The third year course in illustration was a step into the professional world of an artist and/or designer. The lectures were evolving around the tips and experience a professional illustrator will need to gain to be a successful practitioner.
Key Ideas in Art and Design: Current Debates
Other than the first and second years of illustration course when we were given the topic for our essays, this year we had to choose it ourselves. The main idea was that the chosen essay topic would reflect to and evolve around the chosen final major project theme. Essay writing was a great opportunity to broaden the research done before stepping into the development stage of the final illustration pieces. I have chosen a topic which I had been interested in however never had a chance to spend time researching. My biggest inspiration was C. G. Jung himself and the theories of dreams he has written. What I have learned the most from the Current Debates unit is that I can be highly passionate on a chosen topic and how much research can be made on such a narrow, looking from a side, strand of theme, which gave me so much inspiration to evolve my final pieces from.
Final Major Project: Illustration
My Final Major Project has been highly linked to the essay written for the Current Debates unit. Besides the research that has been done for the essay I have decided to expand my research and explore the image making techniques which I would like to use for my final pieces. I have decided that alternative photography – photograms and cyanotypes – and digital collage techniques would be the most appropriate to the chosen topic. I have narrowed down the essay topic to the minimum of using my own written down dreams and research or analysing them as a Jungian practitioner. The chosen techniques of image making seemed the most appropriate mostly because I was able to capture the secrete moments from the dreams themselves or to collage the different textures, places and objects together into compositions ending up as a narrative story. I have chosen quite a minimal colour scheme for the project as I researched that these colours had been the mostly seen during my own dreams- grey, white, black, blue, wood brown and cream. My final pieces ended up bound in books or captured under a layer of resin and varnish. The books reminded me of either a journal (book ‘’Personal and Collective Unconscious of a Cat Archetype’’) or a structure theme constantina book (‘’Personal Unconscious Places’’) as well as the cut out collages trapped under a layer of wood varnish and the resin to both create the depth and to revive the idea of capturing secrets under a textured glass piece- we used to do this as kids, hiding plant compositions as secrets under a broken glass piece and digging them into the ground. My final pieces as majorly inspired by the memories of childhood as they have been deeply psychologically captured in my dreams as an adult as well as analysing my dreams through the prism of the C. G. Jung’s ‘’Collective Unconscious’’.
Present and Promote
The Present and Promote unit has been separated into two parts: the RSA animate project and the self-promotion.
The RSA Animate project has been a great experience for me to learn to do animation as an illustrator. Even though I have not learned the animation rules, I have broken all the animation boundaries and saw the animation project through an illustrator’s eye working on every still as an eye catching well designed picture. This was the first step for me to start using textures in the 2-dimentional digital image which stuck to me and stayed up until the final major project final piece development.
The self-promotion part has been the most useful unit throughout the whole 3rd year course as this is mostly important to learn and research before stepping out from the university with a diploma so that you know what your next steps are and who you want to be. The Industry Friday talks have helped me to learn about the wide variety of opportunities and moves I need to make to become a successful practitioner either freelance or in a company. After re-reading the notes taken from the talks or the wide research done both online or in the library I have adjusted all the tasks I need to make towards becoming a successful illustrator and designer. My main steps are: making a website, business cards, postcards, approaching social media (such as Instagram and Facebook), approaching companies and clients using the postcards or online newsletters, taking part in competitions and exhibitions – networking or taking commissions to expand my experience before approaching the more famous companies.
All in all, I can sum up that the illustration degree has helped me grow a lot as a successful practitioner while giving me the right amount of knowledge to step towards it on my own. What I have learned the most is to believe in myself, in my art and found my artist style as well as the themes I would feel the most comfortable working in. When I started the illustration course I was only a shy beginner artist, after the three years I finally start to feel that I have gained a lot of trust in myself, became a lot more active, which means I would be able to approach people more easily, start networking, curating exhibitions and going to job interviews with the belief that I will be able to handle any given project. I am thinking of taking the Master’s degree course of Art in the nearest future; however let’s keep this on hold for now up until I can test my gained experience in the real world working both freelance and in the company.