Thursday, 7 May 2015

Developing Final Illustrations

When developing my illustrations, I take into consideration the compositions of my pieces. The page needs to be filled out effectively without making the content too busy. These first two images are on A4 sheets of watercolour, however when I had my formative assessment and through tutorials, I have been encouraged to work on a larger scale. This has faced me with a challenge as I have been taken out of my comfort zone, but I believe it has work out well.

Below, these pieces are all on A2 sheets of watercolour paper. Scaling my work up has allowed me to explore the composition more and experiment with bolder strokes and washes of colour, As a whole, a larger scale has more impact and creates stronger illustration. The scale also reflects the greatest of the animals and their physical size. They are important to the wild and through up-scaling my work this is portrayed more effectively.

Above, I have incorporated elements of the issues faced by the animals in the wild. The Asian elephants main crisis is the threat of habitat loss through deforestation. This has been applied to my illustration through the great expanse in the composition. The elephant is more defined in order to bring it to the foreground of the image whilst the tones become lighter in the right half of the composition to create a sense of distance. The light space really enhances the idea of space and distance as the elephant looks out into the background wondering where his home has vanished to.

In the illustration of the orang-utan I have included symbols with an aim to be thought-provoking for the viewer. This could be interpreted in numerous ways by the viewer although a main sense of human-wildlife conflict is apparent. My intention was to reflect the illegal pet trade which orang-utans are often succumbed from the wild. In this illustration the dark tones of the ink reflect the human conflict towards the animal. The hand is grabbing the orang-utan and the chains are a symbol of being trapped and controlled. This illustration is particularly strong for depicting the threats to the species by humans directly. The subtle orange tones used for the fur create a sense of vulnerability and also define the animal as it's specific species, an orang-utan. 

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Experimenting with Drawing on Frames

After producing some A4 watercolour and ink animal portraits, I felt they needed an element of imagery which reflected the issue faced by each species. Therefore, not wanting to spoil the original imagery, I directly drew onto the glass in permanent marker. The left illustration reflects deforestation with the stumps of trees and the right illustration reflects the illegal pet trade of orang-utans with the bars. Scratching into the thick lines gives the impression of depth for the bars and also adds texture. 

Even though these are quite effective for creating a statement about the issues, the harshness of the black draws attention away from the illustrations and the subtly of watercolour is subdued. 

To make the illustrations more prominent and the focal point in the exhibition, white frames could be used, clear with the original illustrations. This will highlight the illustrations and raw texture in the pieces without distracting from the sensitive content.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Combining Digital and Traditional

As experimental development, I used my own primary source imagery combined with illustrations to create new ideas and themes. These have been heavily manipulated in Photoshop so the quality may not necessarily be there although these could be used as reference to create new illustrations.

Here I have used a photograph of bars combined with an illustration to make it appear as though the elephant is trapped and caged.

Left: The original photograph.

Below: The manipulated imagery.

These images reflect the trauma of the Asian elephant when faced with threats from the human race. Rather than elephants being physically caged, my intention is for the cage for be a symbol of how such a large animal is made to feel demoralized and trapped in a number of ways. This could reflect on how elephants are used within the tourist industry in Thailand or even how they are kept behind the scenes of a circus. 

Intentionally, the elephant appears vulnerable and lost. Perhaps this is the only elephant left before they become a long lost memory into extinction? The red hues reflect violence and danger, a sense of darkness which is the elephants impending fate.

Using the same elephant illustration, I superimposed the animal into a forest scene. The forest scene is manipulated from a primary source photograph and put into a new context. The in the left image the elephant seems vulnerable in its own habitat whereas in the right image the elephant seems to be fading away. This sense of fading reflects the threat of extinction through habitat loss. Whilst the habitat is replaced and preserved, the elephants and forced to survive elsewhere, or not at all...

 Using an ink illustration, I thought about a comment I had during the formative assessment- why not add a background? Whilst I feel white space encourages the viewer to pay closer attention to the main subject, I decided to use a primary source landscape photograph to provide a sense of context to the image. The darkness of the landscape highlights the elephant slaves whilst the red tones in the sky imply a sense of danger and foreboding. Where are the elephants being taken? What is their fate?

These illustrations were manipulated in Photoshop and given a simple forest-like background. This background was painted digitally and fills out the image.

Overall, I believe these experiments were a success in how they reflected the threats of extinction and providing imagery which is more thought-provoking for the viewer. The colours are vivid and the use of photography brings stronger compositions. However, the manipulation in Photoshop can appear over-worked so it could it effective to replicate similar imagery in traditional media.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Introducing Orang-utans

To progress on the development of my project, I have decided to focus on threats to orang-utans in the wild. The threats include habitat loss through deforestation, the illegal pet trade and agriculture for palm oil. These facts were all sourced from the World Wildlife Fund website and Orangutan Conservancy.

The choice to focus on orang-utans came from when I initially looked into endangered species of the Sumatran forest. Then when I went to Chester Zoo to take primary source imagery I felt I sympathised with the animals, especially one who was by the glass and looked to somber and sad.

Although the animal was hard to photograph due to the reflection from the windows, I cannot explain how emotional this made me feel, how sad it was to see such a grand animal being observed in a cage which resembled not even a small portion of his original habitat. This made me want to make a change even more through my illustrations so that perhaps people will become aware that these animals were put on the Earth to achieve more than be viewed as an object in a zoo. If people are ignorant to the threats of orang-utans in the wild then they will be destined for a life in containers until they eventually fade from this planet entirely.

Here is a couple of experimental illustrations defining the character of this beautiful creature:

Saturday, 21 March 2015

WWF Donation Box

As part of the final exhibition, I wanted to include a World Wildlife Find donation box alongside my displayed work to encourage people to donate to the charity. Choosing the WWF to fund raise for was an easy decision as I have based much of my research on their website. My aim is to hopefully encourage people to want to make a change through my artwork and therefore donate as little as possible. 

After contacting the WWF through Twitter I emailed the contact given and was pleased to received a positive response and it seems that it will be possible to get a couple of donation boxes.

I gave them my address and received the boxes soon after I contacted the charity. Here is one of the boxes pieced together, I received two others which I can display with my exhibition.

Friday, 6 March 2015

Inspired by Campaign

Researching animal rights has made me realise how huge the problem is not only in the UK but also worldwide. Since the completion of my dissertation about animal rights, I have taken it upon myself to stop eating meat for as long as I can in aid of my project. As an avid meat eater it will be interesting to see how long I will be able to cope before I run out of meals... The point is, through research it has changed my own viewpoint of the way in which animals are treated my humans and therefore I hope to transfer this desire for change through my illustrations. A small step in the right direction is better than being ignorant to any of the issues at all.

Since my new project is about animal rights in regards to global issues, specifically endangered species, I found an inspiring way of campaigning by the WWF.

 WWF Origami Campaign
WWF Origami Campaign

The idea here by the WWF is to generate an interactive campaign method to raise awareness about the issues with a main aim for a donation from the viewer. This simple yet innovative campaign idea not only involves the viewer but allows them to make a direct connection with the animals who are endangered. Varying levels of difficulty mean that the origami is aimed at a range of younger and older viewers. The effort put in to making the origami proves to the viewer how little time it takes to make an impact through giving just a small amount of their time. Involving the viewer is an effective tactic for keeping the viewer interested and making the app available on a variety of technology devices aids the campaign to be accessible to a large amount of potential viewers who may donate to making a change.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Ideas for an end product

As an illustrator it is important to find a compatible context which is suitable for the topic. In this case I needed to figure out the context for the topic of 'endangered species' which would help me communicate in the best form possible. I have decided to step away from animation which I was leaning towards in my last project. This is due to the fact I would need to learn a whole new set of skills within a couple of months, and as I want my best work included in my final major project of university I felt that it was important to develop on skills I already have rather than learn new ones.

Therefore, I would still like to incorporate campaign in my work and making them more effective by enhancing my traditional and digital skills. The final product I would like to create is a campaign brochure as I feel it would allow me to explore the issues and causes of endangered species in the most effective way and hopefully begin to make a change. This will require research into brochure design and the content included, which I will do along side creating concepts through illustration.

Monday, 9 February 2015

FMP Development

Having decided on looking into endangered species for my final major project for University I feel that I have made a positive progression.

The main focus at the moment is on tigers in the wild and how the species is threatened due to a number of issues such as habitat loss and poaching caused by deforestation and the illegal wildlife trade. Therefore I have begun to create several ideas depicting how deforestation is threatening tiger species.

Here are my illustrations including process:

Idea 1: 

Watercolour and ink illustration portraying both sides of the story; a healthy tiger next to the destruction of deforestation which will be it's fate if nothing is done to prevent it.

Idea 1

Having completed the illustration, I feel that it is somehow quite disjointed and the two halves do not compliment each other. Perhaps if the tones refelcted each other more and the cut down trees formed the stripes of the tiger so that the image would connect as a whole. Even so, the fact the illustration is very literal means it is self explanatory which is important for conveying a message to the audience with instant impact.

Idea 2:

Watercolour and ink illustration of a close up tiger's eye filled with a scene of deforestation.

Idea 2

This illustration is intended for the audience to see how deforestation has a threatening impact from a tiger's point of view to create empathy. The scene is literally a reflection of what is seen by the tiger as excavators destroy its home. 

Inspiration for these illustrations came from a video posted by the WWF:

This video demonstrates how tigers could be here one day and gone the next. Without anyone stopping deforestation, habitat loss will eventually lead to tiger species becoming extinct. Through illustration, I aim to raise awareness about the issue and portray the truth behind the issue. 

Future development: 

So far I feel my illustrations are heading in the right direction although there is still much room for improvement and many more ideas. These illustrations could then be applied to a campaign brochure informing an 18-30 audience. The age category I have chosen is due to the fact that adults have the power to change, they can donate money or even be inspired to help conservation. I aim for my illustrations to not only raise awareness but inspire people who also want to and can make a change. 

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Endangered Species: Sumatran Tiger

After brainstorming for my final major project, I decided to focus on the theme of endangered species. As an extension of my animal right theme, this will allow me to explore a wider variety of endangered species globally, researching the issues and causes behind each animal I choose.

To begin with, I chose to focus on the Sumatran Tiger as it is noted as critically endangered by the World Wildlife Fund. With a bit of research I found out that deforestation is one of the main causes for the habitat loss of these beautiful creatures. Therefore, I wanted to create a quick experiment using media, materials and techniques to portray this sense of deforestation.

In these photos you can see the process of making the piece. Initially, I tore the top layer of cardboard to reveal the corrugated texture. The aim here was to recreate a similar effect to deforestation by destroying the background just as forests are destroyed in Indonesia, the Sumatran tigers home. Once I had completed this effect enough, I chose to use mixed media of oil pastel and charcoal which enabled me to create bold line and strong, vivid color.

Overall, I think this technique has worked effectively although the drawing of the tiger could be in better proportion. However, the way the cardboard was torn reflects the deforestation well and similar methods could be used to reflect other issues and species.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Final Major Project

Brainstorming Ideas for FMP

SO the time has come to decide on a final major project for my final year of University, it is crazy how time flies!

I left my project on a note of badger culling before Christmas, but now is the time to extend on this animal rights theme and really get to grips with more global issues. Therefore I have opted to move away from badgers and more forward into the world of endangered species. Whilst a broad topic, my aim will be to produce a collection of illustrations which convey what is happening around the world which cause many species to become threatened. This may be portrayed through narrative to demonstrate the truth behind the matter in a similar way Sue Coe has done in her work.

As part of my initial research I will explore several animal welfare organisations such as the WWF to gain statistics and information about which species are endangered and the main issues concerned with each particular threatened animal.