Summative PDP, an Illustrator’s reflections.

This year has flown by.

During my time over the course of this year I have come to a new understanding of many things, things that I did not understand at first but through keeping an open mind I was able to take in most of what I had seen and learned and apply it to my practice as an Illustrator.

When first getting into the subject area, I found the diversity of each project very inspiring and new, refining old skills while learning new ones like how to better work with colour and how to be a dramatist; how through illustration I could create worlds within margins. The ‘Time Passes’ project was one that I found rather difficult to grasp. When faced with trying to choose the right moments to illustrate a longer time, perspective becomes crucial and I learned to adjust plans to better fit techniques, without compromising imaginative vision. Dramatizing inanimate objects to tell a tragic story like ‘Dulche et Decorum est’ gave me new insight into how stories are told and how by means of tonal setting and positioning of shapes, different moods and emotions can be conveyed.

The Field taught me alot about the challenges faced when working within a collaborative effort. I found that different areas of expertise also had different challenges that someone from a differing discipline might not have to face, like a designer clashing with a fine artist over aesthetics vs. meaning. I have to admit, working within field groups was a joy. I’m very lucky to have been joined with such like-minded people that not alot of effort had to be made for us to see eye to eye on the developmental and conceptual processes of the collaborative effort. In the end I walked away with a better understanding of the mindset required to perform admirably within a group.

Constellation for me was a good distraction, an intellectual safe-haven where I could let my mind be appeased by the Philosophies behind art and design; where heated passionate discussion was rife and new ideas flowed like blood from a wound. Getting perspective on the Theory of Dasein, that we are one with our tools instead of being these dominant beings that use and abuse all, helped me to understand what it is that makes me a illustrator, and it is the tools I use. Perhaps not in a literal sense of tools, but more of a cognitive set of tools, thought processes and perspectives, language and interaction that help creative processes and imaginative power run wild and free.

The final days of this ride have been very intense. A good intense, the one where you come out of a huge barreling wave, washed up on the beach and you get up and walk away clean with a better understanding of the forces of late nights working on finals with little sleep on a diet of coffee and little else. It was a rush. Something to get the adrenaline going. A good feeling. Powering through large chunks of work in one go stimulate deeper sources of creativity I’ve found, and untapped cognitive processes suddenly make themselves readily available to me in the darkest recesses of my mind. And after everything is done, all the work is finished to the best of my ability and there are no more deadlines for awhile, that is when I fear that I might lose some of that power, some of that driving force to create. I feel like its important to keep going, keep working on new and innovative techniques, and to keep busy. Summer is just around the corner and I’m not planning on abandoning what I’ve learned this year for afew lazy days lounging on a beach. The gears will still turn.

I look back at what I could’ve improved and workshops spring to mind. All these opportunities to learn new practical skills and I got caught up on distractions. Something to improve for next year: attend more practical workshops. Print making, Sculpting, Illustrator and Photoshop workshops. Get as much as I can out of this journey as I can.

The best thing I’ve developed this year will have been my visual language. Through numerous occasions of technical experimentation which culminated with the outcome of the final project: “the City”, I’ve developed my visual language to a point where I feel happy and comfortable with it. But the most exciting part about it is that its hardly over. Each time I reach a point where I feel comfortable with my work, I have to move elsewhere. I do this to keep my ideas fresh and to keep my drive for artistic discovery at a healthy pace. Hopefully next year I’ll walk away with just as much as I did this year, perhaps even more.

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