Art, reviews and thoughts from a young artist in Plymouth, UK.

Yesterday I visited Studio 102 to view its new exhibition, Uptown Junk.  Studio 102 is an art gallery and shop with studios above supporting emerging artists in Plymouth and it is based on Vauxhall Street.

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Illustration incorporating upcyled plastic by Adrian Bishop

Uptown Junk is the current exhibition at Studio 102.  The exhibition showcases “upcycled and innovative artwork from the local community” and the pieces are being auctioned to raise money for the marine conservation society.  This piece by Adrian Bishop draws attention to the danger to living creatures caused by dumping plastics in the ocean.

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Beautiffly Twisted by Marcus Crandon

This piece by Marcus Crandon is a slimy looking skull tangled with what seems to be real hair.  It looks like the rotted remains of a pirate sentenced to death for his crimes…

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Artwork by Ryan Arthurs

I think these mutated characters by Ryan Arthurs are intended to make us consider the impact pollution has on the environment and living creatures, including ourselves.

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Artwork by Ryan Arthurs

I really like the colours and scratched away effect on these pieces, also by Ryan Arthurs.

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Upcycled fashion by Mariana Lopez

This hat and bowtie by Mariana Lopez are upcycled from marine debris washed up in Cornwall.  In 1997 a ship containing tonnes of lego pieces sank off the coast of Cornwall, pieces are still being washed up today.  I visited Liskeard & District Museum earlier this year and enjoyed their Plastic Age exhibition about plastics dumped in the ocean where they have collected lots of these lego pieces and other toys.

Uptown Junk is on throughout this week (until the 26th) Monday to Friday, 12-6pm at Studio 102.  If any of the artists above would like me to add more information or links please get in touch with me @midnakit on instagram.

 

 

 

 

 

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Poster for the Plymouth University Illustration Years One and Two Show 2017.

On Friday I went to the Opening event for the Plymouth University Illustration Years One and Two Show at Victuals Cafe at Royal William Yard.  The artworks are printed onto long strips of paper hung from the ceiling in double-sided rows so you can walk up and down between them like alleyways of artwork.  I met several of the illustrators whose work is on display and saw a lot of different styles of work.

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Illustration by Isabelle Hobbs

Isabelle Hobbs is a second year student and she says she usually works on till rolls to make long streams of art.  She told me she focuses on drawing women and their faces, hair and outfits and said “subconsciously I think I draw myself a lot”.  She said that for her “doodling is a natural process, like breathing”.  I like how in some areas Isabelle puts in lots of detail but in other areas her drawing is really simple.

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Jennie Scampton’s comic illustrated inside a sarcophagus.  In the background are illustrations on the glass window by Isabelle Hobbs.

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Detail from Jennie Scampton’s comic

Jennie Scampton‘s piece was for a project on narrative sequence and is the first comic she has made.   She said “I love anything to do with legends, myths and history” and so she chose to draw her comic about the Egyptian Gods onto a real papyrus scroll and within the shape of a sarcophagus.  Jennie’s comic is really cleverly done and the story is very funny.

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Psychotropics by Seren Pascoe-Davies

Seren Pascoe-Davies’ said she did her colourful piece Psychotropics on the theme of Visions.  She drew the line art on A3 paper then added colour using a tablet and Photoshop.  I like the colours she has chosen which work really well together and her curly line work.  The piece feels very dreamlike.

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Illustration by Iona Desouza

Iona Desouza told me that she is interested in rural traditions and “things being lost”.  I like how this illustration is quite busy with layers of pencil drawn objects on top of each other.

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Comic by Keir Nicholson

Keir Nicholson‘s comic focuses on a character called Steve the Robot.  Keir described how in his comic Steve goes to work on a normal day but that “his day takes a turn for the worst” and that the story “is about how terrorism can strike at any time”.  I like the limited colour palette Keir has chosen to use and his cute character.

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Illustration by Sophie Mahadevan

Sophie Mahadevan has two pieces on display.  She described the process of making this print to me, and it is a complicated process involving etching on to a copper plate then dipping the plate into acid multiple times to create layers of depth and make the print look three-dimensional.  She said she had never tried this before and she really enjoyed how the first year of her course was very experimental.  I think the tones of blue used in this make the piece seem melancholy.

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Illustration by Chloe Drage

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Detail from Chloe Drage’s illustration

Chloe Drage‘s piece on display is very peaceful and she told me that her goal was to “use nature to tackle depression”.  She usually works in pencil and said “I don’t usually work digitally, so I stepped out of my comfort zone” when working on this piece.  This was my favourite piece in the exhibition and I think this piece would be great concept art for the opening of a video game.  It is calm but mysterious, I wonder if she is a tiny girl on normal sized lily pads or a normal sized girl in a world of giants.

This exhibition is on until the 22nd of May and anyone interested in illustration or what young artists are making in Plymouth should try to go along and see it themselves.  I want to thank all of the artists above for speaking to me about their work. Thank you also to John Kilburn and Ashley Potter who spoke to me about the exhibition and are Plymouth University BA Hons Illustration tutors.

Some of the other pieces I enjoyed at the exhibition are pictured below but unfortunately I didn’t get to meet these artists.  I would be happy to add credit for the art and a link to all of the artists in my photographs below, just contact me and I will edit my post 😀

Edited to add:  The illustrations below are by Plymouth University students Daniele Caruso, Elise Arden-Trew, Sophie Evans, and Millicent Venton.

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Illustration by Daniele Caruso

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Character by Elise Arden-Trew

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Comic by Sophie Evans

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Illustration by a Plymouth University student

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Illustration by Daniele Caruso

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Illustration by Millicent Venton

 

 

On the 30th April I visited the final part of the four Home Grown exhibitions held at Ocean Studios which was called Here And Now.  The artists who took part in this exhibition are graduates from Plymouth University and hold studio residencies in Ocean Studios.

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Kieran Walsh – Things On The Coffee Table

I really like the ink splatters in this piece by Kieran Walsh, they help make the piece seem alive.  I think we could all see different things in this painting, as the shapes of the objects are ambiguous.  I see a jug, coffee stains, a toy train track..  Because I might be the only person to see exactly these objects the piece seems really personal and as if it is telling me a secret.

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Fi Smart – Work In Progress: Children’s Book page

This is a page from an unfinished children’s book that Fi Smart has been working on.  The way the dog’s silhouette passes over the drawing of a house works really well and makes the page seem three-dimensional.

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Fi Smart – Work In Progress: Collage

These are some of the pieces of art Fi has made for a children’s book.  Fi’s paper dogs look delicate compared to her illustrations on slabs of cooked clay.  I recognised some of the places on the clay because they are inspired by locations around Royal William Yard.

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Kieran Walsh – Life Drawing 1

This charcoal drawing by Kieran Walsh is huge.  In some places it has been shaded and drawn carefully but in others the lines are jagged and free.  The drawing looks misty and has a mysterious feel to it.

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Close up of Joe Allen’s Baby

This is a close up of Joe Allen’s painting Baby where the artist has applied paint thickly without mixing it, giving the painting a cool marbled and 3D effect.

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Joe Allen – Baby

This is the full version of Joe Allen’s painting.  I could make out different objects and living beings as I studied this painting, it looks like a familiar family setting.  There is something messy and chaotic I like about the painting because it makes it very real and relatable (I have a toddler sister at home!)

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Fi Smart – Reclamation

I really love this piece by Fi Smart.  The huge fracture down the middle makes the clay illustration feel aged and broken but the vines “growing” through it are filling the gaps and binding it back together.  I noticed that in several of Fi’s pieces parts of the artwork (like the vines and the paper dogs) seem to be escaping or outside of the boundaries of her background illustrations and I might try to experiment with this myself.

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Paige Barnard – Momento

This glazed clay bowl by Paige Barnard reminded me of sweet sauce running over a cake.  It looks like a puddle of rain or glossy icing or the top of a jellyfish.

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Paige Barnard – Momento

I like the colours and shapes that Paige Barnard used for her Momento set.  The pastel blues and greens felt friendly, and the splatters and uneven glazes feel alive.  On the bottom right is a tall and thin vase that looks as if parts had been poked, pushed, or squeezed.  The pieces feel playful.

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Carly Seller – Ensos drawings

Carly Seller’s work during her residency at Ocean Studies has led her to “an investigation of circular forms”.  Her pieces on display include photographs, still images from an unfinished film, and drawings.  These Ensos drawings are interesting because they are circles of so many different sizes and patterns and no two are exactly the same.

The Home Grown month of exhibitions was really interesting and introduced me to art forms that I hadn’t really seen or thought about before.  I have been inspired especially by Fi Smart’s work as an illustrator (and I got to meet and talk to her at this event) and I am going to try making my own illustrations that move outside of the page or frame, and also I want to try making my own storyboxes (she has some on display in the Ocean Studios Gallery shop and I wrote about them here).  I also found Alan Qualtrough’s letterpress prints really striking and inspiring and would like to try that form of art myself too.

The current exhibition at Ocean Studios is BAFA17 which is a display of work by second year Fine Art Students at Plymouth University, on until the 15th of May.

Last week I went to the third Home Grown exhibition at Ocean Studios, called Radius: 50mi featuring “contemporary jewellery and small scale metal artefacts”.  Multiple artists contributed to the exhibition.

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Necklace by Jodie Hansen

Jodie Hansen’s inspiration comes from nature and local scenery.  Her jewellery has a fragile, unique, and slightly eerie quality that is beguiling.

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Necklace by Tracey Falvey

Tracey Falvey’s inspiration is “drawn from sculptural and architectural structures” and she uses recycled silver.  I really liked the contrast between the dark or silver outside and the bright colours painted on the inside.

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Earrings by Maria Whetman

Maria Whetman’s jewellery uses clusters of hand-made jewels and shards of silver.  Her work seems dark and opulent.

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Jewellery by Rachel Darbourne

Rachel Darbourne “lovingly murders” cuddly toys and makes jewellery from the pieces.  Her work is grisly, playful, and highly peculiar.  I was lucky enough to meet Rachel at the Ocean Studios Open Day during last year’s Weekender.

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Artefact by Noah Taylor

Noah Taylor has a love of “things”.  He deconstructs objects made from brass, bronze, and copper,  then puts them back together to create new artefacts.  The finished products have an abundance of life and character, and remind me of the creatures in the film Return to Oz.

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Necklace by Stacey West

Stacey West’s award winning jewellery is inspired by found treasures and “the raw organic Cornwall coastline and rugged landscape”.  Her collection “Interlocking Strata” is tactile and interactive and encourages the wearer to play with their jewellery.

 

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Necklace by Katy Luxton

Katy Luxton is inspired by “mathematical models, geometric shapes, and the interwoven curves, circles and figures produced by a spirograph”.  She incorporates 3D printing and hand-dyeing to make colourful and exciting jewellery.

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Jewellery by Chloe O’Brien

Chloe O’Brien is inspired by discarded postcards “capturing this gentleness of the past to reflect and honor the beauty of these traditional forms of language, communication and handwriting”.  She cuts and reforms vintage postcards and postage stamps to look like precious stones.

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Jewellery by Peter Reeves

Peter Reeves is inspired by organic textures including tree bark and beehives.  I really liked his beehive ring which has a pattern of interlocking hexagons with a tiny silver bee crawling over.

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Jewellery by Victoria Sewart

Victoria Sewart’s inspirations for her work on display are “the aesthetics of form, structure and material composition” and the collection “investigates the properties of stainless steel mesh”.  Her jewellery looks like gold and silver ribbons trapped in time and movement.

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Jewellery by Nicola Hurst

Nicola Hurst’s inspiration comes from “architecture, simple shapes and everyday living”. Her work uses intersecting shapes and I think they resemble ancient symbols.

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Artwork by Sam Photic

Sam Photic is inspired by “the isolated Devonshire landscape and the continued encroachment of society upon it”.  His pieces of abstract work on display are metal squares and circles bolted together with strips of colour.  I think the central piece in my photo could make a striking album cover.

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Rings by Leigh Mason

Leigh Mason “references form, scale, texture and colour”. and her work has been featured in Vogue magazine.  I liked her unusual square-shaped rings with oversized pastel coloured gems.

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Jewellery by Ana Simoes

Ana Simoes is inspired by “the richness of Ana’s home country’s history, landscape and architecture, particularly by its connection to the sea and the unknown”.  Some of the work she had displayed looked like tiny planets and moons.

I really enjoyed this exhibition which was filled with so many different types of jewellery from local artists.  I am currently working on making jewellery with found seaglass and recycled silver with my National Saturday Art and Design Club at PCA led by my tutor Kate Marshall and this exhibition has given me lots of inspiration.

Read my post about Week 1 of the Home Grown exhibition here

Read my post about Week 2 of the Home Grown exhibition here

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Today I went to the Ocean Studios gallery to see the exhibition Emerging Natural Beauty which is part of the Home Grown series of pop up exhibitions by local artists.

Alice and Bethany Antliff are sisters who are studying 3D Design Craft, specialising in ceramics and glass, at Plymouth College of Art. Both artists’ work takes inspiration from nature. From a distance Bethany’s piece Symbiotic Beauty looked like real twigs covered in blossoms and moss, but up close I could see her detailed work with porcelain and glazes wrapped around wire. It is pretty and fragile and stepping back again I thought that each branch looked like a dancing figure.

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Bethany’s Charred Bark vases are incredibly realistic and it’s hard to believe they were created and not grown. She has created ceramic bowls using the same colours and shades that seem as if they are ancient finds.

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Several of Bethany’s pieces feature mushroom shaped glass which appear to be growing out of them. I really like Bethany’s work which made me feel very calm.

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Alice’s pieces are incredibly fragile and delicate. Her Daisies Daisies Daisies collection are porcelain vases, bowls, and decorative pieces which have been ‘wallpapered’ with tiny porcelain daisies. She creates the daisies from a mould made using real flowers, then hand applies them individually so the entire piece is covered in overlapping flowers.

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Alice’s piece Destruction is inspired by deforestation. This piece made me feel sad and is a really effective statement about this issue.

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Alice has also created delicate flower-shaped jewellery and I really liked her intricate earrings and how she has displayed them.

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Renovat Moody is an African born artist also studying 3D Design Crafts, specialising in glass blowing, at PCA and is influenced by nature and their African heritage. Renovat’s The Essence of Africa vase collection have strong and bright colours and shapes and made me think of fruit and seeds.

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Renovat also has some framed pieces on display, including a copper wire piece that has been twined and threaded with beads. This piece looks like a tree covered in colourful birds.

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One of my favourite pieces on display was Renovat’s framed picture of the world where all the land is made of computer chips and circuitboard. The piece is put together so carefully and accurately, and even tiny islands are marked out. I could look at this and follow the coastlines for hours with my eyes and i’d love to see a bigger piece made the same way.

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The three artists completely filled every corner of the exhibition space and it’s amazing to consider how much work these students have created already! On display was also projected footage Behind the Scenes of their work in progress by Emma Pontin, and a film called Ink Flows by Jake Davey, Matthew Howard, Nat Goddard, Kristin Dodge, and Terry Lee Thurlow. Their films provided a relaxing soundtrack to the whole exhibition.

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Finally there were some pieces on display and up for auction to raise money for the Devon Wildlife Trust. I really liked Jane McEwen’s bowls with endearing messages stamped into them.

The new exhibition at Ocean Studios Gallery will open on Wednesday.

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Ocean Studios Opening Hours!

Today I went to see a pop-up exhibition at Ocean Studios in the Royal William Yard.  The exhibition is The Art of Truth in the Digital Age and the artists are Oona Wagstaff and Alan Qualtrough.  The work on display “explores the cosequences of digital communications technology on our society such as the spectacle and the changing nature of truth and reality.”

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Prints by Alan Qualtrough

Alan leads workshops on letterpress printing and explained to us how it was done.  It sounded similar to using stamps but instead using big wooden blocks with letters carved into them.  I’ve seen one of the prints in the PCA Pre-degree Centre, and Alan said that he has been working with a group of students there.  This installation of his letterpress prints  seems like a protest against misuse of social “meedia” and lies that are spread digitally.  It is a striking and colourful display and the simple slogans made me really think about the messages I see and hear every day.  Interestingly, one of the most interesting prints seemed completely blank until I took a very close look, but you’ll have to visit to see it for yourself! 

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Letterpress print by Alan Qualtrough

This print feels louder then the others because of it’s huge, blocky typeface and dark colour.  I liked the way that the print isn’t completely finished in places and Alan explained that this technique is called a ‘kiss’, whereas a strong complete print is called a ‘bite’.  I’ve never done any letterpress printing but seeing this exhibition and meeting Alan has gotten me really interested in trying it out for myself!

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Oil on board by Oona Wagstaff

This abstract piece by Oona Wagstaff is a painting, but her paintings felt more like sculptures when I viewed them up close.  She layers oil paint on board and there are sections cut out of the boards which made me want to stroke them and feel the edges. 

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"Information Bomb" by Oona Wagstaff

Information Bomb is a silkscreen of a graphite drawing by Oona.  It is dark and scary but still beautiful, and so are her black and white monotype prints. Both Oona and Alan will be in the gallery at different times throughout the exhibition if you want to talk to them or have any questions.

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A story box by Fi Smart

The shop at the front of the gallery has several pieces by artists from Ocean Studios including this story box by Fi Smart.  Her story boxes are cute and inspiring.  We have been making houses with story box rooms at my Saturday Arts Club and these have given me some ideas.

The Art of Truth in the Digital Age exhibition is part of Home Grown, a month of pop-up exhibitions at Ocean Studios by various Plymouth Artists.  I hope I can go to and report on all of them!

Links for more information:

Ocean Studios

Alan Qualtrough and his
Kiss & Bite Letterpress Workshops

Oona Wagstaff

Fi Smart

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My final illustration for the word “zart”.

We have been given a project at our NatSatClub to choose a word from the Devon Dialect and then illustrate it.  I made a long list of words, some of my favourites are:

Snishums : Sneezing

Flink : To sprinkle

Zummit : Something

Drumbledrone : Bumblebee (apparently this one was inspiration for Dumbledore’s name!)

I chose to illustrate the word ZART which means “daft”.  I looked up the meaning of daft and its synonyms.  They fell into two main groups, one with words like “stupid”, “idiotic”, and other not very nice words.  The other group contained “eccentric”, “absurd”, “peculiar” and “crackers”, and I thought that this group had a more fun and friendly character, and would be good to illustrate.

I thought about this group of synonyms and tried to make a list of my visual ideas.  I came up with lots including Wonka, circuses, spirals, dizziness, wonky, uneven, twist, and drunkenness.

Next I made sketches with the letters in “zart”, trying different forms of the letters and playing with the sizes and the way they came together.

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My sketches playing with the letters in ZART

At this stage I had chosen a basic shape I liked.  I drew it out bigger and tried it out as an outline and a sort of silhouette version.  I started adding extra parts, like a Mad Hatter top hat and drunken bubbles popping.  I felt that these would give an eccentric dizzy feel to the illustration.

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Working with my sketches in a bigger format.

After I had a good idea of what I wanted I tried a sketch using a thick graphite stick to help me make the letters flow better and to be more expressive.  I played with this a bit erasing and adding to it, thickening the letters, changing the way they sloped and trying out stripes.  When I was happy I copied my design out in ink using my Pentel brush pen.

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Trying my design out with a graphite stick then in ink.

I really liked my design as it was but I wanted to fill in some of the stripes with the black ink to finish it off.  I haven’t coloured it yet but I think that this piece would work really well in a purple shade with either a green or an orange as a secondary colour.  The final black and white version is at the top of this post.

It is fun learning about different words and doing this project reminded me of the Devon Words art project by Caitlin Hennessy which I saw at last year’s Weekender exhibitions and which I wrote about here.  I really enjoyed this project and will definitely be doing more lettering and illustrating with words in the future.

 

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