If anybody has been following my blog since the beginning or has scrolled through all 200 odd images I have uploaded then you will be familiar with how I started my graphic animals. This otter was a creation that, I think, shows my refinement throughout the year. My style has gotten a lot more refined, using negative space to create contrasts and giving the figure without having to over power the images with dark black blocks.

This new design also plays around with the background, partly because the otter body is slightly boring (a long tubular shape) and because I wanted to push my designs forward. I realise that if I want to keep the tshirts fresh I cannot become stilted and stubborn. My next step will be to add colour in.

The death of Robin Williams was truly sad, however he had a great career, inspired people and helped brighten the world while he lived. We shouldn’t focus on the death, but the life and therefore I chose to draw his role in ‘The Dead Poets Society’. This is my favourite Robin Williams film and this is my favourite quote of his. Rest in peace and I hope your troubles have come to an end.

My t-shirts have come, ask me if you want one but I’m still injured so distribution will be problematic currently. I only have 40 and this is my first venture into this so any amateur mistakes I do is precisely so.

An orang-utan water colour and pen study. My mum has always maintained that these images of animals in pen and watercolour are some of my best work so I figured I would give it a shot again. Sorry about the poor quality, it is a photo taken off of my phone as I cannot scan during the summer.

These are the first 3 designs that I want to print off for my tshirt enterprise. The images on the pdfs aren’t grainy so I think its just tumblr struggling to comprehend my drawings. I am however unsure as to what tshirts and tops to print it off on and even to what demographic it would appeal to so quantity and size and sex still eludes me.

Another punk animal. This is a king cheetah, a mutation of the cheetah species which has a thicker, mottled pattern and its back creates a single patch which looks badass, for want of better words. I will now have 5 animals and I will pick 3 to start my range up and hopefully dominate the punk animal tshirt market (I assume I’m the only one).

tumblropenarts:

"Better Days/ Veronica"

(Reblogged from tumblropenarts)

To help capture the forms of the orangutans I have been doing studies of their body language, facial features and movements. These help me make the story more authentic but the fact I can’t scan A3 at home means I am reduced to pen drawings and I should try drawing in pen to get the form right, as well as reduce the information I deliver.

This is a rough of a story board I am starting. This shall be a story following an orangutan who has been captured from the wild and imprisoned in a zoo. While this story is anthropomorphised (the reactions you could deem more human than ape) we share 95% of our DNA with these apes and they are highly intelligent. Due to this intelligence, it always upsets me to see apes confined in zoos and I hope this story shows their frustration and consciousness clearly and evocatively.

I keep having new ideas but for the moment my limited resources and mobility keep my ideas from being fully developed so I will keep doing background work for my ideas.

This orangutan is my first charcoal work in a while and I miss my pencils which gives my work more subtlety and allows for greater contrast. Anyway, this shall be the start of my new story ‘L1’. The story will follow an orangutan who has been captured, put into a zoo and slowly succumbs to isolation and inertia. My crash and corresponding house rest has shown me to a slight degree what these highly intelligent animals go through when secluded from nature and their normal lives.

The choice of orangutan was made consciously as they grow longer and shaggier hair the older they get and this will allow the process of time to be felt. I also wanted this to link with my reading of ‘the ape theatre’ by john berger, where his quotation of Angelus Silesius really spoke to me, ‘Anybody who has passed more than a day in eternity is as old as god ever could be.’ This quote really emphasises these animals’ plight and I want to finish the story on this quote.

I have punked up my elephant. I found it harder to reincorporate the punk elements into a pre made image and, much like colour, I need to stop believing I can rehash images to my own needs. I just need to man up and restart because the image is weaker when I add bits on top of it. That said I quite like the anarchy symbol.

My first drawing since the crash. I got asked to do a tattoo of an elephant for my friend and while I was slightly reluctant, due to my masses of elephants that I have done for my ivory trade project, I enjoyed drawing again after all the theory I have been reading lately. The head I drew from a photo first but I felt that it hung in the air too much, too abstract and dispossessed. Due to this feeling and the ,seemingly, eons of time I have till my recovery I decided to make up the body as the photo didnt extend beyond the neck. 

Apart from a few proportional issues in the thicknesses of the legs I think I did pretty well with this image. It has given me more confidence in making up my animals and not always relying on conveniently posed photographs to draw from.

I shall extend this drawing and punk him up a bit to add to my anarcimals collection.

Picturing the Beast - By Steve Baker

I have finished my first book from cover to cover with all the notes written from it. 30 odd pages of A5 scrawl shall now be condensed in this rather boring yet necessary essay.

To start with I bought this book as the book ‘How to look at animals’ by John Berger gave me some thoughts to mull over about how we actually view animals and what we think of them, as well as how we represent them. The title of this book and the review on amazon made me believe this book would help find these questions out. The book was divided into 6 chapters so I wrote an analysis of each chapter and I will rewrite these. Then, as a whole entity, I will try and work out what I exactly got from this book. 

Chapter 1

When we look at animals we don’t really view them. We see what they are, identify their species and then see the stereotypes that we associate with them rather than view the animal in its own right. This in itself isn’t a bad thing as everything really and truly has a semiotic value, prescribed by society. This chapter simply questions whether these are the correct evaluations and whether they work for both us and animals.

Chapter 2

This chapter took the idea of representation and applied it to national animals. National animals have a strong history of semiotics and these were used strongly in the early part of the 20th century as was seen in propaganda posters. These animals however, lose their national integrity every time they are used. Each individual use of the national symbol takes the abstract representation and puts it to a specific incident and this then muddies the interpretation of the national symbol. This has led to a rejection of the national symbol by many national programmes, as the connotations are no longer clear and can be misinterpreted quite easily.

Chapter 3

Chapter 3 tried to look at why we view animals as different to us. It states that we have a fundamentally different view of ourselves and all other animals. Being sentient we have created a divide between us and nature and this divide causes the difference that we then instil onto animals. This distance that we have created also means that we have created a derogatory view towards animals, generally using animal terms as either insults or as purely physical endowments (fast as a cheetah etc.). These views are then reinforced from childhood through generations and therefore we have this view of animals as beneath us.

Chapter 4

Chapter 4 played close to my heart, it talked about narratives and animals and I found this incredibly useful as It talked about how animals can mess up a narrative. As we create a narrative centred around animals it becomes almost impossible to distance oneself from the protagonists and therefore we run into problems. We imbue animals with these human traits that find conflicts in reality and these can cause conflict in the narrative. This was highlighted in the MAUS narrative (which I have now ordered) where the mice have human bodies yet animal heads and this caused huge outcries of racism etc considering the topic. Personally I think the idea behind the book is brilliant and it was a shame the author was bullied into having to defend his choices.

Chapter 5

This chapter looked at the misrepresentation of animals in the popular culture. It looked at neoteny and saw how the objectification of animals has made them into a fetish, where cute animals are sold because they somehow create this eternally young ideal which people buy into and try and live vicariously through. This practice of ‘cuteness’ also reinforces the stereotype that animals are juvenile, which makes society ignore the problems of animals all the more, thinking it is beneath them. 

It also spurred on a thought that we enjoy animals because we never really see them age. We see them die yes, but we never see them deteriorate because we cannot tell this the same way as we can with humans unless you study animals closely. This ‘immortality’ is something we leach onto as we see animals as these strong and everlasting creatures, defiant before extinction and we seek to vicariously absorb this power. Just an idea but an interesting one.

Chapter 6

Finally, chapter 6 looked at how we deal with these representations from a proactive side. It implies that when we conserve animals and try and protect them we take ownership of these animals, implying they are not free and that they are no longer self sufficient. To really give animals their identity back we should completely leave them alone. This approach however is idealistic and, with our current intervention we cannot leave them be because we’ve messed up the natural cycle far too much. 

It states that the best idea to help animals as well as give them their own identity is to represent them as victims. For humans to be repulsed at what we have done to them and then leave them be or support them from afar, which will stop human intervention. These shock tactics work better than cute images of animals because it stops the objectification of animals as cute commodities.

Summary

This book proposed quite a few questions to me and has helped me understand my own work, as well introduce me to other practitioners and theorists. Ultimately the book states that the animals cannot really be represented by us because we anthropomorphise them whenever we think about them and therefore any conservation or thoughts should really be subjective to your own personal tastes. This being said, objectification isn’t really bad as classification is part of human nature.

In the sense of narrative I really liked this idea of the distress caused by the clash between humanity and animality and i really want to explore this awkward juxtaposition. It has also helped me with representing animal images in the subtlety that is implied in how we show the animal stance and condition and, in general I think this book will be instrumental in my dissertation proposal.

Seeing as I am currently an invalid, due to a person’s shunting into my car at 50mph, I thought I would check out some other illustrators that do animals as a career. This guy is called Andreas Preis, the style is completely different to my own but I quite like the way the animals are drawn. The lion has this linear style which is tempered by the gradient and low hues of the colours to mesh into a surprisingly warm image. These badges are strong graphic images and, while they are different from my graphic images the meshing of the soft and the linear is a technique which I could maybe play around with.

These images also remind me of the illustrator John Dyler Blaizley. He is both a band member and the graphic designer for their merchandise and album covers. His covers are beautiful, intricate and trippy and its probably one of the contributing factors to the fact they’re a favourite band of mine, and as my car is testament to. Many hours of bad singing.