Working on one single project all year has been a completely new experience for me. It’s certainly been a challenge, but has also been far more rewarding that I could have ever expected.
I came back from summer with a series of images and vague ideas to do with the re-creation of some childhood drawings, and although I was pleased with how the animations and images were coming out, I quickly realised that the thing that they lacked was substance. There was no purpose behind this project other than to make pretty pictures, which is not really what illustration is about.
So, I sat down and brainstormed with the tutors during a series of tutorials to help me discover what I really cared about in the world; what I liked and disliked, and what I would change if I could. After these tutorials, I went away and did some more visual brainstorming of my own which came out on the page as a few sketchy comics depicting my concerns with the education system’s attitude towards creativity and creative learning – How it favours academic subjects over creative, and considers academic thinking to be “smarter” than creative thinking.
In the process of making these rough comics, I started to swap the people in my comics for made up creatures. I naturally found these monsters were able to get my point across a lot easier since they carry no preconceptions of race or gender.
I felt like these humanoid characters were far better at getting the point of the issue across because most of the time they were depicted as genderless, raceless and somewhat ageless, so they were more relatable for all types of people and they allowed me to tackle some more sensitive subjects without making people feel like I’m giving any direct blame to certain groups of people. On top of this, they had the potential to be recognisable as mine.
I carried on these comics as I had started them, in little 50p books made of cartridge paper. This small, private way of working helped me created work that was louder and bolder than I feel I could have done on a large scale. I am always scared to offend people or get on people’s nerves with my opinions, so I liked having something to work in that, once closed, didn’t shout or provoke. This idea of having work that doesn’t say much until you open it carried on with me all the way up until the degree show.
This also tied in neatly to my dissertation, since it was on issues of sexism within children’s television shows. Even though I tried to cover all subjects, I did create a lot of comics on sexism inspired by the research done for my dissertation.
As the books grew, I started to delve into other mediums such as digital art and plasticine models. These plasticine models were used to create the beginnings of a short animation based on one of the comics I’d made, though this idea was left as development work because of the clay and moving picture’s inability to capture the “punch” the comics had. After receiving help and feedback from my Mock Viva, I moved onto newer and better ideas that would eventually manifest as a tabloid, my piece for the Encounter module.