... I still have a book to finish ...
I decided a while ago that I wanted complete autonomy over my book. This means that I have written, illustrated, designed and printed it all myself. The writing and the illustrating was straightforward enough. After all, as a writer and an illustrator it is what I do!
When it came to designing, a 10 week course in Indesign gave me the technical ability, but learning the intricacies of graphic design was a little more tricky and fraught with bad decisions, mistakes, and dummy book after dummy book until I felt I had it right. I then went on to experiment with many different kinds of paper by running test prints on my Epson printer; again, many blind alleys and wasted ink until I achieved the look I wanted. In the end, I chose to print the book on Hahnenmuhle Photo-rag Book and Album, a lovely paper which gives an almost velvety texture to the prints and makes the colour of the images just sing.
Here then are a few of the printed pages, waiting to be bound ...
Printing the book at home was a fairly miserable job, I must admit, and I made a lot of mistakes along the way, but by doing everything myself I feel that I have learned some invaluable skills and given myself absolute control over my work, both now and for the future.
The next step then is to get these pages bound into 2 'book blocks' and from there I will be creating a hardback cover.
Work began this week on my exhibition space. Very exciting for me, but exceptionally boring for anyone watching, as I was basically, with the help of my mathematically-minded friend, working out the dimensions of the space and cutting out templates for the beams. Construction will hopefully begin in earnest next week.
In the meantime, I have a house full of double-walled cardboard sheets. I have probably over-ordered, but better to have too much than too little, and ... well ... one always needs packaging!
I've been having a bit of fun this week, building a maquette of what will (hopefully!) be the installation which houses my animation projection. It's amazing what you can do with a few packets of Crunchy Nut Cornflakes and some masking tape! Seriously, this thing is made out of empty cereal packets. If only I could make the real thing out of cereal packets, but unfortunately, the real thing is going to be about 10 times bigger than this. And just incase you're trying to work out the scale in these pictures, that's my macbook sitting behind it with my animation on the screen.
Work on the actual installation will begin in the next couple of weeks. Now that I have a place in the exhibition space all measured up and earmarked for my work, it's all beginning to feel a bit too soon for comfort, and still lots to do ... like, for instance, sourcing the materials for this little endeavour! Fortunately, I have technical assistance on hand from boat-dweller and 'Man-Who-Can' Tim Edmonds, who will be on hand with, er ... hammers and stuff. I, of course, will be shouting instructions and waiting patiently with all the exciting things with which to make it look like the inside of a boat, as well as wrestling with the data projector and sound system. And if it all goes wrong, I can always shrink my audience down to size, Alice In Wonderland style.
As a bookmaker and as a booklover, I am always on the lookout for the ways in which artists and writers are re-creating the book format. With so many other forms of entertainment battling for the attention of an audience, there seems to be a huge question mark over the future of the book, but then when I stumble across something like this, I wonder what all the fuss is about. Surely books will never die when there are artists out there creating wonders such as this?
I've been spending quite a lot of time recently (in between writing essays) pacing the floor, drinking coffee, muttering, and generally feeling quite at a loss as to how I was going to tackle the animation side of my project work, putting it off, putting it off, procrastinating ... You know the drill ... Until finally I sat down at my computer one day and decided to have a go at the animation programme in photoshop. It seemed like the simplest option, so after googling 'How to animate in photoshop' for a few hours and making lots and lots of tiny little drawings, I eventually managed to string them all together to make about 5 seconds of footage.
Well, wow ... I sort of love it. Seeing my illustration come to life like this is quite fantastic ... So ... I guess I'll be lots and lots more tiny little drawings then ...
Also, being as I am now making films (a-hem) I now have a youtube channel!
I am happy ... that is, ECSTATIC, to report that I have finally finished the extended essay for the final module of my MA. Phew. With that in the bag I now have about seven weeks left to pull my practice into shape for the exhibition, so not much time to rest up then!
Curiously, I didn't find the writing of this essay as stressful as the presentation I had to deliver about 6 months ago, which was about the third of the length of this little beastie, so I am taking that as a good sign that I am now more intelligent than I used to be ... Or maybe I have just learned some stuff. Which is great.
Anyway, here it is, in all it's 6,167 word glory, should you be masochistic enough to wish to read it. Obviously, I think it is fascinating.
With the end of my MA in Illustration no longer a vague and dim light far off on the horizon, but a glaring mega-watt bulb glaring into my eyes and keeping me awake at night, I have decided to transfer my research journal from paper to blog.
The research journal has been an essential part of the course and of my development as an illustrator and artist. Sometimes it has been a bit of a pain having to keep on top of it, but mostly it has given me a great deal of insight into my work and the things which interest me, both in terms of my practice and my theoretical work.
Here are a few pages ...
After almost two years, I now have 7 books and a thorough record of my work as it has developed and all the artists, films, writers, animators and bookmakers who have inspired me along the way. It also contains my ramblings on life and my gripes and frustrations as I have struggled over the occasional hurdle.
This then, is the next stage ... To take that journal out of the privacy of my studio and my tutors' office and to put it out into the public domain where I can share what inspires me and show the things I am working on. It is a strange transition, and I will miss the comfort of pen and paper, but as I approach the end of the course, I realise how important it is for me to keep the discipline of researching and recording alive, and I have decided that this new, fresh approach is the way forward.
I hope all my posts won't be quite as dry as this one and I look forward to sharing my artistic world with you.
So ... Welcome to my blog!
I am a ...
... Teller of Tales. A Creator of Books. An Artist, Illustrator and A Boatbuilder. A Professional Daydreamer, Occasional Mermaid, and always The Eternal Optimist.