Wednesday, 20 April 2016

OUIL406 Visual Communication - End of Module Evaluation

Leeds College of Art
OUIL406 Visual Communication
End of Module Self Evaluation

Leah Haywood

1.  What have you learn about visual communication during this module and how effectively do you think you have applied these ideas?
Throughout this module I have learnt a variety of things about visual communication, the most significant being how to simplify an image in order to communicate a message effectively. I’ve really tried to focus on this idea of simplification throughout this module, it appealed to me as a way of communicating and from this I have produced outcomes for two briefs that follow along the ideas of simple imagery and shape. I have also learnt a lot about communicating emotions and feelings through character in the gif brief and how simply you can draw something in order for it to convey an emotion. I applied this by exhaustively drawing different expressions and emotions in my sketchbook and this in turn I feel helped me develop a stronger outcome for this brief. I have also learnt a lot about the importance of research and how you really need to know your subject matter in order to communicate it most effectively to an audience. I have applied this my continuously researching throughout a brief in order to be able to understand my subject better, this was in the form of the greetings from brief and the persons of note brief. The research really helped form a foundation to my work and my ideas and I think it also helped me develop my work and create a more well-rounded outcome at the end of the briefs.

2. What approaches to/ methods of image making have you developed and how have they informed your concept development process?
I’ve really been concentrating on shape throughout the majority of this module. From Visual Language, I learnt that shape can be used really effectively to communicate to people, to create finished outcomes and to help provide a basis for my illustration work. This informed my concept development progress as I was constantly trying to simplify things down in order to strip an image back to its bare essentials, this is evident in the greetings from brief and persons of note brief. I have also worked with vectors a lot in this module, something that at first I was terrified of due to a lack of experience with the software, but now I feel a lot more confident working with them. I think digitalising my work really informed the development process of my greetings from brief, I was constantly reflecting on my work and when I started to vectorise it, I was constantly evaluating and changing lines and shapes in order to produce a piece of work that was executed well. I also found it interesting to work with gifs and develop hand drawn pieces of work into a moving image on the computer. This is something I definitely want to work with again, I enjoyed the overall aesthetic of my hand-drawn gif a lot and think that with practice it could become something to I integrate into work across other modules.

3. What strengths can you identify in your work and how have/will you capitalise on these?
I think my main strength is my use of shape with different briefs of this module. I am looking forward to developing my work with shape over the coming years at university and truly think it’s one of the most valuable and informative strategies of image-making that I have learnt on the course so far. I am looking forward to exploring what you can do with shape and how you can manipulate it and combine it with other ways of working in order to produce professional outcomes. I think I capitalised on my use of shape in the final brief of this module, my work was entirely shape based with some line and I think that this helped communicate my message very clearly without their being a chunk of decoration thrown into it. I also think another one of my strengths has been my sketchbook practice. I really pushed myself in this module to draw exhaustively and build a better relationship with my sketchbook. This helped me a significant amount when it came to decision making, roughs, and final pieces and also allowed me to have a place where I could reflect and build on my work in a way that I haven’t managed to do as effectively as before. I used a bigger sketchbook for the back end of this module as well and I think that this has really helped me, I felt a lot less restricted when working in my sketchbook and I think the bigger size helped me develop my work a bit more and gave me a little more freedom to move around on the page. I’m looking forward to capitalising this in second year, I am starting to understand the importance of having a good relationship with your sketchbook and can see how this informs your practice and can be a starting point for stronger ideas and pieces of work.

4. What weaknesses can you identify in your work and how will you address these in the future?
I think one of my weaknesses was the quality of my work. Now it’s coming to the end of the year and I am reflecting on the work that I’ve done I’m finding it really hard to see any work that I’m proud of and I was really hoping that in this last module I’d be able to produce some outcomes that I would able to be proud of. I think what lets me down the most is my level of crafting. I feel like my work doesn’t look as good as it could do and that if I spent more time on it I would produce better outcomes. I will address this in the future by being a lot more careful with my crafting and trying to take more pride in my work in order to produce final pieces that have a high level of craft and that I can be proud of. I also think one of my weaknesses was not blogging as much as I should have done. I left a lot of my blogging till last minute and this is something I want to change going into second year. I feel that if I blogged regularly then I would be able to make better decisions in regard my work, and be able to reflect on what I have produced more effectively.

5. Identify five things that you will do differently next time and what do you expect to gain from doing these?
1) I would make sure that I am constantly reflecting and evaluating my work and progress in order to make more effective decisions. From this I expect to gain a better insight into my practice, a better understanding of illustration, and a more effective way of working and decision making.
2) I would do more artist research in order to allow myself to become more influenced by other creative and to allow myself to become more inspired. From this I expect to gain a broader knowledge of different practitioners and start to begin to be able to recognise what I am interested in and what kind of work I want to be making.
3) I would spend more time developing my work in order to produce a fully developed final outcome. From this I expect to gain practical skills and be able to produce work that is research, well rounded and well developed.
4) I would organise my time better in order to not have to rush any final pieces of work that I am producing. I feel this lets me down a lot and is an unhealthy habit of mine so to do this differently would allow me to have more time to craft final pieces and produce work that I am proud of and that is of a higher standard than the work I am producing now.
5) I would be broader with the range of materials and image making processes that I am using. From this I would gain a better understanding of my materials and tools and understand how to use these effectively in order to create a well developed and well presented piece of work.

6.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.

A copy of your end of module self evaluation should be posted to your studio practice blog. This should be the last post before the submission of work and will provide the starting point for the assessment process. Post a copy of your evaluation to your PPP blog as evidence of your own on going evaluation.


OUIL406 Visual Communication - Final Pieces

After fine tuning my existing pieces and developing and producing my postcards this was the work that I produced for my final pieces.

Muppet Stamp Set - Taking iconic muppet characters, simplifying them down to just shape and colour to communicate the characters and there fun, playful appearance effectively. 
I'm really happy with the stamps, they look really clean and crisp and I think that as a set of stamps they work well together and sit well together visually 

The Dark Crystal
The Labyrinth
The Storyteller
Set of three postcards that communicate the storylines of three of Jims more fantasy based pieces of work. I'm really happy with the Dark Crystal postcard but not really too pleased with the others. I feel like I let myself down a little bit, because they were the last ones I had to do and deadline was round the corner, I rushed them quite bit just to get them done, I think if I'd taken more time on these they could've turned out a lot better. 

Grid poster portraying Henson surrounded by all the characters that he created and gave to us throughout his life
I'm also really happy with how this turned out, it's really fun and playful and delivers a direct message to an audience. I like the variety of different characters from a range of Jim's work and how they all fit together and balance each other out. I'm a lot happier with it now after making the changes that were brought up in the crit. 

Even though I'm mostly happy with the body of the work I've produced, this is not the outcome that i was looking to produce. I really wanted to make some work that i was genuinely proud of and once again I feel like I haven't managed to achieve that. I've made work that fits the brief and that meets the brief requirements but I haven't made something that I'm proud of. I feel like it's decent work but it's not my work, it's not the type of thing I really want to be creating. I don't know, I much prefer pens and pencils and emotive work rather than things that are more simple and flat.
I'm going to try and let it go though, what I've done isn't terrible, it's not the best but it's the best that I can do right now and thats all that matters. 

OUIL406 Visual Communication - First Set of Digital Designs

This was the first set of digital designs that I came up with for my final crit. I'm really happy with the stamps. They're super crisp and clear and communicate the characters in a really simple yet fun way. I don't think these are going to need much tweaking, if any, I'm really happy with how they turned out.

This was also my first design for the poster. I'm pretty happy with how this turned out but am not sure whether the symbols for the crystal, crystal ball and red book work well with the rest of the characters? I\m glad I've got a crit tomorrow because I need a bit of help seeing what needs changing in this, I know theres something not quite right about it but i can't put my finger on it. Maybe there's too many colours and it's making the poster a bit of any eyesore? I'm not sure, I want to see how people respond to these tomorrow and then I can make adjustments from there.

OUIL406 Visual Communication - Digital Rather Than Screenprinting

I went down to Vernon Street to screen print today and when I got there I changed my mind entirely. Screen printing can be really risky, sometimes things go wrong and it makes getting the final prints done a lot harder and with not much time left before deadline I didn't want to run that risk. I also really don't want to have to use a limited colour palette. I want my work to be bold and fun and vibrant and for this I want to use a whole range of colours that line up with the characters that I'm wanting to communicate.

I know it's a bit of a last minute decision but I'm fairly certain I can pull this off. I enjoyed the vectors brief with had before this one and I've started to get a little more comfortable using Illustrator so maybe this will do me some good!

OUIL406 Visual Communication - Stamp Positives and Rough Postcard Ideas

I made some positives for my stamps after reducing them down to two colour only designs. The lack of flexibility I have with wanting to screen print something so colourful is really bugging me. I'm not sure if this is the route i want to take anymore but it's the Monday before deadline and I really need to back my mind up with what I'm doing.

Feeling the tiled design for the poster a lot more, think it'd look really nice. If i'm going to screen print it i think I'll use a pink and green, they'll go pretty well together and it'll still look nice and colourful. Also decided to go with the chair and dog bed design for The Storyteller, I think this communicates the programme effectively and at the same time represent the two characters that host the show. 
My Labyrinth postcard is going to consist of a Labyrinth that covers the full postcard and a crystal ball in the middle. It was really hard to figure out what to do for this one and i'm not really sure if its good enough, it seems too plain and boring but I honestly can't think how else I could communicate the story. I think it could look okay once it's done though, just my sketches look pretty lame which is putting me off the design a fair bit. 

OUIL406 Visual Communication - Poster Planning and Character Simplifying

I drew up two different designs for my poster. One that work more like a grid and one that was more like a typology poster with vignette images. I was pretty keen on the idea of doing another typology kind of poster so started to develop and simplify characters for that.
Two poster designs and starting to look at how I can represent characters

Typology style Poster design 

I'm feeling really limited with my colour choices. If I'm going to screen print this the easiest way fro me to do it is using two colours max. I went with a bright green because thats what colour Kermit is and jim is mostly associated with Kermit but I think it takes a lot away from the other characters. Henson created this beautifully bold colourful world and I think that's missing from this poster idea. I'm also realising that this is not going to be achieved by screen printing and am considering definitely printing digitally. I think Im going to go for the tiled style poster and leave this where it is. It gave me a lot of insight into working exhaustively and helped me see how I can develop characters by drawing them over and over again but over all this just doesn't sit right with me, it's not communicating the fun playful message that i want to communicate.

OUIL406 Visual Communication - Final Crit Feedback

Feedback from peers and tutor:
- Fun, playful, bold, immediate - reads clearly and immediately
- Its about the characters and our understanding of them. Playing with our fandom
- Could it be more connected to Hensons world and life?
- Graphic approach working really well but does need more fine tuning - Less detail, bigger Jim, sharpen edges and shapes
- Good use of sketchbook to generate ideas and speculate proposals - exhaustive - distilling character into shape
- Really impressed with sketchbook processing and reduction of visual information

What I'm thinking:
- Really glad people said that my work was bold and fun, its the aesthetic I was aiming for so I was really glad people picked up on this showing that I've managed to communicate that clearly and effectively
- I wouldn't say that my projects been about the characters but I can see how it can be interpreted as that. The project to me is about Jim, but he lives on through his characters and a lot of them are recognisable to a whole bunch of people. I was trying to promote his legacy and how he lives on through his characters and the work that he created
- Glad that some things that needed fine tuning were pointed out, someone mentioned getting rid of some of the symbols I'd included and replacing them with characters which I think will make the poster a lot stronger.
- Happy to hear that my sketchbook work is paying off, I tried to push myself to develop my work more in my sketchbook and to try be more exhaustive with my work so I'm glad to see that this is paying off, it's definitely helping me in my decision making and i think having a larger size sketchbook has really helped swell as I haven't felt so limited.

To Do:
Re-work the symbols on my poster into characters
Make Jim bigger and give him some eyebrows
Create my postcards
Print everything off
Hand in!!

OUIL406 Visual Communication -Tutorial Feedback

Feedback from Jamie:

Nice representation of Henson through characters and shapes
Stamp designs are figured out. Working well.
Postcards - go non-character for these. Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, Storyteller. How do you describe these stories in an icon?
Post - 1 or 2 colour screen print/grid of multiple characters
Plan time for printing, speak to prints rooms

What I'm going to do now:
I agree with going non-character for the postcards. I think if I just calm down and think about this rationally I'll be able to find some symbols/motifs that work well to describe the storyline of the film/show.
I'm also definitely thinking of going ahead with some sort of gridded poster to show Henson and his creations. I think this is a really simple yet fun way of communicating him and his characters to an audience.
I'm still not sure on screen printing, part of me wants to print digitally but I know theres next to no print slots anymore so if I did print digitally I'd need to go down to Vernon Street and use their A2 printer.

To do next:
Plan poster out - simplify characters, plan a layout
Sort postcards - The dark crystal one works so focus on the labyrinth and the storyteller. I can use simple shapes and motifs to describe the storylines for these two
Relax - This isn't the end of the world.

OUIL406 Visual Communication - I AM SO STUCK

I'm really really struggling with all this at the moment.
I feel like my stamps were pretty strong and that they fit with what I was trying to achieve, but that from the stamps onwards things are going downhill. In my head I know I want to create something pretty shape based, simple to look at, but that communicates Hensons work and the playful, joyful nature of the creatures and characters that he created. But when I'm trying to get that out on paper i'm really struggling. I feel like theres been a real pressure this year to try a lot of new things out which is great in that i get to develop new skills and techniques, but because theres so much going on I've really struggled to find a way of working that fits me and what I enjoy doing. Everything so fast paced that it seems like I get a little bit of time using one technique before we're introduced to something new and have to produce work that fits in line with that, which in turn makes it really difficult for me to produce work I'm actually interested in and proud of.

I don't know really, I'm really stuck for postcard ideas and for an idea for my poster. I thought I could do something that was gridded out for my poster though and just have different characters in squares and maybe Henson in the middle? I'm not sure, I'm pretty sure I've got a tutorial soon though so hopefully that'll help get my head straightened out with what i'm doing for this.

I also wish I'd chosen Joan of Arc, I feel like there could have been a lot more research that i could have done on her to inform my work and all that, Hensons a cool guy, who was really friendly and full of joy and happiness and he wanted to share that, but everything revolves around his work, he revolved around his work and theres no way to escape referencing his characters in this brief.

My head is going to explode.

OUIL406 Visual Communiaction - Labyrinth Postcard Ideas and Development

This was tricky. I was really into my last composition for the Dark Crystal postcard and wanted to make something similar but I was really stuck for ideas. I sketched out a load of roughs involving symbols and motifs from the film and some that were based around characters as well.

I've been seriously at war with how to do this postcard. The Dark Crystal one came so naturally and I was really happy with it and this one just blew me out of the water a little bit. I got really stuck between whether to stick with symbols and motifs and characters. I really loved the Dark Crystal idea but after some internal debate I decide i should just stick with characters. It'd work just swell, fit in with the stamps and be a little less complicated to figure out in my head, and I'm pretty sure as long as I executed it right then I think they'll still look pretty cool once printed. 

These were a few sketches of potential character ideas for the postcard. I thought they were okay but I felt like I was just drawing replicas of things that already existed? Like I wasn't really putting any work in or having any creative input in it if that makes sense? I tried to get some of the characters to line up with the textured effects of the postcards but I wasn't really keen on the look of these. They seemed unfinished and quite poorly done. 
I did some drawings/paintings of the fire gang to try put my mind at ease and went back to using watercolour and ink. Once again, I was pretty happy with these, I know they're just drawings of the characters, they're not really personalised or simplified BUT i like working in this way. 
Simplifying the fire gang. This was tricky as they have weird shaped faces, my idea was that I could fill most of the card with flashes of orange and red and just leave negative space to show the face. I think this would have looked pretty good screen printed, I'm just still unsure on whether this is what I actually want to do with these postcards. 
I tried the textured line thing with Ludo and it worked well! I do like this effect and I think it promotes some of the playfulness that I was trying to communicate. Plus, its fairly simple and minimal, using just shape and line and this was what I wanted to try and focus my project around, communicating simply and effectively. 
I was quite happy with this one. I moved the worm into the corner and made him tiny to emphasise on his size. It's also really simple with just negative space showing his face and the front of his body and then red for his eyes and scarf.
I think if I can get the other postcards to be visually similar to this then I might be onto something that looks pretty good.

All in all, i'm still really stuck with the postcards. I had it in my head that if I started small with the stamps and worked up the poster things might fall into place pretty easily, but now I'm seeing I should have started with the poster and go down in scale from there, taking bits from the poster to create other pieces of work.

I'm also debating whether it's going to be a good idea to screen print or not. I know that if I do I'm going to have limited time and it runs the risk of something going really wrong, like a screen not being washed out properly and things bleeding. I'm kind of tempted to print digitally but I don't think theres many (if any) booking slots left.

OUIL406 Visual Communication - Dark Crystal Postcard Ideas and Development

I want to create three postcards based on three different pieces of work that Henson did in his lifetime; The Dark Crystal, The Labyrinth and The Storyteller. 

I had two initial ideas for The Dark Crystal, one was a postcard similar to the layout of Nate Williams work, that contained a number of characters and motifs from the film with the crystal in the middle and then another idea that had the crystal surrounded by shards and a background of three suns lined up (my sketches for these are in the picture below). I decided to go with the second idea because i think it ties up the theme/storyline of the film really well and communicates Hensons work clearly and effectively without the use of character. 

Two initial ideas and some crystal doodles using finaliser and watercolour pencil. I really love how the crystals look, this is definitely more my way of working and I got really into drawing these. I love using fine black lines, I think they have a nice quality, I wish I could have produce more work that was bit more in line with this style this year. 

I played around with some different colours of purple and different ways to draw the suns behind them,  just using copies and sharpies. I kind of like the chunky block colours, I'm still wanting to screen print so I think this could be executed pretty well if I develop it more. 

Inspired by the circle patterns of Nate Williams, I wanted to create something more than just a flat shape. These were just a few variations I liked the look of. I'm really feeling the aesthetic of these drawings, I love the crystals and the sun beams, ink and watercolour work super well together, I want to be doing more of this in the future I think. 

I'm really happy with this design. I love how it's executed aswell. I really got into using ink and watercolour and was super happy with how this turned out at the end. I wish I could just do something like this for the stamps, postcards and poster but I wouldn't be able to screen-print the texture of the paint, and I've got a serious longing to screen print.
I want to revisit this in the future. This is a lot closer to how I've worked previously and is also something that i enjoy and that i think i could develop and include across different modules and briefs. 
So by the end of all this I was pretty settled on this design. I was happy with the composition and the colours. I just need to make the positives for this and the other two postcards and then hopefully I'll be able to go ahead and screen print these. 

OUIL406 Visual Communication - Nate Williams

- Shape and line are super nice 
- Fun and playful 
- Colour schemes are nice but i'm looking to use brighter, bolder colours
- Like the added bits of texture
- None of the images seem empty but they're not overly busy (if that makes sense) 
- Good balance and composition
- Like the circular patterns, good for background and to fill space

I really liked Nate Williams work, its really fun and vibrant and super interesting to look at. He manages to fit so much into the image but never overcomplicate it to the point where it looks too full or busy. It'd be cool if I could do something like that with my postcards with movie characters or something like that.

I also really liked the use of shape and I'm fairly certain that's something I want to take forward in my work, Nate uses shape really well, I particularly like how he constructs people and different decorations features like leaves and plants. I think I definitely want shape to be the basis of this project. I think you can communicate really effectively using simple shapes and colours and I want to try communicate and fun playful message, rather than just creating work thats an exact drawing of a character, it might be cool to strip everything down and see how minimal I can make the characters.

OUIL406 Visual Communication - Initial Postcard Ideas

I'm pretty sure I want to keep the texture of the stamps throughout all different formats of my outcome. From that I decided that maybe I could use the texture was a background or to surround another image or text. I was kind of thinking that i could use some quotes for this as it would help link up to the kind of person Henson was without just focusing on characters and movies.

I found a few online that I thought might work well:

Lifes like a movie, write your own ending. Keep believing, keep pretending. 

The most sophisticated people I know, inside they are all children.

My hope still is to leave the world bit better than when I got here.

Life is meant to be fun, and joyous, and fulfilling.

Watch out for each other. Love everyone and forgive everyone, including yourself. Forgive your guilt. Forgive your shame, your sadness. Embrace and open up your love, your joy, your truth and most especially your heart.

Please watch out for each other and love and forgive everybody. It's a good life, enjoy it. 

I believe that we form our own lives, that we create our own reality and that everything works out for the best. 

If you care about what you do and work hard at it, there isn't anything you can't do if you want to. 

I tried to narrow down the quotes to some that were really short and simple, I think you can tell a lot about a person my how they talk and what they say, from looking at these, Jim seems like a genuinely nice, caring person, who wanted to make the world a more joyous, happier place. 
I really like the bottom quote about caring about what you do and working hard at it, it was a little bit of a pick me up while I was struggling with this project and some other bits and pieces of work. 

I did kind of like these. I think that they communicate the joy and happiness that Henson represents pretty well. They also fit to the same style as the stamps with the textured pencil marks and the colours I used line up with different muppet characters. 
I think I liked the idea behind this a lot more than the actual outcomes. Obviously these were just roughs so I could have tweaked them a fair bit to develop them more but I just wasn't really feeling it. I felt like they were too basic and that people would look at them and think they were boring. 

I'm thinking I should do a little bit of artist research and see if I can come up with something better for these postcards. I'm starting to regret my choice in person a little bit. I love Henson, I love what he stands for, I love his work, the films everything. But its SO hard to break away from the characters and to actually find information about his life. He was so involved in his work that that's pretty much all that he did, which is great but I'm really struggling to communicate this effectively, I'm worried that if I stick to the characters I'm just going to be seen as making crappy copies of things that already exist. 

Kind of wish I'd chosen Joan of Arc instead, that gal seemed cool.