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Monday, October 24, 2011

Holiday Leave & Grow as Illustator

Hi, Friends, how are you? Busy. The Christmas sale, a book launch season has started in the publishing industry. I was invited to Libby Gleeson's 2 book launching at Sydney uni. I am Thomas illustrated by Armin Greder, a work for adolescents; and Look, A Book – illustrated by Freya Blackwood, a picture book for young children. Amazing. I saw my linguistics lecturers, other academics and people in publishing industry or established authors and famous illustrators that included my illustration teacher Wayne Harris!
Now, Friends, I'll take a holiday leave for blogging.Good news is the project is right on a track! Very happy.
I had medical tests. Good news, the leg has little change. Even though it has got sliiiightly worse, as long as I walk as a whole, I'm the winner. Hallelujah!!
Bad news, the right hand has got injured from repetitive work such as computing and drawing. I'll reduce computing and see specialists more and soon. Please pardon my less visits of your blogs. I'll head down ONLY on the project. Please understand my difficult situation. I always think of you, Friends.
I'd write what I've been seeking for in myself as an illustrator. I want to grow as an illustrator in this "wrist" holiday leave. Time for studying and lots of reading.Regarding drawing skills, I have no doubt. But not enough. Illustration must tell a story or shows emotions and stimualates readers' imagination. I'm looking at good illustrators' work and thinking over what I want to do. Good illustrators do these all : deliberated settings, hidden evidence and symbolic meanings. Good illustrators never waste any page. Since childhood, I've realized it and read picture books like detective stories. For me, the last page was a great fun. I've been a very good detective.
But best/better illustrators go beyond my simple guessing! They bridge between reality and imagination. Their work stimulates readers' imagination.

Shaun Tann's work is amazing. I admire Liz Zwerger, Armin Greder, Ann James etc, etc.

But have I done it in my own work? That's my assignment.

Like Donna Rawlins taught us, I believe, illustration requires "all what an illustrator has" such as sensations, experiences(=past) and broad & deep knowledge, if necessary, do research to collect data and supportive evidence.

I'm asking myself, "Can you make a mood/symbolic scene like Shaun and Zwerger do? BUT in my own way!"

Challenging. Be brave to step out of an old style. Sometimes, I should break down my methods and explore a new one.I'll keep up sketching. Drawing is my language and very the basic skills. And your language, too. You and me carry conversations in drawing and painting. Let us chat in universal language, art.
See you soon, but one day.
I hope I can tell you good news on my hand and the work and the style.
...and timely, 29th is my birthday. I thank for my life given on the earth and found the meaning in illustration and art! Yeah!!
take care and enjoy drawing!


Monday, October 17, 2011

"Occupy Sydney" in Martin Place

We want to bequeath a better world to a next generation. When I went to CBD to sketch statues for a Sydney Sketch Club meeting, I bumped "Occupy" movement in Martin Place. How about in your main cities? If you do not mind, let me hear about your place's occupy. 

Mom & Baby could be one of the most beautiful figures on the earth. 

Protesters target at the big banks in Martin Place and claim, "Social inequalities are increasing between the haves and the have-nots." The agendas are all heavy and complicated.
Australian Survival Game
The topics have a wide range from Aboriginal people's language rights, their poor welfare, refugees, unemployment, gay marriage, better wages for teachers, homeless people, climate change, etc, etc. They are all written down on the placards. As if all Australian issues have got together at one spot.
But I did not hear an artist's voice in a public announcement. Financially and socially, most artists' reality is not easy. Here's the good statistical data. An economic study of professional artists in Australia conducted by Department of Economics, Macquarie University and published by National Association of Visual Artists (May 2010). Yet, I want to say, "Who is this? Such a rich artist?!" in this data. Back to the topic.
Main Occupy participants look young, 20s or early 30s. They are worried about the future and their children's future, but also other people's pains! These young people's purity, idealism, a non-egoistic attitude and beautiful "smile" has touched my heart. Participants passionately told me a desire for a better world, the necessity of public awareness and the importance of action, while one onlooker said with contempt, "They want to go back to 60s."So far, the "Occupy" is peaceful and safe in Sydney. Some children and dogs are there, too. One lady and artist with a little girl recalled me, "Ah, I met you at Botanical Garden, sketchcrawl!" What a small world! We enjoyed a chat. A band plays music and people sing or dance. Even police is very kind. They love my sketches, too. Participants remember me, "You were sketching police!" Ahahaha. It is certain that art can bridge between any people.
Friends, I want to say, "Let's make love, not war, by art!"
The Occupy participants could be day dream believers. But I admire their braveness. They are not hiding in a shadow any more. The people have taken an action. Further, some of them have happily become stepping stones on behalf of other voiceless people.
I hope my sketches will record these unknown heros in our daily lives. I always feel sketching nameless people is like scooping out gold from mud.
Friends, Happy Painting!!


Monday, October 10, 2011

Free Linguistics Conference and Chalk Festival

Hi, Friends, how have you been? I've been busy with the project in a studio. It's right on a track. Thank you for your patience and support. I miss you so much, Friends. A good lesson was "daily sketching is like an essential exercise." If I do not sketch, my hands get slow. Quick watercolour is my "keeping record, memory" and above all, an "inspiration source." So, even for 5 minutes, I should do quick watercolour every day.

Last 2 weeks, I enjoyed Free Linguistics Conference 2011 and Chalk Urban Art Festival in Parramatta.

The FLC was a great fun.

All presenters have interesting research projects and experts of their favorite areas.

Prof Andy Kirkpatrick is a key speaker on "Yin and Yang rhetoric and the prospects for public discourse in China." Political power has oppressed the freedom of speech in China. Thus, traditionally, writers would not tell things straightforward. Always, the end of writings could imply their real opinions. Andy said with a big smile, "So, always editors marked the last line of an article and sent it back to us. A rest of them had nothing to do with a topic." Interesting. Exactly the same is true of Japanese discourses under the influence of Chinese culture. You may wonder, but true, "Indirect and too polite." A Western rhetoric and essay writing paragraph structures are new concepts for Asian background students grown up in a traditional value system.Dr Phiona Stanley did presentation on " “Fifty k’s south of woop woop”: Making native English speakers more internationally intelligible." Uahahaha!!! What a challenging title! This youngish, enthusiastic and Scottish heritage linguist humorously talked about the power inequality between dominant Englishes(*eg. British & American Englishes) and a socially discriminated English such as a Scottish English. For me, the sample Scottish speech was very hard to follow. amazed me so much. Not only advocating the powerless, Phiona's passion goes further to assist non English speaking students and workers at uni, especially, for mutual communication. Bravo~~!! I really hope people like Phiona will come up more and more on the earth. Go, go, Phiona!!

Now, another interesting presentation was
Ms Ping Tian, "Publishing emotion: a stratified approach in understanding illustrated facial expressions." The research analyzes face expressions in picture books. But Friends, honest, I've never analyzed them mechanically. For me, facial expressions are things to feel, not for categolizing. Probably, difficult to sort out face expressions by a tiny piece in a face such as an eye brow or a lip etc. Simplification is questionable. My another Q is facial expressions and body language go hand in hand in picture books. Disregarding body language could lead into confusion or contradiction. We know, a smiling face, but with a cheeky body language means showing off, not simply happy. Illustrations capture well these sensitive elements. Sensitive movements in facial muscles and slight body language form a sophisticated message as a whole. It conveys a deep and inscribed message in a character --- I was thinking so and sketching the presenter. Unfortunately, the FLC and the Chalk Festival had a crash. I spent one day each for them. Regarding the Chalk, good sketches were sold there. But I have some.
This is the winner, Jennifer
McCracken. She worked till the late 10 o'clock. I sketched her in darkness. Do you know? Jenny worked till 2 in the morning last year and won the first prize. Amazing artist!This is the Best 2D prize winner, Adam Celeban. All artists work so hard. I love them all. When I look back these 2 weeks, drawing and painting are my life, but also found linguistics is important. Both, I need. Linguistics gives me food of knowledge and insights.
And the importance of daily sketches! I try to update every Monday as much as possible, while I'll finish up the middle stage of the project this week.

With all my heart, I'd say, "Thank you, Friends."Happy painting!!