1. Taylor Swift: Anti hero, The Man
2. Paramore
3. Scepticism
4. Ritual: Tea, Walking the dog
5. Vanity
6. Metaphors
7. workshops

The second big project of the year, and what a big project it is! This is because it encourages us to explore philosophical ideas and interpret them into our illustrative work. We're not restricted in any way we approach this and there is no final piece needed; meaning we can create an array of pieces exploring this project.

My first steps in this journey was through music. Music is a very powerful tool and one that can change, persuade, warn, and warm people with both its sound and message it carries. I decided to explore the artists and songs I usually listen to in order to find what their messages are, and to see how I could potentially depict this visually. As I did so, I was actually met with quite a surprising realisation - I don't tend to listen to lyrics. I am aware some of my friends and family have favourite songs they listen to because of how they connect with the story of the lyrics, but my favourite songs are only really my favourite because of the tune and sound alone. This realisation actually intrigued me, and therefore led me to set myself a little mission in which I paid attention to the meanings behind some of my favourite songs.
1. Taylor Swift
One of my favourite music artists is Taylor Swift; her songs have so much variety yet all manage to evoke so many emotions in me. Her music is for anyone and everyone and so I felt it was a good start to explore a range of audiences.

A piece I liked, but felt it didn't fit with the mood of the song

This one has better fitting colours to the music video

I found that trying to forcefully create visuals from her music video posed as a challenge albeit the results turned out well. The reason I found it a challenge was because I was intentionally trying to find things to replicate, similar to how I sometimes start projects on Pinterest. The 'Anti Hero' ghost was still based off the music video, however I added my own style to it in terms of pattern and colour; both of these chosen based off of the audience I thought would look at Taylor Swift inspired work. The colours on the left piece were too bright and playful and so I toned it down alongside a much more fitting background colour. By doing so, I felt this match the mood of the song and therefore would be more appealing to fans of this song. Next time, I should try to create visuals in which aren't so artificially constructed with every imaginable piece of the original prompt (a music video for example) taken into account for.
The Man:
Here, I looked into the depiction of men in Taylor's song 'The Man'. Her performative music video and lyrics explore the struggles women face in the music industry and overall in the workplace.
2. Paramore
I was recently gifted a calligraphy set that I thought would be really interesting to use as a way to explore how typography affects the mood of a piece of illustration. The drawing I did was inspired from the visuals in the music video The News by Paramore. The messiness of the words evoke a chaotic mood which perfectly coexists with the imagery of the main singer. Having came up with a suitable appearance for the lettering, I would want to explore how this affects the moods of future pieces. I intend to look into doing more text-heavy illustrations in this project which will help me with this.
I also felt I should look into warped depictions of my drawing. This phenomenon known as the 'Moiré effect' has intrigued me and I felt it belonged to this part of my work as it involves altered perception of technology; fitting to the Paramore song and therefore relevant for my audience. I like the effect it gives and with my loose penwork of the illustration it adds to the glitchy appearance. 
Furthermore, I felt I wanted to take it a step further and incorporate somewhat of a video bringing together the text and the moiré effect. This is because it matches the idea of fake news as written in the song and how things televised may not be as they appear.
Recording with my 3DS, I captured an overlay of my illustration atop contemporary news clips that have been hot topic as of recent. In this video montage it gradually zoomed the clips in as a way to unsettle the viewers and imply a sense of uncertainty with the way media is portrayed, this also being reinforced through my intentional use of quick clips. The speed represents the countless articles and news outlets that are always bombarded at us. I then recorded from my phone so that it kept the moiré effect and therefore distorts the video in a way I wanted to appeal to the audience.
I really like these outcomes; they aim to carry the same message as the music video and therefore fit for the same audience. Without the text it didn't seem as dynamic nor did it express the message of fake news well and so I felt it was needed to add this. The message of the song is prevalent in today's society - we are loosing our sense of control over what we are being shown online and therefore this look into fake news helped me gain a better contextual understanding of the world around me. I plan to keep my mind open in future work and see how topics illustrated like such are integrated in my own life.
3. Scepticism
Here I made a edit from a part of a Left Lion magazine cover which I felt defined scepticism. It was a shame but I didn't feel very inspired in this area and had the impression I didn't want to explore this topic. 
A quick cartoon I did as I was travelling to Birmingham from Nottingham as I felt this represented one of my most common rituals. This helped me get an understanding into what this part of the project will consist of.
Above was a quick GIF I made of the process of making a cup of tea. I thought I should expand my medium to something more physical and therefore I had the idea of making an areal shot of the inside of a mug as it undergoes the process of being filled with tea. The reason I made it as a step-by-step is that it represents all the different stages of preparing this hot drink, and also how customisable it can be from person to person and so anyone can relate to this. Because I enjoyed making the dynamic content in my Amplified project I have applied it to this brief also and made something which I feel looks professional. The simplicity of it is what I believe gives it that professional look and so in future work I can perhaps try to not over complicate my process and to maybe take a step back and focus on the simple steps. 
Walking the dog:
I am very inspired by the illustrator Amii James. I stumbled upon their account on Instagram and really enjoyed their work. It's very reliant on text, similar to Lesley Imgart, to evoke a certain comedic reaction and I felt I wanted to replicate this with my next piece under rituals.
I also feel inspired by Zoe Bread, who notoriously makes illustrations that are oddly specific but funny. This is mostly down to her written work on these illustrations and so I feel like this is how I wanted this area of work to go.

This was a piece I was wanting to do out of looking into my witty/funny reflections of myself. I remembered walking my dog with my dad as of recent (a 'ritual' of ours as one might say), and how we always complain of how much my dog poos on his walks. This may sound strange to some people but it's funny, quaint memories I happen to make with my family that I feel makes me enjoy the small things in life. Inspired by the illustrator Lesley Imgart, her work may look simplistic, but with the addition of text to the work she creates it changes how we see the story she's telling. I am very fascinated by this and in future work I could always look into incorporating text and seeing how that changes the mood of the piece.
To continue, I felt that this illustration could have been seen as somewhat constrained in terms of composition since its very explicit in its message. As a way to explore this, I looked into different ways to depict my journey. Lesley Imgart perfectly illustrated it in her collection titled 'appropriate worrying'. Here, she writes about her worries and the background is of a sort of journey in the countryside. This must imply she is walking and these are her sights, at least that's how I perceive it, and therefore I feel inspired to work similarly.
Below I have what my perspective would be of walking my dog with my dad. It adds more humour to it which I feel fits really well and also draws the audience in as if they're with me. I like this and might want to see how I present my work as well as being mindful of the different ways I can show and not tell.
After creating the second iteration of this dog walking project, I tried to experiment with different canvas size and how that might change the mood as I have been keeping to square canvases. The third version gives the mood of a more cinematographic composition and without text reinforces a more emotional mood. I've decided to strip it of any aid in conveying a story as I wanted to see how I can still illustrate this story in its most basic form. I also like my change in composition of the characters; me and my dad are opposite Parker our dog and so it gives it a sort of power dynamic wherein we are judging the dog. Having rotated the image upside down also changes who we see the image through which I find reinforces how composition is very important.
5. Vanity
Recently I have started reading the book a Picture of Dorian Gray. Having done so has been an eye-opening experience for me since the story delves into the theme of vanity and how it can consume and ultimately destroy a person's life. The idea of keeping one's beauty and youth forever is an appealing fantasy, but Dorian's obsession with his appearance leads to his downfall.
This has inspired me to take a closer look at the concept of vanity in this project and how it is integrated into people's lives. It is evident that vanity is not just a character flaw but a common trait in today's society. The pressure to look a certain way is everywhere, from social media to advertisements, and it has a profound effect on people's self-esteem and well-being.
The picture of Dorian Gray has made me more aware of the dangers of vanity. I have learned that true beauty comes from within and that people should focus on developing their inner qualities rather than just their appearance. This realization has helped me to appreciate the things that truly matter in life, such as love, friendship, and personal growth.
From this I have decided to explore different ways to visually respond to this concept of vanity and how I understand it. Below were photos of statues I took from my visit to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London as I decided that I wanted to look into statues and their correlation with vanity.
Observational drawing of a statue in Compton Verney with fine liner. I enjoyed the looseness of it and feel it works in this project.
I love statues. I believe they are a beautiful historical depiction of what once was. This interest has encouraged me to look into our perception of beauty through these magnificent creations.
Above are quick sketches of statues alongside a quote I felt suited to the theme. I chose the font as this also has a soft and gentle appearance similar to the statues and is also desaturated with no colour; its shape can portray the beauty in itself.
The piece to my left was trying to experiment with how simple I can make my work but still convey a message I intend. In relation to this section of the project, I wanted to depict self consciousness and having this character look to the side I made it look like they’re maybe looking in a mirror. And the text on the hair was to imply it’s a thought they’re thinking. I chose to use the colour red because it usually has many connotations good and bad and so the viewer can interpret it for themself.
Mark making with some new watercolour chalks I was given. I was experimenting with transparency and how they give certain moods. I felt the first matched a more calmer tone and the second more erratic and darker emotions; and so keeping to my desired audience I felt I had to edit them to be more aesthetically beautiful.
Acrylic mark making, the second image was also working with an empty toilet roll. It was mostly from the fact I had one readily available, however it can also be seen as a reflection that perfection doesn't have to be achieved through the most expensive of techniques. Developing further from this, I felt I wanted to continue this cheap method and so tried to paint a statue with a toilet roll tube. I am really pleased with the outcome; the face of the subject also manages to portray that of satisfaction with themselves and the viewer may see that as coming to terms with who they are. 
These are edits I made with the mark makings and illustration I did above. They were with the intent of telling the viewers a message that beauty can be achieved through simple ways. Although I like the left one, the right wasn't as effective as what it looked like before it was edited. I feel this is because the colours were more unappealing and helped to build this illustrative story of hidden beauty.
Experiments with silhouettes
These were silhouette illustrations I made after experimenting with cutting distinctive shapes before. This was based off a statue which is called Hope and made by Lemoyne. It gives a similar mood to the piece I made with the toilet roll tube as they appear to look satisfied; but this time I experimented with removing certain features such as the eyes as it leaves a more open interpretation to the audience. There will be more that will feel connected to it. It was fun to try different variations as I used charcoal and it gave so many different variations depending on how you mess with it on the paper (leaving it as it is or blending, etc). I will want to see how I can develop work with charcoal on this project as I feel the looseness of the medium may allow for some exciting work.
Furtherly building on from my charcoal experiments and cut outs, I made another statue illustration by mixing blending and simply drawing with charcoal but keeping inside a cut out of the silhouette. I also did some mark making with the outside of the subject and it looked like a perfect contrast to the delicate look to the statue. And so I edited them together which I really like the look of. I also experimented with adding text and changing the colour. I'm glad I did this to see if I can tell a story however I feel the text wasn't that effective; whether it be because of the lack of negative space or the colour. The blue colour adds a more gloomier mood however I prefer my untouched piece. Editing has also helped me to see how I can improve or develop even if they might not end up being the final pieces.
 This was a piece I made after visiting the Botanical Gardens in Birmingham. I saw a statue of Artemis and was inspired to make something alongside the lush greenery of the background. I tried to use leaf pens to build a lush and fruitful background and I feel the colours work really well and frame the centre piece perfectly.
Revisiting the stencils and charcoal, I made another piece inspired by a statue of Aphrodite, goddess of beauty; very fitting for exploring vanity. I made two iterations - one took around 3 minutes to make and the other 10 minutes. I felt that although these have turned out how I wanted, I wanted to fit this reoccurring idea that beauty isn't necessarily what's on the outside but the inside and so I took it upon myself to bravely deface the more pristine version of this statue. It should appeal to my audience as it will paint a more clearer message about the importance of beauty. I like how the unintentional crease and dark shadows provide the viewer with the impression that this beautiful creation is ultimately flawed and helps aid towards my message.
6. Metaphors
7. Workshops

Reflections of myself from a workshop, I found my answers to be somewhat witty/funny and therefore felt I should create something to illustrate this humour.

Back to Top