Final Major Project – Brainstorm

To kick off my final major project, I created a mind map of ideas in order to start coming up with some ideas.

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I wanted my final major to be based on something I am passionate about and would enjoy doing, so that I will want to work on it and get it completed to a high standard. I explored the ideas I liked surrounding themes like synesthesia, and vaguer ideas like repeat pattern. I brainstormed ideas, many of my possible outcomes and ideas linking together in different ways. However, the idea that appealed to me the most was Landscape Design – the idea I liked the most has been surrounded by pink and yellow lines.

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After realising that Landscape Design was my favourite idea, I decided to expand upon it. I made a big list of possible books I could design the landscapes from, some parameters surrounding the idea for my project, and some possible outcomes. This list would be good to reference when writing my project proposal.

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After creating my list of ideas, I decided to go more in-depth on my outcome for the project by making another mind map. I developed some ideas, and pointed out some flaws (e.g. copyright issues) in others. Personally, I like the idea of designing new book covers and dust covers the best. These book cover pieces could then be used to create art prints and merchandise, just without the text covering them. However, there are copyright issues surrounding selling pieces like that, so I would have to do further research into that field if I decided to sell my work.

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Evaluation of Social Action

What happened and what did you do?

My Social Action project was all about destigmatising mental illness and spreading positive awareness of it. I drew large inspiration from The Sad Ghost Club for this, in the end deciding to create a colouring book page as an example of the work I could produce, given more time. It contained the character I designed of a little alien, who represents the viewer and anyone who suffers from mental illness. In the piece the alien is gazing upon a UFO abduction in a dreamy mountainous setting, with a banner displaying the words “Take Me Home” above its head.

To create this I did some research into mental illness, artists who create work surrounding mental health issues, and drew inspiration from them. I also did some experimentation with unconventional mediums and type, and played around with what my project outcome could be before settling on creating a colouring book. With the time frame left of my project by the time I came to that idea, I knew I would not be able to produce an entire book of colouring pages before the deadline. Therefore, I created one page as a taster of what I could produce, and can perhaps pick up again and complete when I have more time.


What was inspiring about the project to you, how did you translate this into your work?

This project was all about creating art surrounding a topic we’re passionate about, so I chose mental illness. I myself have been suffering from it for years, and many of the people I love do too (including my Mom and my best friends), so it is a topic I hold very close to my heart. I was inspired by the grit and determination of the people suffering every day, and the daily struggle I go through myself. I tried to emulate the kind of reassurance I know I don’t find patronising in my work while making it approachable and engaging to any viewer that may find it.


Did you manage to achieve what you set out to do at the beginning of the project?

No and yes – initially I set out to create t-shirts or tote bags or some kind of merchandise as a final outcome, but surrounding the same topic of mental illness. This idea was born with the idea that not only would the merchandise be owned and be a reminder to those who need it, it would also be shown to anybody in the general public when worn outdoors in a public setting.

However, after thinking this over I really liked the idea of people interacting with my art and making it even more personal to them. Therefore, I changed my idea to creating a colouring book in order to let people make my art something meaningful to them. It is also a kind of self-help as many people (including myself) find solace from anxiety by using adult colouring books. I hope to emulate this, while the picture itself reassures the user as well.


Overall, what did not go as well as anticipated through the project? Why?

I was disappointed in myself for not leaving enough time to create multiple outcomes for my project. While I am proud of the piece I created, I would have liked to create more images to display what else my colouring book has to offer.


If you attempted something different within the project, how did that new approach work?

I think this is the first project I have done where I haven’t used a multitude of colours in my work, as I will be leaving the colouring to the user. I did create a coloured version of my final on Photoshop to display what a coloured outcome could look like, but that is just my own take on how it could be coloured in. I quite liked creating an image where the intention is to easily colour it in, it really made me think about composition and placement of lines.


In Summary…

I really enjoyed putting all my thoughts and feelings on this topic into my work, knowing that it is interactive and people from so many different backgrounds can contribute to it and show their own story through how they decorate it. I love the idea of collaborative art – especially with people who thoroughly relate to the topic at hand. I wish I had more time to create more pages, but perhaps I can pick this idea back up when I have some free time. My vision was to spread positive awareness and break the stigma surrounding mental illness, and I believe I did that notion proud.

Water-Based Pen Experiment

As somebody who works with watercolours often, I am comfortable with how they work and how I can use them to create an effect I want. However, I wanted to see if I could create a new effect with a rather unorthodox idea: blending out water-based pens with some water and a brush.

The thought process I had behind this was that my Copic markers (an alcohol-based marker) are unaffected by water and blend easily with each other because of the alcohol base, while my Crayola washable markers (a water-based marker) do not blend well with each other. This got me thinking, as you can dilute the colour from Copics with alcohol (they have a “blender” pen which is just alcohol with no pigment and it practically erases the ink), shouldn’t you be able to dilute the colour from the Crayola markers with water?

To begin my experiment I selected my first set of colours. I chose purple, pink, red, and blue to create something I am very comfortable with painting – a galaxy. I then roughed out where I wanted the colours to be by laying down lines of colour in a way I thought would look nice when blended out. After that, I took a cup of water and a paint brush, dipped the brush into the water, and began blending. I waited for the first layer to dry, drew on some more lines of colour, and repeated this until I was happy with the outcome.

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These were the outcomes I got after adding details with a gel pen and more markers, with my thoughts beneath each one.

I think the top two pieces look the best – the spaces left between the marker lines made for good gaps between colour, adding depth to the galaxies. However, I wasn’t happy with the amount of depth the markers produced. It was difficult to blend them without the water eating up my paper, but if I didn’t blend enough it left harsh lines from the pen. This can definitely be put down to me using paper that wasn’t intended for watercolour and for using pens which weren’t meant to be used as watercolour paints.

To conclude, these experimental pieces are not quite what I was looking for to use in my project. Using markers instead of paints was interesting to see, but was really more of a chore than anything. I had limited colour choice, a hard time blending out harsh lines, and less control over where colour went once it was dampened. In future, it would be easier to just stick to watercolour paints.

Character Design

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I wanted to create a character for my piece who was a bit of a sweetheart – something/someone unassuming and gentle, but could still express emotions freely. I walked around my class and asked which character my peers liked the most. The alien, number 21,  won!

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I then customised the design and changed it up, drawing inspiration from Doctor Who, ET, and Grey Aliens. Again, I walked around the room and asked which design of the alien people liked the most. Number Seven won!

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After this I designed the rest of the alien, giving him long skinny proportions and a cute outfit! I decided to give him the grey sweater with the planet, black jeans, and sneakers to wear.

Wreaths and Banners

After creating a type face, I decided that I needed something to contain the words instead of having them floating in space. While floating text can be made to look effective, I enjoy how wreaths, banners, and speech bubbles can further contextualise what the words mean.

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I first designed various banners, making them fold and bend around each other to allow space for more words or for a different effect. I thought these looked really effective, so I added shading and trims and dots to make them more unique. The banners with multiple writing spots can be used for sentences, or even 2/3 words separated onto each part to make a statement. I will definitely use this in one of my project pieces.

After the banners I added wreaths of varying sizes to the empty spots, trying different ways of laying out leaves, adding more vines, adding flowers, adding berries, etc. I think the more organic shapes look brilliant, while the more structured ones look less visually appealing. If I can find a way to use a wreath in my final I will, as myself and my peers both think they look stunning.

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I was thinking about creating a comic for my final piece, so decided to see how I could express different emotions and feelings through speech bubbles. I annotated them with ideas of what said emotions could be and coloured them with proposed colours. I really like the “getting angry” bubble as it is full of motion and I think it does a great job at representing somebody getting angry. I also think the “thoughts/unsure” bubble is nice as it is very minimalist, but gets the point across.

Typography

For my project I wanted to create my own typeface to write in any words I might include in my illustrations.

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I experimented with the hight of crossbars and the width of letters to create a typeface I thought looked aesthetically pleasing, using a mixture of each height and width to make it look interesting and pretty funky.

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I then experimented with doing the type in bubble letters, joined lowercase calligraphy, and different line weights etc on the word hello. I didn’t really like the bubble letters or the joined calligraphy, so settled with doing single spaced lettering with one thick line on each.

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