Today we embarked on a nice intensive Life Drawing session. It wasn’t your traditional life drawing session though. For one, this was ‘speed’ life drawing, so we didn’t have the luxury of spending an hour at a time gazing at our ‘models’. Secondly, all our models remained fully clothed at all times –which was probably for the best, if the vision that confronts me in the bathroom mirror of a morning is anything to go by....
[ Read More ]AAAAAARRRRRGGGGHHHH! –My Eyes!
12 Oct 2013
[Apologies: For the purposes of illustrating a point, this post contains projectile vomit of a visual nature]
What in the name of anal ballbags is it with Tumblr and Tumblr users and animated-fucking-gifs?
As if it wasn’t bad enough that every time I log into the site I have to scroll past at least three or four putrid blinking, flashing pieces of this digital excrement which people have seen fit to embed in their posts, it now seems that Tumblr have taken to vomiting them into the sidebar as well....
[ Read More ]Single-Boot Debian Wheezy on MacBook Pro 4,1
12 Oct 2013
Fresh from all my “right side of the brain” wannabe-artistic efforts of the past couple of weeks, I thought I’d give old left-brain a bit of an outing and let him record how he [finally!] managed to get Debian Wheezy booting as the sole OS on an old MacBook Pro 4,1.
Disclaimer: As everything Linux-related I attempt seems to comprise at least twice as much luck, voodoo and chicken entrail interpretation as it does ‘knowing-what-the-fuck-I’m-doing’, this is very much one of those YMMV kind of posts....
[ Read More ]Mr. WiPpy
11 Oct 2013
My second years were being quite self-directed today, scribbling away furiously in their sketchbbooks, so I got time to do a bit of sketchbook work myself. Here is some more Work-in-Progress on the previously mentioned branding exercise I set my BA students last week.
My final idea is slowly coalescing inside my vacant skull. It’s going to be some kind of 1950s style retro-themed promotional material for a “Design-Bot” robot toy....
[ Read More ]Angels and Devils
08 Oct 2013
Yesterday we wheeled out our newly traditional Destroy Project with the 1st years, wherein they ‘destroy’ studio portraits of themselves. I didn’t have time to join in this year, but see last year’s write-up for more background info.
The results were mixed: some nice imaginative ideas and creativity on display but, as always, a lot of the work was let down by terrible hand-rendered typography.
Today’s task was a remix of the Destroy Project but with more focus on layout and typography:...
[ Read More ]Branding Exercise
03 Oct 2013
Just for a change from my 1st year doodlings, here is another ‘work-in-progress’ [WiP], this time based on a task I set my 3rd year BA students.
First thing in the morning, we played an ice-breaker game whose fiendishly complicated rules I don’t propose to elaborate on at the minute, but which basically involved coming up ideas for logos for a range of everyday businesses, which were different to anything thought up by any of your classmates....
[ Read More ]Texture Grids
01 Oct 2013
Another follow-up to the infamous Animation Street fiasco, this session was intended to try and get the students to re-engage with the idea of mark-making and illustrative pattern work.
Each student marked out an A2 sheet of paper into a grid of 8 rectangles. They then had to fill each rectangle with an illustrative pattern based on some object observed in the world around them. The finished piece should work as an interesting abstract piece of art....
[ Read More ]Walkies!
01 Oct 2013
This morning as a bit of a warm-up and loosen-off session to banish the memory of yesterday’s abortive Animation Street task, we had a session of that old classic parlour game “Taking Your Line For a Walk”.
For the uninitiated, the idea is simple: each person scribbles on a piece of paper in front of them. The papers are then shuffled round in a variety of ways [to stop things becoming too predictable] so that everyone ends up staring blankly at someone else’s scribble, which has landed in front of them....
[ Read More ]Animation Street
30 Sep 2013
This task was the next step in our attempts to get the students to think about using pattern and illustration to fill in areas of a design. The Sardinhas and My Dream Course tasks had both focussed on filling an internal shape. This task was intended to revisit our old friend ‘negative space’ by requiring the students to fill in the space around a piece of artwork.
In the morning session, each student worked from a photograph of their house to produce a line-art version of their humble abode....
[ Read More ]My Dream Course
30 Sep 2013
This idea was shamelessly lifted from the always inspirational Doodlers Anonymous website [you didn’t really think we make all this stuff up ourselves, do you?]
A bit like the concept behind the aforementioned Sardinhas project, the idea is that you take a blank template of a book cover and then turn it into the cover of a textbook describing your ideal ‘school’ subject. Eschewing my natural inclinations to depict the cover of “Advanced Kebab & Guinness Consumption Studies”, I instead decided to throw together a cover for my second favourite academic subject of all time; the noble art of walrus juggling, as practised down through the generations by the sea-faring members of my family....
[ Read More ]Something Fishy
30 Sep 2013
A while back I stumbled across the Sardines competition organised as part of the Festas de Lisboa. The concept is really simple: download an outline drawing of a sardine and then fill it with whatever springs to your creative mind. We thought it might be a good exercise for the students, to get them experimenting with pattern and design.
There was quite a lot of productivity and creative work produced –but unfortunately none of it came from my end of the room....
[ Read More ]Grid Drawing
25 Sep 2013
Today, as part of our campaign to allow us all to continue producing artwork after The Apocalypse comes and reduces all the computers, scanners and printers to smoking heaps of melted plastic, we set the students the task of magnifying a photograph through Grid Drawing:
Overlay an acetate sheet with a grid ruled onto it on top of a photograph and then copy the content of the grid to a larger grid ruled on a sheet of drawing paper –thus reproducing the photograph at an enlarged size....
[ Read More ]Still Life and Negative Space
24 Sep 2013
More drawing from life today. This time with a bit of a twist: First of all I gave the students a crash course in the art of drawing from life, using a pencil held at arm’s length to measure relative dimensions and angles. Once inducted into this mysterious art of ”looking like a proper artist”, we turned them loose on that old standby of art colleges down through the ages: the pile of boxes....
[ Read More ]More Still Life
23 Sep 2013
In the afternoon session, we asked the students to experiment with using a variety of media in their still life drawings. We’re always amazed and a bit saddened to find out how many students embarking on an Art & Design course arrive with no experience of working with any art materials outside of horrible gritty supermarket own-brand HB pencils. So we throw a load of proper drawing pencils, charcoal, pastels, pen’n’ink, etc at them and we invite them to try their hand with as many as possible....
[ Read More ]Another [Academic] Year Over... and a New One Just Begun
23 Sep 2013
[with apologies to John Lennon]
Well, here we go again folks. After an inexcusable hiaitus from posting during the summer, your favourite half-witted lecturer is back again, pencils sharpened and raring to. In other words: I’m a firm believer in the principle of not asking other folks to do something you wouldn’t be prepared to do yourself so, as ever I’ll be mucking in with my students [whenever tedious spreadsheet-sucking duties allow] in the various design challenges we set them during the coming year....
[ Read More ]Them's Good Broth Turned 3 Today
06 Jul 2013
Who’da thunk it, eh?
I started this blog, so I could “lead by example” when banging on to my students about how important it was to maintain an online presence. And now, a mere three years later, I have a readership measured in the millions, my wise words have brought an end to war and poverty and —with the enormous sums I earn from a continual round of public appearances— I’ve been able to retire to this sun-kissed tropical island, where I spend my days snorting cocaine from the belly-buttons of dusky maidens, swilling Guinness by the gallon and living on kebabs [with extra chilis] flown in specially from Abdul’s in Manchester by private jet....
[ Read More ]So Long and Thanks for All the Wish... Es
04 Jul 2013
Just running through the last few exit tutorials this week, before all my lovely second years are freed from my loving stranglehold and released into the big bad world. We’ve had some laughs and tears and fights over the past two years, but hopefully, for most of you, it was worthwhile in the end.
If I wasn’t so wizened, gruff and cynical I might have allowed myself a poignant sniffle, reading the nice farewell messages on the card you wee divil’s got for me....
[ Read More ]Stop the World. I Want to Get Off!
17 May 2013
Today, I present the crowning glory in the recent “improvements” to the network at college. Yes folks, the TMC firewall has just blocked the TMC’s own website “in accordance with organisational policy”.
I give up. I’ve obviously fallen through a hole in the space/time continuum into a parallel universe, where galloping insanity is the norm....
[ Read More ]Size Is Everything
13 May 2013
Funnily enough, only a couple of weeks ago, I was on the Aardman website, looking at their self-proclaimed World’s Smallest Animation, which was made using a microscope attachment on a smartphone camera.
This is a tiny animation
Pretty teeny-weeny stuff, I’m sure you’ll agree. But it seems that the world of animation is no more a stranger to the unstoppable march towards miniaturisation than the rest of the world of gadgetry....
[ Read More ]What's in a Nom?
13 May 2013
Those of you who are remotely interested in the ins, outs and quite possibly back-in-agains of academia may have witnessed Alex and me swimming against a tide of paperwork, even higher than normal, over the past few weeks. The reason for this was that we were re-writing the Animation and New Media foundation degrees with a view to getting them validated by University of Salford.
Well, last week, wearing my best bib’n’tucker and even clean shaven in deference to the occasion, I attended the validation meeting with some top bods from the University of Salford and I’m pleased to say that [subject to a few minor tweaks to the paperwork] they’ve agreed to validate the new course....
[ Read More ]