Media and Techniques

I work in a range of media. The basis is generally photography or sketching and painting in natural media or on my iPad. These images may then be combined and further developed in different printmaking media, digital software, collage or animation. Some of my work is more experimental and abstract, exploring the range of intentional and accidental effects that can be achieved in different media.

Natural Media

I work in very many different types of media: drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, collage, photomontage (See links to different media on zemniimages portfolio site)  Some of my work is based on observation from life (See Documentary on zemniimages portfolio site). Other work is inspired by, or directly uses found textures from natural materials like wood and stone or media experiments like glue, treacle, torn paper etc. (See Imagining on zemniimages portfolio site)

I very much enjoy experimenting with different types of textures and natural media. For non-degree personal development painting and drawing courses with OCA I worked with:

  • pencil/graphite
  • charcoal
  • ink
  • watercolour
  • mixed media.

For links to some of my earlier work in different media see the post on my Portfolio blog:

For Printmaking 1 and Printmaking 2 Visual Communications degree courses I worked in a wide range of printmaking media:

  • monoprint
  • linocut
  • collagraph
  • lithography
  • etching
  • combination prints.

See blog:

Skills I wanted to develop in 2019
  • Drawing and sketching from life: pencil, charcoal, crayon, oil pastel, soft pastel. I want to significantly improve the fluency and expressiveness of my drawing in all these media. Drawing particularly on Zen styles. I am particularly interested in monochrome tonal work drawing on principles of Notan.
  • Printmaking : monoprint, collagraph, drypoint, linocut, lithography, woodcut, screenprinting. I want to continue to develop my skills in all the above
  • Collage: better understanding of visual dynamics, use of edges and mixed media and professional finishing
  • Painting: Watercolour, Gouache, Ink, Acrylic, Oil. Chinese and Japanese ink painting
What would I like to do that I’ve not done yet?
  • Kitchen lithography
  • Sugar etching
  • Scraperboard
Progress by Assignment 5 March 2021

My ability to sketch from life and work with painting and printmaking media for this Advanced Practice module was severely restricted by the COVID pandemic. My partner and I were mostly self-isolating from March 2020 to March 2021 for health reasons. I also lost access to my art and printmaking studios that had to be given to my daughter so she could live separately from us.

I developed skills in:

Assuming that COVID-19 restrictions are eased from summer 2021, I intend to develop skills in natural media further in ‘Sustaining Your Practice’. Planned in Summer 2021 in completion of projects in Assignment 5 if COVID restrictions permit:

  • Painting in oils/acrylic/gouche and Corel Painter based on photographs and collage for Assignment 5 Aldeburgh Great Escape.
  • Monoprinting, linocut and collagraph for Assignment 5 Lake Reflections???
  • Scraperboard and ink styles for Assignment 5 Dark Peak.
  • Graphite, solarplate printing and drypoint for Assignment 5 Shifting Edges.

Use of digital software

In terms of workflow, I generally need to alternate between digital and physical methods because I have had to manage RSI since 1994. This is particularly the case when I have a lot of computer work for my professional consultancy work. I cannot therefore aim – nor do I wish – to be a purely digital illustrator doing a substantial amount of digital drawing and painting.

I am aiming for greater proficiency in combining and layering physical drawings, paintings and printmaking on my iPad and/or Photoshop. I do quite a lot of drawing and painting on the iPad (See Illustration 2: Critical Review: iPad explorations)  but it is still not as fluid as real pencil and paint.

I understand how a wide range of  software works, use all of the software below to varying degrees and for different purposes, and easily learn new software.


Expert (I am fully aware of the limitations of the tools)

  • Pc: Lightroom, InDesign, Microsoft Office.
  • IPad: Procreate.

Proficient (I have a very good working knowledge of what the tools can do)

  • Pc: Photoshop, Illustrator,  Premiere Pro, Acrobat.
  • IPad: Pixelmator.

Competent (I have a good idea how to do most things and could learn to do anything else without help):

  • Pc: Corel Painter, Animate, Audition,  NikFX.
  • IPad: Artrage, Sketchclub, Sketchbook Pro, Adobe iPad Aps.Advanced beginner (I can do some tasks, but need support for anything else):
  • After Effects, Medibang Paint

Novice (I’m not sure what the tools can do; I need to follow instructions for most tasks)

  • There is a continual flow of new Aps on iPad. 
Short-term improvements I wanted to see in my use of software in 2019

In general it is my design/illustration expertise coupled with RSI that limit what I can do, rather than difficulties with software per se. Skills also need to be continually updated as the software itself is upgraded to do new things. I make substantial use of training videos on You Tube and and other internet sources to resolve any questions I have.

  • Continuing to improve my proficiency in iPad drawing and painting in Procreate, Art Studio and Artrage, setting up brushes, to reduce my dependence on pc
  • Significantly improving my image editing and photomontage skills in Photoshop and NikFX, building up assets, brushes and action automation features so that I work more efficiently.
Progress by 2021

I developed my skills in:

Contemporary practice I wanted to explore in 2019

I would like to develop the following aspects of contemporary practice:

  • Understanding of textless visual communication and use of humour and surrealism like the work of David Shrigley and Alessandro Gottardo
  • Caricature, cartooning and animation design for political events and documentary like the work of  Gerald Scarfe
  • Collaged documentary books like Dan Eldon
  • Development of a multi-layering style –  something similar to that of Tim Marrs, but based on physical as well as digital media.
  • Information graphics – there are on-line courses

I need to improve the following skills:

  • Basic graphic design skills in layout etc. My approach is still pretty clunky.
  • Better understanding of typefaces and different ways of visually integrating text and image

I would like to develop the following skills over time without overloading my RSI:

  • Javascript and update html5
  • Animation with adobe animate – practice and watching and analysing more flash animation (explored to some extent in Visual Research Module)
  • Video integration – I need to update my skills with video filming and Adobe Premiere, then integration with Animate and/or After Effects
  • E-books with Animate and/or InDesign and/or Acrobate – my skills here are currently very clunky. Partly because of limitations with the software itself in what they will do, and limits to the degree to which the most interesting animation is accurately replicated across different platforms and devices.
  • Online web experiences  in Dreamweaver (WordPress is much too limited). I understand coding using html and css and designed several websites in Dreamweaver about 5 years ago, but I need to update my knowledge of Dreamweaver, learn javascript and improve basic design skills.
Progress by 2021

Graphic Design and InDesign: Assignment 3 and 4

Skills developed that were not foreseen in 2019

Animation in Oromia