As I understand it week one is about critically analysing my practice and locating it within contemporary illustration and context. I have begun with the aim of working towards Storyboarding, Concept Design and Children’s Book Illustration as my Professional Practice. I am aware this may change over the course and that this is my goal; I am currently far from this and I am excited to take the next steps to achievement.
I started my week by reading through the weekly content. Some parts went over my head and others I understood quite quickly. I sent all my briefs to my DSA support workers and we broke them down into tasks I feel able manage. The first University Task for the assignment is the ‘Illuminated I’ which means what am I like as an Illustrator. My first DSA task is therefore making a list of what I like to draw.
My inspiration comes from storybooks and faerie-tales. I often disagree with storylines and the way female characters are portrayed in particular but the concepts of enchanting worlds and beings/creatures I have always wonderful. I do not feel confident enough in my abilities to try and communicate the depth of this opinion yet so going back to the basics of the question: What do I like to draw? I like to draw fantasy. My biggest influence is faerie tales from when I was younger which is the base for my interest in fantasy.
Thinking about how best to communicate this to others I asked myself what are the first connections I make to the word ‘Faerie-tale’. Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian-Anderson and Disney are the first connections that come to mind.
Grimm: Oldest, dark
Hans: Poetic, bitter-sweet
Disney: Family, motion
The next step I took was to see what visual elements I link with faerie-tales…
- Snow White = Apple/Mirror/Well
- Little Match Girl = Snow/Fire/Light
- Peter Pan = Stars/Shadows/Feathers
- Moana = Spirals/Flowers/Waves
To combine past and present Snow White seems a good choice as she is the first Disney Princess that fits with my storyboarding interest and Disney have been reimagining the classics recently so that would work in regards to Character Design and she comes from Brothers Grimm to go with the general faerie-tale concept.
Inspired by Snow White I decided to go with the apple. Apples can be eaten to the core in a way that resembles a capital I, going with this simple form I can focus my energy on detail. I am going to decorate my apple with faerie-like pictures, I also want to try and use the same colours as the apple skin to give off a more natural look.
Core: lowercase I’s to indicate texture.
Upper Apple: Clover, Animal Prints, Faerie sat on top.
Lower Apple: Dandilion Wishes (in reference to Tinkerbell), Mermaid, Old Ship, Seigaiha waves, Moon.
I like this task as it is a fun way to start off our journey. I am liking the freedom of creativity in the MA course, being self-led, but at the same time it is really frustrating from an autistic point of view. For example, I am finding it difficult having no feedback on my work; I have to wait until live webinars which is already extremely stressful situation for me as I have to interact and keep track of multiple inputs. So my already high anxiety of this event is having added pressure. My tutors say I can leave whenever I want as I won’t miss anything because the webinar is recorded, but I will struggle to initiate that action due to my lack of executive functioning. This is yet another source of anxiety for me. Luckily my DSA support is amazing so I feel confident I am putting up good work just hope I haven’t been wasting my time on the wrong idea.
Reflecting on my first attempt to draw my ‘Illuminated I’ idea:
- I need to refine the top half and add more detail to balance out the piece
- I should consider the idea of carved apple, to make my details standout
- I could add a background so my piece has a more complete feel
- My Illuminated I is about who I am as an illustrator not as a person. I could add greater detail on the top of the apple about my personality.
A lot of the week seems to be thinking about Methodology (I didn’t know that word existed until this week) and the philosophy and context of my work. I’ve been thinking about the questions: What does it mean to illustrate? What is my job as an illustrator? How and who will my work impact? I feel illustration illuminates subjects, concepts and ideas. Illustration for me is more than ‘just commercial art’, illustration is applied in a number of ways depending on who is creating and who is receiving. Illustration for me is expression, connecting with people and showing them worlds they could only imagine right before their eyes. If I had to sum up illustration in one word it would be wonder. I don’t think anyone can tell you the absolute definition of illustration as it is unique to everyone. I consider my job as an illustrator is to create pockets of escapism in peoples lives, I want to create work that people can get lost in, whether it is my characters or worlds or just the concepts I “shed light on”.