Field reflective journal..

My field experience started a little differently to others, being new to Cardiff met and having to familiarise myself and settle in to the studio, the new people and course, straight away I was nervous about what was yet to come with field. This was a completely new idea to me, studying new topics which weren’t directly linked with illustration pushed me out of my normal comfort zone of water colour and portraiture. My hopes for field were that I would have new ideas for my practice, that I would become more creative in order for my illustrations to be more exciting and interesting to others, I hoped the background knowledge of other areas would support any further research I did into my practice. I knew there would be struggles and learning opportunities through the 11 weeks as I hadn’t previously studied the options I’d chosen.

When it came to choosing my field options I didn’t originally have access to more information on Blackboard of the options and a rough idea of what they would involve. It was with limited knowledge of the topics that I made my decisions; It suddenly became more of a leap of faith in choosing what I would be doing for the next 11 weeks of my second year. I tried to be as optimistic and open minded to what I could be in store for, the upcoming weeks I wanted to look at it as an exciting and unfamiliar experience to come, most things I do are carefully thought out and planned where as I now had the chance to study two different field options and all the unexpected things they would open my eyes to. I chose Drawing Philosophy for my first field option and then Gorilla in the roses for my second. Drawing philosophy I felt was an obvious choice straight away, been as I study illustration I thought it would make a great opportunity for me to explore drawing further and understanding its depths or limitations. I hoped there would be a lot of drawing in this option for me to build my portfolio and body of work to present. My second choice was Gorilla in the roses which was rather more of a risk, the option title was so random and from my point of view had nothing to do with art or illustration. Little did I know how it was about collage, montage and combining with pre-existing pieces. The option title was decided after the event of Helliwell and Orton defacing the book “Gorilla in the roses” on April 28th 1962.  I hoped this option would break me out of previous habits and although I don’t use collage for my daily work, that I would take aspects of its meanings and methods to improve my illustrations and make them just as eye catching as a striking collage.

Drawing Philosophy was interesting and as I have previously posted in my blog, I enjoyed listening to people’s opinions and the debates over what defines drawing. I thought this option would then use those debates to build our illustrations and art to apply what we’d talked about, however there wasn’t a lot of drawing apart from the Drawing in Conversation element. I hadn’t thought about drawing in conversation before, the idea of having a conversation with someone without speaking confused me originally but as I continued through the weeks with the different activities and got paired up with different people I begun to see the conversations I’d had from the previous weeks and was able to tell what we were talking about. The aim of these tasks was to show the power of drawing, proving the phrase “a picture says a thousand words” really is how powerful images and drawing can be. Suddenly I was excited to see I had clearly made progress within my skills and ability to generate quick response ideas. Our conversations through drawing took place in a purpose bought concertina book, this gave a really nice finish to the work as though each turn of a page was more of reply and development on each topic. As previously mentioned in my blog I talked about our days at the Botanical Gardens and other park destinations around Cardiff, being given different tasks in order to encourage different techniques of drawing style as well as battling the typical welsh weather gave a new finish to my work than in my previous studies.

The philosophy side of the option seemed so far from what I had been studying in the studio and outside in daily life. I was interested in the philosophy as It gave me answers to questions I have thought about art; questions such as, what is drawing? What is the difference between art and drawing? These are things I thought I previously knew… I was wrong. When asked to define these answers suddenly my mind became blank, this is where our debates and group discussions really helped and gave us all different peoples perspectives and thoughts on each question on their chosen subject matter. With Drawing Philosophy I found it to be so fascinating how people try to break down and define drawing when I’ve always just accepted it to be a process of creating or recreating something by hand. Drawing applies to the majority of people’s daily lives whether it is in the form of a master piece or a doodle. I usually think things through in too much depth and over complicate them, making everything I do so time consuming. I think this is why I found the philosophy to be so interesting, however I know I need to remember when drawing in the future to not dwell on some of the questions asked and stop me from illustrating and producing the multitude of work that’s required of me in short spaces of time. This side of the option isn’t something that could be applied to the quick production of drawings I don’t think.

My strength with this project was that I enjoy drawing, been as I study illustration I was a lot happier with the drawing time compared to some others who usually study ceramics or are makers. When given the briefs of exploring local places in Cardiff and drawing still life objects and any people we encountered I enjoyed the process, illustration makes me happy to look back and see what I have created from a quick observational study and what it’s become. I struggled however on the philology side of the course and how to combine with the practical. I think the quick nature of Natasha’s classes of drawing in conversation and Cllve’s lectures of the philosophy didn’t link into each other, they slightly juxtaposed each other’s teachings I felt. This was 5 weeks that I don’t think I would ever have experienced without this project choice. I felt this option did lack however in the actual drawing practice, other than the drawing in conversation we were doing I felt it wasn’t work that informed my practice very much. Although I thoroughly enjoyed the concertina book I’d been using and the range of quick sketches we’d done during conversation, I didn’t feel I had created anything substantial to contribute to my portfolio.

My second field option of ‘Gorilla in the roses’ was the one I was so unsure about, after having little access to subject documents I had no idea what to expect. My excitement bubbled ready to start. Finding the field topic to be based around the book “Gorilla in the roses” Kenneth Helliwell and Jo Orton which was defaced, resulting in Helliwell and Orton being imprisoned for 6 months. This field option was to show how using something that already exists but changing it by adding, editing or taking something and making it that much more eye catching and in some cases shocking, away from the traditionally thought of art and different methods of creating a new piece of art. Not all creations are from a blank piece of paper and using pencil or paint.

Before this project i hadn’t really focused on collages, I always stuck with what I knew to be drawing and painting. This field choice has hopefully helped me to bring a little more creativity and imagination into my more traditional style drawing and future work. My struggles with Gorilla in the Roses have been creating the collages and turning them into a narrative, choosing images that link together somehow and tell a story or convey a message. I typically like things being neat and finished whereas collages never really have a finally completion point. My strengths have been making the collages look pretty and eye catching rather than linking thematically, I’ve tended to combine images using how they look and what would work best together as opposed to meaning similar things. This topic of collage, montage and combining with the contemporary style. Professor David Ferry talked about collage and montages ability to link things together and creates a narrative and how we can make an unconventional image convincing and realistic?

The 5 weeks of Gorilla in the roses developed as we progressed further into the possibilities of collage and montage. Initially focusing on creating a collage turned into creating a narrative collage using the “pro-create” app on IPads. I was surprised how well I took to the iPad task and the little struggle I had with it, we started the session by James Green briefing us with the task and showing how to use the app for those who weren’t familiar. I thought I would struggle with this task been as I don’t normally use technology for my illustrations and haven’t had much experience on them in previous years. I’m so surprised how well I took to it and didn’t struggle in using the app, finally I found a final collage that I was really happy with, I uploaded to my blog straight away to show my thoughts of the day. Although this option doesn’t really inform my practice and my usual illustrative style of art, I found there to still be areas I could apply into my practice in order to bring originality and creative difference. These weeks of field have been at times stressful and confusing, using skills and methods I’ve never used before I didn’t always feel I’d had enough guidance of them, how I could improve things until I’d finished the tasks. Now my weeks of field have come to an end and returning to my subject illustration, I hope to be able to apply skills from drawing philosophy of looking, not worrying and using trial and error with my ideas in order to come up with the best outcome.

Looking back at what I’ve done I can definitely say I’m surprised with myself. Drawing Philosophy has shown me there’s more to drawing than simply putting pencil/paintbrush or pen to paper and that for there to be an outcome there’s always an initial idea whether its formed and detailed or not. Gorilla in the Roses has changed my opinion on collage and montage. It can be as powerful and eye catching as that of a striking photo realistic painting. However, with any future work I complete I will include aspects of the new skills learnt but will continue to use painting and drawings as my primary form of image making rather than collage.

Throughout the field 11 week term I’ve found there to be a delay in getting feedback, support and notes to the subject briefs. Having unavoidably missed some of the sessions I have chased up the work missed but tutorials, notes and links haven’t been easy to access in order for me to produce the abundance of work that could have been completed. Field has been a major and continuous part of my second year, the additional research at home into topics and any experimental collage making has been my way of developing through the option weeks and then having feedback from the tutors only after the work had been completed. With second year being so chaotic and so many different areas of the year taking place at once I don’t think I’ve really had time to focus on one thing without at least 2 other subject areas having deadlines and tutorials overlapping. I found the different areas didn’t really all link in together and allow me to apply what I learnt in subject, field and constellation into each other’s projects.  One of the main struggles I faced was being able to fully focus on each task given in each subject area without worrying how I would be able to apply the skills into my illustration practice, I hope to find more specific illustration studies in my final year. Throughout both options I have written on my blog the challenges and successes I have faced, this has made sure each entry shows exactly what I was feeling at that time, showing the progress I’ve made between the start of field and now.


Constellation PDP..

Year 2 nearly finished, this being my first year at CSAD the idea of constellation and blog writing is still a relatively new thing for me. For constellation I originally chose to focus on “Understanding humour in the context of art and design” with Theo Humphries. I was curious how I could include that into my illustrative practice to make it more exciting and different to what I’ve previously done. As well as in constellation, field during term 2 wasn’t very focused on my practice of illustration, this left me a little confused considering it’s meant to coincide with illustration in order for me to develop and progress towards the style of illustration and work I aim to produce. I think the differences between field and constellation have made things more difficult for me to apply what I learn into my dissertation prep and progress further into. I just feel a little distant and uncertain about what I am meant to be doing and what type of work I’m expected to produce when illustration seems to only be a minor detail of what I’ve done so far this year.

Through term 1 of constellation we explored a really varied range of topics,  I enjoyed this option, having always loved comedy and quirky humour I saw this straight away as a chance to hopefully combine that with my illustration practice. After each lecture with Theo I’d learnt something new about humour and the many artists, historians and scientists who’ve done so much research into finding out what makes things funny. Each lecture was always funny and interesting; it left me looking forward to the next session each week. However, having not been here for year 1 and term 1 being completely separate it seems from the rest of the year and my dissertation I’m defiantly a bit nervous and confused as to where I go now. I like to be an organised and well thought out person but I feel when it comes to my illustration and dissertation they’ve become so separate and delayed at times that I’m not as informed as I should be at this point in the year. I’ve struggled at times with some of the topics covered, simply just being able to remember everything covered and apply to my practice, I think note making and additional independent research to be the way I’ve developed throughout.

My independent tutorials with Theo and having presentations regularly have definitely helped with any queries and thoughts I’ve had. The presentations and work set to present have helped also, although I really do not like public speaking it really made sure I did the work and research so I could simply read off a page and show the presentation. Sort of killing two birds with one stone in terms of me developing my knowledge as well as my public speaking and presenting. Throughout constellation the research has been the background knowledge that has helped me understand the initial lectures, I’ve found it’s what made the lessons come together and make sense more, turning my struggles into new things learnt and knowledge I can continue to use. The main struggle I found with constellation has been making enough time to read up on everything set, with reading lists so big between constellation, field and subject I’ve had constant projects and approaching deadlines, with each option area being so different I think multi-tasking has become a new skill.

As I’ve said throughout my blog entries this year, I’ve tried to improve all of my struggles and weaknesses and turn them into my strengths. My tutor has been a part of me progressing and enjoying the module, making something enjoyable and being approachable encourages me more I think, this first year of constellation wouldn’t have been as successful for me if it wasn’t for the right choice of option and luckily the right tutor for me. With my practice, I have tried to apply a wider range of techniques, methods and experiment more. When presenting my work I have progressed a lot in terms of my confidence. I have extra extra nerves I think because this year has been spent trying to familiarise myself and settle into my new environment,  I hope that as I continue into the final term of this year and move into my 3rd year I have a more clear idea of my direction of illustration work. I feel so nervous about my last year, am I ready for this final stage? Now next year we’re moving to a different campus and so another process of settling in begins. I hope next year is more illustration focused, giving me more time to continuously draw and paint rather than being pulled in so many different directions.



Munir Virani: Why I Love Vultures

I discovered this TED talk by Munir Virani after searching through TED’s website and the different categories of interested it was sectioned into. This talk focused on the many misconceptions of Vultures and the similarities between them and today’s politicians. Virani talked about their many advantages in today’s society around the world.
Natural garbage disposal system, performing sky burials which acts as a disease killer. Vultures form a crucial part of the Eco system to stop the spread of disease in animals and the amount of rabid dogs and rabies among animals.

TED briefing..

Its easter project time…

Todays briefing with Anna Bhushan and Chris Glynn was about TED presentations and our task of turning a chosen topic and making it into a visual project in order to attract and intrigue a new ordinance.


 The word illustration comes from the latin verb, ‘illustrare’ meaning to ‘light up’ or to ‘shed light’.  Illustrations have the power to simultaneously light up our imaginations and to shed light on complex subject matter. The illustrator can draw people into engaging with ideas they may otherwise feel alienated by, they can visually delight their audience and find new ways to suggest meaning and communicate concepts.

This has been an area of emerging interest in recent years with for example, the Illustration Research Symposium, ‘Science, Imagination and the Illustration of Knowledge’; Wellcome Trust funded projects such as ‘Illustrating Science’ in collaboration the House of Illustration and Neurocomics with Matteo Farinella, published by Nobrow. The project, collective and exhibition, ‘Jiggling Atoms’ involved mixing ‘knitting and black holes, paint and giant particle-detectors.’

Public engagement is becoming an important concern for scientists and this is opening up new markets for illustration. TED talks has contributed to making pioneering scientific thinking accessible and interesting to the public. Each Ted Talk is under 18 minutes and addresses topics that range from “ How a Dead Duck Changed my Life” to “Why our universe might exist on a knife edge”.


You are invited to choose a TED talk from the Science category. There are 390 in this category, the talks span a huge range of subjects and you can choose any one that appeals to you:


We suggest that you begin by


  •          Watching the talk many times, making visual and written notes as you do so.
  •          Spending the first one week of the project visually brainstorming ideas.
  •          Researching artists/ illustrators who have engaged with science in their work.
  •          Consider how your images could help to shed light on the subject and communicate key ideas. Make them appealing and interesting enough to inspire your audience to find out more about the subject.

I liked the idea of turning this presentation into more of a metaphor/narrative instead of a diagram, being someone who science and maths doesn’t come easy too i think the visual narrative is the best way to get people like me’s attention to the less visual things in life. I look forward to starting this task and hope i can interlink at least some parts of what i’m doing for my dissertation, giving answers and supporting one another.

    I haven’t heard of TED presentations before today so my next stop now is to begin the research and watching a few selected talks in order to decide what i can base my project on. Here its begins….


Attempting to organise my thoughts. .

Now approaching the last week of Gorilla in the Roses 5 week course and the end of my 11 week field experience I can reflect on what I’ve learnt and found out through each class.

With Drawing Philosophy I found it to be so fascinating how people try to break down and define drawing when I’ve always just accepted it to be what I believe to simply be a process of creating or recreating something by hand. Drawing applies to the majority of people’s daily lives whether it be in the form of a master piece or a doodle. Drawing Philosophy left me so confused at times because I simply had no answers to some of the questions we were asked. I enjoyed the practical tasks with Natasha and exploring local public attractions to include in our work. My strength with this project was that I enjoy drawing,  been as I study illustration I was a lot happier with the drawing time compared to some others who usually study ceramics or are makers. I struggled however on the philology side of the course and how to combine with the practical. This was 5 weeks that I don’t think I would ever have experienced without this project choice.

Gorilla in the Roses has shown to be completely different, although combined with practical and theory aspects. Before this project i hadn’t really focused on collages, I always stuck with what I knew to be drawing and painting. This field choice will hopefully help me to bring a little more creativity and imagination into my more traditional style drawing. My struggles with Gorilla in the Roses have been creating the collages and knowing when to stop, I typically like things being neat and finished where as collages never really have a finally completion point. My strengths here have become to be creating s narrative through the collage. Using the different images I find to them come together.

Now starting my last field week and putting these last 5 weeks together, looking back at what I’ve done I can definitely say I’m surprised with myself. Gorilla in the Roses has changed my opinion on collage and montage. It can be as powerful and eye catching as that of a striking photo realistic painting.

Ipad collaging..Pro-Create app!

Gorilla in the roses!

  1. Blank page selection (SD or square)
  2. Find images
  3. Spanner in corner- photos – select image
  4. Alter image then choose another
  5. Create another layer, then +
  6. Press one layer and hold to change position

Apply cutting and sticking principles to an app!

Creating an impossible image!

Today our session with James Green was using Pro-create on Ipads to create collage, montage and edit images to create something unique and exciting. I took note of the basic steps needed for this as it was a completly new process to me. Once i had done this i found it soooo much easier than i initially expected. I really enjoyed this session and was surprised how happy i was with what i managed to produce. Being given an hour to play around and experiment meant i was able to get lost into the process and experiment with images, composition etc.

938 (3)This was my first experiment, straight away putting things together you normally wouldn’t see surprised me how well they worked together to create a new image.

Next came…938 (4) green (1) Our field group was split into a morning and afternoon session so we could all have more time using the Ipads. James Green was always there around for any questions we had, any tips on what to do if i messed up which made me feel much more comfortable been as i’d never used this process before. I think this session of Gorilla in the roses has been one of my favourites and having something so different and exciting to show for it is even better.

Photorealism artists.

Staring at a blank page…NOTHING!

After meeting with my dissertation group tutor Theo Humphries and talking more about the direction of where i could go and the steps i should take in order to come up with the most detailed and clear dissertation proposal i can i feel much more confident in taking small steps towards completion.

General question considered: “Can photo-realistic paintings of inanimate things be as exciting as the abstract and modern art of the 21st century?”

I’ve never being able to come up with something from nothing! So research, notes and planning is my way forward. Here i gooooo…..

I’ve started looking into photorealism for my dissertation, i’m fascinated by their skill and amazing technuque and wondered about the differences between artists paintings and how eye catching they are. I’ve found artists who create photo realistic portraits, still life and landscapes. This is the only way i think i could build up ideas and content to begin my dissertation, finding out what i want to talk about and all the evidence and artists that support my thoughts will hopefully give me a definite question.

Something so simple becomes so eye catching and amazing because of the detail put into it!

Finding a topic that interests me and i know has always been something I’ve been fascinated by definitely makes dissertation writing more exciting.

Let the research continuee…..