I didn’t want to do where I live now, but decided to take a trip down memory lane to the town where I was born, Morecambe. This was inevitably bitter sweet, once a prime seaside holiday resort it has struggled over the last 30 years. It has been through some very rough patches but is less run down now than it was. Of course visiting midwinter wasn’t ideal for a seaside resort but I actually had a great day walking around.
As far as visitor attractions go, they can be summarised as the Midland Hotel, the Promenade and some statues. And I didn’t particularly like the statues, Eric Morecambe and some terns. (I liked Eric Morecambe, just not the statue). I LOVE the Midland Hotel which is an art deco beauty, restored in the past few years. The Promenade is a great long space to walk along, looking at the wonderful view across the bay to the hills of the Lake District. There are quite a lot of other art deco buildings, although not restored like the hotel. I found a shelter with nice lines, but sadly the Aquarium (Marineland) was long gone.
I took a lot of reference photos as it was bitterly cold, too cold to get out a pen and sketchbook and sit in the open.
Once home I made a lot of rough drawings but I couldn’t seem to pull the various buildings and people into an illustration.
For a long while I had a sensation of blankness, the ideas just didn’t work. I spent a long time looking at images of Morecambe on the internet. I looked at how other students had tackled this and I really liked how stephanie508877 did her Assignment on Kichijoji. Just by chance there was the radio 4 programme about some 17th century painted screens depicting Kyoto (Google images. https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/beta/u/0/asset/sights-in-and-around-kyoto/8QHASebeKxBYFA ) The screens show Kyoto as though floating from above, the artists using clouds to obscure areas, allowing themselves to just display the bits they wanted. I was inspired by these two different images and realised that I had trapped myself by my reference photos into a reality based, 2 point perspective viewpoint and that I needed to allow myself to do a more imagined perspective, from above, thinking of a more isometric view. There was no aha moment, just a slow dawning as I drew and redrew the plan / map.
The first issue I had to deal with was which way was I facing? Towards the bay or looking in? The obvious way is facing the bay, the view, but most of the buildings look outwards, across the bay. In the end I turned the buildings around and faced the view. Finally, I also found YouTube footage of a drone flight over Morecambe which helped me with visualising the scene from above.
It is at this point that I started to part company with the brief. I decide to ignore the needs of the Tourist Board and to enter my own imaginary / remembered world. I wanted to include some things I remembered as a child ( Marineland, my Gran’s house, the church we attended), exclude the things that I predated (the statues) and to alter distances in order to get the map to work visually.
Once I had the map / plan sorted, I then imagined zooming into various highlights of the resort. I picked out the Midland Hotel, Marineland, and an area of the Promenade with a seating area with nice lines.
I scanned some drawings into the computer and coloured them on Illustrator. I did a view looking out to sea but wanted to have a higher view point which also included the shelter, so turned the orientation around. One of the problems in Illustrator was firstly that you have to “translate” your own drawing into a tracing, so you lose something of yourself and secondly the colours are flat whereas I wanted some texture. I couldn’t get the colours to work satisfactorily so I switched to Photoshop and worked with scanned in backgrounds instead.
I scanned in a mono print in a blue green to act as the sea and a piece of fabric to represent the promenade and also a general, neutral backdrop.
By working with the different layers and using masks I was able to add people to the scenes (using the new skills I picked up in the Fashion section). Ultimately, I was fairly satisfied with the end result. As said earlier, I had long abandoned the brief of producing something for the Tourist Board (or they had probably sacked me for time wasting) and was my own client. Essentially I was trying to produce some affectionate images of a Morecambe that I remembered merging with Morecambe as it is now. Of necessity they were going to be stylised, not sunny (I never remember it being sunny, let alone hot! I remember it as fresh, windy or raining. Or all 3) I think that I would have preferred to zoom a bit closer into the people, dress them more obviously from the 60’s or 70’s.
I was quite pleased with the effect of scanning in backgrounds and I feel that I want to develop this technique further in future projects, even if I am not 100% happy with these ones, but I also thought enough fiddling around for now. Just at the end I had the idea of allowing more of the background colours to appear (for example on the people’s coats) but this occurred accidentally and in order to do it in a more deliberate way would have entailed redoing some layers completely. (I still have more to learn about using layer masks)
Finally, it was only on writing the Assignment up that I saw that the 3 images worked well together on the page so I placed them one above the other, rather like the drone, starting off high above the Midland then zooming in closer, ending quite close to the people.