Monday, 29 November 2010

A Positive Change...?

All that faffing around with paint-splats didn't work - tutors didn't like it, I didn't like it, and in a fit of protest I deliberately chose non-fairly-traded chocolate last week at ASDA. Childish? Perhaps.

However, I decided a comeback had to be on the cards - after giving it a rest for a couple of weeks I re-visited it with fresh eyes, inspired by the empty bottle of rosé Fi had left in my bedroom...

It's far from polished and professional, but it's about as good as I can get it (especially with me theoretically being the wrong side of the deadline). The main changed involved ditching the paint, and containing the whole image as a single graphic on the page, as opposed to having bits spilling out off the sheet. The type is rougher - created by hand and then scanned. The inspiration gained from my wine-drinking girlfriend was simply to make the bottle semi-transparent, so the explosion of colour can be seen behind.

As I say, it's far from perfect, but I'm far more confident with it than I've been with my other illustration work so far. Unfortunately I can't pursue it much further - time is short and deadlines are many.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Of tramps and typography

As you may have spotted on Facebook, my latest type assignment is to do with "Wolverhampton personalities", and it would feel wrong to overlook one of the city's most famous persons (or ex-person, as he sadly died 3 years ago), when tackling an assignment such as this: Jozef "Fred" Stawinoga.

For those of you who don't know, this is a man who lived in a tent on the Wolverhampton ring road for nearly 40 years before he died (at the age of 86, no less) - a bit of an icon in these parts, and a man who has over 6,000 "likes" on Facebook.

Anyway, you get the picture. To begin our brief, we had to come up with a "cultural statement" about Wolverhampton, and Mr Stawinoga was my inspiration for this: "with only a tent to shield him from the circling pack" - it makes reference to his tent, the ring-road, and a cheeky reference to Wolverhampton locals (or a wolf-pack).

This particular project is a project given to us by Wolverhampton Art Gallery, to promote a series of work by Ed Ruscha, within the theme of "Artist Rooms". Ruscha's work often involves similar ideas - quotes and statements based on the culture of his native America. I'm too lazy to post some of his work, I'd much rather post my own.

So far it looks a little crowded, especially at the bottom, but I like how it's going. The yellow was put there to lift the piece and give it more prominence, and "circling pack" in capitals to give it an edge of menace. This may be a little false as Jozef Stawinoga was very much accepted by the locals, but in terms of this poster, it seems to work fairly well. The next steps are to continue hand-drawn experiments, with a view to producing the best one or two digitally.

Oh, a footnote on Mr Stawinoga - he was awarded an honorary degree by Wolverhampton Polytechnic... So, if this project doesn't go according to plan, you may see me pitching a tent on Saint Peters.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Chattin' Pollocks

We had a taught session on the importance of blogs yesterday. The main problem with Uni doing this wasn't that it was patronising (which it was), it wasn't that they made us use Pebblepad (quite simply the worst blog/networking site I've ever clapped eyes on), it was that that session justified blogging as work. Hence, this counts as productivity. So here I am, blogging on the work that I should be doing during the time I'm spending blogging about it.

Follow that? Nope, me neither.

This is what my bedroom floor looks like. Being in a poky student room, this kind of dominates the floorspace somewhat - I've already stepped in paint on numerous occasions. The idea has been done a thousand times over - paint splatters/splashes/flicks, call them what you will. It's my Jackson Pollock impression, but without the chain-smoking and the alcoholism. I want to scan this sheet and then blow it up so the tiniest splatters are huge.

The brief is another illustration one - an editorial design to front a piece celebrating 15 years of Fairtrade. My initial ideas all centred around champagne/wine bottles:

Rendering the hands proved difficult, and so I feel it would be best to get rid completely, and to use a slightly more celebratory angle on the bottle such as the one on the right. The paint splatters will hopefully fit in behind the bottle - like with the fruit on the left copy, but with more abandon and freedom.

Of course, what I should be doing now is putting those pieces together, rather than wasting time talking about putting them together. I have my excuses lined up:

1. The paint isn't dry, and I don't want paint on my new scanner.
2. Even if it was dry, the software available on my home computer has spent all evening crashing.
3. I'd much rather blog about my problems than try and solve them.

Hopefully, all will be well by Tuesday when this piece will be handed in, and I'll be able to eat a banana without having a panic attack about the slow progress of my work.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Plantin seeds for the Futura

I've been busy this week. Here's why I haven't posted anything:

No, I haven't been to see the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain (and boy am I tired of writing that!) - this is our super-exciting typography project. I realised my blog hasn't contained much of a purely graphic-nature, mainly due to the first few weeks not being very exciting. The above image is a flyer, completely hand-rendered, in 10pt, 14pt and 32pt Plantin, Plantin light, Plantin semibold, and Plantin italic. Yep, that's right, the type sizes had to be correct, the serifs had to be correct, the layouts had to be inspiring... I've done six so far, here's another:

Fun isn't it? Actually, in fairness, there's something very satisfying about the end product - it doesn't quite look as neat as a computer program could create it to be, but there's an element of friendliness that comes through; "A typeface is an alphabet in a straightjacket" said Alan Fletcher - here it seems as though the letters are attempting to escape their padded cells and embrace the world.

I have my fingers crossed that what seems quite a tedious task now will prove useful to me over the coming years. I realise that this has been quite a boring post, so congratulations if you reached this point, and tune-in next week where we'll be working with 14pt Futura.