Over this first week of the Easter holiday’s (26/03/18) I have been working on generating further images for my children’s book following the successful developments I had made at the start of the week.
Using Quentin’s influence of using wet media loosely and creating work with an energetic approach to drawing and use of colour. I have worked at an enjoyable and flowing rhythm getting me through my 32 page story at a pleasing pace.
My process has involved using firstly my favoured 2H pencil to create my loose sketches by holding the pencil at a sharp angle to create wide but soft lines guided by my page plans from my storyboard as a reference.
Following this activity I have been blocking in my paint colours with my collection of various flat brushes to work quickly with my thinking and to create interesting textures and allow for more effects that are out of my control.
I will use tools such as the round brush, my 8B graphite pencil and 2B Conte pencil and dip pen and ink drawing to complete the image with more technical control and for touching up the image.
Using a large palette has been a fantastic set up for providing me with more room to mix my colours that I’d often find frustrating with the usual smaller palettes.
Using inks has been a preferred choice of materials as they are strongly water based this enables my colour mixtures to correspond efficiently to my thinking as my ideas develop. This way my process is very alive and stimulating and therefore recieved as such by the audience.
Having been away ill for a week (19/03/18). I have returned to the studio with intentions to work their over the Easter break. My first day back (26/03/18) has proved a very productive and successful start. Using Quentin Blake’s ‘Words and Pictures’ (2000) book of illustrations as a key point of frequent reference I have been creating my images with an enjoyable and flowing pace of process.
Having receiving some feedback from a friend in the classroom, my choice of materials are said to work really well creating interesting textures that pulls you to the work for longer contemplation.
Having done all the design planning in previous storyboarding I am simply working on just fulfilling the plans in full colour rather than working the idea of the image.
I feel my colour palette is working with the sequential images as they connect to each other with a predominant use of blue and browns. I feel these pastel tones are also refreshing and mimic nature with particular similarity to autumn which is quite a warm and welcoming aura.
I wish to continue with this way of working for all of the images of my 32 page story using the energy that I have best in the mornings. I want to do as many as I can but listening carefully to when I no longer want to do anymore. I will think about the editing and text for this children’s book once I have completed my first round of the drafted storyboard in full colour experiments.
My latest influence has been the wonderful work of Quentin Blake. I have returned to the library and have taken yet again great fascination into Quentin’s book named ‘Words and Pictures’ (2000). From here I have been studying Quentin’s use of visual language. I have been looking at the way how Quentin uses his limited materials and have admired Quentin’s casual use of drawing and wash of watercolours and inks.
Below are some regularly looked at pages from the book:
Quentin draws upon his energy he masters in line and it is this playfulness and unashamed casualness to his imagery that I wish to continue as he has done into the world of finished results.
I feel that I meet someone really fascinating in Quentin’s images. It is under the condition’s of enjoying the images for himself that I wish to go about making my own images. As I sense that I am speculating in on someones personal love to this insistent habit.
Using this research my idea’s on my colour palette have been more easier. I swab colours from various of Quentin’s images and take them into play with my own images. The image below is approached with a fluidity and rhythm of painting. I enjoy making brushstrokes that remain visible in the work and leaving places unfinished. The ink drawing is particularly a place where I get to have more control but I let loose on creating expression with it and I very much enjoy the fun of creating this materials own take on this layer of impression. I can really do what I want with it! I also use a blunt conte pencil to create soft texture for webbing. Texture is something that I want to work in as important tool in my ingredients at play in the image.
I feel the result of this image is a successful one. The textures and the collaboration of mixed media is well-balanced avoiding the sense of an overworked or underworked image. This image has depth in the exploratory landscape of muted layers of colours. The wash helps to create an attractive transparency that preserves my movements with my materials. This has evidenced my impression of each detail of the form. I intend to take more of my storyboard into this continued method of making.
With this idea of keeping my visual language very untamed rather than refined and cleaned up in the way that I work my final images. I took on the tutors advice and had a go at re-using the blue ink wash process that had been so successful with my storyboarding.
Remembering Anna’s advice of Luke Best’s interesting multi media digital layering of the work that he makes I came up with the idea of separating my image into three parts being foreground, middle and background. For each of these parts I’d work them in separately and see how this worked.
This brief experiment led me to this outcome which worked quite nicely. However the interruption of this process didn’t feel stimulating enough so I returned to the drawing board and aimed to complete all the making there.
At this point I took some time out from making and reflected on my images that were working and thought about the illustrator’s whose similar processes could elevate and inform this way I like to work and see what I can learn from their final image results.
This is when the idea of Quentin Blake returned to me.
This week (12th March) I have been using my feedback to inform my material process to experiment with the image making for my Children’s book.
I began with this first image of my storyboard:
My goal was to use the feedback I have received from my mock Viva and tutorials to work my images from this draft to an acceptable finished result for printing.
Following the positive response from tutor Georgina who was excited about my vibrant work with mixed media. I generated this impression using the soft pastels, acrylics and inks that I had recently become familiar with in my practice following the discovery through play with my material explorations.
I enjoyed making this image and felt pleased with the outcome for its layered and textural applications. This process didn’t take me no long than an hour and a half and I felt that it worked as an alluring image that fitted with my impression of the world of the narrative I intended to convey. The image has working elements such as depth to draw people in and it communicated the visit of Ella going to grandmas house through the expression and action of the characters. I played with the process of the background to this familiarised process that had now been used with a painted colour background rather than a coloured paper background. I prefered this background as it had more texture and evidence of my interactivity with its process.
However, after having spoken to Dan Peterson in a tutorial to whom I presented this outcome too. I learned of his disapproval with this way of making and Peterson instead recommended that I work with washes as I do with my storyboard process using the influences of the majority of wet media artists that I have been looking into, especially in the direction of Ardizzone.
The discussion with Peterson led me to realise that this heavily built process of mixed media process was drifting far away from works that I frequently highlight in my research and conflicts with my original intentions to maintaining this raw form of expression that I wished to support in the way that I work. This way my work is open to evidencing every feature of recorded process working towards as the ingredients together that reflect the mood of the moment at life in the image.
This contemplation circles back to my dissertation research discovery of Robert Henri and his wise words of wonder:
“There are pinnacles of our experience and it is the desire to express these intimate sensations, this song from within, which motivates the masters of all art.” pg 45 -(1923: art spirit)
This connects to how it is very much about process and being as real and reflective to ourselves as we should allow ourselves to express in our voices of our visual expression.
I have been very busy and have successfully completed a full 32 page plan of my children’s book story into a secondary approved storyboard.
Here are some images from my storyboard:
The idea to make a page plan sprung from the desire to develop these images below. I explored economic materials such as pencil and inks to express my flowing ideas:
Having had various responses from this material process it is agreed that my pencil and ink language work really well to create a sense of life and energy in the work that I must maintain when I work with the finished result. According to the Feedback I have received it is a popular opinion that I should mimic Ardizzone as a method into transforming my work from draft to finished result with this sustainability of living energy that is expressed through coordinated colour and organic line language.
According to my head of year tutor Amelia, it is recommended that I look into purchasing dark blue ink and explore watercolour as Ardizzone does. I am now at a stage where I am preparing to explore these ideas.
Having had a tutorial with Ameila, I was suggested to study Edward Ardizzone’s use of visual language to address my next step into developing larger editions of my latest page plans to consider colour strategy planning and clearer imagery.
Looking at Ardizzone’s work I can see how the quality of line draws out the definition of the imagery. A mix of broken line for detail is used and solid line is used for the important framework of the scene with the boy’s body being the most concentrated on and therefore results in a powerful tool for the audiences attention to follow Ardizzone’s direction.
The materials would be a dip pen and ink according to Amelia who really recommended this tool to my explorations and the distinctive wash of watercolour.
I can see how the texture of crosshatching is also very alluring to the work of the image. This creates a contrast to the relaxed surrounding features of the line work and draws us in with this new and surprising energy.
I can also see how a rich tone of colour is also used to draw attention to the main features of the work being the people. This attention to the character is also intended for how I visualise the approach to my own work. Ardizzone’s tools of magnetising the eyes to the people is something I desire to experiment with very soon.
“There is a little world at the end of my pencil,” Lobel once said. “I am the stage director, the costume designer, and the man who pulls the curtain.”– (Source: https://hyperallergic.com/108036/behind-the-scenes-with-a-beloved-childrens-book-illustrator/)
I had purchased the book ‘Frog and Toad All Year’ by author and Illustrator Arnold Lobel. I have read this book shown below and have studied Lobel’s story writing as well as the techniques of his image making. The images below highlight my pages of key interest.
About the story writing:
I love the contrast of the characters personalities being extrovert Frog and Introvert Toad this draws me to desiring to get to know how each take different approaches to their activities. I also like the playfulness on simple and renowned problems related to each chapter of season. For example winter brought danger and summer brought melting ice creams. This makes their experience a realistic and relatable interpretation of real life. Lobel dives deeper imaginatively into these simple situations and creates activities that these characters get up too in accordance to each situation. Lobel invites empathy to each of the characters through the kind and loyal friendship of these two loveable and clearly inseparable characters.
About the illustrations:
Like I had pointed out about the work of Edward Ardizzone, Lobel uses a similar approach of drawing out the main features of the work from the environment with the quality of line. A denser line is consistently used for the work on the characters that shows where Lobel has targeted the points with the most concentration into the work as he wishes for his audience to spend as much time as he did into admiring the life of the characters. These more solid, detailed and bold line maneuvers compare to the flexible and loose language of the dreamt world around them. Cross hatching is also used to hook out attention with texture as well as bright tones of colour that stand out from the muted natural settings.
Looking at the mixed media work of Luke Best has been inspiring as it relates to the thinking and making I am employing with my own mixed media project. Best’s use of space was pointed out to me by Anna who encouraged that I play with this in my own practical research. Impossible layouts in the composition is a design that works really well for Best and works to create the depth and therefore invite into the expansion of space that is created in the image. What I like most about Best’s work is the control of the image using stamps of solid colour to direct the important features of the interesting environment of the work. I like how there is a lot going on using layering and different materials and techniques and how this is all harmonized with the pull of the solid colours that tug us to where Best want’s us to focus on. I also really like the process of layering that is used digitally.
Interestingly Best creates a landscape of experimental exploration of media in his juxtaposed utility of media and this helps to give it a sense of adventure and escapism. An attribute that I’d like to occupy and stir within my own images.