Friday, 12 April 2013

My week at Central St. Martin's!

So for my big Christmas present this year, my parents booked me onto a week's course in Enhanced Illustration at Central St. Martin's College of Art in London, which I've been looking forward to for a while.

The course was geared around creating traditionally-produced images and textures, and using Photoshop's layering, colouring and rendering techniques to create illustrations for a number of different publications. We had four different briefs, which I'll list below.

It was taught by Illustrator and film storyboarder, and general professional Creative Bill Wright, who was a great tutor and really got everyone involved in a very positive way. I'd done a course at St. Martin's before, and the tutor had been a bit intimidating, so I was very pleased with the way this week was being taught - it was obviously intensive (we had to pretty much finish a new illustration every day) but it was done in such a casual, comfortable and engaging way that it didn't seem like very much work at all!

So, anyway...

Brief 1: Create a series of hand-drawn pencil images geared around the theme of either a workplace, kitchen or make-up table, and then compose them around an article template.

So I went for Kitchen, and the article name we were given was 'Kitchen Madness'. I didn't really like the font they used in the article template, so I changed it up a little with one of the fonts I had on my laptop. I originally was going to do a design geared around a drawing I did inspired by that iconic war-time poster of the housewife with the tie in her hair rolling her sleeve up, but in the end I decided a more cutes-y them might be a better shout. Here's what I came up with:

This is a bit rough, and I don't think its the best I could have done but as we had limited time and just the images we'd already drawn to work with, I think it came out pretty good!

Brief 2: Create an illustration based around an article from a newspaper.

So I (being the positive soul that I am) chose a story about a mental health patient who, due to apparent neglect by the NHS killed herself. The story was about the mistreatment of mental health patients. Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to scan the story, so I had to draft the title from memory and added in some template text just to get an idea of how the composition would look on paper.

I did like it, but I maybe went a bit off-piece with the design...I'm not sure my style (at the moment) is quite right for editorial work, but that doesn't mean I didn't learn! I made this using some hand-made colours/textures that I'd scanned in, and an inked drawing of a figure. It came out looking a bit like it had been digitally made rather than traditionally created but as a stand-alone piece I don't mind it!

Brief 3: Create a reportage-style image, either from life or a photo.

Reportage is basically where the illustrator will either be present at the story (i.e, in the courtroom) and sketch whilst the story is happening, or draw from photos that are relevant to the piece. I found an old photo from Reading Festival in 2009 of me and all of my friends sitting around the campsite, though I changed a few things while I was drawing to make it more moody. I think it came out well, though I'm not great with watercolour really, and I'm not used to using a rough, messy style so it was out of my comfort zone, whilst a load of the other students were really used to that so I felt like a bit of an amateur. I like the finished piece though:

I inked the sketch I'd done from the photo, then I painted the watercolours on some tracing paper and put them together in Photoshop.

Brief 4: Create a series of three themed illustrations, using all the techniques learnt during the course.

I think this was my best one, to be honest! Fantasy has always been my forte, and this one actually formed from a doodle I was drawing while I was waiting for my watercolours from Brief 3 to dry. It began with a sort of wooden/stone-type figure, and then she became the focus of all three images. Her arm in the first image is actually because I couldn't find a position I liked it in, so decided to have it crumbling away instead. That, then, became the underlying theme (whatever the theme was, ha)

These definitely took the longest - I scanned the pencil sketches, painted in some basic colours with india ink on tracing paper, shaded with charcoal on some more tracing paper, then put them all in together. The watercolours were actually just the spare paper I'd used to dab my watercolour brush on, but that's why you should never throw anything away! The background was actually just the back of my sketchbook, which I decided I liked the look of so scanned that in and manipulated the colour!

Anyway, that's all that I have to report, hopefully I'll update again soon if I can get my life together!


Biffy Clyro at the O2 (06/04/13)

Hey all,

So i've not been able to update so much the past couple of weeks, but that's largely due to dissertation work, aaaand the week-long illustration course I've been doing at Central St. Martin's in London. It's been a great week, though getting up at 7am every day and commuting into town was a bit of a shock to my lazy student system. The flat I'm staying in is lovely, though I'm under pressure to keep it clean. The greatest part is that I can see the Shard, and London Bridge from my window, they're only about five minutes' walk away!

So anyway, yeah, lots to report! I'll do a separate post on the Illustration course as there's lots of pictures to post up :)

First of all - since going to Foals, I had another stroke of luck and managed to bag myself a free ticket to see Scottish rockers Biffy Clyro at the O2. And, even better, they were being supported by no other than Alexisonfire's Dallas Green, aka City and Colour (such a deep band name ha.)

Has to be said, I know Biffy fans will call this blasphemy but musically I enjoyed C & C a lot more. His voice is almost otherwordly, really clear and piercing, and the acoustics in the O2 are obviously amazing. He did go for an odd choice of cowboy hat but I'm willing to let that slide as his music was so gorgeous.

I really liked 'Sleeping Sickness' and 'Grand Optimist', both of which are in my Spotify top played at the moment. My headphones popped out on the tube the other day and the whole carriage got a preview too. Spreading the love, in a way?

Biffy of course were amazing. Although their vocals weren't as clean-cut, they were no less enjoyable. I think I look for vocals in a live performance as I'm a singer (not a good one, mind) and that's what I naturally listen for. But their gig was great, they were all topless and heavily tattooed (definitely a pro), and were endlessly energetic. Simon Neil stayed onstage for the entire gig, and barely even paused to have a sip of water...amazing!

'Black Chandelier' is their new single, and it was really great. I was also very happy to hear some old classics from my 16-year-old obsession, like 'Who's Got A Match?' and 'Bubbles'. Even if you don't like the music that much, they still know how to keep everyone on their feet (we were in seated, and everyone was standing by about 5 minutes into their set!)

Anyway, it was a great night out, and though it was a bit bizarre standing next to my parents while everyone around us was dressed entirely in black and head-banging furiously, it was still great fun and I'm glad I got the chance to see them live, especially as they're in much higher demand than they were about four years ago!

Anyhoo, art-related post coming soon!