Archive for October, 2018

Back to Blogging…

It’s been a while since I’ve used this blog as a way to record my ideas about current projects or future workshops and I’ve missed it! I find writing the perfect way to ‘incubate’ ideas, air out any worries and get to grips with creative decisions I need to make. I’m not even sure that anyone will be reading this which makes it a little easier as I’m sort of just using this like a journal (with the hope that someone may read it and feel motivated or inspired by what I discuss or might want to get in touch to chat about their ideas or similar project).

Over the last few months I’ve started a new job as a Part time Lecturer at the University of Portsmouth, which I love! The team are fantastic and so far I’ve lead a couple of workshops which have been really sucessful. My research last year looking at creative blocks as well as the month long creative block challenge have been so useful in informing the way I teach the first year Illustration students. Getting students to loosen up and explore their own drawing style by using a wide variety of materials and experimenting with mark making exercises, collage, printmaking and painting is essential at the beginning of the course. I’m discovering how important it is to reassure students that it’s ok to get things wrong, to experiment and have a go without worrying about what it looks like. It’s only by this process that we discover new and exciting methods, marks, ideas and images.

I regularly struggle with a feeling of ‘creative block’ unless I have a looming deadline or exhibition to work towards. Like the students I also worry about ‘getting it right’ and whether it will look good. Once I’m sat in the studio and I’ve dedicated a certain amount of time to creating I can motivate myself to make something and experiment…however it seems like my creative juices flow in bursts rather than steadily from day to day – perhaps this is just how I work? But I’d like it feel more natural. Writing helps to keep my ideas and energy going so I’m hoping that, by keeping this blog up to date with a post each week, I will see a difference in my productivity and generally feel like there’s not such a big hurdle to jump over before I’m able to get drawing. Perhaps the incubation periods will get shorter or I’ll feel more creative because I’m writing more anyway.

I’ve got some commissions to complete over the next couple of weeks as well as a few workshops to run too. The drawing and watercolour classes are both halloween/day of the dead/death themed and I’ve got those organised. An on going project and something which I keep thinking about/am finding a challenge is a competition entry for the House of Illustration & Folio Society Book Illustration Competition to redesign a front cover and three chapter illustrations for Howl’s Moving Castle. I really enjoyed reading the book – it’s totally surreal and highly visual so I’ve got lots of ideas but not entirely sure how to execute them. I’ve got plenty of time (it’s not due until January) but I keep putting lots of pressure on myself with thoughts of ‘I should be spending more time on this’, ‘I don’t know how to tackle this’ or ‘I don’t think I’ll be able to produce an illustration that reflects what it in my mind’. All of these thoughts are very negative and stressful so I need to take the pressure off and enjoy the process – otherwise I’m being a total hypocrite in regards to my teaching work! Looking back through my website gallery today has given me some inspiration. Last year I was interested in the magic of nature and the effect it has on our wellbeing. I made a few illustrations in this style and this is certainly something I could apply to the work I produce for this competition. The main obstacle is that I don’t draw human characters very often and I’m much more comfortable drawing animals. I dont know whether to play to my strengths or push myself and do something different to the norm.