as well as tries to ask for the land back.
  • Diaena (Lady Gaga) – Fawnies great grandmother, one of the gypsy’s in the 50’s forced into slavery by Greco’s men.
  • John Greco (Evan Peters)¬†– now a gangster mob lawyer with the dreams of opening a theme park… just so things make a bit more sense, right?

I’m not going to copy the plot into here, but I’ll print it out and stick it into my sketchbook. Its just loose notes in chronological order, including the way Darcy’s kitchen looks and things like that. Its just so I can understand and get writing a script as soon as. John has leant me a worksheet from the audio workshop for this years first years (mine was based on the walking dead when I did it?) and it considers things such as broken speech and repetitions, which will help when I think of how a character speaks.

After this I¬†thought why the hell not start designing some characters – so far I’ve only done Darcy. I really enjoyed doing this sort of thing when I was in foundation. I used to create¬†big sheets and just stick all my references and things as well as notes and whatever else. However I’m not enjoying it as much¬†this¬†way around, I’m beginning to find it quite tedious¬†– plus I think in my head I’m hoping the way my images look will look something like what you see on character design pages or competitions and whatever (I think some are vectors which is where I have no skill in.) but they just don’t. I do forget that this is my project though so I do choose how they look, and whilst I’m doing them I am trying to do them in different styles and playing about with inking and the way I colour them and what brushes I use. Its also quite nice though because this is how I started drawing, I took a lot of inspiration for all my comic characters when I was younger from Gabriel Ba/Gerard Way. I really like how sometimes (hopefully I can find an image!) their characters don’t have pupils etc. I think it’s where I’ve got my fascination with blocking out eyes (I do it with my Aylith’s stuff and I also did it for War Horse). Their comic book The Umbrella Academy got me drawing at 11, its nostalgic to ne touching on what I learnt from them at a young age about comics. I learnt just by reading their comics as well as observational drawing/copying.


I also just love designing outfits for characters! For Darcy, when I imagined her kitchen to be all bleak with beiges and nudes, just minimalist and such, I wanted her outfits to be similar. I took inspiration from the Kardashians actually, because from what I remember of them they all wear nude/blush/browns/khaki shades and stuff. I wanted there to be an obvious difference between her and Fawnie – who, when I create her, will have rich/intense coloured and super embellished outfits and surroundings. I’m enjoying it now, but I imagine when I get onto the men I will probably find it a tad more difficult. As I said before, I just don’t find men as customisable! I’m going to caption my designs in more detail when I stick the sheets into my sketchbook, explain why I like certain looks more then others etc.

(I started off with the hair, I have done a full on body one as well as costume designs¬†but it’s not complete yet.) sarahhairsheet1

I also got a copy of Dave McKean’s Black Dog for Christmas! I’ve only had a flick through so far, but as all of his stuff does it looks beautiful. However, I’m a few pages into Arkham Asylum at the moment¬†and as great at it looks I’m finding it really hard to read? I just find the text really¬†small as well as the red Joker writing harder to read against the heavily textured backgrounds. Sometimes its more legible then others, but it doesn’t flow as nicely as I’d like? I have to read it about 3 times to actually absorb what it’s saying sometimes.¬†It’s something to think about anyway…