The year was difficult, not only because of the course but because of everything else that happened outside of it. I worked hard, trying my best to learn new techniques, and in the end, I learnt some of the most important things that I could have learnt about art.
There is no perfection in art, there is only meaning. Without meaning, art is just decoration. If it wasn’t for the fact that I tried my best, and put meaning into my work, I’m pretty certain I would have failed due to the incapability of me to do art to the same quality level of my peers.
My drawings are messy, styled as if to look unfinished, and generally quite random and childish. But, that is my work, it’s my style – just like it was Van Gogh’s to paint in spirals and Gorey’s to draw in hatches. While studying Foundation, I found myself being pulled into both traditional and digital art – but in different ways than I had been in the past.
During high school, I had been unable to paint with watercolour due to the poor techniques shown to me. Now, when painting, I exclusively use watercolours. I no longer paint in acrylics, and I despise the mess of oils. But watercolour is fluid and light, it has a pure feeling to it which makes me like the action even more.
Then there is Digital – I could never draw with a pencil on a computer; it seemed impossible, but now it’s second nature to breathing. Now, I draw on my computer daily – producing sketches and doodles; designing tattoos, illustrations, and products for clients. When I first began digital art, I was finding it hard – using Photoshop was difficult because it didn’t have the drawing freedom that I wanted it to have. I couldn’t move around my canvas fluidly and it made the experience staggering and difficult. But now, using Sketchbook – I can do everything I wanted, although it is more difficult to use when creating animation – it is much better when drawing and designing. It gives me the ability to draw and paint in different styles – there are oils, watercolours, acrylics, and inks, as well as fine art pencils. It gives me the freedom to produce the work I want to, using the correct tools, without having to search for them.
I initially started digital art in the Foundation course when Alan suggested a piece of my work may look interesting if digitally drawn. After that, I worked from the life model while using my tablet, and I often took my laptop into college so I could perform bigger drawing tasks that my tablet couldn’t handle.
This form of digital art wasn’t a comfort zone for me, though I picked the basics up fairly quickly. It was difficult to get my mind around but was effective for my first exhibition.
For my second exhibition, I decided to take a step further out of my comfort zone. I continued working on my computer but also decided to start traditionally painting. I experimented with Acrylic but it didn’t react the way I wanted it to, so I began to use watercolour. I produced a series of paintings for my exhibition, I was quite proud of them although they were very cartoon-like.
And for my final major project, I decided somewhat to play it safe – going back to what I went into the course to continue, in the first place – I went back to graphic design. I designed logos and posters, banners and book covers, as well as business cards and websites for clients who were willing to write testimonials for me.
When it got to the end of the course, however, feeling like I had let myself down by not doing something interesting, I decided to present three wooden books – with their front covers painted and burnt into them, and my short stories were written on the inside. I initially got the idea from the previous project that I had written a novelette about a modern day LGBT+ concentration camp. I’m somewhat happy of how they turned out but wish I had given myself more time.
But, in the end, while thinking I was going to fail – I arrived at college and collected my result to find that I had somehow passed and been given a Merit. If anything, I thought I was going to get the lowest passing grade. But I got a Merit. Although, I was still disappointed as I did want a distinction, I knew that with all the trouble and pain I had been through during the year, I knew that I had done well for myself.
I am now looking for a job as a graphic designer. So far, I’ve had two offers. One in London, the other in Wolverhampton.
Unfortunately, I want neither. I need to stay in the area – I have commitments here which I cannot give up. So, I am hoping that something will come along. Otherwise, I’ll be leaving my home, family, and friends – and I don’t particularly want to do that.