The project’s primary purpose was to explore the keyword ‘emotion’ and use my knowledge and understanding of my practice as an Art Therapist and combine it with my work as an illustrator.
Through my research it has become apparent that it is an expansive field with a range of avenues to explore and within each avenue there appears to be another strand to investigate. In overlaying illustration theory and research with therapeutic theory, I have noted that the dual role I am aiming for is possible and that a collection of work can be created but that it has been challenging and remains so. In Art Therapy you work with the image that the client has created to aid the therapeutic process, whereas in this project it is directive with pre-created illustrations and narrative used to aid the client in their therapeutic process.
The most challenging aspect is to create therapeutic value and allow the client to gain ownership over the narrative but still have strong illustrations that work as an independent project.
Within my research I explored artists and illustrators that created images and narratives that allowed the reader to co-create the story. This has influenced the development of my narrative. As the research progressed I noted that there were recurring themes and that the results were not as eclectic as one might think.
The research has been paramount for me to create a foundation to build a project, with the end goal to create a picturebook or a series of illustrations that focus on loss and bereavement. The research has influenced my thoughts and brought into question the relevance of text in illustrations, what text can add and what text can take away. In returning to my initial aims, allowing the client to take ownership over the narrative and not wanting to dictate to them how they should feel, I reflected upon the use of narrative in my work. I concluded that in some illustrations there will be a need for text and in others there will not, allowing the reader to align their own experiences with the narrative.
Overall the research has been enlightening and challenging. I feel I have only scratched the surface and at times I have felt overwhelmed by the amount of research required and the amount I have wanted to do to support this project. There appears to be a constant tussle between the therapeutic underpinning and the importance and development of the illustrations. I feel there is a lot more than can be explored as I continue the development of this project in FAT2.
I feel at this point in the project, I wish to continue my research through this blog and to reflect further on my practical work alongside that of other illustrators. I notice that I am more confident in my Art Therapy theory as this is a daily practice for me. My research has awakened a thirst to increase my knowledge of illustration theory and create more illustrations. I wish to push the limits of my own capabilities in both fields and continue to develop a project that pulls Art Therapy and illustration into one.
FAT1’s project and what I intend to continue into FAT2, started as a fascination with Ascension Island. Ascension Island lies in the South Atlantic (7 56′S, 14 22′W) 700 miles northwest of the island of Saint Helena and covers an area of 34 square miles.
Ascension Island is like a place I have never heard of, I instantly started thinking of stories that would work amongst this Island. To gain an understanding I decided I should talk to someone who knows the Island well.
Talking to Tiffany Jones who grew up there, told me many a tale of what it was like below are excerpts from our conversation
Green mountain is tropical and lush with eucalyptus trees, prickly pears, paw-paw trees, banana trees, other tropical plants and bamboo at the peak around a man-made pond called the ‘Dew Pond’
There are big orange and purple land crabs that live in holes all over the mountain.They come down to the sea to nest –
The beaches range from white coral bays to black volcanic coves. There are some fantastic names such as Comfortless Cove, Dead Man’s Beach, Shelly Beach, Crystal Bay, Palm Bay – but the most common places to spot nesting turtles are Long Beach and English Bay.We used to creep down at night to watch them lay their eggs. They are huge creatures and huff and puff as they lay – once they’ve dug a huge hole with their hind flippers.
I grew up in Two Boat’s village and went to the only school on the island ‘Two Boat’s School!’
… trigger fish related to piranhas. They surround Ascension and aren’t dangerous but are ferocious scavengers and the water boils when you throw left overs into the water.
Every Saturday we’d run the Hash (Hash House Harriers) – which was like a paper chase that was set by the ‘hares’ and followed the next day by the ‘hounds’ – it was mainly an excuse to eat and drink loads after a bit of exercise.
Jones, T (2014) ‘In conversation with Laura Cave-Magowan’
The Island that is so small is expansive and so rich is so many different ways. I intend to use Ascension Island as a foundation for my idea, as Ascension has grow and formed over the years, I notice my project is also in a transitional state, as I learn more and create more, the narrative also grows and alters.
- Jones, T (2014) ‘In conversation with Laura Cave -Magowan’ purpose to support FAT1 research.
Macabre and illustrations, make me think of dark tales, with twists and turns, much like walking through the forrest at night, its not what you can see, its what your imagination leads you to believe you can’t see.
Chris Odgers encapsulates this sensation for me, beautiful illustrations with tales created for adults and children. Creating limited print runs, making his work collectables, but for me adding to the intrigue and the allusiveness of his work.
‘Fall’ written and illustrated by Chris Odgers and limited to 1000 copies, is a story of a boy called Harvey, who on Halloween discovers there is a missing jigsaw piece, but more bizarrely the jigsaw piece is from his chest. The tale unfolds as Harvey embarks on a journey, brimming full of metaphor, as friendships are made stronger and Harvey goes in search of his missing part of self.
Odgers work uses characters and symbols that for most are dark, yet the stories told are not, taking time to delve into the illustrations, the limited colour pallet highlights the intricacies in the drawings and adds a beauty to the perceived darkness.
Odgers work reminds me of a recurring theme within my Art Therapy practice, clients in search of self, their identity, and through the utilisation of Art they can embark on a journey to find themselves, or as Harvey did the missing part of the jigsaw.
- Odgers, Chris, (2003) ‘Fall’ Atlantic Press, Cornwall.
Final piece, created for FAT1, mixed media.
This is my final piece from FAT1 a culmination of research and ideas that will be now used as a foundation in FAT2. I found that the project was challenging in that it brought up so many ares that needed to be considered and that FAT1 alone it was not possible to explore all of these aspects. I feel I was unaware of how much detail I would like to incorpate into the concept and the depths I wish to explore. The fundamental elements of fusing my Art Therapy practice and my illustration remain at the core of my work and I will continue to use my keyword emotion and a reference point.
Creating a story that is about death, that allows the reader to use their imagination and life experiences to relate to the narrative, and yet the narrative must not dictate to the viewer how that should be feeling.
The character design has felt like a complex process and one that is organic, and as the narrative grows, so does the character.
Sketchbook, Working Character design for FAT1.
As I step into FAT2 I am intrigued where my research will take me and how this will reflect within my practical work.