I believe the core of my visual research was that I considered and used a large variety of different sources, such as comic books, zines, Pinterest, Tumblr, physical tarot cards from ‘The Light Grey Tarot’ deck. I looked into secondary in addition to primary research to try to show my ideas through a visual perspective all that I desired to represent colour wise, detail wise and layout wise. Firstly, in doing research for my final major project I was set on attempting to clearly reveal the ideas that were all purely imagination down onto paper, ideas that portrayed illustration styles, spiritual influence, body poses for the tarot design context. I was showing this by obtaining items such as CD covers, mini booklets, envelopes, a peacock feather and comics that each had elements I found complimentary to my project such as colour scheme, design but also culture research from an ancient time. Throughout my secondary exploration I accumulated a range illustrative work of which, held fantasy themes to them. This brought me into analyzing webcomics that had appealing visuals of how colouring is displayed and used to flatter the amount of detail ,with each illustration. I found that it was interesting how artists chose to draw as some were drawn with black outlines to everything, some without and others such as Minna Sundberg who made the ‘Stand Still. Stay Silent’ webcomic who used a colour instead of black to outline and appear more real or more vibrant. I took a assortment of primary images that were mainly architecture, environment and figure pose based, all of which were capture within Newcastle, this because in the beginning I thought my environment would be a fusion of city and wild forestry to show that this was more fantasy lead and culture based, although the idea would change as research progressed into the concept art section. I thought it was crucial to have an assortment of primary images, considering my project was fantasy lead it was still important to extract aspects from real life, to then employ them within my idea development, allowing myself to produce and define the world’s basic foundations. A main element I used from the primary images was, the head of buildings of which reflected a similar style to that in the middle Eastern architecture, using such architectural photographs as a substitute, due to not having the finances or time to travel abroad for a photo-shoot on Indian soil. Prior to the project start, I had researched into comics and zines within my project proposal book , allowing me to go back and analyse which styles most suited my own handwriting. I used this as a base line for where to go for illustration inspiration. Having visited the two major comic book stores located within Newcastle I browsed through the types of comics available, then, proceeded onto researching digitally about the artists through websites such as Tumblr and Pinterest.
For additional visual muse on my theme of fantasy I went beyond webcomics and ventured into, movie based art, concept art being a main key to idea development. Because I wanted my tarots to be spiritual this meant I could merge a fantasy taste to it, therefore I went to Pinterest and started to explore Disney concept art from movies that involved ancient civilizations, such as, ‘Atlantis: The Lost Empire’ or ‘The Road To El Derado’. I found it essential to make it clear that my world creations would feature material like, guardians who would be symbolic of both god and the people of the civilization in one being, natural elements symbolic of the place, gemstones of which translated the characteristics of the chosen civilizations to reflect on their individualism, all of whom would be inspired by such concept art ideas, though this said, the idea for the giant guardians originated from the Disney movie of Atlantis.
In terms of improvement I know I could have explored more into ideas on my spiritual and culture theme to try and advance further into a deeper understanding of ancient traditions and what I could have done to relate my tarots more to surviving ruins of lost worlds like the Aztecs. There are lots of conspiracies and YouTube videos I could have looked at to have possibly taken inspiration from and insert within my book physically, even if I never would have ended up using it, I know it would have been useful to have as something to go back to physically and generate ideas from. In addition to this, I also wish I had made more responses to the artists and cultures I had looked into, simply to have more visual reflection in my research journal; Because I feel that as I went on into my development stages, I began to speed up in drawing and experimentation because I had gathered so much research, this meant I already had a basic idea of what I wished my cards and illustrations to include, something of wish made me feel as though I had rushed into designing and then even more so onto generating.
In my contextual my main strength was looking at lots of different artists and having a firm understanding on the symbolism found throughout their work, that was linked into the tarot symbolism. I produced in-depth research when it came to looking at what type of styles I could be illustrating within in, including what I could morph into my own handwriting. The artists I researched were a collection of people that I had long time been a fan of before for their empowering illustrative styles and that my previous work had already had a great amount of influence on; From having inspired me recently from primary exploration at the comic book stores, to those artists who have held my captivation for years, I was able to obtain a higher understanding.To choose artists who move me, who encourage my muse, it greatly allowed me enjoy the work I was doing a lot more, helping me to appreciate that of what I was producing as a result of analyzing their techniques, I also felt more comfortable when drawing and responding to them; For instance the Photographer artist Chris Burkard and the selected photographs from his website, allowed me to have a better understanding on natural structure for environment, something I have never done before, which lead to my own lineal responses.
It was rather pleasant when being able to do research on artists, simply because I had the freedom to venture and select who I was inspired by the most, which made the project a lot more entertaining and coaxed myself to want to engage more with researching. From a photographer to a hit animation T.V show, I could leech out certain factors I found flattering and look back into those muses when developing my work. It was from the hit television show ‘Steven Universe’ created by Rebecca Sugar, that would in the end guide me into how I wished my actual tarot card illustrations to look, due to the context of the show being based around gemstones. Meanwhile others were influential online artists that shared their art through Tumblr, with webcomics of all kinds of genres and who currently make their income freelancing through also taking commissions. My overall opinion about the artists chosen is that I think I chose strong, intriguing, relative artists whose work was simply beautiful visually, a goal I had hoped to reach with my own produced outcomes.
Starting off with a questionnaire about young adult’s opinions about traditional and contemporary tarot card styles, gave me that opportunity to straight up get a solid grasp on what my target audience desired me to produce, the overall outcome of results being that contemporary was more in favor, a result I had predicted when first starting my project proposal. Three illustrations were drawn previously within my FMP project proposal book, these were already ideas from mind onto paper for the road I was taking with my Gone World tarots and illustration set. This helped with research because I could also use the illustrations to work out what I wanted to keep and what needed to go, for example although hand-rendered, as the target audience preferred contemporary the best response would be to digitize my outcomes, this meant that I would have to get rid of the idea to DIY and leave my designs as physically presented by hand and instead scan in my designs to be digitally corrected and edited where necessary.
My contextual research could have excelled by perhaps exploring more ideas on what I could do with my environmental and gem theme. I feel as though when I undertook my research I may have excluded time of idea mock ups and responses because I wanted to fully understand where it was I was going with this project, trying to write my mind and document what relations my research has t the tarot world rather than spend time, sketching until, when I reached the development stage. I wish I had generated more idea mock ups throughout my research book , to add more visually different ideas for fantasy, spiritualism and ancient culture to show that I was already producing ideas in my head. The reason, however, as to why I did not spend time on sketching is because I knew already how time consuming my three large scale outcomes would be, this meant I had a decision to make between keeping up with my time planner or falling behind as result of time consuming colour sketches. On top of that, I could have possibly also looked at more cultures other than the Egyptian, Aztec and the Mayan, it may have brought more inspiration into my produced development work.
My strong points when doing experimentation was that I managed automatically come to terms with what worked and what did not work with me, through drawing and looking a lot at the ‘Steven Universe’ section of my research I maintained a strong idea stream that I could portray through my own handwriting. When I eventually managed to collect all the images that helped me visually connect and communicate what I was trying to get as a result at the end of the project, I began to get glimpses of what I wanted to experiment with so I decided to draw out responses mainly only in 2B pencil, baring in mind I had already done three colour mock ups and experimentation with media within my FMP project proposal book. From the very start, even before progressing onto my FMP book I already had a strong idea on where I was going to take my art colour and media wise. There was a certain media I’d never explored with to such a high degree and that media was water colours, my previous coloured illustrations had no watercolour to them, nor had they elements of alcoholic based pen work to them, which meant the focus of my exploration media identity crisis was in fact ink and watercolour. When it came to the elements I used water colour pencil for water mock up in response to Chris Burkard, I wanted to show as much colour as I could and present in a interesting way, the water colour pencils allowed for me to bring out an intense vibrancy to the drawing. Drawing environment was really natural coming to me and took not a lot of time, this is because I had analysed every photograph on his website, explored and examined so many different illustrations, that when coming up with a response or even an environment idea the structures of the earth as well as the flow of water was easy to map out and correct if misshapen. I had not drawn any sort of architecture since I were a child and I do not find it the most thrilling thing to do, it was from this that I focused more on the idea of the guardian representing culture and civilization. After I had drawn some out I had them photocopied and was able to experiment on top of those. I used media such as fine liner, marker pens, watercolour pencils, regular colouring pencils, 2B HB pencils, white gel pen, copic pens and watercolour pens and paint to experiment on, as a result I found the media that worked to a high standard was not to my surprise, all, but together especially. At first I had thought about the possibility of colouring up photocopies of my work and working over the top, be that as it may I already knew what I could do with all elements of media and what I needed to focus on was my first tarot design stage, otherwise I would lose time. As a result of not colouring up past sketches my book was left rather naked in that area, something I find displeasing personally, though necessary it was. Not doing the scanning or photocopying of sketch ideas gave me a chance to photograph my progression and plan how I could introduce colour to my final design mentally first.
When I progressed onto doing my guardian characters I cleanly sketched for their body type and physical position in the illustrative piece. As it was all fantasy based world wise I needed that glisten of spiritualism and through the giants who would be becoming part of the environment, I would be able to project out the spiritualism, the emotion of the people gone with the world. I experimented with how I wanted their faces to express emotion, I did this by looking back into my research about the movie concept art in Disney and then to the cultural research on Mayan civilization in addition, to the cultural people’s facial and physical structure, adding facial features to the giants that would drive a sense of understanding, that sense of connecting with a collection of culture, people, spirituality, all t reflect on the individual civilization the guardian / giant, belongs to. I used watercolour pen in a page of my sketchbook that was a response to an artist named Alyssa Winan and used the thick outline to intensify the colour so I could grasp as to what the illustration would loo like if it were a full colour up of that specific guardian design.
Furthermore, I experimented with concept art ideas. When I started to finalize my projects research and the environment choices for my three worlds, I then started to put the duo together to make one. This was to experiment with how my guardian would appear with architecture, observing how two and two interacted with each other in the world they lived in, exploring with what style of architecture best suited the guardians. I did few thumbnails responses in my Mayan research section of the FMP research book and made up my mind about the fact, yes, Mayan architecture style alongside the Egyptian looked rather interesting, however due to the symbolism found in tarot it would prove confusing as to why there is the symbol of a city within a tarot where a city is not portrayed as relative. In conclusion to this find, I took measures that in future development I would have the city like buildings shrewdly hidden, so that it would not overwhelm the composition.
My other asset was, that during the start process I thought in the end I would finish up doing my final project digitally but, to my surprise, I instead while doing experiments in my sketchbook using hand-rendering traditional methods with pencil as well as watercolour, found that it became clear my hand working outcomes were also rather good in taste. Saving time ad adding texture to the tarot I simply could not recieve through digital only. Mixed media has always been my favorite and best choice for outcomes as I find I can create the illusion that the work has been digitally composed, through my understanding of colour and so detailed colour skills. I also explored with how I would set out my drawings for my final pieces. A dire part of development. When I decided to change my character positions to a more visually engaging and interesting style I needed to experiment more by drawing lots of numerous scene poses.
I have an understanding that, I could of developed my experimentation by going into more work with digital applications such as Illustrator or Photoshop, in past I have found it quick, for this particular project however I felt as though it would have been too simple and too minimal from what I had in mind to do. Though the digital side would soon come in very useful for cleaning up my scanned in images. The lack in digital is in my opinion, not a negative, because the way I personally colour up using pencil, watercolour pens and white gel pen it created the digital effect for me.
When evaluating my idea development I find that this part of the project progression was incredibly straight forward and what I had in mind to set out to do was crystal clear that I hardly needed to waste much time in finding my core idea. I already had it. Three illustrations was the minimal amount I set out to do and overall achieve, it was from this that I had formulated a total of three lost civilizations to base my three tarot as well as three illustrations upon. Atlantis, Lemuria and Agartha. Each world would have different yet connected environments, for instance Atlantis would be sub-aquatic based, with glowing fungi acting as symbolism for both magic and all things unpleasant. Meanwhile Lemuria would have an environment based on trees and greenery, but would be the only one of the designs where the sky is present, unlike Agartha of whom would be subterranean based, with giant tree roots symbolizing as connection to the earth as well as confinement, alongside smoking, oozing with lava mountains and volcanoes. My goal in idea development was merely to explore other possible outcomes, in addition to coming to terms with which specific tarot was best suited for which lost civilization. I explored numerous possible tarot cards from ‘The Tower’ to ‘The Hanging Man’ to ‘The Star’ and ‘The High priestess’. When I was doing research on my environment I had a firm, clear idea of what I wanted it to look like therefore I excluded the background on some idea development pieces and went with a more overall look of the guardian set out. Unfortunately they were not representing what I was pushing for. I needed detail, emotion, a clear understanding of what the card was and what symbolism is most consuming appearance wise.
Development was undertaken and I took an illustration idea I had done for my FMP project proposal book, in the Chinese Zodiac Ox section, then manipulated it into being a design for my physical tarot card – ‘The Devil’. It was from the first illustration construction of the Devil card that I realized I would have to make this development into the real thing as the clock was ticking and I wanted to be sure I would reach my deadline. I broke off from development early to invest precious time into creating my final outcome hand-rendered original pieces. One card in particular I had no need of developing as greatly, this is because just like I had taken the Ox design, I had taken the design for Atlantis out from my FMP project proposal book and developed it into becoming a final piece. I had used acrylic paint in my prior mock up, now however I had the resources media wise to use both alcohol based and water based marker pends, besides the use of water paint and pens to creature a solid vibrant blue colour schemed tarot card illustration.
With Lemuria having always been the most spiritual and connected of lost civilizations, I paired Mu up with the Moon tarot. The first design for Lemuria was too similar to my Agartha design, therefore I chose to play around with the idea by having multiple pose tarot designs at first at an actual tarot card size, these on the other hand had not the captivating appearance as I desired, which was why towards the end of my development I had a design with a woman from Lemuria up close, in the corner gazing out elsewhere than to the audience and with the two standing pillars, as well as the traditional tarot symbolism of a path behind her. She would represent her people, meanwhile the rest would talk for itself. This design however would be cast aside as I took a completely different approach and went back to the full body poses I had first illustrated at a smaller size and created a new design that would officially become the original final piece hand rendered.
In terms of development improvement I could have developed my art through colour ups, just to have that essence on what colour scheme belongs to who, be this as it may be I already had a colour scheme moodboard in my A4 research book, which was why i felt no need as to go full out with the colour mapping, if I were to have messed up to then fix and go back into would’ve taken time away from my realization progress. When I got to developing my final pieces switched my settings straight onto an auto pilot mode, because I had the perfect designs and a tight time space if I were to make such creations truly shine. Thankfully, I had illustrated in such a way before, allowing me to be somewhat more relaxed when colouring up my designs, however it meant that the developed pieces would all become the real thing.
Proudly, I can say I have excelled my own expectations and have developed outcomes to be so prideful and pleased about, though it is mainly shock I feel when observing and analyzing these six pieces. I believe confidently that after all my research, all my absorbing of tarot and culture information, I have created six very strong final pieces, I had placed a good amount of time and intense effort into making all of the drawings come alive through vibrant colour and small detail. With confidence I can say I drew them all in great amount detail and it was not without struggle from sores and blisters of the hand preventing a painless making of progress. From the very beginning I stated I was going to have three large scale illustrations that would represent the tarot card chosen, to be completely honest these illustrations themselves could be seen as alternative illustrations to those found within my Gone World tarots themselves. It was a lot more fun and incredibly thrilling being able to have the freedom of media fusion, as well as, looking at more creative ways to present my tarot cards as actual tarots . I tried to incorporate each characters very different personalities into every one of my illustrations, it was a necessary goal and I feel as though I have achieved it.
I had to do three A4 sized designs for my Tarots and three A3 tarot inspired illustrations to go with the tarot set, with the amount of detail and the constant strive to get to that professional level of almost perfection, I think I was able to produce a significant amount of work in only a week where I had to complete two A3 outcomes and one A4 in time to scan in on the Wednesday, digitally correct then print out on matte paper at the appropriate frame sizes. I think this project helped me push myself impressively so to do more than I normally would ever do on such a time frame and to create a strong body of work that I can even use in the future, a project of work I had no knowledge about at all before taking on this mission.
I think that my final pieces do outline the criteria that I put for my project proposal, they do this by reflecting on the digital importance aspect that allows my art to be seen more as contemporary rather than anything traditional, I have responded to my desire to involving spiritualism in my tarots through the guardian designs and the fusion of God and people within the civilizations through the giant designs. In addition to this each civilatation had their own gemstones to represent, Lemuria had the Lemurian crystal for tarot card design whilst, within the large scale illustration there was both rose quartz and the shattuckite gemstone with one being a love stone and the other being the stone of the third eye. Atlantis had a mixture of larimar the lovestone and sapphire the stone of the ocean, where as Agartha was made up of onyx and amber to portray the devil tarot in the spiritual sense. My idea for the back of the tarots did end up changing to what I originally thought I was going to have, although I still created three tarot rears to a fine standard, which is what I had desperately wished to do. Such backs were simply done on a more interesting scale and interestingly enough, I had been advised to do a hand-rendered design in one evening for a tarot back, yet it occurred to me I could in fact incorporated my large scale illustrations into the back, which is why I took a slice from my favorite illustration that had a good amount of detail to it and manipulated it into becoming the tarots rear end. This allowed me to save time and complete my blog corrections.
Throughout all my sketchbooks I kept my presentation consistent with everything, from responses to research images. I used my research, collected images and annotated throughout everything, talking about what I could work with, what I couldn’t and what was actually on the pages in my work and what it meant which also includes all the symbolic meanings of imagery found within certain tarot cards. I also made a few responses to the research and images that I had sourced and received a greater understanding of all I had collected, such as landscapes and environments, guardian design and artist responses.
For my presentation, I thought a lot into how I wanted to set out my final pieces for the final show. In my sketchbook I had planned a little bit as to how I thought my work could be set out onto the board through having my end pages contain my original pieces in the order I find somewhat appropriate, a layout working both horizontal and vertically paired. I’d want my three large scale pieces to be piece to be possibly printed around A2 size or maybe bigger depending on how they will appear physically as I do not wish to lose the detail I worked so hard to acheive, though I cannot say the same with my tarot cards as I find it wound be appropriot to have the three cards blown p to a A4 like scale size.
Personally, I feel as though I have truly found myself within this final project, a lot based on my drawings skills as now I have perfected my handwriting and wish to continue to develop my level of professionalism in the future.I believe this project really allowed me get a firm grasp on confidence in my own art, to get better with my drawings and media use. I was able to work in digitally on Photoshop as well, even though I did not in the end, end up doing my final pieces completely digitally, I was still able to clean up my outcome and make them look even better through printing off the scanned illustrations and tarot cards.
During my ‘Gone Worlds’final major project I believe I was very good with my time management, I was comitted to my own time keeping and even through my sickness I managed to keep on top of that which was pulling me down. Stress was an anchor towards the end where I had to finish off three illustrations at the very start, yet I pushed myself hard enough and found that my favorite from the set was actually the last one to be completed, the large scale illustration for Lemuria. I kept on top of my work through strict scheduling and doable tasks daily self given. I produced a lot over the course of eight weeks though I would have loved to have down much more. I have produced a high standard of work and I have enjoyed doing all of it. I’ve been able to produce this amount of work in a short amount of time very quickly, something I have struggled with in the past, therefore I can certainly say I have improved drastically in time keeping. I was able to finish my project with pride in my art for the outcomes were unimaginable. To have also kept up well with my annotation and justification both on my blog and in my sketchbook, is a reward in itself. With such outcomes produce, I will most certainly use the work I have produced for my portfolio for future interviews.
To conclude my evaluation I shall end on a note of what I could have improved upon if I were to redo this particular project. I feel like a collected a lot of information about culture, illustration, artists, tarots traditional and contemporary, though I would strive to produce a large variety of illustration responses and ideas, as I have looked back on the project and found I feel as though it would have been so much more fun to have a pile of illustrations stacked up in my book. It probably would have been more alluring to look at if I had added more colour to my work, I shall simply have to keep going to progress a speedier colouring level.