I visited the Planetarium, following the advice of my tutor, to see how it could relate to my book. Suprisingly, I saw lots of images which reminded me of some of the images in my book.

They look like they have evolved, in a way:

Though the colours are different, the patterns are similar..


Maybe my book could evolve into a book about astronomy or even an illustrated book about the planets and solar system, or a children’s book. There are lots of possibilities.



Making the book…

I started making and trying out different textures:


Ink on felt photocopied




Inks – gold & ultramarine



Oil pastel on watercolour paper





Then put them onto Photoshop to play around with them..



I began thinking about other ways I could create more light (the idea of creating light in a dark space, to illustrate literally feeling lighter rather than weighed down by tense times and anxiety) and went to a firework display and took some pictures:

I also put these into Photoshop to just try and see if they would work in an image:


I really like the contrast here of the light and dark and how the images really work together as a whole. I think this is because the textures are so different. The grainy, harsh background contrasts nicely with the yellow/white lines which are a combination of smooth and scratchy – which is what helps bring the two together.

Many of my images are starting to remind me of the four elements: earth, wind, fire and water. The elements are traditionally used to explain the complexities of nature with these four simple substances. This relates to my concept as with my book I am trying to make people feel less tense and take away the stress and complexities of life through the book, even if for only a few minutes.

There is an artist named Alessandro Sanna who creates the most beautiful paintings, with such soothing colour combinations.

He creates these sceneries which are beautiful to look at and the way they are sectioned is like he is telling a story also.


The Banquet, Rene Magritte, 1958

I also love this painting, I think the colour combinations are so relaxing and the focus point of the sun gives a sense of foundation and calm when looking at it.


Editing Ideas

I began the week experiencing some difficulty with visualizing the images that were to go inside my book. I wanted to pursue this idea of restraint and came up with these drawings incorporating fashion:

My train of thought was to illustrate a fashion transformation, from a catwalk model into a woman in the military/warrior so it shows how a being can grow and transform into something else entirely. However, after thinking into this further I didn’t feel it really illustrated what I wanted in terms of restraint and then becoming free. I was struggling to realise the actual point of the book and my narrative, what would the function of it be? Then, after a conversation with one of my tutors I was encouraged to edit down my work, rather than research even more and look for new things, it was time to look at what I already had and after doing this I realised it was all there in my sketchbook already.

Rather than creating a book about restraint, as I wasn’t getting anywhere with that, I decided to focus on giving my book a positive function. My tutor pointed out how people are already aware of the feelings of restraint we experience as a society, for example with the technological devices we have an abundance of, the current state of politics with Brexit and Trump, so I began to experiment with creating images that would hopefully invoke a sense of calm, starting with soothing colours such as blues and violets.


I also liked the idea of having sections of the book which unraveled, so it would be like the reader is unraveling all the tension and stress (if they are experiencing such things) and for people who aren’t it could still be a somewhat therapeutic experience, slowly unraveling different textures and turning pages and untying knots etc.




During week 7, I mainly tried to visualise my ideas and to help with this I visited the print workshop. After trying out drypoint printing and etching this is what I came up with:


I really like the amount of detail you can achieve from etching and how there is a grey wash around the main figure from the ink, it gives a very historical/ancient feel which matches the Ancient Egyptian subject of this particular work.


For the drypoint prints I used a gold ink which was just beautiful to look at even without printing yet. I like the effect of the somewhat raw edges that surround the lines and shapes in these prints. I think this effect goes well with how I wanted to create real, raw looking images.

I then started thinking about a clearer narrative for my book and through further research came up with the process of a caterpillar turning into a butterfly as it begins inside a cocoon and then breaks free with its new body.


I started to come up with images of breaking out and being free, with the help of some of Alexander McQueen’s designs representing how he was very interested in the natural processes of things i.e. metamorphosis. His work also interested me due to the fact that his designs were often metaphors for something else. For example:


In this piece ‘Dress of dyed ostrich feathers and hand-painted microscopic slides, Voss, S/S 2001’ the feathers are a metaphor for blood and it goes with the quote ‘there’s blood underneath every layer of skin’. This helped as I was looking for a metaphor for the metamorphosis of caterpillar into butterfly, I didn’t want to illustrate exactly this because I feel that it has been done before and is something that is already fact and everyone already knows.

Link to Pinterest board for this project:



In an attempt to gather ideas on types of narrative and further understand what a narrative can be, I picked up the book ‘Persepolis’ by Marjane Satrapi. The book is a graphic autobiography of Satrapi’s life as a child and her experiences growing up during the Iranian Revolution and the Iran-Iraq war.cdbbf48566ce6df60587a4a4876bc397

I think that Marjane’s illustrations would say a lot, even if the book was without words. Obviously there are important explanations of parts of history which one definitely needs the words to understand, but other than those parts the images certainly speak for themselves. The illustrations are in black and white which definitely gives the book a historic feel but also doesn’t distract from the story.

After reading this, I felt very moved. It is such a personal story that has a very real quality about it, I felt attached to the characters like they were people I knew. The fact that it is Satrapi’s unique point of view yet it still manages to affect the reader in this way (for me anyway) is amazing. The book’s narrative is the history of Iran at this particular time, the 1980s, but it is also about strength and family ties. It is humorous in many parts too, which really emphasizes who Satrapi is as a person. I am so grateful that I got to read Persepolis and it has made me want to create a narrative that is as honest as Marjane intended her book to be. It may be an idea to read through some more graphic autobiographies/novels/comics.




Jarred Specimens & The Straitjacket

Links –

Egyptian: babies in jars – confined space – on display – MUMMIES – (dehumanising?) –                                         hieroglyphics

straitjacket – restricting space – ancient Egytpians most forward thinking when it came                        to mental illness – supernatural causes, magic & incantations – (dehumanising?)

Fashion: in jars – on display – display cases – barbies – dolls – look ‘desirable’ – models – fashion

straitjacket – mental illness – mental/psychiatric ward – sectioned – Bethlem – years                            ago looking around was a form of ‘entertainment’ – to be looked at

  • sidenote – do some people view mental illness as a type of ‘fashion’ e.g. I have been diagnosed with this therefore I have to go and see a therapist twice a week.. (taking away the fact that for some people it is a real struggle)

Locked: mental patient locked away/restrained – lock & key (final book could be presented as a                         diary..?)

is someone who dissects animals and babies and puts them in jars mentally okay? –                             ethics?


– restraint – wrapped around you and you can’t get out – corset – waist trainer (modern) – distortions – dissections – temporary Vs. lasting results – consistency – before Vs. after – high fashion – display – medication – drugs – perception – life – be calm – tranquility – blue –

Mentally trapped but body is free / Free mind but your body is detained (asylum)

Plan: to experiment further visually with these ideas.

Sketchbook progression.




Narrative – Story – Experience -Account – Report – I’m still trying to figure it out.

D r a w i n g

I think a narrative can be formed from anything and a million different ones at that if you consider everyone’s unique perspective on the world. From an obvious story involving dialogue to an obscure description of a feeling, it’s all narrative. Do all objects have a narrative? As I sit here with the very inspiring view of a wood flower engraved coaster, I think what could its narrative be? It could range from ‘GAH the pain what is this saw that cuts and splits my skin to form a flowery tattoo atop my beautifully smooth surface’ to ‘Table, I shall protect you from the ring of water of many mugs and glasses for as long as I can’.

I have found that creating a narrative in the studio exercises given so far has been difficult because I simply don’t know where to start. I am thinking I could literally write anything, so do I go with the first thing that comes into my head? I think drawing is a good place to start to get all my ideas out visually and then I can literally see what works and what doesn’t work so well.

Below is an example of how drawing has helped me to form ideas, including group work creating a character and a life story for them.