The first project I started was a live brief requiring an animation for RSA Student Design Awards. Overall, this project taught me a lot about my own practice and how I work as a practitioner. As an illustrator I can be more diverse with my skills. By researching a large number of other illustrators I was able to learn how to use movement with shapes and imagery to objectively present a new idea whilst avoiding cliché imagery. This successfully taught me how to create a considered animation illuminating a piece of text through a range of different techniques including typography and the movement of symbolic shapes through expressive mark-making. For my own professional practice this was one of the most turning points in my illustrative career as I found a skill I that allowed me to be so much more diverse as an image maker, which even became adaptable into other projects.
At the same time as the RSA brief I undertook a series of lectures focused on mastering a thorough self led research project into the internet and its relationship with contemporary illustration. This gave me the opportunity to deepen my insights into contemporary art and design practices, issues and critical debates associated with them. As the research was self led it helped me understand my own place amongst other practising professional illustrators, contextualising where my emerging practical work would take me. In addition to this, by using my knowledge on the practicalities on contemporary illustrators using the internet as a medium, I was able to determine and build my final major project on a critical and contextual rationale based on my findings. This was based on using my knowledge of the way previous artists from the past few decades up until now, had utilised the medium for its responsive, individual advantages. My Final Major Project uses the theories of Marshall McLuhan; analytically grasping the concept of the medium and its significance within the context internet art, and referenced this to the medium of my own work. It was not only my Dissertation research that was able to inform my FMP, but the RSA brief encouraged me to create GIF’s animations, a format only able to be viewed on an online platform, an idea informed by my Essay research. Throughout my Final Major Project I also wanted to not only gain animation skills but determine the nature of my own visual communication. Through series of drawing my work eventually led me onto a path in printmaking, which I then transferred into animation. Over the course of the year I have been able to gain skills across animation and printmaking, which I feel makes me a much more diverse illustrator and I can apply all these skills to my professional practice outside of university.
Whilst working through these projects I have been simultaneously working on presenting and promoting myself as a qualified and specialist illustrator. I took responsibility of defining my professional self image through research into relevant promotional tools at my own disposal. I needed all my material to be at a coherent developed level to attract the kind of clients that would be suited to my practice. This required a lot a judgement on my behalf; I needed to demonstrate a selection process to inform my self image throughout the project. Whilst creating work I considered the ways in which my work would be perfectly suited to promote myself. For example my work is primarily utilises the internet so 99% of my promotional work is based online, as that would be my primary crowd. This resulted in a variety of platforms, across social Medias alongside my only physical promotion: business cards. Being able to manage all the promotional material myself was a challenge, as traditionally I just create work. Through my research I learnt the importance of presenting my work in the most appropriate manner; this required a huge level of discipline and organisational skills which I will need as a freelancer.
In conclusion I have learnt the most about my own practice this year and my place amongst other contemporary illustrators. My final Major project taught me how to create an appropriate visual language for poetry through animated printmaking. My work from now on will have a crucial focus on the importance of the internet as the most socially and cultural relevant medium for illustrators. Compared to the skills I started at the beginning of the year I now think my diverse capabilities will be what help me launch a professional career as a printmaker/animator/illustrator.