Friday, 30 October 2009

During my research one of the interesting things that's come up is marine geology, which is essentially plate tectonics. My first thought about this was the theme of resistance, which fits in nicely with the D&AD brief.... I like it as it's not an obvious idea for resistance but it fits really well. Our continents are all slowly but continuously moving due to the earths tectonic plates moving and rubbing against each other. Due to the resistance of the plates rubbing against each other, enormous pressure builds up and when this pressure is suddenly released it results in earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides etc. This could result in my work ending up looking a bit apocalyptic so I need to be careful to not go over the top....
Anyway, here's something with a bit of earthquake destruction in it.

Thursday, 29 October 2009


Just waiting for a reply now. The National Oceanography Centre in Southampton could be a really useful resource for my project if they will let me visit them.... I'm hoping they might have some sort of image bank that they might give me permission to use, but it's a long shot.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Thinking more about methods of revealing information in my illustrations - everthing we know about anything was unknown until it was discovered, and I think the best way to represent the unknown is through negative space. SO, I’ve been thinking about ways of having hidden meaning in the negative space of my illustrations, i.e. embossing, die-cutting, layering....
As one of the aims of the census is to ascertain what is ‘unknowable’ about marine life in our oceans, this could be represented by having some nonsense elements in my work in order to slightly mislead the viewer, and make them have to look a bit harder to find out the true meaning behind the illustrations.

Monday, 26 October 2009


Todays tutorial was really useful, and I got some positive helpful feedback that should really help me to push the project forwards. One of the main objectives of the CoML is working out what we do know, what we dont know but will know, and what is unknowable. Joel made a good point in that the easiest way to show the unknown, is just a blank piece of paper, and this could then lead to concealment, revealing information through interacting with the work...
Another point that was raised was that I could make the information presented in the CoML more easily understood, to make it more accessible to people who might not otherwise be interested in it which could give my project more focus, which it needs. What I really need to do however, is go and talk to someone involved with the project or Ocean Science in general, show them my work and what I’m about and see if they have any suggestions for direction or focus.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Just trying a couple of things out, sort of inspired by looking at my new book of maps. I'm really not happy with either of them, but they are literally just ideas...

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Missioning hard

Every time I go to London I seem to spend more time missioning about from place to place rather than actually chilling at places checking stuff out. Anyway, me and Em did some pretty cool stuff yesterday - first of all we went to Brick Lane to soak up a bit of atmosphere, and found this little exhibition in the Rag Factory - 'Mr Almos' Big Pen Ship'

This is a bit of work in the exhibition from Mitch Blunt; I like his style - it's completely different from mine but it's important to me to like stuff that I would never do. I think it is to everyone isn't it?

So after Brick lane, we chipped over to the new Saatchi Gallery on the Kings Road, which was super inspiring and there was some really cool stuff there. Stupidly, I didn't note down any of the artists names but, I did manage to get some photos - here's a few of the most exciting ones;

After that it was definitely time for a quick visit to Magma, where I found a book of maps. The maps are turning into a bit of a theme, and having looked through the book today the imagery is really inspiring to look at and could be a good feature in my illustrations, especially as there are a few maps of ocean currents, surface winds etc etc.... The linework in some of the maps is incredible, so precise and methodical which suits my project perfectly.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Ocean stuff

Rummaging around in the crazy second-hand bookshop in Winton came up trumps for me today, with a couple of good finds;

The map is of the ocean currents and the worlds isothermal lines and was printed in 1870, and is just fascinating and beautiful to look at. The book is about a subject that is only just really coming into the mainstream national awareness - The Overfishing Problem. E.S. Russell was obviously an enlightened man back in 1942 when the book was printed, and as he says;

“The subject sounds remote; but it is in truth the concern of every citizen; and if the threat of serious reduction of fish stocks in the seas is to be averted, nothing short of immediate international action as soon as the war ends will do it.”

Monday, 19 October 2009

Our tutorial today wasn’t too good for me really - firstly I left my Learning Agreement at home because I thought we just had to email it over later, and then when I came to talk about my idea it turned out that it wasn’t really ready for me to proceed with the project. Basically, I need to refine the subject matter. REFINE. When I think about it, my idea of just illustrating ‘science’ is quite ridiculous so I’m glad that it was pointed out to me now, rather than later in the project when I’m struggling.
What I need to do to move forward is just focus on one area of science - what I’m probably the most interested in is the Oceans, so after I left the tutorial feeling a bit down about the whole thing I did a bit of Googling and found The Census of Marine Life, which is basically a 10-year initiative to ascertain everything that DID or HAS lived in the oceans, everything that lives in the ocean NOW, and everything that WILL live in the ocean in the future. This could be the jumping point that I need for my project, as it will at least give it some focus and some good references/concepts for some interesting illustrations.

I've started thinking about some visual possibilities....

So what I'm going to do now is re-write my learning agreement using the COML as the central point, and from there I can jump off into other areas that become relevant through my research.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Birds the Word

It's nothing and I'm not especially keen on it, but here's a quick bit o' something;

The map is all about the distribution of flightless birds, and the shifty looking character is an Emu. I don't really know what the circles are, but I just can't seem to get away from them. I like using shapes in my illustrations as they give an image a sort of structure and form, and without them the picture would be pretty boring anyway. Inspired mainly by looking at this little book;

which is one of a series of books that I was given by someone I know who studied biology in the late 70's. The information in the books is antiquated and out of date, but the imagery has that lovely old retro feel about it.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Wednesdays tutorial got me thinking about visual elements I can use for my illustrations. I really think I need to try and stay away from the more obvious scientific imagery like lab equipment and equations, as I want my images to have an element of depth and a feeling of the unexpected.

Thursday, 15 October 2009


One of the things that Joel mentioned yesterday was the exhibition that's on in the AUCB gallery at the moment, which is basically photographs of an island in Iceland (I think). All quite inspiring, but like Joel said the thing that really caught my eye was the large map hanging on the wall - when I think about it, maps are probably the most obvious, widely-used, under-appreciated, interesting, informative and beautiful pieces of 'scientific art' about.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Another interesting day! My essay tutorial with David went really well, and I feel much more confident about moving forwards with the brief now. David was really helpful, and having it explained to me in his way was very different from anything I’ve been taught before but I found it really productive. I now need to thoroughly look through the Eye magazine archives...

I also had a really productive talk with Joel which helped to clarify a few things in my mind. I have been worrying a bit about the project and the direction that I’m going with it. As the subject that I’m tackling is so huge (science) there is so much potential research that I was beginning to get a bit lost...
I got a bit sidetracked into thinking about the relationship between art and science and the creative thought process behind scientific breakthroughs, when all i needed to do was just start making images from what I was reading. I need to just divide it up into mini-briefs, and everytime I find a quote or passage that interests me illustrate it. Just start doodling or sketching what comes into my mind as I read. By doing this I can set myself a target of doing say, one illustration a day and moving from there. It will be a scientific, analytical, process-led project and this will suit the subject matter perfectly. I also think the D&AD brief about resistance will fit in quite well with this project, so watch this space... I now feel reasonably confident about moving on with the project , and writing my learning agreement.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Anorak Magazine

I really enjoyed todays talk, as it was so refreshing to hear about a successful enterprise that just values happiness and having fun. It was also really pleasing to hear Kathy say that she believes that you can teach anything through good design and illustration, as I’ve believed this for a while and It emphasises how important good design is. The competition also sounds interesting, but I don’t know how it might fit into my project? I need to think about that one...

Friday, 9 October 2009

Some links....

A name that Lisa mentioned in our tutorial for me to look at - Some good science art and a pretty scientific website from Keith Tyson. I especially like his Studio Wall Drawings, which are essentially his sketchbooks and personal logs, which he says are "a series of focal points at which a host of individual and global vectors meet." So instead of just being works of art, they are a record of his experiences, work and environment. I like this scientific approach to recording these elements, and the result is a series of works that are all completely different from one another yet all work as part of the same thread of the artists life and this recording process is something that I would like to pick up on.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Essay Briefing

Today was interesting. For some reason I thought that the essay I did last year was going to form the basis of this years essay - it turns out that while we can stick to the same subject, we have to use different references, quotes, case studies and theories. Confused? Worried? Slightly....

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Editing Tutorial

I knew this all along, but I shouldnt’ve been worried yesterday as showing my work was fine. It was a really good experience getting honest, constructive comments and it has reinforced what I like and dislike about my work. A definite advantage of doing Vis Comm is that I learnt a lot about presenting my work and placing it into layouts, and I can see already this will stand me in good stead for this year. Anyway, I think the notes I took will speak for themselves:

Monday, 5 October 2009

Negotiated Practice

First day of a new course! It felt strange walking through the door to the Illustration studio this morning, but I had an overriding sense that this is my final and most important year in Bournemouth so I have to make it count. I don’t really know anyone on Illustration, so it was a bit of a relief to see a small group of familiar Vis Comm faces. What with starting a new course and getting our first brief it was all a bit overwhelming and hard to take in, but also exciting. As one door closes etc etc....

Our first brief is good, and I hope it will give me a real opportunity to develop my style of illustration and my thought processes. After two years of Vis Comm I’m used to taking a very practical approach to design, where the first considerations are the audience, the layout, the packaging, the font....
As for ideas for the brief? I would like to try and link my work this year with the course I’m going on to next year, which should provide some interesting material for projects. I’ve got textbooks to read so they could be a good starting point. I’m nervous about showing my work to the group for my tutorial tomorrow as I’ve come from a course where the emphasis was on graphics rather than illustration, but I’m also looking forward to seeing what people think. Will it be up to the standards expected? Will people like it? Should I care if they do or don’t?