Reading Shaun Tan’s The Arrival reminded me of flip books my brother and I used to make out of notepads when we were younger. We’d draw each “frame” on a separate sticky note, and then fan through the pictures, revealing an animated story that usually only lasted seconds. I found my mind doing this same kind of thing while reading The Arrival. Because the illustrations had such a larger than life quality to them, it was easy to imagine them animated and moving through space and time. The fragmentation of the page almost forces you to fill in the rest of the movement–really making the book come to life. What are your thoughts?
Peter Rabbit Paratext
When I got to class today, I realized that everyone had a different version of Peter Rabbit than I did (I found mine used off Amazon and didn’t think it would be very different than the other version). My cover looked like this…
The book is much larger than the other version, but it has omitted some of the pictures. Instead the illustrations are blown up versions of the originals, and the editor chose seemingly the most important illustration for every three illustration the original copy has. Text that took up a single page from the original have also been combined onto one page, so there are more sentences per page.
I think the choices the editor made for this version of Peter Rabbit are very interesting. After discussing the importance of Potter’s illustrations and how they really drive the whole story, it is a shame that this editor didn’t include all of the original illustrations. On the other hand, the full size illustrations on the page were captivating. I definitely prefer the original version over this one, but I could imagine a child enjoying the full page, glossy illustrations.
Today’s Collage Workshop
Going into today’s workshop, I had no vision of what I wanted my final DIY illustration to look like. I ended up using this time to play around with different images through collage, with no end goal besides just having some fun and spurring the creative process of thinking of an idea for my final illustration. I ended up making this:
My first thought after re-examining my collage was that there is tons of white space on the page, which is mostly a product of not “finishing” (although I didn’t really have a plan of what to put in the white space). It was fun to look through the older magazines (I think they were called “ideas”?). Most of the images I cut out are from those magazines–I really liked the older more pop-art style of them, but I also added some random images from various advertisements. I think I had the most fun with the image of the people staring (to the right). The image came from an Easter Church scene, and I though it was pretty funny/creepy how they were all just staring in the same direction. I found some flowers that matched the coloring from the following page, and I decided to cover some of the faces in the crowd with flowers. This wasn’t really for a specific reason/meaning but I just thought it looked cool. I think overall I had a fun experience with collage, although I probably won’t use this in my final project, because it wasn’t really inspired by a story about play.
Julia Jacquette– “Hands (Women Rock Musicians)”
When looking around the exhibit today, the piece that struck me the most was the first one we saw– “Hands (Women Rock Musicians)” series, 2016. I thought the medium of glazed ceramic tiles gave these paintings a stunning, three dimensional presence. Hearing Sungmin’s take on the piece was very interesting to me. He explained that Julia Jacquette wanted to convey the more realistic elements of female hands. In advertisements and media, female hands are often perfectly smooth, delicate, and free of scars or blemishes. Julia paints these hands in their realist forms, and choosing to convey the hands of famous female rockers is even more bad-ass in my opinion. There is something completely raw and powerful about these images, and it felt like a very positive expression of art, rather than some of the more critical and negative paintings later on in the exhibit.
Gorey’s Choice of Font
When reading through Gorey’s Amphigorey: Fifteen Books, I noted how the fonts change from story to story, and how they indicate whether the particular section will be an intense and scary or a whimsical and funny.
For example, “Bug Book” is very childlike in its simplicity and charm. The font Gory uses follows suit, it has an innocence about it and almost looks like the handwriting of an adolescent (see below).
In contrast, I found “The Hapless Child” to be utterly terrifying and depressing, not at all fit for a child’s bedtime story. The font in this story is a gothic-style script that conveys a sort of melancholy and dramatic feeling (see below).
One more example is from “The Curious Sofa”. This story was quite erotic and bizarre, and I found that the font really fit with the themes. There is also something very playful about the way the letters curl at the ends that tells the reader to not take the story very seriously.
Examining Gorey’s font choice can provide insights into his intentions of the story and its meaning. It also shows the variety that Gorey is capable of–covering everything from an innocent children’s story about the teamwork of bugs to the horrifying death of a child to a pornographic story all in the span of thirty pages!
Pop Art’s Emergence Through Collage
After looking at the Richard Hamilton image in class today, I wanted to look at more collages from the Pop Art movement. It was so interesting to learn that the term “Pop” originated from this image in regards to the Tootsie Pop. I found some collages from artist Robert Rauschenberg that I though also embodied this style of collage using elements from Pop Culture.
The image above is Rauschenberg titled “Signs”, 1970. The image conveys a sense of chaos as a multitude of different pop culture elements are assembled together. The image covers everything: peace, war, violence, science, and artistic expression. Seeing the combined chaos of all these historical elements elicits a powerful effect on the viewer.
The second Rauschenberg image (above) is titled “Windward” 1963. This one appears more abstract than the first, with softer edges and more muted colors. I find the addition of brush strokes as an element of the collage a unique part of this assemblage. There is also repetition and distortion in this image. The image of the statue of liberty is in both corners, with the bottom left image being somewhat darkened out and less hopeful. The Sunkist oranges at the top of the collage are also repeated just below, except the image has been whited out except for one vibrant orange. It’s been fun to look at other early images of Pop Art, and think about the intention of the artist in their compilations and critiques of culture.
Letterpress Day 1 Reflections
Today’s class in the letterpress studio was great. Last year I went to a print shop in Cooperstown for a field trip to learn about the process, but because we only printed one page as a class, that experience involved less hands on type setting than I had today. It was surprising how long it took just to set 2 sentences worth of letters! It gave me a new perspective on some of the books we looked at from special collections, and how long it must have taken to make just one simple book. After admiring some of the prints on the wall of the studio, it is clear that the time and work that goes into a print is totally worth it–there’s something so clean and imperfect about a print and the way the text looks slightly raised on a page. I’m excited to incorporate this art into the collaborative project.
Gustav Dore~ More Depictions of Don Quixote
After looking at two Gustave Dore illustrations of Don Quixote in class, I was interested in seeing how else he depicted Don throughout the rest of the book. I was surprised at how many of the images depicted Don as old, tired, and beaten down. The first image is captioned “The Don is placed in a cage.” I find this image very captivating, and it conveys the idea that Don is trapped in his own head filled with stories. The second image is captioned “Don Quixote after his battle with the cat.” Bed ridden Don Quixote is pretty sad, and he has a very vulnerable and beaten down look on his face. The third image actually shows Don Quixote on his death bed, further showing him as a weak individual. I find it interesting that Dore portrays Don Quixote in this way, as a weak almost absent minded character.
Reflections on our time in the scriptorium workshop
Two days in the scriptorium workshop really opened my eyes to the art of illustration. One thing that struck me was the time and planning that went into making a simple letter. It took me about 45 minutes of the first class just to map out where I wanted to place everything and getting my letter “M” to be symmetrical. Even just thinking about how I wanted to decorate my letter took a while. It made me realize how even the smallest distorted letter at the beginning of a page takes so much thought, planning, and execution of details. The second class, I was able to finish my illustration and begin the process of illumination. Deciding on which part of my illustration to illuminate was also a difficult choice. I wanted to use gold leaf in a relatively big area that was easier to put glue on, rather than any tiny details. I decided to do two concentric frames around my letter. Using the gold leaf really made my image come alive, and it was easy to see the appeal of using it in early manuscripts to make illustrations even more beautiful. Overall, my experience in the scriptorium was super enjoyable, and I loved engaging in an ancient art that proved way more difficult, detailed, and time consuming than I would ever have guessed.
Counterfeit Money, Imitation, and Deceit
Chapter 19, “I am a gold coin”, really emphasized the theme in this novel of real vs imitation, as well as honesty vs deceit. The coin speaks to us, telling us of its journeys from hand to hand, and then reveals to us that it is actually counterfeit gold. The idea of counterfeit money is interesting–if no one can tell it is counterfeit, and the money is accepted by all, then no one will ever be cheated from the coin. This plays to the idea of imitation from the miniaturists. The Eastern way of painting was to paint such that paintings of new and old were indistinguishable, and style was nonexistant– essentially imitation. I think the parallels between the circulation of counterfeit money and the circulation of imitated paintings is an interesting pairing. The coin also points out that it essentially drives all desires. On page 106, it states “If I didn’t exist, however, no one would be able to distinguish a good artist from a bad one, and this would lead to chaos among the miniaturists; they’d all be at each other’s throats.” This quotation describes how money is used to distinguish miniaturists in their art–even though they are not supposed to paint for glory/money and instead paint for Allah, money unavoidably exists as a source of competition between the miniaturists.