FMP and Research Workshops


Week 1 - Visual Language and Interpretation 

This week we looked at the use of symbols and how they can be intepretted as methods of visual communication as a language, gesture, emotion etc.

Task 1 - Exploring meaning behind illustrations

In our groups we were given a sheet of illustrtaions, featuring no words  or captions left to interpret what we thought their meaning was through one word. Georgie then showed us what the works actualy did represent and we checked to see if we got them all right.. we got some. Here's what we thought and what they actually were:
'Forgotten' - We were stumped with this one, we couldn't work out what it was only that it was alone, so we were drawn between alone and mystery.
'Menace' - the dark sky and the girl running away, we gathered as fear, storm and doom. So really we weren't too far off.
'Wish' - As a group we got this in one. The shooting star is an obvious symbol of aking a wish/hope so it was simple enough. The use of gradient in the star's trial highlights its high speed movement.
'Blizzard' - The use of linework as opposed to 'dots'show movement in the snow with the curves in the lines highlighting the extreme winds. The dark background contrasts well to the white and the the figure is alone and looks vulnerable. As a group we got this one, but we also came up with storm and isolation.
'Quiet' - as a group we struggled with this one! By the lonesome figure we thought about the idea of it being loneliness/ solitude but also things like, walk. But quiet definitely makes sense. I think the isolation of the character and her dog suggest tis and also the distance of the buildings suggest she is away from noisy areas and in a more natural, quiet surrounding by the trees.

Task 2 - Expressive Lines and shapes

Next we looked at more simple form illustrative expression of just lines and how the nature of the line can add an emotion.
Stable - for stable/neutral I just went for a dead straight line, no signs of deviation which would symbolise a disruption.

Anxious- for anxious I varied the deviations in the line to symbolise 'moments' of anxiety, returning to straight (calm) every so often.

Unstable - I used a sharp jagged deviation in the line to emphasise radical changes in mood with no straightened areas.

Calm - For calm I put a soft curve in the line to symbolise leaning back and relaxing, i avoided any jagged edges to show no 'worries'.

Whimsical - I wanted the line to look playful without looking sharp and radical so I went for a curved, differing line.

Using Dots

Flowing - To show flowing using dots, I arranged them in a smooth curve symbolisng water movement, I also evenly distributed the colours so to help create pattern which is easier on the eyes.

Lonely - For lonely I placed the green circle on it's own away from a group of pink and purple dots to represent segregation/ discrimination.

Balanced - For balanced I arranged the dots like a tower.
Claustrophobic - to show this emotion I again, highlighted a certain dot using a colour difference (purple). And surrounded it with similarly coloured dots, which I think creates the feel of a crowd. The dots closer to the center also overlap which I think makes them appear more clustered and close, more claustrophobic.

Task 3 - Placing on a stage

This painting is 'Nighthawkes'[1] By Edward Hopper. We were asked to analyse it and give our feelings on what we see. From the painting I see a man at a bar. The bar is well lit and features warm colours such as oranges, yellows and red- browns, which contrast to the blue palette outside which represents the cold as well as being dark and gloomy. The man with his back to us, is hunched, to suggest he is miser- able, as well as sat alone, with an empty drink to suggest he is sad and drowning his sorrows. Also on the other side of the bar is another man, dressed very similarly to himself accomponied by a beautiful woman who is emphasised by her brightly coloured clothing and hair, her red dress siginfying danger and love - I believe this to be a mirror of jealousy for the miserable man. By dressing the barman in white i believe his role is established as the innocent bystander with white representing innocence as well as being light, showing he is on the side of good. The painting is also very symbolic of the era with it's choices in props, such as the character clothing and the furniture in the bar. Which also creates a nostalgic feel which could create more poignance for viewers of the painting who experienced this era.

Using Lighting to create emotion

 So Next I took a different Hopper Painting, 'Summertime'[2](above) which aptly named shows a breezy summers day with an overall calming, happy feel.

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  1. I harshened the sunlight to create the effect of a very sunny day
  2. I made the image much darker and bluer to suggest a cold night, I think this adds a solem feel.
  3. In jest, I made a similar solem feel using dark tones and blues but also added in a green haze, symbolic of a nuclear disaster I think the dramatic irony of the change between the orginal painting to this interpretation adds a deal of drama to it.
  4. I aimed to recreate a bright evening sunset, by intensifying the magenta and blue tones in the piece i believe this creates a more feminine romantic feel.

Week 2 - 

Task - 'My workspace' - using reportage illustration, with Oliver Kugler as reference.

As a group w looked at Oliver Kugler and his illustration style. I recreated a piece of his work focusing on a crowded workspace as a study of my own messy workspace. 
Kugler's style isn't about accuracy of proportions and lines, instead his work has a very unique style where it looks as though its been completeed quite quickly. However i personally really like his style and think theres a lot to be admired in his use of line in particular. The line work is very rough and shaky in places there is no straight lines even in areas that should defnitley be dead straight but this creates a feeling of movement and also folk-art style quirkiness. In this piece we looked at specifically he dosent use any colour however across his other pieces there is a more apparent use, but still you dont feel its necessarily vital to the piece. He sometimes also uses notations, captions and arrows to highlight certain areas. The whole style seems very quick but I'm personally a big fan of his unique style! 
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Two images from a book called, 'Bicycle'[5] by Helen Pidd, Illustrated by Oliver Kugler.
This is my Kugler inspired study of my desk. I found it really fun to do as it was quick and I didnt have to plan out the sizes and proportions particularly which is always a bonus! Some of the lines don't join up and are wobbly where realistically they should be dead straight which is something i took from Kugler and i think works well within the style. I chose to use colour because i felt it added alot more to the piece but I maybe used a bit too much compared to Kugler's use but I'm still pretty happy with it, I also like the colouring outside the lines technique.
An enjoyable excercise!

Week 3 

Task - Visualising complex emotions and simplifying them to create empathy

We each created a small storyboard of a scenario we thought up to convey the given emotions:
  • Happy
  • Sad
  • Bereft
  • Hollow
  • Fear
  • WTF
  • concern
  • nauceous
  • Despondent
I based my storyboard on something I do every other week, watch Aston Villa - a rubbish football team! And when I feel these emotions during the game to name just a few...
  • Off to watch the match (Happy)
  • Find out our best player is injured (hallow)
  • See who our manager is playing instead!? (WTF)
  • Why is he playing him? (bereft)
  • See opposition team line-up (concern)
  • Watching their star striker warming up (fear)
  • Watching us play inevitably terribly (despondent)
  • We've got a penalty, pressures on... (nauceous)
  • Full-time, we've lost again (Sad)
The character is supposed to be me, athough its only a very rough concept. I suppose I used some influence in the style from Kugler who we studied last week, as i found it quite effective to show movement and expression within the work. I think i managed to show emotion pretty effectively trough a very simple line drawing character, paying particular attention to areas like the mouth and eyebrows as main emotional indicators. but i also decided to add arms as an extra indication of emotion as well as lines surrounding the eyes similarly to the way Charles Schulz uses them in the 'Peanuts' series.

Week 4 - Anthropomorphism

Today we looked at Anthroporphism and how it's used in illustrtaion. It's something I've covered alot throughout my education so I was pretty comfortable in it. In groups at the start we discussed the uses of Anthropomorphism. Me Tim and Oli listed a few such as;
  • Children's Book - Children tend to relate well with cute animals partiucalrly when they're personified and share likeness with themselves
  • Archetypes - Animals can personify certain characteristics and emphasise them e.g a sly fox, strong ox etc. This works particuarly well in sattire.
  • Relatability - giving an animal human characterstics makes them much more relatable and strong as characters
and many more points from group discussion.
Through this small activity we used what we refreshed our minds with to attempt a task of creating an illustration of Palmer Brown's 'The Spangled Pandemonium' 
The Spangled Pandemonium 

Is missing from the zoo. 

He bent the bars the barest bit, 

And slithered glibly through. 

He crawled across the moated wall. 

He climbed the mango tree, 

And when his keeper scrambled up, 

He nipped him on the knee. 

To all of you a warning 

Not to wander after dark, 

Or if you must make very sure 

You stay out of the park. 

For the Spangled Pandemonium 

Is missing from the zoo, 

And since he nipped his keeper 

He would just as soon nip you! 
The illustration we created could either be suited to adults or children. We looked at Paula Rego as an example of using Anthropomorphism to create some creepy combinations she used to a add a dark twist to Nursery Rhymes.
Here's my interpretation of the 'Spangled Pandemonium'[6]:
I aimed for a more adult theme, creating this half primate creature. It's supposed to based on a drinker, having 'Spangled' being commonly used as slang for being drunk to me, so i played off of that. 

Week 5 - Building suspense in sequential narrative

Analysing a a film sequence

In groups we were assigned a film sequence to analyse and identify the elements of it which make up its sense of suspense. Our group studied the 'blood on the beach scene' of 'JAWS'. [7]
The scene begins with a false sense of calmness and fun through the relaxing tide of the water and the laughing of children. The first character introduced in the scene is wearing bright red trunks which is an indication of danger as a colour. The camera then begins to continiously return to the worried expression of the man on the lounger who is watching the beach with concern. The constant reccurance of the characters facial expressions in shots, begin to translate his emotions to the audience as well as being symbolic of his constant worry. 

The playful noises of splashing and children laughing carry on throughout, building a false sense of security and wellbeing, the audience begin to realise this, which builds tension as to when the scene will take a turn for the worse. Again the camera continiously returns the concerned man, this time showing other characters trying to interact with him. a Point of view shot is used from the man whilst he is having conversations with the people, where of which it shows the person to the far right of the screen, not central. instead showing people in the sea, centrally, showing he is more concerned for them than he is listening to the conversation thats been thrust upon him. During this scene a set of false shark attacks begin to occur such as an oldman swimming up from under the water and a girl screaming as her boyfriend picks her up, this sets the scene for a real shark attack.

 The man is aso surrounded by playing children who are loud like a flock of birds, which creates a claustrophobic feel which draws panic and tension. 

The shark is first introduced through a Point of view shot through it's eyes underwater, this confirms the man's suspision there is a shark in the water without actually revealing it to everyone else, again building tension. This shot swerves and jerks just like the way a shark moves, and it identifies childrens legs dangling temptingly in the water, the camera then returns to the man, via a zoomed facial close up, with the zoomed movement symbolising the realisation of the attack and the fear.

The scene is then established via a long shotshowing the location in the water of teh attack, and crowds of people fleeing the water, this section of the scene also then shows quick motion close ups, showing people fleeing the water and identifying their terrified expressions. The quick camera work represents panic and the result of all the tension.

From the scene I tred to take some of the techniques in to my own small sequence, focusing on creating drama, in an everyday activity - playing darts in my garage. I focused the tension on hitting a triple 20 shot to win the match. due to time limitations i created the piece in a quick cartoon style, which in tern gives the piece a feeling of novelty. 
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From left to right:

  1. The first image I aimed to establish the scene of the darts game, through a relatively long shot. I also tried to firmly identify the dartboard through the fact it is near central to the shot as well as contrasting. I also blacked out the back of my character (me) so not to distract the audience from the dartboard which stands out more as it is a more complex image featuring white contrasting with black.
  2. I used a close up of my hand nervously twiddling the dart amongst my fingers, to show the audience of my emotions of nervousness of making the shot.
  3. Then i used a different close up of my face highlighting the frown of my eyebrows, to show the moment i quell my nervousness and begin to focus and believe I will make the shot.
  4. I then used a midshot to establish teh character's throw and his appearance for the first real time.
  5. I then again use a close up to highliht just how close the dart was to the shot (the triple 20) the triple 20 segment is also very near the center of the shot so it's obvious to teh audience that was where the dart was supposed to be aimed. The dart being slightly to the right as well as too high also makes it more obvious.
  6. The scene finishes with a close up of my character's face showing a dramatically, sad face - this is where the tension is broke and the humour of the false dramatic tension is realised.

Visual Research Task

Going from Keri Smith's 'How to be an Explorer book, as a group we picked an excercise to complete, to test our visual observation skills. The task I picked was to name everything you had consumed to that exact point you read the excercise.
I drew my selections in a quick scribbled style, with rough handwritten words and deliberately shoddy colouring, I think this makes it seem more like a diary entry.

[1] 'NightHawks', Hopper,E. 1942. Oil on canvas 84.1 x 152.4 cm (33 1/8 x 60 in.

[2] 'Summertime' Hopper,E. 1943. Oil on canvas 29 1/8 x 44 inches

[3] 'misc. image' from 'Bicycle' Illustrated by, Kugler,O. Author, Pidd,H. Pub.Penguin, 2010.

'[4] misc. image' from 'Bicycle' Illustrated by, Kugler,O. Author, Pidd,H. Pub.Penguin, 2010.

[5] 'Bicycle' Pidd,H. Pub.Penguin, 2010.

[6] 'Spangled Pandemonium' Brown,P, 20th century approx.

[7] JAWS (film) Universal Pictures, 1975.