Inspired By: Pop Art

In the middle of last week I wanted to illustrate a kangaroo and an emu differently.  And I remembered from the Visual Storytelling course that Franki mentioned to get inspiration from a genre in art history (you may remember that I previously did this with Aboriginal Rock Art), so I chose Pop Art!  I got some books out of the library and was largely influenced by bold colours and the large comic panels by Roy Lichtenstein, and the way in which he portrayed lithographic printing by using dots in his artwork.
I impressed myself with how it turned out.  I like the simple cuteness it creates!
And then I also couldn’t resist creating the below image:

Franki Sparke’s Visual Storytelling Course – Week 14/14

Todays lesson was the last in the course.  On one hand it is sad that the course is over as I have thoroughly enjoyed it and could keep continually learning from more courses with Fanki, but on the other hand she has provided us with so much information and skills that it is now down to us to utilise them in our own future projects.  
Firstly we looked at our homework.  We chose our own observations this time around, and I chose hairstyles.  Here are a couple of pages from the half dozen I did:

The other part of the homework was to draw a building 5 times, making each time a different style.  This makes you think about different ways of being able to illustrate the same thing.  The building I chose was Rock Valley Homestead at Tidbinbilla, that was built by the first pioneers.  So over five different lunchtimes, I created the following five pictures:
Straight in with a thick pen

Straight in with pastels

With drawing pens.  This time I included the fence that surrounds the Homestead adding a touch of atmosphere.

Pencil.  From a distance, showing the Homestead within the landscape.

Pencil again.  This time close up at an angle.
For this final class, Franki bought in some of her work to show us, and impressive it was.  She showed us greetings and postcards, calendars and publications all that she had been commissioned to create illustrations for.  Which then led her in to talk about copyright and licensing your work, and fees that illustrators charge.
The lesson finished, yet people hung around, I guess I wasn’t the only one who didn’t want the course to end! 

Picture Books at Blackheath

Banksia in the snow
On Saturday I attended the Picture Books at BlackHeath workshop run by Margaret Hamilton and Dee Huxley.  Margaret, who is an illustrator and retired from owning her own publishing company, MargaretHamiltonBooks, and Dee who is also an illustrator both provided a huge wealth of experience to learn and inspire from.
Margaret talked about the author and publisher’s side of picture books, whereas Dee talked about the illustrator’s side.  Dee re-iterated what I have been previously learning through Franki’s course, but she also showed her amazing portfolio of completed artwork and a variety of design sketches which helped to better understand what publishers are expecting to see from an illustrator and their own portfolios.  However, it was interesting to hear from Margaret the other side of the process with which the authors go through, and then the general collaboration between the author, publisher and illustrator which is all valuable knowledge to know.  Margaret also showed some manuscripts that she had from which she previously published, which were great to see for which starts the ball rolling to create the picture book.  So now the bigger picture can be seen of how a picture book is created from initial manuscript idea through to final artwork.  It seems an amazing exciting venture.
At the end of the day is ‘show and tell’.  I showed my portfolio.  I was happy to receive some laughs from my Possum cartoons, and the feedback that Dee provided has confirmed the direction with which I need to focus on. 
Whilst we were there, it snowed.  Yes, snowed!  And in Australia’s Spring time!  So when looking out the window at lunch break I saw a Banksia in the garden which quickly gave me the inspiration to create the above image of a Banksia in the snow, which is the wrong extreme for this plant, as it requires a bush fire to happen before the fruit will appear!

Franki Sparke’s Visual Storytelling Course – Week 13/14

Today we had a change of location, and we visited the Lu Rees Archive at the University of Canberra.   The Lu Rees Archives is home to a large growing collection of the original manuscripts, designs and artwork of childrens picture books.  So as you can imagine this is a very useful resource to have here in Canberra, which Franki knows and uses very well, especially for this course.

When we got there, we met one of the Archive’s staff; Belle Alderman (who I previously remembered as she hosted a talk by Jan Ormerod and Margaret Wild that I attended a couple of weeks ago that was facilitated through the ACT Writers Centre).  Through previous collaboration and correspondence with Franki, Belle had arranged a selection of archive material from the picture books held there.  This was really beneficial to see, as we saw illustrator’s storyboards, character sketches and artwork up to their final pieces.  Therefore we could now see that all the processes and character building that we had been learning over the previous weeks are just the same steps that the professionals go through and that their final artwork is now the next step to aim towards.  

It was such a privilege to see these steps behind a book and be able to see the original artwork that it only leaves you with true inspiration.

Franki Sparke’s Visual Storytelling Course – Week 12/14

It was good to be back to the course after a couple of weeks off due to Public Holidays.  And I could not wait to show my homework – a double page spread portraying a banquet scene in your choice of inspiration from art history – mine was Aboriginal Rock Art.
So three weeks ago I chose my medium, pastels, as I knew this would achieve an organic grainy rock image.  And then whilst working at Tidbinbilla I drew as many rocks as I could to enable me to understand them artistically.  Whilst doing this I then researched the local historic culture of how Aboriginals congregated to the mountains, including the Tidbinbilla range, to feast on the Bogong Moths that migrated there around this time every year.
Of course my research also included inspiration from rock art throughout Australia, local indigenous artwork at Tidbinbilla, and also from picture book illustrations by Bronwyn Bancroft.
So my completed image above tells the story of a gatherer (on the left) who has collected the Bogong Moths in the coolamon dish and is now sharing them with the tribe.  I then chose an X-ray style illustration, which I have seen featured on some rock art, to show that each person has eaten a moth by putting a moth in each of their stomachs, and now they dance and celebrate in a corroboree.  
Here is the rock on it’s own, before the figures where drawn on:
In production:

Franki Sparke’s Visual Storytelling Course – Week 11/14

This week we looked at our observational work, which was carrying/lifting.  Mine were of a mother carrying two children, a delivery man with boxes, and one of our Volunteers at work bringing in breakfast for us, yum yum!

The other part of homework was to bring in some research of an artistic genre from art history.  Then in the lesson today Franki gave us a topic, which was ‘banquet’.  So, starting today, and to finish for homework, is to create a double page spread portraying the banquet part of the full story in the artistic genre that we had picked.

The genre I picked was Aboriginal Rock Art, so that is going to be an interesting and excitement homework for me to get stuck into.  We have the next two Mondays off, so there is a good few weeks to devote to this…

Franki Sparke’s Visual Storytelling Course – Week 10/14

First up was homework.  The observational sketches this week are of people waiting.  I had previously created some sketches of people waiting in the airport before we departed on our North Queensland trip, so I showed these, along with some I created yesterday of people waiting in line for coffee and cake:
The other homework was to create a double page spread for a picture book.  This was using ‘The Poor Old Dog’ story again, and just concentrating on one line from it.  Franki liked the comparison between the two pages of how I portrayed going from poor to hopes of riches by the dog turning a corner.  The only thing that let me down was my dog character, as he began to look more kangaroo-ish towards the final panel (must be influenced from drawing kangaroos everyday at Tidbinbilla!).

Then the lesson today was focused on collage.  Collage isn’t my forte, but the excercises were both able to free yourself up and get straight into creating something and shows you how different shapes and colours interact.  Our first collage was to pencil out a dog shape and then to fit collage shapes into it, and the second collage was to create a dog shape out of collage shapes, without an outline to start wth.  The third and final collage was a group effort.  So we all started a collage (dog again), and then we would pass it on to the next person for them to add a bit more and then pass it on again, so we would all end up adding a bit to each others, which proved a fun acticity.

Franki Sparke’s Visual Storytelling Course – Week 9/14

The week before in the lesson, we looked at book layout, by having thumbnails of each page displayed in front of you on one larger A3 page, which is also something that publishers look for.  Franki provided us with the story ‘The Poor Old Dog’, with which we were to translate into picture book format deciding what image and text goes on each page, and then to finish for homework.  From my previous experience, I knew I had to do roughs to get the number of pages exact, so I did my first thumbnails in my sketchbook, before applying to the A3 page.  Also in the lesson, Franki showed us a way to create a small picture book so you can apply the rough page layouts directly into book form so you have the added benefit of being able to turn the pages.  So I had a go at this for homework.

All was good, and I did get some constructive feedback on how to further enhance how to visual describe the character’s feelings in the story.

The other part of the homework was observation work on people with children, and here are mine:

Franki Sparke’s Visual Storytelling Course – Weeks 7 and 8

I’m back, and had a fab little trip up north to Tropical Queensland.  I filled half a sketchbook and can’t wait to share my favourite images from it with you all as I tell you about my latest Oz Eddventures.  But first, as I had my art class this morning, I will start by showing you the images that I created for that.

As I had two weeks to make up for, there are two lots of homework to show you.  First of all, Franki asked us to place our character in a situation where they feel uncomfortable and not at ease.  So as you can hopefully make out from my images below, my character is uncomfortable when he comes across a wild dog, sheltering from torrential rain, and in the pitch black darkness of night.

The second homework was to create a one page storyboard with your character.  This storyboard is to be silent, so that the focus is on the fluidity of the panels and how they communicate to the reader.  Here are mine.  Enjoy:

In the lesson today, Fanki gave us a piece of text with which to create a 32 page thumbnails from as if we were to illustrate the picture book for it.  This we are continuing for this weeks homework, so I will show this on the next weeks blog entry.  She also talked about picture book layouts and designs and working with publishers.  I found these insights valuable.

Franki Sparke’s Visual Storytelling Course – Weeks 5 and 6

I thought that I would link these two weeks together.  Firstly because all the work that I did over the last two weeks can be grouped together, and secondly I will unfortunately be missing next week’s session so I will get up to date now, and then restart the next Storytelling blog post when I attend the session in two weeks time…

One thing I have been developing is my character, and here are a selection of sketches of him:

Then we had homework of drawing locations for our character.  This I mainly did on my lunch time at Tidbinbilla, focusing on both scenic landscapes and individual trees/bushes:
Then the next stage is to place our characters within these locations:
And here is my favourite completed piece of art for this week: