Our first brief is called ‘The Significance Of Numbers’ and we have been asked to design a piece of work that demonstrates this, using any media we wish.
I had a few initial thoughts but came up with 3 main ideas. The first is looking at the inter-relationship of numbers and orthography; in particular script languages such as Arabic and Hebrew. There are a number of alphabets, such as Spanish and French, which are based on the Latin alphabet, but contain additional characters. For example, the Spanish language is based on the Latin alphabet (26 characters), but it contains one additional letter: ‘eñe’ (ñ). The French language is also based on the Latin alphabet and it contains 5 diacritics and 2 orthographic ligatures. Unlike Spanish, these are not considered as separate letters. I thought about creating an info-graphic illustrating different alphabets within languages, and the additional characters they have.
The second idea I had was to create something based on numeric glyphs. These are either proportional uppercase & lowercase, and monospaced uppercase & lowercase. Monospaced numbers have a uniform width, making them useful for displaying numbers in columns. Proportional numbers, on the other hand, have individual widths and are preferred for sentences. Number case features specify a choice for the appearance of digits, and are independent of letter case. Lowercase numbers are digits whose optical height is the same as that of the lower case letters and can have both ascenders and descenders. Upper case numbers on the other hand have neither ascenders or descenders, meaning that all digits are usually the same height as the capital letters. My idea for this was to illustrate these numbers somehow; showing the contrast between proportional & monospaced and lowercase & uppercase numbers.
I then thought about the anatomy of typography and how each character must have dimensions somehow. My first thought was of an ampersand and I tried to visualise in my head how it is constructed mathematically. When I had my tutorial with Sally, she mentioned something called ‘Unicode’, which basically means that every letter, every number, every glyph and so on has a digital code which enables technology to read it.
“Consistent encoding representation and handling of text expressed in most of the world’s writing systems…The Unicode Standard: 110,000 characters covering 100 scripts…Unicode [is] implemented by different character encodings…[its] explicit aim of transcending limitations of traditional character encodings, such as those defined by the ISO 8859 standard”.
I thought that this was the idea I should take forward and I have begun my research into Unicode.
I started looking into Unicode and found it really interesting how there are so many codes for each character/glyph; such as various HTML ‘entities’ and binary and so on. My ultimate favourite glyph of all time is the ampersand, so I looked into codes unique to that.
I then came across something called ‘The Mathematics of Golden Ratio Typography’ and found this very interesting too. It took me a while to get my head around it before I started playing around with visuals. These are based on several equations; beginning with font size (f) and line height (l) being proportionally related through a ratio (h): l=fh. It continues with how typographic dimensions correspond to each other…
(My brain is only slightly frazzled from information overload, so I’m not explaining this as well as I usually would. Do excuse me for a minute).
After I had accumulated all this knowledge I was still struggling to find a way to visualise something. I was doodling in my notebook until I had somewhat of an epiphany - maybe I was trying too hard? I drew an ampersand with one of my brush pens and listed some codes next to it. I looked at it and realised what a lovely visual it was. (I’m taking ‘good’ and ‘nice’ out of my blogging vocabulary, by the way). I fired up Illustrator and transferred this sketch digitally. I wanted to create a strong visual contrast between the image and the codes; so naturally a large, ornamental ampersand next to some Monaco is fitting.
After I presented my idea to Sally, she gave me a piece of advice whereby you do the same thing six different ways. She liked my idea, but suggested I make the coding text in script, and the ampersand in a coding font. I’ve had a play around with it and have made three posters so far, using Monaco, Courier New and Chopin Script.
Rationale behind my idea:
My poster looks at the interrelationship between typography and numbers; in particular coding. During my research I learnt about something called Unicode which is consistent encoding representation of text in most of the world’s writing systems. I then started experimenting with visuals and I came up with my final idea whilst doodling in my notebook. I drew an ampersand and listed some code next to it, and realised that this could potentially work for my poster, as it illustrates both a visual representation and a ‘behind the scenes’ one. I wanted to demonstrate how numbers are so important even when we can’t see them. I decided to go for my original idea as I didn’t want to over-complicate things.
Yesterday I had a group critique, which was more of a presentation of what we’ve produced a week before hand in.
I sent my book to print on Thursday night, so I presented two PDFs of my book (the main content and the front cover).
The feedback I received was very good, people have recently commented that I have a distinct illustration style which is such a lovely compliment.
People have questioned why I haven’t included actual physical smells into my book; there are three reasons for this:
A combination of smells would merge into one very odd (and presumably unpleasant) scent. That’s not what I’m going for.
Paper does not retain scent unless it’s ‘scratch & sniff’. Living on a student budget, there is no way I have the financial ability to do this.
It’s an illustration book.
Neil Mabbs felt that the screen printed illustrations don’t ‘smell’ as much as the other drawings, as they are only one colour. The reason why I made some screen printed images is because it’s a technique I want to improve on. However, I have taken this comment into account and I will make some more Marlboro/Polo illustrations in ink. (The ones in my sketchbook are really rough).
"At Hato Press we believe in the innate pleasure of making things and encourage others to join us. We also like trees and that’s why we only stock recycle paper in house".
Hato Press are a ‘speciality printing and publishing house’. I think it’s wonderful that there are companies who still believe in the beauty of hand printing and I think this is the appropriate market for my book.
The “ABCDEFRUITS & VEGETABLES” illustrations (see first screen shot) look as though they have been initially screen printed. The target audience is parents, and the fact that the images have this tactile quality makes it friendly and approachable for children. Because it looks hand made, children are more able to relate to it on a personal level. If the images were made digitally, it would not have this effect.
"Etsy is the world’s handmade market place"
(So you can see why I love it.)
"Our mission is to empower people to change the way the global economy works. We see a world in which very-very small businesses have much-much more sway in shaping the economy, local living economies are thriving everywhere, and people value authorship and provenance as much as price and convenience. We are bringing heart to commerce and making the world more fair, more sustainable, and more fun."
Thinking about my book and where it would possibly sell, I think the above two places are the right kind of market for it. Hato Press specialises in screen and hand printing processes, and Etsy stock a lot of hand made books and journals. I think my book would appeal to men and women (around the ages of 18 - 35 perhaps) who have creative and artistic interests and hobbies. That’s my guess anyway!
This is a scanned & edited (brightened) image of my front cover.
I decided to make a purely typographic front cover because my book is obviously heavily illustrated, & I wanted to create a balance. Also, I am always trying to improve my typographic skills as it’s something I love to do & a very worthwhile practice to be able to do well.
I have posted this initial piece on a previous post, whereby I sketched it out free hand onto graph paper. As I mentioned, the kerning is not consistent. This is of course something I need to practice & develop, but I think it kind of works in this particular context. My book is something very tactile & personal, so I wanted to create everything (type & images) as hand rendered as possible.
I decided to screen print my title because it is another technical process I would like to improve on. It’s also something I love doing. I chose a magenta ink because it’s obviously bright & attractive; a black front cover would not look as warm & inviting. The typography is based on a font called “FFF Tusj” which I came across whilst scrolling through my font menu. It’s bold & sketchy, which I thought was perfect for my front cover.
I had a bit of trouble with my initial prints, for some reason the bottom part of the text did not expose properly? So I had to re do it all which took all day & I only had about 3 decent prints out of 15. But I suppose that’s all part of the learning process. It’s all about too much ink, too little ink, too much pressure, too little pressure…usually these kinds of ‘accidents’ work in your favour, but because the typography is so particular (with the lines running through the letters) the correct amount of ink and pressure is key in ensuring a perfect print. Due to working to such a tight deadline, I used the best print, scanned it in & brightened it on Photoshop.
I made a secondary typographic piece for my name (“by Bethany Schilling”). I used the same font to keep it looking consistent, but drew it in black, so not to distract from the title.
This is a screen shot of my front cover as a whole:
This print was slightly more complex to print because I used three or four different colours in order to obtain the nearest colour to ‘spearmint’. I can’t remember off the top of my head, but it was a combination of two greens and a blue, and probably a white. I think I used a little bit of metallic green…I wish I had a camera to document it! I should do that next time…
I’m really happy with how these polo prints look, I have one perfect print and I think that’s all you need!
I am screen printing today with my Marlboro cigarettes illustration. Initially I didn’t block any colour out so at the moment I have just a linear print. So I have edited my initial scan on Photoshop and filled in the black areas, which will then be exposed with emulsion when I print it (turning it red from the ink).
With this particular layout, I am thinking of not including an obvious title. I think the contrast between one white page with just a small box of text, next to a whole page of an image works well. I did create a title (see previous post) but it doesn’t seem to fit; and I really like the contrast of white space next to a large illustration.
As you can see, I have re-made my rotting wood piece. I created it by mixing a brown acrylic (orange & black, as taught by my Dad) with a palette knife. This was the only way I could make this piece; I love working with these materials because you can build up so much texture and so many layers. It was the only way I could give the effect of grains in the wood, and as real & natural to wood as possible. It’s a totally free way of working and I just go with it; I don’t even have to really think about what I’m doing, but it works brilliantly. And I always find I have favourite sections.
“It’s a smell I really like as well, like, if I had gone into Debenhams and smelt it on a swatch, I would have already thought it was a really nice smell. So I don’t know if I like it for what it is, or if it’s because you used to wear it…it’s a chicken or the egg kind of thing isn’t it?”
Hemp hand cream:
"It’s just been you from the beginning, it’s a unique and abnormal smell…it just makes me think of our good times basically. You have a very distinct smell"
“It is a magazine that makes people smile, full of quiet moments and stories. Read it with a cup of tea or a toddy.
It inspires people to be creative, talk to their neighbours and explore new things. There are adventures that capture the feeling of being free, stories from people with tales to tell, recipes to warm your heart, and crafty things to make. All these things, wrapped up in beautiful words, illustration and photography.”
Oh Comely has a lovely hand rendered, nostalgic feel to it that I really like and I would like my book to reflect these qualities. Although the white background is fresh and crisp, it still retains a soft, sentimental feel to it.
2. Post Secrets
Post Secrets was something I looked at at the beginning of this project. They are very personal pieces of information about peoples’ lives, whereby they write and decorate their own postcard and send it. I think nostalgic scents are personal in their own right and I did think about creating postcards for my final piece. (See notes in my black notebook).
Antiseptic (reminds her of piercings) "The way they wipe everything down, the smell of the gloves as they pull them out of the box. Dettol reminds me of being sick because my Mum always used to wipe down the surfaces in the house with it”.
Spearmint Polos (travel sickness) "My mum always gave me spearmint Polos and I would throw it back up again…those Alphabet sweets also make me feel sick".
Cut grass (reminds him of his old neighbour when living at home) "His name was John Petchy and he was quite grumpy unless he was cutting grass, which he did quite often".
Malboro cigarettes (his uncle) "He always smelt of Malboro, like when he gave you a hug and rubbed his beard on your face. My mum hated it, she was like, ‘Get off me, Hugh!’"
Curry (reminds him of his grandparents) "As soon as you walk in their house it just smells of curry, and they smell of it too, ‘cause you know…curry sweats. They’ve been cooking for like 60 years, since they were about 5, and it’s always from scratch…they don’t have a white boy name like Tikka because it’s authentic".
Rotting wood (reminds him of childhood walks) "As a child I remember going for walks with my mum and my brother at a certain time of the year, and there would be this smell of rotting wood and leaves that was so nice. It’s a rare smell but there are certain places where I can really smell it" .
On Sunday (25th March) I went to the Pick Me Up show at Somerset house. I was genuinely amazed at the work I saw, everything was hand rendered illustration/paintings which really encouraged me to push my own illustration and to stick to what I know.
The first artist(s) I saw were French duo Zim & Zou (Lucie Thomas & Thibault Zimmermann) who create paper sculptures and installations. The collections I saw were Back To Basics and Cabinet de Curiosités.
Cabinet de Curiosités was my favourite part of the whole show, I think this work is absolutely stunning. The paper sculptures are beautiful and the attention to detail is just ridiculous. You can view their work on the link below:
Then I discovered illustrator Tim McDonagh, whom I was also blown away by with his incredible attention to detail. There was one piece in particular but I can’t find it on his website! All I know it features dark green bubbles, roses and the odd crayon, and sells for £800.
I had a tutorial today with Sally which really did me some good as I’ve kind of hit a wall with this project recently…I think because it’s such a huge project and I’ve got used to working in 6 week blocks. Anyway, I’ve always wanted this project to have a sense of nostalgia and to make it really personal. Scents have always been a subconscious thing for me and I want to explore that and to share other people’s personal thoughts/experiences.
I’ve just spent about 4 days in London and I remember I was walking down a particular street (annoyingly I can’t remember which one) and the smell reminded me of a place in South Korea called Insadong; a neighbourhood in Seoul. I’m not sure how to describe the scent, it’s kind of a mixture of food, litter, the heat?
So, Sally suggested that I could make some maps describing where these scents are…in Bournemouth, London, and other places. I think this is a much better route to go down as it’s creating something personal and making maps would push my illustration. I also think they’re really beautiful, so I’ll do some research and play about with making maps.