Monday, 26 November 2012

David Gentleman

Just a couple of weeks back I was invited to a lecture at my university led by the talented and famous illustrator David Gentleman. For years my university have been trying to get him to do a lecture, which has been really difficult due to his lack of time and busy schedule, but amazingly they managed to convince him to do a lecture. I think most everyday people probably haven't heard of him before, but you will most definitely have seen his work somewhere over the years.
The lecture was held at the Wilson Road building at Camberwell College of Arts on a Wednesday morning, and so many people turned up, including current students, past students and lecturers.
So to begin with he introduced himself as David Gentleman (born 11 March 1930, London). He is an English illustrator and graphic designer whom studied illustration at the Royal College of Art.  He has worked in a wide range of media including watercolour, lithography, wood engraving, and his work itself has ranged from the platform-length murals for Charing Cross underground station in London to postage stamps and logos. His themes too have varied widely, from paintings of landscape and environmental posters for the National Trust to drawings of street life in London and protest placards against the Iraq war. He has written and illustrated many books about countries and cities and has travelled widely throughout Britain, France, Italy and India.
An example of his famous stamp designs- between 1962 and 2000 he designed 103 stamps for the Post Office, making him possibly one of the most well known stamp designers in Britain.
Now I'm sure some of you will remember this...On the eve of the Iraq war in 2003 he offered Stop the War Coalition a poster saying simply ‘No’. This was carried on the biggest protest march in British history. It was the first of many march placards, including ‘No more lies’ and ‘Bliar’. His largest design was an installation in 2007 of 100,000 drops of blood, one for each person already killed in the war. The bloodstains were printed on 1000 sheets of card pegged out in a vast square covering the grass in Parliament Square. And if you don't remember that, then anyone who has been to Charing Cross station in London most definitely will recognise this mural on the underground:
So famous work aside, he talked about his new book 'London, You're Beautiful' which was released in time for the 2012 games in London. Its a really amazing book for anyone who has ever had any connection with London.
Its full of a wide variety of landscapes and buildings of famous areas and also not so famous areas, all drawn rather delicately in fine liners and watercolours.
Even if you don't care about illustration, its extremely beautiful to look at :D
This one below is the Carpet Store that got burnt down in Croydon during the London Riots last year. Apparently David Gentleman drew this on scene, as a life drawing as opposed to from a photograph.
Aswell as buildings and landscapes, he also looks at the locals of London, including its ethnic diversity and multicultural areas.
They're drawn quite quickly, but there is something extremely life-like about them, most probably due to the fact they were drawn from real life.
The Olympic Park was included in the book too (seeing as it was released at the time of the Games itself)
Some really good watercolours of kids...during the lecture he was talking about how he was always worried that he couldn't draw people very well, but in my opinion I think they are some of his strongest pieces of work.
The famous HSBC building! He also mentioned how the slope of the building was an accident in his drawing and he originally planned to throw it away and start again, but decided in the end that he rather liked the 'mistakes'.
Famous Camden, which is where he lives currently, and draws alot of still life from.
Such beautiful illustrations! A big inspiration to my own work and practice, although I will say this is a lecture I really enjoyed and feel pretty lucky to have been there.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

When I Did Screen Printing

About two weeks ago I did a Screen Printing Workshop at my university. I've never done it before, and I've always wanted to! We have a floor of printing workshops, and part of our course gives us the opportunity to gain skills in printing so I gave it a shot. 
 The Screen Printing room.
There were some amazing examples in there on display :
 The cupcake was my favourite, and it had a red velvet sheen over the top of it so it was fluffy :) So cute! Well anyway, for our own workshop I used an old piece of work from last year. I printed it out from my computer, and then used tracing paper to get a black and white copy of it.
 Its one of my favourite pieces and I've always wanted to screen print it. Once we had our copy, we had to have the image put onto a woven mesh. The mesh is covered in a UV reactive liquid, left to dry, and then the image is put over the top of it and has a very strong light source shone on it. This allows my image to appear on the mesh.
 Just like so! I wish I had made my original image more black and bolder as the shape of my design would've showed up a little better, but it was my first attempt >.<
Then once the mesh is cleaned off and dried, it is fitted onto the screen printing press. Then we had to make sure we had the paper adjusted so that the image would print onto it correctly.
 A squeegee is moved across the screen stencil, forcing or pumping ink into the mesh openings for transfer by capillary action during the squeegee stroke. I've had to use a few images from the net to show this process as I didnt have a chance to photography this in motion myself..
 Once it is done, you lift up the press and you are left with a design.
 I had a few attemps at my design on several different types of paper....
I left it to dry over night and went to collect it the next day. I think the thicker papers looked best.
And here it is scanned in! Like I said before, I wish I had made the black and white version darker so that when I screenprinted it you wouldnt have the sketchy areas (as shown). But nevermind. I'm quite happy with it.
Hope you like it :)

Friday, 23 November 2012

The Knowledge Project Part Three

This is the final entry for my project on 'The Knowledge'! It feels kind of strange as I finished this project over a month ago, and I'm just a week away from finishing my second project already...ahh how times flies. So for anyone whos been reading up til now about this project, you may be aware we were drawing from a specific route in London which was linked to Cab Run routes. Well...
My front cover says it all. Our final brief was to create 'The Cabbies Guide to London', specific to our route and mine happened to be 'Fentiman Road to Wandsworth Prison'. It didnt have to be a text guide or a map or anything like that - just a visual piece of work to display the area we studied on the 'Cab Route'.
I decided from the beginning (of the final part) to create a series of collage work, using coloured paper to build up my imagery. I started with images in my sketchbook that I had drawn on my route, and began recreating them with coloured paper.
Some of them were severely detailed and took many hours. This one gave me such a headache!
Whereas my teacher like the simplicity of this one, which was actually half finished at the time, but he said I should leave it as it was, as the colours made it work pretty well. I think I kind of agree :)
Spot the little cat in this one?
And this one? :P
Theres an underlying theme of animal gangs throughout the series. The area my route was in has a really strong gang culture with men, but I thought that drawing a bunch of lads fighting didn't really do it for me. So I did it with animals instead, and kept it subtle. Cats in their territory and then gangs of pigeons in their territory...So if yo look closely in most of the pictures you'll see which gang has territory :3
Cats :3
And cats again....this was probably my most popular piece when we had a class discussion about everyones work. I think its also one of my favourites from the series of work.
Cat gang!
And the Pigeon Gang.
The big Sainsbury's in the area.
And a view from the side of a red london bus..
When I had finished creating the work, I had to scan them all in, edit them and such then put them into a grid on word. I had to convert them to PDF and have them printed out on a big sheet of paper like this:
Our work isnt handed in til late January, so I might have this work re-printed a little bigger as its slightly too small right now. But anyway, I hope you enjoyed the work I did for this project :)

Sunday, 18 November 2012

The Knowledge Project Part Two

So I finally found a couple of hours to scan in some of my work (precisely half of a sketchbook) and make it into a little post. This is part two of my entries about my recent project at University called 'The Knowledge'.
 We were told on the brief to work in a sketchbook, and to draw from life whilst visiting our routes in London. My route was on Wandsworth Road, and so I chose to begin using a fine liner pen. I started sketching local houses, buildings and pubs.
Aside from drawing, we had to do a little bit of writing, so please ignore the scribbly notes on the side of my drawings :3
Apart from buildings, we also had to look at social life in the area such as parks and playgrounds and the local people. I particularly liked the Larkhall Park in the area, which had a cute little playground and gangs of pigeons...
Just for fun I turned the gangs of pigeons into a literal Pigeon Gang. And added a little bit of speech and character ;D
The area had alot of council houses and flats (as you might have guessed from my photography), so I began drawing from that.
And being a little imaginative from the things I found...such as the manky yellow steps leading up to a block of flats made me think of teeth..
 I really got quite into the whole concept of council houses so I began drawing loads of them in a variety of medias. I started off with fine liners, throwing in a little bit of colour here and there, then smudging the colour with a waterpen...
Then as advised by my teacher, I had a little go with a big fat black felt pen...I quite enjoyed this as I got totally different pen strokes and detail.
Whilst on the road, I also made an attempt to draw the road itself with cars and buses going over it. This image in particular was drawn on a double page....
 And I also looked at the locals and the speech I heard in the street and made it into a little doodle page. This was quite fun as I got to think about the characters in the area as opposed to buildings and such.
 Then back to council houses, I began to experiment in pastels and chalk which in the past I have always avoided, but I'm glad I went ahead and did this..
My teachers seemed to think these were pretty awesome so I was really happy about that! It was also quite cool to work with colour for a change as for most of the sketchbook I'd done alot of black and white.
 I then began working with coloured paper to create the council houses I had seen, as I had enjoyed the use of colour with the pastels but I wanted to still have some detail that they couldnt achieve...
 Towards the end I did a few more landscape shots of the area, where I drew the image center page over two pages, with the crease in the middle. There are alot more examples of this in my sketchbook which later on I will post on my website and flickr.
And last but not least, I began to think about the cats and pigeons I had seen in the area. I thought about how I had created a 'pigeon gang' and considered the idea of animal gangs living in the area, as Wandsworth in particular is well known for its gang culture (amongst people that is).
So thats the end of part two. As you can tell I've been pretty busy D: This is only about 50 percent of my sketchbook, and I will be posting the majority of it on my website and online portfolios in December (which are in need of a major update). I will also be posting the third and final part of this project online in a post in the next week :)

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