I’m on a short break at the moment so I finally have time to update you guys on stuff! yay.
A lot has been happening. Creative-wise anyway….it’s my last year at college and we’re busy with portfolio work as well as planning our end of year grad show. It’s going pretty well I think, it’s still early days but you can feel the pressure already. I will try to post event details and other stuff on here as they come, so you can check out our work in person (if you’re in Perth)! We have one coming up which I made a few pieces for. It was for a Calligraffiti assignment, which is basically a combination of calligraphy and street art.
Yeah I know, so not my usual thing…but it was actually kinda nice to work outside my comfort zone (once I got started that is). I spent so many hours and late nights working on the final design, because I have no background in calligraphy or street art and getting it just right was important to me (because who wants to buy a crappy piece of art with no thought in it?). Researching took a long time too, I kept getting confused between calligraphy and lettering. But I think the end result is worth it, because it’s something totally different from what I do, and kind of unexpected? My teacher kept pushing us to not be constrained by the limits of the computer, so doing this all by hand was really fun too. I did trace over my design in Illustrator though, and laser cut a few of my designs.
Laser cutting is super cool by the way, I wish they were cheaper so I could have one at home. I’d definitely pick a laser cutter over a 3D printer if I had to choose. We were lucky enough to get access to a laser cutter at college through the woodworking department. And they did it for free which was a huge bonus. Watching it burn through paper like it’s nothing is just so much fun. It’s also so quick as well, I can’t imagine cutting my design out by hand using a scalpel….
Anyway– these are my final designs below, we had to do 3 concepts in different mediums and one final, but I went a bit overboard because I was having too much fun with it.
Laser cut plastic coated paper on grey cardstock
Whilst I was laser cutting my designs on paper, the guy who helped me with the cutting put a wooden board underneath the paper. It ended up with the design slightly etched into the wood, so he kindly cut the piece off for me to experiment with. Luckily I had two pieces of wood to test on because as it turns out, finishing particle board is extremely hard (as in varnishing and painting). I ended up filling in my design with a Posca paint marker and letting it dry. I actually like the pastel, matte finish without the varnish so it actually turned out pretty well.
Fluro superfine glitter! I saw this in the art shop and couldn’t help but get it. It’s such a bright and vibrant colour that the photos really don’t do the final piece much justice. This one is actually my favourite piece I did because it took so long for me to do, and it just has a really nice finish. I had to experiment a couple of times with this though, I first used clag glue, which you might know as a kid’s craft glue. Totally bad idea as it clumped all the glitter together and ruined my first attempt. I used a brush and PVA glue the second time and it worked a charm.
So this is my horribly failed attempt at paper marbling…the cheap way. Paper marbling has got to be the ultimate design trend of 2015 because I’m seeing it everywhere. The art of marbling is really cool though so I’m not complaining. But I decided to try get in on the trend and see what I could come up with. My initial idea was to mask off my design using masking fluid, then dying it in the ink. It turned out really bad though, because not only did the water soak through the masking fluid (yes it was dry, I think it was because there were a lot of shapes close to each other), I got several blisters on my fingers trying to get the damn masking fluid off the paper. So yeah that didn’t work, the final design above was my last resort really at using the medium. I used the shaving cream method, using water based inks for the dye. It was fun and messy, and I probably could work on my technique a bit (ok a lot). I painted my design over the marbled paper using a bright yellow gouache and I like the final result.
I saw this absolutely beautiful washi paper in the store and had to buy it (at $3 per A4 sheet!). I laser cut my design on some dusty peach cardstock, but it ended up being burnt and dusty at the sides which then clashed with the washi paper. So I coloured over each shape with a bronze metallic sharpie (in fact I used up the entire sharpie colouring this) and stuck it on the paper really carefully. I then mounted it on a thick A4 board as the washi paper was quite thin. Overall quite happy with this design too, I love washi paper!
Bonus round – woodburning. It’s a pretty noobish first attempt at woodburning, but it was really fun. Cam got a woodburning set which I used for this, and he also helped varnish and sand the piece too. I used a different design for this one, but I definitely want to practice more woodburning to get better at it because it is really satisfying burning things into wood. I got a really bad blister on my finger from doing this too, I really thought I’d burned off part of my fingerprint haaaha. So that plus the blisters from the masking fluid fail…I suffered a lot for this project. But it’s all good now.
I’m selling all these pieces soon (the originals, not copies), so if you want to check these out in person keep an eye out for event details. In fact I’d rather you saw these in person because my photos are just really not doing them much justice at all.
I really want to get all round better at lettering and just drawing in general this year, I mean of course that’s always the case, but I feel like there’s so much to learn and just when you think you’ve plateau’d (like I have so many times) you realise you’re really just not that good and there’s so much room for improvement. It’s kinda overwhelming at times, because going in one particular direction is hard when you haven’t really found a niche yet. I’ve been working on a few pieces lately, well I actually finished them a few weeks ago:
I want to do more digital pieces, but I find I go through phases where I just really want to do digital art, then I just really want to do traditional art. Right now, I’m in a massive traditional art phase. I want to make a zine/artbook this year (or maybe even two!), using inks mostly. I’m aiming for around ~60 pages of art/letterings. It’s challenging but I have so many ideas for concepts and themes….I’ve actually wanted to create a zine for a long time, and had ideas stewing for literally years but never had the chance to start on it. Now’s the time I guess.
My first zine is going to be based around late nights, because I’m a night owl and I get most of my ideas at night, when there’s no distractions or things in the way…I’ve already planned a lot of it, I just have to ink a lot of my sketches in. It’s always really relaxing and fun doing traditional work because I find it takes me a much quicker time to finish a concept rather than digitally. I love digital art but overcoming technical obstacles can be really challenging. Like just the other day, I was having trouble printing my artwork because the colours would turn up different from each computer. With traditional art, I think troubleshooting certain issues is easier. That said though, I hate comparing the two mediums and I know I’m guilty of it sometimes, but digital art is simply a tool, just like a brush or inks.
It actually really annoys me when people think digital art is somehow inferior to traditional, just because it’s been drawn on the computer. It’s not like it’s easy to create something digitally. Digital art has a different set of guidelines and technicalities, creating a successful piece of art still requires knowledge of colour theory, composition, and general art/design principles. I’ve encountered so many people who don’t get that, but then it’s also obvious they don’t understand digital art involves different processes. No a computer does not draw art for you. Lines don’t magically appear on a blank canvas in Photoshop. And no, a computer does not pick colours for you either. Yes getting a colour palette is easy. Yes getting free photshop brushes is easy. You can get photoshop brushes from professional artists and these are all freely available on the internet. Does using these make you a good artist? No. Just like owning a set of copics or polychromos does not make you a good traditional artist. Art’s all about style and aesthetics. Starting out with digital art is hard, but so is starting out in any medium. People also seem to think digital art isn’t as personal as traditional…I wholeheartedly disagree. But that is a whole other argument in itself. Put simply, everything we create is personal, whether it’s traditional or digital.
Anyway…I have a lot of sketches and things in the works. But this is the first of many to come:
It took a while to refine the style actually, because I want the whole book to feel unified with colour and the way everything is drawn and presented. I used a combination of gouache, ink and acrylic for this, and I wish I could make the digital version a shinier metallic but trust me, the gold is there. So that’s coming later in the year, stay tuned!