Generating ideas for my FMP

The first stage of my FMP was to generate ideas.  I chose to do this in a sketchbook, so that I can easily add to my ideas and research, and to keep my work together.

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I wanted to come up with ideas I could use for a comic or a videogame concept, as these are areas I want to work in in the future.  I made mind maps on two themes: issues with social media, and issues with the environment and health.  I then tried to think of different ways to cover these, including making thumbnails, and concept sketches.

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I was drawn to two main ideas.  The first was a to make a collection of autobiographical comic strips, covering real events and conversations in my life.  I liked this because it would give me a way to explain and help me process my thoughts and feelings, however I was worried about what people might think after reading the comics, especially if it included them in some way.

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My second idea was to create conceptual art of a possible future for our world, including landscapes/environment, artefacts, and characters.  I feel like this will be a better choice for my FMP, because it will give me the opportunity to advance my skills in using colour and colouring media, and my ability to draw realistic and believable objects and structures, which is an area I want to make improvements in.

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I am now updating my proposal, having reflected on the work that I produced during this first stage.  I’m glad I chose to use a sketchbook format, and I plan to continue documenting my work in this way throughout the FMP.

 

 

 

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FMP – PYRAMID TASKS

TASK 1:

“Suggest/note strategies to complete a successful FMP project.”

STRATEGIES FOR PLANNING:

A successful planning strategy should take into consideration:

  • Time (management)
  • Stages of creation and processing
  • Exploration/Research/Inspiration/ETC.

I could plan my project down to the tiniest details (e.g. amount of time spent on projects per day), but this would limit me and add more pressure. However, if i create SMART targets to reach at the end of each week, I can make sure I achieve the goals I need/want to, as well as allow time for any further research, idea generation, and exploration.

STRATEGIES FOR EXECUTION:

A successful execution strategy should include:

  • Lots of experimentation and exploration
  • Well thought out evaluations and explainations
  • Passion and dedication shown in work

Branching out and working with new ideas, methods, techniques, and more can be helpful in development, but if I try to explore too much or choose a topic I know next to nothing about, I may not be as emotionally (and personally) involved in my own work.  If I can manage to narrow down and focus on a topic or way to express myself through a medium I care about, I can get closer to making better work.

TASK 2:

“Look at the context on the Grading Matrix. Differentiate between:”

  • Limited Understanding
  • Good Understanding
  • Comprehensive Understanding

Limited understanding:

  • Lack of proper effort put into work, difficulty/inability to communicate ideas

A limited or poor understanding of the different units and difference techniques can hinder a person’s work.  They may produce decent pieces, but without the proper exploration behind them, they may be ineffective or irrelevant to their project.

Good understanding:

  • Good results, satisfactory work standard, ability/fair understanding of experimentation ETC.

Though there is still room for improvement, a good understanding can help when creating effective work.

Comprehensive understanding:

  • Extensive exploration and idea generation, experimentation with many different materials, techniques, and more

Going to the limit of what they can do, a person with a great understanding of the units and practical artistic skills/techniques can create massively well thought out and well planned work, with lots and lots of practice and experimentation backing it up.

Storyboarding

Storyboards are a crucial part to creating a narrative guide to comics, video games, movies, TV shows, animated shows, and more.

They help by mapping out a chain of events, showing how long a scene should take, what camera angles a shot should be shot/framed, even small actions and details that may be thought as minor or unimportant, but add interest and life into a scene.

As an Illustration pathway student, I had to come up with a small narrative of 6 frames (standalone or as if it were connected to a larger project), plan and sketch it out, and finish it (either digitally or traditionally).  We can add these storyboards to our work portfolios, and further experiment with them.

At first, I was stuck.  I wasn’t sure if I should develop a new character, focus on a setting or world, maybe even design a new object or invention I could use in future work.  I have been meaning to start creating backgrounds and new poses and angles, but I had kept putting it off in favour of trying to master other skills.

This challenge was a good way to force me to start practicing something new.

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I decided to use an original character design I had been working on, and used the storyboard to imagine her story in a comic or short animation.

Sketching out new poses and camera angles that I don’t usually draw was difficult, and the results aren’t perfect, but I think they were good attempts at least.

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Sketch and line art of my storyboard, unfortunately I didn’t get a photo of my sketch alone..

The paper I had used for my storyboard was a litte crudely cut, and i wanted it to be clean (and shaded) so I scanned my work to complete and clean up digitally.

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I think my story wasn’t made clear enough before I added annotations, although the sequence would make more sense as part of a bigger set of storyboards.

Overall, I’m actually really proud of the outcome of my storyboard, despite obvious areas where I could improve. This was actually really helpful in seeing how much work goes into narrative planning, and a brief glimpse at comic creation.

 

Editorial Illustration “Virtual Hurdles”

Our ultimate goal for The Future is to create double-page spreads of our own for a magazine – based on Youth Diversity/Youth Culture – for a topic that is relevant and that we are passionate about.  The magazine has been called Culture of Confusion, and each DPS has been made by GIGA and PSCA students.

We needed to come up with different ideas for what we wanted to write, illustrate, and create designs for, and then narrow them down to a specific feature or issue.

My theme for my DPS is based around the stigma and issues with online gaming. Though many of the issues that I have covered I haven’t encountered myself, I know of events and issues that have happened to many online gamers, including some that have happened to the people I know.  The reason I chose this is because videogames have been a big part of my life, and although I have only just begun to play online games I want to know why we shun or accept certain views and opinions, both political and critical, about these games.

I tried coming up with different ideas for a visual element to help give a certain impression and see how I could fit subversion into my DPS’ image/s. It was a bit of a struggle to get started, but once I had gotten more research done I became able to generate some interesting ideas for illustrations:

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Despite feeling that some other ideas may have been stronger and make the intentions for them easier to understand, I kept getting drawn to a 2D platformer style image, where the obstacles and enemies were obstacles encountered in online gaming for real.

Though it was a difficult process, I think I’ve managed to create some good visual metaphors relevant to my topic:

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Grinders: “Grinders could be good metaphors for obsession and time spent playing, e.g. grinding to get points, taking lots of time away.”
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Falling Platform: “The fragile nature of falling platforms could become a metaphor for treading thin ice while online – this could be about messaging, social media, even about being stereotyped.”
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Spikes: “Spikes can represent the danger and sudden appearance of messages containing verbal abuse.”
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Projectiles: “Projectiles can represent bigotry and other/assorted insults. How many things can/should I include about language and negativity?”

Once I had gotten my actual components for my image, I began coming up with a possible layout:

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Here is my final design:

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I chose to use a colourful, friendly colour scheme (used in a lot of platformers), and make the different assets of the image seem as cartoony and exaggerated as possible, which I think reflects the kind of manic behaviour and aura of online gaming and arguments.

I think I could have made the overall image a bit smaller tomake space for text, but I think if I had actually edited the illustration itself it would have seemed lopsided and unnaturally cramped.

I feel that the actual visual metaphor has worked well, and that I have successfully managed to show the meaning of the article in the picture alone.  However, although I was tempted not to, I have still included text to properly explain this topic.

(TEXT CURRENTLY MISSING – WILL UPDATE ASAP)

 

Editorial Roles

There are multiple jobs in magazines, newspapers, etc. that play important parts in the production of an editorial publication.

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

The head of all editing in and for the magazine.  They are responsible for the assembly and creation of the publication itself. They are consulted about the final image and appearance – from changes of format, to changes of content.

CREATIVE DIRECTOR

Although the Editor-In-Chief leads the overall appearance and outcome of the publication, the Creative Director controls the visual and artistic content.  Creative Directors aren’t just limited to editorial publications – they are often found leading teams of developers, concept artists, and more in other forms of media.

ASSISTANT CREATIVE DIRECTOR

They help the Creative Director perform certain tasks, and help organise the production of creative content.

COPY EDITOR

The Copy Editor gives human advice about/or fixes any grammar and spelling issues in a publi cation (such as that..) before release.  Though spellcheckers and similar programs are readily available, sometimes certain errors can slip through gaps or make the text seem robotic and artificial.  Copy Editors also help with the look, size, and style of the text throughout the magazine.

ILLUSTRATION CONTRIBUTOR

Certain publications have (or are based around) art such as illustration, and although some have in-house illustrators (a certain illustrator who works for the publication) or have guest illustrators who create work for the main article, work throughout, or even multiple artists who illustrate multiple pieces. These aren’t necessarily just pretty pictures – sometimes they are designed to help give a viewpoint or make an emotion related to an article or issue stronger. To do this, the illustrator has to pay close attention to the article and brief.

Some of these roles work together to increase the quality of a publication. For example; A Creative Director may work with the current issue’s Illustration Contributor to decide on a house style for that specific issue, or the Editor-In-Chief, Creative Director, and Assistant Creative Director may work together to decide on layouts of images and text.

There are other roles in editorial design and management, but this list includes some if the most crucial jobs that are important to the creation of the magazine, book, etc.

What is Subversion?

Subversion means: “the undermining of the power and authority of an established system or institution.”

In visual media, it is used as a form of juxtaposition (usually humourous or gory) in media to add interest/individuality, make a statement (in many cases, political), or point out a potential danger, drawback, ETC to a certain thing.

A few examples of subversion are:

The Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared YouTube series

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The Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared videos are a series of short films that have styles similar to The Muppets, Tweenies, and other suit and puppet children’s TV shows. It is also in the format of kid’s shows where every episode gives a different message, such as “Don’t talk to strangers”, “Share and don’t be greedy”, “Apologise after fights”, and, most importantly, “How to spend your time wisely while someone fixes your big red car.” These shows are designed to show young children manners, politeness, and sometimes self-expression with songs, dances, and funny characters.

The first episode of DHMIS is about “being creative”. The main characters are lead through a catchy song about expressing yourself and showing your creativity, and slowly turns dark and gruesome (By the end of the episode, “being creative” has evolved into some horrible, psychotic, gory nightmare).

I can’t see if there is a deeper message in that first episode myself, but the creators could be commenting on how children’s shows portray the world compared to the horror and gore of some of the awful things that happen in reality and 18+ rated films and shows.

(Link to the first DHMIS video – if you’ve read what i’ve said above, you should know of some of the content this contains.)

The video game Doki Doki Literature Club

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Doki Doki Literature Club is a free dating sim on Steam, with a cutesy anime/manga art style.  In dating sims, you (the player) have to play minigames and choose the correct dialogue options to woo one of the games romancable characters.  Usually, the entire story revolves around the romance between you and your selected love interest, only really delving into deeper issues while on a date or during the final flirting scene, and are quickly resolved or dropped.  It is also common for characters to follow specific character traits and personalities – for example; cute but angry girl, beautiful quite girl, childhood friend “quirky” girl, and energetic leader girl.

DDLC does use these stereotypes, and if it weren’t for it’s foreshadowing (Messages such as “This is not suitable for children or those who are easily disturbed”, and barely noticable suspicious dialogue) some players may have stopped before the main section of the game. However, eventually DDLC COMPLETELY turns on it’s own head, and goes from adorable to downright terrifying. (The Steam tags say “Psychological Horror” for a reason..)

The message that appears in DDLC isn’t much of a comment on dating sims (perhaps the cliches) but focus more on why people play them, and asks questions based around self-awareness and, to an extent, our mortality.  As well as visually having an effect on the player, subversion in DDLC is used to experiment with the game’s code itself – going as far as including the code and files in the game as part of the actual gameplay!

(Link to a trailer for DDLC – Though you may be fooled, there are INCREDIBLY INTENSE themes in DDLC, and I reccomend you read up on it before playing or watching gameplay. However, it is likely social media and memes may have spoiled some of the worst the game has to offer.)

I see subversion as a complicated technique, and with some uses could become it’s own genre/subgenre.  I don’t think there is any real way to use it, however I feel that subversion can be used to extraordinarily well and poor results, and in some of my research for future projects I want to see if I could try using subversion too.

 

 

InDesign – Simple Tutorial

On Monday, we taught PSCA students some of the basic functions and features of Adobe InDesign.

InDesign is an industry standard piece of software that helps designers and editors create and change layouts of magazines, newspapers, and more.

We learnt and taught how to:

  • Change the sizes of the margins
  • Add text and change the fonts, sizes, kernings, and ledgings
  • Add photos and how to crop/scale them
  • Add shapes and how to make them, as well as how to fill them with colour and combine multiple shapes to create one big one

While I was practicing this, I created a basic guide to these steps. As I get more experienced in InDesign, I will continue to add to this, and possibly even share it with my peers if they need help.

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Editorial Illustration – Visual Metaphor warm-up

On Wednesday, we had a look into Editorial Illustration.

Editorial Illustrations are illustrations used in publishing (mostly magazines) and is usually used to help increase the impact or emotion in an article and create a visual metaphor for readers, whether the article is taking a certain political standpoint.

It would usually need excellent time management skills as an illustrator working in publishing, for example, if the artist was commissioned to create work for multiple magazines, or was a regular illustrator for one, they would need to manage their time efficiently to meet frequent/regular deadlines.  Research and passion are also important in making effective pieces.

One of our tasks was to create a piece of art based on a subject from a list of current political, environmental, and social issues.  Though a few were given to us as examples, we added topics of our own to choose from. The full list was:

    • Change versus Tradition
    • Evils of racism
    • Oppression of women
    • Materialism as downfall
    • Power and corruption
    • Individual vs society
    • Necessity of work
    • Convention and rebellion
    • Inner vs outer strength
    • Motherhood and society
    • Identity crisis
    • Nationalism complications
    • War, glory, necessity, pain, tragedy
    • Disillusionment and dreams
    • Self reliance
    • Desire to escape
    • Bias in the media
    • Gender pay gaps
    • Plastics / ocean
    • Animal cruelty

I chose Plastics/Ocean, as this is a topic that I am particularly interested in, and I already had a few ideas for illustrations related to it.

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My illustration

 

 

My illustration was meant to give the ocean a personified form, and demonstrate how this form would react to rubbish being dumped into the sea.  My initial idea was to make the ocean woman seem intensely angry, but I felt a more fatigued expression worked better, as this isn’t a particularly new issue (and she had perhaps “gotten more used to it”.)

I didn’t plan out or experiment as much as I should have with this, and went straight with my first idea rather than think about it for a little longer.  However, I will be planning my future illustrations more, and experimenting with as many different looks, formats, and materials as I can.

Reportage Mini-Task

Reportage is a form of illustration where an artist draws events while they are happening or locations with movement or traffic. The artist would study their surroundings for up to an hour, and then draw any passerbys, animals, ETC they feel were most important to the image or were there for the longest time.

The meaning of reportage is to give an honest and lively visual representation of movement/action that photography somewhat lacks, and allows people to add personal style or emotion into their images.

In our introduction to reportage, we had to draw at least four different images in different locations around our campus.  We also had a time limit of 5 minutes to watch and observe the scene closely, and 2 minutes to sketch it out.

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My first page of reportage drawings
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My second page of reportage drawings

My sketches took too long when I was drawing them, but I am quite happy with how they turned out, as I haven’t done much observational drawing for some time.

I think I need to play closer attention to the scenes I draw, as I found it difficult to translate what I saw to paper, but I will try to get better at all aspects of Reportage with practice.

 

Screen-Printing Induction

Today, we were given an induction for the screen-printing facilities in the Tavistock Place campus.

We were led by Monika, who guided us through all the basic steps we would need to know to use the equipment, and helped us make two-tone screen-prints.

I have been wanting to use screen-printing in my work for a while now (and have a small kit at home) but I’ve only done a small amount of it, however I found it really fun.

Hopefully, for this project (as well as future ones and my own personal projects) I can use screen-printing more, as I find it a fun process and creates some really pretty results.