First week back, BA8 begins.

After a long an much needed Christmas break, we started back at uni this Monday with about half a year till we graduate!

Last term was definitely the most stressful term I’ve ever experienced however it really paid off as I got a much higher mark that I expected and got another first! This has really eased the pressure of this term if I do want to graduate with a first, however I obviously want to do the best I can and see if I can get an even higher mark this term!

Some overall targets for me in this last term of uni are to keep exploring what my illustrative voice is and what illustration is to me as well as thinking about my future. Already I’ve had moments this week where I’ve begun to understand my own work better or what I try to do with the work which is great! I’ve decided this term to keep a weekly update summarising my reflective learning via this blog whilst still note jotting in my sketchbook as last time I’d let this become really over whelming and time consuming!

We started off with a tutorial which was super helpful for me. I find it a real help to explain everything to someone as it allows me to take a step back and understand my own thought processes if that makes sense! I spoke to Chris about what my authorial voice is and how I’ve always worried about having this set ‘style’ as an illustrator. We spoke about how despite the fact that my work is so varied, my ‘voice’ can even be seen as the way I think.


(above = many different ways of working which I’ve tried!)

Anyway, in a nutshell what I’m exploring through this project and what I’ve explored in BA6 and BA7 is narrative: deconstructing a text and re constructing it focusing on key underlying narrative themes or interesting literary elements. This is really what interests me about illustration. I once saw a quote which described illustration as ‘to shed light upon something’ and for me I enjoy picking apart these well written texts and highlighting things a reader may not have seen. For example in BA7 when I did ‘Flowers for Algernon’ (see image below), the story was about a man who becomes intelligent and then an idiot again. For me, the most interesting thing about this story was this change from idiot to genius and vice versa and how the narrative structure showed the character as almost a reflection of himself which is what I tried to achieve through my imagery.

I’m also thinking of studying an Ma next year which I won’t go into too much detail about but I think this would be good for a number of reasons. Firstly, I think this Ba has been an exploration and a journey for me searching for what illustration is to me, experimenting and learning about the subject on the way. At this point and as mentioned, I think I’ve come to a point where I’m seeing everything I’ve learnt, understanding my authorial voice and beginning to pull everything together. By doing an Ma I can really narrow down and refine my practice after this experimental 3 years.

As mentioned also, I did always worry about sticking with a ‘style’ for my work. I’d say in the first half of this degree I let this weigh me down and would create work with the purpose of making it ‘look good’ and getting carried away with developing a ‘style’ element. As soon as I begun to be more experimental and care less about what everything looked like I learnt so much more about illustration and myself as a learner. If only I had taken this approach previously!


Anyway! Coming back to this week in terms of my learning, the workshop we had on ‘Platforms’ yesterday was also a positive learning step for me! At first I was torn between the ‘theatre’ and ‘school’ group and went with school. I thought the fact I was looking at literature was ‘school related’ as well as how I’m bringing to light interesting elements of a text. When people look at my work (Ba7 for example) I would hope they saw what I was trying to illustrate and learn about this interesting aspect of the text if they hadn’t already. The workshop and filling out the preliminary sheet as seen above, was good in that I had to explain what I was doing in BA8 in 50 words. This helped me to refine what I was doing and almost made me understand what I was trying to achieve better if that makes sense!


From now and my target for this next week is:

  • Working hard to try and finish DISSERTATION
  • Continuing preliminary work for this project