FINAL REFLECTIVE STATEMENT ABOUT MY EXPERIENCE OF THIS MODULE AS A WHOLE:
HOW DID MY CREATIVE APPROACHES TO DRAW AND MARK-MAKING DEVELOP OVER THE COURSE? & WHAT DO I FEEL AND THINK ABOUT THE PROCESSES OF EXPERIMENTATION I HAVE UNDERTAKEN WITH A RANGE OF MATERIALS AND MARK-MAKING?
I have always enjoyed doodling and Arts& Crafts activities, but I think my creative approaches have changed tremendously over the course. Throughout this course, I have been encouraged to experiment with mark-making, using a variety of random items/ ‘tools’ and media. In Assignment 5, I experimented printing with a lot of fruit & veggies, as well as using other ‘tools’; and using stencils. I even tried to incorporate embroidery in order to expand my use of different media.
Before starting this course, I have never used an iPad or created any digital images. I bought an iPad Pro & decided to take a UDEMY- course on how to use PROCREATE. It was quite a challenge at first, but with practise I am slowly getting more comfortable using it. After taking the Procreate-course, I have gradually started using Procreate to incorporate mark-making to add more texture, colours & patterns to my digital images for Assignment 3.
Feedback from my Tutor, encouraged me to experiment more with the different digital ‘brushes’/ tools in the ‘brush library’ in Procreate. It has been a fun learning journey, experimenting with different ways of drawing, mark-making & digital brushes.
Thanks to all the exercises and research tasks throughout the course, I have loved experimenting with using Pareidolia; Drawing with Objects; Doodles; Surreal Collages & Animations. Throughout this course, I have enjoyed using collage as a method of creating images, even when it is in the form of using ‘layers’ in Procreate. I tend to use a combination of doodles; photographs; objects & pareidolia in my collages. I often used my doodles from Sketchbook Circle Prompts/ Inktober as inspiration for other assignments.
For Assignment 5, I tried to use a variety of media & processes to sketch my ‘lemons’ in different arrangements. I tried blind contour drawing; rapid drawing; adding colour using pastels; gouache & acrylic paint; watercolour paint; coloured pencils; felt tip markers; Posca markers; etc. I then added backgrounds using collage with lemon patterns I created afterwards. I tried out a variety of media and processes in order to get to know my ‘subject’ better, to create more ‘loose’ / relaxed drawings and to experiment with different ways of adding colour than I usually do.
I have learnt to respond to ideas by considering a large variety of options in the use of different media & processes, in order to create more interesting illustrations/ images.
HOW DID MY USE OF OBSERVATIONAL DRAWING AS A FORM OF VISUAL RESEARCH AND IDEA DEVELOPMENT CHANGE?
At the start of Part 2, I was not excited by the idea of observational drawing in public. Although I have slowly become slightly more comfortable with the idea, I am still not that eager to draw people in public. It is something that I will probably have to keep on working on for a very long time.
Although I don’t enjoy drawing people in public, I love the process of using Photographic and Sketchbook Journeys as encouraged in Part 3 of this course. After completing the exercise about ‘fill it up – fast’ in Part 4, I really enjoy using that method. It is a great way to help me ‘loosen up’ and to be less precious about what I’m drawing, to just get it down on paper fast, by adding doodles/ sketches/ words.
These methods have helped me to brainstorm more ideas and to get a better understanding of a place/ people/ idea/ object. The visual research has helped me to have a greater understanding when developing and idea, by thinking back on the experience, using all the senses. Hence a more holistic approach to idea development.
HOW HAVE MY IDEAS ABOUT THE EVERYDAY EVOLVED OVER THE COURSE?
At the beginning of this course, I didn’t really know where to start. So, instead of focusing on my everyday, I decided to start with illustrating the imagined life of a penguin/ mermaid/ llama, imagining them in fun scenario’s.
Luckily, throughout the course, I was guided by different exercises, research tasks and assignments, and kind of stopped thinking so much about the ‘everyday’. I just followed the instructions and tried to see where they took me, whether it was to the beach, antique shops, aquarium, classroom, kitchen, hydro spa, garden, museum, or restaurants.
Instead of focusing on the ‘everyday’, I tried to see where the different journeys took me and what it inspired me to focus on. I then brainstormed different ideas in response to that. From those ideas, other ideas would develop… into often something completely different. Then looking back, it all naturally related back to the ‘everyday’, whether it was observational drawing; mark-making using random everyday objects; using photographs from my ‘everyday’ life; using objects; identifying pareidolia in ‘everyday’ things; or visiting places… it all somehow related back to ‘the everyday’.
HOW HAS LOOKING AT THE OTHER PRACTITIONER’S SKETCHBOOKS AND READING ABOUT THEIR WORK EXPANDED MY UNDERSTANDING OF ILLUSTRATION?
I thoroughly enjoyed looking at the sketchbooks of other artists, seeing how their original sketchbook entries develop into other ideas used in their other art/ ‘published’ work. It was interesting to see how some of them use the sketchbook in different ways, from using it as a functional tool to develop ideas… to using it as an emotional creative outlet.. to using it as a place to scribble all their observational drawings from their daily lives.
I loved looking the different artists’ styles and use of media. They are so diverse. Looking at their work has inspired me to try different things, to be more experimental and to work towards hopefully eventually finding & developing my own style in the future.
Although my favourites often changes, I must say that I currently have 2 favourite illustrators which I follow on Instagram. I can only dream of ever becoming anywhere near as good at illustrating as them. I love their use of colour, patterns & flowers. Although I know that I often tend to overdo the use of patterns & bright colours in my illustrations, I really hope I can one day find the right balance.
My current favourite Illustrators I follow on Instagram:
WHAT DOES VISUAL LANGUAGE MEAN TO ME?
To me, ‘Visual Language’ refers to the unique way in which a specific artist portrays their work in order to communicate a desired message/ meaning/ response/ feeling/ reactions/ etc. It may differ in the way they use media/ mark-making/ form/ or whether their work has a specific aim/ message.
I would say that at the moment, my Visual Language would probably be used to create characters in an imaginative place. Often using collage, by combining photographs; drawings; mark-making; objects; pareidolia; patterns & bright colours in order to create illustrations & simple animations digitally. So far I think my illustrations could possibly be considered as either: decorative/ representational/ reflecting a narrative.
WHAT DID I LEARN FROM BEING PART OF THE BOOK CIRCLE?
Throughout this course I have tried several times to initiate the start of a sketchbook circle. As I live overseas, a sketchbook circle via postal service would not work for me, as the costs involved & possible slow postal service where I live, could possibly be problematic.
Therefore, I thought starting a sketchbook circle using Instagram would be a fun idea. It is easy to use, a faster way to share illustrations & fun to see other artists’/ students’ work. The first time I suggested it on the facebook ‘OCA Illustration’- group, it started off pretty well. We had several people taking part in the Instagram sketchbook circle, using the HASHTAG sketchbookcircleoca. It was nice to see how others responded to the same prompt, how they use different styles/ media.
Unfortunately, it gradually faded out and others stopped participating in it. Although I tried to continue & found it to be a great way to generate new ideas, I sometimes lacked the time and eventually decided to take a break from it to focus on my Exercises for my coursework instead.
In October, I decided to participate in Inktober on Instagram, instead of a sketchbook circle. I shared the idea to participate in Inktober instead of a sketchbook circle on the ‘OCA Illustration’ facebook group, but I am not sure how many people joined in.
Then in December, I decided to try again & to create a monthly Instagram sketchbook circle prompts list for January 2020. Keeping the HASHTAG sketchbookcircleoca. I shared it on the facebook group and several people seemed interested. Once I started, I realised that time-wise I was way too over-enthusiastic when choosing the amount of prompts for January.
I decided to only choose 8 prompts from February onwards. Once I joined the OCA group on the DISCORD app, I shared the instagram sketchbook prompts lists on there as well, asking others to join in. Several people joined in on the January & February Instagram prompts lists, but by March the participation has kind of faded out again.
I am not sure whether it’s a lack of time, that results in other people not participating… or whether it’s my silly prompts.. but oh well..
Although I have enjoyed the Instagram sketchbook circle, I don’t think I will continue to make the prompts lists as others are not that keen to participate.. and it’s not really a ‘circle’ if I’m the only one doing it.. lol.
The creator of ‘Inktober’ has started to do weekly prompts on Instagram, so I think when I have time, I will just start to participate in that and share it using the HASHTAG sketchbookcircleoca. At least then I am participating in a larger ‘circle’ of people who are just as excited to participate as I am at times. 🙂
I find responding to ‘Inktober’/ or other prompts lists, a great way to generate new ideas and would like to continue to do so in the future.
I have thoroughly enjoyed taking part in this sketchbooks course. It has been the best creative learning journey, encouraging me to experiment with so many new ways of developing ideas and creating illustrations, while using sketchbooks as both a functional tool and a creative outlet.
I have learnt so much by looking at other artists’ work and they have truly inspired me. By reading my Tutor’s feedback, it has guided me to look at my work more objectively. Throughout this course, she has given me helpful feedback in order to improve my skills & illustrations. She has been wonderful. Thank you!
By doing this course, it has given me a whole new perspective on illustrations in general, the amount of thought/ time/ work & effort that goes into developing an illustration. I am so glad I signed up for this course, it has been challenging, yet satisfying looking back at my progress from the beginning of the course.
Although I know I have a lot to learn & that it will be challenging, I really hope that I will enjoy the next module just as much as this one.
Have a nice day!
NAME: Juanita du Toit
STUDENT NUMBER: 522438
COURSE: Illustration 1: Illustration Sketchbooks
The Open College of the Arts (University for the Creative Arts)