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A Critical Reflection

At the beginning of the unit, I felt overwhelmed with the amount of knowledge we had to remember and the amount of time that we needed to attend each day. This was due to a massive break between the transitions of foundation to degree. This was short lived and within a week lectures, seminars, studio sessions and workshops seemed to be apart of my new life as a degree student at AUCB. This was a very welcomed eye opener, as the months over the summer seemed to go on and on, and eat at my personality. Finding inspiration is hard when you’re alone. Each seminar, lecture and workshop have been very profitable as I have already gained a solid amount of basic knowledge on top of what I had already learnt in previous years. Along side the theory very good practical sessions and briefs were set that have given me a rough grasp of the different styles and genres within the umbrella of illustration. I find it very exciting, as illustration has no limits to what we can create and how we can create it.

This first unit has really pushed me and my ambitions, within illustration; not just due to the briefs that have been set but also due to the environment that I have been placed in, amongst other young illustrators. Group critiques and peer lead assessments are the most important part of the course for me, as I find that these are what really push and motivate me to be a better illustrator, in terms of style and vision. The thought of being assessed by people that are trying to also stand out and better themselves makes me eager to show them something impressive.

By separating the unit into three small two-week sections was a very good and effective way of attacking the course. I often find that I need the adrenalin of a deadline to get something done that I am truly happy with. So by dividing the course up to have three individual deadlines meant that I completed each brief gradually and progressively thought-out the unit, instead of within the last week. The mid point assessment with my mentor was also another unofficial deadline that I had to work towards. This was one of the best experiences and learning curves within the unit, in terms of feedback and rejuvenation. Once I had spoken to my mentor I was able to think a lot more in terms of context. It was also a point of praise and relaxation; know that I had impressed my mentor made me more determined to complete all of my work in a higher standard, and to keep pushing my own boundaries.

The three briefs were Editorial, Reportage and narrative. By giving us such a vast array of illustration styles and techniques, enabled us to see what different areas and fields we could maybe head into once we have completed the course. I thought that this was very effective because within the first few weeks of the unit we could already tell if we were going to like the course as a whole. It also enlightened me to different formats in which illustration can take. For example I have never completed or attended anything were I have illustrated a narrative. By doing so I am constantly learning new things about myself as an illustrator.

Although I have found the practical side of the unit very effective, I cannot say the same for the theory. I really enjoy the seminar subjects and the context of the lectures, but I often find it hard to stay focused in a dark room. This is mainly down to the lighting, at points I cannot see what I am writing there fore note taking is not effective. I then find it hard to take in all of the information that is explained, especially when it is mainly verbal and less image based. I find my self-thinking about other things like completing the set brief. This is something that I am going to have to tackle and learn from in order to be more successful within my studies.

What I have learnt about myself during this unit is mainly focused on my illustration style. By attacking each brief with a new way of working has been a good way for me to find what I am interested in, in terms of what I tend to be attracted to. For example at the beginning of each brief I was either search the library or the internet for forms of inspiration, and each artist that I look at they seem to have a certain genre/style to there work that I seemed to be tuning into and refining within my own way for my own illustrations. I feel that I started this course with a slow-minded mentality and have finished it with a very positive attitude. As new briefs are set I am becoming more and more eager to do my best with them and to create something exciting for people to look at. I think that with this mentality I can become a success within this course and illustration as a whole.

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