Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Peacocks - Laura Ward

For the Research Methodology unit I decided to focus on peacocks. I chose this bird as I was already vaguely aware of their rich history and how much they have influenced culture and religion, so I thought they would make for a really interesting project. I separated my research into five words that I had collected from a survey asking participants to describe the personality of a peacock and produced a variety of work inspired by these descriptions. This poster (above) was based on the word 'protective' and shows peacocks 'watching their backs,' promoting their aggressive nature and tendencies to be protective towards themselves and other members of the muster. The peacock was firstly drawn out with black fine liner pen then duplicated and colored using Photoshop.

My research covered a lot of influence the peacock has on religion and its wide range of connotations with wealth, wisdom and dignity, especially in India where it is the national bird. I also learned about its highly political role in the National League of Democracy in Myanmar, and its use in impressive architecture such as the Peacock Room inside the now abandoned Sammezzanno Castle in Tuscany. Following this, I thought it would be interesting to take this powerful and iconic bird and contrast it combining them with the mundane lives and daily problems that we sometimes face as humans. Therefore, I created a series of cartoons throughout my project depicting the bird facing such problems as loneliness, which was also a product of the fidelity research I covered exploring how the bird can sometimes die from lack of companionship, providing a really refreshing view on the bird.

After looking into their famous connotations with flamboyance I decided to create a poster that showed peacocks celebrating their appearance with a proud attitude. This poster uses the 'P' section of a dictionary page as the background, then layered with my fine liner drawing once again with the text 'Bird Like Me.' It would have improved the effect of the poster to include the peacock's plumage but I felt that it crowded the image with so many peacocks layered onto one another and it would have created large spaces of block colour, which I felt was more damaging to the overall image.

For my final design, I produced a lino print of a peacock's portrait, printed with black ink, then transferred onto Photoshop to add color adjustments and text. I felt that the peacock's most striking and significant attribute, like with many organisms, is their passion for survival. I aimed to express this passion with the bold use of red, contrasting it with black to encourage a feeling of danger around the bird. What is most surprising is how they have adapted their bodies to withstand short distances of flight in order to hide in trees for safety during rest periods, despite carrying a plumage that is almost half its entire length and contains over 200 feathers. They maintain a perfect balance of personal safety, making them one of the most successful survivors of the bird kingdom.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Pine Marten

For my research methodology project I decided to look at the Pine Marten. Pine Martens are shy, nocturnal animals that have been extinct from England since the 18th century due to hunting and deforestation. They are still found in Scotland and Ireland and in recent years have been reintroduced to Wales. My research started off with looking at the conservation of these animals and the efforts that are being taken into reintroducing them to Wales and possibly England.

During my research I looked at if the Pine Marten had any myths or legends behind it and found very few, but I did find some Native American creation stories that involved the Pine Marten. Pine Martens are seen within Native American beliefs as a brave warrior and protector especially with the Ojibwe/ Ojibway who had a clan named after it, which had their warriors, builders and strategists in.

One of the stories really stood out to me, Pine Marten's quest for Moon's Daughter, in the story different animals are trying to become Moon's daughters suitors, but to do this they have to pass Moon's challenges. Pine Marten is the only one who completes the first challenge and goes on to the others. The part of the story that caught my attention was the ending were Moon is sent into the sky by Pine Marten were he becomes the Moon. As the original story is a direct translation of  a spoken tale there are quite a few sentences that don't make sense in English. After having a tutorial with Karen Anne we discussed about transfiguring and rewriting the story to fit Irish animals and making it into a children's story book.

My new version of the story went through lots of changes and versions. I made it so Pine Marten is the protagonist of the story whilst Moon is the antagonist, as in the original both of them seemed to be as bad as each other with no messages of good. I made it so the story showed how much Pine Marten loved moon's daughter (Kyna), and how he would do any number of challenges to be able to marry her. In the end during a challenge pine marten is exhausted and fed up and sends Moon into the sky.

For the double page spreads I made thumbnails of every scene and picked three to illustrate along with a map for the index papers. When designing the characters for the story I got a bit carried away and did roughs of all the characters involved, so I used them and made them into a page introducing the characters to go at the start of the book. I did all of my drawings in black fine liner and scanned them into Photoshop were I then coloured them and added in the text.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Rat - Jakub Marjanski

I decided to follow the Rat for the project, the reason I took the rat is because the idea of an animal that represents pestilence fascinated me. I instantly jumped to looking at the disgusting side of rats and found that the animal is actually quite clean. I had to look quite hard to find pictures of sewer rats and diseased ones on the streets of New York city. Eventually I collected a range of images that I sketched out.

With that I went on to look up the pestilence part of this project. I looked at depictions of gods and concepts such as the 4 riders of the apocalypse. In my search I found the black death and that it came in 3 different versions that plagued different parts of the world. I decided to make that my main theme.

With my discovery of the black death I decided that I should depict the disease moving from one place to the other like it did. I after a tutorial I was informed of concertina books, their long length were perfect for the subject. 
Final Piece

The final piece was made with 3 cellulose thinner prints of works I have done in my book, each representing the location where black death happened. The in-between parts are transitions made with a Graphite pencil (I also went over the prints with it to make them darker and feel like an old painting). The band around the book was made with a map to add to the travel aspect and the actual book is made with Fabriano paper. Its missing text that was meant to accompany the images but I didn't have enough time to add them to the piece.
The first image represents the Byzantine empire, second Europe and last China.

My Dog Sighs Workshop

In the Free Art Friday workshop I created a ship out of a discarded pamphlet and a leaf. The leaf is the mast whilst the Pamphlet is the ship. The screws were used to create mechanical legs and added a mechanical feel to it.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Komodo Dragon - Calvin Squibb

For my Research Methodology project, I decided to focus on the Monitor Lizard or to be more specific the Komodo Dragon. I chose the Komodo Dragon because it is the largest lizard known to man and also because  they have the word dragon in their name. Ever since I was little I have liked dragons and legend behind them and how each culture has different depiction of what a dragon is or look like. My research started with looking into the facts about the Komodo Dragon I did this by borrowing books from the library that  included the history and biology of reptiles hoping that they had information on the Komodo Dragon or Monitor Lizards. I also used the internet to such for information about the Komodo because it is a lot easier to search for information that way. Upon researching the Komodo I found out they share a similar tongue to a snake and that they also use it the same way. I also found out that Komodos can come in a variety colours such as, blue, orange, green and grey. When I found this out I first thought of the chameleon who can also come in a variety of colours. From this new found information I decided to create some prints based around the characteristics of the Komodo Dragon.

After the second tutorial, I started to look more into the biology of the Komodo, as well as how it moves and what its footprints looks like.  Upon research into the biology of the Komodo, I became interested in its skeletal structure and so decided to create an experiment using the foam peanuts that you get from packaging. This is a really easy material to use especially the starch based peanuts because you only have to use water to stick them together. I wanted to carry on using these peanuts because they are easy but I ran out of them and couldn't find a supplier so that I could get more but I think this was a good thing to happen, because even though I thought this outcome was successful, I wanted the final piece show the more robust side of the Komodo Dragon, and through research into other artists I thought of a way that I could create this outcome using metal wire.

Before creating my final I had to plan out what is was going to look like and how I was going to create it using wire. My plan for creating the Komodo was to make a simple wire mesh and to overlay it with a screen printed pattern that resembled the skin of the Komodo. I decided not to do this because of the artist Benedict Radcliffe who creates 3D wire frame models using steel rods. Leaving the wire frame exposed gave his pieces a unique look and so I wanted to recreate this using my own method, and that method involved buying a lot of paperclips and unfolding them that they were straight. since I couldn't use  welds to attach the paperclips together, I used a soft wire so that I could wrap it around two paperclips, joining them together. I felt that using nothing but metal and wire, you would get the feeling of a robust industrial look. Below is what the final wire frame Komodo Dragon looks like; there was no other materials used except paperclips and galvanized wire.

Sunday, 5 March 2017


For my Research Methodology project, I chose to study frogs. I found them intriguing in the sense that they were considered either cute pets or horrible creatures - there is no in-between. Aside from their reputation, they are very interesting animals and have so many variations. This post shows a sample of my project and my exploration of frogs.

In my research I investigated the things most commonly associated with frogs. I looked at their patterns, their movements and their noises in an attempt to understand them better to find a way to represent them. First, I looked at the distinctive markings of the common frog, the kind you're likely to find in your garden. I experimented with different mediums to find the best way to represent the texture and patterning of a frogs skin. I found watercolour to work particularly well as it had a softer effect that suited the subject.

I also experimented with etching to create the patterns of frog skin. I tried the standard form of etching and found that the pattern edges were too harsh and bold. In the example shown, I used diluted watercolour paint over the dried ink to add a green tint to the etch, adding a little colour. Despite this, the darker patches of the pattern still look harsh. My second etching attempt was much more successful and had a more natural-looking finish. For this plate, I removed the ground for the patterning with a pencil eraser which removed it unevenly and gave the faded outline to the marks. I then treated and inked up the plate as normal and found that the ink collected in the uneven patterns, then forming darker areas on the print which looked great. The print shown is my favourite of those taken from the second plate as it showcases the pattern brilliantly but still maintains as an overall image of a frog.

This next image is of my piece from the mechanical animals workshop. In this session, we were encouraged to create a representation of our chosen animal created out of mechanical elements. In my piece I really wanted to convey the frogs hopping movement in the springs under its feet and the powerful legs crammed with gears and other machinery. The springs might look comical, but they communicate my message well.

In the last image, you can see my piece from the workshop led by guest lecturer My Dog Sighs, inspired by his Free Art Friday initiative. The workshop encouraged students to find a piece of litter and to rework it as a piece of art. Students used cans, bottle caps and scraps of paper for their work. I found a seed from a sycamore tree and thought it looked a lot like a tadpole. I then used acrylic paints to paint the seed as a tadpole, with the markings and a little eye. I think this piece is very effective, and is a good representation of a tadpole.


I focused on owls for my research methodology project.
I looked at their symbolism in various cultures and their association with witches.
I also learned that the phobia of owls is called oclaphobia.