2: Edit and Amend: ‘Zemni’ Documentary (June 2019)

This first part of the course focuses on what might be meant by ‘alternative Zemni documentary’, using material on Cambridge and East Anglia where I live. It revisits and extends earlier projects and starts to establish a distinctive socio-political approach to ‘place’, incorporating post-modern feminist and multi-cultural perspectives and the need for environmental sustainability and a more just and equal global economic and political system. Linking with following assignments on feminism, it will look at It considers what difference the gender of the illustrator might make to what is seen, what is drawn and how it is depicted.  But it will also look at the roles of individual subjective perspectives, perception and imagination in ‘documenting’ reality and communicating a message and how ‘real’ and ‘fake/imagined’ can be visually combined or distinguished.

It will produce a new series of images that demonstrate how an ‘Us Too’ Zemni vision affects how I would approach briefs to produce entertaining images and picturesque prints for the thriving and diverse commercial tourist market in Cambridge and beyond.

Assignment 2a: Arcadia revisited

This assignment revisits Printmaking 2: Grand Arcade  which used a combination of linocut, collage and digital processing to create an imaginative image of my memories and associations the with Grand Arcade in Cambridge.

The revisiting here takes more of a socio-political documentary approach. Paradoxically although there are security cameras all over the place photographing me and other visitors, photography by visitors is very strictly controlled. My recent correspondence asking for permission has so far had no response. The documentary will draw on ‘objective’ photographs taken at points where I managed to get limited permission, collaging and digitally processing these to pose questions about some of the contradictions and challenges of the ‘ethical capitalism’ the Cambridge Grand Arcade represents. The questions and my interpretation will also be informed by a life sketching and observation process at regular intervals.

The composite images will juxtapose comedy and poignancy in depicting experiences of urban living, drawing on ‘First Things First’ debates, work of other artists, illustrators and photographers of ‘the City, and discussions of capitalist consumerism in works like Naomi Klein’s ‘No Logo’.

On a technical level it develops my skills in:

  • collage
  • photoshop and photomontage
  • life reportage sketching


Assignment 2b Amend: ‘Wish You Were Here’ 1: East Anglia

Assignment 2b is the first body of work in an ongoing series of live projects around the theme ‘Wish You Were Here’, working in a range of media to produce postcards, greetings cards and fine art prints for the tourist market. The work on East Anglia focuses on:

Orford Suffolk: using a series of photographs taken October 2018

Sheringham and West Runton Norfolk: using a combination of paintings from old holiday photographs and new sketches from March 2019

Aldeburgh, Suffolk revisiting and extending some of my earlier sketchbook work for Illustration 2 Assignment 4: Diaries from the Edge

In selection and treatment of what I draw and how I draw it I will consider both ‘visible’ and ‘invisible’ dimensions of:

  • Whose place? different perspectives and interests. Looking particularly at what might be meant by ‘the female gaze’ and ‘multiculturalism’
  • When place? places change over time – even over a few seconds – short term, long term, historical perspective and layers – the past is always present particularly in Cambridge
  • Subjective perspectives:  exploration and deepening understanding over time and ways in which other people have translated what they see into images
  • Imagination:  how I want things to be and why. Selective erasure (eg cars and rubbish bins). Simplification and expressive representation.

It will explore different ways of visually representing the visible reality compared to an ‘invisible’ history and my own imagination.

The project aims to significantly develop my sketching and cartooning skills and experiment with the effects of different mark-making and media on the ‘message’ including:

  • sketches in pencil, ink and crayon
  • paintings in watercolour and gouache
  • screenprinting and photo-lithography from some workshops in April-June
  • iPad drawings
  • photographs/collage.
  • different workflow combinations of the above.

My evolving style/s will draw on cartooning traditions and drawing styles of illustrators like Scarfe, Searle, Briggs, Gottardo, David Shrigley, Tim Marrs, Tessa Newcomb, Olivia Lomenech Gill and selected East Anglia artists and illustrators.

This ‘Zemni approach’ to documentary will be extended further through documentary illustration of other countries I have visited in subsequent assignments. Selected outputs will be further developed to professional level in Assignment 5, depending on audience feedback from my tutor and social networks.