I began the project looking into the normalisation of hate, and I stuck with the theme throughout my project. However, from the initial game design idea I went on to do graphic design which is something I’m very comfortable in due to previously, and currently, working in the industry.
I initially came up with the idea of creating a series of posters to example what normalised hate is, but after speaking with the foundation teachers as well as other students, I found it would better suit if I did step out of my comfort zone a little and make something three dimensional. From this, I decided on working with wood and creating book covers on them. My first idea for the wood was to sketch onto it and paint the covers, but I’m not the strongest painter; and while I wanted to step outside of my comfort zone, I didn’t want to do something I knew was going to turn out horribly. This led me to look into the prospect of Pyrographics – this is the art of burning into wood to produce a pattern. However, knowing that practising with would not only take a lot of time but also a lot of resources which I couldn’t afford to fund, I decide to do it in a different way. Instead of learning to freehand Pyrographics, I decided to practice my graphic design skills so that I could design the covers digitally and transfer the design onto the wood via sketching before burning the design into the wood.
To advance my skills in graphic design, I offered to do graphic designs for companies and people who needed them doing at a low price – in response, I asked them to write me a testimonial so that I had feedback on my work. I produced a variety of content from posters, to social media images, logos, and websites. I also produced a number of book cover designs, for my own works in progress, but also for some writers on a free writing community called Wattpad.
After searching for more commissions to do, and realising I will need to do a pair of silhouettes for a couple of the wooden covers I was going to produce, I decided to offer sketches to people to practice my sketching skills. Though I did these digitally, it helped with the sketching process later on, and made my lines a lot smoother when drawing. I produce three sketches at first, one of James (the head of the Art Department), another of my friend Lee, and one of Lee’s daughter: Leah. The sketches were so liked that I was then asked to produce similar sketches by three other people at the radio station I began working for. And, while doing such, my boss realised I was a graphic designer and started using my services. I got to make a poster for the station, as well as a banner. Both of which turned out very well and I liked them a lot, I’m hoping that they’ll let me rebrand them in the future, as their current logo design is somewhat dreadful.
After producing so many different pieces, I decided it was time to make the digital renderings of the covers I was going to produce. I designed each cover, to somewhat represent the title and the story behind them. For The Pastor, I sketched a man wearing a white colour and a black shirt and hat; for Electro Shock, I drew the outline of a person and had Shock coming out from behind each side of his head; And for Victorious, I drew the equality symbol of a raised in the air fist. Once the sketches were complete, I proceeded to draw them onto the wooden blocks before burning into them. However, I was unable to burn the blurbs as I had planned to. Due to the constant rain, I was unable to work in a ventilated area, causing issues with the action of burning the sketches into the wood as I was often choking on the smoke. Luckily, the front covers had been completed. This led me to decide to make digital blurbs, print them off, and stick them to the wood block as I would be doing with the stories that would be doing in between said blocks.
In conclusion, if I’d had more time and a ventilated area, I would have been able to do the blurbs as well, and maybe even the story on the inside. However, due to such complications, I was unable to fulfil my initial idea of the wooden books. However, I was still somewhat happy with how they turned out, but with the project being somewhat open for more to be built upon the idea of the Normalisation of Hate, I am excited to continue doing the project in my own time – and maybe even reproducing the books and correcting their imperfections.