Note:

Please find all Key Observations for each blog post in BOLD

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‘Bright Light’ Comic Idea

text extract

This extract from the same reference material as my AIMTP Zine  felt incredibly visual and I had begun preparations and ideas for a potential creative direction at the end of my BA3a unit. This section of text from the type-written letter described the tapping of rubber from the trees, a process which – upon researching further – really interested me. The letter’s author portrayed the extraction of the white sap of the tree in an almost ritualistic way, the tapping being connected to light. His narration describes the moonlight during the early morning tapping by the locals as being as bright as the daylight:

‘The light they obtain is as bright, within its zone, as day.’

I began to see comparison between the bright light of the moon/sun and the bright white sap of the rubber trees – the tappers ‘obtaining light’ from the rubber trees using their specialist tools. I began to visualise an imagined alternative narrative where the tappers go out into the dark night to extract light from the trees. An obscure and spiritualistic play on the original text, it initially felt disconnected to my existing ideas for my INTO_VERDE publication, but upon reflection it felt too interesting an idea to miss and deeply connected to the concept of our human fascination and relationship with nature.

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Early Sketches from BA3a

Liam Cobb is an illustrator and zine maker I had met at Safari Festival in 2016. His ‘Green Graves’ comic felt a particularly good reference for inspiration. Sections within the comic are totally wordless, an approach I hope to try and retain within my anticipated sequential narrative. I decided to challenge myself to try out a direction towards a sequential ‘comic/graphic novel’ outcome – inspired by my trip to Safari –  my initial title for the project being ‘Bright Light’.

liam cobb
‘Green Graves’ by Liam Cobb

Batsford Prize // Intentions

This year’s Batsford Prize is well suited to my artwork intentions for my BA3b practice and so, as a primary direction/aim for the first part of my personal work for the unit, I engaged in plans to enter the competition. It would also apply myself to particular professional preparation development that would prove as practice following graduation. Its deadline of the 4th April gives me a window to experiment and create some visuals to submit following the initial ‘Ampersand’ project for this unit…

Batsford Website

Batsford has been publishing books for art students, professionals and enthusiasts since it was established in 1843. Over the last 170 years, Batsford has developed an enviable reputation in the areas of fashion, design, art and textiles.

I can submit:

Up to 5 digital images of the work
OR a digital version of a picture book/graphic novel
OR a video (you can either send us a URL for viewing the video online or send us the video via file transfer e.g. WeTransfer or Dropbox

AND a supporting statement of up to 500 words (to be included on the entry form).

‘We are looking for entries that show innovative and well-crafted interpretations of nature in terms of subject or materials used, or a combination of the two. The work should reveal something about nature and our relationship to it.’

Although my general proposal for my final INTO_VERDE publication could directly feed my competition submission, I decided to focus more specifically on my newly proposed ‘Bright Light’ idea. I had plans to potentially use this sub-project as part of my final publication. However, for the immediate target of the Batsford Prize, I decided to focus more specifically just on the content of this particular ‘Bright Light’ idea.

Using my AIMTP reference material as a starting concept and inspiration, I hope to extend my practice of drawing using mixed media, possibly at a larger scale and implementing digital effects to produce the imagery for my work.

Things to consider: How could I potentially involve the subject/content of my work to influence the medium I use? e.g. could I use rubber/latex? What were the previous winners like? Who is judging? How can my work be innovative?

Solitude in Nature // Spiritual Direction

My new interpretation of my reference material instigated a new research area. The ‘Bright Light’ narrative of a ritualistic activity of the rubber tapping  turned my attention to research into the human relationship with the natural world considering spirituality. I especially looked at areas surrounding buddhist teachings of pilgrimage and enlightenment. I was drawing upon an interest in positive engagement, pleasure and learning from interaction with nature and internal reflection.

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Sketchbook experiments ‘Tibetan Women on Pilgrimage’

Organic Drawing // Colour Consideration

Inspired by the clothing often worn by religious and spiritual groups such as buddhist monks, I decided to experiment with the hue of my drawings. The orange and green tones working well as complimentary colours. I began to envision using orange elements as accents within my expected green theme for my general INTO_VERDE concept. Particular subjects of emphasis within my predominantly green palette could be made obvious by employing this warm tint.

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Monks on Pilgrimage

Bright Light // Narrative Comic Panel Planning

text extract

Following my experimentation with colour palettes, I made the decision to focus more specifically on creating a sequential set of images. I considered my intended narrative:

Rubber tapping as a ritualistic activity – by moonlight, the white sap is extracted from the tree. Light itself is ‘obtained’, a light as bright as day.

Within my panels I include forest scenes and bleached out organic shapes. In chopping the copies of the found photographs, I was able to experiment with potential crops for comic panels. I often struggle to create a composition I like when given a small window and so this method of storyboarding really helped provide some quick selections of image. The crops felt far more interesting as a series than  simply each entire image due to drawing attention to particular elements within each scene that would not have been so intensely appreciated otherwise.

The above process I put together in my sketchbook was a stepping stone activity to splitting the narrative into sections and potential single images. It got me to consider how I could set the scene without the text so directly included.

Pencil Drawings within Narrative Development // Texture & Detail

Working further upon these sketchbook pages, I also decided to add my own broken-up and constructed jungle scenes. I quite liked how the loose sketches both contrasted and interacted with the squared and solid collaged photos. I played with my inclusion of elements and texture in my drawing. At times it was difficult to decide how much detail to put in to suggest the imposing tangle of plants within a typical jungle.

Tutorial // Next Steps for Development & Batsford Prize Submission

My tutorial allowed me to assess my research and ideas and make decisions for the next stage of development. Realising my deadline for submission for the Batsford Prize, I wanted to really delve into creating artwork for my narrative. Through our discussion we drew upon particularly nice visual elements to my image research (above) and potential ideas for both image and text application from my references – thinking about scale and the extent of the inclusion. I made realisations with my tutor about how the quality of line in my ink drawings felt appropriate to explore in this next stage – making confident drawings at a larger scale.  I considered taking and drawing from the cropped photos and lines of text as well as implement my desire for mixed media and a looser method using ink.

Working a mixed media would allow texture and potential for variation to translate in colour layers. I still have intentions of reproducing my work using Risograph and with a limited colour palette as it proved to refine and control my eye in previous work. It would also allow me to consider the layering of elements of my illustrations – relating to other applicable print methods of screenprint.

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I was encouraged to write myself a brief for the Batsford Prize and give myself more limitations to help drive my project to an outcome I was happy to submit…

Sketchbook Work // Larger-Scale & Mixed Media Ink Drawing Studies

I used a variety of drawing approaches with quink, pastel and pencil to vary texture and approach. I found my favourite work was where I concentrated mainly on loosely re-creating the shapes within my reference material. This reflected my research into the minimal ink wash painting and developing concept towards a ‘zen’ and contemplative and more meditative approach. I felt this more simplified and abstract way of drawing was something to pursue in my follow up work and ideas…

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Simplifying: Separating Elements

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I was beginning to find the larger, more complex jungle scenes difficult to produce to the strength I wanted. There was something I wasn’t quite connecting with in my drawings – I especially felt the composition and inclusion of elements needed assessing. I decided I needed to try out a new approach to the suggestion of a place/location – in this case, the jungle at night.

Inspired by the graphic prints of Merijn Hos & Alessandro Cripsta, I thought about images working separately in a more simplified format. I considered this an opportunity to push my work into a more colourful and exciting direction, possibly applying gradients, repeated patterns and shapes with the vision of the potential for my own print work. Taking elements and ‘symbols’ within my narrative I reflected… what directly speaks my narrative?

Moon / Light

Plants – rubber leaves – undergrowth – washed out branches

Hands – ‘obtaining’ – extracting

Drips & Chevrons- white arches, slices, crescent <<< Connections to Moon

Reflections

Mist