I've made a mock up of the A3 zine i was thinking about to sort the page layout (where the double spreads lie etc. I don't have much time left and considering the amount of paper involved in making a single copy (20 A3 sheets of good cardridge paper + a couple of quid in photocopies) I think i'd rather keep the mock up and a few blown up images and make publication properly when i've got the time, each image will need a bit of tweaking tonally, and positioning/layout can be a bit fiddly when photocopying. In addition i'd still like maybe add some text etc, so for the sake of saving time, money and a not significant materials I'm going to work on this later and print when it's perfect.
Today finished the watercolour photocopies, they look good if a little less coherent than I’d hoped. When I mentioned how I wanted to make a publication to paul he said he’d like to see the images bigger and suggested a full size book of the images, while the originals are too tatty to bind I’m going to enlarge the photocopies I already have to make an A3 zine with a frame a page (double sided). The images will be degraded blow ups of the smaller photocopies rather than re shooting the paintings. I think the book will work well in leading an audience through the narrative and the first slightly fiddly strip will look better full size. Heres a beautifully coloured spread from Norakuro a Japanese strip from the 30's, found in Kramers Ergot
Having had a bit more time to look at the prints I think they actually look pretty flat compared to the originals. Today I tried to trace them and render them in pencil as was my original plan before I started painting. This looked ok but seemed like a step down in terms of visual impact. The pained work well because the are simple and bold, the compositions are good but don’t really have enough detail to render in delicate shade. Also I thing designing something in one medium with that medium in mind then converting it usually fails. Looking at the photocopies I had made to trace from I thought they added some of the grit and noise that had been lost in the digital prints. I made some more copies onto cardridge paper and started adding watercolour. If I can make it work with just red and blue (sepia looked naff) I think it could make a small scale version alternative to the paintings. I still really want to paste p the paintings but am unwilling to have them removed after a day or so, as such I’ll wait till I get back to London and find a good home for them.
I don’t normally like photocopies but looking some on nice paper really bring home how achievable self publishing at a pretty high standard could be. I’d love to make and a3 publication on cardrige paper with a solid theme and stucture, not just a loose collection of images. Looking at my current pictures I’m thinking murder ballads...
Went to the photography studios shoot the finished pieces with my friend Roman from commercial photography. We pinned up each of the three sets one at a time and lit them so as to eliminate any shadow, then took a seemingly disproportionately large amount of photos with a really nice digital SLR before Roman helped me correct the colours properly and print the images with a calibrated printer. I’m pleased with the final prints although the first of the three now looks a little fiddly compared to the strong simple compostion of the other two. I’m still extremely pleased with the individual frames but it goes to show how useful the storyboarding I used to construct the second and third sets was. I will try reworking this piece but without another chance to shoot it isn’t urgent.
Went too see the Ed Ruscha exhibition at the Hayward gallery, I’d seen his mountain pictures in a magazine ad loved them and to find that there was an exhibition on at the moment was unusually smooth process. I liked the way the that words were used as something to evoke a whole range of signifieds, or as physical objects or like snippets of poetry. The way that the words related too the imagery associated with them but not in any direct way. Sort of like lyrics and music.
in the last week I’ve been plotting out the other two grids and getting them painted, it’s amazing how once you story board something there are instantly loads of new image combinations and plot directions available.
Especially when your narrative has no fixed destination it becomes very easy to allow the design to influnce the narrative, which s a really interesting process and one which really emphasizes the differences between visual meaning and written meaning. What makes sense conceptually often doesn’t really hold together visually in the same way. Now I have the final two “chapters more or less finished I’m going to get my friend Roman who des commercial photography to help me shoot and print them to professional standard slightly smaller than A3. Inbetween chapters if I had more time I would like to have an intermediary/concluding image drawn using a more labour intensive and highly detailed crosshatching style. As a counterpoint to the more blunt ink paint and newsprint.
Went to a really good exhibition in Brighton called Head. Proclaiming itself as “visions of the future” referencing 70’s psychadelia, and graff culture it consisted mainly murals and site specific work, I really admired the artists for working directly onto the walls and floor as in showed a real respect for practice and demonstrated the necessity of using a space to it’s full advantage. Using the walls as canvasses for well planned and skilfully executed work, felt much more involving than seeing an image designed without the space in mind being plonked in an anonymous space. I think perhaps a compromise could be making prints and fly posting a space.
I’ve been listening to a lot of Nick Cave recently, the sound of the Proposition soundtrack in particular is so ominous and as a soundtrack seems to fit the road movie/desert setting of my strip. Also his murder/mayhem songs definitely evoke the same melodramatic tragedy I want. While there’s isn’t an obvious application for this music, I think it’s useful to think cross disciplinarily for idea generation. Also would be great to have It playing in a space where the images where displayed or used in an animation.
also I've been listening to a Velvet Underground song i hadn't heard before called Sad Song, to me it seems be about living in a bit of a fantasy world and the (minor) sadness that accompanies a return to reality. with this in mind I've been imagining a comparison of the biker murder with petty everyday incident, kid on bike etc
today I had a tutorial, was shown the work of Phillipe Guston which was a really good visual cue in terms of textural qualities and a cartoonish style made serious. Also encouraged to extend the narrative, world creation is definitely something I’m interested in as far as narrative fiction is concerned. In inventing a scenario you can control everything that happens regardless of convention.
Exhibition went really well, the palettes fitted into the space fine and channelled people just as we’d hoped, I was pleased that we had a lot of work to show and auction as well, as I think it’s nice to give people something to pour over rather than expecting them to look at a few pictures for ages
The work I’m making now reminds me of yoshimoto nara a bit, I want to emulate the way he paint’s very simple forms very deilicately, with the images I’m making now the temptation is to make the more complicated/detailed but I think refined simplicity is best. Also the soft diffused light he gets from paint
also relevant are Emory Douglas and Barry McGee, both use beautifully sculpted black line and a limited palate. Also Margaret Kilgallen.
today me and max also spent a bit of time finalizing our crate sculpture/walls, we put it together and it seems sturdy enough, tonight the wood is drying out and tomorrow night we can move it into the venue for construction. The wood is definitely quite rough but it’s texture and physical presence is really dramatic.
Grid finished and painted, I really like the size and format, I’ll go over them agin to refine the linework and darken the black and maybe make the faces more realistic. I think the narrative holds together and is paced well. The motif of the wall, road and mountains are good. While a good composition perhaps the action scene should be revised as it is a big energy shift, maybe a more subtle or quiet visualization. Also his journey is quite short, I’d like give an impression of real distance covered.
If developing the narrative I need to decide whether I flesh out this bare bones story, or make companion pieces that link.
went to Boscombe and got a load of coloured papers and inks, I was going for pastel shades but I saw one massive fluro orange sheet like the ones used for UK garage and hardcore fly posting and couldn’t resist getting that too. When I got home I was trying out a big biker face in ink and brush on some newspaper and while trying to capture the slightly miserable look he had in my sketchbook I realized rather than having a gang of rowdy bikers I’d perhaps rather have one lone rider I think this figure will work somewhat better with landscape pictures and will help establish consistency.
Still playing around with thumbnails and layout, I think I’ll just made a simple grid painted on newspaper to get a version finished.
I’ve been trying to finalize a layout/format for my final images,
Option 1: a series of A4 portrait images presented in a book or in sequence on a wall. I think this approach will give the narrative a solid drive and steady pace, I like the simplicity of turning the page every time you want the next instalment rather than manouvering your way down a page or across a wall. Many of my favorite comics utilize a very steady stream of panels which allows for the convincing passage of time. Option 2: a sporadic wall layout utilizing different sized papers and a quite irregular layout. This approach allows for a more complicated narrative structure, e.g. the positioning of characters above or below an event, or just placing an image of a landscape or other non essential narrative elements adjacent to the action. (the Maakies strip uses small topper, this could be used to tell a simultaneous but separate narrative). On the other hand I think it has a tendency to compress the time frame of a story, somehow everything seems to happen simultaneously. Also a book is a product which can be bought, sold, disseminated, read on the bus or kept in your house far more easily.
A good day of character development and technique experiment. I spent some time checking out old café racer pictures of UK bikers in the 50’s and 60’s as while I will use some American biker imagery Id like to add a new visual spin to a really saturated and widely used concept. While I am using bikers as shorthand for danger/freedom etc, this doesn’t mean I have to use the same handwriting. Besides, Café racers are much cooler than hells angels. I’ve also (I think) finalized the technique I’ll be using in my final pieces, I’d like to use coloured pencils on coloured paper, this is a simple way of injecting loads of colour into images which can still be planning and conceived in black and white, Hopefully I can use diffent colours to clarify elements of the narrative too, for example showing the bikers and the kappa in opposing colours, at least at first to give them some group identity.
Marcus Oakley tutorial, I showed him my big plan drawing of the motorbike story and my previous non fiction images. Marcus said he though i should try and put down a solid sereis of images then experiment with working in different scales and with colour. Up until now i have been letting my search for a final medium hold up finalizing a narrative. I've always worked in different ways so it'll be nice to embrace a range of methods.
considering the subject of my dissertation –the recuperation of aesthetic by main stream culture, it can be said that illustration is mainstream culture but nonetheless it might seem self important but I’d like to make work which can operate outside of mainstream culture. With this in mind I’ve been thinking bout making work with a conscious lack of style, illustrators such as café royal aka Craig Atkinson and ShoboShobo make lovely naive drawings but I want to experiment with leaving aesthetic concerns behind completely and concentrating entirely on content, even forgetting any kind of consistency as long as the images can explain this content they serve a purpose. The analogy I can use is that lots of books use generic or mainly functional language but the things they choose to describe and explain drive the story and keep the audience interested. I know visual language is far more complicated but I still want to see if I can make a piece of ugly illustration which still works. With this in mind I’m going race through a story on one A1 sheet and while I don’t expect this to really work at least when it’s done I’ll have a story I can refine.
Achewood is a good reference point for this idea. While most of the content is in the text, the images make this content understandable and although they are really simple sometime reeeally funny.
Also I've been imagining a moving comic strip of a bike journey, from the point of view of the rider, i've planned it out in my sketchbook and can imagine it really well. I'd love to project it in a dark room with loud music (probably the living end by the jesus and mary chain) It would be great to make a completely immersive drawing in this way.
This amazing animation called The Black Dog's Progress kind of describes what i mean by a moving comic strip. Although mine wouldn't be as complex or unfold in the same way.
ecause of the nature of a blog i can't retrospectively add stuff to the beginning so this entry has been ammended and stuffed with everything that happened at the beginning.
first here are some image makers i like whose work has informed this project from the outset
Daniel Clowes, the atmosphere of his comics is amazing, they are darkly surreal his characters are sometimes bizarre, sometimes flawed but likable, sometimes monsters, always iconic. intensely atmospheric settings and Dreamlike narratives.
Paper Rad, psychadelic and playful, these comics sometimes seems as though they arent really planned just imagined as the artist goes along, simple day to day routines explored and messed up on route. Also prone to descending in to mind bending psychadelia at the drop of a hat. often i don't really read these but i love scrolling through them knowing that everything as been drawn for a purpose and that the strip is one long chronological drawing.
Then there's Tom Gauld who i like for the understated reflective content of his stories. I like the way that he'll often have a whole page full of frames which boils down to one event.
Other people i've been looking at lots are
Gustave Dore, Victorian printmaker, amazing reportage images of London. 123
Robert Crumb, the first comic book artist i really really liked, i couldn't be as honest as him but i love his drawing and it'd been a big influence
Haruki Murukami, I've been reading his novels over summer, Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World in particular is full of amazing fantastic situations but rendered really matter of factly.
Early in the project when i was finding it hard to get a narrative down I made a non fiction comic strip about OK soda a drink marketed at gen Xers in the early 90's by coca cola. It interesting to see how they'd tried to sell to a cynical culture and how that culture had reacted (mostly they liked the sarky ads, and design, there was a cult following but the drink didn't sell enough and was discontinued). This looked ok but I didn't edit/ rewrite my notes well enough and comic book cells arent the best way to display text.
Also around this time I made a poster for my old housemate's boyfriend's band, not strictly part of the project but as a real brief which i enjoyed working on it seems relevant to include.
David Callow tutorial, In the group presentation conversation referring to Matt Furie etc, made me re assess the power of a silent narrative and how focussing on this alone still gives me a vast scope to work within, I still want to make content led work but that content can be generated by process, and narrative construction need not be as constrictive as i had made it. Choose certain elements I want to include and then let process join up the dots. Since I have already been researching a wealth of stuff I can easily choose a few themes/motifs/feature I want to include in my narrative Kappa! Nature (romantic ideal) Transcendence/surreal/dreams Travel/journey/drift 8th Dec