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Reflections: Key Steps In Illustration (Part 1)

Updated: Sep 1, 2020

Before I started this module I took the OCA’s introduction to higher learning and found myself to be a mostly reflective learner. This analytical way of thinking after finishing a body of work comes naturally to me and I’m pleased to have my first tutor report and feedback to go through. Here are the key points and quotes from my tutor alongside my own thoughts and plans for improvement.


Learning Log / Blog

"Overall your response has been very thorough and evidences a good level of drawing ability. Wider reference to context needs to be explored."
"Your learning log is logical and clear, you write well and explain your rational for visual developments"
"You explain your immediate decision making and process well, and demonstrate an articulate sophistication in both process and written communication"

Throughout Part 1, I spent a lot of time and energy trying to make sure that I was being clear about my process as from the start I wanted to set myself up with a strong system for writing and presentation that I could repeat as I went along. It's reassuring to hear that this has been successful, though with some room for improvement in terms of context as further explained below.

"Primary research is evident but secondary research needs more work. This is where you look at wider contexts that can be social, cultural, political, historic and contemporary in order to set a context and narrative in your own work."

If I take some extra time to look at how a piece of work connects and fits within different contexts in my learning log, I should be able to improve my writing and explanations while keeping my ideas relevant. My tutor has recommended a book called Visual Research: An Introduction to research Methods in Graphic Design that I will be reading to help improve my research methods.

"Hovey and James were interesting choices, your Early works with Pooh are light and spontaneous. Where in a few drawings some proportions are a little inaccurate, more importantly the overall sense and quality expressed in the inkwork is very much in keeping with the Illustrators mark making."

I enjoyed drawing pooh the most and acknowledge that I didn't get some of the proportions drawing with full accuracy, but I'm pleased that the line and inkwork stayed true as that was my primary goal at the time.

"Hovey has a more contemporary feel than the one you have created, stronger heightened key colours with more of a block flat laying on of colour would move it more into a contemporary visual context"

This is a fair critique, selecting colours is something I've only really done instinctively before and I would like to put more consideration into my choices in the future to raise the quality of my work. After reading this I asked my tutor for some additional reading suggestions in this area as he has a lot of experience in this field and I have received some good suggestions to go through when I need them.

"You have a good process for selecting the pertinent key words and phrases, the highlighter pen too is a good way of evidencing this thinking for assessment. The initial thumbnails too demonstrate your evaluation of composition and content, again more iterations would provide greater reflection and lead to less literal use of visual communication."

I spoke in my blog previously about the difficulties I had with this task during the design stage, but in the future I will be more careful to avoid getting so involved in one element of the process that I lose track of another.

Assignment: Say Hello

"You have employed a systematic process of analysis to ensure you are answering the requirements of the brief and you provide a narrative of the process throughout. This is a good sign for your future study as critical reflection and idea development are key to success at degree level study."

Again, this is very reassuring to hear. During the assignment was when I was the most relaxed in my process as I felt that I was finally starting to find my feet properly and I'm glad that has been reflected in my report.

"More iteration of initial ideas and further analysis will help you in future."

I need to do more variations of my early sketches and compositions. I don’t often explore multiple versions of a concept before trying one out fully, but if I can increase the number of thumbnail sketches that I do before selecting ones to take forward, I will be hopefully able to explore and demonstrate a greater breadth of ideas at that stage of development.


Moving forward I want to focus on the research and sketching side of things as suggested, but I'm overall pleased to have made a good foundation in my work to build upon as I start part 2!

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