A collaboration project was launched between us at NUA and UEA a few weeks ago. The idea was that first year literature students from UEA would send us fiction text they had written in order for us to illustrate it. This could take pretty much whatever format we felt reflected the text and/or style of our illustrations. In the case of my UEA partner and I, we chose to work to a journal style context, with the text itself being in the format of a first person written journal.
With my partner writing her text by hand into a small sketchbook, we immediately created an tangible atmosphere for the text and illustrations to inhabit, this made starting to visualise the story a lot easier.
The story itself has a bit of a darker tone to it, with the ‘main character’ (the writer of the journal) experiencing difficulties with living with her recent, rather surreal, past. With the dark themes and worried nature of the main character, I chose a scratchy, textured style for the illustrations, focusing on the main characters perspective to reflect the first person nature of the text.
The first illustration was drawn from, the literal, perspective of the character, looking at a secondary character as described within the story.
The second illustration communicates the repetitive nature of a series of numbers/seconds the character repeats to themselves to aid in a breathing exercise. As this is the main focus for the character in this scene, I thought it should be the main focus for the audience in an attempt to immerse themselves in how the character is feeling/responding.
The final illustration uses colour to reflect the transition from the character feeling safe at home (the brighter colours extending towards the reader) and the every increasing sense of danger and insecurity as the character moves further away from the haven of her home (darker as the colour moves away from the viewer and towards the character as she walks away).
The images were presented alongside everybody else’s in a large in-studio display:
I actually found myself really enjoying this project! As mentioned in previous entries, I have a tendency to be wary of collaborative projects but this one went surprisingly well. I got along well with my partner, we met up a couple of times for coffee and a chat about the project which was rather pleasant, and we both enjoyed each other’s style of visual and textual communication. I really enjoyed her writing, the narrative and writing style was both enjoyable and easy to read, the idea for the narrative was unique as well (I have previously feared I’d end up with a murder mystery or a story of teenage angst… instead I got US cults and paranoia, which was definitely unexpected!). I found illustrating the characters and their situations easy but with a hint of challenge about them, which seemed to be the ideal balance to produce good work!
Very happy with the outcomes, each one of these successful collaborations is gradually helping me write-off my fear and dislike for collaborating with others…