Magi Mojaxx

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Some months ago I was approached by a member of Magi Mojaxx (and a friend) and asked to do a cover for their yet-to-be-released EP.

At the time they were called Thomasina and the Undercover Mermaids but ended up changing their name. Originally I had the idea to play with the iconic gun barrel sequences from James Bond films, where I turn the barrel into a whirlpool with three mermen in the middle (much like Charlie’s Angels) hold up their respective musical instruments up for protection. The idea fell through when they changed their name and I thought to myself that it was probably a good thing, as I’d much rather come up with something original which isn’t such an obvious reference.

My final idea was somewhat inspired by the idea of my friend’s adventures all the way out in the US, and the name ‘Magi Mojaxx’ made me think of something almost shamanic. The way I described it to him when we had a chat about it was “wide open desert space, a massive fire at sunset”. I believe the final image was an almost exact representation of what I had envisioned in my mind and I felt incredibly happy with it. And so did Magi Mojaxx which made it all the better!

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vortex / cover & illustrations

Before the academic year was over I was working on an important side-project. The second book by author Vera Petrova called Vortex, about to come out.

After the success of her first book 6 years ago she wished to collaborate once more to create a second boutique publication, this time with illustrated chapters rather than just a cover. Saying I was excited would be an understatement.

What happened was quite interesting – Vera had had a look through all of my work online and liked several pieces which she thought would fit the esthetic she imagined for her book. I suggested making new work in accordance but she was set on several sketchbook pieces from the beginning days of my final year project ‘Cosmic Genesis’. As they were no longer of any importance to the outcome of the project, I felt they would fit well for the occasion. Thus they became chapter illustrations.

The cover artwork was chosen in a similar manner. Vera wanted her second book to carry on the layout of her first book (‘Instead of a Book’) – a short but wide image which flows from the back cover to the front cover as one long piece. A very fitting image I had done was, again from ‘Cosmic Genesis’, the 3.3m-long animation concept. She felt it was illustrative of her entire idea behind ‘Vortex’ so she had me send it over to her visual editor (Rumen Dimitranov), who shortened it wonderfully so it can fit the format without losing meaning.

You can see the finished cover below, as well as some of the illustrations inside.

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animation: stage O

A couple of months ago I had a tutorial with Georgina very much out of the blue. We had a short chat in which I was mainly explaining my idea and what I was planning on doing. I was quite busy with writing my dissertation at the time so I wasn’t exactly prepared. Still she seemed impressed to see how clear my direction was and it looked like she wasn’t quite certain what advice or suggestions to give me.

Still she noted that my idea might work really well in animation.

I hurried to turn it down as I hadn’t done animation before and I could clearly see the amounts of work to be done.

How foolish.

Looking back now, it feels like it was a hint of sorts, that I’ll have to do it whether I like it or not. To be fair, animation is one of the first major influences of my life and it’s something I wanted to do for quite a while before I decided I prefer illustration. Why I felt skeptical to do something I love and appreciate so much baffles me.

So now that I’ve finally come to terms with my imminent social death, I’ve started working on the sequence for a Slavic creation myth. The most interesting thing about it  is that I have to explain ‘this is Slavic’ to people. I should stop at one point and ask, ‘which culture do you think this came from?’ the process of ‘breaking it’ to people might be more successful than the animation itself…

well here’s the first test piece I did at the start of last week…. just to see if I’m on the right track….

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wake up to create the golden egg out of which Rod comes out with love to create the World….

this obviously has a long way to go before anything becomes out of it. whooooooooop. so ready for this.

concepts / for children

 Around the beginning of summer I did a few concept drawings for three original fairy tales for children by a Bulgarian author. It was an exciting project and I quite enjoyed doing the artwork for it as the stories were so rich in characters. I hadn’t done anything so focused in a long time, I always try to add meaning and ideas of my own, so to me it was all about going back to that point of drawing from visual imagination – what we see in our heads when we read a story.

I tried to come up with original ideas with traditional tools, so to speak. I looked up a lot of old illustrations to fairy tales like Arthur Rackham, Virginia Sterrett, Tōshi Yoshida, and Cicely Mary Barker, but also a lot of contemporary ones like Angela Barrett, Chiaki Okada, Isabelle Arsenault, and the concept art for Tangled and Enchanted. It was incredible to look up all those illustrators I had glimpses of when I was younger, they were the most beautiful and magical things I’d seen and in a way they made me fall in love with illustration. So I wanted with this project to inspire the same thing but at the same time, not simplify it as much as a lot of illustrators today seem to do for children’s books.

So what I came up with as initial sketches were these…

I really enjoyed working on the stories even though I wasn’t sure what exactly I was aiming for in terms of a visual pattern, specific style or touch. That started becoming much clearer once I started working on the coloured images. 

Final Outcomes

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My final ‘pieces’ for our Gorillas in the Roses field module this term.

I made the two books from scratch – binding, stitching and, of course, the collages inside. I decided to go all out for the formative assessment this module as soon before I got the feedback from my Subject term 1 assessment. Amelia (Johnstone) mentioned that I haven;’t really been completing my artwork to the fullest extent in a sense of – weak in context and because of that unable to finalize whatever I produce. (I’m being quite vague because the examples wouldn’t apply in this case) At the very beginning of this field project James explained to us that with collaging we don’t need to make perfect sense, in fact, we don’t need to make sense at all. What he wanted us to focus on was exploration. In a way, whatever we come up with will add to the final body of work that was expected of us by the end of the 5 weeks.

These two books are a product of the absolute chaos and order of my mind. My process was quite simple, go through all the imagery (scan it) and then cut out what I like and what I feel might be useful (without actually specifying what for). Then I try to look for more in the same way, but with that first cut-out in mind – what would fit, what would work well with that? I do that until the collected bits start interacting with each other – they start revealing narratives, settings, composition challenges and specific colour schematics which ultimately lead to the image in my mind’s eye that I need to arrange down on the page. The entire process happens almost subconsciously, the only way I am now able to talk about it is because during the first few sessions, James (Green) and Tom (Martin) were asking us about our process, do we work in any specific order or just randomly putting stuff together, and I wasn’t sure how to answer at the time, the question was just as confusing as the collaging I was doing.

What I was really doing was spiraling in and letting go, going as crazy as it suited me. I felt like I was in a completely stress-free environment, no pressure of working on a brief, no outlines our work needed to fit in, just free to do whatever. And that was like a tap of creativity pouring down a well of inspiration. I find collaging entrancing, meditative, inspiring and sometimes frightening – whatever comes out on the page, is the product of my own imagination so obviously the more twisted the outcome, the more I question my own sanity.

In that sense, these two books are a sort of revelation, a reflection of how my mind works in various states and situations. Whether sleepy or hyped up, at uni, at home, after a night out, after having lots of food, when I haven’t really eaten all day; whether sad or happy or bored… the results always fit with my mood, without fail.

Mind States, album book
size: A3 (29.7 x 42 cm)
contents: 25 collaged pages

nature, human nature, cosmic nature, concertina book
size: 12 x 12 cm
contents: single-page collages, collage spreads and pop-ups

Here you can see a short preview of what is actually inside. :)

The footage for this clip was quite plain and  I thought I might spruce it up a bit on Magisto, an app I’ve had on my phone for ages but never really used before. How it works is, you select the videos you want in your short clip, choose an effect setting, a style, and then either choose a soundtrack from the app library or add your own music from your device. Could not be more simple – you don’t do ANY of the editing and you still end up with a decent little video. One of its effect settings (Rock On) just seemed perfect for my idea, as it was using stop motion collage frames and transitions which fits perfectly with our field module. The only feature I didn’t fully agree with was the black and white bits as the use of colour is quite an important feature, although after seeing it a few more times I realised that it actually works quite well – in order to inspire interest, you don’t show everything straight away, do you… The song I used is from the soundtrack of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (“Garbage Truck” by Sex Bob-Omb), it is one of my favourite films based on a comic book (story & artwork by Bryan Lee O’Malley). I thought it’d be quite fitting for a few reasons, like the grungy footage, and the fact that we’ve been working with and looking into comic books during most of this module.

Fae Forming / trying to look human

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/d7a/58572234/files/2014/12/img_6129.jpgFaeries trying to look human

The faeries were like ideas floating in the air, taking shape inside my mind, connecting with it, trying to find what I can relate them to and then forming them, shaping them, projecting them inside my mind’s eye… and I just drew them out.