Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Dummy book starting point

So starting some development here. This is an important little poem to me so I want to get this book right and I'll probably keep re-doing it until I get it how I want it. But I wasn't too sure where to start so I started with a storyboard. It just allowed me to plan a little bit on how many pages I wanted and roughly what I could put on each page. From there I started to put together some dummy books and I promise that there are likely many more to come before I start my final spreads yet.

Dummy books …

I've also included here some doodles and development of how I'd actually like to illustrate this poem. It's obviously not a definite things yet but I was just messing around with a fine liner pen and water to see what affect I'd get. 

I apologise for the quality of some of these images. I didn't have access to a scanner so I had to use my camera without the best light, but at least you get the general idea :) chao!

Tuesday, 29 October 2013


Time for pumpkins! This is what I've spent my afternoon doing and once I started doing one I had to do more so I went to get some. I hope you like :) had to be done for Halloween. Have fun!

Monday, 28 October 2013

First Dance Diary - Quackers

I want to also start a video diary for the dancing project. I'd like to use this as a chance to capture the things that inspire me and mean something to me within the dancing. I want to capture moments of improve, shows, experiences and maybe even add some of my own rehearsals. 

Here's something fun to start with though … this is me, with two of my closest friends from my ballet class, who I have also known for years. We made up this duck dance for a laugh and believe me it was so worth it. Even with the difficulty in wearing flippers!

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Persian cats

Here are a few sketches where I've been trying to get a feel for persian cats. I just want to start to familiarise myself as much as I can so that they become easier to illustrate. Just a few different facial expressions and a few body shapes.

Swan Lake

I started drawing some dance images (if that's the best way to describe it) over the weekend although unfortunately I was slowed down a considerable amount as I was ill. But never mind! I did get some things done anyway. I have a DVD of Matthew Bourne's version of Swan Lake and I though this was a good place to start. 

To fill you in, Bourne has taken the original music by Tchaikovsky and transformed the classical ballet we all know into his contemporary version. Not only is the style of dance different but he changes the roles, using an almost all male cast. Instead of beautiful ballerinas in tutu's, we get to enjoy the performance but bare chested gentlemen. 
I studied this piece a few years ago so as I'm more familiar with this performance it was very easy for me to get into drawing. The arm gestures often represent the head and neck of a swam, rather than only wings and many movements are much more bird-like than that of the classical ballet.

I didn't stop the DVD as I wanted to treat it as though it was a real performance so it was very good practice. At the moment I'm quite slow and my images are very static but there are a few which were starting to improve. 

I think it's important to start treating some of the movement, no matter what style of dance or type of performance, as though I was doing it myself. As though it's from my own experience. I understand how to use my body and think this interpretation will stat to transform my drawing.

I've also included some video's here as there are a few versions of Swan Lake., all with the same story but slightly different ways of portraying it. We have the classical ballet, Matthew Bourne's version and most recently, the film 'Black Swan' starring Natalie Portman, where the two swan's (the white and the black swan) almost become real and are two sides of her personality, good and evil. 

Monday, 21 October 2013

Illustrated Classics!

I visited The British Library in the pouring rain because I wanted a good look at the free exhibition there of Children's Illustrated Classics. I loved all of it! Unfortunately I couldn't take any pictures but there were a few versions of some of the best well known books such as the Iron Man, The Railway Children, Paddington Bear, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Wind in the Willows to name a few. I've researched some of the drawings to include on here!

Iron man illustrated by Tom Gauld …

and Laura Carlin

One of the stories which I thought was quite amazing was that of Quentin Blake and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The actual story had been illustrated a few times before but it was his illustrations which really set the story off. When he was developing the characters he described that he felt as though Willy Wonka was a fairly large man has he had his own chocolate factory and would help himself to the merchandise however, Roald Dahl didn't like the way Willy Wonka had been drawn so Blake then developed a much skinnier version.

I have included here another example which I loved. This is 'How the Whale got his Throat' by Rudyard Kipling. These are his own illustrations too! Beautiful.

Thinking with the Body

So things that I've been up to over the weekend.

Firstly, 'Thinking with the Body' by Wayne McGregor at the Welcome Collection. Wayne McGregor is very well known for his 'physically testing choreography' and collaborations made across dance, but also including other things such as film, music, visual art, technology and science. We can all see how these subjects might link together. In 2000, he with his company, took on a number of projects where they investigating the creative aspects of dance with fields like cognitive and social science. The exhibition was an insight mainly into the rehearsal time with the company and performers of McGregor's new work 'Atomos' at Sadler's Wells. It was also an insight as to how 'the process of choreography and how mind, body and movement interact with each of us.'

As I'm doing a rather important project based on dance and movement, this seemed like a fantastic way to start my research and gain inspiration. Unfortunately I came away really struggling to understand what exactly McGregor was trying to achieve. I'm sure there was plenty of reason for him to have created the performances he did however, I couldn't seem to find any explanation or development towards this whole idea of 'thinking with the body'. 
When I watched a performance at the beginning of the exhibition, 'Random Dance', on screen I genuinely thought the movement was beautiful, I felt I could see the unusual shapes the dancers were making with their bodies, how they interacted with each other and how the transitions of the steps complimented or conflicted with one another. I thought I could see 'thinking with the body'. As I moved through the exhibition though I felt I was just given his ideas; his sound ideas, his movement ideas but not where they ideas stemmed from. This I felt was a shame as I would've loved to have seen McGregor's thought process to get towards his final performance.

I thought later in the day that perhaps it wasn't such a bad thing that I'd come away confused because the whole thing had really made me think. I was desperately trying to understand what McGregor wanted to do and I couldn't, but maybe that was what he wanted. I'd be lying if I said that I could happily settle for that 'confused' feeling, if I watch a performance I like to enjoy it, but I did think the contemporary movement was beautiful. The way bodies intertwined and weaved in and out of each other, the fluid transitions from step to step and the simplicity of clothing, allowed me to really focus just on the movement so evidently I was thinking 'about' the body.

Notes and mind maps for ideas on timeline.

There was also an exhibition of sculptures and unusual mirrors and shapes which were interesting. Again I didn't fully understand these but I thought perhaps that by looking into them and seeing how they distorted your body could've been the response in movement in the performance. 

I found a secret room full of mirrors which was good fun too.

Here are symbols for words used to add to a performance.