Monday, 11 April 2011

The invasion of the paper people

My flatmates think I've gone mad, and, with a title like that, you probably do too.

As an art and design student it's quite usual for rather uncommon things to become commonplace in my room.... In the past, the odd things hanging around my room have included empty bottles of wine, numerous copies of the Radio Times, and shelf brackets. Recently, the oddity has been chains of paper people.

We were asked to design an illustration for a piece of writing which can be found here. It's well worth a read - the writer is talking about something he calls "Politeness Enforcement Tactics", referencing the way people act towards each other in society. He mentions people placing bags on seats they aren't using, people speeding up to zebra crossings, and people cutting into queues - and then goes on to describe ways in which we can fight against this (the "tactics" I just mentioned).

The dominant story is one of a queue for a bus stop, and the way in which the people in the queue work together to exclude a queue-jumper. I won't explain it all (it's worth reading!), but my ideas were to show a unity between the queue members, and to show an exclusion of the jumper. Hence why I have paper people stuck on my mirror, perched on my windowsill, and sitting on my bookcase.

I guess in part my flatmates were right - using the actual paper people was mad, as it didn't quite work visually in my initial ideas here as I'd hoped it might. So, I literally went back to the drawing board, sketched out some linked people, and created a cityscape collage.

It's a little different to your usual editorial illustration, but I like the hands-on feel of the collage. It has a diagrammatic look to it, created by using grid paper, which links in to the clinical nature of the people-chain. Probably the greatest difficulty was in transferring the visual from paper onto screen, although it did give me chance to tweak a few things that weren't quite right.

I'm not going to lie, I hated this project. I struggled to get a grip with what the article needed in terms of an illustration - and this came out in my early sketches. However, I am pleased that I was able to work through it and produce a piece which is by no means fantastic, but just about fits the bill.

I'm keeping the paper people up in my room (in case you were wondering). It'd be wrong to throw them away after I went to all the trouble of naming them...

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