Project 03: Zine | Reflection

This is the final project in Visual Narrative “ Zine”. As the word visual suggests, in my project I’ve used a variety of techniques such as collage images, sketches and also paintings.  My objective is to produce a zine that showcases the richness and wealth of the Persian patterns. The zine is part of a series of monthly zines that target a variety of artistic issues. The audience of my zine are people who are interested in beauty and uniqueness of patterns.

Like all projects, this project is both enriching and challenging. For this reason, I had to be well prepared to produce a zine that is eye-catching, informative and meets the needs of the persona audience I created. As a matter of fact, this was one of the most important things I learned from this project. In general, people study the audience’s likes and dislikes and then decide on the kind of product. That is to say, the product exists because the audience demand it. In this project, I created my persona, i. e my audience, and then I tailored my product to live up to their expectations. This was not an easy thing to do at all. But it was my main driving force to carry out a research about patterns. I started by borrowing books from the library about patterns in general and slowly drifted towards Persian patterns when I discovered they are rich and colorful. My readings broadened my knowledge and deepened my understanding of the Persian patterns. Persian patterns are rich in color, loaded with flowers, full of geometrical shapes and different types of designs. In addition to creating my persona and investigating the Persian patterns, I learned something about the product itself. Although zine is not something new as I later learned from the course, it took me some time to come to grips with it and become familiar with the concept; something which I found really motivating.

Equally motivating, but also thought-provoking and tiring, were the challenges I faced in this project. To begin with, I wanted to have an appealing zine from A to Z. I was determined not to repeat myself in a pattern or a collage image and to surprise the audience with a somehow different technique in every page. So, I had to have a lot of ideas and material to choose from. Another challenging thing to me was designing everything by hand. This represented a change of habit for me. I prefer designing by computer and printing copies, probably unlike many students. In this project, I had to either design by hand or print images and then rearrange them in a certain way. So every pattern had to have a sort of hand touch. Still another challenge was the selection of material. Experience has revealed that material sometimes becomes different after printing and negatively impact the quality of the product. I had to be careful with the selection of the sort of material that does not fade or lose its glitter after printing. To meet this end, I had to carry out few experiments. The most important one was when I used a transparent paper, but after scanning, it became flat and lost its transparency; something which made me remove it because it affected the rest of the images.

However, challenges become strengths when work is complete. Although I was relieved when I finished the zine, I felt that this project added a lot to my knowledge and experience.

Project 02 – Reflection

Visual narrative is a story told through various types of media such as photographs, videos and illustrations. The topic of my story in this pop-up book is the hijab. My objective is to showcase the different kinds of hijab worn by women from across the world.  This is not an easy thing to do especially if you wish the audience to clearly see the difference in colors, styles and patterns in Hijab.  For this reason, I carried out a lot of experiments to first present an elegant and informative product and second to use particular visuals that would catch the attention and interest of the audience.  I learned a lot from those repeated experiments while sketching the ideas to include in the book. The idea started big. At the beginning, I wanted to focus on fashion and trace its history in the west during a century. However, my professors advised me to be more specific and relate my narrative story to my region. Therefore, I had to narrow down my idea and confine it to hijab in Qatar and the region. In the process, I learned how to turn a flat 2D product into a more appealing 3D product that the audience can see from different angles. Also, I learned several techniques of how to create pop-up objects and discover which ones would work better for this particular project.  This has truly enriched my knowledge and crafted my skill in turning illustrations into real objects. My greatest concern, however, was to have an impact on the audience through these visuals. Images are more expressive sometimes than words, because they are loaded with information and details. In addition, they allow the audience to see for themselves and interpret or understand the story of hijab in their own ways.  The fabric I added to the illustrations comes from various materials used in hijab and it is meant to produce a similar effect: It will hopefully have a deeper effect on the audience, especially those who do not know what hijab is. The book cover is made from fabric and bears a significance: The material wraps the front and back covers of the book and the title, thus serving as a hijab itself.

To further grab the audience attention, I asked two questions in my first spread: “What is hijab?” and “do all women wear the same type of hijab?’ Though I provided a quick definition of what hijab is and a hint to the second question, I provided deep and comprehensive answers through visuals in the pop-up book.

By the time I reached the final product I realized that the project needed more and more effort than I thought it would. But, at the same time it was useful and inspiring for the coming projects and I am glad I had the chance to work on this pop-up book.

Reflection

This project is totally new to me; this is the first time I design an invitation to an exhibition. On the face of it, things seem simple and easy but in reality the project is demanding and challenging in many ways.  An invitation in general is something which people read to have the information they need about the target event. Not many people pay attention to the other details such as the colours, the type, the paper, the layout, etc… So the challenge was to create an invitation that look special in every respect, content and layout. The purpose is to make the audience not just read the invitation but keep it with them as a piece of artwork.

I challenged myself to live up to this task and stretched my imagination to its full potential to come up with an invitation that is original, eye-catching, and artistic.

The intention behind this project is to encourage people to go back to the old common practice which is to print invitations and send them by post. With the advance of technology and the fast growing pace of social media and social platforms, people are no longer interested in hard paper. With his project, we wish to make people feel once again the beauty and charm of touching paper. It requires a huge effort to draw the attention of people to a matter such as this. That is why the project was really challenging, but fruitful and illuminating at the same time.

Having decided on every detail and prepared the needed material, I went on to print the prototype white on black in bigger size. I still wished to leave the viewer with the impression that the painting is drawn by hand, so I left the pen a bit loose in the platter. As a matter of fact I tried this technique in a previous project and it worked perfectly well. Unfortunately, it did not produce the same effect here. Many components were left out and did not appear in the printing at all including details about the exhibition which should, of course, be clear to the audience. The reason why it worked before and did not work now is that with the previous project it was mostly patterns and illustrations, but with this one it includes a lot of type and a lot of information. Fixing this little problem was as easy as one two three. I just had to tighten the pen to make it still.

Prototype 02

The final thing I had to do is the cover. Again, I hoped to create something special. I drew the illustrations by hand based on some elements from the artist’s work and used the same colours he used in his paintings. The outcome showed a colourful cover which contrasts with the only black and white accordion inside. I opted for this in an attempt to mix the impression the artist’s two exhibitions left me with: The gallery exhibition was somehow sad and lacks colours while the Al Muthaf exhibition was really colourful and full of life.

In order to see how difficult implementing the idea can be, I started experimenting with it; first I began building the layout (the accordion) without any sort of illustration, it was easy I may say.

Having the layout ready, I started imagining its final shape when I add the illustration and decide on its size and shape. As soon as I started working on the illustration, I showed it to my Professors to have their early feedback on the kind of style I am using. They encouraged me to continue with the selected style. In addition they boosted my confidence when they showed their satisfaction with the “smart idea”, as they called it, of selecting components or elements from the various paintings of the artists and compiling them into one coherent piece, built piece next to the other but become one whole clear painting once the accordion is stretched to its limit.

Once my work is complete, I had to print it. However, I did not really want to use a regular printer and print a normal copy. Instead I opted for platter because it gives a particular texture leaving the viewer with the impression that things are drawn by hand. The colours that appear after printing are not random; I selected most colours based on the artist’s most used colours which are blue, red, green and black.

The outcome did not really appeal to me; honestly, it did not live up to my expectations and was somehow different from my imagination. Yet, I showed my professors the prototype. They were not really against the outcome; on the contrary they liked it. But they had few recommendations. Most important of all was their advised me to print the design on a bigger size in order to clearly show the details which they found interesting.

In the course of the discussion with my Professors I suggested using white type and illustration on black paper. For me this is more appealing and falls in line with Azzawi’s style.

Prototype 01

Since this is the first time I work on a similar project, I had to look for some kind of inspiration. I surfed the net looking for samples of interactive paper-based invitations. I needed to have an idea about few things related to this project, most particularly the layout.

I had in mind three initial ideas I shared with my Professors. The first idea was to create a stamp. This stamp will carry information that align with the message Dia Azzawi invokes in his paintings. The stamp will make invitees travel to Iraq and Palestine, the places where the artist lived and form the essence of his work.

The second  idea was to create a puzzle which invitees have to put together ; when the invitees put the pieces together, they discover that one piece is missing.  The idea is simple: In the paintings of Dia Azzawi there is always something missing; lack of security in a country devastated by war. I wished to invoke a similar feeling in the minds or hearts of the invitees. Not having the complete set of pieces for the puzzle leaves them with a feeling of disappointment and maybe frustration. The feeling is different of course but the analogy is the same: As human beings, we are insecure and frustrated when we lack something, however small, in our lives.

The third idea focused more on the artist’s work; I wanted it to be completely derived from his paintings. Again, the idea is simple but more demanding his time. I selected a number of paintings by Dia Azzawi, looked carefully at the details in those paintings, and then picked out a component or two from each painting and placed them all in an accordion-like paper, thus creating a series of connected pieces of work that are related and reflect a great deal of the artist’s work and style.

Feedback from my Professors was positive, but they pointed out that though the ideas are good they are difficult to implement. They advised me to carry out some experiments to see to what extent the ideas can be practical or understood by people.

 

 

‘DIA AZZAWI’ Project 02

This projects consists in producing a printed paper to invite people to attend the exhibition of Dia Azzawi. The invitation includes the artist’s name,  an idea about the two exhibitions, some images of the artist’s work, the venue, the location and the closing and opening times of the exhibition.

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The first thing our Professors asked us to do was to bring photo cameras to take photos of the artist’s work. They took us on a field trip toAl Riwaq to take these photos. The trip was a success; the artist’s work covered every section for Al Muthaf. Each section showed paintings that reflect a given stage in the artist’s life, a particular experience he lived, or a special event he witnessed.  Personally, the trip inspired me a lot; I learned a great deal not only about the artist, but about the role and impact of art in general.

Few days after the trip to Al Riwaq, my friend and I went to Al Muthaf to see the other works by Dia Azzawi. I was expecting to see paintings similar to those in Al Riwaq or something slightly different if any. But I discovered another side of the artist. In contrast to the paintings in Al Riwaq which were mostly about war and showed the dark side of life, the paintings in Al Muthaf were vivid with colours and showed a brighter side of life.

 

Reflection

This is the first title sequence I produce for a film, but not my first experience in creating similar products. I have previously worked on type motion where I mixed type with images. However, this project allowed me to use illustration. From the start I wanted to give this project a sense of uniqueness. First,unlike most of my colleagues, I chose not to use a camera to take pictures that relate to the film, but to sketch the main actors in the film. Drawing the actors allowed me to practice something I am fond of, which is sketching in general, and also gave me the opportunity to make use of the vivid and rich colour palette in the film. Second, I focused on sketching the main characters in the film in contrast to most title sequences for this film which depict the building of the Grand Hotel in Budapest.

The biggest challenge I faced was in fact the storyboard. Selecting the characters to illustrate is an easy thing to do, but turning ideas to practical things is not as easy. The thing is, my head is full of ideas I wish to experiment with. The challenge was in the selection of the idea that goes with my vision in the production of the title sequence, and then turning it to something artistically appealing. What’s more challenging was the commitment to carry out the work as depicted in the storyboard we showed in class. My storyboard had a lot of details and needed a lot of time to execute, something I was short of. To overcome the lack of time and meet the deadline, I had to carry out a lot of changes. These changes included deleting scenes, reducing the number of details in some scenes, and improving the quality of few others.

The challenges I faced with the storyboard taught me a great deal really. I learned to balance the load of work with the time I have for that work. In other words, the project gave me an opportunity to go a step up in planning my work and managing my time.

In general, title sequence project turned out to be one of my favourite; it is enjoyable and entertaining besides being thought-provoking and creative.

The Grand Budapest Hotel

^Inspiration – Research^

^Scenes from the movie ^

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^Sketches^

The above pictures show the process of creating the title sequence of the film ( the screenshots of the scenes, the sketches, the inspiration, etc.)

For my title sequence, I selected one of my favourites ; The Grand Budapest Hotel, a comedy film by Wes Anderson. The film is entertaining and has a light story, but what I like most about it is the colour palette. The colours used in the film are so vivid and nice that they caused me to choose to illustrate the scenes I selected instead of using a camera to shoot scenes that relate to the film and work on them.

I started the illustration of the main characters in the film with a clear intention to produce something realistic. I wished the characters to be life-like characters with all the details in face, body and attire. However, I soon discovered that my illustrations turned out to be more sketchy than realistic.  Still, the product looked good to me. It gave the illustrations other artistic dimensions as it made them closer to a product of art than a depiction of simple facts that are raw and untreated.

The whole idea is to produce still images of the main characters in the film with still type (names of the characters) to make it seem a part of the background or interior. Then, add animation to some objects in the scenes such as a character blinking their eyes, a bottle dropping of a table, a necklace breaking, snow falling, etc.

The animation I added to some objects is at the origin of the settled transition I have between the scenes. The necklace which breaks in one scene becomes snow in the next scene, thus ensuring a smooth transition between the two. The liquid which spills of a bottle in one scene fills a glass in the next one, still ensuring a similar smooth transition between the scenes.

Project 01: Title Sequence

This is our first project in Visual Narrative Course. The first step was to choose a title sequence after a thorough search of  Art of the Title, a website specialised in title sequence.  Normally, film makers start with a storyboard and then shoot the film. Here we had to choose the film first and then create a storyboard for it.

I chose the title sequence of the film Moon basically for two treasons. First, the type comes in different perspectives; it takes different directions and is placed in synchrony with the angles of the scenes. Second, the title sequence is a bit long, but long for a sound reason. It reflects the tediousness and slow forward moving life of the hero of the film.

I took some screenshots of the scenes and slowly started to reconstruct the title sequence of the film. The process of such reconstruction included the transition between the scenes, the background music, the sound effects, the actions in each scene, etc.  This is how I created the storyboard for the title sequence of the film Moon.

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