Thursday, 21 January 2016

OUIL405 - End of Module Evaluation

Leeds College of Art
OUIL405 Visual Narratives
End of Module Self Evaluation

Leah Haywood

1.  Which practical skills and methodologies have you developed within this module and how effectively do you think you are employing them within your own practice?
The skill that I have developed the most is probably my research skills. This module made us look at the world and the way we document it and research things in a new way. I really enjoyed making my visual journal, I felt really involved in the project and felt like it had more of a personal feel too it due to the research that I had done, I am looking forward to tackling other research projects in this way, I think it’s the best way for me to form an understanding of a subject and to connect with a brief more. I also think my collage and cut paper techniques have developed throughout this project. My book is completely made from cut paper and collage and was something I really enjoyed working with and think that I worked effectively with. I’m looking forward to working with this method of image-making again. I have also developed teamwork skills from this module. I have always shied away from teamwork, I worry that people will think my ideas are stupid or that my work isn’t good enough but I feel like my group got on really well and we all pulled our weight equally. I would definitely be interested in working on a collaborative project again.

2. Which approaches to research have you found most valuable during this module. How have you interrogated your research to identify appropriate ideas?
I found the idea of creating a visual journal really interesting. I like to document my thoughts and feelings and ideas and found this was a perfect way to combine my experiences with my work. I have recognised the value of documenting things at that exact moment in time, rather than documenting something when I get home or later in the week it is better to document experiences when they are fresh in your mind. I found researching things in different sections e.g. history, people etc, to be really helpful and once all were completed a strong collection of research was formed. My ideas were initially formed from the research I did while at the forest but I then looked over my research and developed new ideas and ways of seeing things after taking a step back. I delved further into the intial research that I’d done and started thinking of ways I could tell a story.

3. What strengths can you identify within your submission and how have you capitalised on these? What aspects of your submission are you satisfied with?
I think the handmade pages of my book are one of the biggest strengths in my submission. I produced the pages with a high level of craft with a lot of attention to detail. I would probably re-do a few of these pages again due to me rushing a few of the final pages as the print slot got closer but overall I am extremely pleased with how these turned out. I also think that the experimenting with textures that I did really helped develop my work. I think the images I have made are a lot more interesting due to this experimentation than they would have been had I not experimented with textures. I also believe that my visual journal is a strong part of my submission. I got positive feedback on my research and the lengths at which I’d researched my chosen location. This journal really helped me develop and understanding of the location and in a way made me bond with it. I feel like I am quite knowledgeable on the forest and this in turn helped me develop my images to produce a strong outcome.

4. What areas for further development can you identify within your submission and how will you address these in the future?
Further development needed in my work is evident in my final printed book. I missed my InDesign sessions so did not save my file correctly, leading to bad print quality. I’m really unhappy about this as it completely ruins the look and feel of the book but I will address this in the future by attending software sessions and also by checking my work is set up correctly before going to a print slot. I also think I could have had more variation within the pages of my book, to keep the story interesting. Half the pages are just forest and path and I feel like I could have added things to these pages to make the book more enjoyable as a whole. I will address this in the future by spending more time developing pages and images so that they are the best they can possibly be.

5. How effectively are you making decisions about the development of your work?
What strategies informs this decision making?
I think I am finding it easier now to make decisions about my work than I was during the first module. I find that I am making mistakes, learning from them and then improving my work based on those experiences. I am also taking on board feedback from tutors and peers that help inform my decision making. I have learnt that it’s important for me to get another view of my work from someone else, and to build on constructive criticism rather than getting a little offended by it. I am also making decisions more confidently. I have always been unsure about my work and my ability and regularly find myself unable to settle on ideas or methods of image-making because I’m not sure if it’s the ‘right thing’. I am running a bit more with my gut instinct now, making decisions based on what I feel would work well and what I feel would meet the brief requirements.

6. How effectively have you managed this project and organised yourself during this module?
I think I have managed this project well, I have set myself to-do lists and mini deadlines for myself throughout the project and have managed to meet these nearly every time. I feel a lot more organised and I think this is mainly down to the structure of the research task at the beginning. Researching in this way really helped me get my mind set on what I was doing and gave me work to look back on and things to refer too, helping me decide on information to include in the book, the order of the pages and what kind of imagery I should be including in my book. I am feeling a lot more settled within the course now and I feel this is also helping my decision making.

7.How would you grade yourself on the following areas:
(please indicate using an ‘x’) 

5= excellent, 4 = very good, 3 = good, 2 = average, 1 = poor









Quantity of work produced


Quality of work produced


Contribution to the group


The evaluation of your work is an important part of the assessment criteria and represents a percentage of the overall grade. It is essential that you give yourself enough time to complete your written evaluation fully and with appropriate depth and level of self-reflection. If you have any questions relating to the self-evaluation process speak to a member of staff as soon as possible.

OUIL405 - Final Book

Overall I'm not entirely pleased with how my book turned out. Obviously there was the issue with me saving the InDesign file wrong which has made the images quite pixelated, completely ruining the quality and the look I was going for. Also after speaking to James in the Digital Print room I learnt that there was no green paper for me to print on like i had hoped there would be so I ended up printing on an off-white matte stock. I feel like this ruins the look of the book from the from as the white paper looks pretty bad in contrast to the textured pages that are also showing. Even though there are things I don't like about my book I do like how the book is layered up from the front, I think this adds depth and makes the forest look like it goes further away in the distance as the pages go further back. I also like how I managed to achieve the rising of the pages, forming the slope of a hill. I think this is a really important feature of the book as the Chevin is on top of a hill so I think the sloping pages of the book represent this really well. 

  Even though there are things I don't like about my book I do like how the book is layered up from the front, I think this adds depth and makes the forest look like it goes further away in the distance as the pages go further back. I also like how I managed to achieve the rising of the pages, forming the slope of a hill. I think this is a really important feature of the book as the Chevin is on top of a hill so I think the sloping pages of the book represent this really well. 

I also really like the flow of the pages, even though the quality isn't great i'm happy with how things look and how the pages flow together. I think if the quality had been better and I had printed on a green stock then I would have been a lot happier with the final outcome. Overall I think I've learnt a lot from this module, the Visual Journalist part made me realise new ways of tackling a brief and developing ideas, where as the Picture Book part helped me learn how to work in new ways, how to work with new media and how to convert physical work into a document on the computer. I'm excited to tackle another book project in the future. 

I added this picture in to this post just to show the quality of the print. It's pretty clear to see the pixelated quality of the print, this massively ruins the look and feel of the book. I was hoping that using collage, shape and texture would help the pictures jump off the page but instead they look poorly finished and quite dull and flat. I have learnt from this though and in the future will make sure my documents are saved right and set up in the correct format. 

OUIL405 - Falling at the Last Hurdle (A.K.A Why You Should Always Go To Indesign Sessions)

This is going to be a short post just so that I have something to look back on and to remind myself that I NEED TO GO TO THINGS LIKE INDESIGN SESSIONS.
I had managed to get my book layed out correctly, at the right size and everything BUT my problem came when I saved the file wrong. After getting to the Digital Print Room I was told that I hadn't saved my file right and that my image was going to be printed at quite a low quality. This is because I didn't save my InDesign file as a package meaning that the links between my images and the InDesign file, resulting in quite crappy quality if I'm honest. And like the idiot I am I didn't think to put the original images on my memory stick so I was faced with either printing a low quality book or not printing a book at all.
I ended up printing my book and am taking this fairly big mistake as a learning curve rather than getting myself too wound up about it. I now know what I need to do when saving InDesign files and will be better prepared for next time. I'm going to have to hand in a piece of work that I'm not very proud of but it's better than handing in nothing at all.

OUIL405 - Scanned Pages and InDesign Layout

This part of the project has been the worst for me, up until now I have been fully confident of my abilities and of my work but as soon as I had to start moving everything on the the computer I felt that all too familiar fear of Photoshop creep up on me. I have no idea what I'm doing with Photoshop, I have had a few sessions on it before but unfortunately missed the ones at the beginning of this year so have shed away from using it until now. I think I managed to do okay with getting my images to the right size and then making sure the colours were correct. The second scary part was taking the images from Photoshop to InDesign, software that I have NEVER used before. I only have myself to blame for missing the InDesign sessions and am now realising just how important it is to make sure I'm at sessions like this. I frantically found myself searching for walkthroughs on how to layout things on InDesign and how to generally work with the software. After an hour or so of swearing at my computer I finally managed to get my work played out correctly ready for print. Even though I have a few worries about my lack of understanding in regards to Photoshop and other softwares I am confident that as long as I attend the sessions for these programmes and don't allow myself to be scared of using things like Photoshop, I'll be able to progress to a level where I am comfortable using the software and producing work on it.

OUIL405 - Making My Book

After gathering my visual research I began making my pages. I made a whole bunch of textures so that I could pick and choose what to work from. The process of using cut paper, texture and collage was one that I really enjoyed but found to be very time consuming, especially when working with very small, fiddly bits of paper that need glueing down. I think that it would have been better for me to start making my pages a lot earlier on, I found myself rushing the last few as my print slot was looming but my lack of time management was purely down to me underestimating how long the pages would take to make. 

Making textures is addictive

First few pages ready to go!
It was really exciting to see my book start to take shape and come together as a finished piece. I really struggled with some of the smaller pages, they were very frustrating to work with. If I was to make something this small again I would probably work in a bigger scale and then adjust the image to the smaller size in Photoshop. It took a lot of time and patience to get all the pages done and everything cut out and stuck down properly, I found using pritt stick made quite a mess, but I was unsure of which glue would be best to use, the glue kept getting stuck to my fingers and have left dirty marks on some of the pages. I really enjoyed working in this way though, it's definitely a new way of working for me but it's something that I really enjoyed doing in Visual Language and it's really good to see how something that I'm learning in a different module can be carried across to this module. I think this project has really given me some time to think about how I'm working and apply some of the new techniques and process's I'm learning to my work. 

OUIL405 - Visual Research into Historical Elements of the Chevin

For some elements of my book I needed to do some visual research. This involved just looking at existing photographs of things that I personally was unable to document during my trip to the Chevin. This include things like different animals, iron age huts, bronze age arrows and a building called White House Farm. I gathered a few images like the ones below and made different elements of my book referring to the pictures. I had reference to other elements of the forest such as the trees and ferns from the photos I had taken during my trip, these helped a lot when I was deciding what kind of plantation to add to my book.

Wild Pig

Axis Deer

Iron Age Hut



Bronze Age Arrows

White House Farm

OUIL405 - Experimenting With Textures

I spent a lot of time experimenting with texture and different ways of making texture. I knew for certain that I wanted to work with gouache as I really like the smooth matte look that it gives once dry and also like the fact that it acts similarly to watercolours when diluted. I played around with a few different techniques of making texture such as using cling film and tissue paper scrunched up over wet paint, sprinkling salt onto wet paint, flicking paint onto wet paper and even used bleach and vodka to create some interest textures. 

Cling film over wet paint - I really liked how this looked, the cling film over the wet paint dragged the paint about leaving you with lighter and darker sections once the paint had dried. I think this worked well to give the appearance of leaves on trees, with lighter and darker section indicating where light would be and where more shadowy areas would be.

Salt on wet paint - This was another technique that I really liked and felt worked really well. The grain of the salt leaves a really small fine print on the paint once its dried, creating little dots where it had hit the paper. I thought this was a good way of indicating leaves on trees. 

Dropping clean water onto wet paint - Another technique that I loved! I think I enjoyed making these textures more than the end result, when you drop the water on the colours blend and merge together really nicely. Still I feel that the end result of this would also work well for the trees. 

Flicking paint onto wet paper - This was very very very messy. Everything ended up covered in paint but it was all worth it because this way of making textures works amazingly! Using different shades of green worked well as the colours kind of merged together once they hit the paper. 

Coffee on wet paint - This one works really well for the path texture that I was trying to create. Even though I initially experimented with this technique using green paint, I could tell from the way that the coffee reacted with the paint that it would work really nicely on brown paint to create and nice muddy looking path. 

Vodka on wet paint - Dripping vodka on the paint worked interestingly also. As the vodka hit the page it created white or lighter coloured rings on the paint which looked really good. As much as I liked the look of this I didn't think it'd really be the kind of effect that I wanted parts of my book to be made out of but this is definitely a technique that I want to investigate further. 

Bleach on wet paint - This was so fun to do and the end results look so cool! Probably not the best idea to be messing around with bleach BUT the end result looks amazing. The bleach lifts the colour from the paper, creating some really weird fluid shapes and marks on the paper. Once again though I wasn't sure if this was the kind of texture I was looking to include in my book but I definitely want to make some more stuff like this. 

Using different brush strokes - A simpler way of making texture but not any less effective. I found that just using different kinds of brushes and different brush strokes was probably the most effective way to build up colour and texture that was quite thick. Textures I made just using a brush and paint would definitely work best for making a grassy background for all the pages. 

OUIL405 - Problem Solving Through Storyboarding and Roughs

I developed a timeline and storyboard for my book to help structure it better around the historical infomation I had found on the Chevin. I then developed my storyboard into separate roughs to get a better idea of what was going into each page and how I was going to lay it all out.

Timeline and Storyboard

Page 1 & 2 Roughs

Page 3 & 4 Roughs

Page 5, 6 & 7 Roughs

Page 8 & 9 Roughs

Page 10 & 11 Roughs

Page 12 & 13 Roughs
Using a storyboard and timeline really helped me figure out how I wanted to lay my book out and how I could spread different parts of my research out over the book in an organised way, whilst keeping a good flow. I could see from the storyboard and develop roughs that the different pages would flow together well, nothing is disjointed or seems like it's out of place. Developing these into slightly larger roughs afterwards allowed me to define what the contents of each page would be and also to realise which areas I would need to find some visual reference for e.g. bronze age arrows and iron age huts. 

Thursday, 14 January 2016

OUIL405 - Book Size and Layout

I decided to make a concertina book, mostly because it would be more practical to have the timeline of the Chevin running across one long image. I also think that there are a few more creative possibilities when dealing with one long image, layout is not as restricted, you have more than just one page to work with.

I took inspiration from my Artist Case Study of In The Garden by Emily Rand and started to cut into the different pages of my book. I wanted the book to run upwards in a diagonal line, as if it was the edge of a hill. The Chevin is on the top of a hill so I thought this was pretty fitting to my location. I'd previously discussed with Matt the idea of using different coloured sheets of green paper but I'm not entirely sure that this would work. I think it might over complicate my book and make it too busy for the reader to look at. I used this mock up book to start to roughly plan my pages and figure out where I wanted everything to go. From here I developed some smaller rough sketches and a proper timeline in my sketchbook so I could make decent roughs of each page which I could then develop into my final images. 


  • Front Page/Page 1 - Start of Forest and path
  • Page 2 - Bronze Age, little hut, arrowheads, path, character
  • Page 3 - Forest and path, antler on the ground (reference to research)
  • Page 4 - Iron Age, hut circle, heath, character
  • Page 5 and 6 - Just forest and path, maybe animals? Two pages of forest show time gap between Iron Age and Victorian Period
  • Page 7 - Victorian, White House Farm, refreshments sign, rambler/cyclist sat outside, reference to upsurge in tourism
  • Page 8 - Forest and path
  • Page 9 - Danefield Estate/Game Park, toll booth at the start of the path, exotic game amongst trees e.g. zebras, goats, wild pigs, axis deer
  • Page 10 - Forest and path
  • Page 11 - 1900's, tree's felled for war effort, maybe characters of wood cutters? 
  • Page 12 - 1950's, trees being replanted/growing back
  • Page 13 - The forest today, full size A5 page, add small details from my trip e.g. Carrot the dog, the wooden throne, little characters of me and my boyfriend Matt. 
Quick Storyboard of Pages - to be developed into
more detailed roughs to work from at a later stage.