From our last assignment, we had to produce a piece of work that was ‘performance’ themed, but this time we had to do a ‘book’ themed art piece. Our Tutor mentioned that it doesn’t need to be resemble an actual book, but the idea itself needs to link to an art book itself. We were encouraged to take more risks when researching and developing concepts to create our final outcome. I was aware that we would need to research into different works and understand what we would need to do before we begin planning. The good news this was that our Tutor had taken us to a few exhibitions with some art books. This had given me an interesting perspective on the artistic content that’s produced by some of these artists as well. Although, most of the work we’ve seen were polished outcomes, I would at least be able to make a prototype for my idea.
When we visited the UWE art book exhibition (at Bower Ashton), I have looked at a selected few that had grabbed my interest. I got to take a look at different formats as well as art styles and materials used for each book. A few books had to be put in filing drawers, since some them were too big to fit in. Boulet’s ( French artist Gilles Roussel born in 1st Feb 1975) comic ‘Noirness’ was a graphic novel which was apparently one of his first solo US-published material made in under 24 hours. The artists had illustrated the storyline with a simple black and white line drawings which had reminded me of my style of cross hatching in a black and white biro pen. This comic cover had given me a more darker gothic vibe for the artists choice of a darker colour scheme which had appealed to me to take a look at. Another piece of work was ‘The Orchid Library’ created by an artist called Wuon-Gean Ho. They had made some cross-hatch artwork in black and white and had used two halves of a book cover for the rest of the work to fold up into. This is good for using up much less space and creating less pages that could easily increase the size. The art style also makes me reminisce of my older works (the use of cross-hatching and human anatomy being involved). This had already given me a few ideas of possibly getting the opportunity to get some ideas such as making a form of flipbook animation, but without photography (I could use cut-up pieces of paper instead). Maybe a fold-up graphic novel with a short storyline to boot. I would look at the traditional and digital resources used in making the following outcomes that I have seen e.g. The quality of paper, model of camera, pens, magic markers may be.
This exhibition wasn’t really linked with books as a theme, but our Tutor thought that it would be helpful for us to take a look at a diverse range of artwork made from a couple of artists. There weren’t too many works that impressed me too much, but there were some that had my interest and curiosity. Each of them (that appealed to me) had been a type of model/sculpture. One piece of artwork that stood out to me and my other classmates was ‘The Banquet’ created in 1985 by Ana Maria Pacheco (a Brazilian artist living in the U.K.). It was made with polychrome wood. The prostatic teeth and life-size of the sculpture really added to the uncanny valley factor. The best thing about this is that it managed to unsettle the rest of us who went to take one peek at the four men looking sadistically down to the naked figure on the table. I honestly managed to get hints of sexual deviancy, cannibalism, torture and many other darker themes that this piece could be a visual metaphor for. This gets me into using imagery to show the message or story that I want to portray in my artwork, but I would attempt more subtly when presenting it. Other art pieces that I had looked at had a range of mixed media used. I have been told by my Tutor that we would need to get out of our comfort zone and take risks. ‘The Shipwrecked Bride’ (2016) made by Katherine Rose is a mixed media model which explores darker themes (showing how something may look bright and happy, but can actually be lonely and depressing inside) as well and has a good use of aesthetics before which helps in displaying the message behind this piece.
Taking a better look at Typography
Our substitute had given us a task to look at different types of fonts, see the artistic side of them which can be adapted to our work for this unit (if we wanted t0). I have had some experience with creating typography myself. I would like to have some perspective in how fonts can fit the mood/theme of the book depending on the concept behind my idea even if I do have some initial ideas. I never really thought about adding in any writing. From what I seen and done, Typography was a process where you would design and print letters to create your words (digitally or traditionally). I never really looked at it as an art form, but rather a structure for producing an outcome. I have seen many different forms of fonts being produced with traditional and digital media. I have used both myself. There are plenty of examples of fonts that people have used and adapted into their own work.
- Pictures- back in 20,000 BC, ancient cave paintings were perhaps the first ever recorded form of visual communication with images, but around 3,500 B.C., Sumerians have apparently been the first to develop format writing.
- Hieroglyphics- In ancient Egypt (3100 BC), they had commonly used images and symbols in their art and literature to express and get messages across and were often illustrated on walls.
- The Romans- Romans had been using the Greek alphabet and styled the uppercase Alphabet that most of us still use today when writing. They also put in different scripts, along with improving handwriting and creating a number of different lettering styles as well.
- Middle Ages- They were all about writing and illustrating manuscripts by hand. Around that time, the art of calligraphy had been developing.
I want to have a better understanding of how the process of mourning works to begin with. I did talk to one of my peers about this. We discussed the different stages of grief that is common for a lot of people: Denial, Sadness, Anger and Acceptance. I have known about the process and how they don’t necessarily go in that order either and realising that different people mourn for different reasons. I wanted to portray the stage of sadness within the flip note animation.
Today we have technology and many other digital tools that help other graphic designers create typography and we’re all use to seeing that produced out in the media, pop culture advertisement etc. You would see websites with a variety of typefaces such as dafont. It’s good to know that in the present, we have opportunities for type facing that we wouldn’t have had centuries back. Not to mention the way it’s presented has changed. You would notice how many of them have different colour, themes, formats etc.
From looking at other works of typography, they managed to communicate the meaning and context behind the words that they’ve used. You could get the idea behind each word without needing any images, just the font and colour selected for that word.
What is the objective?
My main object is to create an art piece related to the theme of a book. Now I’m aware that it didn’t have to be about a book physically and our Tutor made that clear when we were given our assignment brief. He did also encourage us to try and explore new areas in preparation for the final major project, which would involve a lot of development and research for the concept that I still need to decide. For this unit, I had decided to go for a mixed media flip note book that will have a brighter colour scheme than my usual work throughout this course so far. However, the dark themes will be placed as subtle as I can. The inspiration behind this was that the UWE art book exhibition had included a form of flip note animation with the use of photography as well. As for the mixed media area, I managed to look at the model named ‘The Shipwrecked Bride’ in the RWA exhibition in Park Street. That piece was beautifully made and had executed its’ message clearly with the use of a variety of materials too. I have wanted to express the same meaning as ‘The Banquet’ (a sculpture in the RWA exhibition). The main concept is to create a flip note book and contain it within a box.
What Materials (and Techniques) would I need?
As I’m used to using a biro and paper for sketching and bringing my ideas to life, I thought that I could try new materials. I have looked at the diverse range of artwork and the materials being used to create different outcomes from other artists, whether it was from an exhibition or a project from a former Uni student. I have seen books that were carved out to show imagery towards the book itself. Some books have had burnt out pages. Others have been decorated with jewelled ornaments, along with using wood, fibreglass, oil paints and other materials to combine and use. I do want to add some materials that I have never really used before in my artwork. I would add some 3D elements. Possibly, a decorated box to place my own mixed media flip note book. ‘The Shipwrecked Bride’ was a good example of an art piece that used different materials and hadn’t relied on a simple sheet of paper. I would try different techniques and materials such as ripping pages, burning the edges, adding coffee stains, stapling them together, carving the wood or moulding the clay box (cardboard box for the paper machetes) etc.
Our Tutor had told us that we had a limited amount of time. Roughly, five weeks until the deadline arrives. From the last time that I had a project, I could get a small section of it completed due to a lack of organisation and planning. I thought this would be the best opportunity to come up with a time plan as we have a limited amount of time to complete our brief. To make it easier, I will have my work scaled much smaller than the last project. I would try to work through this time plan:
Week 1- Researching artwork linked to our project.
Week 2- Planning and creating Design sheets.
Week 3- Creating prototype/paper machetes.
Week 4- Develop on the current paper machetes.
Week 5-Produce an outcome based on the work I’ve got and evaluate.
Health and Safety Risks
When I’m creating the box for my book theme project, I want to make sure that if I’m handling wood, I would need to be supervised or wear protective gear (e.g. goggles) so that I don’t get any wood chips in my eyes or at least take precautions to make sure I don’t cut myself with a hand saw or a carving knife. When handling sharp objects, I need to be careful when I could accidently end up with an infected cut and would need basic first aid rather than standing there clueless. When I staple the pages of my flip note, I need to watch out for any staples or pins lying around on the table when I’m pinning up my evidence for my Tutor to see. I wouldn’t want to step on any and prick my feet or hands. The last time I did that, I required some basic first aid.
I wanted to work around animation in a traditional form and this unit gave me the perfect opportunity to explore this through the book theme at the same time. This is only a visual presentation of the concept itself showing how the flip note would look, the materials that I will use. This only explains my concept in a nutshell. Making the flip note with cartridge paper which will probably be stapled or glued together. I thought this concept would be great for animation practice since I haven’t really had much experience with traditional animation before.
I went on ahead with a mood board for me to recap what themes I’m going to input in my flip note book. That includes the materials, type of art etc. This was made as a reminder for me to recap what I need to include in my book theme project. Especially when it comes to the story behind my project which centres around the theme of mourning/experiencing grief. I would be careful not to portray this theme in such a vague manner that it’s difficult for the viewer to understand, so I still want to go through hints and symbolism to represent it in the flip note.
I eventually got on with working on my prototypes to get started with exploring ideas and messing around with colour schemes using cartridge paper (cut into A7 sized pieces), felt tip pens, a stapler and a simple HB pencil. I never really bothered with exploring materials at this stage. I was more interested in exploring the colour schemes that I could work with.
This technique of book binding had helped me find a better way of attaching the pages of my flip note together. I tried out stapling and sewing the pages together to take a look at which technique works the best. When I was sewing pages together, I had been careful that I wouldn’t prick my finger like I have the last time I handled sharp objects. Sewing the pages wasn’t as difficult as I thought. When it came down to making the box prototypes, I wanted to have a go with a paper box with a much larger scale. This was made to experiment the size that I could fit the flip note. When I realised that it was too big (in height rather than width and length). The boxes were more of an trial and error (especially the cardboard box). Making the paper box only required scissors and masking tape to construct together. For the cardboard box, I had tried taping the edges and gluing them together (both techniques failed anyway). As a final idea, I went on a head with wrapping tape around the box out of frustration and managed to hold it together.
With the final outcome for this project, I decided to use some cartridge paper so that the inking can’t bleed through. I went on with sketching around sixteen frames in HB pencil and ink them all with fine line pens. I thought that a step by step process like this would work better. Unlike, the paper prototypes (experimenting around with), this outcome would hopefully be more polished as a result.
From this point on I started off colouring each frame in felt tip pens and wasn’t really about any leakage since I used cartridge paper. When my Tutor had a look at it, they suggested that I should photocopy all the frames on a smaller scale to make the flip note easier to flip through (unlike the original that’s been drawn and worn out). I was pleased with the results from following their advice. It was even better that the photocopied frames had a smoother texture to them. I soon went on with binding the new pages together with the Japanese sewing method.
Towards the end of this I wanted to try and create a box for my flip note through using a handsaw to cut up thin pieces of Styrofoam. I had hoped to have had it scaled to be slightly smaller. At that time I had very little time to create the box.
This outcome wasn’t exactly what I had expected to have produced. At least not the way I planned it, but I’m satisfied with how it turned out to be. Although, I had wanted to create a box to store my flip note in but went for an envelope instead as I didn’t have much time left. I only really spent most of my time trying to finish the flip note animation and made less time available for creating a container for my book (I ended up going off my time plan). I thought that the envelope would look too plain on its own so I went on a head with decorating the front with a biro pen. When I tried to make some boxes, I had lost the patience to have them evened out and glued together for the fear that it would rather poor in presentation as an outcome. I wanted to make sure that the flip note was presentable and had the content required for it to be completed. I coloured the rest of the frames in felt tip pens out of convenience. I thought that a pop art form of colour scheme would be a good change (even if I prefer it in black and white). I didn’t expect the visuals to be appealing to the eye at all when picking an odd colour scheme for a rather dark, depressing theme for my project.
I have had some feedback from other students from the process of creating the flip note as well as the paper prototypes. They have commented on the approval of my art style and have suggested applying more frames to make transitions much easier and avoiding jump cuts. I originally didn’t want to add any more since each frame was sketched, inked, and coloured in a fair amount of detail and I was concerned about ending up with an unfinished piece for my outcome, but a part of me thought that making a smoother transition would make it easier on the eyes. I had originally wanted to bind the pages together with staples which seemed to be an easy method. After looking at my prototypes for my flip note, I realised how most of the paper prototypes had pages which were uneven in shapes and sizes (not to mention crudely stapled together). So I ended up looking at different binding methods that other books have been made with, believing that I would benefit from those techniques in the future.
I thought that the Japanese book binding method would be helpful for combining the smaller pages for my outcome. The stapling method wouldn’t have been as aesthetically pleasing as this method was and the sewing method did a better job of holding the pages together like a book. I remember having a session with my Tutor when we were learning about different techniques of book binding (which was surprisingly helpful). I had tried out two types of binding methods (that required a needle and a thread). I had tried the ancient Egyptian method and the Japanese binding method. While the Egyptian method was successful (as well as the Japanese method), it just wasn’t up to par (presentation-wise) in comparison. I honestly thought that these binding methods would be useful in the future for creating my own handmade sketchbooks instead of buying them online for a price. The only difficult part was puncturing the holes whilst clamping the pages down. I would have to force the needle through. I eventually had to resort to using a sewing thread picking tool to pluck holes instead. Unfortunately, I struggled with aligning the pages in the process, but no one seemed to have noticed (which worked in my favour).
In the beginning of making this idea come to life, I had been struggling on how I could even create a flip note book with the limited resources in the studio, but I have managed to find an alternative in each process. Instead of using a light box (which we didn’t have at the time), I went onto using the window which was useful for me to trace frame by frame in HB pencil (to be able to rub out any mistakes made on each sheet). The best part about this process was that I could sketch the facial profile for each frame and it helped that I had plenty of experience with drawing the human face and adapting my own art style to it as well (from feedback I had received). I was often worried about the artwork getting progressively worse over the time taken to complete the flip book, but surprisingly I managed to fix any previous mistakes I had made with fine line pens (of different thickness) that one of my classmates was kind enough to lend me. I originally wanted to buy an empty flip note myself, but then had reminded myself to get out of my comfort zone for this unit. This meant that I couldn’t really rely on my common theme and style for this project. I usually produce dark content (themes and colour), so I would generally have black and white artwork.
The story/message needed to be fleshed out more and I never really explored my OCs (original characters in great depth. I had commonly explored ideas behind their relationship the events and the aftermath of those events. I had all sorts theories to explore within the interpretation of grieving by coming up with my own story and characters (even if the story is unclear in the animation). My Tutor wanted me to be able to expand the story more. So, I had made some sheets that should hint at the characters and their close relation to each other. What kind of relationship? That was left ambiguous to be left up to interpretation for now. In the future (and in my own time), I will probably explore my characters and other concepts that I have made in the past and it would be a shame for them to be forgotten.