Tuesday, 11 January 2011

When and how was the first ever book in Europe printed? and Who is your favourite expert? And why?

The first book ever printed in Europe was done so by the use xylography (art of engraving on wood, block printing) in 1423.

“Xylography is wood engraving, and the oldest known relief printmaking technique. The discipline was first practiced in China, then picked up in Europe centuries later. Using a block of wood in somewhat the same manner as a rubber stamp, a xylographer cuts and/or carves wood away from those parts of the design that will not be inked. The "sticking up" parts that are left form the final print.”

This was then followed in 1440 with “German inventor Johannes Gutenberg invented a printing press process that, with refinements and increased mechanization, remained the principal means of printing until the late 20th century. The inventor's method of printing from movable type, including the use of metal molds and alloys, a special press, and oil-based inks, allowed for the first time the mass production of printed books.” 

The first book in Europe was printed with the intention of spreading ideas to many people. A larger audience could have access to books like bibles and religious text. 

Who is your favourite expert? And why?

Katsuhiro Otomo

Goseki Kojima

 Jamie Hewlett

 Simon Bisley

Frank Miller

My favourite experts are Goseki Kojima, Katsuhiro Otomo, Frank Miller, Simon Bisley and Jamie Hewlett. 

These artists influenced my still developing mind and have shaped the way I think, view the world and interact with the rest of you.

Over the years I have tried to find out how to draw like these artists and never been very successful, partly due to the fact that they are such amazing artists and I just don’t have that level of natural ability.

It is difficult to choose who is my favourite expert. They have different attributes that I greatly admire. Each one has made a massive and resounding impact on my life and the way I create artwork. Without these artists my world would not be quite as cool.

I like Katsuhiro Otomo and Jamie Hewlett’s ability to define and create elaborately constructed subcultures. They manage to identify with peoples need to be rebellious in a very stylish way.

I like Frank Miller’s unique stark graphic style that creates an incredible intensity, Goseki Kojima beautiful drawing style and Simon Bisley’s epic, larger than life characters.  

Thursday, 6 January 2011

How text can changes the meaning of a photograph

When presented with a photograph, the content that is being depicted is subject to conjecture and the personal opinion of the viewer.

With the introduction of text to the image, the creator of the photograph can attempt to influence and manipulate the way the viewer perceives what is relevant, consequently creating a meaning according to the context.

Documentary photography and photojournalism are clear examples of this. If the photograph were clearly depicting a famous and historic event it would be next to impossible to not have some prior knowledge off, text would be mostly unimportant with the content speaking for its self.

If the photograph were extremely obscure it would become enhanced by being given a context that may have been excruciatingly difficult to fathom with out some form of text giving a written explanation or clue.

This photograph by Paul Lowe is intended to depict the humanitarian and political turmoil that people around the world face on a daily basis.

Paul Lowe has worked for lots of newspapers and been to many war torn countries delivering images like this to audiences across the world.

The signs in this photograph, the child with hands over his eyes, the open car door and the man with his hands behind his back suggest an uneasy, tense situation.

The use of text in this photograph changes our perception of the context. Without the words United Nations this would simply be people on a street, just a man holding a bag with no more meaning than your own imagination wishes to put on it. The introduction of text plays a vital role, making the photographs relevant. 

How text influences our emotions?

Text can help to engage the viewer of a photograph by taking a difficult subject matter and making a statement that challenges our mindset.

The photographer Michael Ensminger uses a heavy dose of irony to make this statement about how we view homeless people.

"Some people were very indignant about what I was doing," he says. "They'd yell things (at the photographer) like, ‘You fucker, leave him alone!' And these were generally liberal people. I found them as narrow-minded as anybody, because they had these pre-formed ideas about how to approach the homeless."

"I wasn't trying to be something I'm not," he says. "I'm not that courageous. I wasn't ready to walk away from my life and my business. I was aware of the options of what I 
can do, and at this point, I'm not trying to illuminate something about the homeless. I'm trying to wring the irony out of it."


Development of Creative Thought and Structure in Illustration and Graphic Art

Over coming mindsets

By looking around us and gathering visual information we build up a personal picture of our environment. The little things that we notice as individuals, and find important, are often discarded by others as irrelevant and visa versa.

In order to be successfully creative we need to have a skill set which enables us to overcome our normal conventional ways of thinking, gathering information, idea generation and ways of representing these ideas creatively.      

By understanding the way we usually think and attempt to solve problems we can deconstruct our mindset and try to challenge conventional ways of working.

As well as looking inwards, we should also gather as much information as possible from the world and the way others produce creative work. This will help to give a platform from which we can assimilate new ideas, enabling the potential of fresh perspectives that were previously out of creative reach.

This is a painting by Kozyndan, it depicts a rabbit on the shore peering at a bunnyfish. The intention in this image could simply be to challenge conventional mindsets regarding fine art.

The painting was made for a ‘Holiday Group’ show at a gallery in Toronto. The audience would be people who like art.

The frame gives the painting an antique look and is also a sign that Kozyndan constantly develop new ways of thinking.

The rabbit has been taken out of context from its normal habitat in the real world and placed along side the surreal bunnyfish.

The media used is gouache on wood paper.

This painting by Kozyndan is also a good example of overcoming mindsets. Mixing cultural and religious images to create interesting and new ideas.  

Managing a Creative Environment

Shawn Barber

The studio of Shawn Barber, he has a collection of tattoo machines on the wall. Artists often have collections of some kind. 

He has a large collection of paintbrushes. Its a good idea to have your tools close to hand, in varied and plentiful supply.

Shawn Barber surrounds himself with inspiration, things that he likes and his own work.

The studio is very dark and has lots of random objects doted around the space, some of which light up the space – fairy lights/fruit machines.

Alexis Mackenzie

Alexis Mackenzie work overflows from her desk. She has a collection of books that she gets from estate sales and various then uses them as inspiration for her work.

Her workspace is a light and relatively ordered place. Her collection of ornaments and images are in neat rows. The space in general is not over crowded with objects or furniture. This is reflected in her work, which is neat and takes great patients. 

It is noticeable that the studios pictured here are organized and designed to reflect the personalities of the artists occupying them and this is reflected in the work they produce

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Production & Outcomes

What are the platforms that Illustrations use to affect the communication?

Here are some examples of the work of Jared Nickerson (J3 Concepts).

The way that J3 Concepts has crossed a variety of platforms is really cleaver and suits his style, which often consists of repeating patterns. There are a lot of different ways that he has put his work out there aimed at young trendy geeky gadget loving skateboarding design conscious persons.

There seems to be a glimpse at an undercurrent of a hint towards a cool retro subculture in a lot of j3’s work. Taking subtle yet iconic images and jumbling them up in to a pastiche of subdued and at the same time vibrantly colourful art works.

The use of retro cool items in his work will draw the attention of niche consumers to his collection of work and the fact that it is digital art means that its relatively simple to recreate the art work on to any format or platform. The message that he is selling to the viewer is to buy in to the unique blend of stylised iconography to enhance your life style. If you like his style then some of the cool stylish uniqueness will reflect upon you.

What is the importance of understanding ones own design process?

When producing artwork it is important to follow a design process to create a interesting and intelligent solution that fits the brief.  

My process starts with trying be be aware of what is going on in the design world, what is trendy and now, and having the ability to draw influences from my environment and collect visual information which I can then use.  

It is important to start by understanding the brief and the clients objectives in order that the end product is appropriate .  Once I am clear with the brief I then do research and come up with some initial ideas, which once discussed can be developed.  I consider my target audience, my intended message, imagery and choice of media.  I have learnt to find a natural stopping point so I don't carry on researching and developing ideas for ever.   

This is an example of my work explaining the process I followed:

The brief; re-brand this logo for thisisgreenliverpool.com

There was no other information given so the first thing that was done was to speak to the client and bounce some ideas off their team. I then received an email with some images that they found interesting and thought that I might be able to work from. I also did my own research split in to two categories, firstly working from the images that they sent and then working from my own ideas. 

I also made sketches and mind mapped ideas with the intention of emailing them to the client to make sure that we were on the same wavelength. After getting some positive feed back and agreeing on the direction they wanted to follow I then moved onto some mock-ups to get ideas for colour and fonts. 

I sent the client a number of different designs and colour mock-ups and made adjustments to there specifications. The finished image was agreed upon and the design was sent to the client in their chosen file type.

By communicating with the client and critically appraising my own ideas and listening to their feedback I was able to create a logo that the client was pleased with.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Identify a three-act structure in a recent film and Character design

I’m a Cyborg but that’s Ok.
There’s a girl and she works in a factory making radios or something, all appears very normal. It becomes evident that she is suffering from a delusional fantasy in which she is a cyborg (a robot that looks like a human). This delusion nearly kills her when she plugs herself into the mains power in an attempt to recharge her batteries. She then gets sent to a mental health hospital because she’s the only one who thinks she’s a cyborg and is unable to convince any one else. 

In the mental hospital she refuses to eat food and tries to gain sustenance from AA batteries by holding them in between her fingers and also licking them, nice. She continues to refuses to eat and thus become more and more dilapidated. She then meets this bloke in the mental hospital. They become friends and he likes her so tries to help her by pretending to invent a device that converts food into stuff cyborg’s can live off. So she starts eating food again and starts to recover.

She also has a fantasy/hallucination where she starts shooting and killing the doctors with heavy-duty firepower coming from her fingertips, cool. 

Act 3
The girl is still delusional and has a dream where she discovers that she is really a bomb and to fulfil her goal she needs to be struck by lighting and blow up. The bloke pretends to help her because he fancies her but intends to save her from herself by sabotaging her attempts to be struck by lighting. Her plan is to go to the top of a hill in the middle of a storm and basically get struck by lightning. Anyway her plan fails with some help from the bloke and they fall in love and live happily ever after.

Character design

Ash Williams from Evil Dead 2
What does the character look like? 

Ash Williams, our protagonist, has the look of a crazed demon killing, chainsaw wielding average Joe. His clothing is torn and blood soaked, his face is cut and twisted with fear and determination. He has one hand missing (because he had to cut it off) and he has to protect a woman from a demon.

What does the character do?

Through out the film Ash mainly has to fight for his life, using only a shotgun and a chainsaw he faces demons and the like in a battle for his soul. The ensuing battle can only be won by reciting from the pages of the Necronomicon (book of the dead) that Ash has to find.

How does the character relate to the other characters and to events in the story?

Ash is an unlikely hero and is forced in to some difficult situations as the events of the story play out. He has to decapitate his girlfriend after she killed and subsequently possessed by a demon. He also get possessed by a demon and cuts his own hand off and beats up on the other characters in the film.


Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Drawing and utilise your creative brain

These images are from the sketchbook of James Jean. They represent good examples of the principals: Drawing and Utilising your creative brain.

The intention of the images above is to help to develop and document ideas, to be a resource for future reference so the things that catch the eye in that moment can become inspiration for things that haven’t necessarily been thought of yet. Also to enhance and maintain the skill of being able to draw, if one doesn’t draw for a while it can take time to regain the ability.

The images are very effective as a resource and also show a really high level of skill and a good ability to observe and depict the subject.

It’s hard to define the audience for a sketchbook because its not the finished article. That leads to the thinking that the primary audience would be the creator of the sketchbook, the point of the sketchbook being to formulate and develop future ideas.

Also the fact that the sketchbooks are included on James Jean’s website show that there is a wider audience who appreciate and value the sketchbooks as separate works of art, but also intrinsically vital to the whole.

The signs in the images are references to the cultural context that the artist is viewing. Things such as airports, film sets, car badges, baseball cards and the people all suggest travelling and a collection of thing from popular American culture. The footnotes under the images on his website indicate where some of the sketches were drawn.

Sketchbooks are often quite personal and could be considered to be a messages or visual notes to the creator of the sketchbook, the context of the sketches depict images of every day life draw overlapping each other using pencil and ink to create strong lines and intense detailing.

This is a quote from illustrator Tin Salamunic.

“I never fully believed in such things as talent. Many see it as some sort of ‘gift‘, or special natural ability to do things without much effort. But many are not aware of the history of hard work most artists carry behind their art. Creativity and great conceptual thinking are not the result of having talent. They are the result of all the artist’s studies and pieces of their visual library in their head forming new images and ideas.
People are always searching for the best way to develop their own personal style or voice in art. The best way to do this is to constantly record images in your sketchbook, draw everything in front of you, keep a visual diary. Draw so much it becomes intuitive, natural, like your handwriting.”