Assignment 1

Greeting Card

The idea behind this Assignment was to create a greeting card to say hello to your tutor and express in the card what inspires and motivates me to draw.  I have to say I found this a difficult assignment to complete, simply because most of the tasks are asking that you go find information out, research and brainstorm and create something extrinsically.  This was a greeting card directly related to who I am and therefore asked for information that I hadn’t fully considered or researched before.

The first approach was to create a spider map of who I am to get a sense of what influences  are in there that help me feel inspired to create.  The brainstorming wasn’t particularly helpful as I think work was the focus rather than an honest brainstorm about what makes me tick.  The odd rabbits were not part of it.  I allowed myself to sketch down some further ideas and recognized that patterns are prominent and simple designs, particularly ones with a Japanese style of cute in them, they tend to feature a lot in my sketchbooks.

I thought about creating a self portrait sketch with a brush pen and then have various bubbles around me to express the attached influences but it didn’t work out into anything that I wanted to work with.

Then I tried focusing on patterns, in particular the type found in nature and very much a common pattern found in William Morris textiles and wallpapers.  I love the circular motion of it and felt this had to be incorporated into the card in some way.    Next I tried using a biro to create some rough sketches of the everyday objects that I find inspiration in, but it began to look like a list of things I see everyday rather than a list of inspiring objects.

After much consideration I found that the simplest form was to connect the many aspects of things that inspire me and give me a sense of wonder into a simple design related to nature.  The letters hanging from a tree, each letter representing an aspect of inspiration, felt like the simplest and yet clearest way to convey who I am and say hello.

Each letter represents an aspect of inspiration for me.

J is for Japan, I love so much of the manga and anime and styles that come out of that country.  The traditions and way of life are a major inspiration for me.  The simplicity of their designs and the fact that they have some cute illustration for nearly everything!

S is for Science, I love reading about how the world is moving forward and I especially love the various places in the world that are graveyards for technology.  The graveyard for airplanes is fascinating.

C is for Cats, as I love cats.

M is for music, there is so much inspiration in the music I listen to.  If I need to get started on a project I just need to put some music on and get going with it.  Smashing Pumpkins are a favourite.

P is for people, the amount of characters out in the world just makes me want to draw a lot.

N is for nature.  I love trees, I love gardens and I love sitting and just watching the world go by in my garden.

A is for animals in general.  There are so many species and the inspiration from them for action and movement and texture and colour…apart from the personalities displayed through movement only.

B is for Bollywood because I love the music, the colour and the elaborate stories.  One movie can span 3hrs and there is always a full spectrum of feeling in it.  Love, hate, revenge, karma…it’s all there.

O is for observation as I find beauty in the strangest places sometimes.  It can be a shabby looking city with the walls crumbling down but there is something majestic remaining that can still be observed.

P is also for photography and perspective.  There is always something to gain from looking at something from a range of angles.  If that is super close up or extreme sizes or a shot from above.  There is also a lot of landscape photography that is extremely beautiful and awe inspiring.

There are many more things that inspire me but these are the ones that I could actually nail down and go ‘yep, they’re definitely a part of what makes me create’.

I used bristol paper and colour pencil to sketch the tree, then placed the letters at staggered points around the tree trying to keep some sense of symmetry in it.  The branches felt bare and the pencil sketch wasn’t full enough, so I used watercolour to add a light wash and give the tree some life.  The tree was a silver birch design, a tree common to Ireland.  The tree represents my roots and who I am.  Without the leaves however the tree felt a bit barren.  It didn’t feel right to colour it in and it didn’t feel right to leave it without leaves.

So I used a rubber stamp to put the impression of leaves around the tree.  Black worked as it represents that side of me which is in shadow and dark.  The other letters in the tree are brightly coloured and light, and I wanted to maintain a balance of light and dark.  I appreciate beauty in decay and I also appreciate the candy colours of the setting sun sky and the all the tones in between.  The tree gives life and the cycle of life and death within each season fairly represents the type of cycles my creativity goes through.

The end result was achieved by finishing off in Photoshop, putting the background into a ‘divide’ layer mode and fading out the blue colour layer with a light gradient.  The original sketch and watercolour finish is seen lightly as an overlay and I think it is a fair representation of me and what makes me tick, for right now.  Two versions were done, one without the background design and one with a plain blue finish.

Does it work as a greeting card?

It’s a very simple and neutral type of card.  From a printing point of view the use of a strong blue colour influences things greatly.  Is it economical?…probably not and a simple effect on white or cream card would work just as well.  However, the burnt orange on blue background does work nicely but everything feels a bit small.

greeting card _alternative_a5
greeting card a5

The sketch version on the background of pattern does work better, only the pattern is washed out in a printed version.  It shows that the printing options on Photoshop and the printer true print out are not matching as well as I thought.  It also shows me that the images on the screen are not as big as I think!!  It definitely shows up the flaws in the perception of screen size versus card size and also the printing colours.  There is a lot to take into consideration.  The design is good and suits a greeting card but there is room for improvement and there could be more experimenting (more than I thought) before deciding this is the final design and colour palette that I want to go with.  I’m happy with the conclusion for this assignment based on what I know so far.