Exercise 4.3 – Drawing and thinking

Method

  1. choose a story to tell to a friend, or just out loud to yourself. It might be a fairy story told to a child, an anecdote from work told to a partner, or a secret told to the mirror.
  2. Select drawing materials, based on your experiences of the course so far. Choose the scale and material substance of this drawing. You might like to explore materials borrowed from mapping diagrams, doodles or flowcharts, or you might like to dislocate the process from its usual materials and use something quite different. Remember make brief notes in your learning log about your choices.
  3. Tell the story and attempt to draw as you talk. Don’t worry about capturing all the detail; allow the natural ebb and flow of the language and images to operate together. For example, there  is no need to complete a part of the drawing once the narrative has moved on- just leave it incomplete.

 

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I have first created comic story on manila envelope with mix media ( collage, acrylic and markers)  based on the lyrics of the song from the singer Bjork, called  “Human Behaviour”. It took me time and effort to finish it . I did it slowly, worked on it for over a week and it was more an exercise for me to learn to take a step back, leave the work for a day or two and go back to take a look, continue, change or just finish it. This was not as proposed in the exercise: a natural flow, but I just felt like exploring something new.

Human Behaviour (1993) [user-generated content online] Creat. Bjorktv, 8th August 2010 at:

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The story of how I received the news on my Dad’s death was exactly as proposed in the method for this exercise. I just followed the flow. No planning, not much thinking, just the main memories of a day.

Reflection on exercise 4.3 – drawing and thinking

For this exercise I have chosen Graphic recording method. I have done a couple of graphic recordings for meeting in the school I work at and I found in it  the flow and visuals to tell a story the way I like to . With Bold lines and clear images, little details but only the essential information to engage the viewer. Black markers and tones of grey and a little red was the range to express my feelings in the right amount. I had sketched before but my final exercise is in A3 paper with better sequence of events. I didn’t worry much about proportion but to let it flow out of me, as I re told the story to myself out loud. Once again the only thing in my mind while doing Part four was the death of my dear Dad. The story goes through exactly the scenes I have in my mind: everything seemed to have happened in a split of second! The pain and lack of air I felt was exactly as described in my images.It was like I was bottled and couldn’t breath or hear anything.  I had no chance to go back home due to financial and logistics . At the end of the day, I had to accept it, give him my best thoughts and love and it didn’t take long for me to feel that he was ok. I have the feeling that he is back to his roots in Japan, with our ancestors. I feel sad but I feel comforted by thinking about it this way.

Questions from module on exercise 4.3

  • How do you feel about your drawing? I have been doing comics for fun since I was a little girl. I enjoy drawing stories, specially for children. For many years I wanted to be a children’s book illustrator. I have the ability to create characters and picture the place for them when I read a story. I never had the chance to do it professionally  as it is a very competitive field and I live in a part of the world where limits me to find publishers or ways to get into this kind of job. My true answer is, YES, I enjoy drawing stories, but more about the images than words.
  • What worked particularly well in your story? How I depict myself, my simple morning routine and the sudden change by a phone call.
  • How might you extend these features? If I was to draw a whole comic, I would draw more panels with details about how was the day before, how long it was the next 24hours after the sad news. How I told my kids and how we participate through the funeral ceremony via Skype. I have loads of more images to depict how much happened inside me in about 48hours.
  • How might you incorporate them in your future drawing? I have always done drawing with a quite extend level of details. It is my comfort zone in drawing. I want to be more expressive, a bit abstract. That is my challenge, I want to do less but with more intensity and it happens when I work more freely and lose details. I like the fact of shrink the whole stories and only a few images. That why the choice of Graphic recording.
  • Can you see any benefit of varying the pace of your work to include more spontaneous lines and marks? Yes, if I don’t take much time and try to simplify it is when my best marks come out! Maybe not in this specific exercise, but drawing in general , I tend to like my sketches more than final pieces.
  • When you look at your own sketchbooks, can you see a way to cut to the chase more effectively now? I am not sure yet. I struggle keeping up a sketch book, I like to just go for it but I understand the importance of giving my tries and possibilities before deciding for a final work. I realise that sometimes through many sketches things can be added or excluded and the change of perspective and ideas change.

 

Exercise 4.2 Labour and time

Method

  1. Research drawing methods that take time to use and appeal to you, for example hatching, shading, using small media to make big drawings, scale drawing, hyperrealism, etc.
  2. Choose a subject for your drawing that might benefit from having time spent in either of the two directions suggested above:
  • From the viewer’s perspective, for example, a minutely detailed drawing of a piece of discarded fruit peel might set up and interesting relationship. Equally, an eight-foot high drawing of a two-year-old child might shift its interpretation
  • For yourself. Choose something that you would like to spend time coaxing into being and thinking about. You might spend time creating a hyperrealistic portrait of someone you love, or carefully using a pin to scratch the face of a politician you don’t like. It may well be that the labour becomes the subject and you have simply decided to shade an entire sheet of lining paper with a ball point pen.

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Reflection on exercise 4.2 – Labour and time

My Dad passed away on December 5th, just the time I had started Part four- The process. I am in Malaysia and there was no time to go back for the funeral all the way in Brazil, everything happened so fast, my family had to make quick decisions and the only thing left for me to do was following the funeral ceremony via video call and grieve here, by myself. There wasn’t anything else I could think of doing for this project but pay a homage to my Dad. He loved his coffee, espresso, in small coffee cups (the way we serve in Brazil). He had it every morning before eating anything. The first thing in Brazil you offer when someone comes to your house is “um cafezinho” which literally means a short, small cup of coffee. It has always being like that with him after I was married and he came to visit my house. I last saw him in August 2018, when I went to see everyone after 3 years. We had coffee together, we didn’t speak much, he was 84years old and had lost 70% of his hearing. The day I start planning for this exercise I was home by myself and using coffee as a tool media was just right for this exercise. At first I did a big scale drawing in Japanese washi paper- since Dad was Japanese…. It was a scene from the funeral that got stuck in my mind. After the coffin was closed there was a rain of red rose petals falling over it. I did it in the scale of 1.60cm. His height. I liked but I needed more. Two days later, drinking coffee I decided that doing a portrait of him in big scale would fit : time and labour and also my “process” of grieving and reflection on his life and at the same time doing it with something that completes and comforts me: my art. It took me about 6 hours, with maybe two breaks for water and toilet. I was consumed by it. I did it on the flour, squatting, kneeling and laying down at times. My whole body ached for a few days later as if I had climbed a mountain carrying heavy luggage on my back. From tracing the features of his face, trying to depict wrinkles and marks, blending the right amount of coffee to achieve tonal range, it took time, thinking, movement and focus. The smell of coffee and effect on paper completed the whole experience with sadness, grief, peace and satisfaction.

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Exercise 4.1- Look, no hands

Method

  1. List as many different mark-making processes as you can think of. Write another list of as many different materials as you can think of. Eg: nail, polish, wax, tea/coffee, charcoal salt…..
  2. Take some large sheets of paper and mask areas of each one. This means separate off an area to work within ( by taping it or laying paper across parts to be left clean). You decide on the size and position of these masked areas. You may want to create a series of stripes, a small box in one corner or use the whole sheet.
  3. Make a set of drawings using pair of processes and materials from your list, operating on your cropped area. Pin up your drawings and spend time with them. Decide whether you want to affect them with a further act or process.

 

 

 

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From Top left: styrofoam flakes from a football, burnet baking paper, watercolour on candle drops, sewing thread glued on paper

 

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Rubber bands randomly thrown on paper
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Coffee stain granules on paper
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Tea stain and soft pastels as counterpart
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football flakes for artwork!!

Reflection on exercise 4.1

It was very revealing trying unusual media and just lead it to a certain flow without intervene in the outcome. It felt like sort of a scientific experiment without any expectations rather than apply materials and procedure and record the results. It taught me how to control amounts, timing, movement and spontaneity. It gives a possibility to think out of the box and take risks in terms of unusual materials to make art. It also gave me the understanding that when working with concepts, materials can add a fair amount of meaning and expression. Throwing rubber bands randomly on black paper resulted in an interesting image. Burning baking paper in certain spots made the noise and appeared the same way: popcorn. Threads of different colour create a intricate pattern and using styrofoam flakes from an old football was an unexpected fun idea. I particularly enjoyed working with coffee stain which made me research for artists who uses it as media under “coffee stain art”- researches .  I also like the idea of tea stain and affecting  the result later on with more usual drawing media like pastel pencils. This experiment has broaden my understanding of reaching out new ways of expression.