1.4 What’s Next?

to be updated

Course Plan
My work for this course built on work I had done in Illustration 1 and Book Design 1, building on technical skills I had developed in drawing and painting and exploring different media, papers etc. I have enjoyed a wide range of topics in this course, particularly:
Experimenting with different physical and digital workflow possibilities throughout the course, in particular Hybrids http://illustration.zemniimages.info/portfolio/1-2-hybrids-mixing-and-matching-tools and Assignment 2 A Sense of Place, Assignment 3 The Nose, Assignment 4 From the Edge and Assignment 5 Oromia: Journey Reflected and Project 4.2 Deliverance and Journey. My Critical Review: iPad Explorations discusses different potential workflows involving the iPad.
Use of collage both as a way of brainstorming and developing images, and as a medium in itself. See particularly Assignment 5 Oromia: Journey Reflected
Exploration of interactive possibilities: websites as in Assignment 4 From the Edge and interactive pdfs as in Assignment 5 Oromia: Journey Reflected
In general I feel that in this work I have made a lot of progress towards having greater control over media, and able to work towards images that have impact and meaning.
In selecting my images for assessment I have tried to present the range of my different work and technical media experiments. My ‘style’ is emerging from this I think, an approach that generally uses life or textures/found images that are then combined and layered digitally. Trying to make the final media choice, lines and shape convey the meaning – or a range of meanings – I have chosen. In this I still have to work harder – I tend to get bogged down in research and lots of competing ideas, so the final message can often be a bit confused (rather than tantalisingly ambiguous).
There are quite a number of issues that I need/want to work on going forward:
Development of a clearer narrative so that images can be sequenced. Currently in the books Journey and Deliverance, and also some of the pages in Assignment 4 do not have a clear storyline. I need to explore much more possibilities for combining images with text – where images speak themselves and text then complements without losing some of the ambiguity that encourages the viewer to think for themselves.
Typography and use of different text styles that reflect the meaning of images.
Animation and interactive media – I experimented quite a bit with After Effects, Flash, Photoshop and Premiere. But have so far not been able to produce something that really reflects my vision. This is an area of work – together with interactive websites using javascript – that I would like to work more on at level 3.

My current plans for the module can be found through the description on the home page of this blog

Blog text with anticipated schedule working full time on this module, together with the Visual Research Module – aiming to finish that end of May 2020.

My work for this module focuses on different approaches to documentary illustration. This continues a concern with the multi-layered nature of experience of places and interplay of subjectivity and observation and the role of humour, metaphor and symbolism in communication of political messages. It takes these questions further in relation to:

  • ‘whose documentary’ are we talking about and why? how do we work with other people to get multiple perspectives both in terms of information and feedback
  • how do potentially conflicting perspectives modify the message
  • what are the strengths and challenges of communicating the ‘message’ – photographs (referential but subjective selection and editing), photocollage and photomontage (possibilities for juxtaposition and multi-layered questioning), illustration and printmaking (possibilities for invention), video and interactive presentation
  • how best to disseminate the document and engage with the audience to make a difference

My work for this module aims to :

  • explore what might be meant by my distinctive ‘Zemni Voice’ with a socio-political approach to reportage, landscape and life sketching.
  • establish professional-standard technical skills in a range of physical (drawing, painting and printmaking) and digital media (photography, Photoshop and NikFX, iPad painting and video animation in Adobe After Effects and Premiere).
  • look at a range of ways of integrating text and image to produce images that question established ways of seeing and thinking
  • explore a range of different international and home audiences, markets and social networks for my work.
  • present my work in different formats:  cards, large posters and fine art prints, collaged books and on-line animated experiences.

1: Voice (end Jan)

Assignment 1 looks in more detail at my practice and personal voice underpinning my work in this course.

2: Edit and Amend: Documentary (end March)

Assignment 2 focuses on documentary in two contexts where I have worked with communities, considering in both how my identity as a Western woman and my underlying ‘Zemni vision’ might affect what I see, what I choose to communicate and how I communicate it.:

  • 2.1: Ethiopia : a fractured journey   this ‘outsider’ documentary revisits my final assignment for Illustration 2 and produces a ‘Dan Eldon’-style narrative of collaged images and text on some of the current challenges for economic development and democracy in Ethiopia. 
  • 2.2: Kyrgyzstan: dreams and realities   will continue my visual exploration of media and styles, contrasting dreams and realities of gender, cultural identity and environment in Kyrgyzstan. It will build on a series of better quality colour and black and white photographs, together with information from colleagues on the ground and secondary sources.

3: Image and Text: Philippines: behind the snapshots (end May)

Assignment 3 aims to produce a second documentary collaged book around commercialisation, consumerism and environmental challenges in Philippines. This will be based on digital manipulation and collage of a series of photos and drawings from communities from a work trip in 2018 – as with Ethiopia few of these photos would stand as photos in their own rights, but there is a clear role for illustration and book design to create some sort of physical and/or on-line publication together with contextual insights from secondary texts and contacts on the ground and in UK.

  • 3.1 Visual Dynamics revisited: snapshot styles will explore different possible styles for my photos and use of community drawings
  • 3.2 Finding Texts: inside and outside commentary will explore a range of texts to extend my own understanding and thinking about Philippines – the lighter and darker sides
  • 3.3 Developing Content: why Duterte? will produce a series of collaged infographics
  • Assignment 3: Philippines: Snapshot lives will collate and extend this material as a second ‘Dan Eldon-style’ collaged book and/or on-line publication.

4: Audience: Cambridge Diaries (end September)

Assignment 4 is an ‘insider’ body of work looking at ways in which I can communicate some of my socio-political concerns in a more light-hearted and entertaining way to reach a wider general and tourist audience through the ways in which I use and combine media.

What I learn about markets and audience is also likely to indicate priorities and new option in finishing the other material on Ethiopia, Kyrgyzstan and Philippines in Assignment 5.

5: Presenting my work: Zemni 2020 (end March 2020)

This final Assignment will review my ‘Zemni voice’ in the light of work during this module and the Visual Research Module,

5.1 Re-assessing my practice and finishing my work will review and revise the outputs from Assignments 2-4 in the light of feedback and reach some conclusions about the best forms of presentation/ changes I still need to make/further possibilities to reach a wider range of audience. I envisage animated tasters for the work to be developed in After Effects on the new Zemni You Tube channel.

5.2 Further development 

  • ‘Wish You Were here’ will aim to extend possibilities for work in UK through on a new series of attractive, amusing and thought-provoking iPad images and fine art prints around: ‘Wish You Were Here’  based on holidays in England. This builds on earlier illustration, printmaking and book design  projects on Cornwall, Peak District and East Anglia.  The project will focus on a set of card series, but will also develop proposals for how I might extend this into eg Walking Guides and/or short books for the UK tourist market and card series elsewhere.
  • ‘Tales from the Edge’ will look at ways of developing some of my more imaginative work from ‘found texture narratives’ as a book of short pieces and/or After Effects experiences on the new Zemni You Tube channel.
  • 5.3 Talking about my practice: portfolio In addition to finalising the current blog, I will add relevant material from this module and other audience-relevant information to:
  • zemniimages.info portfolio blog – this would review and update my current overview of my work.

I will also produce a much simplified and streamlined portfolio for a dedicated new Adobe Portfolio site.

  • 5.3 Self Promotion and presenting my practice : in addition to continuing to circulate on social networks for different media on Facebook and exploring the links in Exercise 4.3, I will add relevant material from this module and other audience-relevant information to:
  • zemniimages printmaking blog  (currently 1-2,000 visitors a month) – this would add further details of printmaking techniques based on my work in this module. Many of my visitors visit the site through links to technical information and information on other printmakers.
  • zemniimages.com my professional SMUGMUG website which currently mainly houses archives of my photography.
  • After Effects tasters on a new Zemni You Tube Channel.

I will send selected work to the various on-line commercial card and print marketing sites, and approach some of the card and book shops in Cambridge and East Anglia.

A longer term body of work I am hoping to develop is around my Zemni alter ego (see Life of Zemni on the Portfolio blog), with a series of ‘alternative’ travel books and guides to different places that entertain, inform and provoke. Possibly for the final Sustaining Your Practice Module.