Reflective journal on Part 5

Based on the feedback given in Part 4, how did I apply the suggestions made by my tutor?  Below are some of the highlighted comments from the feedback on Part 4, that I felt would be important to address in Part 5.  Under them are the reflections on how I did or didn’t do it.


1 – invest more time in the process itself rather than worrying too much about the end outcomes.

2 – simpler drawings could have been enough.

3 – make the brief your own

4 – keep the iterative sense of working and reworking going

5 – have a method for my process



1 – invest more time in the process itself rather than worrying too much about the end outcomes.

This was definitely applied to the packaging task in Exercise 33.  For this exercise there was a lot of playing around and trying different things.  A revisit on linocutting produced some lovely results and I felt that I was connecting to the art rather than the task of producing an outcome.  The bonus was the outcome was good, but it wasn’t important as the process was something that I enjoyed more than in previous exercises.

The process of play with the text was also okay, but as I progressed the worry crept in and the deadline aspect started to dominate again and this hampered my efforts to relax and enjoy the process.

2 – simpler drawings could have been enough.

For most of the sketches produced in Part 5, I went for a simpler approach and sketched without getting too heavy on the details.  It worked for the dinosaurs and for the educational strip.  Did I go too far with the simple drawings in exercise 35?  I’m not sure, but the message was conveyed so I think it was fine.

In exercise 30 the drawings were kept simple again, but the drawing of the plant was not up to scratch so that impacted on the overall image.  It was okay, but again I finished it in a digital format without truly engaging with a wider range of media.  This may have worked better as a paper cutting image or a linocut or even a still life.

3 – make the brief your own

I definitely tried to do this more and felt that there was a stronger sense of my humour coming through the exercises.  The characters drawn were badly drawn or childlike in their approach, which is definitely more me.  Making the brief my own resulted in more cheeky interpretations or more comic style formats introduced.  I’m still not entirely sure though if this is my default to familiar territory or making a mark of my own style.

In many of the illustrations done I haven’t fully experimented with watercolour and acrylics or inks and oils.  It’s something that I would like to develop.  Either way it was a step forward and if it is a default it is something I’m clearly comfortable with so keep it but still explore the other things.

4 – keep the iterative sense of working and reworking going

This definitely happened more for Part 5.  I reworked most of the things created.  It almost felt that the first draft was the so called final draft and then something would click and a new way found of doing it and this would be better.

My bamboo slate was used a fair bit too.  This helped me to loosen up and do simpler drawings which were then layered into things.  Using stamps and designs I had created worked well.  So although I was using digital, the content was all handmade patterns, stamps and designs.  This felt more authentic to me and digital software was being used to help create the image rather than depending on it from start to finish as an image creator.

Most of the exercises got reworked and feedback on the group page was very helpful to see something in a fresh perspective.  This worked very well on Exercise 35 and on the final assignment.  Feedback really helped to point me towards aspects that worked and didn’t work.

5 – have a method for my process

This was approached by creating a template for myself which included all the steps:


Each section reminds me of what I should be focusing on and it helps me to return to the brief and stay focused.

It really highlighted certain things to me though.  For some of the exercises I wasn’t sure how to answer some of the sections, but knew what I wanted to do.  From a student perspective that is fine as I’m learning and developing skills.  From a client perspective it is terrible as I’m showing I’m not clear on my intentions and direction.  There is a lot of room for error here, and although the exercises get done the fact that sometimes I don’t fill it in fully, gives the wiggle room for errors to occur.

When I do fill it in fully – like above, the end result is something I can stand over even if it isn’t fully working. It can be revisited and brought forward in a less stressful way because the steps are present.

For exercise 34 I hadn’t filled it in fully as I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do and so it showed in the process sheet!


The exercise was done, an image was produced, but the thumbnails went in the draw ideas up and the final draft wasn’t really a final draft.  It felt more like a ‘draw ideas up’ stage and not thought out as much.

So the brief works, if used in the right way, but when you don’t commit to it, you lose sight of important steps and it shows up in the draft and you create more work for yourself.

other reflections:

I was really looking forward to part 5 and went through it with a high level of enthusiasm.  Towards the end though I felt like the workload was too big.  There were chunks of stuff in each exercise that took way longer than expected and it meant that the stress kicked in about working to a deadline quite strongly.  I don’t feel like I had enough time to experiment with mixed media.  The focus was on getting the job done.  It would have been fun to have some exercises that were specific to working in watercolours, paints, markers, inks, paper and lino cut/wood cut, just as a way to engage with the media with some control and get feedback from tutors.  This would have helped me to be more willing to connect in with it for illustrations further down the line.  I think most students find themselves leaning towards digital formats for illustrating things, but it is important to know different ways to approach it.

Aside from above, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the course.  It pushed me a lot and I have found myself out of my comfort zone many times.  I see the work done and I’m happy with my efforts but I’m also aware of where I let myself down.  There are times when my A game shines through, and the sense of satisfaction with that is epic.  Then there are times when I let the stress seep in, lose focus and find my ability to produce A game stuff slips and I just want to get the job done.  It’s something I’m working on.



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