Collection: Foundation (Part 2)

Reflective Journal (Part 2)

by Mynah
Tags: reflective journal

A place for thoughts, musings and analysis

1) Illustration Day One

24/11/2014

 
 
Assessment came and went, and we were finally put into our specialist pathways. Illustration and GCD 3 had their first week together at Archway, and it began with an introduction to our teachers and a discussion on what makes a successful piece of graphic design, with an Ikea catalogue for display as an example. We were all asked to bring three pieces of instructions in any form to class and we began by discussing their strengths and weaknesses, from typefaces and aesthetics to the writing itself. We came to realise that simple, bland formats were efficient but not very involving for the audience and that people were more likely to pay attention to the instructions if they were immersive. We were told to bear this in mind while working on our projects.
 
The second task of the day was to take out the ten related objects we were asked to bring. I had brought ten different keychains and we were told to draw them systematically, whether by colour, size or some other classification - like an info graphic of sorts. I lined mine up by colour and drew them, finishing in the nick of time for lunch. After lunch we tacked up our drawings on the wall and discussed the more eye-catching ones. Some which really stood out to me were the liquid drips on the edge of an otherwise blank paper, for its simplicity, sparseness and suggestive capability and the one with scorch marks on a sheet, for its innovative use of the material itself.
 
After this we sat down for a presentation on various pieces by graphic designers, illustrators and animators. We studied works by Leo Castelao, PES animations and Fischli and Weiss’ Rube Goldberg machine, to name a few.
 
Once the presentation was over, we were handed large sheets on which we were told to visually represent our ideas based on one of the concepts from our project list. I decided to draw a storyboard for “How to Survive” and worked on a storyboard based on the bare minimum needed to get through high school and survive the pressure it puts on young adults. After this we once again tacked up our work. Some of the works were serious while others took a comedic route, especially the one on “How to Levitate” which showed a flow-chart with a meditating bear and a very large electric fan, and the one on “How to Start a War” which showed a chubby little person sticking a red flag in someone’s cake. Both were equally adorable.
 
The first day of illustration was meant to familiarise us with elements of design and teach us how to communicate with our target audience. However, due to GCD 3 and illustration having their classes together, I feel the teachers could not devote much attention to individual students. I was not able to get any feedback on my work and therefore felt slightly demotivated. I did manage to get some work done but they were only quick sketches and were not up to my standard. I prefer working in quieter environments and therefore need to get used to doing individual work with disturbances. Perhaps it was because it was my first day at Archway, but I did not feel at home in class. I hope my first impressions of illustration are proven wrong as it is a field I otherwise thoroughly enjoy.
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3) Tutorial

27/11/2014

 
Today in illustration we were told to work on our projects while group tutorials were held for 5-6 students at a time for receiving feedback from teachers on our project ideas. I put my name in for the first group. Many of the students in my group had interesting ideas, some playful like the animation about a child sticking red flags everywhere to claim his territory, others serious like the poster about toxic wastes in our body as a by-product of genetically engineered and chemical food substances.
 
The feedback I received had a lot of constructive criticism, such as using less text so that the picture could stand alone without it having to be explained, but I disagreed with the tutor on some points, such as my idea of making a booklet was a quick response to the assignment. I had spent a few days thinking about it and thought it to be the best solution to make an interactive booklet within the limited time I had left. Secondly, the tutor assessing me did not appreciate the humorous tone of voice I had adopted for my subject - high school pressure and depression. However, the tone was more sardonic and monotonous rather than slapstick or accusing, which I thought would be appropriate as humour is a coping mechanism for the sadder instances of life.
 
I decided to take the text critique into consideration and to limit myself to one sentence per page in the booklet. Having reduced the text I started my project, finishing by the time we had to go home.
 
This was the first negative critique I received which I am grateful for since there were many useful hints in it. However, I felt that the tutor did not give me enough time to explain my idea and therefore I was unable to interject and explain the reasoning behind my concepts to him. I did take away certain elements which I used to improve my project, while still preserving my initial point of view for the finished product.
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5) Crit and Briefing

2/12/2014

 
Finally back at Kings Cross, the class began with setting up our finished products as a small exhibit so we could view each others’ works. There were many fascinating pieces as people had taken wildly different approaches and perspectives with the topics given, using a variety of mediums ranging from animation to installation pieces. One girl had done an animation on ‘How To Start A War’ which featured a little child sticking red flags everywhere, claiming their territory, until their elder sibling, exasperated by this childish idiocy, stuck a red flag on them. Another had done a poster for ‘How To Be Famous’ featuring famous serial killers’ portraits and newspaper clippings about them.
 
I received some useful tips about what I could improve and what my strengths were. While my booklet had an interesting, immersive story which created its own little world and the interactive elements inspired the reader to engage with the book, and I had effectively used colour, material and composition, my bookbinding was shoddy and the pages were not perfectly guillotined and lined. The presentation could definitely be improved.
 
After this we were sent to the LVMH lecture theatre and briefed on our next project, Made To Persuade. We were told to create a product which would make the audience think, laugh or cry. We were shown various statistics on possible target audiences, product successes based on advertising strategies and other things. We were even shown works by previous students, including kits, posters and necklaces.
 
Once this was over, we were sent back to our classes where we were to brainstorm three ideas which we would refine and bring back to pitch to our tutors on Thursday. I thought of a feminist poster called ‘The F Word’ which highlights the discrepancies in the perceptions of female and male feminists; the former are thought to be ridiculous and aggressive, while the latter are commended on their engagement in human rights and applauded for their intervention. Another idea I had was highlighting the elements of white culture created as a direct result of white colonialism and pervasion into other cultures, resulting in cultural appropriation and fetishisation of ethnic minorities, such as the use of bindis or Native American headdresses as fashion statements rather than sacred elements of cultures. The third was making common items such as pens or bookmarks, usually unnoticed, but once the message on them is read, they immediately trigger exaggerated extrapolations from the items they are attached to, akin to the conjectural leap of thought associated with paranoia, for example, a coaster which says ‘drink up, it’s poison; if this doesn’t kill you they will’, which would cause the drinker to be suspicious of what they were drinking from a perfectly innocuous host.
 
I look forward to created innovative yet utilitarian items with this project. Whereas product design was not what I expected in an illustration class, I hope it shall provide an opportunity to learn new things and new skills.
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7) Completion

7/12/2014

 
Class started with a discussion on our trips to the Tate Modern and the Magma shops and the role of packaging, labelling and displays as well as what makes a product seductive, persuasive and desirable. We came to the conclusion that packaging was meant for item protection, easier handling, aesthetic attractiveness; labelling was for identification and classification and to state its use, making it easier to locate. Function in a product could be overlooked if the aesthetic presentation was strong enough, and simple, innovative products tended to be more attractive.
 
After this we were asked to bear these things in mind while we worked on our projects. I had completed most of my work over the weekend so I finished the little things which remained, while the tutor met each of us individually so we could discuss our projects. My turn finally came. My tutor said that while the execution of my project was well carried out, I had utilised the same style of drawing as my previous project, and could improve by branching out and trying new things. He said to continue with the current style I had due to the lack of time but to be more experimental in my projects to come.
 
Keeping this in mind, I hope to try new styles and mediums in upcoming projects and learn new methods of production. Due to the time limit it proved to be difficult but over time I hope to break out of my usual style and try something new.
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9) Electric Tape

5/1/2015

 
Christmas break came to an end and we returned to our classrooms. The first thing we did was discuss the holiday task we had been given of visually defining and explaining a set of typographical terms. Some people had very interesting visuals that explained the idea of the term applied to things other than typography; for example, someone had drawn a pole-jumper jumping on a letter O to show typographical stress.
 
After this we were shown a slideshow of various typefaces, including those from Sonya Dyakova, who used paper cutting and shadows to create her typeface, and Paul Elliman, who made typefaces based on found objects.
 
Then we were each handed a typeface with three exercises on them - to identify the basic elements of the font, to draw out one of the letters, and to draw what we thought 3 other letters (mine were N,H and K) would look like in that font. My font was bold, curved and sans-serif, drawn mostly in one stroke. I deconstructed and drew it quickly, trying my best to guess what the other 3 letters would look like. After this we were told to find others with the same typeface as us and sit down and compare our letters. Two other people had the same font and surprisingly, none of our 3 letters matched up, not even to the original font, which was entirely different and which I would have never guessed. We came to understand that while the letters individually looked very odd, the holistic theme of the typeface held them together and made them work.
 
Once this was over we were told to take out our coloured electrical tape, which we were told to buy over the break, and use them to create typeface prototypes of a few letters. We were told to try and base them on a shape, pattern or grid and to keep scale and form in mind. While I initially started out with a grid, I quickly abandoned this as the tape itself did not take to specifics and precision very well. I started to work more with layering as the colours combined very well. This gradually progressed to weaving and layered cutting. However the teacher said, upon seeing my work, that since I had already explored the concept of layering that I focus more on the form and elements of specific letters, and told me to choose one letter and try to deconstruct it and see which elements could be streamlined while still keeping the letter recognisable. I began experimenting with abstractions and minimalism, choosing the letter Q. I quickly found that most people could recognise the letter Q with only the lower right protruding line as the main element, thus eliminating the surrounding curve or O shape that remained.
 
We put away our sketchbooks and gathered for a final slideshow including a Dries Van Noten/Letman calligraphy collaboration which was visually stunning and dynamic as it showcased walking male models wearing letter-prints while illustrators were painting on the walls around them, showing the sheer magnitude and aesthetic beauty of type, and a short stop motion animation on the History Of Typography, talking about the evolution of Old Style, Serif and Sans-Serif fonts and how and why they came about.
 
For the first time in a long time, I found the class informative, helpful and downright enjoyable. While the experimentation with tape was varied and diverse, it all converged towards the evolution of what would be one final idea, which was a contrast from the earlier diagnostic projects, which seemed to have no direction. The pace was manageable and I had adequate time to work on one particular thing, focusing more on the quality of a concept rather than being prolific. The criticisms I received were helpful and corrective. I look forward to experimenting with more mediums and trying to release control over every aspect of what I picture the creative process to be, as this fluidity in the thought process has been a fresh take on how I usually work.
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11) InDesign

8/1/2015

 
Today was spent mostly working on the crystal font on the computer. I had already developed it and done 26 letters on paper and all that was left to do was scan it and go over it on InDesign. The reason I chose InDesign was that I had InDesign and Photoshop on my laptop which I had left at home but I didn’t have Illustrator, which would have been ideal for this project. In hindsight, I should have chosen Illustrator, as the file proved to not be compatible with my laptop due to missing plug-ins, but I didn’t find that out until I got back home.
 
After roll-call I went down to the computer room and scanned my drawings. After some trouble getting them onto the computers, I began tracing each line onto the InDesign template, an arduous but yet satisfyingly cathartic task. Although I struggled at first, some practice was enough to get me working much faster. The technician in the room was very helpful, sorting out minor glitches and talking about idea development and the possibility of adding colour or gradient to the font. While the idea is tantalising, I don’t think I’ll have enough time for this, although it is a definite possibility in the future after the project has finished and I have more time.
 
After lunch, the tutor came in and took a look at our fonts while the technician was away helping someone make gifs. Having received his approval, I saved whatever I had finished on my USB and left. Only two lines of letters were left, which was very close to finish and even more dissatisfying when I found the file to not be compatible with my laptop. I shall have to return to Archway or find a computer at Kings Cross which reads my file and hopefully finish the template for my work tomorrow.
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13) Storyboards

13/1/2015

 
Finally back at Kings Cross, we began by shuffling our seats, getting into groups and discussing our ideas for the zines. My group had a variety of ideas, from feminist ideology to commercialisation of female insecurities, as well as focusing on Paula Rego’s characterisation of places and creating a travelogue. 
 
My idea was to focus on Paula Rego’s inclusion of her own culture, personal experiences and real life friends and acquaintances in her work, and to create a zine based on the life of an Indian in London who has embraced the indie or punk lifestyle and fused them with their cultural roots, creating a unique style of life which juggles the two cultures and translates and transitions between them seamlessly. I decided to include the punk/indie element as a homage to the traditional zine. According to the exhibit we visited last Friday, I decided to divide the zine into three parts - In Public, In Private and In Secret, the same way the exhibit was divided.
 
The idea was well received, and we dispersed to start storyboarding after discussing with the class what elements we should keep in mind while storyboarding, including layout, composition, blank pages, double page spreads, text and colour. Initially it took me a while to translate what was in my head onto paper, within the right number of pages so as to not make it too long and cumbersome but still convey all the ideas I had. I decided on 16 to 18 pages roughly, and began storyboarding. Some ideas for the zine came on the spot, but I decided to include a music playlist, a poem and an interview with another Indian friend of mine; these elements I had thought of before.
 
When I was on the verge of finishing, the tutor came around to take a look at my work. While he liked my ideas and said it was well planned out, I should try out a few more storyboards to see if there were any other ways I could convey the theme. However, it was the end of the day and I knew that if I spent too much time storyboarding I would not be able to finish the zine itself on time. While I would love to experiment more with different styles and mediums, there was not enough time if I wanted to give adequate attention to the product itself and produce an edition of five. It would be interesting to try out new things under the format of the zine, and perhaps I will take it further and produce a second issue in my own spare time.

 

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15) Editing

19/1/2015
 
Since we only had to go to class in the evening as the morning was reserved for people screen printing, I turned up at 2pm and showed my finished zine dummy to the teacher. While he liked some repeated elements in the zine, he said some of the pages were rather eclectic and all together the zine did not have a cohesive style. 
 
I decided to edit some of the pages on Photoshop and redo some of the pages altogether so as to have common elements such as the brown figure with the purple mohawk and similar drawing styles in all the pages. I went down to the computer room in Archway and with the help of the technician I was able to navigate my way through Photoshop. Since it was one of my first times using it, it was slow going but I soon got a hang of it. I learnt how to remove and replace different elements in the page and edit and warp objects, as well as adding customised borders and correcting smudged bits.
 
The finished product looked much neater and I decided to redo one of the pages at home with the same cut and paste text so as to have an element of continuity in the page. The finished product looked sleek and clean and I was much happier with it than in its initial form. Now all that remains is printing five copies and working on the packaging.
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17) Coconut

22/1/2015

 
On the last day of the zine project, I handed in my finished zines. I had visited a utility shop and two printing stores in search of envelopes and had come across some non-padded manilla envelopes which I had decided to use as part of my packaging. Having handed them in and not having much else to do, I went around the classroom looking at others’ zines. One of my favourites was Jess’s zine called “Backbone Dreams” which had pictures of the back of a person, an illustration of how someone envisioned the person’s face from their back, and a picture of their actual face. Not only was the idea fun and innovative but the drawing style was beautiful and warm, very much like a children’s book illustration. Another favourite was Lian’s book about a person in a black and white world in the search for colour, which was done entirely in electrical tape left over from our previous type projects. It was simple, minimal and beautifully executed.
 
After breaking for lunch and returning, we noticed that Simge had arrived and was rather distraught as her zines had not been printed well and the saturation was weak. She needed to scan and reprint them, but did not have the scans with her. Enlisting the help of me and Temi, she headed to the Digital Printing room on the second floor, where we scanned the images for her and helped her crop and reformat them in a booklet form on Photoshop and InDesign, which she did not know how to use. However, we soon had to leave to attend the briefing for the next project called 40 Hours. We were shown a slideshow featuring works by Hiroshi Sugimoto (Theaters), Joseph Beuys (I Like America and America Likes Me) and others as examples, and were told to create a piece which showed the passage of time, specifically 40 hours.
 
The project culminates tomorrow in an exhibition at the House of Illustration where we shall be selling our work. This project represents the culmination of all the skills I have picked up along the way, from basic Photoshop and InDesign to collaging and writing. Finally having finished the zine, I felt a sense of satisfaction in having created a tangible piece of work that could be reproduced and sold.
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19) Stop Motion

27/1/2015

 
Today I started my 40 hours project. Since the whole week was off, I decided to shoot at CSM with the help of Jess. However, once I started filming, I soon encountered a problem - over-exposed photographs. The long shutter speed allowed too much light through, even with the lowest ISO setting and aperture. Moreover, since all the tripods at the loan store were booked out and I couldn’t get my hands on one, the photographs were mildly blurry. I decided to visit the photography studios on the third floor and met a technician, who very kindly offered me some dark acetate as a substitute for a neutral density filter (which was also unavailable at the loan store).  I cut the acetate into circles roughly the size of my lens, and we were good to go. As for a tripod, Jess and I got some thick books from the library and stacked them up as a makeshift tripod, which would have to make do.
 
Each photo was painstakingly shot with me holding down the shutter for a full minute while Jess held her position (often with glasses of water, which was the subject of the current clip I was shooting). After several hand cramps and snack breaks, I had a hundred frames ready to use. While the process was slow and painful and the end result somewhat short, it was nevertheless satisfying to have a short stop motion clip. For a first attempt at stop motion, it was fairly satisfactory.
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21) Editing

29/1/2015

 
Today I arrived at CSM early to start editing my final film before Bo arrived. My initial attempts at editing it on Photoshop with the help of Tim and several technicians failed miserably, as the file was too content heavy to export and was missing frames. While I considered using Premiere Pro for editing, I did not have it only laptop and did not want to keep returning to CSM to edit, so I decided to do it on iMovie. I quickly realised that iMovie did not have a feature which allowed changing the lengths of multiple frames lower than a second, thus making stop motion editing impossible. However, an article online suggested I edit the frames to a second, export the finished clip and re-import it to iMovie and fast forward it, which worked fine. Any additional frames I wanted to add could be manually added and edited to less than a second.
 
Soon afterwards, Bo arrived along with his tripod. Shooting went much more smoothly and incredibly quickly, with the frames turning out balanced and with minimal blurriness. It didn’t take very long to shoot Bo’s part, but I still had some frames left over out of 300. While contemplating what to do, I encountered Kelsey, who volunteered to be in the stop motion. Another quick shoot later and I had fulfilled the herculean task of shooting 300 frames with one minute exposures, effectively translating 40 hours worth of traveling light to stop motion film. All that remained now was the even more painstaking task of editing, but I’m sure the end result will be worth the wait. This project was possibly the quickest one we have done yet, and the time constraint and content heavy idea I chose meant that I couldn’t leave much time for experimentation or redoing, but I am very pleased with what I have achieved in the short space of three to four days.
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2) The Science Museum

25/11/2014

 
On the second day of illustration, instead of going to Archway we met at the Science Museum on Exhibition Road. We were led to the “Who Am I?” exhibit where we were given free reign for the better part of the day to explore, take notes and draw sketches of the pieces on display, keeping in mind certain factors such as audience participation, the typography used and lighting etc.
 
After getting lost in the space section we finally found our way to the exhibit; a dimly lit, atmospheric space with purple, red and blue mood lighting and metallic bean shaped structures around. Screens dotted the room and serene, monotone voices from the metal pods read out facts as viewers cloistered around them. The pods were placed on the sides while in the centre stood rows of glass cases with curios encased, including a real human heart with the red blood cells removed, jars with glass eyes and taxidermised peacocks and cats. Each piece bore a placard explaining everything from inter-species genetic differences to memory and dementia. After wafting and weaving through the cases, we decided to peruse the pods. Each pod had a few screens around its bodice, with things like interactive games, factual dictionaries and voice-morphing tech devices. We closely inspected each, pausing to take notes. One informed us that there was actual cocaine in Coca Cola until it was swapped out for extra caffeine!
 
At the centre of the room stood a large touchscreen device over which people were huddled. Upon inspection it proved to be another set of interactive games, in which you played against the others, testing your reflex times, eyesight and cognition skills. We played six out of eleven games but soon tired of it and left.
 
We then made our way downstairs to the 3D printing area. Everything from bike helmets to reconstructed face moulds were on display. A placard posed the question about the future of the shopping and tech industries when everything could be recreated by 3D printing - a curious thing to think about.
 
After this we returned to Archway and sat down to discuss the various aspects of the exhibit. We talked about the lighting which, while very atmospheric, did not provide good photographing light and the typefaces which were in some cases small and illegible. However, the interactive technology provided was very immersive and especially attracted the attention of small children, providing a hands-on learning experience for them. We were told to bear all these things in mind while working on our project to ensure we do not make the same mistakes and incorporate elements we thought were successful.
 
The second day of illustration proved to be enjoyable as we were taken out of our classroom and left to our own devices. Many of us did quick sketches which we later developed at home. The field trip kept us on our toes, kept us moving, which helped me think better and I even learnt some interesting facts about the human body which I had not known before! I look forward to more experiences outside the classroom and producing a balanced, interactive final product for my project.
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4) Binding

1/12/2014

 
Our final day in Archway was spent finishing off our projects. I had a single page left of my booklet which involved making stickers. Having done that I was faced with the final touch of bookbinding. I consulted the tutor since I had no idea how to go about it. Besides, the pages were made of card and were too thick for a needle to go through, and punching holes in it would look shoddy. We discussed various methods of binding, including Japanese bookbinding. However I settled on cutting off a margin of the card and attaching it with thinner paper to the rest of the card, which would allow me to poke a needle and thread through the thin paper, thereby binding the book.
 
By this time it was lunch, and I decided to return to Kings Cross after lunch, since I had initially thought of buying an awl to make the holes in the thinner paper, and since we had a print workshop later in the day at Kings Cross, I decided to go early. However once I arrived I found the art shop to be shut, and changed my mind to use a needle. I spent the interim cutting off the margins and attaching it with paper.
 
It was then time for the print workshop where we learnt about the two printing systems in CSM, printing booklets in InDesign and various other tips for using the MFDs located around the building. With no time left, I decided to go home and finish the bookbinding. Individual pages in place and wool on the ready, I finished the binding fairly easily and finally put my finished booklet away, ready for the next day’s critical assessment.
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6) Pitch

4/12/2014

 
Today we were supposed to present our three ideas for ‘Made to Persuade’ in a two minute pitch to the tutor. I had thought of a feminist poster called ‘The F Word’ which highlights the discrepancies in the perceptions of female and male feminists; the former are thought to be ridiculous and aggressive, while the latter are commended on their engagement in human rights and applauded for their intervention. Another idea I had was highlighting the elements of white culture created as a direct result of white colonialism and pervasion into other cultures, resulting in cultural appropriation and fetishisation of ethnic minorities, such as the use of bindis or Native American headdresses as fashion statements rather than sacred elements of cultures. The third was making common items such as pens or bookmarks, usually unnoticed, but once the message on them is read, they immediately trigger exaggerated extrapolations from the items they are attached to, akin to the conjectural leap of thought associated with paranoia, for example, a coaster which says ‘drink up, it’s poison; if this doesn’t kill you they will’, which would cause the drinker to be suspicious of what they were drinking from a perfectly innocuous host.
 
All were fairly well received but we concluded that the first would narrow down the audience to feminists alone and would therefore be hard to sell. The second was conceptually strong but the kit itself would contain many useless items that were not desirable or utilitarian, leaving only the third as a viable option. Having decided my project I sat down and listened to others’ ideas. Some had taken to keychains and stickers, while others tried laser cutting, posters and various other mediums.
 
This went on till lunch, and upon our return we were given weekend tasks of visiting the Tate Modern and the Magma shops, as well as doing a library research tasks on methods and techniques of production. I decided to complete the latter first and went to the library to finish the research task. Since my method mostly involved drawing and printing, I tried to find some books on printing but instead found things on letterpress and hand printing. I settled for a few books on typography and interesting illustrations, after which I went home.
 
Bouncing ideas off each other and thinking of improvements and strategies of production proved to be very useful. Only time will tell if this project shall produce effective results.
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8) Made To Persuade

11/12/2014

 
On the final day of term, we had our ‘Made to Persuade’ sale at the Crossing. I arrived early to help set up the boxes, after which we arranged our displays. The first customers started trickling in, and soon enough the place was full of people perusing our wares. Initially most people were driven only by curiosity and did not seem to be willing to buy our products, but after some time milling about, people began to buy our things. My first customer was George, who also had a stall, who found my cigarette lighter sticker amusing and purchased that for a discounted price of twenty pence and twenty cents, much to my amusement.
 
I made other sales, including two pens and three bookmarks. A man came and bought all the coasters I had in one go. The coasters seemed to be the most popular product. Even after being all out besides my display piece, I managed to sell that too to a customer. My total amounted to 8 pounds, 40 pence and 20 cents.
 
The sale finally wound to a close and we packed up and made our way to our classrooms. Roll call was taken and we were given our tasks for the winter break. We dispersed early, heading home with holiday on our minds.
 
While I didn’t sell my entire stock, I was fairly satisfied with my sale and enjoyed the interaction with the customers. Most of my time was spent chatting with them and the people with stalls near me! I look forward to future interactive projects after the holidays.
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10) Crystal

6/1/2015

 
Day two of life back at CSM began with a sign up tutorial on computer programs if we chose to use them, which I did. I was awfully nervous since I had never used computer programs like Illustrator and Photoshop before, and quite frankly I started out with the mentality that they could never replace the warmth and life of hand drawn work. However, with the help of the tutor I quickly got the hang of the basics such as the pen tool, shape tools and colour fills and realised that while it could never replace hand drawn work, it would work very well in collaboration with it, and was a wonderfully resourceful and time-saving tool. Rather than paint out a square and spend a lot of time measuring the lines and angles to make it perfect and running the risk of having patchy paint, you could have a perfectly coloured square in seconds. That alone was enough to create aesthetically pleasing artwork.
 
I started out with using the rectangle tool to replicate one of my fonts made from layered electrical tape, which worked very well. Having a grid on the spot was very useful and soon enough I had the first ten letters of my font, which would have taken very long to make by hand.
 
After this we returned to the classroom, where we were told to take out the ten small objects we were asked to bring and draw them all, paying attention to detail. The next task was to create ten letter A’s, one for each letter, but since the next task was to pick three of the most successful, I decided to combine the two tasks and draw three A’s, along with an R and a C for each. However, I ran out of time before I could finish and could only manage two, which was enough since I was quite certain that I would pick the one based on the crystal necklace as my font.
 
Once this was done we were told to sign up for a tutorial, in which the tutor looked over our work and suggested which were the more successful ones which we could work on. We were told to create two typefaces with 26 characters each for Thursday, one based on the tape and the other on an object. The tutor agreed that the one which I had worked out on the computer was the most successful in terms of the tape one, while the crystal one was a strong candidate for the objects one. Having decided that I would work on these two for my project, I returned home, prepared and excited for the task that lay ahead.
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12) Crit

12/1/2015

We started the day with a peer crit on our typefaces. We were each handed a sheet with several questions on them, such as was the work original and exciting and was there documentation of experimentation. We were grouped in threes and told to go to another part of the classroom and pick fonts to crit and write our comments on their sheets.

The first font was based on cephalopods; however, the sketchbook documenting experimentation was missing. It was very well executed, presented in a book with ample use of the two typefaces she had created, along with some larger scale paper cuts and the definition of the cephalopods she had drawn inspiration from.

The second combined the tape designs and bird beaks. It used black, yellow and red electrical tape to show the beaks of birds catching worms, and presented it in a gif format. While the concept was interesting, the gif was too fast to carefully peruse every letter, and too simple to match up to the dynamic format of a gif.

The third and final one was a typeface based on clothes pegs, presented in the format of a chatterbox, which was unique and interactive and a refreshing change from the usual two dimensional representation of the fonts. The documentation of the idea was clear and precise, as was the initial inspiration, but the watercolour painting of what was supposed to be clothes on a line was too blotchy to make out.

I received plenty of helpful criticisms, such as demonstrating more visual research in the sketchbook rather than workflow and improving my technical skills as the pixels were still visible on the poster. Overall, the font was well received.

After breaking for lunch and returning, we sat down to discuss the next brief, which was the zine based on work by Paula Rego and Honoré Daumier, which had been exhibited in the House of Illustration and which we had visited earlier last Friday. We discussed the overarching themes in their work, from domestic and fantastical to political and humanitarian. After this, a BA student came in and talked about a side project we could do of animating parts of our zines and adding it to a website which we were shown, with other artists’ works and interactive gifs. It seemed to be a fascinating project, but I decided against biting off more than I could chew since my plate was already full with work.

The first project having wound to an end, the class seemed slightly slow and sluggish. I am keen to start the new zine project and experiment with collaging and different styles of drawing, and look forward to the final finished outcome.

 

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14) Binding

15/1/2015
 
The day started out with a discussion on different types of binding. The teacher talked about Japanese binding, concertina folding, saddle stitch and various other means of binding the zine. He then showed us various examples of bound books, including hard bound covers.
 
After this, we had one to one tutorials with the teacher where I showed him what I was working on. I had already done a few pages, and he seemed satisfied with the theme, but said that the connect with Paula Rego’s work was rather weak, and I should strengthen it with similar colour palettes, drawing and etching styles, or other elements taken from Rego’s work.
 
From this point on, I decided to focus on Paula Rego’s colour palette and started on the next page, which took the rest of the day. I look forward to finishing the zine and having a finished product.
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16) Packaging

20/1/2015

 
Today we returned to Kings Cross. I had finished my zine but had not as of yet printed my five copies, which I decided to do tomorrow. Instead, I decided to work on packaging. Since the title of my zine was coconut, I decided to draw a coconut and paste it on the cover of five padded envelopes which I had bought. I had initially thought to buy brown paper envelopes and draw coconut hairs on it, but the brown of the bag did not match the same shade as a coconut.
 
Before I could start, however, the tutor came around and looked at my packaging. He provided helpful criticism, and wondered if the bulky padding was necessary, and if I couldn’t find something more graceful. He also suggested I add some sort of background to the coconut, such as the polka dots on the zine cover, as an element of continuity. 

Taking his points into account, I decided to only draw the coconut and print out five copies of it as well as the polka dots, which I would stick onto the cover of five envelopes which I would buy tomorrow after visiting a few shops.
 
I spent the rest of the day working on whatever was left of the packaging besides the envelopes and assembly and catching up on reflective journals.
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18) 40 Hours

26/1/2015

 
Once again back at Archway, we began the day by getting into groups and discussing our ideas for the 40 hours project. My idea was to make 3 stop motion gifs, each with a 100 frames with one minute exposures, so as to have a total of 300 minutes (5 hours) of light recorded. Since sunlight takes 8 minutes to reach the earth, 5 hours of sunlight requires a traveling time of 40 hours, which would be recorded onto the camera. While this idea would be time-consuming and difficult, with the necessary help with shutter speed and exposure I am sure it can be carried out. The idea was well received, and we moved on to the next. Jess’s idea was 40 hours of procrastination, while Temi had only decided on her medium of choice - painting.
 
After this, we had a slideshow on how to make a good portfolio, with tips such as proper alignment, spacing, the recommended size and thickness of the paper and so on. Once this was over, we had our individual tutorials so the tutor could look over our work from Parts 1 and 2 and recommend which ones we could put in the portfolio. After perusing through my works, we were able to whittle it down to 14 good works, which I will collate over the next few days.
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20) Zine Crit

28/1/2015

 
On the second day of shooting the 40 hours project, I had enlisted the help of Temi, who had agreed to be the subject in today’s clip. Filming went a lot more smoothly today, since I had gathered all I needed - the neutral density filter substitutes or dark acetates, a stack of books for a tripod and props for the clip. A lot of frames had to be retaken since this clip required more movement, but with adequate time to film we were able to shoot 80 frames. I decided to make up the remaining 20 frames tomorrow, since Bo had agreed to come along and bring his tripod with him, which he had kindly acceded to me for the weekend.
 
After we had finished shooting and taking a break for lunch, we went along to the zine critical assessment by the BA tutors at the House of Illustration. We got to take a look around everyone’s zines, now that the crowd had dispersed. Once we had looked around, the tutor came and picked up some of the more successful zines and pointed out their strengths and possible areas of improvement, after which we received instructions for what to bring on the engagement activity day and how to prepare for it.
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