Final Major Project bloggy thing

So, I said I’d blog about my FMP, so here you go!

I’m not going to copy+paste the whole project proposal, because it’s about 500 words and it’s pretty boring.   The gist of it was that I’d do a few short comics and try to present them an a way that wasn’t in the form of a book or a strip.  There was a vague plan to try a style inspired by fashion illustration but that ended up not being a part of the final thing  because it didn’t really fit.

I started with research, as you do with a college project, and so looked at ways it’d been done before, what worked well, what didn’t.  One of the things that stuck in my mind was the Hypercomics exhibition at the Pumphouse Gallery which had addressed more or less the same thing, presenting comics in a new and innovative way.  I also did a bunch of email interviews with small press comicers which helped a lot.

There was also Trip Week, i.e. the first week of the project.  With the college, I went to Pick Me Up at Somerset House, and the British Art Show at the Hayward Gallery.  Pick Me Up was really impressive and inspiring, seeing so many different styles and approaches to illustration and design in such a small space was almost a shock to the system.  If they do it again next year (I expect they will) I’d reccomend going, because there’s definitely something for everyone there.  The British Art Show, being more fine art-y and more varied was interesting, but a lot harder to get inspiration from.

On my own, I went to the Kaleidoscope exhibition at Orbital comics, which had phenomenal work.  Orbital’s exhibitions, while small, are always really impressive.  If you’re into comics or even just illustration, they’re definitely worth checking out.

I also went to the Nancy Spero exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery.  Not going to lie, it wasn’t really my thing.  If something’s trying to send a message (which I got the impression her work was) I personally feel that it should be clear, which it definitely wasn’t there.

Then once I’d collected my research together and all that it was on to actual work.  there was mind mapping for story ideas and storyboarding and all that jazz, but that doesn’t photograph well and what with it being A3 I can’t really scan it easily.  I did do a bunch of observational sketches (i.e. I drew whoever was around at the time) and did colour tests.  FOR EXAMPLE:

Those two are probably my favourite.  Doing the sketches in pencil was interesting and fun, and I’m definitely considering doing some comics like that now, but after more tests with more media, I found that ink worked best.  Something I’ve just realised I forgot to mention back when I talked about the project proposal was the fact that I decided I’d be using a limited palette, which I find is often very effective. MORE MEDIA TESTS THAT I’VE TUMBLED BEFORE BUT YOU’RE GOING TO SEE AGAIN:

In the end I used the gouache for the colour, because I felt the flat colours worked best with the sort of messy style I’d ended up with.

While all this was going on, I was coming up with story ideas and stuff.  I’d decided very early on that the stories would just be about normal life, nothing magical or sci fi-y or anything like that.  Not only am I not good at or particularly interested in writing that kind of thing, I don’t think it’d go down well with the examiners/whatever they call the people who mark this stuff.  Ok, not ‘not go down well’ but more that it’s what they might assume a comics project might be.

But anyway, three short stories.  One about how life can be repetitive and dull, one about love/heartbreak/etc and one about drinking ending badly.  Why? Um.  They seemed the best to do from what I’d brainstormed.  They were also part of what made me decide on the exact colours I did: Blue for the dull, mundane one (blue-depression type stuff) red for the love one (obvious) and green for the drinking one (Sickness, as you’ll see with the photos).

I also thought of how to present it, although I’m not convinced I can describe it very well.  Basiclaly the idea was that it’d spread over the walls and floor and stuff.  If I had more time and a better place to do it, doing something like this on a larger scale would work better, and would definitely be fun to do.  But anyway.  I also looked at possible locations and sort of ended up not using any of them because in college we aren’t supposed to stick stuff on their nice clean walls.  In an art college.  Yup.

Anyway, they have screen things on wheels, which was as good as anything.  Also lockers.  So the first way I set it up was like this:

The photo doesn’t quite do it justice I think, if for no other reason than the fact that part of the point of the project is the idea of having the audience interact with it, choosing a story and following it, and just having a photo doesn’t work the same way as in real life.

I also got some people to look at it so I’d have photos of people doing that for the exhibition, if necessary.

There are more in the flickr set, along with some close ups, but you get the idea.

I then took it all down, got a table, and set it up differently.

Again, same deal, close ups and photos of people interacting in the flickr set, will post a link to that at the end.

And the one last variation, which needs two photos to illustrate:

And there you have it.  I’m pretty happy with how it turned out, and in terms of things I could have improved, I’m not sure if I would have been able to do them better in the space of the 7 week project.

Oh and Flickr set

I don’t know if the college are going to let me set it up at the exhibition or if I’m just going to have to present the photos.  If I am allowed, it’ll be the version with the table, because it’s the most space efficient which is necessary with the space we have.  It’d be a shame if I had to just use the photos, but I’d understand.

I can’t remember the exact dated for the public exhibition, but I know it gets taken down on the 9th of June and I’m pretty sure it’s up for the whole week before that.  I think.  The private view is on the 6th if you can get a flyer (well, I assume that’s how it works.  It might not be.)  If you want to come, I’ll post more details later but let me know I guess! (probably not worth it if you live outside London.  If you are in London though, there’s going to be a ton of great stuff)

Final Major Project bloggy thing

So, I said I’d blog about my FMP, so here you go!

I’m not going to copy+paste the whole project proposal, because it’s about 500 words and it’s pretty boring.   The gist of it was that I’d do a few short comics and try to present them an a way that wasn’t in the form of a book or a strip.  There was a vague plan to try a style inspired by fashion illustration but that ended up not being a part of the final thing  because it didn’t really fit.

I started with research, as you do with a college project, and so looked at ways it’d been done before, what worked well, what didn’t.  One of the things that stuck in my mind was the Hypercomics exhibition at the Pumphouse Gallery which had addressed more or less the same thing, presenting comics in a new and innovative way.  I also did a bunch of email interviews with small press comicers which helped a lot.

There was also Trip Week, i.e. the first week of the project.  With the college, I went to Pick Me Up at Somerset House, and the British Art Show at the Hayward Gallery.  Pick Me Up was really impressive and inspiring, seeing so many different styles and approaches to illustration and design in such a small space was almost a shock to the system.  If they do it again next year (I expect they will) I’d reccomend going, because there’s definitely something for everyone there.  The British Art Show, being more fine art-y and more varied was interesting, but a lot harder to get inspiration from.

On my own, I went to the Kaleidoscope exhibition at Orbital comics, which had phenomenal work.  Orbital’s exhibitions, while small, are always really impressive.  If you’re into comics or even just illustration, they’re definitely worth checking out.

I also went to the Nancy Spero exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery.  Not going to lie, it wasn’t really my thing.  If something’s trying to send a message (which I got the impression her work was) I personally feel that it should be clear, which it definitely wasn’t there.

Then once I’d collected my research together and all that it was on to actual work.  there was mind mapping for story ideas and storyboarding and all that jazz, but that doesn’t photograph well and what with it being A3 I can’t really scan it easily.  I did do a bunch of observational sketches (i.e. I drew whoever was around at the time) and did colour tests.  FOR EXAMPLE:

Those two are probably my favourite.  Doing the sketches in pencil was interesting and fun, and I’m definitely considering doing some comics like that now, but after more tests with more media, I found that ink worked best.  Something I’ve just realised I forgot to mention back when I talked about the project proposal was the fact that I decided I’d be using a limited palette, which I find is often very effective. MORE MEDIA TESTS THAT I’VE TUMBLED BEFORE BUT YOU’RE GOING TO SEE AGAIN:

In the end I used the gouache for the colour, because I felt the flat colours worked best with the sort of messy style I’d ended up with.

While all this was going on, I was coming up with story ideas and stuff.  I’d decided very early on that the stories would just be about normal life, nothing magical or sci fi-y or anything like that.  Not only am I not good at or particularly interested in writing that kind of thing, I don’t think it’d go down well with the examiners/whatever they call the people who mark this stuff.  Ok, not ‘not go down well’ but more that it’s what they might assume a comics project might be.

But anyway, three short stories.  One about how life can be repetitive and dull, one about love/heartbreak/etc and one about drinking ending badly.  Why? Um.  They seemed the best to do from what I’d brainstormed.  They were also part of what made me decide on the exact colours I did: Blue for the dull, mundane one (blue-depression type stuff) red for the love one (obvious) and green for the drinking one (Sickness, as you’ll see with the photos).

I also thought of how to present it, although I’m not convinced I can describe it very well.  Basiclaly the idea was that it’d spread over the walls and floor and stuff.  If I had more time and a better place to do it, doing something like this on a larger scale would work better, and would definitely be fun to do.  But anyway.  I also looked at possible locations and sort of ended up not using any of them because in college we aren’t supposed to stick stuff on their nice clean walls.  In an art college.  Yup.

Anyway, they have screen things on wheels, which was as good as anything.  Also lockers.  So the first way I set it up was like this:

The photo doesn’t quite do it justice I think, if for no other reason than the fact that part of the point of the project is the idea of having the audience interact with it, choosing a story and following it, and just having a photo doesn’t work the same way as in real life.

I also got some people to look at it so I’d have photos of people doing that for the exhibition, if necessary.

There are more in the flickr set, along with some close ups, but you get the idea.

I then took it all down, got a table, and set it up differently.

Again, same deal, close ups and photos of people interacting in the flickr set, will post a link to that at the end.

And the one last variation, which needs two photos to illustrate:

And there you have it.  I’m pretty happy with how it turned out, and in terms of things I could have improved, I’m not sure if I would have been able to do them better in the space of the 7 week project.

Oh and Flickr set

I don’t know if the college are going to let me set it up at the exhibition or if I’m just going to have to present the photos.  If I am allowed, it’ll be the version with the table, because it’s the most space efficient which is necessary with the space we have.  It’d be a shame if I had to just use the photos, but I’d understand.

I can’t remember the exact dated for the public exhibition, but I know it gets taken down on the 9th of June and I’m pretty sure it’s up for the whole week before that.  I think.  The private view is on the 6th if you can get a flyer (well, I assume that’s how it works.  It might not be.)  If you want to come, I’ll post more details later but let me know I guess! (probably not worth it if you live outside London.  If you are in London though, there’s going to be a ton of great stuff)

Posted 2 years ago

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Doodles and possibly occasional thoughts and the like, from the mind of Graham Johnson. On twitter as @MrGJohnson.

I can be contacted at g.johnson.rsn@gmail.com for further info or commissions.