4.2 Self-Publishing: Carnival


Develop a small self-published book based on an idea from your sketchbooks. Produce a small photocopied fanzine or a one-off artist’s book.

Look at your sketchbooks for ideas of work that could be developed into a self-contained narrative or collected together to form a publication. For example, it could be a character you have developed, a particular style of working or a series of drawings on a similar theme.

Giving a title to your work  publications should have a title and a subtitle (sometimes called a strap line). One of these elements needs
to be descriptive, while the other is more about the unique identity of the piece. Usually the title is more evocative than the descriptive strap line. How would you title your work and how does this title feed back into the development of your idea?

Once you’ve finished your publication, reflect on it in your learning log. What sort of audience do you think would be interested in your work?

For this project I had many ideas (see below for further work I plan to take forward as I revise work for assessment).

Carnival – the big escape

For my first set of work I chose my material from Aldeburgh carnival from Project 2.1b Drawing on location to review some of that work in preparation for new material in Assignment 4. 

I started by collating my different sketches and editing and combining these in Procreate, colouring them with pastel, ink and/or wash brushes. The style I had in mind was somewhere between Olivia Lomenech Gill and Ronald Searle. Trying to further develop the Procreate techniques I had explored with my drawings in Cambridge for Assignment 2 A Sense of Place.

My first attempt was a set of 10 double page spreads that could be printed in a small square stapled booklet. I was thinking about the audience from the beginning – obvious possibilities included stalls at the carnival itself the following year and bookshops in the area.

As a series they are quite boring and lacking in focus or narrative. It needs more humour. The images are also a bit muddy – I am not quite sure why as they look better on my iPad. To help move forward I started to think about a title. I had also started work on Project 4.5 Paper Circus using my photographs of the clowns and floats with people dressed as animals from the carnival procession.

My favourite images are of the girls on the merry-go-round seeming to fly and/or be chased by other horses dreaming of freedom, and the girl on the reluctant donkey that just wants to chew grass. I started to think of a strapline for the title Carnival – something to do with escape or dreaming. I decided to go with ‘the Great Escape’ and look at how I could bring in other material and reinterprete the above to make it more engaging around that idea of escape: escape to the seaside, escape from the merry-go-round, escape through drink or snoozing. With the Punch policeman  in the way and the stone dog watching. I started to think about putting in some more images from Projecf 4.1 Drawing on the Familiar and came up with a more extended series. I also reordered and flipped some of the images to maintain a left to right direction of movement.

I think this series is now more interesting. But it is potentially now becoming a graphic novel –  with completely new drawing I could also think about incorporating photos and collage, playing with ideas of dream and reality as in McKean’s work in the Tragical Comedy of Mr Punch. I need to think more about the narrative to underly this revision of the illustrations. Maybe instead of dreams of escape we just need to stay still and enjoy the moment.

I need to let this mull for a while and come back later. When I have further developed gouache and other mixed media drawing skills in Assignment 5.

Other Ideas

To be done as I review my work for assessment:

Thin Cities : sticky tales developing the techniques of glue drawing developed as part of Assignment 1: Invisible Cities: Octavia. I would do a series of glue drawings and designs digitally processed as narrative based on the different Thin Cities in the same book.

Phlomis :   portaits of a flower – developing different ways of drawing and illustrating flowers using my work on botanical illustration and digital abstraction from Project 2.3 A Rose by another Name . I am going to another course on botanical drawing in November in the Cambridge Botanic Gardens that will be useful for this.