Wednesday, 24 December 2008

What it feels like...

What it feels like to go through a plane crash then to walk away after watching so many people die... Not easy to express..
I feel this has worked well for me though. After a lot of discussion with tutors about how and what to express and generally trying to be more concise with my imagery I feel I have managed to blend together a few different ideas within this piece to produce an image that is an effective communication of an idea whilst also being quite a striking and emotive piece.
Being able push my abilities with the different softwares I employed to produce this was also good for me. I used a combination of Adobe illustrator for the plane drawing and the passengers and then some painting in Corel Painter and of course photoshop to collate everything.

It found it was important for me to retain some sensitivity towards this subject matter and I feel that the use of the fine art influences gives this piece a certain feel of sensibility.

Sunday, 14 December 2008


Here are my final images from the Visual language brief... They represent; 'The credit crunch', 'Abortion' and 'Knife crime'. As, In order from left to right, synecdoche, metaphor and metanym.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Barcelona & Patrick Thomas

So, we returned from Barcelona a few weeks ago and this post is a little late in coming.

The visit at STUDIO LA VISTA to meet Patrick Thomas was an interesting insight into how an independent illustrator lives and works. I think I became more interesed in the surroundings than looking at the presentation he had prepared for us though. It was a intriguing to see how he will sometimes take the first thing that google brings up and pretty much use that to form his image. There was a heavy use of screen print in his work and he was eager to stress the amount of process that goes into the final production of his work. The images were kept very simple and there is little or no evidence of drawing in his work, most probably due to his beginnings in as a graphics student.

The Picasso Museum was awesome. Really giving me a much fuller appreciation of his talent and ability and his cause throughout his carreer. I found a little out about myself I think and was inspired by his ability to change his style and outlook and really too change the face of art as we know it. Truly he deserves the moniker of genius with which he was associated.

I thought it was important to write up some of the notes I gathered on the Miro museum we visited there (considering I managed to almost fill an entire notepad with notes!).
Not really having a lot of prior knowledge on the artist upon entering the museum let me really immerse myself in the place and approach it with an open view.
Inside we are exposed to a really wide array of artworks, from sculpture and (extremely large!) weaving, to carvings and of course the many paintings. I thought of him more as an illustrator of ideas and really began to appreciate the (somewhat cryptic) message of his work. While it took a lot of thinking about the semiotic references contained there when it bagan to filter in I was astounded by the sometimes vivid message towards the establishment which he despised. His feelings of disgust for the war and commentary on the other great themes are more than adaquately displayed within the exhibition.
It was interesting to read how he thought that his work; 'reduced life to a more simple time,'
and to observe how people would look at the scribblings comtained within the work and mockingly observe the reference to the male genitalia, deliciously unaware of the irony and their ignorance of the piece as a whole.
All in all he gave me more of an appreciation for the visual language he employed and as peer of Picasso provides an interesting juxtaposition as an artist that certainly never developed the degree of draftsmanship evident in picasso's earlier work, but did however communicate to anyone with an appreciation the newer ideas in art and some of those possibilities.
He explained himself that, 'I have always evaluated the poetic content according to the visual possibilities'.

Whilst in the city we also managed to visit the Segrada Familia, the project begun as the brainchild of Gaudi and then later adopted under Franco's regime and subsequently wrecked by introducing completely different design ideal. One has to wonder how it would have looked if Gaudi's design would have been allowed to come into fruition.

We also managed to visit the MACBA gallery. Here however I believe we reached saturation. Whilst there was some interesting commentary on the culture of spain and indeed the last 100 years or so, and some great spontanious shots captured within, we all decided to try to absorb the cuture more directly from here and went and explored the city on foot.

Friday, 14 November 2008

Tal Rosner lecture

Tal Rosner is another BAFTA winning film-maker. Recently we were lucky enough to recieve a lecture by him at our college on his work.

The focus was mainly on his work over the last four years or so...

He firstly completed a graphic design degree and then an MA at ST Martens studying the moving image pathway. During this time he learned the software (mainly after effects) by himself. Largely it seems, by trial and error.

The first part of the lecture consisted largely of clips of his films, first of which was DOPPELGANGER; This was his final piece for his Masters degree and he regards it as his 'true starting point, his first complete film'.
The film for the work was made by attaching the camera to a train that ran around the london docklands. The film has been edited in after effects and transformed into a piece of moving, mirrored mesh of pattern and mood set to an exciting techno soundtrack.
The screen would split off like a kaleidoscope into quarters as segmented parts of mirrored film dubbed to be in time with the music.

Following this he obtained what he had thought would be his dream job working within a larger crew on big projects. This he soon realised though would not be the opportunity he first thought and he became unhappy, wanting more time for his own smaller, personal projects.

After explaining this he showed us another film, a collaboration with a pair of female pianists playing music written for two pianos. The particular piece he made a film for was by STRAVYNSKI; This film again concentrates a lot on pattern and rythm, with the buildings becoming more abstracted throughout it's progress.
The screen is mainly split centrally and use of colour, speed and rythm as well as different types of scenery are all used as part of Tal's visual language throughout.
It's fun to think how different things might be employed and to note how green fields and passages of buildings, factories and industrial sections all move with different movements of the music. Or for example, how at one point the pointed mark of an unusual singular stab of a bass key which is out of sync with the rest of the music, is signified with the negative static image of a singular tree. A repeated motif.

This sort of synchronisation and pattern it seems is something Tal has tried to improve upon with his work, the next piece DEBUSSY BLANC ET NOIR showed even more experimentation with this sort of translation.
During this film different sort of mood was portrayed whilst footage of mainly coastal areas was displayed. Reversing the film, much use of statics and a lot of changes of the images using the strong manipulation techniques available with the Adobe suite it seems have been employed.

Much more compositing of images is used now and the effect is again interesting and different.

Off the back of the Stravinsky piece Tal says he managed then to secure a job producing a low budget title sequence on the E4 project that became SKINS. He showed us a film of the first title sequence of the series.
After explaining that this was final edit version number 72(!!! :0 ), he explained how some of the original ideas for had to be modified, like how originally they had planned nine different outros as well as the famous intros for each character.
This work has a much more commercial feel and but it definately feels in line with the rest of Tal's earlier work.

Another piece he showed us was very much a musical endeavor where he had worked with his friend Sophie Clements. He called this his first collabritive piece with a lot of analysis and communication of how the film should work.
The piece was made in time with a wind up piano and really just has to be seen to be appreciated. Follow the link.

He carried on to speak about his collaboration with the London Symphony orchestra on The seven days of Creation. A project that meant employing six screens being projected above the orchestra and synchronising his effects with the music.
We talked about some of the issues this raised technically, including how the conductor would be able to ensure that they stayed in synchronicity and how the images and footage were chosen, how much time was needed to be spent working so closely together.
It seems as though there was a lot of very close debate as to what would work when and how.

He went on to explain about a newer piece commissioned by Channel 4 as part of their annual animation schemes designed to challenge the boundaries of animation. This forced him to find new avenues of inspiration and he began by basing it around a circle around London that he had found interesting for various reasons.
The film, WITHOUT YOU was as much about the sounds that went with the footage as it had been filmed and the emotional impact of this.
He also explained the influence of the poetry of the artist Josef Albers which has helped to inspire the film. He as eager to point out the fact that few people realised that Albers had a collection of poetry as he is obviously more widely recognised as a visual artist.

He was asked afterwards about his personal influences and he named mainly work from the period of about 1905-35

He states that he tries to provoke an emotional response with his work.

He sees himself more as a sculptor of images. An intersting thought considering the amount he manipualtes the resource at his disposal.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Vera Neubauer @ the cornerhouse

Just got back from the cornerhouse, went to check out the drawing exhibit (the intertwining line, more about that later) and managed to catch another talk about contemporary animation (Tal Rosner was yesterday and again, more about that in another post...).

For those of you that are unaware Vera Neubauer is a two time BAFTA award winning film maker of more than 30 years.
Born in Chezchoslovakia, she moved to Germany to study applied art, then later on to printmaking at the royal college where she moved on to the moving image. Here, although it was not being officially taught in schools until about 1985, she began to study animation.

It is perhaps due to this unstructured, experimental, method whereby she was; "given a camera and told to go and find out how it worked herself", that her work is so loose and immediate.
The ink & brushwork she employs so often is intrinsic to the nature of her films, they convey a sense of immediacy and spontanaity and are a good tool for the process whereby, "the communication of the idea is more important than whether or not it is a fine, intricate, beautifuly crafted drawing..." In-fact she sees her drawings; "more as designs".

She was eager to stress throughout the interview that she felt it was more important to keep the energy up thoughout the creation of her films. That; "any loss of enthusiasm shows in the finished piece."

We saw a total of four examples of her films in the short time we were allocated, all incorporating the loose drawing style, we were infromed that these pieces fitted in more with the theme of the exhibition. They were;

"Cannon Fodder." c1971.
Her final piece for the Royal College, London.

"Lady Of The Lake." c1995.
A fairy tale type affair with that underlying moralistic theme, bewitching and clever.

"The Mummy's curse."c1987.
Of which we only saw five minutes, which was a shame ...It was only just getting started.

"I Dance." c1999.
Which is only about a minute long.

"Wheel of Life." c1996.
A biblical episode whereby the story of Adam and eve then Cain and Abel is told by use of a mix of stop frame animation using sand as the medium and film of the sea and other elements mixed together. She said that the story of the bible contained all of the elements she wanted to convey.

When asked who her influences were she became a little confused. She explained that we are bombarded by many, many things every day and to try to extrapolate only one or two influences from all of these things was foolish. She employs any medium which suits the purpose for her idea which in turn fuels her originality.
She did howerver (after some cajoling) mention Robert Breer.

I would say that there was a heavy influence of african style in much of her imagery.

Her films are an interesting mix of suggestions and visual metaphors and ideas that there is almost too much going on sometimes.
They are complex and yet simple they make a good representation of an emotional state, sometimes turmoil, sometimes joy, sometimes just plain awe. Any trick is employed to create the desired motion of the characters and elements and to portray their thoughts and feelings.
One moment the camera will shake back and forth to simulate a character sahking their head in hesitation, the next, the picture before us changes from a couple in coitus, then exploding into myraid shapes and forms.

She was a little perplexed that making one film with some adult themes in meant that all of a sudden she was percieved by the industry as somebody who only makes films purely for adults. She played down any mention of feminist angles in her films, although there was certainly a hint of freudian language.
It seemed to be a need for Vera to work in some isolation and out of the 'heirarchies and structure,' of animation studios, to retain her freedom and creative sense that she has ended up working this way. She takes her influences from things she sees around her and usually on quite a tight budget.

She has no immediate plans for the future, no comissions in the pipe line anyway. It seems that the peaks and troughs of demand for her type of work depand on the fickle nature of the fine art community.
And so it seems she has now earned herself a little 'play time'

Friday, 7 November 2008

The Intertwining Line

Chris, I really recommend that you get yourslf along to the latest exhibition at 'The Cornerhouse', The Intertwining Line : Drawing as Subversive Art, some of the drawing of little ideas is absolutely stunning, with such a sense of craft and sensitivity - like the image posted, by Rachel Goodyear. Many of the drawings have been used in simple animations. It is free entry. Below is a link to further information about the show:

Thanks Jo...already had it pencilled in to the diary... Looks good.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Animation studio in the uk

Just recording something about this studio working out of Dundee.. I found them whilst browsing ComputerArts magazine. They'd won an advertising award for a short film and have some interesting things going on..
It seems as though they are quite keen to hire graduates and more experienced staff at the moment. They need help using some specific 3d software to further aid them in thier efforts to produce waht is predominantly children's animation.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008


Stephane Tartelin is another designer that uses a lot of line drawings and (very) muted pallettes...But is also someone who has crossed many boundaries with their art, producing illustrations, animations and 3d graphic work...

His use of line I find very interesting..Almost confused, just enough to suggest more to the character...never misplaced. The way he works with form, distorting and warping his creations is something I find easy to admire.
The range of work displayed on his site is so broad that you really should look for yourself..Truly someone who does not feel compelled to work within too many boundaries.

Sam webber

Her is a piece by Sam Webber I particularly like... Ethereal, very moody sort of fantastical. The expresion on the characters' face tells the story.

The major points for me are the looseness of line, the informal way they mix on the page. These muted pallettes keep cropping up; pretty washy.

More on jeremy

Was looking again at Jeremy Forsons' work. Trying to decide what it was that drew me in...I always admire good draftsmanship.
I suppose I like the comicky style to the line art as well as maybe the slightly macabre subject matter. I also find it interesting to see how he mixes in various textures and text, reminiscent of Dave Mckean...

O.K .....So, you asked...

This work by Yoku Shimizu is amazing . There is so much going on. Great use of patterns and texture without becoming confused and a lovely flow to the composition with all the elements given just enough space to breathe whilst retaining that nice sense of proportion.

I always seem to prefer things like album/book covers, sometimes posters...they usually have more time lavished on them and look better for it....After all, you can't force art, can you.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Sam Webber....Stephane Tartelin..Yuko Shimizu and more

don't ask me, just look....

visual language (cont.)

This image (left) by Lawrence Zeegen contains metonyms for the inventor through the devices of the wheel and the light-bulb relating to perhaps the most famous of inventions

This image by Chris Moore found in The directory of Illustrators Originals, contains the image of Big Ben a widely accepted synecdoche for London but also (especially in the context of the image ) for civilization (remember Planet of the Apes?).

Visual Language...The art of rhetoric

Over the next few days we are looking at visual language as related to terms (from the Greek) that usually relate to literary ideas; methods of communicating an idea.

(left)a metaphor for Brand Analysis the image is by Mick Brownfield published in AOI. images 28

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Texas Rex and the Zombie Hunters

This link is to our completed animation from the first few months of this year at uni in the 'moving image' elective subject classes. We learnt a few new pieces of software, namely adobe after effects and some new tricks with photoshop.
We thought it turned out pretty well, I was pleased with the way everything came together and thought we met our goals well.

Most of the scenery was made by Natalie (who i need to add on here somewhere , she is awesome and worked really hard on this). And Chris Madden (who I also need to add) worked on developing a lot of the ideas and concepts with us, then he and myself designed the characters to be used.

We all took differnet sections of the film to create and set off. The first 35 seconds or so are what I created with the pan across the deserted town and the character intro text and although a little infuriating at times they have worked quite well.
All in all we worked well as a team and it was an enjoyable experience.

Monday, 20 October 2008

link to my deviant art account

I am trying to use my Deviant art profile to raise my profile and also gain constructive critcism from the community.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Gillian Blease

We have an upcoming lecture by the practicing illustrator Gillian Blease. If you like bold graphic uncomplicated imagery, then this should be up your street....

Link to juxtapoz

Here's a link to another interesting site for creatives.

link to itsnicethat....because it is

Jon Sullivan

Here is another artist I find inspirational, he began using traditional media and has moved on to employing digital methods...See if you can spot the difference!..

He does some nice break downs of his work to dispel some of the mystery and give some hints on how the pieces are achieved..

link to cg society

If anyone is wondering where I get my inspiration, or how far they might be able to push the computer generated imagery type side of things, here is a site I usually find my way to when I'm browsing arty type stuff on my own...

The site contains lots of tutorial and mad award winning stuff...Beware, it is mostly created using advanced software but the quality is astounding and I find the endeavors of the artists involved a real source of inspiration.

Friday, 10 October 2008

Figure works

Here's couple of things I came up with in class this week.
For anyone who is interested, we took elements from different influences we liked and kind of threw them all in the mixing pot..
My influences included eduardo Paolozzi and Push Pin studios, and also regency fashion.

I always like to throw different media together and see what I can achieve with the them.

Achieving a unity means getting the most out of the software and being inventive and making use out of things that might at first seem useless (and probably end up in the waste paper basket anyway eventually). I like to get some elements of my own hand in there though of course and I enjoy the mix of using my own feel for shape and composition with the ephemera that goes in to my things.

Hope you enjoy them.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Link to interesting Screen printing group

Since we've been given a brief requiring us to a produce a screen print I have been researching into the industry and finding groups that use this technique.
This sort of art is very much en-vogue with posters for rock bands at the moment. Here's a little company of illustrators I found whilst googling the other night, some really nice work I think.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

An introduction. post number one

Hi everyone.
I am an illustration student at stockport college , manchester, england.
Currently in our second year of a B.A we are all being forced to start a blog to inform you of our interests, ideas, plans for world domination, here you go.
Hopefully of course this will be an informative learning process for all involved, full of interesting, bright ideas that push the boundaries of excitement to new levels....Or maybe I'm getting carried away..
My interests range across , well pretty much anything that is interesting at the time.. My studies have led me through a fine art oriented background, so I tend to be more interested in traditional styles. This isn't absolutely true of course as I am prone to working digitally for a large amount of my time ( as can be seen above). My wacom is an extension of my being... ;)