Friday, February 29, 2008

Dreaming of the Alps...

I do very little digital work, preferring to be hands-on handmade. Still, its a useful skill to have and I'm keen to learn everything I can while at college. We had a photoshop workshop today, and although I'm fairly familiar with the program, the wonderful tutor showed me a few tricks I hadn't seen before. While I was playing around with the software, I made the digital collage above based on one of yesterday's in-location drawings ...

I quite like how it came out ... you can just about imagine this bearded fellow sitting at a cafe in Bristol with his cigarette and coffee, and headphones on, listening to the gentle sounds of ... "Yodelers of the Swiss Alps" ... or something ;)

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Drawing workshop - in location

Woohoo! Two posts in one day!

Today's workshop consisted of us being sent off into the big bad world to draw people in location - and I must say this was something I found
incredibly difficult. Drawing people? From life? In public? Quickly before they change position or wonder off? Phew! Such a challenge for me! The resounding verdict was - need to do more, much, much, more ...

We spent the day out drawing people doing stuff in the city, then reconvened in the afternoon for a crit. We talked about practicing until we can do it so quick that just a few gestural lines captures the person, and about looking more at the person rather than the paper. We talked about adding just a few objects or bits of architecture to put the person in context, we talked about highlighting things by using colours, and we also talked about editing what we drew - drawing only what was essential .... I really enjoy crits with out tutor Gary...

Above are some of the drawings I'm a bit more proud of, and below, a selection of the others.

Homework for next week is to take one of the in location drawings (or to make some more) and produce one finished illustration.

And while we were out drawing, Charlotte and I wandered onto a queue of people outside the bookstore. We could have drawn the queue of people, but it was far more interesting to find out what was causing the queue ... Sir David Attenborough!!! Oh My God were we excited!!! My camera batteries had just gone bust so the two of us stood there and drew him instead - got a few funny looks - and the press guy with his film camera loomed over Charlotte's shoulder and filmed her drawing ;) ... My hero ... my excuse for the bad likeness? I was too excited!

Drawing workshop - Exquisite Corpses

The picture above is a small selection from the pictures we drew last week during our drawing workshop. We were basically playing a game of 'consequences' (do people call it something else outside of the UK?) ... otherwise known as "exquisite corpses". Fold the paper up, draw a head, pass it on so the head doesn't show, next person draws the body; next the legs and next the feet. To start us of we were also given themes - 'confectionery' for the head, 'geographical' for the torso, 'delicatessen' for the legs, and 'botanical' for the feet.

Once we got going, we could do any sort of head, and then had to give a prompt to the next person along doing the body, etc etc... There were some quite bizzare monsters that were born in the studios that day! Here are some of my favourites:

I did the head on this one

Here I did the geographical body

Again did the head, and then prompted the next person to do 'circus'

Sorry for the bad photo quality - theres a not a lot of natural light in that room. More pictures here on our UWE illustration 07-10 facebook account (I think you have to have a facebook account to see them).

Anyways, afterwards, we talked about why had done the exercise, and the things that came up included; learning to work collaboratively (that not a lot of illustrators do, but is worth doing); letting go of control over your work; generating ideas when you're having 'drawing-block'; and just loosening up our creative muscles.

The homework for the week was to use two or more of the characters to create new work or a narrative (oh yes, character development was one of the other intended outcomes of the exercise). Most people have been doing three drawings/paintings. I took a bit of a sidewards route (partly because mutant monster characters are not really my thing, and I was having problems engaging with the project and thinking up narratives for the characters to be in) ... and its taken me longer than I'd imagined it would ... so its still work in progress... In the meantime, have a sneak peek:

Will post more pictures once I've finished the little things ...

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Bookbinding - day 2

Today we did the covers. I've tried to document the process as best as possible ... more to remind me, than to teach any of you lovely people out there ;)

FLYSHEETING and reinforcing the spine

COVER boards and fabric (see here for an annotated version of this photo)

Doing the CORNERS

Doing the SIDES

ALIGNING bookblock to cover

A few more things happen here - gluing the flysheets to the cover using Jonathan's (our tutor) funky technique. And tidying up the spine area. Couldn't do it and take a photo at the same time. Then the whole lot clamped lightly with protective pieces of paper between the cover and flysheets, and cover and clamping boards to let the book SETTLE.

And there you have it. I did two books - One with prefect binding, and one with coptic binding (the two you see in the picture on the top). One covered in this lovely blue bookbinding stuff thats used in libraries. The other we used a fabric of our choice - and Jonathan showed us how to alter the gluing steps to deal with thin and flimsy fabric. He also showed us two types of corners, and something else called 'stack and glue' for making quick dummy books.

I'm so inspired now ... I think there is a lot of potential here for making presents - and never will I need to BUY a sketchbook ever again!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Bookbinding - day 1

Today we have been mostly learning how to bind books.


Leveling the papers (Jen's one already done to the right)

Leveled and clamped

Scoring the edge (so the glue sticks better)

PVA squirted along the spine

Glue spread out (with a finger) and let dry to tacky

Piece of muslin glued on

De-clamped and cut out from clamp once dry


Punch holes with a braddle and SEW! French Folio

Sewing two signatures together

Coptic binding - when you have more than two signatures

Clamped and glued

My own handmade sketchbook... The ones above were done with cheap paper just to practice making them. I then made up a new coptic bound book out of nice off-white thick cartridge paper.

Neatly done coptic stitches (not very neatly cut paper though!)

Closeup of my coptic stitches

Clamped and glued, ready for tomorrow - COVERS!!!

All the glued stuff is drying and tomorrow we will be doing covers for them! I'm not going to attempt to describe the processes as I find it hard to do it without showing people, live. Look round the internet of you're really interested - or better still, borrow a bookbinding book from the library...

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Drawing workshop - collage

Text says "A midday donkey spits out a whole cloth full of plague and parlour art"

Text says "Put your head through the curtains What can you s e e The universe bends a n d space curves boundless expanding not expanding galaxies rushing queerer queerer than we"

Text says " 'Well', he says well thats fine" "Island citizens full of plastic memory ... ... ... ... ... ... listen."

Last week, after we all shared our self portraits and talked through them (and discussed what we'd learnt) and our collages of the portraits, we did a day long session on collages, looking at everything from Dadaism to contemporary illustrators who use collage. We watched a documentary about William Burroughs, who wrote Naked Lunch using a cut up technique where he would chop paragraphs up and then re-join them randomly to make up surreal storylines.

So we were given three different pages of text from different sources, asked to make up a text collage (using any method we wanted), and then do a picture collage from magazine cutouts to illustrate our piece of text (and encouraged to be as surreal as possible!). Most people chopped up their texts in to sentences and then re-arranged them to make some fantastical narratives ... I took a bit of a sidewards route in that I tried to keep the text connected (in sequence, and physically by cutting then out all connected), and went for short, and bit poetry-like, sentences, rather than whole paragraphs, as everyone else was doing. I think I'm the only one who has also stuck the words down as part of the collages ... its all due in this morning, so we'll see. What you see above are my three finished pieces. I'm not even going to try and explain them!

As homework we also had to do some drawings based on these collages - but using drawing exercises such as left handed and continuous-line. Below are my strange looking attempts:

Left handed

Blind (ie not looking at the drawing)

Continuous line

Left handed

And my favourite, continuous line.

I really like how the continuous line text has come out ... want to use this effect in the future ... strange things you learn from doing a collage project!

Monday, February 18, 2008

To send is better than to receive ...

To have something non-college like to do with a deadline and a bit of fun, I signed up for the Elsie Marley mobile swap. Having just done 'Disperse', I was well up for it ... but as usual I got a little over ambitious, and its taken up a lot more time (although highly enjoyable) than I had anticipated! Only just finished it today (the deadline is the 20th) and still have to work out how to wrap/post the thing tomorrow. And this whilst still working on college assignments ...

Anyways, here's a breakdown:
Stage 1: Draw on primed plywood (left over from 'Support')
Stage 2: After cutting out and sanding the edges, paint with a base coat of white acrylic.
Stage 3: Finish painting using acrylics and black marker (front and back). Then seal with a layer of PVA.
Stage 4: Drill holes for hanging, assemble with some fishing line and bamboo lengths and TA DA! One floaty space themed mobile for two little boys in Ireland (hence the two blond spacemen - and mum, dad and a friendly alien got in there too!)

More photos in my Flickr account here. And more photos of other people's mobiles here in the Mobile Swap Flickr pool.

And speaking of swaps, this (and bag full of delicious caramelised almonds - yum! That I ate before I managed to take a photo...) came in the post on Saturday. Its from Kerstin all the way over in Munich, Germany (wave! wave! Thank You Kerstin!!!). I offered myself for a PIF craft challenge back in October (read about it here) which has ended up as more of a swap, than a pay-it-forward. This lovely handmade box was Kerstin to me ... I still have about 300 days to return the favour!. Infact, I only had two requests. I'm still up for another 3 people to send handmade stuff to. If you want to play, go leave a message here.

Right, back to my collages (all will be revealed in a day or two...)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Make my Valentine's day!

This is what Sunshine woke up to today - I caught him a rainbow :) ! This has been one of my little projects that I've done to keep me sane from all the college projects. More pictures and details here.

Another lovely thing to have happened this week is that I've been awarded a "You Make My Day Awards" from Suzanne over at an open [sketch]book (you have to go see, this lady is just so lovely and inspiring!). So in honour of that, and of Valentines, I'm passing on the award ..

Here's the rules:
1. Write a post with links to 5 blogs that make your day.
2. Acknowledge the post of the award giver.
3. Tell the award winners that they've won by commenting on their blogs.

I'm nominating people who mean something to me and really do make my day ...

1. Camilla at Madebymilla : I came across Milla before I moved to Bristol - she's a Bristol (kindo of) based artist and I've seen her exhibit, and have recently got to know her better (and found out she went to school with Sunshine and his sister ... how spooky is that!). Gorgeous person and blog, and well worth a visit.

2. Lucy at "hello my little friend": Lucy's new to the blogging game and deserves some blog traffic ... Highly talented designer maker... and did I mention, my sister-in-law to be? ;)

3 & 4. Skully at "The art of never growing up": Skully is one of Sunhsine's friends and I didn't even realise she was such a craftser until she left a comment on my blog and I followed in back to her. As Sunshine puts it, "She's a good'n that one". She also runs "Autonomous Artisans", a blog giving advise to people setting up mini businesses for the first time via things like Etsy.

5. Last but not least, Sunshine at "The Ministry of Manipulation" : they really don't need any blog traffic as they get loads, but I have to mention it as Sunshine set this up and he and a bunch of his friends run the blog and I'm always going there to see fresh new exciting videos they have trunched up. Usually juggling or circus skills based, but you'll often get dance, magic, and all sorts of other skills based things ... oh alright then, here he is (and this is just a hobby mind you - he has a normal job being a university lecturer too!)...

Enjoy your trip into Mithi's little world ...

And HAPPY VALENTINES everyone!!!