The learning documents arrived on the 8th January along with an email from my tutor and I  promptly went into an IT frenzy.

My ultimate goal is to become an illustrator but I am very aware of gaping holes in my skills and confidence with regards to using technology, with this in mind I had decided to enrol firstly onto the Graphics Design course, to force myself to address these issues.

In brief, over 10 days I upgraded my computer, bought new software (Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign) tried and failed to get internet access in my studio (4 hours on the apple helpline), got a comfortable computer chair and a draughtman’s table. I also went on the OCA website and emailed my tutor.

I also attempted to set up a blog and Flickr account to display images but was not happy with any of these. Then I finally got down to the first exercise.


1 Technology

A lot of my technology issues are fear based, the more I have done, the easier it has become. Once I worked out how to sign onto the OCA website I have started to enjoy reading the forum chats although have not felt able to join in yet. I also have found some useful ideas, such as doing this blog as a document that can be uploaded onto a blog. I felt a lot more comfortable with this and so have actually been able to start it.

Actually working on the computer has been quite frustrating, I tend to find I know what I want to do but spend ages over what should be a simple task, e.g. printing something out and it comes out upside down. Hopefully with experience I won’t waste so much time.

I have started deliberately learning how to use illustrator, I could mess around on photoshop a bit but I now realise that the software is not that intuitive and I’ve got to set aside some time to work at these skills. Have got a manual, found some online tutorials etc. Even so, making painfully slow progress.

  1. Sketch books

I already kept sketch books, and just prior to starting course had started writing far more in them, dates, sensations, locations etc. However, after reading the course booklet I have been putting far more in them and already they are much fuller, richer, more colourful. I really enjoy flicking through them.

  1. Knowing when to stop


Previously when doing oil paintings I would often work on a series over a period of 6 months or a year, constantly revising. Having “done” the first exercise, I can see I am going to have to struggle with myself over finishing and knowing when to stop. I may have to impose some deadlines on myself or discuss some with my tutor if it gets to be a problem.


19.1.11 Finally ready to start.

Played around with a few ideas,

My initial idea was to use an image of my face cut into 4, so I printed off       a couple but it wasn’t really working. Whilst some of the chopped up              images produced an interesting place to work from I felt it was too          complicated.

Originally I had wanted to join the cards in some way but when I came up    with the chameleon idea I decided the unifying factor would have to be the  overall style of the images. I decided to do 5 cards with myself as a chameleon, each card reflecting various aspects of my life.

I printed off some reference images from the internet and books to have something to work from:

I then made drawings in ink on Tru-Grain film. This is a method I have used before to make screen prints. I  painted a background colour on watercolour paper to sit behind the image. I scanned all 5 images in and printed them out on glossy photo cards.


Things I liked

The handwritten/handdrawn quality of the images, particularily the effect on the computer screen, the side of the mountain and the accidental effect of the brown ink printing blood red in the vampire themed card.

Things I want to change

The text is not easy to read, the images are not very sharp and didn’t have a professional appearance on the printed card (slightly skew, uneven margins, sloppy finish around the edges), would prefer to use matt finish on thicker card.

In short it sums up why I am doing this course, what I want to do now is to work on the images in Photoshop and Illustrator.

Did I communicate what I wanted?

I felt the message was OK but at the moment it’s muffled and there is so much static it is not clear.

Use of time

I have put in at least 30 hours so far, the vast majority of my time is eaten up with working/wrestling with the computer.

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