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This year began with The RSA Animate brief- the create a thoughtful considered and communicative animation to accompany one of two educational talks. This project allowed me to become experimental with 3D prop and set design which i really enjoyed. I was inspired by the Curiosity talk and from this particularly the relationship between curiosity and childhood. This focus on childhood curiosity enabled me to invent a kitsch toy based narrative intended to reunite adults with childhood curiosity through colourful sets and whimsical characters. Whilst my animation was a simple style, the work that went into each backdrop and set of props ignited a liking of working with 3D materials that has stayed with me and evolved throughout the year. During the RSA brief i discovered what i thrive most doing is work that combines 3D and 2D elements.

This project coincided with the lecture series and our essay writing, and our lecture series was based around the concept of becoming sucessful “thinking practitioners” and preparing us for a heavily research based year. The research part of the whole year is one i have really taken time over, the journal has had more time spent on it because it’s now become part of my routine to update regularly and its this practice that has got me into good habits of thinking more conceptually. The essay was a very interesting part of the year, it helped me to channel a long standing passion into a project i can try to make a statement with. The essay for me this year was about the problematic gender representation within literature aimed at children, i  got to speak to relevent people within that field and look critically at the debates within this area. It also led to alot of primary research which has been  most useful, by looking at such a large selection of children’s literature it allowed me to set a standard for myself enabling me to enjoy my practice whilst working towards a moral goal, informed by a study of current debates and ideas.

The information i gathered during the essay writing process has greatly informed my FMP, whilst i split my FMP into two sections the first focusing on process and developing of practice, the second focused more upon my paramount goal of combatting gender stereotyping in children’s literature. In this first half of my FMP i worked on a live brief for the YCN- reimagining Alice in Wonderland. This part allowed me to work primarily on process and image making, trying out combinations of 2D and 3D methods influenced by the RSA project, until i had found a style that i thought worth pursuing and developing further. It was in this half of the project that i learnt more about photography and working with set design/ prop creation (following RSA) and that this is an area i would like to continue specialising in when i enter the world of work. This led onto developing a monochromatic more modern style of set design that i have begun to really enjoy working with that accomplished one of the goals set out by my gender representation ideals- to remove stereotypical gender based colour schemes from my interpretation of “The 12 Dancing Princesses”. This story was chosen for the second half of my FMP because as a Grimm’s fairytale it already has some darker connotations within the original story that could be played upon, and it had already some feminist ideas. It was also chosen because it has not been adapted this way previously.  The final major project has introduced me to new contexts and mediums, and most of all it has changed how i create imagery. Once a stickler for detailed pre planned designs, i am now much more loose and experimental in my work and find that the more spontaneously created images have been the most successful.

The final part of this year was self promotion based, research into what promotional tools are relevent to my practice has been essential. Because the images i have produced during the FMP & RSA have been high quality photographs; my online portfolio has been most important. During the design process for my website i have become more conscious about my visual communication and who i am trying to attract, i have created a website showing the kinds of work i want to be known for and it feels of a professional standard that i hope will serve me well as an introductory platform to potential clients. I have created several social media profiles to serve me as informal places to build relationships with potential clients/employers and importantly a consistent image across all platforms to build a “brand”. Other promotional materials i have created include postcards, because high res images need to be seen at a larger size to make real impact i didnt feel business cards were the right direction for my practice.

To conclude, this year has shown me what my own practice is capable of being and a way of creating imagery that allows me to really enjoy the process and be spontaneous. I now feel more comfortable entering the world of industry with a strong belief that i can use my visual communication to make a difference in the issues i feel passionate about (gender representation among) and promote myself as a versatile image maker with growing skills in areas i hadn’t previously considered. This year has helped to build my confidence in my own practice and given me the tools to think more critically about visual communication and my responsibility as an illustrator/dabbles in set making/photography.

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