Monday, 28 November 2011

Neil (AM) 


Ethics are normative


My response to the question of what is...

The Good Life?

  • freedom of personal choice (politically/lifestyle/sexuality)
  • good health (or sufficient care of this is not possible)
  • experience
  • experiencing life with others (love)
A Good Person?

  • Care for others
  • tolerance
  • abstinence from violence
  • love
  • openness and adaptability of mind
Group response...

The Good Life?

  • freedom from material want (money, health, food)
  • freedom from oppression
  • equality (equity: what you deserve)
  • hope
  • ability to pursue happiness
A Good Person?

  • Care
  • ability to feel guilt
  • empathy
  • generosity
  • diplomacy
  • honesty (despite hypocrisy)
  • leadership
  • responsibility
  • selflessness
  • kindness
Models in Ethics

Virtue Based Ethics

  • Aristotelian
  • Being "good"
  • Considers the end product, materials and means of production.
Duty Based Ethics

  • 1900s (German ideal, Kant)
  • duty: begins and ends at employer
  • efficiency
  • works around morality
  • military (just following orders)

  • consequence based
  • rational
  • cannot maximise happiness, but can minimise unhappiness
  • geared towards product design

  • practicality
  • no moral standpoint, no "ideal"
  • about rationality in extreme
  • incremental change
  • compromise with larger discourses
  • small, focused efforts
Summing Up

Many use an amalgam of these methods

environmental ethics

Papanek- advocated dedication of some of your time/earnings to a good cause when you work on something you find objectionable. the yin-yang offset.

Further Notes/ Thoughts

  • Accounts of Franco's Spain, Castro era Cuba, Russia: read to understand the opposite of ethics)
  • Alone in Berlin
  • Pol Pot's wholesale murder of those with glasses
  • Rich biodiversity in the North/South Korea demilitarised zone/the 5 miles surrounding Chernobyl
  • Lisa Evans (?)

John (PM)

Phase 1

Setting the scene

90% of work will not be used (but still valuable)

it highlights...


Sunday, 27 November 2011

Review of Week/ Plan

A lot to consider this week.

Considering next week a fresh start on the course, but learning from what I have done/thought/made/listened to so far.

Develop, adapt and progress from here.


  • Does Darren's research negate the validity of my own? Am I reinventing the wheel? Where are the gaps in his research I could mine? (perhaps my narrative focus as opposed to critical assessment is key here)
  • Focus on pure character design: a fully realized world of designer toys?
  • Consider characters as a visual language in and of themselves (Pictoplasma)
  • What method is best for presentation of contextual review? maybe booklets? simple, university paperwork regulation "official" text documents? (perhaps drawn over/around/attached notes)
  • Consider Guillermo Del Toro's use of colour (theme, emotion, ties to characters)


Assess research position

Refine and advance narrative

Kick-start academic reading again.


At least 2 Sculptures

Designs for narrator character

Reorganise notes/reflective journal and written element of project.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Discussion here on context being more important than anecdote. How far is this true?

Must look further into Meggendorfer's work.

This argument is corroborated by other sources, for example Guillermo del Toro has cited this as the focus of his screenwriting (see following:

What is my stance on this subject? 

Not currently enough tacit knowledge to pass comment.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Etching Induction

Use of old, unusual method of creating images: context changes with the quality and type of line/image quality produced.

Must schedule talk with Chris Roantree to discuss this.

Review of Full Time work with John and Coursemates.

Feedback is part of the conversation "loop".

this is all conversation.

Not about me: about my work.

Assessing work: Key questions

1) What does it communicate? (have a gut reaction: then challenge this)

2) Does the work have focus/direction/purpose?

3) What evidence of good practice is there?

4) What is yet to be produced/What is missing?

5) How many hours does this represent?

6) Constructive Advice.


    From Peers:

  • Illustration and characters come to the fore
  • No clear direction in work (about a narrative, but no narrative to the work!)
  • Confusing: lacks context
  • Needs: 
  • FOCUS.
  • The "silent" element is not obvious.
  • Explore books/online processes?
   From John (General):
  • Consider the 3 approaches: Scattergun (pattern), Systematic (Sequence), Directionless (Cautious)
  • None of the above are perfect, all require an element of the others (perhaps excepting Directionless)

  • Always more documentation: write notes for own benefit.
  • beware of repetition and padding
  • develop ideas: but don't commit yet!
  • drawing as: recording, investigation, communication
  • find a happy medium of drawing and writing

  • aims* and objectives** are key to progression
** measurable

   From John (Specific):

  • lack of direction/sustained enquiry
  • I have my aim, my project well rounded: it's making it come alive now
  • I control the entire world i create
  • find the voice, the tone


  •   Narrative
  • Character
  • Scenography
  • Style (look and voice)
  • Context

Further Notes/Reflection:

A lot to think about today.

Positive forward motion from here: apply this to part time study model discussed with John.

The science of proper questionnaires: ask Neil

There are only 5 stories in the world- What are they?

Aims and Objectives: Set 3 a week, review previous week. 

make this the focus of reflective journal?

Weekly review (Sunday?)

Thursday, 24 November 2011



> Texture/Reference Library (photos)

> Process Journal (material processes and experiments documented)*

> Narrative Journal (Gray's writings>My story)*

> Reflective Blog

> Sketchbooks

> Doodledump

Contextual Review

Critical Reviews
(in depth essays on creatives and artifacts)

Process (creative as whole)



Further Notes

* Could these be included in "Context" section of contextual review? Will probably also appear as part of overall prep work.

Can this all be presented as a single, massive book?

Am I focusing too much on books (as opposed to other methods of display)? How far can I take the book?

More research needed.

Could contact Phillippa Wood to discuss.

What if the miners are moles, the farmers field mice?

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Getting the narrative together

 The earlier it's sorted: the better


Look at 
Shaun Tan
Isidro Ferrer
Ice Book
The Hub

Then refer these back to ME, Be analytical.

Other considerations:


Fantastical elements?

Layers of Meaning

Bring this alive, get the visual language right first and foremost: explore lots of possibilities.

Me as editor/director: What do I show/what do I not show?


START: With the the text- print off, write, draw, think over it!

Stop focusing on time. You make time. it is relative.

Remember Gray's writings are the starting point only:

Designing characters, players, costumes, scenery and stage for a fantastical story.

Further Notes/Reflection

Peter Greenaway: The Cook, the Thief, The Wife and Her Lover.

Use of thematic colour.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011


This represents a restart to the project direction as a whole, as well as a personal admission of issues with engagement and involvement with the project so far.

This is a positive step towards a more productive mode of study, where I will be able to generate more considered, realised and meaningful work.

Meeting with John (moving forward, where to focus):


Look at other artists/ designers/ illustrators

Methods for generating Contextual Research:

> Systematic Reading 
> Visiting
> Interviewing
> Questioning and surveying

Reflective Diary

Reflect on findings,


then INVESTIGATE (do it!)

This part of the course is the foundation, the good, hard rock to build the project upon

This is where we assess:

Not Philosophy.



In other words:


(The quality and quantity is down to me.)

Show mistakes: This is where you learn.

Like using another language to describe what you do.


Just do it.

Do it well.

Do as much as you can.

New Work Plan:

> Two Hours a day: relaxed work

Project first > Context second

Move narrative forward (remember it is not anecdotal/personal)

> Monday timetabled session plus 2 days a week

How much can you get done in 2 days only?

exercise in Practicality and Discipline.

>  Monday evenings: Reading immersion


> Summing Up

(this may take a while)

(More effective when I have me time)

The lack of structure for an illustrator: it goes both ways.




Further Notes:

Next term: develop a "subgroup" of narrative creatives (Harry, Jo, Justin). An illustrative network.

 A group to discuss STUFF you have DONE.

Will attend review of Full Time work with rest of FT students as a means of "signing off" and helping find where I stand.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Casting Experiments

Awaiting results due to time-intensive nature of medium (casting, curing etc)

Beginning to think this process may not be the way forward simply due to lack of expediency for the direction I have been aiming for.

What does this highlight?

1) Possibly too focused in one direction: what if this project were focused entirely upon a series of designer toys, and the monufacture/limited production of them thereof?

2) Maybe jumping into practical concerns too early, return to concepts and ideas: what it COULD be, not what it COULD NOT be.

(full writeup of process with illustration found in contextual review)

Will return to this process when  more progress has been made in development of narrative voice of the project.

Review/Talk on Methodology with John  (PM)

This course is not everything you do, and everything you do is not the course.

It is part of your practice but not everything.


READING <(offsetting)> DRAWING

The Dick dastardly approach: Don't just stand there: DO Something.

Where do I stand?

ABSTRACT <------------------------------------------------------------> COMMERCIAL

Explore it.

Illustrate it.

Creativity is where the senses overlap 

(Consider synaesthesia: Kandinsky)


The Outcome, rather than the Findings

It may be a new contribution to knowledge unearthed.


Does my methodology need to be changed?

Hunger for new knowledge, new ideas.


The key questions for evaluation:


(Initial question)







(These MUST be answered at a Masters level for submission)

Most Difficult Part:


This is where Neil's lectures help.

The rest is easier than you think (if you just get on and do)

Further Thoughts/ Notes

Should reassess methodology: make sure I understand it fully.

Kurt Schwitters

Assess my context and position, explore as illustration?

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Does the past have a colour?

Contraints of the page

Character design? Am I biting off more than I can chew?

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Induction to Moldmaking/casting studio

> Biresin G26

Warnings/ Considerations/ Limitations

> Avoid all moisture

> Solid objects inset in resin/high volumes of resin are ill advised: will cause stress and cracks to appear.

> Gets hot as it cures (safety, and could wilt/destroy things set in it)

> Handle clear resin as little as possible (avoid air bubbles)

> Best measured out in syringes (can be reused!)

Benefits/ Tips

> Workable, fast setting resin

> Good for rubber moulds (urethane)

> Liquid enough for rotation casting (saves on material)

> Relatively cheap

> leave a little to cure to one side: gives you a visual on what's happening inside the mould.

> For future reference: best to build sprues into models with multiple parts (aluminium wire or solder is good)

Will return to this process with experiments based around characters that will be used repeatedly in scenes, to see if this makes for a more expedient process.

Neil (PM)
Review of reading task "The idea of comfort"

This is the level of article we should be reading (JSTOR)


Elitism of technical jargon (a keep out sign for non-academics/dressing it up for other academics)

Nonetheless, should still be reading these kind of articles.

What does it propose?

Comfort is a modern idea (the concept, the apparatus)

How is it written?

Anticapitalist/Leftist viewpoint

Only refers to information supporting the argument (no counter-view)


Little Nuance



Don't defer, be critical, gather a lot of viewpoints relating to (but not necessarily agreeing with) your subject.

 Further Notes/Reflection:

This highlights issues with my academic reading thus far.

Think about sources the same way I'd assess a history text: When was it written? what's the writer's agenda?

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Didn't get chance to do any modelmaking last night, had a much needed sleep.

Woke up refreshed and pepped up (if late).

The power of backrubs.

Thoughts (from last night)

> What DIDN'T work with 3D work before?

Photography: always an afterthought

Took forever to make, spent hours on details

Never really planned as illustrations, always contextless self indulgent objects.

The final edited together outcome: passes, texture, layers; in short the FINISH.

> What DID work?



Display of skill and understanding in craft

Honestly where I enjoy my work most (and it shows)

> My question

A case of "how far..."

Can something as personal and emotional as family history and stories be recorded (and more importantly; Told) as a textless narrative?

Considerations of information graphic.

Talk with Darren (AM)

Gave Darren the lowdown on where I am.


. Gather together the text- have a cut-off point for when i will stop compiling.

. Find ways of measuring these family stories against other narratives, how good are they?

. Be critical. Quantify.

. Test audiences: compare what they get from words, and what they get from images.

. What is lost/ what is gained from each?

. Compare story quality to James Thurber/ Will Self/ Raymond Carver/ Michael Marshall Smith

. The stories I gather may well be banal, only interesting to me (probably the case) but it could come down to how I tell it:

> Fantastical Visuals? 

> Think about Aardman: Creature Comforts.

> They made the simple stories told interesting- personal anecdotes made electric by presentation.





. dip into the above resources (like a hot bath)

. then refine the story like hell

. Maybe focus down to around 5 anecdotes to develop.

. I am engaging in the words => pictures debate through this.


Good Stories

Personal Journey


(enough ammunition here, with this methodology, to get through to the dissemination)


Don't go into psychology babble and that stuff too far: you won't find anything a full time scientist wouldn't, and this is not a PHD.


Brian and Howard popped in as well, very useful and a good chance to have a relaxed chat on a different level with some old faces- seem to be quite pleased with where I am mindset wise- the fact it's all a big headfuck is a good thing.

Considerations of final product: precious artist book? Zine? can it be both?

Daily goals: will help to keep me focused.


Visualise the Narrator as a character.




from there I have a visual for a voice.

Review With John (PM)

Highlighted problems with my application of self to the course,

Too much stressing and not enough doing.

We can consider this the restart of work as of today.

Get back on track and refine down my question and my research.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Spent today (AM) getting back up to speed with notes and reflective journal (this happens a lot, stop it Kyle) and talking about the general mindset of the full timers on the course- we're all feeling a little apprehensive and I think we all need this afternoon's talk by Chris

Random interlude by a guy called Mike (?)

Jumped in and asked what I'm all about on this course.

Suggested the language of ballet may be worth looking into.

Curve ball. I like it.

Chris Twigg (PM)

Research and Enterprise

. Figure out what I do, where I sit as a creative

. Ask yourself: what do you want to achieve? where next? What type of creative am I?

Prep for Major Project

.Question => Answer => Summary

. Give the project a name and it makes it real.

. don't be afraid of going to 3D

. discourse

(Discussion on methodology)

. Don't be put off by the word! It's just "a collection of methods!"

. the underpinning research

. how to test/reflect




. Getting it out there

. Blogs and journals (hadn't thought of this; utilise article writing skills, or try to get noticed by drawn? maybe an interesting blog post based article get friends to reblog? Hmm.)

Further Advice

. Build upon work that has gone before: be aware, research, but don't try and reinvent the wheel

. What to write up for research: things that have changed/informed/challenged practice and direction

. It's a changing, organic thing

. work smarter, not harder; put time into thinking and headspace organisation.

. document as you go, but keep it rough, raw and honest. \9it's for you, not anyone else)

. testing of your work/your question: quantitive (questionnaires) or qualitive (interviews); whatever works for me.

. set a framework


. Mentors: I call the shots, and head up the meetings; take charge. Eventually my knowledge in my chosen area will surpass that of my mentor.
(Obi Wan moment. Wicked.)

Research Reading:

. read appropriately/work smart/work logically/pull things to a conclusion

The CRUNCH: How Much Do We Need To Pass?

. enough to get your idea across (reading/reflection/practical)

. displacement therapies are all good- but sometimes tou just have to get stuck in and blast it!


Had a chat with the head of Interactive Media (?) on the way out of the studio. Offered some input and a cup of tea whenever I need it. May well take the fella up on it sometime.

Recieved confirmation of inductions/tutorials for Etching and Casting, Agreed to meet Darren for a coffee and a chat tomorrow (write up a few questions to ask)

Will spend the night sorting out my headspace going over work to be done, previous failings with my 3D work and general brain-janitor work, followed by some sculpting if I get time.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Oliver's work sparked a thought process into the final product of my imagemaking process: the book and use of paper beyond print: will look further into processes that could inform a well considered, precious and expressive final book design.

Think Shaun Tan. Think MetaMaus.

Also; consider the use of paper sculpture for models? Have an experiment.

Following up Neils discourse books at the library, began with Wild Things, will check for relevance.

Took a look through Eye magazine back catalogue; will let John know which I need to borrow.

Spent time on Neils Uninteresting Project.

Finding it hard to enter the mindset, I know that's the challenge set; but actively searching for boring things isn't coming easy. will try and spend more time on this at another date if possible.

redirected energy towards reading through document Neil set.

Found content thought provoking, but writing style made the flow of information difficult. Will write up properly when we review the text Thursday.

Spent night reading through Visible Signs, continued with modelmaking.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Review with Neil

Talked over changes to direction of project, concerns and where my research is heading, he seems quite happy that I am going in the right direction with a solid idea.

Further notes:

. Think about books: process/making doing/the final outcome

. Exploring "how far..."

. just keep on DOING

. comic as a summary of reflective journal?

. 4 mini projects: (3D/Pen and Ink/Printmaking/ Photography and masks? type as character?) would cover my research fine (with annotation)

Excuse me if I take this as a sign to not worry quite as much.

Brief talk with John

. Highlighted theatre as a potential source of influence: stage design, creating theatrical spaces, vignettes of points from my family's life.


. Their journal is called Blue Pages (chase up at library)

. Do I need to construct 'full round' models? why not just a small element, that needed to sell the image, the scene as a whole enough? Or simple relief? Benefits and constraints of these methods?

. Performative realities

. Conceptually interesting

. (be open to take what I do into any arena- me as a theatre designer? I could dig that)

. practice makes me a better illustrator; but widening horizons makes me a better thinker.

. David Hockney


Had a chat with Poppy from fashion on the way out; sourcing somewhere for offcuts and odds and ends for sculptures.
Ended up having a big chat about what we could get up to from an illustration stadpoint, took a look at the digital embroidery machine, and talked about maybe having an induction to using it soon. Brilliant.

Also suggested taking a visit to the jewellery studio sometime, take a look at the wires/found objects/processes used.

Why haven't I been chasing up my contacts?

Send emails tonight to:

Poppy (fashion)
Emma (printmaking)
Rob (moldmaking and casting)
Darren (he should be my go-to guy!
Sarah (jewellery)

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

meltdown and reform

lost direction for last 2 weeks, drawing myself into a rut.

Back on course (I think)

Graphic Novel direction was pigeonholing what I do too much; just make it sequential art: wider, more scope for research now, can delve back into the key points with a fresh mind.

Tutorial with Sue:

Excited about idea, getting back to hands on, hands dirty work.

Suggested I check out Raymond Briggs' Ethel and Ernest

Find out about eccentric ancestors.

A mixed media family tree?

Met up with Ollie (resident artist, former coursemate) at Chad Varah, chatted about his current project, started on sculpting work. Genuinely felt excellent to get my hands on some Polymer clay and just doodle with it again.

To Do:

Recompile Notes

Type up notes and scattered thoughts

Sort out paperwork

Plan of attack for contextual review: look at each section, write up how to tackle it.

Think about what didn't work before with 3D work. Write up.
The Cabinet of Dr Caligari:

bold, harsh contrast, expression! (there is no sound, so expression is key!)

Sue Edwards

Shaun Tan and Publishing

Isolation (the outsider/upbringing/emigration)

Variety of influence:

Heironymous Bosch

Brett Whitely

Gustave Dore

Raymond Briggs


John Brack


Edward Hopper

I could learn from this- this is exactly what John was talking about.

His Work:

> The Rabbits

. multiple levels hit with what could have been a simplistic, inelegantly approached children's book.

. more value, speculation, widened audience and appeal, provokes discussion, thought

> The Red Tree

. minimal text

. discussion of heavy emotional themes and depression: but doesn't cop out with 'dark' imagery- it's more sophisticated than that (collage to suggest confusion)

> The Arrival

. Raymond Briggs' silent narratives were the starting point (look into Raymond's work)

. The complete package! no detail spared, the book is an artefact!

. note that he used 3D reference for the scenes: different disciplines informing one another.

. all his fantastical imagery has basis in the everyday

> The Lost Thing

. again; layers of metaphor and sophistication in storytelling (political allegory)

. stylised, less rendered and realistic than the arrival

. subversive nature of story juxtaposed with the flat, matter of fact nature of the text.

> Tales of Outer Suburbia

. note the confidence in a variety of media.


Painstaking, committed approach to creative process: he lives his work.

He absorbs, distils

Depth- the childrens' book is a vehicle- a means to express through, not a cynical limitation

For example; think how Tan would approach a subject such as visual impairment?




Continued work on roughs based around Selected text from my Grandfather's writing and Philip Larkin.

At the moment, the work based around my Grandfather's story is the most engaging for me.

John (PM)


Explain where the hours have gone

Should look personal. All me. What I'm all about.

Making is the moment that just works.

Practice and identity. What makes me me, what makes what I do me too

Judas Priest...really?

John alerted me to Isidro Ferrer's work.


The guy is an artist/designer/sculptor/illustrator/photographer

In short, the multiskill, cohesive auteur I once aspired to be, but have not utilised the skillbase in a very long time.

Highlighted Brian's comment, John seemed very keen on this being a good direction for my energies. This will now take a lot of rethinking and restructuring in concept and physical work, but i am confident I can make this work.

I have to.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Neil (AM)

In front of...

in a nutshell: WHO IS IT FOR?

MA Design

> Me?

> The tutors? (ostensibly, yes)


> Gallery Goers?

> General Readers?


> Critics?

> Media?

> Curators?

informed and very specific

> Clients?

> Policy Makers?

> End Users?

Do we attempt to please them?

What about those the project is not for?
pay attention, or ignore?

ME ==========> End User

a lot of designs just don't make it


. Mildly important to appeal to MA Design concerns

. Not so important to appeal to general audience (but keep your ear to the ground)

. Informed/specific as important as MA (in current context)

. Most important: the informed and very specific


John (PM)

Practice as a tool for research; what approach am I taking?

Learning plan:

> How to prepare?

> What am I doing?

> What will I write up (and how?)

It's not set in stone; it's a gameplan


why are we doing what we're doing?

...and what's the point if it's not getting out there in the real world.

The end users

. is it key to me?

. how driven is my work by a market?

. useful? function?

. conceptual? statement?

NOT fine arty: it contains a different discourse (?)

. avoid self indulgence: look into CONTEXT.

. refine down.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Meeting with Sue

. Make sure it's something I love

. Work quicker

. widen influences: Grayson Perry

. Will Eisner's Ghost: a page a day!

Review of practical work (silent comic)

. line quality good, dip pen suits working method well.

. had a few non-precise wobbles- line quality on the chair

. good use of colour