Final Project: Happily Ever After

There is more than one way to tell a story. I explored a few possibilities and this is the outcome…


photo 5

Resolution of main book A5 format

photo 2

Carved Book Find Max and MIsty’s secrets inside box

photo 1

Tunnel book 3 layers 2 ponts of view

butterflies together

Fluttering happily ever after



The previous project about place made me think of globalisation. Globalisation is a process. So is the artistic process. It took me a while to figure out how to combine both.




I looked into Fiona Bonnar’s work and found her creative process very unusual For instance, instead of drawing a life model,  she transcribed her observations into words, stating she can ‘make a more honest picture this way.’ It strikes me that first of all, men painted nudes and not women and secondly that words inform us on the making as simply on the end artwork. It is also probably more time consuming and reflect the duration of the process. It is pure coincidence that we had a life drawing workshop afterwards. I didn’t transcribe mine into words on paper but I certainly thought harder about what I was looking at and how to put my marks on the paper. Even more so since we had to use a pen and not the traditional charcoal.

I also researched William Kentbridge, who uses charcoal for each drawing, which have an immediacy and a tactile quality. He records every mark he makes or erases in a video. Addition and subtraction are equally recorded. It is an ongoing process of revision not dissimilar to Picasso abstraction of a bull. With both making becomes a conscious process.

images-1     photo 2

I had my own at abstraction:

photo 3

It is so much harder than it looks. Picasso said it took him a lifetime to learn how to draw like a child. What he meant is how long it took him to understand the essence of living creatures and objects.

One is going to wonder where globalisation is coming into all this. Patience….

I then looked at other contemporary artists such as the Chapman brothers. I didn’t see the exhibition myself but it seemed appropriate to look at their take on McDonald. I thought the wood sculptures that associated a global and modern emblem such as the multinational and the primitive look of wood sculpture very appealing and spoke volume. Whereas the installation of toys Ronald being crucified and there were so many of them probably wanted to shock but sometimes less is more.Unknown-1          Chapman Brothers in Hong Kong 400-E40

Banksy domineering figure was more immediate to grasp. Banksy

Of course McDonalds is an easy target of anti capitalist art as it is the emblem of multinationals and unfortunately the food they sell serves their profit as opposed to our health. But personally I think people can make up their own mind about what they do. My logic stems from the fact that the chains that mushroom all around the world make us lose our identity. In some streets, when you are surrounded by the same clothes shops, coffee shops and fast food chains, it is sometimes impossible to tell where you are.

I therefore gave it my own take using art and text such as Barbara Kruger who never shied away of strong opinions.


However I kept the typeface childlike and playful  I did not want the final outcome to be didactic. It took me a long time to think it through. Longer than the making process actually. I then collated all the pictures into a snapshot slideshow like a memory of a holiday. But soon, if it carries on, there may be no point going abroad.  Let’s hope not.


Oliver Jeffers’ childlike appeal

Oliver Jeffers, an extremely successful and acclaimed author/illustrator who has proven that a label is just that and that the artificial divide between fine art and illustration can be blurred.

In his monograph of his figurative oil paintings and installation in the book  Neither here nor there, he displays a different side of his character and talent.  Although he had exhibited in New York, Dublin, Sydney,  some of his paintings previously, it is the first time that most of his work is shown to the public.  Jeffers is intrigued by the world around him and has a great sense of humour.

images-7 images-8 OJ-5 OJ-6

The same applies in his picture books. His style differs. Besides I don’t think it is an artist who would like to be classified. He likes to think of himself as somebody ‘who makes art.’ In picture books, his style is minimalist. His characters are never described in words and their facial expressions are almost non existent apart for a prominent nose for the boy who appears in the series of fantastical quests in How to catch a star, Lost and Found, The way back home and  Up and down. Another characteristic is his footless legs and most importantly his body language and the way he is placed in a gigantic landscape to show his emotions, his loneliness and his quest of a friend.  They are universal themes but still Jeffers never preaches. He thinks ‘children are smarter than we give them credit for’ and ‘I totally avoid forced content, thinly veiled morals, anything preachy or funny for the sake of it.’ 

images-2 Unknown

I particularly admire the layout and the use of negative space, that helps putting emphasis on the hero’s emotions.  In his picture books, less is definitely more but it takes a real gift to know which best moment to depict to capture the tension at a certain point of a story.  Being an author and an illustrator probably gives an advantage that you can choose to draw instead of saying it or vice versa. The key is to get it right.

images-5                 images-4

I also love the fact that the characters; actions are anchored in reality: they stop to have lunch or have a bath.  Any child will relate to this and it will make the characters even more loveable and the quest even more possible.

His books are magical even for an adult.  I can’t wait to see what comes next out of this multimedia artist.


The Brief: Using a postcard and transforming it as a visual exploration around notions of place.


The postcard of Farnham we received was not the most inspiring way to preserve the memory of a visit or give a sense of what Farnham is about. I moved here a couple of years ago and for me Farnham is all about location. You get a pleasant life where pace is manageable and country escapism is on your doorstep or rather a speedy car trip away AND you also get the proximity to the hustle and bustle of London, which I miss and need on so many occasions.

I used collage and cut shapes of letters. W for walk and reversed becomes the M of Farnham. I coloured leaves and printed on fabric for texture…implying that all senses are on alert. I surimposed text as I feel that the juxtaposition to the image adds a more powerful message. Also the print of a foot to remind me how fortunate I am to have bridal paths just outside my garden.  I hope the end product is as enticing for others as it is for me.

For the display in the art:Case in the Quad at UCA Farnham from the 12th December 2013, I anticipate that it will either be attached to the ceiling and dropped on the floor.

Sara Fanelli’s innovative style

I admire Sara Fanelli’s distinctive style and her willingness to innovate every time. She writes and illustrates picture books for the pleasure of children and adults alike. She loves books and wants you to love them too. She plays with content and format to make her creations interactive. She takes her readers on a journey of exploration.

Her style is distinctive: bold and flat colours, textured collage, photomontages, prints, characters seen in profile. She paints lines that she breaks and doodles with. She ignores tones .  She draws inspiration from Dadaism  and constructivism (photomontage) , Cubism (shapes) , Surrealism, Paul Klee and literature.Her style is bold and childlike but what seems simple is not so.  Her motto on her website is ‘The truth is rarely pure and never simple.” (Oscar Wilde)§

Unknown-1              images-5

Another way of giving her own stamp on her illustrations is the creation of her own lettering that she superimposes on top of her illustrations or sometimes incorporates in her drawings.

She doesn’t shy away from pushing the boundaries further every time. No book is ever the same whilst her style remains distinctive. Her strength is her child appeal.  She makes it look like the child himself could have done it. But although her books grow organically, the layout takes planning.  No area of the page is left untouched.  Some spreads echo each other with a different palette highlighting a drama or a resolution.

photo 1     First Spead

photo 1        Reverse scene before resolutio

photo 3   Climax:  Movement and chaos.  People are fleeing in all directions.

nphoto 2  Towards Resolution: calm. People are gathering around the protagonist

Fanelli also pushes the boundaries of interactivity further than what is usually acceptable as a novelty book standard. In the Onion’s Great Escape, the reader needs to help Onion escape the deep fry by answering metaphysical

images-1    images-12

questions.  She doesn’t dumb down. Are you happy?  How long is a minute?    The reader is asked to write the answers inside the book, to get involved and construct the story and its meaning.


The reward: the paper onion can be taken out of the perforated core. In essence, you never close the book for ever.  The experience stays with you forever.

Sometimes I think, sometimes I am is written for adults. It is constructed like Russian dolls with a book inside it and an even smaller one inside again.

Unknown-3            images-2

With quotes she makes references, drawing on the reader’s background, experience and knowledge to make their own connections.

Apart from Wolf, all her narratives are non linear.Like other illustrators, she breaks the conventions of usual visual storytelling.  I am thinking of Lane Smith, David Wiesner, Lauren Child, Oliver Jeffers.  I will develop this theme in a lot more details for next term’s essay and will add another post about it.  Watch the space!


For the third week in (almost half way of stage 1) this is the long awaited VisComm rotation!

The brief is deceivingly simple: turning an article from a newspaper into a book. I initially had chosen a long article about the role of the wives of nazi officers during WWII as I have a fascination verging on obsession of this dark period in history.  The article was long and identified too many points to be summarised effectively by me, that is, in a book format.  Inested I selected a much shorter news item on wearable and more specifically Galaxy Gear, the geeky watch developed by Samsung.  I ran into the opposite problem of having a derogatory article about a product I knew very little about.  I therefore had to research the industry and foun it mind blowing. Therefore I decided to stick to this theme, run with it and be totally out of my comfort zone.

The first session was spent on examples of typography and meaning.  There is so much more than initially thought but one needs to be astute in cases.  The second session was spent on developing images with collage and mixed media, which I love doing.

I came home wanted to get stuck in straight away.  I had so many ideas but the basic challenge was this: do I keep the design sleek and modern as technology is sleek itself? Or do I make it as crazy and colourful since technological wear is gimmicky at times.

I could oppose font such as Helvetica to a very colourful background and mixed media, perhaps.  Secondly, what format should my book be?a hotdog? A concertina. The sculpture of a phone?

not sure yet.  What I know though is the title. Tick Tock Tech!