I have added a Gallery page to my blog. It collects together a selection of my work as a young artist in Plymouth. There are examples of my illustration and game art work as well as examples of other types of creative work I have completed or participated in. Don’t forget to check my instagram as I add new work there regularly!
I am Kitty and I am a young artist in Plymouth. I am also home educated and I am writing this post about myself and about what it is like to be a home educated young person for the #100waystohomeed bloghop. The last post was at Never The Same Two Days Running and the next post will be by @thepndmonster.
I have never been to school but most of my friends do go to school and we have lots in common. We like a lot of the same things, like going into town, chatting to each other, and watching Netflix together. We also study some of the same subjects, like English and Art. We all have to work and study and do housework at home, the main difference in our lives is that in school my friends have to do specific subjects according to a set timetable, whereas I have a choice of what I want to study and my timetable is quite flexible. So for example while they go to school every Monday to Friday (in term time) from early morning to late afternoon, some days I don’t do a lot of study and instead I play games or go to events and exhibitions or maybe just hang out with other home ed friends. However, on busy days I might work from the morning until late evening, I often have work to do at weekends, and for me school holidays are usually even busier than term time!
Another thing I have in common with young people who go to school is that we all have goals in our lives, like going to college or university, having a career we enjoy, and growing up to be happy and satisfied adults. My own goals are to study Graphics, Illustration and Game Arts at Plymouth College of Art, to sell my artwork and meet lots of other artists and illustrators, and to find work in concept and character design in the video games industry. Just like young people in schools, I have to work hard so that I can achieve my goals, but instead of focussing on GCSE exams in lots of different subjects, as a home educated person I can focus my time on building the skills I enjoy and I know I will definitely need.
I don’t tend to study different subjects every day, but I do have things that I do most days. On a typical day, for example, I start with working on my art skills. Starting with drawing helps me warm up to the day and to relax. Usually I will do a 30 minute character sketch in pencil from my imagination or following a prompt (I like using artprompts.org), or I work on a previous sketch, inking it or colouring it. After that, I work hard on my English Language study, because I have an assessment coming up at the Art college. This is quite hard because although I think I have okay English skills (I read and write a lot!) I am not used to working towards an exam or having to answer those sorts of questions.
I spend quite a bit of the rest of my day doing art things, for example I work on projects to learn new techniques like printing, linocutting and costume making. I do a lot of sketching in my sketchbooks (I have several which I use for different purposes), and I follow online courses and books full of tutorials. The online courses I am following at the moment include one on drawing backgrounds, one on pixel art, and another on figure drawing and human anatomy. The art books I work from and study include Keys To Drawing, Making Comics, and Urban Watercolor Sketching. I think I probably spend a few hours most days either doing art or reading about art, and I follow other artists and illustrators on Twitter and Instagram to see what they are doing and to participate in online projects like #inktober and #dailysketch. Studying art includes studying history, culture, anatomy, technical skills with different materials and software, psychology, and all sorts of other subjects.
I also try and keep track of current events and read articles especially anything to do with art and games, and especially local things like what the college is doing, or exhibitions and events that are happening. I like to take part in things that are happening in Plymouth and its important to me to support local artists and to be part of the community. I write about some of the events and places which I go to on this blog but I go to so much more than I have time to write about! In the past few weeks I’ve been to a contemporary music concert, a performance by a folk band, an Open Day at the arts college, an exhibition of ‘upcycled’ skateboards, an exhibition about the Titanic, the Eden Project, a vintage toys exhibition, an exhibition about plastic dumped at sea, and more. Today is Sunday and later I am going to a research performance where the audience will influence the soundtrack. Going to all these different events expands my view on the world and what is possible as an artist.
Most days I also read fiction, at the moment mostly I am reading comics and manga but I do enjoy novels as well, especially funny ones. I listen to music (all sorts, from game soundtracks to Britpop to Japanese pop and metal) and I practice playing my guitar. I chat to my friends and if I can’t see them in person we talk online using Skype and Whatsapp. At the end of the day I try to always write a bit in my journal and sometimes I read or draw in bed, or watch a film. My About Me illustration at the top of this post gives more details about the things I enjoy.
As well as all this, every week I go to kickboxing twice (I have earned my Junior Black Belt!), I have either a guitar or a drum lesson, and I go to a local coding/tech club for young people. I also go every week to a home ed activity group and a home ed social group, I’m a member of the National Art & Design Saturday Club and I go to two Youth Clubs. I’m quite busy most days! I don’t see myself just as a student but I also think of myself as a working artist and blogger and I hope to help the organisations and adults I meet to take young artists and writers seriously and see how we are part of the community too. Although I do work hard at art and writing this part of my life can be really difficult as I am quite shy in person and often I am the only (or one of a small number) of young people at an event. I can struggle with what to say as I worry about saying something that will be embarrassing whereas when I am blogging or tweeting I have time to think and edit before I say something. I take a sketchbook everywhere I go and that helps because if I’m nervous I can draw and that comforts me.
I could write so much more about the things I do as a home educated young person. For example I also am learning to make games using Scratch, I am learning about electronics and coding using my Shrimp and Raspberry Pi, and I am trying to start a band! I participate in game jams and create and publish video games with my brother. I go to comics and science fiction conventions and I like to do cosplay. I play with my little sister and sometimes we draw together, and I am used to spending time with kids of all different ages in our home ed groups. My life is so full, but I do make time to relax and see my friends.
I hope that reading this has helped give an insight on what it is like to be home educated. In some ways of course it is different to going to school but that doesn’t mean that we don’t study or have social lives. We all have goals and worries just like any other young people, and we all have interests and are passionate about them. If any other home ed young people are reading, please add me on Twitter or Instagram, and if you are a young artist in Devon or Cornwall add me too and maybe we can meet up sometime!
THANK YOU FOR READING! Please remember to check out the other blogs on this bloghop and learn more about how different families do home education.
At 6am our coach was in front of the old Plymouth museum. I found a seat next to a friend and chatted while we waited for the rest of the group. It was my first time on a coach and it had soft seats with buttons to make them recline and red curtains in the windows. We set off at 6:20 and me and my friends were excited but tired from being awake so early. A lot of my group slept for the first part of the journey but after we stopped at Exeter services to stretch our legs and get some snacks almost everyone stayed awake. We had another five hours or so of travel ahead so we talked about visits that each of us had made to London in the past and told each other funny anecdotes from our lives. I did some sketching trying out different character faces but my lines were a bit wobbly from the movement of the coach, and I kept dropping my rubber down the side of the seat.
As we travelled through London we took pictures out of the coach windows and pointed out buildings we recognized, like the Gherkin, MI6 and Big Ben. Our coach dropped us off close to Central Saint Martins and we walked the rest of the way. Central Saint Martins is a huge building and we noticed that the inside room was so vast that it was almost as cold as it was outside. We were given stickers to wear to show we were from Plymouth College of Art and ‘perylene maroon’ goodie bags from Cass Art. In my bag I had an A4 sketchbook, some pencils, a bottle of water and some snacks. We sat down to have some lunch while our student ambassador Ben played on a piano and we waited for some of the other groups from around the country to arrive.
After lunch we looked at all the other self-portraits from the different groups and a photographer took a picture of us in front of our own portraits. It felt amazing to have my self-portrait up in a gallery with other young artists’ work. There was a lot of variety in the style and techniques used in the portraits I saw. One group, from the Victoria and Albert museum, had used concertinaed paper with two portraits drawn on it so the one that you could see depended on the angle you viewed it from. Some of these were quite creepy to look at because one side would be a regular portrait and the other side looked strange or demonic. Other groups had worked with print, photography, pencils or collage. My group used acrylic paint on pieces of wood and I wrote about that process in a previous blog post.
After looking around the portraits all the groups were shown into a large room for a series of talks. We learned that even though there were hundreds of us there that day we only represented a third of the total members nationally! Some groups were so far away they couldn’t make it together and so one family had come alone. Those of us from Plymouth spent at least 12 hours travelling to London and back that day! We heard from Cecilia Weckstrom who told us that when she was younger she didn’t know what she wanted to study, and got an apprenticeship with a children’s book company and learned about graphic design, and now she works for Lego and is a Trustee for the NA&DSC. The director of the Saturday Club Trust, Sorrel Hershberg, and Jeremy Till, the Head of Central Saint Martins, both gave us information about the Saturday Arts Club and thanked the founders Sir John Sorrell and Lady Frances Sorrell.
When we came out of the room, ginormous pieces of paper were rolled out for us all to draw on and there were people holding big buckets with tons of crayons, pens and pencils for us to use. My group didn’t have a lot of time before we got back on the coach but we sat on the floor for a short while and I drew my friend and myself. There were a lot of cool doodles and there were tons of kids drawing each other. After that I bought myself a big red NatSatClub hoodie and we got back on the coach for the next part of our trip.
All the groups headed to different venues around London and mine headed to the Tate Britain gallery. We got a short tour around a few of the pieces of art on display and our tour guide and our tutor Kate encouraged us to talk about and critique what we saw. We studied each piece for a few minutes and tried to think of single words that described how we felt or the impression we got from the artworks. One piece that I found intriguing was Fiona Banner’s Break Point which is a huge canvas painted white with red marker pen text describing a chase scene from the movie Point Break. The shade of red that she used and the way the text got closer together towards the bottom of the piece made me tense and it seemed very aggressive. I haven’t seen the film, but I hope to soon so I can see what happens next!
We moved on to the Turner Prize 2016 Exhibition. The Turner Prize is a contemporary art award given every year to a British artist chosen from four nominees. My favourite piece on display was an installation by Michael Dean which was a pile of pennies equal to one penny less than its title, United Kingdom poverty line for two adults and two children: twenty thousand four hundred and thirty six pounds sterling as published on 1st September 2016. Me and my friends thought it would be fun to roll around in it all. It sounds like a lot of money but it didn’t feel like it when I saw it as a pile of pennies. There was an enourmous gold sculpture of a butt by Anthea Hamilton called ‘Project For Door (After Gaetano Pesce)’ and people were laughing and taking silly photos near it. I thought it was absurd in a funny way. Visitors were invited to write their thoughts about the exhibition and pin them up outside the gallery, so we did that and then left to make the long trip home.
On the journey home I took some more pictures of London lit up at night, and everyone was wide awake and in the back someone was playing music. It was such an exciting day, me and my friends ended up having laughing fits for ages for no real reason. We stopped at services to get dinner, but we panicked because we thought we had taken too long but it turned out we were back before most of the group. We settled down eventually and it got quieter and some people fell asleep, and I carried on working in my sketchbook. We got back to Plymouth at around 11 and I was exhausted. The whole day was absolutely amazing and I’m really thankful to have had the opportunity to be part of it.
This post is going to cover what I did during the first half of autumn term at the National Art and Design Saturday Club at the Plymouth College of Art. My tutor is Kate Marshall. Kate is an artist who works in all sorts of media and enjoys experimenting with unusual materials from the sites she is researching. Our student ambassador is Ben Lintell. Ben is a student at PCA studying Contemporary Crafts and he creates paper and glass sculptures.
During the first half term we were working with self-portraits and figure drawing. We started with drawing our self-portraits with paper and pencil. I used a mirror and something I found difficult was that any small movements I made would throw me off. I worked entirely in HB pencil because that was all I had with me that day. I think I captured my expression pretty well but I think I could have made it more realistic if I used different pencils.
Next we were given a square of wood each to draw another self-portrait on. I’ve never drawn on wood before and it was hard to erase the pencil marks so I had to use less working lines than usual. I worked from a photo of myself on my phone this time and it was slightly easier than from a mirror, because there was no movement and I could zoom in to investigate details.
I then started painting my self-portrait on the piece of wood with acrylic paints. Kate advised us not to use one colour for our skin as that would make it look fake, but to look closely for blues, greens and other hues. I studied my photo and found lines, shadows and different shades of pinks, browns, greens and blues. I mixed up the different colours on a palette and used two different brush sizes, a medium-sized flat one for covering bigger areas and a slightly smaller round brush for details. I wasn’t able to find a very small brush for fine detail. I don’t normally work with acrylic paints but I enjoyed testing them out. Acrylics are opaque and not transparent like the watercolours I normally use. I watered my paints down a little to make them easier to use and I noticed that when I used colours on top of a layer of white they were more vivid.
Our self-portraits were put on display in Central Saint Martins in London alongside other National Saturday Club groups from around the country. Here is a photo of all the portraits from the Plymouth College of Art group:
We also spent a session speed-drawing each other in different poses and holding or wearing different costume items to practice figure drawing. I did some using my 4B graphite stick and some using charcoal. The charcoal is darker and has a more textured line whereas the graphite gave a smoother line. I found that both allowed me to be more expressive and use bigger gestures than when I use a pencil.
I really enjoyed drawing the different poses and body shapes and found that our quick drawings sometimes didn’t even look human. I want to do a lot more figure drawing as it will help me improve my character design and comic art. I’d also like to do some life drawing lessons but I haven’t found any classes locally that will accept students of my age yet. I’ve signed up to an Udemy course on Anatomy for Figure Drawing (I got this discounted and there are sales quite often on Udemy) and I have been drawing poses from magazines.
Below are some of the sketches I’ve done recently from photos in my NEO magazines. I have been doing very quick sketches of body frameworks using simple lines joined by small circles for joints, and bigger shapes for heads and body sections. I saw this technique used to show figures in action in How To Draw Comics The Marvel Way by Stan Lee and John Buscema. It is a good way to investigate poses and movement. In some places I have used coloured pencil to add more details later.
In this last picture I made up my own poses from my imagination and memory. I feel that my skills have already begun to improve because of this exercise and the work we’ve been doing at the Saturday Club.
From 2015-2016 I was a member of the Saturday Young Arts Club at the Plymouth College of Art. The course was 25 weeks long, split into five chunks with a different subject each time. My student ambassador was metalsmith Luke Axworthy who has a studio at Flameworks.
The first section was Fashion with Sharon Morgan, fashion tutor and milliner (twitter). The students made patterned fabric using screen printing ink freehand on cotton, and I chose to do a zig zag design. I used a sewing machine to create a pencil case and a phone case with my colourful fabric.
Sharon also asked us to come up with fashion label ideas. I used KitBIT because at the time it was my username for videogames. I took it further by actually designing items for the label in my sketchbook.
The designs I created were videogame influenced because I enjoy gaming but I can rarely find clothing and accessories to express that.
The next section was Animation with Jamie House. We watched the shorts Dots by Norman McLaren and Black Dots by Luana Veloso. We used DSLR cameras on tripods to take photos of our own drawings as we added to them. Our next project was to draw shapes and objects then cut them out and make an animation by rearranging them on a background. I chose to use coloured dots and I made them interact and glide around. Then we moved on to working in teams, and I worked with a few of the other students who I had made friends with. We made an animation using the same technique as our last project, but instead of on a paper background we were allowed to animate with blue tack on a wall. In our animation we had Homer Simpson open his mouth and eat doughnuts flying towards him. He then closed his mouth again and because he ate so many he blew up! Part of our project was to use a person, so we talked about which one of our group would wipe the doughnut remains off the wall, pull a disgusted face and walk away (I was nominated..) After we finished animating we used iMovie to add music.
Finally, for our last project all of my team starred in the animation. It was about a girl who travelled through time using a ‘Chairlorean’ (Flux Capacitor included) and had to run away from freaky future people. She manages to get back to the Chairlorean and ended up getting stuck in the past. For the futuristic people we just wore our clothes oddly and to show the time travelling girl was in the past I drew an old newspaper as a prop. Again, we edited on titles and music after. I’m not sure where my films from this part of the course are unfortunately but if I find them I will try and upload them.
The third section of the course was Experimental Drawing, Printmaking and Sculpture with Janine Rook. This section was very interesting because I tried out some new techniques for the first time and really enjoyed them. We drew on pieces of different kinds of paper and stuck them onto a large sheet of thick paper in a collage, made sculptures by twisting long wires, and created odd and slightly creepy sculptures by taking three plaster moulds of parts of our hands then sticking them together with more plaster, using glue and paper to decorate them.
The fourth section of the course was Graphic Design with Terry Maughan. We entered a competition to come up with t-shirt designs for The National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth. The winning designs would be printed and put on sale to raise money for the Community Seagrass Initiative (CSI) which helps preserve seagrass which is the seahorses habitat. We were advised to research surf fashion and tattoos because they have a popular and contemporary style. I did that and I also researched seahorses and seagrass.
Finally, for the last section of the Saturday Arts Club course, we did fashion again with Sharon Morgan and this time we made hats. We started by soaking bamboo millinery net in water then moulding it into the shape we wanted on a hatblock. We had to pin the corners down, and I used glue to bond three layers of net together for strength, then left it to set. Next I trimmed the sides to create a semi-spherical shape then stitched on a piece of elastic to hold the hat on a head. I cut out pieces of fabric and layered them to make a flower and sewed them to the hat with beads in the centre. I arranged a piece of floral lace around the hat edge and glued it on and added a feather. I used black net and chose different patterned fabrics in shades that matched with the feather.
Our hats were displayed at the Graduate Show at the College in the Young Arts Club room. It was the first time I had my work displayed at an exhibition and it felt amazing. I visited the room twice on different days and I was impressed by all the other young people’s work. There were some great mural designs on large sheets of paper and I also really liked a section of printed tote bags. We were all given a Certificate for having attended for the year.
Over the summer I thought a lot about the course and I wanted to join in again this year 2016-2017. I found out about a scheme called the National Art and Design Saturday Club with only twenty places locally for 14-16 year olds who “demonstrate commitment and passion for art and design”. I applied and I had to have a reference and fill in a personal statement, which I had never done before and so I was very nervous about it.
I am really pleased to say that I got a place in NA&DSC and I had my first session last week! First we looked around the new Pre-degree center of the Plymouth College of Art, then we met our tutor and drew self-portraits from pictures and mirrors. I used a mirror because I felt it was more challenging for me. I have tried to draw realistic self-portraits in the past but didn’t really like doing it, but this time it was more enjoyable because I had more support and I was working in a room with other artists. I am really looking forward to next week’s session!
I have been coming up with ideas for comics recently. The first one is a fan comic about Monster Hunter and features me and my brother. The sketch above are characters based on us with neutral faces. I’m going to draw them from different angles with different expressions this week.
This is a page of my initial idea. I like to read manga (One Punch Man, My Hero Academia, Monster Hunter Flash Hunter, Gon, Fairy Tail..) and comics and comic strips like Peanuts, Garfield, Bone, and Calvin and Hobbes. I started writing my own comic strips a few years ago.
A lot of my comics are based on video games I like. This one is based on Journey which I played last week (free via Playstation Plus!).
Back in 2014 me and my brother created the first issue of our zine MACS (Magazine of Awesome Cool Stuff..)
The zine included several of my comic strips at the time including ‘The Misadventures of Link’ which followed Link from the Zelda games.
It also featured my comic strip The Odd Days which was inspired by the asdf movies on Youtube by Tom Ska . My versions really didn’t make a lot of sense.
Me and J have plans to FINALLY get round to our second issue very soon.. until then you can enjoy this page from issue 1 by Jenson!
Top four and the cat on the bottom are original characters. Second on bottom is my interpretation of Godzilla, followed by another self portrait. The last card is just an ink/water/marker test card. I’ll be giving these out to artists I’d like to draw and work with at the Open Day at PCA today.