The goal of this exercise was experimenting with a variety of materials, papers and to explore different techniques of mark-making.
On the first place I realized that I'm very confortable working on white paper and wasn't really experimenting with different colors. Regarding textures I also realized I didn't have a lot of variety since I'm very used to buying watercolour paper. This was a good opportunity to explore with pieces of scrap paper I had at home and to buy a small block of pastel paper with a variety of colors. I also got to use some home made paper I made a few weeks ago.
Regarding materials I used ink, gouache, oil pastels, acrylic in, charcoal, poster paint and different combination of those. However, I didn't experimented a lot with the different styles of mark making and I think I could take the exercise to another level. It was a really interesting first step to get me out of my comfort zone and I'd definitely be investing more time on this topic which I find very interesting.
In this exercise we worked around the decade of the1950s and the idea was to collet as much visual information as possible, research about the visual characteristics of this period, to the produce an illustration of someone sitting in a chair and surrounded by the typical artefacts of the era.
To gather inspiration and learn more about the decade, I created a Pinterest board where I collected images as well as articles about the 50s: www.pinterest.com/astrid_badell/ocas-projects/the-decade-of-the-1950s/
From a visual point of view, this decade was describe as one full “bubblegum colours, sci-fi shapes and technicolor textiles as some of the trademarks of the era.” Because of its post-war character, it reflected the need to have fun and live life. It was also the time in which many movies and rockstars where taking their first steps and many big films where produced.
From the images I collected in my Pinterest board, I took the one that from my point of view better represented the decade and created the following moodboard:
This one my first approach to a final piece, however it was very difficult to me to include the character, also I considered that making such a complex image was taking me away of some details I wanted to add. So, I started over and produce a second image which is my final illustration for this exercise.
The following two exercises were related, since using the same list of words we were asked to make them into pictures and to create a mood-board based on some of the words from the same list. The words are:
1.Turning words into pictures
For this exercise I chose the words: Kitchen, wild and destruction. Like expected (and it was stated in the exercise” it was harder to work on the adjectives. Most of my mental process was based on remembering. After choosing the words I kept thinking on related items or concepts form the thing I know or i’ve lived.
During the process I encountered myself thinking and making quick research on the topic of actual drawing (since I was making little drawing or sketches). These line of thought took me to:
I didn’t want to deviate from the main goal of the exercise which wasn't the aesthetics of the drawings, but I think these two concepts or ideas are worth looking at later.
To begin with I created the drawing for the following three words in two days in a row, however I’ll keep doing the rest of the words kind of as a morning warm-up practice. I’d like to include more materials as I only used markers and wax crayons.
2. Making a mood-board
Until now, I’m finding this exercise more draining than inspiring. It’s an exercise that for some reason I was delaying and now that I’m at it its taking me too long and im not enjoying the process. Maybe it’s the day or my mood, but I also think it has to do with me stressing about how to make it look good and coherent.
The thing that helped me out to come out with something useful was to look for references of other artists mood-boards and to research some of the terms from the exercise. The ones that catch my attention, were: swatches and marks. It took me to a further research of these terms and the results of learning about "mark-making" was what finally inspired me and led me to a more joyful practice.
A “Spider Diagram” is a tool to generate ideas from one word or term. To create this type of diagrams, the main word should be in the center and to write down all the words that come to mind and keep expanding from these new words, basically creating less obvious connections.
To generate our own spider diagrams, we were given the words: seaside, childhood, angry and festival. Finally we were ask to answer the following questions:
• Which word was most difficult for you to work with
For me the most difficult word to work with, was “angry” and I can imagine a few reasons why. I guess that coming up with words related to a feeling or emotion is more complex than coming up with words related to objects. It’s much easier to think about colors that are related to the world “sea”, for example.
Also, I think that the negative connotation of the word angry, created in me a discomfort of some kind and this made the process slower and difficult. And finally, I think one needs to approach these types of terms in a more abstract way, which to me is always a challenge.
• The strategies that suited you best to come up with more words.
The best strategy I found was searching through social media, especially Instagram. It turned out to deliver more personal results for the words I was searching since people are sharing their own content and labeling as they see fit. I found some “obvious” words in the images I saw and I was sometimes excited and sometimes disappointed in not having come up with this myself.
On the contrary, the Google searches were not very helpful since the main and most repeated results were the most obvious ones and mostly I already had them in my list.
For this exercise we were asked to look at an image that we felt attracted to, and to think about the brief that could have motivated the creation of the piece. Here’s the image I chose: https://www.instagram.com/p/B-uVBOcJipQ/ and below the brief I wrote:
To whom it might concern,
Due to the current situation the world is going through because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we at the British Red Cross would like to update our online shop with products based on a series of illustrations related to it.
The buyers to our online shop are a large number of individuals (both male and females) who are in the age range 25-54. This project will include a number of different illustrators with a variety of styles, therefore we would like each to exalt its own. Looking at your previous work, we think that your piece will be suitable for our modern, sensitive female customers.
Content, colors and style:
We’d like the illustration to share a message of hope and positiveness to endure this complex time and it should be based on the idea of “kindness”. It must be direct and easy to relate with. The whole piece should evoke a sense of community and hope. The color palette should evoke the feelings just described, therefore we’d expect mostly pastel, bright but soft colors.
This illustration will be used in commercial products, such as: postcards, art prints, mugs, tote bags, tea towels and notepads. It would be an additional asset if it could be turned into a coloring page that our visitor could download from our shop.
Tools and materials:
Because the purpose of the illustration is to create a series of products for our online shop, we need them to be in digital format.
With all the information above we hope you could start developing the first concepts in order to complete the assignment. Please let us know if you have any questions and when could we further speak about the project.
Brit Red Cross
I'm Astrid Badell-Suhr, designer and illustrator, specialist in communication