This unit focuses on using digital media, with multiple tasks in place to allow me to explore different ways of using software, hardware, and fundamental art skills to create pieces of artwork.
Intro to Photoshop
27th September 2021
Our first day had us working on Photoshop to explore the different brushes and layout of the programme. I've used Photoshop before however, my main tool is Procreate so I still consider myself a Photoshop novice. For this lesson, I used my iPad Air, Apple Pencil, and Photoshop app. I'm aware that the mobile app is not the same as the desktop programme, however, at the time I was in self-isolation and did not have a drawing pad to pair to my desktop.
The task was to draw an item/items which could be used as a prop by Sherlock Holmes. I chose three items and used reference images from the internet to guide my drawings. My goal was to create basic images using two different brushes on each piece in order to expand the brushes I use and see where they could be helpful in future projects. The results were quite satisfactory and I feel I really benefitted from this practice.
Introduction to Madeline Maxwell
28th September 2021
Our first project is to create the image of a home designed for a fictional character. My chosen character is Madeline Maxwell (aka Max) from a book series called The Chronicles of St Mary's and the spin-off series surrounding The Time Police. She's a chubby, ginger, time-travelling Historian who enjoys black tea with a slice of lemon and eating sausages in the bath.
I chose her because the series she's from has no pictures to refer from, meaning I get to draw what I believe St Mary's Priory looks like (or should look like) based on what I've read, without the influence of canonical imagery from TV or movies. I have lots of opportunities to use my creative license to really make her home look like it is inspired by her character in this project too, as I believe personalising the home to her will create more of a connection with the audience. I also picked her because she's so intelligent, funny, and powerful - she's a character I really feel emotionally invested in which means I'll find it more inspiring to create a piece inspired by her.
She lives in St Mary's Priory, which is an old, battered building with a lake, stables, gardens, and bell tower. To the outside world, it is a slightly odd, but far from an incredible historical research facility. Inside, however, it is an incredibly advanced place that houses several Pods, which are machines that allow the users to "jump" to specific places and times. They don't like to call it time-travel, but it's time-travel. The Historians and their teams jump to events and periods of history to study the past in great detail and provide accurate documentation of the history of the Earth. When the team are not on "jumps", they experiment with practical history and try to see if myths, recipes, and unusual feats could actually be achieved by our ancestors. This sometimes leads to an occasional explosion, gas leak, or chemical damage to the building - this would give the building a lot of battle scars and personality.
I want to research what old priories look like and work from there for my piece of work, so I have a basic foundation to begin my creation. Then, I want to add some personality to the piece by adding scorch marks, the flower beds, stables, lake, and possibly details like the swans described in the books. It's important to me that I find ways to make it distinguishable as St Mary's and the home of Max. As Max enjoys painting and is an accomplished artist, perhaps I could add an easel by one of the windows or in the gardens, or a table with a tea set on it in view of the building. The size, age, and complexity of the building could either hinder me by overwhelming me or help me by giving me a really interesting, beautiful home to be working on - it depends on how well I organise my time.
Intro to Perspective
4th October 2021
In this session, we had an introduction to a basic two-point perspective. We created cuboids using Photoshop's guidelines, rulers, and pen tools to create two vanishing points and a horizon line, and build up base guides. As a cuboid is going to be the base shape of our final pieces, we need to be able to create one with ease, which made this skill really essential to learn.
As you can see from the image below, I drew a line where I wanted my corner to be and drew lines from the top and bottom of the central line to my vanishing points, to begin with, and then built my cube using this point to guide the rest of my lines.
I made sure everything was aligned in my cube, then drew a cross on the face of the cube where I wanted my roof to point upwards and another on the parallel side to it, which you wouldn't see usually as it is "inside" the cube. I drew straight vertical lines through the points where the lines of the crosses intersected to find the centre of the faces and used this as a guide for my roof. I drew lines from the top corner of my cube to the point where I wanted the top of the roof to be to make a triangle. The next step was to draw a line from the top point of the roof to the left-side vanishing point, which gave me the angle the roof needed to be built on as it disappears backwards, and then joined this line to the mid-point of the "inside" face. This gave me a house with a roof.
The next step was to add windows. I used crosses I drew on the building showing the distance I wanted the window to be from the wall as a base for foreshortening to figure out where my windows should go. This method will be really useful for my final assignment as my building will need bump-outs, doorways, and windows and they need to be properly spaced out. I can replicate this to add these pieces to my image of St Mary's Priory. The images below show the final piece with windows both with and without the guidelines.
8th October 2021
My homework was to use what I'd learned about perspective in my last lesson to create a three-point perspective house. I found it more difficult than a two-point perspective piece because I had more factors and angles to think about, but once I managed to wrap my head around all three vanishing points working together I felt confident I could recreate my piece and use this method in the future for more complex work.
I found the placement of the windows quite difficult, but my tutor advised me to use the top of the cuboid to guide the foreshortening which was very useful. I now know I can use this method in the future as well to measure space and plan additions from upper angles and three-point perspectives.
My next step is to create a base for my final piece using what I've learned so far. I've been given the choice to do either two or three-point perspective. While I appreciate the challenge and style of three-point perspective, I think two-point perspective is more suitable for my priory building.
9th October 2021
I began to use what I've learned so far to create a base cuboid for my priory building. I really wanted to have some interesting bump-outs on the building, some steps leading up to the front door, and a bell tower on the building. I know these all present challenges so I wanted to use my first draft to just try and get some of the features in and figure out how to make them.
I used my two-point perspective cuboid as a starting point but straight away I knew it didn't feel as grand and large as I wanted it to, and at the same time I knew that there wasn't space on my canvas for the height I wanted. I still continued on this piece though, as I wanted to get a chance to make mistakes and experiment here.
I started by learning to add a bump-out using the foreshortening method I used for the windows in my first perspective exercise combined with my knowledge of making cuboids. I feel this worked really well and I could use this method to add more shape and interest to my structure. I'd like some windows to bump out and I want to build more levels to the building and this will help me do that accurately. I'm still unsure at this point as to how I'll get the feeling of scale I want, and how I'll add the stairs. I know I'll definitely have to restart on a fresh canvas and I'm okay with this. I've learned from my experiment and when I gain more knowledge I can learn to create the image I really want.
Perspective and Light
11th October 2021
In this session, we learned how to expand our canvas, add a light source, and use guidelines to create shadows of a basic cuboid and a house with a roof. We went through this process as a group but each worked on our own individual Photoshop document.
The first thing we did when given our pre-made canvases with cuboids was to expand the canvas in several directions so we would have room for a highly placed light source and for the cast shadow to be shown fully.
The next thing we did was place a dot on the canvas showing where our light source would be. In this case, the light source would be the sun high up in the sky but this method could be used in different settings and positions to show any light source. For example, you could place a light source close to a desk to replicate the light and shadow a desk lamp would cast.
After that, we began to add in guidelines from the light source crossing through the corners of the building, making sure they were long enough to cross over each other so we could see where the lines of the shadow would meet. We used different colours for different intersections to avoid confusion. The next step was to join the intersections by drawing lines between them to draw the outline of the shadow. We could then use the paint bucket tool to fill in the shadow in black. If this were a pencil drawing or drawn more complexly there would be a gradient from dark to light heading outwards from the building, but for the purposes of this exercise, a single black colour is all we're using for simplicity.
We then added shade using the paint bucket tool to the two visible faces of the cuboid and changed the opacity of each side so they would more accurately represent the amount of light the side would be getting. This method can be used for basic colouring of an object or building as you can colour the building any way you want and have the darker filter on either side to give it some quick shading.
Next, we added a roof using the method used for our first house and repeated the process we used for the cuboid to add to our shadow so it includes the roof.
This lesson was really informative and I'll be able to use what I learned today to restart my priory piece with a larger scale and more dimension using light and shadow.