27/02/17 -Developing my Practise


We handed in Monday, so I’ve had the majority of the week to focus on my developing your practice unit. Fortunately I had a plan, just I hadn’t really started it yet. I’ve decided to take part in the New Blood Awards – particularly (despite the mental torment Adobe puts me through on a regular basis) the Adobe brief. I don’t want to go into it too much because its a competition and I don’t want to spill my ideas before I apply. I’m hoping I get the time to actually work on stuff in order to send in my application at the end of March…

I’ve been drawing from life and fashion mags more then anything so here they all are:

I’ve been enjoying drawing on blank paper and then adding the textures with my Photoshop app on my phone. It gives my images something extra!

19/02/17 – Just Quickly

Here’s my final piece! I’m super happy with it. It took me and my dad (who is awesome for helping me) about 5 hours to make but it is so worth it.

Last week when I showed John my prints, he suggested I crop all of them to be the same size. When I was creating them on Photoshop I just kind of went with the flow and kept expanding the canvas size so not all of them were the same shape. The religion one and the gypsy one were pretty much okay it was just the torture one that had huge white gaps down the side. We cropped those off first and then used them as guidelines for the others. I wasn’t sure at first if I would crop them but I knew I couldn’t have these huge white gaps next to the darkness of the image. Its something to be wary of next time. The crops didn’t affect the gypsy image as much, it could have been either or, but it cropped a small insignificant amount off the religion print. I do prefer it as a whole but for my final piece I’d rather it was the same.

Once we’d cropped them we took to folding and sticking them back to back. The folding was great on all but the gypsy one, for some reason the paper wasn’t square enough so it was horrible to fold and wouldn’t without a major wonky edge. So I then had to decide whether to I wanted to include it or not. I did, as you can see, I purposely didn’t put it in the middle because it was easier to have the dodgy side against the fabric on the cover. Next to the pattern you cant even see it. Sticking the pieces together was a lot easier then i thought too, they all lined up okay with some overlap but its barely noticeable.

Next I created the cover by sticking three sheets of A1 foam board together with glue gun, and then used them and some fabric to create a book cover. This was the hardest part because the fabric was so slippy as well as trying to get it to lay flat and not having the double sided tape showing through etc. Also because of the quality of fabric it started to shed when cut and got SO MESSY, but it is a gorgeous fabric so I don’t mind.

I then stuck the images inside the book using double sided tape again. I think my only regret is maybe not cropping them length ways because the tops of the image meet the top of the book cover. In normal books the pages are a little bit smaller then the cover (I mean with hardbacks) so it looks a bit odd but I’m still happy with how punchy the images are.

Maybe I should have put some type or a title on the front but I didn’t want to ruin the fabric. I probably should have thought about that before I did that really – I can’t help that I just love old, aesthetically religious things though so I still think it was a great choice.

Overall the product was quite easy to make, although it probably was a bit of a rushed decision to make a book it’s still a cool thing to have as well as being able to present my work in a larger scale.

12/02/17 – Getting there

I ended the last post on such a high and I literally have no idea what I was doing at that point now. I know what I did since then but I don’t even know what days I did them. I’ll talk you through my final pieces for this unit!

The piece below is the collage based on Romany Culture. I used images that I found in magazines that are what I consider to be symbolic of that (this is where all my mind maps help in my sketchbook because it gets out all the things I consider to relate and then what relates to them and so on, allowing me to have an open brain to what I’m looking for when I look at imagery) for example: Maps, for travel or Landscapes, for somewhere they might live or work. I didn’t intend for this to be one of my final images, however time began to run out for me and I felt like this was one of those one hit wonders.



Above is my attempt at using one of my drawings for a collage. I found it quite hard to match it up to textures as well as create an appropriate colour scheme – maybe that’s because of the initial use of bold colours to start with or because of the use of media I used in the drawing – maybe Photoshop can’t pick it up? However you can see how my initial work has influenced the collage in the end with its use of bold colours and dark outlines. I think it represents Gypsy culture well, especially the caravans.


I extended the Religion piece I did previously, I felt with the gold bit in the bottom left being cut off by the page looked a bit like it had been cropped for a reason, mentally I knew I could push for more. Colour, as it is in most of my work, was a huge part of the extension of this. I have knack for seeing colours inside of others (under/over tones etc), I saw some red in the small church interior image (next to Mary) and decided to add it as a background colour. Then I continued with the blues and golds. I added some more images but as more of a background thing, including some photos of the real Holyland park. I felt like this was important to add because the main part of my story that relates to religion is the fact that the park is based on the bible. I wanted to use religion as a representation of the place but have it just more general, Christianity is so broad so its really easy to work with. I’m still really proud of this, I was skeptical at first because I thought even the first one was great – I’m happy an extension worked out.

As I’m writing this I’ve realised my collages are based on 3 main parts of story telling. The Romany collage is about the people, the Religious one relates to my story’s place/setting, the Torture based one relates to what happens in my story (when the Traveler’s get captured etc.) – all 3 you need to well… make a story right? This thought might help me when organising what order they go in in my final piece because I haven’t made a decision on that yet.


The torture collage totally had a re-vamp! It took a while for me to figure out what I was doing with it. I struggled a lot with working out the textures and contrasts but I think they turned out pretty great in the end! I used a different selection of images for the women, although some of the ones on the other collage turned out okay these were a lot easier to edit and were a lot clearer. John suggested I added more faces to make it look like the main character was being looked at, I thought eyes might do the same trick and I found some great brushes online for them! I used the same in the Gypsy collage as well, although it means different things it ties the images together. Overlays really helped with this because it made things more highlighted or lowlighted, making things easily distinguishable. The colour scheme just sort of developed with this one over the course of working with it.

After I printed all of them on the regular printers, I saw the mistakes in the contrasts and things and edited them. I then had a go at using our new fancy printers and saw them in A3, playing around with the way the printer prints on certain papers and things like that.

Throughout my final week I wrote the image analysis essay, based on Raphael and the High Renaissance. I chose him because he was considered to be one of the best religious painters of all time. I found his history fascinating, along with his beef with Michelangelo and his bizzare sex related death (for reals). I also found out we work in a similar way, Just I do with photographs ans Photoshop and he did with drawings and… drawing more on a bigger scale. He’d collect stock sketches and turn them into compositions.

I did a few final piece ideas in my sketchbook, I explain pretty much everything there. Here’s what I thought was going to be my final piece at the time, but it has since changed back to idea number 3. I felt like this was a bit too messy and also would have cost a lot of money to get printed A1. I have the prints printed now and they look amazing anyway, so I’m quite happy to have a huge book because on a larger scale they are so cool! I chose against a concertina because I couldn’t think of a decent way of attaching the pieces together without it looking really grubby. I may have picked quite a safe option (Probably famous last words when I’m making it. I have to line everything up and make sure its all stuck together properly, folded right etc. Especially on a larger scale!) but I think its probably the best way of showing my pieces off to the greatness they have. I’ve also got this gorgeous fabric, that my dad kindly brought for this, that reflects in the light and it’ll make it look so royal and delicate. My idea is to stick 3 pieces of foam board together, so the book is thick enough to stand. And then use the fabric to put it together and make it into a book cover, still sort of looking like a bible because of the red but I guess the gold embellishments relate to the gypsy culture. The red is deep like blood, so it kind of also relates to the torture piece too… I’m a metaphorical genius!

I’ve not hated this project, I’ve not loved it. It’s flown by really, I don’t feel like I’ve done anything at all. I feel like I did a lot more physical work (drawing I mean) then I did last unit. I think though, next project I’m going to try and stop forcing myself to draw. I just find it so unnecessary for my way of working. Imagine how unhappy I would have been, even though I’d probably had collaged some of it too, making a comic book I never had the interest to finish? I know for definite the outcome I have now, maybe not the final piece (I’m not sure I haven’t made it yet, I’ll assess that soon) but the images involved are me and define me and my style really well. The collages this unit differ greatly from the Carrie ones in last unit, although I made more of those the topic made it so the images (In my opinion) weren’t as mature as these. The subject matter definatley made it more gritty, as well as giving me a wider base of imagery to work with. I think I struggled towards the end in finding imagery/textures that related to space, it was a lot easier this unit to find relations and connotations. I think next unit I want to take a new approach, maybe not think about final pieces so early on and just enjoy the flow and allowing myself to play more. Even when I do think of final pieces early on, I don’t set my mind to them exactly, its like a rough goal on what I want but I’m not dissapointed if I don’t do them. I don’t think its always bad because without it I guess I wouldn’t have done the outcome I have now. It’s swings and roundabouts I think. I really really just want to focus on play from now on though. John suggested it, but I think next unit (depending on brief) I want to go back to my main love – music. That way I can incorporate the rest of my life into my work, it’ll make it easier as well and keeping me interested. I don’t think I lost interest that much in this unit, I think I was fueled by the fact I’d made up my own story (to what I’d consider to have AHS styled complex due to research, combining all these topics together to create a plot) and I just wanted to see what I could do with it. I think even when I was drawing I quite liked the outcomes. I managed to create something and I could see that as I worked, It was nice to see it become something with so much depth – collages I mean. I improve all the time! I’ve realised I’m quite fine art-y and metaphorical within my work, It’s really nice because it’s quite chill to work with. I guess it makes me differ a little bit from other people, a lot of other illustrators I know are quite political (maybe not for this unit, but in others). I’m quite proud of my differences, my work is unique to me and I have something (a style) that I know I dreamed of having when I was younger as well as other people dream of having too.

06/02/17 – Light at the end of the tunnel.

I can’t say I know what happened last week… I’m hoping it comes back to me as I write this blog. I think I’m finding it a lot harder to write here as well because I do in my sketchbook too now, as my head is so jumbled… but its made it jumbled more… great.

Monday I managed to get a day to myself to get on with some work for the band. We had a gig coming up last Sunday, as well as some super exciting gig announcements for the rest of spring before we take a break for the summer! I took over our YouTube and did a simple colour changing animation in After Effects as a background for our tracks. The animation was also used as a projection on a screen behind us during our set. The show was a bit of a flop (no one showed up, not just for us but because it was a Sunday night it was a bit dead. We were supporting a band from Holland on their UK tour). but at least we looked sliiiiccck. I managed to make a few more demos too, as we were running out of stuff to sell.


I also managed to begin writing a script for my comic book. However, I got to about 8 pages in and just bored myself. I realized how hard it was going to be and how much work it was going to take to make this a reality and I knew it was just impossible within the 2 and a bit weeks I had left. It would have been a complete waste of time If I hadn’t have realized this, so I’m thankful for it really.

Tuesday’s a bit of a blank area – I know we had a small chat about an essay for this unit. Other then that I have no idea what I did during the day… I think I drew some pictures of Diaena (Lady Gaga) to use, continuing with my illustrations for the comic book – because at the time I didn’t know what to do.

I think on Wednesday I did a little bit of experimenting – I found some images of nude women in the art magazines, all old paintings, and photocopied them onto acetate. My idea was to put them into water and then drop ink and water colours above them, hoping they’d create a texture above the image. I’d then take photos of them, so I can put them into Photoshop.  Here’s a selection of those photos, some didn’t come out great because of the lighting but they worked for the image I later on created.


Above is the first image I created using my photographs (or the attempt anyway). Naturally I began carrying on from my two panel comic strip – I wanted to show Diaena’s character being taken off by Greco’s men after they raided the traveller’s land in the 50’s. I was looking back and forth at Black Dog by Dave McKean for inspiration – it helped slightly but I just felt my drawing didn’t fit in with the rest of my imagery. After working on it for a little bit, I left it because it wasn’t impressing me.


Thinking about things more freely and generally I just thought I’d play around with my images, this is the result! I was quite happy how expressive it was, and how it described the general themes of the scene. I wanted her to look tortured, in pain and in a gritty situation.

On Thursday I had a tutorial with John, which was well overdue! I’m sure I hadn’t had one properly one on one since before Christmas! I showed him my collages and he said, along with my drawings and everything I had done was very similar to fine art. Which didn’t surprise me really, considering that was my ideal pathway when I left the first year of my diploma – then I had the sudden turn to go into viscom. We then did some photocopying of everything I had done and the combination of them all made this bizarre sequence that seemed to make sense even though it was just a experiment. It was nice to see all of my stuff on the wall and out of the sketchbook too! I think at this point we decided it was just better for me to take on a general approach to this. Illustrate using the general themes of the story instead of literally. The themes I currently am working on are:

  • Torture – representing the torture Fawnie’s grandmother Diaena, and her people went through after their land was taken away by John Greco and his men.
  • Religion – Holyland USA was a theme park based on religion, so I imagine if this were to be a series of AHS it would have been heavily influenced by religion. In my mind it differs from Asylum, because in Asylum the religious themes intertwined with the devil. This does a little but also the religious aspect of it isn’t used to create horror. It’s more to illustrate a scene and area. John also suggested it was in relation to the tortured characters, looking up the faith. Which isn’t impossible either – during my research I found out that Romany travelers seem to have any religion, depending on where they’re from. Commonly now, I believe travelers are catholic? (I’m taking that from My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding – most of them were Irish though…so that would also make sense)
  •   The Traveler Community – I’ve been told by a few people that my drawings of the travelers say so much about the subject matter. Their sense of community is what I admire about them anyway so I thought it was what I was sort of already working on with the drawings anyway??


When I got home I managed to further work on these collages and dove straight into the religion one. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before but religious art is my life, and my one true love (I have mentioned it before.) so I was just happy, it gets the cogs in my brain going. Its my true aesthetic. From the start I think I knew it was going to be great because it’s something I was excited to work with!


Here’s the first part of my composition, I kept this (my final doesn’t look anything like this) because I really loved the way the face and the golden/alter image combine together. I saved it because I didn’t want to lose it as I continued to edit. It creates an interesting shape! The alter piece (that sort of broken up circular bit in the top right, I’m assuming the main image was part of a triptych.) also influenced my use of gold within the piece – I found a similar gold texture and used it to highlight Mary Magdelane’s eyes. Here I was working with the traditional Mary (Virgin Mary) colour scheme of blue and white.


As it developed, my image became more aware of blank space. The whole of the image flows so nicely and even though some bits stand out more then others all the elements sort of reveal themselves as you look at my work. I changed to a mixture of the lilac-y blue and turquoise because, well mainly it just seemed to work out that way, but saints like Saint Fatima (a Portuguese saint) and other religious icons wear turquoise too. I think it needs a few tweaks but I’m close to being done with this one!

On Friday I did life drawing…. I wish I didn’t. The model didn’t turn up, so we had to draw students in the room (not naked don’t worry) which I don’t find helped me. I prefer to draw the nude model, mainly because I learn proportions better that way as to when they’re wearing clothes, nothings in the way its all cool. However, the way the lesson was taught was more based on the media we used for the life drawing instead of drawing the actual life?? Which frustrated me, because I chose to be there in order to learn how to draw proportion? hence the word “Life” in the lesson name… because YOU’RE DRAWING LIFE??

I’ve sort of figured out a routine now. I work during the week and then I focus on the band at the weekend – that’s sort of my job now as we’re getting paid regularly. Sometimes it feels like I never have time, it’s quite stressful but I guess its a nicer problem to have, to be able to work on art and music together.

It’s already next week as I’m writing this so I’ll keep it quite until the weekend so I can say what I’ve done. Laters!