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Self Assessment

Demonstrate an effective use of Art and Design software :

I think I have attained an adequate understanding of the variety of different software that we come across during the module. I feel that I could have explored Illustrator more and will perhaps do this in my own time. I am pleased however with my progress in Cinema 4D, even though I hesitant to use 3D Modelling software based on previous experience.

Demonstrate effective use of digital hardware and associated technologies :
I believe that I have more full understanding of the interplay between digital hardware and other mediums. I feel that is evident in my responses which are linked, in some way to work from other modules.

Produce and present creative digital solutions to Art and Design problems :
I believe my responses have been creative and I have often went away from the lesson to explore the software in my own time. Having said this my responses can still be bracketed in this fantasy/lord of the rings style and to form more creative responses I should move away from this.

Create on-line Art and Design presentations and resources :
This is evident in my blog, of which I have tried to maintain an constant activity. I could perhaps think about the overall presentation of my blog more and think about this for next year when we ill be setting up our own websites.

Manage and evaluate their own use of digital applications :
I think this is definitely an area where I need to improve upon. Although my responses are of high quality they often lack the reflective practice to push them further, an issue which I must address to operate more successfully as an art and design practitioner.

Action Plan :

Research more
More reflective responses
Steer away from a particularly style.

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Based upon the glass twin-set that I completed earlier in the Glass Workshop. I used Illustrator in order to create a vector tree design.

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I am overall pleased with final outcome. The intricate design establishes connotations of intrinsic worth even though the production is relatively inexpensive to make on the Razorlab site. I also feel that the burn mark on the surface add the overall character of the piece making it feel more valuable. Having said this I feel that pendant itself is perhaps a little large to be worn, however its light-weighted-ness makes up for this. It has led me to consider using lasercutting as another medium to realise my ideas, one which produces effective results and requires only a basic knowledge of Adobe Illustrator.

Example Pages:

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Effectively presenting and communicating work and ideas is a fundamental skill required to operate successfully as an art and design practitioner. Good and bad design can be seen and is addressed by the brain almost subconsciously and can be the difference between preference and strong dislike. The main goal of the 2D workshop is to instil the importance of this when visual presentation can often by overlooked for content. This will be achieved through research of existing grid and layout systems alongside binding techniques in the creation of a self-promotional booklet. It will stress the significance of the interplay between text and images (in unison with overall design) in creating something which is a visually accomplished, which the booklet will demonstrate.

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Having completed linocut prints in the past I was relatively familiar with the processes involved, however revisiting it has allowed for a more professional approach to be established within my previous knowledge. I have come to learn that heating the lino prior to cutting makes it much easier due to the oil-based nature of the lino. In my previous practice of the process I had cut the lino in its state at room temperature and began cutting this way to begin with, finding fluid cutting to be difficult to achieve. To remedy this I found that heating the surface of the lino allowed for more accurate and intricate elements to be cut more effectively and easily. I found cutting my highly detailed image out of the lino to be most time-consuming and as a result better understand the meticulous artistic skill required to create truly impressive works of print. The most valuable part of the workshop was learning about the importance of registration in creating success overprints. This is the main issue I think I encountered in my own work. Whether it be my complacency with the printing process or an inaccurate preparation of the registration guide, in several of the reduction prints the two printed images do not sit precisely over one another, with only one successfully achieving this. While this is not traditionally accepted as a ‘good print’ I believe the ‘fractionally-off’ value of the prints creates an effective aesthetic in itself, almost creating a holographic 3D-like illusion. During the process of cutting my lino I have come to realise the importance of mark making within print-making in ensuring accurate designs and tonal values are created. I found that outlining shapes should generally be completed with a fluid cut without ‘breaking’ the line whereas the tonal qualities should be achieved through smaller more expressive cuts. It was interesting to realise that even the smallest indentation in the surface of lino would not print and this allowed me to also utilize the depth of cut in establishing the visual qualities in my print. In creating the reduction lino prints I have also gained knowledge of surface qualities. Through printing on a range of paper and card grade and types I was able to see which responded most effectively to the printing ink and have found that the high-quality card was the best to work on. While the blotter paper created an interested embossed characteristic I believe the lines within the print are not as crisp where it has bled across the surface of the paper. The printing workshop has also allowed me to know workings of an Albion printing press and understand its advantages in achieving a solid print which can be duplicated many times over. Although my final reduction prints have not been completely successful I still am happy with the outcome of them and believe they are interesting, compositionally. The aesthetic qualities combined with the skill behind cutting the lino printing plate has transformed my unrefined ‘selfie’ photography into an effective and viable piece of artwork and thereby achieving the goal for this project. If I ere to revisit print-making I would perhaps plan my composition more carefully beforehand and think of methods in order to create a set of prints with a common theme, increasing their commercial prospects. I would also take heed of the problems encountered within this printing workshop in created my own registration board and ensure I adhere to it strictly.

Due to the Smartphone boom of recent years and their front facing cameras it has lead to a rise in ‘selfie’ pictures. They are photographic self-portraits and are commonly uploaded to social network sites or photo apps such as Instagram. The appeal of selfies comes from how easy they are to create and share, and the control they give self-photographers over how they present themselves. Many selfies are intended to present a flattering image of the person. They are typically taken with the photographing device at arms length or into a mirror (thereby capturing the reflection) and are as the word suggested ‘self-taken’.

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The act of taking a ‘self-taken’ dates back to 1839 with Robert Corneluis however the most popular ‘selfie’ that pre-dates the digital age was taken in 1900 by an Edwardian woman via the portable Kodak box camera. The rise in popularity of ‘selfies’ has fluctuated since 2005 with a recent boom since 2010. By 2013, the word “selfie” had become commonplace enough to be monitored for inclusion in the online version of the Oxford English Dictionary.

Within our first session we were introduced to the process of colour mixing, in order to achieve at least 30 different shades of the same colour, my chosen colour being blue. The colours were based upon objects they we were asked to collect. We will later be using the colours to achieve a still life painting of our objects:

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I had only ever mixed paint colours on a whim, in such that I understood the principles of primary, secondary and tertiary colours but failed to realise the complexity of colours, merely adding more or less of the two derivative colours (and often white and black to change the light or darkness) to alter a colour’s shade. During my experimentation I was surprised to discover that I required the use of small amounts of crimson and orange in order to achieve the particularly warm characteristics of some shades of blue which could not be achieved otherwise. It was enlightening to find out that aspects of colour which were previously unattainable could be achieved by the minute inclusion of directly opposite colours (in terms of warm and cool colours).

During my experimentation I also came across the fact that only small amounts of paint are required to alter shades, particularly in the terms of white. Adding white in any greater amounts than pin-pricks I found resulted in the whole colour shifting to milky shade of its original, ultimately spoiling the complex values of the colour fragment. Similarly I required the use of specific artist’s range of paints in the form of Phthalo Blue (both the red and green shade) in order to achieve colour fragments which required a richer turquoise or violet qualities. I found that due to the higher-quality of the pigment in the artist’s range as opposed to the student one it resulted in even less of the paint being required to alter the general tone of the fragment. Although this was the case I still found it more difficult to mix acrylic paints effectively as opposed to watercolours of which I am more familiar. Whether this is due to my lack of experience with them or the fact the water-soluble element of watercolours allows for easier blending, I am still unsure. However it is clear that I require greater experimentation with acrylic paints.
Although the tonal values of my blues were relatively simple to achieve through experimentation others who chose pink as their base colour found it particularly difficult to replicate the luminosity of some tones with the available pigment grades. It is therefore evident that some shades of colour require specialist grades of paint which cannot be attained cheaply or are cost-effective for the small amount required in our paintings.

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This attentive and gradual method of mixing paint, albeit frustrating at times, was essential to achieve accurate colour representations of our chosen objects. It has led me to a new appreciation of colour and rather than overlooking the process of colour mixing and being satisfied with an approximation of the desired colour I will now strive for accurate duplication of colour, making colour mixing a honed art in itself.