Author Biography: Final Product

If the research was hectic, it was nothing compared to the making of the book. I wrote three drafts and sketched over 70 thumbnails in just a couple of days. Text and images was done simultaneously to get the right balance, but also to adjust the flow from one spread to another. It was also during the planning that I changed some details in the story to put bigger emphasis on Medea’s sacrifices. Another decision was the spreads themselves. I wanted it to feel more like a picture book for adults rather than a graphic novel. Lastly, I decided to go for 34 pages and cover in square format and use a Print On Demand service to print and bind the book. All this might seem straightforward, but then you realize that we had less than three weeks to finish the whole thing, from planning to final product.

This project nearly broke me. I was often the first one to arrive to the studio and the last one to leave during these weeks. I took short breaks for lunch and worked over the two first weekends. After discussing the project with one tutor I decided to switch from solely acrylic painting to mixed media. I also tried to hold and not overwork on spreads in order to save time and the energy sketches posses. However, even that was not enough! I had to print the pages from the Library at two thirds of the intended dimensions, on paper that was way glossier than I intended to. I also had to add an extra spread to get the 34 pages as required.

The unpleasant experience has left me with contrasting feelings. On one hand I dislike the disproportioned figures, the unplanned colour scheme and repetitive layout. But I also learned a lot from the project and managed to create communicative illustrations that carry a short story in less than a month. If I would ever redo this project, I would probably simplify character, locations and props, but also put more emphasis on colours and composition. And maybe add the rest of her story, because it is way more interesting than Jason who spends the rest of his days at the Argo until pieces of rotten wood falls down and kills him instantly. Yeeeeaaah...

Author Biography: Research 2

These drawings and paintings are the main body of the research I did during the Easter holiday. I filled at least one page every day on average and managed to fill half a sketchbook with imagery before the school started. Most of the images are based on reference from the internet and library resources. You can find traces of romanticist’s representation of classic art, stunning landscape photography from Greece and even some references to Art Nouveau and Art Deco.

Author Biography: Research 1

These drawings are a bit special, since I did them in a sketchbook I bound during a bookbinding workshop. Even though the binding is not perfect and I need to rebound some of the pages, I still love to draw in it. Some of these are location drawings from the British Museums, others are reference drawings from the campus library and internet sources. You can also see some quick sketches I did to work out compositions for the final product.

The three portraits to the left depicts Valerie Solanas, the woman who published the SCUM manifesto and shot Andy Warhol. I thought there was interesting similarities between her and Medea and played with the idea to incorporate some of Solanas' features into my Medea. I decided to abandon this idea because the sources were limited and I needed better references.

Fun fact: The old man to the right is Euripídes, the playwrighter to the original play. One of the background characters in the final book is based on him.

Author Biography: Primer Workshops

The biography project was the last and biggest project we have done so far. The brief itself was quite simple: Each student was given one person from history. We had to research the person’s life, but also look into the time, place and culture she lived in. We then had to create a biography based on these information and events in her life we found interesting. It could be a book, an animation or a series of physical objects.

My character was Medea, Princess of Corinth and wife of Jason, the woman who kills her children. I thought this was exciting, especially since I am interested in mythology and drama. However, my excitement could be the source of some of my later problems. But I am getting ahead of me. Let us begin with the first workshops.

This workshop was quite simple. The idea was to first draw one image from imagination. Then we had to draw the same image based on references before we ultimately had to draw from memory. I decided to draw Glauce, the princess Jason tries to remarry. The left drawing was drawn from imagination, while the drawing on the right was based on reference. The crayons drawing beneath was entirely drawn from memory.

The following images and composites of another workshop were we had six minutes trying to portray ten interesting trivia that inspired us. Since Medea’s story is quite limited in itself, I also included trivia from Greece and ancient dramas. For example, did you know that there are never more than two actors on stage during the whole play? (PS: it was another student who added the blond pigtails in the last image.)

These images were experiments in expression. Instead of reusing clichéd expressions and imagery to convey emotions, we had to relate to the character, try to find similarities that we could use. After gaining some helpful advice from my tutor, I focused on the feelings of alienation and loneliness as  well as bitterness.

The last images were taken from another workshop that I stumbled upon. The tutor asked us to create simple play sets and then photograph them in different angles, lights and background to get a feel for composition and expression. The figures are based on an early idea I had, but that I either forgot or ignored. I also feel kind of guilty that I misplaced the photographs until recently, whereupon I did not use them at all in the final product. Maybe for the future?