Thursday, 21 October 2010

Printmaking Update

I spent all of Tuesday and a few hours on Wednesday in the Print room this week. I created 3 new lino's of which took about 4 hours, I did 3-4 black copies of each then did some experiments with colour. The black copies were quick and I finished them in an afternoon, the colour work took quite a bit of time.

I tried some Chine Colle inspired by the work of Helen Brown. I tried this using both coloured printing ink and black printing ink. Its a nice way to add colours without having to use lots of different inks and can add some texture.

I printed one bird in black and then made a small lino of a mask which I will cut out and stick on when it is dry. I will have to wait until then to decide whether this is a good method.

I tried to create gradients of colour which was harder than I thought, because the colours blend a lot as you're trying to get the ink to the right consistency so it almost becomes one colour. I also tried using gradients and colle. It looks more effective than a singular colour and easier than a lot of the other methods of applying colour.

Finally I cut up one of my lino's and inked each bit separately. I used about seven different colours and the whole process took ages. I needed to clean everything after I made each colour, because of this I was only able to make one print (I made a more faded one as well). A solution to this might be to use a few sheets of perspex and make each of the colours so I would only need to clean the rollers and pallet knife and I could make more than one print. It did look very effective but if I did this it could only be a small or one part of the book or use a lot less colours.

I will not print with black first again, it muddied a lot of my colours, especially the yellows.

It's hard to know what to do, I like the black and white images because its striking and puts emphasis on the patterns and mark making. Colour makes it more delicate and adds some variety. When discussing with a friend they liked the gradient piece and felt when I used colle with black ink I shouldn't use too many colours. I think I will have to give this more thought when everything is dry and I can have a good look at it. It may be nice to either have a colour opening page or odd bits of colour dotted around which makes it more special and less overwhelming. Considering how busy I want my piece to be a lot of colour might be too much.

What I really need to work on now is the book and how I want the pages to be composition wise, I need to look at using silhouette and how my book is going to work. I need to think about how each page emphasises it's section of the story in more detail. I want to try having some birds very close so I can focus on their wings and the texture and also try out Baroque Patterns.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Research - Links between Food and Illustration

I found an amazing website ( which has a section devoted to food art, food packaging and generally food applied in an artistic way. This had a lot of interesting artists and projects.

One being Tattfoo who has worked with food for creating chess/checkers and has done a range of pieces encouraging people to eat a range of colours of fruit and veg.

The next being a bit more applicable to my project specifically, Lucky's is a website/shop which specialises in selling chocolates based on characters from Alice in Wonderland.

Similarly the Grimm Brothers Brewhouse uses Grimm's Fairy Tales as the theme for their beers. It's a German brewery so this theme fits well and the tastes of the beers are tailored to suit the themes, e.g. Snow White and Red Riding Hood.

Finally the book Eat Love by Marije Vogelzang that looks at her body of work which explores food and eating in depth. Her work includes mixing orange juice and yogurt according to Fibonacci's sequence. An entirely white meal to fit with many cultures association with white and funerals.

Photoshop Collages

This was my test for my East of the Sun West of the Moon illustration, as I said before my idea has changed but I thought doing photoshop tests is quite effective, and a collage like this could be part of my final piece.

My first experiments are with Red Riding Hood:

The first image has a nice depth, but I'm not sure how easily people would interpret it as Red Riding Hood. I tried to use the cake as both a symbol for forest and teeth. The second is easier to interpret but lacks the impact of the first image.

The next image is very simple, the shape of Red Riding Hood would still be in the small pot in the final image. I tired to show the large foreboding wolf encasing the small Red Riding Hood. However the message of this image might not come across. The one next to it was hard to portray with collage. I wanted to show the woodcutter as he cuts into the wolves stomach with Red Riding Hood inside, I'd like to try this with an actual picture of Red Riding Hood as well.

I went with the forest/teeth idea again with this image, to see if this composition is clearer.

Finally moving away from previous experiments I tried to illustrate the 3 questions Red Riding Hood asks the wolf. I started with 3 individual images but realised they could work as one image. The result is quite creepy, I like the ears and the teeth but am not sure about the eyes. I'm not sure how photoshopped I want this piece to be or how much I want to rely on the photographs I'm going to take.

I don't feel strongly about any of the pieces so far, I like the ones with more depth but feel I need to add more of a narrative to them.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Fairy Tales with Dessert

My idea's backtracked a bit since having the combination of so many culture's foods in one image weakens my concept. So I'm going to focus on one culture per image and try doing at least 3 images. Not entirely sure what my final piece should be. I would like a handmade book with my images in it but that depends how many I make. The idea of turning my images into Greetings Cards also appeals to me. I don't know if I need to stick to the culture idea or if I can also explore more direct ways food can relate to certain fairy tales. I may have said this previously but I want to get a balance between a slightly abstract style which has hints towards the fairy tale and a more obvious illustration. I think I want to illustrate the feel of the story more than a direct narrative illustration. I've got some photoshop collage experiments I will put up soon showing some ideas for Red Riding Hood. I've also got some interesting links to examples with use of food, and the combination of food and stories.

Printmaking Research

Here's some research I've done for my Printmaking elective, mainly about bookmaking but some print too.
Below is some images of books in our library's artbook collection:
NO 3. Is very similar to the style of book I want to make (although the picture isnt too good) It shows that this style of book can be made very small if I wanted to.
NO 1/5. Is a different version of my planned book style, it doesn't use a hardcover and the cover can actually be taken away, so technically the piece can be viewed as I planned or as a normal concertina although the creator of this book hasn't utilized this.
NO 2. Shows some nice use of woodcut
NO 6. Has a book using semi transparent paper, while it may be too much to consider alongside what I already have, I would definitely like to try to involve this in my book if an appropriate use comes up.
NO 4. Is a nice example of a bird done with printmaking

II also went to the Nobrow shop and purchased a concertina book: "Rise and Fall' by Micah Lidberg who does these amazing detailed and colourful pieces. In Rise and Fall in two long whole images either side of the concertina Lidberg shows the lifespan of the Dinosaurs. I want to achieve the detail and busy nature of this piece with so much to look at and take in, with lots of different textures and the combination of plants and animals. I also like how it works as one piece but also tells a story and has the passage of time. Below I've also included a postcard with the cover of volume 3 of Nobrow's magazine as I thought it was an interesting example of an owl in print.

There's a lot because I just got internet so only able to upload it all now. So while I went to Nobrow I also went to the Book Art Bookshop where I got this by Suki Chan:

In the first little book I love the slow build up of individual cranes to this image with a large number of them and in the second there is a close up of birds flying and a sense of movement ending in an overall image of the group. It could be nice to focus on close ups and move to a large image of the scene.

Finally some examples of printmaking which really inspire me. The first being John Lawrence's Woodcuts. I love the detail of his work.

The second being Colin See-Payton's wood engravings of birds. I admire his compositions which are dynamic. I also love the focus on pattern/strong shapes in the birds feathers. I had this work in the back of my mind when I initially came up with my idea.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Dessert Illustrations

I need to write on this blog more, lots of changes have happened. Not doing Japanese food anymore as the price of ingredients is too much and doesn't give me enough freedom to experiment. Instead I'm doing to fairy tale "East of the Sun, West of the Moon' as while I was reading a lot of different fairy tales from different cultures I found the structure of this fairy tale is used very often. I looked into the Aarne-Thompson Classification System for fairy tales and found this is one of the fairy tales with the most versions in different cultures: Norwegian, Mexican, Spanish, Romanian, Italian, Scottish and Greek.

So I did some sketches and went through the story and decided that since I like working with environments and the journey seems particularly important I'm going to focus on all the places the Heroine goes to in the course of the tale using the foods of each of the cultures that use the same motif. Spent ages finding a variety of recipes to know what I had to work with shape and texture wise.

So I've got a basic idea of the composition, some weak points that could be worked on. Was originally going to make the whole piece in one go but in order to test how the piece would look I photoshopped some photos of the foods from the web together and realised this would be a more realistic way to make my final piece. Considering its going to take ages to make whats come to about 13 recipes and some might go off plus not even sure I have the storage for all of this. Should probably start with the most complicated first so I can allow for screw ups.

Also need to think about photography, want to be able to photograph at home because the chances of me getting the food safely to uni is unlikely, can't put too hot lighting on it so will probably need to use as much natural light as possible. Photographing in daytime, baking at night?

And also the final piece, I'm liking the idea of a book that folds out into a poster, saw a book in the library's collection recently that had a concertina fold stuck to a box - stick a roll to a thin box so the piece could be rolled out? I would have liked to do a stand alone print (like a poster) but I don't think the piece can work on its own without the text. So need to look into the paper to print onto and how to incorporate the story.

More importantly I need to come up with a time plan...

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Printmaking Elective 2

This week I created and printed one lino, experimenting for the first time with reductive colour. I didn't register the paper accurately enough and the colours didn't match up so will keep that in mind next time. I spent all of Tuesday in the Printroom.

I made a mock up of my book which made me positive about the form of the concertina within a bound book with cuts in the pages. In discussing my work with Caroline I know I need to consider these things:

Colour, whether to:
  • Use Reductive colour
  • Hand apply it afterwards
  • Edit colour of computer?
  • Cut up lino and ink up parts separately then put back together
  • Use separate lino pieces for each colour
  • Include that much colour anyway? Use majority B/W? Maybe cover or just the masks (as the point is that the birds are using the masks to affect what other birds think of them, looking at the masks not the birds themselves)
Size: Reducing my prints on the computer, using A4 Lino (how to join if so?) etc.

Image: Using silhouette to have variety of detail and more impacting images, use of busy and not busy, balance, using elements of different images to reduce the amount I have to do

Want to have the setting as a garden as Baroque Patterns use flowers and I want to incorporate weeds into these Baroque Patterns on the edges of my pages as there are some nice looking weeds despite the fact they are pests, similar to Pigeons.

We looked at the art book collection at the library, I saw some successful pieces using the same book form I want to use so that was encouraging. I also want to experiment with tracing paper and layers a little (inspired by another book) I took some pictures which I'll also upload at a later time due to internet difficulties.

Over the next week I need to do some more tests with the cutting of paper and the form of my book.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Studio Practice: Food Illustration

For my final piece for this project I'll be illustrating the Japanese folktale of Urashima Taro using traditional Japanese sweets.

Since I'm going to be using food for my final piece I thought I'd look at some other artists who have used food as well:

Looking at these I realise I can do food illustrations by molding or sculpting the food, making a set using food to represent other objects e.g. Carl Warner's and Song Dong's work, or making an image just using the colour/texture of food.

Printmaking Elective

After trying lino for the first time last week I did an actual print with it this week. I was really pleased with it. I could get a nice amount of detail in. Although it's made me realise my design will either need to be simplified or my book be a decent size (around A4) for me to include all the detail I want to. I used the design I've come up with for the Pigeon's mask. I need to work on the layout of the book and composition. I'm thinking of using a concertina within a handback cover with holes cut in so you can see things on the inside of the concertina folds. I'm thinking of cutting around the mask and having an illustration of the Pigeon behind to emphasis the idea of disguise. I also think this would be a good way to add text as I thinking of have the images be very detailed and busy. Another idea I'm thinking of is using Baroque patterns on the birds as this links in with the designs of the masks.

While in the Tate I saw the work of Alice Melvin which seemed to be quite similar to the style I'm going for especially with the application of pattern to animals, you can see her work here:

Her work shows there is a market for the style I'm going for, Tate visitors are a potential audience.

I also visited the Book Arts Book Shop and the Nobrow shop for some inspiration, I found some nice examples of books which I will post once I've got photos.