Reflections: Key Steps In Illustration (Part 3)

Updated: Sep 1

My feedback has arrived and I'm really pleased with the overall response for my work in part 3. As with my previous reflections, I'll be featuring a selection of highlights whilst also focussing on the areas to improve and the suggestions my tutor has made on how I can challenge myself moving forward.

Overall Comments

"You have a very well designed simple blog that loads quickly and is a delight to view as the navigation is simple. There is a slight lag, but nothing serious at this time. Well done."

I'm glad i've managed to set and maintain an effective way of writing these blogs. From a technical point of view, I've tried to condense as many images as I can into collages to help lighten the load on the website, but I still need to keep a close eye on things to avoid bloat from larger file sizes in simple images that would not lose visual clarity from any further compression.

"As part of your assignment you were asked to keep accompanying notes in your learning log. These notes are at a high level but need to extend the social cultural and political context of research and practices."

This cropped up a few times throughout the exercises as something that I would only lightly explore when it related to the work. Instead I need do need to expand on a deeper base knowledge on how societal influences can inform and change how images are developed and presented. My tutor has suggested some books and areas to look for information sources that could help me with this that I'll be looking into.

Project: Composition and viewpoint


Exercise 3.1: Illustrating Visual Space

"An intelligent successful and critically reflective exercise.Your references and notations are exactly the form of critical reflection required for success on a degree award."

I think it took me a long while to adjust to a system of recording my thoughts in a way that I can comfortably structure my reflections once I've finished an exercise, so I'm happy that this feedback assures me that my workflow is being effective for practicing a good level of study.


Project: Hierarchy in the image


Exercise 3.2: Reading an Image

"A consummate analysis of the image and use of pixilation to further interrogate the dynamics of the composition. Maybe a little more reference to how these colours and compositional elements impact on the visual communication. Specifically, as a literal narrative."

I did miss the story connections in my colour analysis and looked at them from more of a practical design and composition perspective for this exercise. In future projects with colour or when analysing at any individual aspect of an image, I need to make sure I can comprehensively cover all the relevant reasoning for the creative choices an artist has made.


Project: Visual Properties


Exercise 3.3: Image Development

"Another articulate and carefully narrated process where bravery and setting personal Challenges has led to an unexpected solution. This is evidence of critical reflection and visual development as part of your research process and is essential for success at Degree level and beyond."

I didn't know how this exercise would be received as at the time of making it I meandered in some very unexpected ways that did indeed challenge me. I'm relieved that this time I could go with the flow of the creative journey and see where it could go rather than stuttering too much on an initial vision that didn't materialise as planned. Even though I am still pleased with the result, on this occasion the journey definitely mattered more than the destination when it came to problem solving.


Project: Diagrammatic illustration


Exercise 3.5: Giving Instructions

"...don’t fall into a trap of always drawing because you are an illustrator, illustration and its boundaries overlap photography, Graphics, animation graphics 3D objects and experimental film."

This is very true. Drawing is my main forte but illustration is a discipline across a number of different mediums. In a later exercise during this part I had success using photography and props in creating a final image, so I'll continue to keep my mind open to other opportunities to take these kind of approaches. I've always been a fan of animation and love to edit video, so these are avenues that I could include as the exercises and assignments broaden in scope.


"The flow of the process was the key feature, your illustration is too focused on the objects rather than the action."

Looking back I also agree with this. For my tea making instructions there are a lot of floating elements so the action of how they were being used became a bit less of a focus of the complete piece. I still like what I produced, but the motions between each stage could be rearranged to make them more prominent and better communicate the narrative to viewers who are not as familiar with the processes it demonstrates.


Project: Creating mock-ups


Exercise 3.8: Making a mock-up

"Just goes to show how valuable source material is. I truly like this work it is exponentially better than the existing cover, My constructive comment would be to have considered a brighter tone maybe red/brown for the type on the TWIN PEAKS lettering, but I can see its maybe over egging the pudding. A brave and quite radical rethink , well done!"

I definitely enjoyed this exercise the most of any that I have done so far, so it makes me very happy to read these comments. I took a different creative angle with the use props and photography and it paid off nicely. A lot of the success is due to my knowledge of the source material and researching as thoroughly when i'm working with less familiar subjects will hopefully lead to similar benefits.


Assignment: A Poster


Assignment 3: A Poster

"Good decision on eras 20s and 30s for initial imagery. As are the references to the war period and art deco, again this is evidence on cultural social and political contexts. I would like you to expound on these issue for AS4 and AS5 when pertinent."
"The hard edge flat colours you refer to are indeed part of this era. But you did not recognise how important the angular fractures in the composition are connected to that message and the rebellious nature of Jazz."

Expanding on social contexts is definitely the recurring lesson for me to move forward within part 4. Admittedly, I did not explore the historical contexts as much in my research stages as much as I did for the 1940's and 1950's in part one. When it comes to creating artwork with historical influences, I need to make sure that I spend the extra time and research to soak in the context of how people lived and felt in all areas of life during those time periods to truly understand why the aesthetics of that time ended up as they were to achieve more authentic results in my own work.

I'm hoping that now I am more settled into my practical routines, I'm hoping that adapting and tightening my focus on social contexts will become easier over time as the subject matter becomes the central area to explore in the upcoming briefs. Looking ahead at part 4 I can see that the exercises are a bit more open to interpretation that previous ones so that I can explore my own styles.


Hopefully I can create a body of work that does reflect on my individuality as personally I've never really felt that my artwork has contained a "signature look" as it changes often per material and brief. This is not something that I should concern myself with though as these things develop naturally from common design decisions over time. Styles are also more often recognisable to the people observing the work than what an artist can see about their own.


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