Thursday, 7 June 2012

Exhibition complete.

It took one painful week of cutting, mounting, pinning and stressing but my Monster Quest exhibition is now up and finished, ready for the degree show.

I am very pleased with the result, as is my mentor Julia. There have been many positive comments from people already and I think it will push people to think of their own exhibition ideas for the display cabinet next year. Plus it has filled the dark empty void of what it was before.

It has been a very tough but enjoyable project and I will keep going with it, since there are many things I could do with the idea. Please do pop up to the animation floor and see it if you can!

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

The last push! Images being printed.

I had a final cut off date for my images today. I managed to get 13 images finished altogether, which is roughly the amount I was aiming for. I am very pleased with all of my images, they are not perfect but they are good enough for me at this moment in time and they reflect my development and the fun I had on the project.

I will give a little run down of some of the new images and old ones I have edited:

I had taken a nice little picture of this alleyway in Bristol and thought it might be nice to have monsters poking their heads out of each little doorway on either side. I then noticed that there was a sign for a barbershop. Julia suggested that I give the monsters whacky haircuts and so this was created. I added lens blur to the closest monster so it fits with the image.

I couldn't resist placing a monster onto this wrecked car, it seemed so obvious to do so. I think he may be slightly too bright but I wanted to be bold with these images so I have to be daring.

I hadn't tried turning actual humans in the photos into monsters yet and I thought I would try it out on this picture of Dan fighting against the wind with his umbrella. It started to fit perfectly as I made the umbrella a nasty monster fighting him. I actually think that this monster has some of Dan's personality.

This is my favourite of the bunch because I feel as though these monsters have the most appeal. They are extremely cute, although I'm not sure how cute the mother would be if you got close to her young ones. I also really enjoyed placing a monster out of focus in the distance. In played around with blurs and mist to get it to look right.

This was an idea that me and Julia came up with when looking at the original photo. It was a great find, to get a picture of an odd little hideaway that had a stocks that I could shove a monster in. It was fun to actually make the monsters interact with the scenery, it gives them more purpose than some of the others. 

I edited this image slightly as even though I liked the subtlety of it, I felt that for an exhibition it needed more impact. It only took an addition of one extra bright monster peering out from behind a building to spice it up. I would like to try adding in more monsters but it could spoil it.

I was really pleased with this image, it was the first one where I made a part of the scenery into a monster. This skip seemed perfect for it considering its placement in the photo and the brightness of its colour. I tried to make the arms look like toxic sludge. I think its one of the stronger images in the set.

I posted this image before but realised it needed more done to it. Just the one monster wasn't enough and so I decided to play around with placing more monsters in it. Julia suggested playing with the reflections and it seemed nice to have a monster that is out of shot but you can see his reflection in the puddle and just his hand creeping into frame. There's also a cheeky one popping his head over to have a look at what is going on.

Here is the completed monster that I wanted to live under these stairs next to the trolley, I added in a little home sweet home sign. I think I managed to get the shadow right.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

More sketches to be used.

One week left!

After another review with Julia yesterday afternoon, it was decided that since the pictures have been taking a lot longer to make than expected and I could push them even further, I have allowed myself another week to make a few more and get them all polished. So I need them all done by wednesday next week.

Julia liked my new found craziness to the images but we both felt that with a little bit more time, I could improve the staging in some of them and go crazy with some more photos.

For example, in this image below I want to add in a few more monsters in the background, and maybe add a reflection of a monster in the left hand-side puddle so that we know there is another monster just out of the shot.

I also got talking about the potential of other images and the ideas started to develop towards giving these monsters more of a story and more purpose. We came up with the idea that the grotty places I photographed in the city could be like a paradise to these creatures. They could be pictured in these photos like they are in their homes or on holiday there. For example in this photo below I wanted to make this little spot under the bridge like a home to this bug like creature. He has made it into a cosy are with pictures hanging up and he is feeding off of the rubbish bins. Here is the photo with a sketch of the intended character:

I will try and search for funny framing in family holiday photos and try to incorporate some of that into my designs. I hope to have about 12 - 15 images altogether by the end of this project.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Speeding up the process.

As I've been producing more and more of these monster pictures I have been learning new ways to make them look good but also make the process faster. I started off with the usual proceedings of drawing a monster on the photo digitally, then drawing it out properly on paper to be scanned back in and painted over. However I found that even though it looked nice, traditional style painting in photoshop was very time consuming and it was taking me ages to get a texture that I was pleased with.
Here is one of my monsters with painted texture:

I decided to see if there was another way I could get a nice texture without it taking so long. I started to play around with painted colours on watercolour paper and then scan them into photoshop:

I then brought a texture square into a picture I was working on in photoshop and overlaid it on top of a layer that contained the shape of my monster, cut it out to fit the shape using the magic wand tool and then I just lowered the opacity so that it blended with the colour of the shape underneath:

I could then still add shadow and highlights on top and the monsters started to look a lot rougher and monster like. The final result ended up looking a lot like this:

I will continue to experiment with different textures, using anything I can find and rubbing it on paper and playing with it in photoshop. I think the way to go with this is to just be rougher and quicker with these pictures, sticking to bold shapes and simple staging.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

More inspiration.

Dave Cooper is a little gem of an artist that I found out about recently when I picked up his book 'Bent' in a comic store.
His work is a amalgamation of everything I love in illustration. He utilises the "rubber hose" and cute wide-eyed style of early animation, and stretches it, pokes it, puts it through a black hole and throws it back onto paper and is left with wickedly surreal worlds and characters. Its like looking at Betty Boop while on some psychedelic trip!

I have also always admired the work of artist and designer Gary Baseman, who also uses a cute, big-eyed character style reminiscent of early animation and cartoons but makes them rather evil and scary at the same time. His experimentation with shape and colour is phenomenally eye-catching and his work is instantly recognisable! I need to start incorporating more of this energy into my creatures and illustrations.


I had a meeting with Julia today to discuss the exhibition and direction of the work and I had originally come up with the idea of laying out the space like this:

I was to have the map of Bristol in the middle as a centrepiece with all of the monsters and their locations pinned on it and it would then be surrounded by the prints of my photos. The large photos would be at the top with smaller prints underneath. There would be a poster in the middle above the map and running along the bottom of the space would be the 3D props/artefacts I have created. After speaking with Julia about this layout, she pointed out that it seemed a little bit regimented and I agree. Looking at it now, the structured layout could dampen the bold, crazy nature of the ugly monster subjects in the work and it may be a lot nicer to focus on the actual work having some really big prints surrounding map and move the title down running along the bottom. It may also be an idea to remove the props, or maybe leave a few, but focus on having more sketches/monster pictures of a smaller size scattered along the bottom. This is something that I will have to think about and play with once the work is all done and see what works best, my main goal is to draw people in and have an impact.

I also discussed the actual work/illustrations I have been doing with Julia and she liked what I had come up with but felt that the monsters were a bit subtle at the moment and she knew that I could be a lot more garish and create something that shows off the nature of some of my influences and sketchbook work. I personally like the subtlety in the pictures I have been making but I think that for the purposes of an exhibition I do need to be a lot more daring and show off with bolder, louder and crazy designs. She suggested that I extend the project until Tuesday and experiment and alter the work more to achieve a more striking effect. This is great for me because at the moment I don't feel as though it would be the great display I think it has the potential to be. Here is a scan of my notes from the meeting with the suggested influences to look at.