Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Friday One to One

I had my Friday one to one with Nicola. We talked about what I had been doing in my sketchbook - mainly texture experiments because I'm still unsure of a theme. Then we talked about my ideas which are to either do a children's book or a fiction book about death or with Death as a character. My other idea is to use Silver Crow in my story. I tried to explain what's in my head - about doing something a bit more experimental and 3D. Trouble is I'm not totally sure myself what that something is. I do know I want to be more textured, sculptural - 3D.

Nicola asked whether I felt I had a connection with the bird and I said that yes I do. I see her as a muse in a way and she does seem to appear when I need a little boost. Like a positive affirmation. I have done several little projects depicting a silver jackdaw which I call The Silver Crow Project. We also spoke about how I had got my 11 year old to read The Heart and the Bottle by Oliver Jeffers and then I asked her what it was about. She had said that she thought it was a strange story about a girl who carries her heart in a bottle. She didn't get the death connection at all and when I asked her if she noticed that the Dad/Grandad character wasn't in it after a while, she said not really. Which led me to think - although Oliver Jeffers is one of my own favourite illustrators and she does love some of his other books... is it us adults that buy the books because we love his work. Maybe the idea of death and mourning - which this book is about, is a little above the child's head. It did open up a discussion, maybe that's the idea. But in the end a children's book needs to be incredibly sensitively handled and although I have a huge interest in the whole area, I shouldn't rush it and we really don't have that long with this book. So maybe look at making a more personal narrative involving Silver Crow but keep the other idea on the back burner to continue looking into as I progress and even after uni.

Nicola said she could see that I am a maker and want to be using my hands so my task, instead of doing loads and loads of drawings is to try and make, make, make for the coming Friday. Experiment with models, materials, scale etc. Also to work on my confidence and to believe I do belong there and am on the right course. That my work is illustration because I do want to communicate my ideas. I really came away feeling like someone understood where I was coming from and were I want to go. It was a good talk.

Silver Crow
Silver Crow is an actual bird that flits about my local area. She is a jackdaw that I first saw when we were looking for a new house to rent. When we got near to this property we saw a silver coloured baby crow pecking about on the verge. From then on she was called Silver Crow even after I realised she was actually a jackdaw - after doing a bit of research into corvids. I believe in signs and was sure  this was one that we should take the house we were viewing... it helped that it came with a workshop too.

My partner said not to get attached as these genetic abnormalities usually occur in the female and they are usually picked off by the rest of the flock because they would stand out and become a potential threat to predators like hawks.

However over seven years later and she is still here, still flying around with her flock and still visits our bird table occasionally. 

Carmen Wing - Silver Crow Jackdaw
Carmen Wing - Silver Crow Jackdaw
Carmen Wing - Silver Crow Jackdaw

Authorial Narrative - Week Two Thoughts

Week two has probably been one of my most enjoyed weeks at uni so far. I have come home exhausted every day but feeling like I have done so much work and taken in so much.

The week started with two animation lessons on Monday - the first in the morning with a Tim Webb workshop that made us think about our narrative. I was really worried about this as don't really have my narrative yet but we were encouraged to work with whatever was in our heads at the time. 

We then wrote that narrative from a variety of different perspectives and this was really helpful actually in making me think a bit deeper about what I want to do. the narratives all got handed in and shuffled and handed out again so that we had someone elses and then we had to storyboard what we thought it was about. This was a really interesting way in seeing how other people interpret what you write and also how you work with other peoples work. 

I was quite surprised to get my interpretation back - it was Katy G. who did mine and after asking if I was OK, which was really funny and sweet (my narrative, surprise, surprise was about death - a children's book on that subject still at the front of my mind) she talked me through her storyboard. It was an eye opener to see that she had interpreted my words into being about a teenager who was plugged in to their gadget and felt very alone and isolated from the world. She could almost have been describing my daughter who is never without her music. I was quite taken aback but loved what she described - the teenager all grey while the world around her was all colourful. A really helpful exercise in seeing things from different viewpoints.

In the afternoon session with Andy we did more story boards and spoke about how they are an essential tool for not only animators but illustrators too. We story boarded the Pixar short 'The Birds' and again, it makes you look more closely at the film. How shots are set up to describe location, size, perspective, narrative, emotion - even in a non-speaking film. 

On Thursday - I just knew it was going to be a good day when John started the day by talking about two of my favourite illustrators - Dave McKean and Oliver Jeffers. We watched the Oliver Jeffers short video. 
I've actually just had his new art book arrive - oh it's beautiful. Hefty - you could do some damage with it! I might do a review on it at some point.

We then analysed a couple of animations and were told this is how we should be analysing art works - so I know now that the two I analysed the other day are not done properly - not nearly in depth enough. If I get time I will go back and redo them but otherwise I will just try and do the future ones using the template questions from that exercise.

We then got into groups and took head shots  of each other doing different expressions or actions to build ourselves a reference library. Then came back to the studio and spent some time doing portraits using these head shots. First an exercise in charcoal and then more loosely in ink.

I Usually Hate Charcoal

I can never get it to do what I want and then I never now how to properly seal it without wrecking it. But using the jumping off point tips that John demoed, dare I say it, I'm really pleased with how this turned out. I rarely try and draw realistic but Sophie M. - who I was drawing, knew straight away that this was her. I'm going to practice some more with this - blocking in and pushing back, erasing to get the right shades and tones - really enjoyed it and am really pleased with the outcome too.
Carmen Wing: Charcoal portrait

We all put our portraits up on the wall and they looked so good together as a group. It was really good seeing everyone's work all together. This is also a milestone moment as it is the first time I haven't been embarrassed to have my work on the wall with everyone else. I don't know if that means I am getting better or just a little more confident maybe.
Carmen Wing - Uni Studio - Everyones Charcoal portraits on display
Carmen Wing - Uni Studio - Everyones Charcoal portraits on display
I really love how the image I did and the image next to it seem to be sharing a knowing look!
Carmen Wing - Uni Studio - Everyones Charcoal portraits on display

This post has got really long so I am going to do a separate one for Friday when we did the one-to-one tutorials. But just this couple of days has felt really good. It's given me a jump start on this project and my mind is all over the place with ideas at the moment - I just need to remember to document them. I keep forgetting the tutors can't see in my head!

Sunday, 4 November 2018

DYP - Twitter Art Exhibit

The Twitter Art Exhibit has put out it's call for participants. I have been a participant for a few years now. The exhibit is for professional and amateur artists all around the world to donate a postcard sized artwork to that years chosen charity. Each card is sold for exactly the same price regardless who made it and 100% of the money goes to the charity. It's an event which has grown and grown year on year. Last year was the first time it was held in the UK - in Stratford-Upon-Avon and so I was able to attend and actually see my card on display (and very exciting - the subsequent red dot!) Over £8000 was raised just on the opening night that year and the charity, always a local one to the area, benefited so much.
Once again it's coming back to the UK and I have just registered my participation for this year. I am hoping to make it up to Edinburgh to see the actual show in May too.  The main requirement is that you have a Twitter account - seriously this event is the ONLY reason I have a Twitter account. Although I believe they are relaxing the rules to include Instagram this year - best to check that. If I can urge anyone to take part - please do! It's such a good thing to be a part of and always such worthy causes. And hey - you get to say you have been exhibited all around the World! 

Thanks for stopping by.