Week 5 (Final Post)

I’m at the end of my creative habit this week, and I leave the project knowing that my skills have improved and with a great collection of drawings. Just as a refresher, my habit was to draw around 5 self portraits a week, each taking no more than an hour and a half. My medium was graphite and marker on sketch book or alcohol paper. My goal was to work on my speed, accuracy and style when drawing emotive faces. I chose myself as the only model, thinking initially that it would simply be easier to do so, but the project soon developed into an exploration of self portraiture.

Throughout this project I looked into a few artists that had made self portraiture part of their artistic focus like Man Ray and Alex Grey. This week I looked into the artist Cindy Sherman. She is a very influential self portrait artist, gaining recognition for her use of costumes, props, makeup, and back drops to portray herself as specific characters in order to make social and political commentary. I love her work because it’s both challenging and amusing. If i continue to do self portraits, I hope to be able to set a similar tone with my images. Here are a few examples of her work:

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Cindy Sherman, “Untitled”, photograph
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Cindy Sherman, “Untitled #495”, photograph
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Cindy Sherman, “Untitled #477”, photograph

Although most of my drawings may not show much introspective thought, the more portraits i made, the more the process became a time to meditate on myself. Why do I want to show this particular emotion? Why only black and white? How do I want myself to be portrayed, and why does that matter? These questions popped up alot while I was drawing and coming up with ideas for new images. I can’t say I found many decisive answers, but I don’t really think that was the point. It was just nice to have some time to myself, for myself.

Here are my favorite pieces from the collection:

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“Self Portrait #2”, marker on sketchbook paper
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“Self Portrait #3”, marker on sketchbook paper
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“Eye Series #1”, marker on sketchbook peper
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“Self Portrait #8”, marker on alcohol paper
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“Mouth series #2”, marker on alcohol paper

And here is my final portrait for this project. It’s not my favorite image, but I do think that it’s one of the strongest pieces of the collection. I had a lot of fun with this one, I took all of this time I would have spent on several portraits and put it all into this. Having the extra time allowed me to get more creative and show a little bit of what I’ve learned about myself and the practice of self portraiture throughout this project. I decided to title this “The Seasoned Chemist”. It deals with my daily habit of using various substances like coffee, medications, certain foods, nicotine, and vitamins to get my body to an ideal chemical state in order to function. I had the idea for this image, among many others, while creating the emotive self portraits. I decided to go with this particular image because it fit the theme of the project (habits) and it involved props, which I really wanted to use ever since looking at Man Ray’s work.

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“The Seasoned Chemist”, marker on alcohol paper.

Week 4

This week I wasn’t able to get as much done as I would have liked to, but I did experiment with the medium a little bit. I tried using Marker paper instead of regular sketchbook paper and bought a few kinds of different makers. Also, the paper is much larger than the sketchbook I had been using, I tried to keep the drawings around the same size, but I ended up making them almost twice as big as in past weeks.

These are the drawings that I did:

Saturday

face

Sunday

face3

Tuesday

face2

Wednesday

face4

I’ve made alot of progress with my skill and speed, I noticed it this week more than anyother in this project. I’m really happy with how the style is shaping up and how consisant I’ve been able to keep it this far. I’m looking forward to my final self portrait, I’m hoping to use it as a way to express how doing self portraits have made me look at myself in different ways.

Week 3

Through this week in general getting the drawings done was tough. Between work, school, and other homework, time got tight and stress really put a dent on how well the images turned out. I always thought I drew a little bit better when under pressure but I’m not so sure of that now.

Last week we had talked about building up more conceptual content in the portraits, and I was really eager to do so after getting back into Alex Grey’s work, but in the end I kept it simple this week. I have a few small sketches of more introspective portraits I plan on doing later, but i probably won’t do them for this project because I’m seeing now that rendering a face well is about all i can get done in an hours time.

I looked into Man Ray, as he’s well known for his self portraits, and I really enjoyed his work. His collections of self portraits range from standard photographs of himself to abstract sculptures of things that represent him. The variety and creativity involved was interesting and showed his growth as an artist. Here are just a few examples:

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He really seemed to enjoy all forms of self portraiture and put alot of effort into each one. What I like the most is the way he, or things representing him, interact with his surroundings. I hadn’t thought about it before, but how you interact with whats around you says alot about who you are and it helps fill out an image visually and conceptually. I looked into his book titled Self Portrait, but it turned out to be an autobiography, which is a self portrait in a way, but it didn’t seem to have any powerful quotes on the significance of self portraiture as a practice.

Today (Thursday)

I did this one quickly and mostly stress-free somehow. We had talked about showing progress pictures in class so I took one of this piece:

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As you can see, I start by a series of quick loose lines to block out major features and try to build up detail in each part of the face at the same pace (as opposed to starting with an eye or the nose and having detail radiate from that point). I’ve gotten away from drawing standard face guidelines (circles for head shape, lines for feature placement) in an effort to speed things up. sometimes i can take away from accuracy though.

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Tuesday

I skipped classes to do homework, which freed me up enough to draw some nice eyes.

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Monday

The only thing on my mind at this point was homework. Too much homework. After looking over the rest of this weeks art, it seems like stress really affects my ability to draw things nicely. I spent well over the usual hour trying to get this to look right, all to no avail.

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Sunday

(I skipped Saturday due to an 8 hour work shift and other pressing, pre-finals homework.)

Having less work and no school gave me a chance to sit down and draw what I think is the most successful set of the week. The expressions are exaggerated, the lighting helps define features, and the rendering is on point.

New markers achieved!

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Friday

I’m free from school and work one day a week: Friday. Naturally I usually spend that day sleeping in and staying out late. This was a quick portrait done while waiting for friends to meet up at my place before going out. I don’t really like this one. The proportions are off, the lighting adds nothing to the image, and I’m not making much of an expression. I am, however, proud of myself for getting some homework done on what is usually my holy day.

Also, two of my markers ran out of ink on this one.

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Small Changes

I’ve decided to change my project a little bit. I’ll be focusing only on self portraiture and emotive faces. Although I’m already getting tired of my own face, I am exceptionally easy to draw since I see myself on a daily basis. Also, my familiarity with my own face definitely helps cut down the amount of time I spend on each drawing. So strictly self portraits it is. What I specifically plan on doing is focusing on one whole expression one day, and then specific parts of the expression the next. I’ve found that its a bit easier for me to draw a complete face than it is to draw specific sections alone, so I want to challenge myself. Here’s what I accomplished this week:

self001 self002 self003 self004 self005

This project was mostly inspired by my need to speed up my drawing process and to understand emotive faces, but I decided to stick with self portraits because it’s a common practice for many artists. It’s easy and you get to know yourself a little better each time.

The artist that got me excited about self portraits was the noted CCAD alumnus Alex Grey. He has done hundreds of self portraits and often holds exhibits for them. He’s even made it into his own creative habit, drawing one each year on his birthday. He sees it as a reflective practice for artists and has held seminars on the importance of self-portraiture. A few example of his work:

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You can check out a small sample of the rest of his portraits here.

His portraits vary widely in style and medium, which makes them all the more interesting. For now I’m going to stick with pen and marker for simplicity’s sake, but I’m hoping that near the end if this project I can branch out a bit.

Creative Habit: Speed Figure Drawing

For my creative habit, I want to do a quick but mostly complete ink drawing of an emotive face or figure in action five days a week, for the next few weeks. To make things simple, I’ll use myself as the primary model, and my partner as a secondary model. This might seem like an extremely basic exercise, but it’s one I haven’t had the chance to do in my time at CCAD. For the two and a half years I spent here as a Fine Arts major, my figure drawing experience was limited to two extremes: having several weeks to fully render one figure, or less that a minute to execute a gesture drawing. Now that I’m going into Illustration, I feel that my focus should be on speed, accuracy, and versatility when it comes to figure drawing. I would like to take this opportunity to get out of my current habit of focusing too much on detail so that I can focus on capturing the essence of human expressions and body movement. Technically, I’d also like to improve on my use of line weight and understanding of lighting. Ideally I would like to spend only 30 minutes on each drawing, but I may have to work down to that time as the project goes on. Here’s a quick self portrait as an example of what I’d like each finished drawing to look like:

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This took me 45 minutes altogether. It’s not as accurate as I’d like, and not as detailed, but the portrait is convincing enough. Hopefully with each passing day I can get to a more simplified and loose style.

Final Week

We’re finally at the end of the Pipeline Project, and we have an amazing final product to show. Our group, nick-named the Dream Team (or whatever), really leaned into this project to ensure it would be how we had envisioned it.

When I first came up with the concept I tried to make it as inclusive to all majors as possible, but I didn’t expect so many of my classmates to be interested in the subject matter. I’ve made a lot of art based upon dreams, and I usually get a lukewarm reaction of “Yeah everyone dreams….we get it.” So I was pleasantly surprised when everyone in the group connected with the idea and with each other through sharing our own dream experiences.

The most daunting aspect of the project after having my concept being chosen was the fact that I had no experience in making films or animations. I decided it was best if I became the Production Designer/Manager so that I could help the project stay on point and run smoothly while letting each member of the group do what they specialized in. Managing still proved to be a challenge for me though. I had never worked with so many people on one project before and I’m pretty laid back at heart, so telling a group of near strangers what to do was way outside of my comfort zone. I definitely learned the importance of clear communication and direct involvement in this process. At first I took a distant approach, trying not to bother anyone too much and just let them do what I figured they knew to do. This worked for the most part, but during the last few weeks of the project when we got into crunch time I got a lot more involved and less afraid to direct the group in a more detailed sense and it seemed to help a lot more than my initial method. In the future I want to work with teams of illustrators and writers, so this experience was definitely worth having.

The best part of this project was being able to work with the Dram Team. Everyone was very focused and driven when it came time for them to do what they joined the group to do. Of course we all had lax periods when our job wasn’t relevant to the stage of the project we were in, but even then everyone found a way to be helpful. With the variety of skills and backgrounds that we all had, the group could have gotten so confusing and disjointed, but instead we came together and each became involved in almost every aspect of production. In previous group projects I’ve been involved in, there are usually a few kids who have no interest and hold the group back, but that didn’t happen here. My expectations were surpassed, and I learned that collaboration doesn’t need to be a thing of dread.

This past week was crazy, we all worked as quickly as possible to finish up the film. I went to a group meeting on Sunday to do an interview with Scott for the documentary, and created a poster to hang up around campus as part of our marketing efforts. During the week, I ran around between the separate teams within the group to make sure everyone was on track, and if they needed help I would do what I could to assist them (which was usually to get Justin since I know nothing about editing or animating).

Here’s the original image for the poster:

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The Poster that Scott designed:

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Here is the final product!

<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/123915220″>False Awakening</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/justintybowers”>Justin Bowers</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Spring Break and Week 4

During spring break our group got alot done. We were able to have two filming sessions, one on Thursday before break and another on Monday during break.

On Thursday we filmed the bathroom and outdoor scenes. For the bathroom scene I brought a toothbrush for Shadow to use, consulted with Justin on how the set should look, and tried to keep filming on schedule. It was our shortest filming day, and the shots we took were very simple, but everyone seemed to find something helpful to do.

Jiayu, Justin, and I working on the bathroom scene
Jiayu, Justin, and I working on the bathroom scene

On Monday we shot the bedroom and dancing scenes. For that day I put together the chandelier that Justin brought in. It will be used as a repeating element throughout the film. I ended up being one of the dancers in the dance scene so I brought a nice outfit and tried to dance as well as I could, but I definitely have two left feet. As always, I talked to Justin about how the set should look, but I arrived to the set a little late and the group had already set up both areas for filming. They did a great job, both scenes look amazing!

A still frame from the dance scene
A still frame from the dance scene
Annie, Justin and I working on the bedroom scene
Annie, Justin and I working on the bedroom scene
the chandelier I put together
the chandelier I put together

This week I kept myself very busy. Since filming is done, our group has now broken into smaller parts; Editors, Animators, Sound, and Marketing. On Tuesday I spent most of my time running between all of the smaller groups making sure everyone knew what they should be doing and trying to answer as many questions as possible. Our group got thrown into a time crunch because of some technical errors, so everyone worked as quickly as possible to make up for lost time. I also started an illustration for one version of the posters we will be hanging around campus and helped edit the group blog. Hopefully everything will run smoothly in the week to come and we’ll be able to create a great film!

Week 3

The script is finished thanks to Justin, and our set has been provided by Erin, so on Tuesday we were able to film all of the kitchen scenes for our project. This is no small feat, by having all the kitchen scenes shot we’ve knocked out a large chunk of the filming that needs to be done, and I think we did an excellent job of it. There are going to scenes in five spaces of the house; the kitchen, the bathroom, the bedroom, the living room, and outdoors. As production manager I was really impressed by how focused each team member was, and how well everyone worked together this week.

Tuesday was my first time ever being on any kind of film set. I figured I might feel a little lost on set, but the members of our group who are experienced in film kept all of us in the loop and helped everyone stay involved. As production designer I helped by bringing in a few needed props, consulting with Justin on the overall look of the shots (he really had it on his own though, he set everything up beautifully), and I altered some of the props to make them fit the scene. I’ve also been helping Scott with the group blog, which you can check out here.

Here are a few progress shots of the set, credit to Jiayu, Scott, and Erin:

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Today we’re planning on filming the bathroom scenes, so here’s a little weird inspiration for the group. It’s a music video by a band called Snog, the song is Late 20th Century Boy. Please note the singing mouth is going through a trippy mourning routine.

A Set, Examples, and a Timeline

Set

This week I spent much of my time hunting for a good set for our film. Unfortunately I haven’t gotten any solid answers from anyone, and I’ve had trouble contacting two out of the three landlords I wanted to work with. Earlier in the week I announced that my own Landlord might be comfortable with us shooting in the lobby of the building I live in. When I checked with his assistant yesterday she told me he might not want us doing that after all. Currently I’m trying to convince my partner/room mate to be comfortable with us using my own apartment. I should have a definite yes or no answer by tonight, so I’ll post on the group page as soon as I know. If I get a yes I will post pictures and draw set maps based on the apartment right away. Also, In an attempt to be as professional as possible, I wrote a formal proposal to send to any Landlord I might want to ask about filming on their property. Here it is:

Dear (property name) Management,

The 2015 Spring Semester Design for Media class would like to use certain areas on your property as a set for a short film they have been assigned to create. The areas we are interested in are the (list spaces here) spaces in the building on Town Street.The space would be used between the dates of March 17th and March 27th. Some props might be brought into the space, but props will be lightweight and compact. If you allow us to use any space on your property we will agree to all terms set by the property owner, and we will be respectful of all tenants within the building. While this film involves no violent motions, loud noises, or messy materials, our film crew will take every precaution to prevent damage to your property. If any damage is caused, the crew will monetarily reimburse the property owner immediately and in full.

            This is an excellent advertising opportunity for your property. The film will be shown to a class of over 20 students and will be widely shared through social media. The target demographic will be middle to upper class young adults who need to live on or near the Columbus College of Art and Design campus. If desired, we will list the property owners and/or the property as sponsors of the film and give any information that the property owners would like to be distributed to the viewers.

            If you have any questions about the nature of the film being created, please contact Sarah Winegar at SWinegar.1@go.ccad.edu. If there are any questions about the legitimacy of this project, please contact Alexandra Stoia at AStoia.1@ccad.edu. Thank you for your consideration.

 Examples

I was looking around the internet for a good video to further explain false awakenings (it turns out they’re all verily boring and technical, so I won’t post any unless someone needs a better definition) and I found that man named Tim Morgan on Youtube made a video with the exact same premise and took a similar approach. Please watch this before we meet up (I’ll bring my computer to class just in case though). I’d like the group to critique it together. Obviously this is below the standards we’ve set for ourselves, but lets take a close look at where his story telling and imagery fall short so that we can avoid making similar mistakes.

This music video by the band Is Tropical is a good example of a seamless mixture of animation and film. I thought our animators would like it:

And for our sound people I found a couple of interesting clips that could be good for sampling:

This is of parrots speaking to one another. The conversation is annoying, but the sounds in the background are incredibly weird.

This is the a Dublin WPS system test, it happens every Wednesday at noon. I’m not sure if any of this audio is really usable, but the dialing sounds and garbled words are neat. On a side note, I found out there’s an online community of siren enthusiasts…

Timeline

During today’s meeting I would like to see where everyone’s at and what they would like to get done in what little time we have to do this project. By the end of class I hope to have a comprehensive and realistic timeline that we can all follow for the next four weeks.