Art School Ethos

Famous Fashion Illustrators

Art School Ethos

From that first life-drawing class in the studio to the induction session in the print-making workshop or the introductory class in the darkroom, it is clear that art school offers a wealth of new creative opportunities to the young artist or designer. Generally it is recognised in art and design education that students will study a one-year basic course in art and design before embarking upon a more specialised three-year program in their chosen field. In the UK and Europe this general foundation course has often sat outside of the degree programme, but recently there has been an enthusiasm to adopt the model used in the USA, where the first year of art and design education is subsumed into the degree, effectively offering a four-year programme.

Maintaining the flavour of the foundation course will be important as this happens, as it is here that students are first introduced to new ways of working and thinking, Programmes of study allow students to briefly experience numerous disciplines within the broad spread of art and design, enabling them to decide what to study at degree level. Students then study alongside those that may have chosen to practice architecture, fashion, ceramics or automotive design for

Billie Holiday Stamp

It is the division of disciplines and the creation of walled subject areas that help to stamp out new, forward-thinking and possibly radical approaches to practice.

1. Charcoal on paper "Charlie Parker' for Union Square Music Chris Watson, 2004

2. Charcoal on paper

'Nat King Cole' for Union Square Music Chris Watson. 2004

3. Charcoal on paper

'Billie Holiday' for Union Square Music Chris Watson, 2004

Traditional materials like charcoal require dextrous drawing skills. Images can be cleaned with the Eraser Tool in Photoshop in a more clinical way than a traditional putty rubber, but the drawing still relies on the artist's own techniques and ability.

example, and it is in this mix of interests that many find inspiration for their work. Perhaps as important as the opportunity for practice, a strong art and design foundation course offers study, reflection and debate on art and design history, communication theories, politics and issues of race and gender.

This vital middle year of study, will, for many, be the only genuine opportunity for students from a variety of disciplines to discuss and debate issues, As students migrate towards their more subject-specific courses in the following year, they inevitably find themselves surrounded by others with simitar interests and goals. For creative young artists and designers this can stifle debate and create unnecessary boundaries between disciplines that may never again be broken down. It is the division of disciplines and the creation of walled subject areas that helps to stamp out new, forward-thinking and possibly radical approaches to practice. Of course, questions will still be asked and debate will continue to rage, but only from within each of the divided subjects, and without external opinions and contributions much can remain unaltered and unchallenged.


4. Acrylic paint on paper 'Solar System' for Private Commission

Luke Best, 2004

5. Acrylic paint on paper

'Unlucky in Love' for Self-published Book Luke Best, 2005

A child-like drawing quality mixed with aspects of painting that echo 'Outsider' art that is rendered in simple, almost primary colours gives an other-worldly, naive feel to an illustration - useful if it fits the subject being illustrated.

The Use of Odd Media

Using paint straight out of the tube is frowned upon by the serious artist who feels it is important to mix the desired colour oneself rather than relying on the manufacturer to create the very hue needed. This may sound pompous or exaggerated, but the importance of the right materials for the artist should never he underestimated.

For some tin* allure of the art store and its contents is never enough and the route to creating truly original art is in re-appropriating existing or 'found* objects. Some illustrators create images from collaged elements, mixing and layering in both analogue and digital formats to create new variants.

Collage is not a new art form, it originally came to prominence with the birth of photography, but appears to have been given a new lease of life by digital technology. Originally created by graphic designers, the first to master the Mac in the late 1980s, collaged illustrations were created in applications such as Adobe Photoshop. Within a few years the illustrator had gained on lost ground and the range of illustrative expertise in the field of collagc began to expand.

Making pictures from more challenging materials has interested illustrators wanting to ensure that their work is considered original. Using cut and torn coloured paper in the style of Henri Matisse Or creating "liox Art* in the manner of Joseph Cornell has attracted some illustrators away from traditional techniques, whilst others strive to use objects and items previously unused as art materials.

Illustrations created from coloured push pins set into a squared grid, or from cut and painted sheets of tin, or entirely collaged from tiny slivers of banknotes have all appeared in publications. The range of experimentation and sophistication employed across these untried and untested applications sets illustrators apart from others in the design profession; il a material has artistic potential, there is an illustrator ready to master it.

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The Use of Odd Media

1. Drilled holes into MDF board 'Samuel Beckett" for group exhibition Will Tomlinson, 2004

Creating an image using light and shade by drilling holes of differing depths according to a pre-set pattern gives a new vision to a photographic portrait of Samuel Beckett. Although this image appears to have used digital processes at the end of its creation, in measuring the holes, this wasn't the case. A photo of Beckett was just digitally scanned at the beginning and reduced to just a few monochrome tones in Photoshop.

'San Juan' for personal project Swoon, 2004

Scale can give a new took to an existing image - printing on numerous paper panels and sticking to a flat surface eliminates any butting up or overlaying of sheets if exercised carefully.

3 & 4. Mascara sticks on board Mask-era of Revolution' Ian Wright, 2003

Using found', but relevant objects to create an image provides interesting results - attempting to self-restrict a patette of colours or materials can force the illustrator into making more creative use of what is available.

Making pictures from more challenging materials has always interested illustrators wanting to ensure that their work is considered original.

Odd Photo 1880

The Use of Odd Media (II)

1. Hand-cut paper 'Shine Like a Star' series for personal project Pinky, 2005

Building layers of colour utilising a similar method to the way in which a screenprint is created, but using hand-cut coloured papers allows detail to show through in a unique and varied way.

Using Odd Media

• Being creative with media and processes means being able to find methods of creating images with materials that may not normally be used.

» Look for ways of working that differ from the norm - be experimental, but try to use media that relate to the subject that you are illustrating.

• It may be wise to have your final piece professionally photographed if the image is to be reproduced -getting lighting techniques to work correctly can be impossible without the right equipment.

• Be prepared for numerous attempts when mastering new or untried working methods -remember: new work takes time and patience.

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