However! First day at StudioB9 went wonderfully! Based in Zellig in Birmingham's Custard Factory, I found myself smack in the center of the creative quarter. Starting the day with a coffee in a tactically placed cafe, I managed to get an hour of solitary sketching done, which was somewhat liberating - me, black coffee, amon amarth and a new moleskine.
For a good four hours or so it was a case of me watching two veteran graphic designers blast out drafts for a brief - a case of collecting stock, refining stock, adhering to a very restrictive colour palette, etc. And in doing so I found myself getting lightning tutorials in; InDesign, Fireworks, Quark Express and a little bit of Dreamweaver, all of which (apart from InDesign - to an extent) are completely new and alien to me, so I was somewhat dazed watching a self taught expert navigate through all of Quarks' quirks at lightning speed.
This was then followed by possibly one of the most surreal dinnertime pub excursions to date; myself and the two graphic designers were joined by the person who prints all their designs, so it was somewhat of a working dinner. Then all of us were joined by Steve Chamberlain, who lectures at my university (BCU), Coventry University and is a specialist in Animation. Although, the wealth of information gained from barely an hours speaking covered so much more than animation, it was like a years worth of tutorials in 90 minutes.
Started by looking at my current work, and getting me to try to understand my own work (a lot more complicated than it sounds - the amount I stumbled over my words made me ashamed, and makes me think I need to sit down and come up with a profile of sorts). This was then broken down and further analysed and picked apart:
- Look at lighting - Got ideas for micro briefs and how to challenge myself to improve the lighting of my paintings, to improve their readability and depth
- References - Get as much observed drawing down as possible, not just photographs, actually getting out there and drawing while in the environment. Makes me think i'll be journeying up to Whitby at some point for my next brief.
- Narrative - Something else to help reinforce my paintings, start thinking of not just the hows, but the whys. Really get into the history of the scene, believe it and it will feel more authentic.
- Principles - Leading on from narrative, look at principles of composition, character, lighting, so forth: Start to build characters from the ground up with their back story in mind, look at the aspects of costume and silhouetting.
- Photography! - Improve all of them... Through photography! Build marquettes and even entire scenes loosely and quickly, photograph them with harsh/ambient lights, record and recreate them. The justification being that doing this will be similar in working with Google SketchUP - any adjustments to the lighting/scene can easily be done, reshot, and recorded. James Gurney does this with his paintings, as does Dave Rapoza. And if it helps with all of the above, hell, let's get modelling!
Tomorrow: I get to be a photographer's assistant!
|Coffee Sketch - George and the Dragon.|