Finally, I applied for university places, went to my interviews, recieved offers of places from all of them (!), and chose which one I wanted to take! I have chosen to study Illustration at Plymouth University. I want to focus on concept art but I decided to study Illustration (rather than a Game Art degree) as it is broad enough to allow me space to also try work in comics, printmaking, book illustration, posters etc. The facilities and tutors are amazing, the Student Union is really active with lots of clubs (I’m particularly interested in the gaming club, music related clubs, and trying archery), and staying in Plymouth will allow me to continue my work in the arts community here.
I have been to a bunch of exhibitions locally but haven’t had time to write about those unfortunately, I hope to update with more posts about future exhibitions and events in the future. Some of the local events I’ve enjoyed in the past few months was a walk round Plymouth centre and Stonehouse to learn about local cinema history run by Imperfect Cinema and the No Whey! Vegan Market at The Clipper.
I’ll be updating with more posts about my various projects very soon!
Today me and my colleagues at Plymouth College of Art Pre-Degree will be putting on a show with our final project work for our first year. It’s open from 4pm to 6pm, and all are welcome. Spread the word, come down to the Palace Court centre and have a look 🙂
Plymouth College of Art – Pre-Degree Campus
Last year I was a member of the National Saturday Art and Design Club at Plymouth College of Art. We got to experiment with different media and artforms throughout the year, and take trips to local exhibitions as well as two trips to London for bigger NatSatClub shows featuring our work alongside work made by other groups.
Our final trip to London was on the 17th of June. We met up really early to catch our coach just after 6am so we could get to the exhibition at Somerset House around 11am. It was really busy as hundreds of young people from NatSatClubs around the country had come to see their work on display. We were greeted and each given goody bags of art supplies, water, and snacks, and shown in to the first area where all the Masterclass work was on display. Our Masterclass was in making word drawings with Barnaby Barford.
Next we went upstairs and had a look around the different clubs’ work. Plymouth sent in a lot of our work, and the pieces that were chosen for display were our beach glass jewellery, and our glass houses which we made in a class led by our Student Ambassador Ben Lintell.
This video shows our glass houses lit from below with a torch to cast shadows on the white wall.
We were all called into a large room filled with benches for a speech by the National Saturday Club founders, Lord and Lady Sorrell. Then we were called up one by one and received our Certificates and Yearbooks.
After the ceremony some of our group went to the National Portrait Gallery, but I stayed to look around the exhibition for a while longer. There was a huge amount of different types of work on display by young people from the many clubs, including zines, puppets, film, fashion and ceramics.
At the end of the day, we met up with the rest of the group to get back to the coach. Unfortunately, the coach had overheated (it was a really hot day!) and was broken down, leaving us stranded in London! Our group leaders brought us all water to drink and we took a walk around Covent Garden watching a clown and looking in the Moomin shop. The coach was fixed in an hour or so, and we headed back on the five hour journey home.
I was sad that some of the work I was most proud of from our many projects wasn’t put on display, but I hope to be able to put photos up of those pieces here soon, and I did have a really good day. It was really amazing seeing so much work from young artists all in one place and I was really inspired by all that I saw. I would recommend joining the group to anyone aged from 14 to 16 who likes art and really wants to try different things.
Below are some photos of work from National Saturday Clubs all around the country. I have included lots here so that people who didn’t get to go on the trip can still enjoy some of the work we saw.
Here are some links to previous posts I have written about NatSatClub:
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.
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.
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.
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.
I bought some cotton bags from Hobbycraft for £1 each so that I could try printing on them at home with my Plymouth Pilgrims linocut which I made at my NatSatClub. I washed the bags and they shrunk quite a bit, and I couldn’t get them completely flat with the iron but I like the slightly crumbly texture they have. The other equipment I used was:
Blue Essdee Block-printing ink which I bought from Cass Art (Bristol)
A stainless steel serving spoon to use as a baren
A thick slab of glass to roll the ink on
The four inch roller from the Essdee Cutting and Printing kit bought from the The Art Side (Plymouth)
Attempt #1 – I used cardboard inside the bag in case the ink bled through and the usual amount of ink I would use for printing on paper. The print is visible but looks pale or faded. There was no ink on the inside of the bag. I thought that I needed to apply more ink next time and wondered if the cardboard had cushioned the fabric so that the pressure from the spoon wasn’t enough to transfer the print.
Attempt #2 – I removed the cardboard so there was nothing inside the bag and used a thicker layer of ink. The ink did bleed slightly on the inside of the bag but it was quite a patchy print. I decided I needed a thin protective layer inside the bag and to apply more pressure to the spoon.
Attempt #3 – I used a thin piece of paper inside the bag to protect it from ink bleeding and a thick layer of ink. I put greater pressure on the spoon in all areas. The paper took any ink that bled through but the print was still a little patchy. The print wasn’t aligned properly on this bag but it was my best attempt so far.
Attempt #4 – A thick layer of ink, a lot of pressure with the spoon, and a layer of paper inside the bag. I aligned the bag carefully and went over the print area thoroughly and with a lot of effort with the back of my spoon. This print looked really good although I did lose definition in some areas because of how thick the ink layer was on the lino.
I enjoyed this experiment and I’m going to make some more block-printed bags soon. I need to find a better way to apply more consistent pressure with the equipment I have at home because the spoon works well with paper and card but doesn’t work as well with the fabric. I really like my design and I’m glad it looks good on bags. I don’t know if the ink will stay on the bags in wet weather or if it will wash so I’m going to test one of these bags after they’ve had time to dry properly and look at different types of ink.