Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Practice, Research and Professional Development - bookartbookshop

In order to create a piece for the bookartbookshops competition I wanted to see what was already available, what they would expect and what they might have a preference for, it may only partially affect my piece but I thought it would be good to investigate.

Above is a selection of photographs I took in the shop and quick comments. I was looking at how the books were bound, I found concertina's, hardbacks, saddle stitch (stapler), Japanese binding, small booklets made of folded A4 etc. I was also looking at content and media, a lot of the books were screenprinted or another print process, there were also quite a few books containing photography as well as found objects, using found materials for the paper as well as content, some books were only textures with no obvious narrative. A large number were hand drawn of which quite a few of the drawing styles were quite naive, there was also hand drawn type. The subject matter of the books were very varied including Othello, Tea, Counting, Golems, Godzilla etc. This was just to give a broad overview of what they already had.

Here are some of the bookartbookshop books I personally own. They include a tribute book to Japan as a response to the earthquake with a selection of artists drawings with a Japanese theme. The booklet 'Artists in Residence' by Sioux Bradshaw is a small 8 page book with different versions of Van Gogh's room as if other artists had done it. The third book is two concertina's within a card sleeve with images of birds and paper cranes.

While I was in the area I also visited Nobrow which was very inspirational and had a lot of work which made me think I would like to do something similar. I bought this book 'The New Ghost' by Robert Hunter:

It's saddle stitched but the cover has small flaps for extra information about the artist and publisher which I thought worked well. Below is the book open alongside another two Nobrow books I have bought previously as well as a work in progress image from Nobrow's website (I found it interesting to see all the images in black and white). I love Hunter's book, it has a variety of page layouts, from basic panels, to circular panels and parts of the story told in a whole page without panels. I would quite like my book to have this variety. I am considering using documentary film as inspiration for my book and adapting it into a comic format (based on Will Eisner's statement that often comics are based off film, although it need to be tweaked to fit into a smaller amount of space). The whole of the book is narrated with no speech bubbles, I am thinking of doing something similar with the equivalent of a voice-over in my book.

One of the other books 'Rise and Fall' is a concertina by Micah Lidberg about the life of the Dinosaurs. I like that you can read it as a book or look on it as a massive image and within one image it presents the passage of time. This is a possible option for my piece, I could show the changes in food over time starting now and moving towards the future. 

On the Nobrow website I was able to see some images of the work in progress and rough development which I found interesting, I was good to see what their work looked like along the way, there were also styles which I liked as well. Below is a selection of these. 

This is a page from the 'Bento Bestiary' by Ben Newman, and is one of the directions I'm thinking of going stylistically. While I haven't started exploring style or even drawing yet I feel I'm leaning towards a graphic, possibly quite geometric style. I am considering doing this on Illustrator or Photoshop as I think digital will lend itself to theme of the future, I will probably be showing the world moving into nanofoods and other technological advances and this moves away from tradition and relying heavily on technology which I think my artwork should mirror. If showing a backlash to this, moving to more traditional methods then this might call for a more hand drawn style.

Above are some pages from 'A Graphic Cosmogony' with other styles I am keen on.

 While not necessarily appropriate for my book I do like Jon McNaught's style. His use of colour and use of small panels gives a calm, pensive feeling to his work.

 Above are example of roughs by Luke Pearson.

 Some examples of styles I like from the upcoming issue Nobrow 6 and below is a Photoshop rough and final image by Stuart Kolakovic:

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