Approaches to making

Research & Enquiry

Blog 10

Methods and balances between text and imagery

There are multiple methods to creating work. Researching methods used by illustrators in convergence with text is important. There are multiple ways this can be approached. The image can directly reflect the text, be symmetrical. Complimentary by reflecting what is written by an author and adding to it expanding its value. Counterpoint illustrations provide some ambiguity that leaves room for different interpretations. “When conventional illustrations tell readers what to imagine, critical visual literacy is compromised.” I wanted to explore some text that informs me of the complexities of the subject, its important crossing over from fine art to illustration to develop more of an understanding of this, what message are you trying to get across? “When pictures and text work well together, their relationships has been categorised as symmetrical, complementary, or in counterpoint (Nikolajeva and Scott, 2000; Nikolajeva, 2005).” I have looked at an article writted by J.A Erekson he writes “When pictures and text work well together, their relationships has been categorized as symmetrical, complementary, or in counterpoint (Nikolajeva and Scott, 2000; Nikolajeva, 2005). “

Process of an idea

Looking through other illustrators and artists process on how to arrive at a final piece is good for reflection on ones own process and how ideas can be approached or created through the act of making. I have found a number of interviews with practising illustrators that ask about their act of making.

That honesty is also reflected in your work. Your art often includes desperate sentences like, “I have no more ideas.” I have included text that are captions to the image included in the image. Some of them are reflections of similar feelings to what Chris Neiman talks about.When he describes his process”For me, there is very often this feeling of thinking that, right at the start, I need a big idea. I get to this desperate state where I feel like, “How will I ever make it again?!” For me, I have to make little, unspectacular steps, step by step and then if I’m lucky it will happen again. No, I don’t need a big idea, I need 1000 small steps: 1000 steps ahead, 500 steps back, 700 steps to the right and then I will end up somewhere. So, you really have to force yourself to trust that process. In my opinion, you don’t come up with brilliant ideas while taking a shower, you know? A big goal of my work is that in the end, the results look like there was no alternative, as if things would have just fallen down from the sky — just like that. It sometimes still fools me, sometimes I think it has to happen like that.” Taking tiny steps to gain momentum instead of having the complete idea from the very beginning is difficult but important. The great wall of china was not built in a day, it has many small bricks supporting it. Without all the small bricks together the wall will fall.

Externalisation of ideas and freedom of expression

Using Alan Male and his book Illustration A Theoretical & Contextual Perspective as reference chapter Externalisation of ideas and freedom of expression. I was thinking about how do you develop solutions to creative problems? How can you gather inspiration and what sources can you use to make images. He describes “The Process of brainstorming and visual note taking could provide a solid starting point.” Sketchbook work is essential to development of ideas. My Keyword is multi so a source of many options, a method that encourages engagement is important. Drawing from the everyday is method of gathering ideas from your surroundings. Alan Male refelcts that on page 57 of his book. “The recollection of anecdotal detail related to domestic or everyday occurrences. There may also be something specific or significant that one has experienced.” Being loose, not stiff and rigid allows for a flow between engagement, reflection and processing through the mind by making marks on the page. He goes on to say”Whenever one is engaged in creating ideas, on location or in the studio, by using a ‘loose’ and informal method of sketching – doodling – immediate visual statements can be made….to a degree, this can be classed as ‘letting go’. Ambient, decorative, metaphorical and fantastical images can be innovated and conceived at this stage by using whatever visual means appropriate – colour, texture or line. The imagery could represent the merging of reality with fantasy whereby any combination of approaches can be used: drawing from memory, from references or from pure imagination.”

A product of process





Erekson, J. A. (2009). Putting Humpty Dumpty together again: When illustration shuts down interpretation. Journal of Visual Literacy,28(2), 145-162. doi:10.1080/23796529.2009.11674666

Male, A. (2017). Illustration A Theoretical & Contextual Perspective. 2nd ed. Bloomsbury, pp.Page 56 – 57.

Male, A. (2017). Illustration A Theoretical & Contextual Perspective. 2nd ed. Bloomsbury, pp.Page 56 – 57.


Interpretation of imagery

Research & Enquiry

Blog 9


During my keyword module I have used two approaches one using wording as a mechanism within some of my  illustrations. This is a new method of visually engaging with an audience for me. Others are wordless illustrations. My aim for this blog is to research the importance and effect of wording in images. Alternatively, reflecting on how illustrations can convey narratives without wording.

I found a very interesting article Entitled ‘Books without word’ written by Anna Ridley, development editor for Tate Publishing. A brilliant source for comparisons that there are more than one way to tell a story.

She looks at a number of active illustrators one that I found particularly relevant to my keyword project  is Madalena Matso. Anna Ridley writes “Madalena Matoso cut the pages of her book Et Pourquoi Pas Toi? in half to allow the reader more control in determining the meaning of her wordless illustrations. The ambiguity of her simplified, graphic illustrations lets us view the people pictured as types, while highly readable symbols around them such as laptop computers, laboratory equipment and crockery serve as indicators of the activities they are engaged in. Details such earrings, bandanas, and distinctive hairstyles add hints of personality so that if they were so inclined, readers might use the lower half of the book to develop a narrative around that individual. By relinquishing control over how each image is read, Matoso succinctly conveys the idea that we can become whoever we choose.”

Madalena takes an interesting and interactive approach to assembling this book. It is a Book of collated illustrations where the pages are split in two down the middle with different peoples upper torso and heads on the top half and various jobs and activities on the bottom half. It can be mixed and matched by the reader, creating different character and scene combinations by alternating the top and bottom half. I love how she has thought out of the box with this approach. The viewer can create different narratives, to play, the essence of childhood.


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Throughout my keyword project I have made drawings using a method, a framework that has allowed the creation of images that are intended to be looked at and narratives created by the viewer. Madalena Matoso has thought out of the box with her framework, a structure that allows different interpretations and stories to be enjoyed. There are more than one, multiple way to tell a story and this is an effective way for children and even their parents to do so.

Another illustrator Anna Ridley looks at is Suzy Lee and her book Shadow “which uses the gutter between pages to draw the line between reality and imagination. On the upper pages of the book, a little girl is pictured in sober charcoal in the secret confines of her family garage. She delights in affecting the shadows cast on the lower pages of the book by the bare light bulb above her. With the spine of the book acting like a mirror line, we start to see the black silhouettes of cardboard boxes take on suggestions of tropical foliage, while the vacuum cleaner adopts the role of baby elephant. The little girl lets her imagination run wild, and while she gets carried away she fails to notice the silhouette of a terrifying little wolf slip across the gutter, into reality. The diffuse nature of images make for the perfect medium here for expressing the fluid nature of imagination, while the interruption of the words ‘DINNER’s READY!’ on one of the final pages is a fantastic illustration of the way in which words throw things into sharp relief. At the end, when Lee uses a double page spread of black pages, they bear specific meaning where in another book they might have stood for nothing.”

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a94dee9e8076fa7a01fe7b8432182008-2Image source –


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I think her work is fantastic, it is so simple based on the click of a lightbulb, each page being a reflection, one lit one being shadows and silhouettes. She only uses to tones of colour throughout and it is so imaginative considering. Really clever and effective allowing the readers imagination to go wild with each page turned.  

On the opposite side with illustration books that use combinations of wording and illustrations I have looked at Cloth Lullaby: The Woven Life of Louise Bourgeois written by Amy Novesky working in tangent with Isabelle Arsenault’s illustrations.


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Within Anna Ridleys article she goes on to look at wordless illustrations, but further more artists that use captions to point readers in suggestive directions. She writes “Incorporating text to a greater degree are those picture books whose narrative-bearing illustrations are wordless but nonetheless rely on the equivalent of an artwork’s caption to help readers decode their latent meaning. Aleksandra Mizielińska and Daniel Mizieliński’s Welcome to Mamoko series, akin to Martin Handford’s Where’s Wally? for the generation before, tell the reader explicitly that there are stories to be found within the sequential images that follow. It is up to the reader to impart their interpretation on what’s happening, but only to a degree: characters such as Otto Trump, the elephant, are introduced at the beginning and readers are asked leading questions to send them on their story-finding way. The introduction also suggests there might be red herrings in the form of a stray pencil, a piece of cheese, and a skateboard. As Nodelman describes it, ‘Finding a story in a sequence of pictures with no help but our eyes is something like doing a puzzle. It cannot be done if we do not know what it is meant to be done, so we must first understand that there is indeed a problem to be solved’.”



Image source –

It is interesting to look at the parallels between my keyword project that I have developed and Aleksandra Mizielinski’s and Daniel Mizielinski’s Welcome to Mamoko series. We have both taken different approaches to a similar concept. There approach is more refined and have had a lot more development time to create their works. Letting the reader impart their interpretation on what might be happening in the illustrations is part of my aim, I have used a different approach. Their Mamoko series is aimed at children and mine are aimed at anyone of any age.

Anna Ridley goes on to write “Nodelman suggests that without such accompanying words as the title or the caption, ‘the visual impact of pictures as sources of sensuous pleasure is more significant than any specific narrative information they might contain … if [no narrative] is actually provided, we tend to find one in our memories.’ More than any of the books discussed, the wordless picture books of Emily Rand, In the Garden and her forthcoming Under the Sea, impose the least amount of narrative constraint on its images. Produced in limited risograph-printed runs by Hato Press, In the Garden has no words printed on it except for the copyright line at the bottom of the back page. Behind the first hedge-like page, a single red feather floats enigmatically towards the ground. Behind the second, another. Topiary hedges are suggestive of a large bunny in profile and a smiling snowman. It is the format of the book, whose pages are cut to match the profile of the illustrated trees and plants, that Rand uses to entice readers to explore further and experience the aesthetic pleasure of the book as an object. Without strictly determining the meaning her readers will take from the book, Rand makes it essential for uninitiated readers of pictures to be accompanied in the reading process, acknowledging that the sharing of books is a key ingredient in what makes them sources of learning and pleasure.”

It is really helpful to see other artists approaches to a similar subject and will help me inform my development from the keyword module and how it can progress my work for the rest of the course.


Riley, A. (2018). REVIEW / Cloth Lullaby: The Woven Life of Louise Bourgeois | Illustrators Illustrated. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Dec. 2018].

Anon, (2018). The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Dec. 2018].

Simmons, R. (2018). Conversations: Text and Image | Museum of Contemporary Photography. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Dec. 2018].

Pitts, A. (2018). Why use text in art?. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Dec. 2018]. (2018). MoMA | Language and Art. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Dec. 2018].


Multiple ways of creating an image and a narrative

Blog 8

Research & Enquiry

I have been creating daily drawings focussing of certain things that attract my attention throughout the day, a multi layered illustration of my day. Not specifically focussing on one moment, a collage of time in one drawing.

This has been an effective way to create illustrations, making it possible to make work even though I have been working a full time job. I have decided to ask people to look at some of these drawing, and write what comes to mind. I think at times people can bring their own narrative to pictures if there is no explaining context blurb next to it.

Their has been interesting comments some different, some similar. This structure of making illustrations allows an ambiguity to how a viewer can interpret what is in front of them. It’s an experiment, I wanted to see what results this way of creating can bring, to the person making it and to an audience. There are many ways to make work and this is one approach, using the process to drive the work. Not necessarily having a preemptive idea, the image in mind that you then create. Instead having a strategy that allows unpredictability and expresses, enhances, reflects and communicates the value of my chosen word ‘multi’

This is the image is asked people to look at  and see what they can interpret, I gave no context to the painting at all.



The painting is based on the drawing below.


I gave no context to the image, the only question asked was ‘How do you interpret what you see in this painting?’. They would then write their interpretation down.

Here are the comments from people that I have asked to look  at the painting….

Sara is a volunteer at the Wilson Art Gallery and Museum in Cheltenham, her reflections on the image.. “I felt nothing to begin with. I was trying to work out what the elements were..but then I started to feel sad, that his persons thoughts were ‘once’ trapped and still when released, had no value (i.e empty). Empty to me means nothing/end of no-more. Something screams imprisonment the structure looks like a prison, the open cage door an escape.”

Shannon is a staff member of the Wilson Gallery here feedback reads “ I see the words ‘let these empty thoughts fly’ escaping a birdcage and hovering around a sky high wall/even train zooming past? A man in a tux with a birdcage for a head – a feather escaping, drifting in the wind. A Rome style building & skyscraper are in the background and the yellow sky makes me think these buildings are ominous”.

Jake works at the local tourist information centre, he has a degree in Illustration. This is how he has interpreted the painting “The individuals mind is a cage, thoughts locked away. Unreleased anxiety. Unwanted & unhelpful thoughts finally gets released. The image, colours and flow of the text feels relaxing. You just open the cage door and you can clear your mind. Buildings remind me of an office block & with the suit I feel like the individual is trying to free himself from the grind of work.”

It is interesting how Sarah and Shannon took an ominous tone from the painting but Jake felt it was relaxing, completely opposite reactions to the same image. What forms their differences in what they see, to me that is really fascinating. Is this all down to our individual perception? And what forms that perception? I believe our life experiences form our perceptions. So when someone looks and interacts with an illustration, it is a two way transaction. You as an illustrator put your work across and the viewer brings their perceptions, a work of art is incomplete without that. It’s a collaboration of sorts, completing the cycle.

Anthea is a practicing artist printmaker that has recently finished writing her Dissertation for her second masters degree in the arts. Her analysis “Interesting drawing – birdcage/feather, interesting analogy with the bird/thoughts have already flown! It is more of a painted drawing than a painting. Railway carriages? Cityscape in the background. The text is quite feminin, is this done on purpose? I like the mark making to the foreground. It is quite a large canvas to tackle ‘the white space’ which can be intimidating for some.”

Tom is a musician when asked what he saw when looking at the image he wrote “My interpretation of this painting is that it is depicting a form of escape. The suited figure next to the monolithic building makes me think of someone looking to escape from an overreaching power. The text definitely leads me down that avenue anyway!”

When I go to a gallery I do like to try and work out what the work is about before I read the blurb and label. In Australia MONA gallery, the largest privately funded museum in the southern hemisphere does not label the work on display in the traditional manner. Ensuring that the work can be viewed in a more organic way, allowing the viewers to form their own opinions. They give the option of carrying around an audio description that tracks where they are in the gallery.

Perception is a complex subject, I have been reading  ‘Visual Perception Theory’ an online article written by Saul Mcleod a psychology tutor and researcher at The University of Manchester, Division of Neuroscience & experimental Psychology. My thoughts about people bringing their own experiences and past events/memories when interpreting images are reflected in his research. Saul Mcleod writes “There is strong evidence to show that the brain and long term memory can influence perception”.

I want to make illustrated stories, that was my intention when I signed up for this MA course. However when we were set the task of picking a keyword that we can use to explore, research and create. I wanted to give myself a varied approach, that is process driven. There are many way you can create an image and this was a new approach I wanted to try.

The benefit of asking people of what they interpret is huge, it gives me a better idea of what is important to convey a message in future creations and narratives. I can learn from their feedback. These daily drawings were an illustrated collation of things I experienced, there was no intentional narrative to any of them besides life is unpredictable, and we all come across new things daily if we choose to look hard enough. This is an experiment, a new approach for me.

I would like to research  what storytelling devices can be used to convey a narrative. I have looked at themes I would like to explore in previous blogs such as future technologies, AI and multiverse. I can use any feedback from my keyword project to inform, learn and develop what it really is that people focus on and analyse in illustrations.


J. J.Gibson, 1966. The Senses Considered as Perceptual Systems, Houghton Mifflin.

McLeod, S., 1970. Saul McLeod. Simply Psychology. Available at: [Accessed November 10, 2018].

Anon, Author Profile: Saul McLeod. Simply Psychology. Available at: [Accessed December 10, 2018].

Anon, 2015. 10 Ambiguous Images: How does your brain interpret these pics? Sommer Sommer. Available at: [Accessed December 10, 2018].

Anon, Mona – Museum of Old and New Art | Hobart, Tasmania. Mona. Available at: [Accessed December 10, 2018].

Anon, Thematic Analysis | Design Research Techniques. Available at: [Accessed December 10, 2018].



AI, future technologies and its influence on creativity

Research & Enquiry

Blog 7

Podcast Talk

How my Keyword ‘multi’ may be important for the future? It is clear as ever that human beings and digital technology are becoming closer and closer, we are becoming more and more dependant on digital devices like computers, smartphones and the internet. They have become for lots of people an extension of what they are. Is there a prospect of people becoming more than one interface, human and computer? Multimedia is becoming a bigger part of the connectivity of the global community.

I have recently watched a podcast between Joe Rogan and Elon Musk discussing the potential of AI, artificial intelligence, and what are the possibilities of humans and machines to become intertwined even further. It is interesting to hear what Elon Musk has to say on the subject because he is such an innovator.

Joe Rogan also holds interesting conversations with Sam Harris the American author, philosopher and writer. These narratives of AI taking over from human kind is well explored in films but still as time progresses and the realities of what is capable of keep developing new concepts that are driven by large companies that want to make processes more profitable or new products for the consumerist market.

see more of am Harris –

Wanting to get an illustrators take I have been reading graphic novels by Simon Stalenhag, a young Swedish artist that used kick started to launch his art books ‘The Electric State’ and his ‘Tales from the Loop’. He looks into a future world that has crumbled under its own advancements. With AI robots and a sparse atmospheric lands that is expansive.

Image result for Simon Stalenhag tales of the loop

image source –ålenhag/dp/1624650392/ref=sr_1_fkmr1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1543057964&sr=8-1-fkmr1&keywords=through+the+loop+simon+stalenhag



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These books are brilliant, it has rich language in setting of a scene. The illustrations are fantastic, flowing, the images have a strong sense of being a real place. These are ‘art books’ not graphic novels according to the blurb. The Blurb for Electric State reads ‘a woman and her small yellow robot travel west through a strange American landscape where ruins of gigantic battle drones litter the countryside, along with discarded trash of a high tech consumerist society addicted to a virtual reality-system.’ His skill at crafting these scenes with digital painting is very high. The storytelling is also very good with descriptive writing that really seeps its narratives into the reader.

I like how he talks about his use of his hometown landscapes in Sweden that he grew up in as a child, bringing his own narrative into it, having grown up in the Forest of Dean I would love to incorporate those views from my own childhood into a graphic novel. He has a connection with his work. I think having a genuine connection to the work you are making enhances the effectiveness of getting across a message or meaning.  Bringing you own history into you work can enhance it.

The idea of people being part human part AI in the future is real, a multi being a combination of the two. I think it is the inevitable course. Exploring stories in the possibilities of this future is only natural. People are already implanting electronic devices to for purchasing. Google glasses are already crossing over real like with a projection of the digital plane of existence.

Another interesting video I came across was this one from TED Talks and a lady named Mary Lou Jepsen. She is a graduate from the Massachusetts institute of technology an  inventor in the fields of imaging, display and computer hardware.

She talks about some amazing possibilities for the future. Like creating imagery from your head without the language barrier, unfiltered by the act of making. What an interesting thought, I like to think about the future of creativity with all the possibilities of new technology in the future. Illustration is a complex language that has held significance since the first primal cave drawings, it is always about making a mark with an object on a surface, could this type of technology be a game changer for future illustrators and artists or musicians? Taking away the act of information, sounds and imagery running through the brain, being dissected and recreated through repetition and editing physically manifested in a drawing or painting or song. If that process is bypassed will the end result be as good? Is that process a key part that adds something more to the end product, to the illustration, the song or whatever it is you are trying to create.

For our own art practice it is important to looking for new ways to make work or new ways in experiencing it. That’s why I have started to experiment with the 360 degree sketchbook pages and look forward to seeing to where that can lead my work. I had not thought about exploring this avenue prior to starting this module of research & enquiry so my practical module has benefitted.

So what does the Future hold for Illustration?

Storytelling & illustration is being enhanced by connectivity and interaction. I came across an article on the creativebloq website called ‘Industry expert reveals what the future holds for illustration’ in which John O’Reilly reveals the emerging illustration trends. John O’Reilly is editor of Varoom magazine produced by the Association of Illustrators.

He highlights work made by Kristjana S Williams for the rebranding of Connaught Hotel in London. She is a working illustrator and chose to use 3D handmade collage for the centre piece. The evolving process of making the work is meant to reflect to evolving nature of the hotel. It’s an awesome piece of work. John O’Reilly is making the point that demand is becoming popular for handmade, 3D illustration. Bespoke media that is different and that can create a wave through online sharing and discussion.

Also mentioned in the article is convergence culture, talked about by writer Henry Jenkins he describes how “the relationship between three concepts – media convergence, participatory culture, and collective intelligence….By convergence, I mean the flow of content across multiple media platforms, the cooperation between multiple media industries, and the migratory behavior of media audiences who would go almost anywhere in search of the kinds of entertainment experiences they wanted.” So if work can unique it lends itself to being sharable.

image source –

Also discussed is illustration in motion, animated illustrations that can grace magazines, or books that can be interactive. This is an amazing thought to have magazines that you can interact with, or newspapers that have self updating images. John O’Reilly also talks about removing the fourth wall, the barrier between screen and audience. The imaginary barrier between audience and screen. He gives a great example of an artist I have looked at on previous blogs Chris Neimann. For the football world cup hosted in Rio, Brazil he created an interactive sketchbook that illustrates the people and culture of Rio combining pictures taken from his visit and illustrations layered over the top . These illustrations are then animated by the interaction the viewer can give, his work really illustrates how much football is engrained in and means to the Brazilian public. It’s a great example of illustration wondering across other mediums.

Here is a link to Chris Neimanns work about Rio.

If you would like to read the entire article written by here is the link below.

It seems clear to me that the future of illustration is moving towards interactivity, combining illustration with other multimedia and the evolution of illustrations not just being made on flat surfaces. That doesn’t mean that the more traditional approaches cannot delight a viewer, it definitely still can. It’s just perhaps to get noticed in a quickly evolving technological world we will need to evolve just as quickly as illustrators.


Simon Stålenhag. (n.d.). Retrieved November 22, from

Jepsen, L., 2013. Could future devices read images from our brains? ted. Available at: [Accessed December 10, 2018].

Mary-lou-jepsen. (n.d.). Retrieved November 29, 2018, from

Creative, T. U. (n.d.). Joe Rogan (Podcast Site). Retrieved from Musk Podcast

John O’Reilly, 2015. Industry expert reveals what the future holds for illustration. Creative Bloq. Available at: [Accessed December 3, 2018].

O. A. (2014, October). Kristjana S Williams for The Connaught hotel. Retrieved December 3, 2018, from

H. J. (2006, June). Welcome to Convergence Culture. Retrieved November 28, 2018, from

How creatives are utilising emerging technologies to create new design paradigms. (2018, May 02). Retrieved December 1, 2018, from


Exhibition inspiration

Blog 6

Research & enquiry

I have realised as I have developed that it is really important to go and experience the work of other people and artists. Interacting with their work through exhibitions can be very inspiring. I can tell if the work is good if I leave with it having an affect on me, it could be an inspired feeling or a sad/reflective mood.

If it is good it always drives life in to my own practice, literally like being zapped by an electric current, a thunder bolt to the brain, inspired.  Obviously what I might consider being great could do nothing at all for someone, thats the magic of the arts. A fusion of different people coming from different experiences referencing other people from a completely different set of experiences.

I visited the Albertina in Vienna, which had some fascinating work from the Modernist era showing. ‘The Batliner Collection’ had some serious heavyweight artists on display; Picasso, Edvard Munch, Gerhard Richter, Max Ernest, Georges Braque. Some artists that I was not aware of or had not looked at much before.

They also had a Monet exhibition with work spanning his lifetime and the ‘Warhol to Richter’ exhibition that in the words of their website “artworks created from the second half of the 20th century to the present. Around 70 works by artists including Anselm Kiefer, Gerhard Richter, Gottfried Helnwein, Andy Warhol, Alex Katz, and Maria Lassnig represent the broad diversity of post-1945 artistic stances. Key works illustrate international trends running from hyperrealism to abstraction and from color-aesthetic to political themes, thereby exemplifying the multifaceted artistic output of the past several decades”

Art history is fascinating when reading about it from a book in the library but even more so when it is right in front of your eyes. Here are a selection of paintings that have stuck in my mind.



Why do I like this work?

The artists use of line and tone to create geometric shape is very interesting to look at, drawing you in. The Opaque affect on the colours brings life to the painting with light against the darker tones. I enjoy this about the painting. The geometric shapes and lines that cleverly frame the tonal values are a clever way to create this image. It made me stop and look, a sign of good work.



This work is impressive the way she has collated the shapes and adding a popping yellow   brings real life to a dead object of concrete. Rayonism is an interesting collective of ideas,  aesthetically I think it is brilliant. You can see the links to cubism and how it as a style could have paved the way to Constructivism and its strong links to graphic design.



Franz Sedlacek, Ghost in the Tree, 1933.

Why do I like this work?

Twighlight Song immediately caught my eye and stood out in the room against many other great artists work. He creates a strong atmosphere in both paintings. Interesting composition with the bold man placed in the corner playing his piano, and the dark looming Bat pops out of the shadows, really imaginative stuff. It alters to my mind pattern with striking composition and vivd colouring with believable dimensions.

Can it have any relevance on my project? Franz Sedlacek’s use of tone to create atmosphere is something I can draw inspiration from. His selection and composition of the ghosts in a tree and delivery through dark tones and landscape have a really eerie feel to it. Although his method is different to my approach to creating drawings at multiple times of the day, I could take influence from his delivery of an environment.


Why do I like this work? I am really in to printmaking the equipment in some studios are a joy to use. I particularly like the way his has used strong colour choices that give it a lovely quality. Composition leads the eye across or around the page that darker side seeps through in both. He had dark undertones to his images that makes you ask questions, what is going on between the man and the woman on the waters edge? An image that asks questions of a viewer is good, but i think everyone that looks at an illustration or a painting brings their own set of narratives. What someone gets out of an image is often tainted by what they bring to it.

Can it have any relevance on my project? It can with relief printing working in many layers, multiple and many different shapes and colours. I could turn some of my drawings that I have been making daily into prints, or pick out parts of images created and expand on them. I find it interesting to see how everyone see’s a picture slightly differently. So I plan on taking some of my daily drawings and asking people what they see in them? What narratives can the make out or what springs to mind for them. An image can have a very direct meaning or an ambiguity that requires thought when examining it. First of all it needs to be initially interesting enough for someone to want to try and work it out, whats it trying to say? This woodblock print by Edvard Munch certainly does that.

The importance of seeing art in person

Seeing art in person is important because when you see images of the work online they can get distorted in colour and lighting from the person uploading them. Also the connection is more visceral, and the impact can be greater on the viewer.

I read an article written for the Royal Academy entitled ‘Does our perception of painting rely on the electricity of human encounter?’ written by Emmyr Williams and Sam Riviere. Its a good relevant article that is told from both sides, yes or no.

Emmyr Williams is a successful abstract artist, writer and blogger and Sam Riviere is a poet and publisher that has a PHD in create writing from the University of East Anglia.

Sam Riviere argued that seeing artwork in a gallery is often only strengthened by the biography of the artist, the writing blurb along side. Without these there is much less understanding the artists intentions, we bring our own narratives and preconceptions, that seeing the painting in person is more of a completion of a cycle. He writes ‘Maybe “seeing” a painting is really a way of providing evidence for the frameworks of meaning we already have in our heads. Maybe no “essential” seeing is even available, and a painting is visible only to the extent that it complements your existing knowledge – a kind of accessory. ‘

Emmyr William argues that it is important to see it in person in a gallery. He writes “I believe a painting cannot fulfil itself as “Art” unless one really sees it in person. Reproductions can be an enticing reference or an aide-memoir, yet the electricity of the encounter is missing. A real painting possesses an inherent plasticity formed through human endeavour; it provides us with a haptic sensation of constructed space. Furthermore, we often return to seemingly familiar works only to discover new and unforeseen qualities in them. This regeneration can only happen when our eyes apprehend the surface. The surface: that magical membrane, the point at which the paint stops and the air begins.”

I think I agree with Emmyr William you cant truly understand it without seeing it, I had the experience when I saw the Paul Sarkisian painting Untitled (Mapleton) in the Albertina, Vienna. I have seen it in reference books but had no idea how massive it was, it didn’t really do anything special for me from the reproductions in reference books. But in real life my reaction was “Woah”.


Thats why I like the idea of pursuing illustration, it is designed to be more accessible, to be enjoyed wherever and whenever. You could be reading a book and admiring the illustrations on a bus journey, at home in bed, literally anywhere and it can have strong affects on you. Art is great in so many ways, but illustration is more accessible. Illustration can be art.

If you would like to read the full article here is the link



Anon, Munch Chagall Picasso. The Batliner Collection. The Albertina Museum Vienna. Available at: [Accessed November 10, 2018].

Anon, Warhol to Richter. The Albertina Museum Vienna. Available at: [Accessed November 10, 2018].

Emerie Williams & Sam Riviere, Is it essential to see a painting in the flesh? | Blog. Royal Academy of Arts. Available at: [Accessed November 10, 2018].

Greg Hart, The Importance of Experiencing Art in Person. Greg Hart. Available at: [Accessed November 10, 2018].

Alexandra Corey, 2016. Art and Travel: the authenticity of seeing art in person. ArtTrav. Available at: [Accessed November 10, 2018].

Anon, Emyr Williams. Emyr Williams. Available at: [Accessed December 10, 2018].

Anon, Main : Sam Riviere. Main : Sam Riviere. Available at: [Accessed November 10, 2018].


Blog 5

Multi-culture & Making

Research & enquiry

I have been lucky enough to travel to a number of countries recently, last week I went to Austria, it was interesting being in Vienna for the 100 Centenary of Armistice. I saw an exhibition about Austria politics and history of the city during the war. The city is steeped in history. I went to The Albertina and the Mumok contemporary art galleries. Mumok standing for museum moderner kunst stiftung ludwig wien.



Last weekend was a time for reflection on the many men that lost there lives, it was a world altering conflict, countries were divided. 100 years later and it feels as though these dangerous nationalist traits are rearing their ugly heads once again, along with the misuses of fake news circulating. During the exhibition in the MUMOK I saw nazi propaganda illustrations and another exhibition on non conforming contemporary music which was very interesting. At held an exhibition of contemporary art they hold in there collections made in the second half of the twentieth century which had displays of Warhol, Picasso, Braque, Edvard Munch, Rudolf Hausner, Franz Sedlacek and many more. They had fantastic displays at The Albertina with Monet, Chagall, Picasso, Richter. Going to new places and seeing art before my eyes always injects me with creativity.

I have been making a series of illustrations as part of my practice 1 keyword project, stemming from the word ‘multi’. Each of these drawings have been taken from my day to day living, things I have noticed, seen, experienced, heard or read. Each drawing has parts that have been made at different points across the day. Showing multiple times in one image, a visual diary.


The airport is always buzzing like a hive of bee’s. How many cultures are evident in how an area feels like and looks like. Austria had more history than I realised because the city itself is beautiful, it was littered with fountains and grand buildings of a gothic style, there was an abundance of stoneworkers in times gone past I can only imagine. There is history of their of the Austrian empire lining the streets reminding me of mixture Rome and Berlin.

My idea of drawing certain parts of my day from my experience of Vienna has made time stamping with what I’ve seen, creating layers.


Marks associated with sounds and vision whilst soaking up the city.

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davThe drawing above with the shadow of ideas was about my time spent inside the Mumok galleries, some of the amazing contemporary art inside and the structure itself. I like to play with scale and the idea of a picture within a picture. You might be able to see the smaller framed drawing with the ladders and then the larger picture frame going around the whole drawing.

After all a lot of these sketches are drawings within a drawing. Confusing right? I mean at certain points along the day I will stop at something that interests me, make a sketch on an area of the page then carry on. At a later stage of the day I will stop again and add too it with something else I see of interest. By the time I go to bed the one page of drawings and writing is like a slightly disjointed time lapse of my experiences and reflections.


This drawing is combination of my time at a train station in the north of the city shown in the picture above and my reflections at seeing people staring out of the train window many looking lost in thought.


The drawings above is a Mozart quote because he was literally everywhere in Austria and I went to watch an orchestra with some of his beautiful music combined with the 62 metre Ferris Wheel that is a popular viewpoint for the city which is shown in the picture earlier on in the blog.




Vienna time painting

I have made more illustrations but I won’t upload all of them and completely bombard. I have also made drawings like this from a visit to Madrid  and a few other places, that have all been extremely interesting, experiencing different cultures helps personal growth. Unfortunately we can’t travel all the time, I work at The Wilson Art Gallery & Museum in Cheltenham, England, it gives me opportunities to interact with different people all the time and invigilate galleries whilst exhibitions are on interacting with visitors. This plays well into making these daily drawings too. I have documented things with pictures when I can to have references for parts of the drawings. I have drawn some of them on a diary book with lined pages because it has become a bit like a diary in a way, a diary of images, words, sounds buildings and streets.

I like that there is a certain amount of ambiguity in the images, leaving a little to the imagination of the viewer. They can even attach their own narratives to the images. I have started using wording within my drawings lately because words are powerful, they can be anyway. They can resonate, connect or distract a viewer.  Being open to more than one interpretation works well for my Keyword ‘multi’.

An artist that I have looked at that has influenced me in my mark making is William Kentridge and his fantastic charcoal drawings and stop motion animations.

Image result for William Kentridge images

Cambio, 1999, mixed media.

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William Kentridge, Stillbild från 7 Fragments for Georges Méliès, 2003 © William Kentridge

7 Fragments, 2003, Charcoal on paper

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There is a brilliant video made by William Kentridge on his desire to create and the meaning behind the process of his work. Please use the link below to watch.

He opens by saying ‘The films don’t have meaning that gets drawn, the films come out of a need to make an image…the meaning emerges along the months of the making of the film. So the only meaning they have in advance is for the film to exist’. What I love about his work is the history of the mark, you can see some of the charcoal marks made then rubbed away, then worked in to then rubbed away. That has influenced me with my mark making during my daily drawing project. It’s okay not to be a defined finished image, that is not the point the point is to record, to be free and to reflect on what I have experienced. Sometimes that creeps in to my head when making and I find it suffocating “oh it doesn’t look perfect or it doesn’t look polished” so embracing this way of working has been freeing and helped me.

Drawing is so important and a main tool for development for any illustrator. In the book The Fundamentals of Illustration written by Lawrence Zeegen, in chapter the power of the pencil he writes “A common belief amongst graphic designers is that because the power of typography is entrusted to them alone, they hold all the cards in the game of commercial design for print. A little known, or perhaps just rarely commented upon fact that matches or even surpasses the claim to type by the designer is that the illustrator commands the power of the pencil. The pencil, and with it the activity of drawing in its broadest sense, is what defines the practice of illustration today.”

So whilst thinking of multi, I wanted a different way for someone to experience a sketchbook drawing. So having looked at the illustrator & graphic designer Chritoph Neimann in a previous blog I wanted to make my own 360 degree sketchbook pages. I am still experimenting at how best to do this but have some early stages examples on my fb art page below, click on the images below and they will take you to the examples ….

I would like to experiment more with this way of presenting work/experiencing work. I can image that experiencing stories in VR headsets, being surrounded by the illustrations would be very enthralling, add in more layers of sound and audio description even more so.


Lawrence Zeegan/Crush, 2005. The Fundamentals of Illustration, AVA.Chapter – The power of the pencil, page 50.

Tate, William Kentridge born 1955. Tate. Available at: [Accessed December 10, 2018].

Anon, Bing. Available at: kentridge interview about drawing&view=detail&mid=B12DF3DD5F894C4228C0B12DF3DD5F894C4228C0&FORM=VIRE [Accessed November 10, 2018].

Anon, Bing. Available at: kentridge interview about drawing&view=detail&mid=2968C74807532A551C9B2968C74807532A551C9B&FORM=VIRE [Accessed December 10, 2018].

Emma Chricton Miller, 2016. Black & White: Interview with William Kentridge. Apollo Magazine. Available at: [Accessed December 1, 2018].

Anon, mumok. Available at: [Accessed November 22, 2018].

Moderna Museet, 7 Fragments – Moderna Museet i Stockholm. Moderna Museet i Stockholm. Available at: [Accessed December 10, 2018].

Tate, E.M., 2006. ‘Cambio’, William Kentridge, 1999. Tate. Available at: [Accessed December 1, 2018].

Collaboration in Illustration

Research & Enquiry

Blog 4

Collaboration in Illustration & Art

In my previous blog I briefly looked at brothers Rob & Christian Clayton and their fascinating process of making work. In this blog I would like to peak further into collaboration in Illustration. The idea of more than one artist working on the same piece of work is fascinating. In almost all other creative fields it is a collaboration, a collective but the role of an artist or an illustrator can be a solo journey at times. 

It also links to my Keyword project exploring the word ‘multi’ meaning more than one.

I recalled reading an article about this chap that coloured in his daughter’s doodles, and I remember seeing them and thinking that is bloody brilliant. A child’s imagination is a special thing, unaffected by adult conventions and not influence by what you ‘should’ do or ‘shouldn’t’ do or say. It’s a free spirit, you can’t help but laugh at the things they can come up with.

Here is the link to the article below –

I really enjoyed the playfulness of the images, taking it back to drawing for the fun of it. That should be the essence of making work in my opinion, its good to work towards projects but if you can’t have fun and enjoy it along the way then why do it.

Clayton Brothers

I want to look more at the Clayton brothers and their collaborative approach to creating images. It is quite unique to hear of high level artists functioning in this way, collaborations are not rare there are often exhibitions or specific projects that take collaboration to create. However it is rare to see a continued, developing relationship through painting over a period of years and decades. Having multi: more than one person working on the same piece must be a brilliant yet challenging way to work. Perhaps constant dialogue audibly and visually is what makes there work so fantastic, the push and pull between the two.

I recently watched Bohemian Rhapsody depicting the rise of the legendary rock band Queen, and at a point Freddy Mercury decided to leave the band, saying he was tired of the constant process of working as part of the group, with each idea being challenged; argued for or against. So he decided to do two solo albums only to realise that people doing exactly as he said in production and writing was actually a problem, the music was not on the same level. The push and pull of ideas and different minds seeing different things was part of the magic that made them, and him so good.

On the Saatchi website they describe the Clayton brothers process as “Working from their Californian high street studio, the Clayton brothers draw inspiration from their immediate environment, incorporating local businesses, neighbourhood regulars, and snippets of overheard conversations as subjects for their paintings. Composing their pieces conjunctively, motifs, gestures, places, and figures reoccur within different works, creating inter-linked dramatic scripts. Set on collaged canvases, the physical layering of their surfaces reflects their condensed tableaux. Approaching painting as a visual representation of pure energy, everyday scenes explode in vortexes of blinding colour, animated movement, and product placement, giving the effect of viewing every frame of a film simultaneously. Through presenting a locality, the Clayton brothers relate the personal to the global. Offering a vision of America-as-it-is, they celebrate and share all its diverse, spectacular, and solitary splendour.”

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Brace Together Spin Spin
Brace Together Spin Spin, Mixed media on stretched canvas, 2006.

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I like there finished work because they involve the community around them, it has a busyness about it with its vibrancy that leads your eyes around the image. It has characters painted within that makes me wonder who they are and what their story is, is it a depiction of there local laundrette? Or is it something more once you scratch beneath the surface.

The nature of collaboration can be looser, their can be a direct collaboration of two artists working specifically on one piece. Or the indirect collaboration, working in a shared studio space with other artists, each discussing their work sharing ideas and bouncing of one another. I have experienced this. Only once I had stepped away from the environment later on did I see the influence it had on some of my work and development.

Another manner of collaboration is between a book illustrators and the reader. Charles Vass writer of Getting to Know, p78, Knowledge Quest made the point “Respecting that readers imagination is one of the most important tasks at hand for either the illustrator or the writer.”

I have been collaborating with my environment, making drawings along the route of my day. Everything on the page is a visual representation of things I saw, listened too or day dreamed. I work in an art gallery & museum so I see different things everyday and meet different people passing by on their travels, these things influenced the images.


I would like to mix over these hand drawn with digital. It ties in with my keyword multi as it is an illustration drawn from more than one moment. Sequential can be displayed numerous ways, I have been thinking about knitting together to create a 360 degree sketchbook page making it multidimensional. If anyone reads this and wants to collaborate on any illustration please comment on this blog post.


Charles Vass, Let Your Imagination Soar: Getting to Know Graphic Novels,Chapter,Knowledge Quest wrote, page 78.

Velez, M., 2013. A Tattoo Artist Colored In His 4-Year-Old Daughter’s Line Drawing. The Results Were Pretty Epic. HuffPost UK. Available at: [Accessed December 10, 2018].

Saatchi Gallery, Clayton Brothers. Cecily Brown – Pyjama Game – Contemporary Art. Available at: [Accessed December 3, 2018].

Saatchi Gallery, Clayton Brothers. Cecily Brown – Pyjama Game – Contemporary Art. Available at: [Accessed December 1, 2018].