All my art and illustration so far this year has been generated as a result of Lilla Roger's MATS courses, culminating in my entry to the Global Talent Search 2018.
There is so much beautiful art around and particularly in the classrooms of these courses that at times I felt like a fraud even submitting my own work, but you have to start somewhere, right?
The theme for the 2018 Global Talent Search first assignment was a garden journal, which had to feature the following elements:
A version of the colour 'greige'
I let the brief sit with me for a few days before I started to respond, pondering which version of my red + yellow + blue = brown + white = greige I would use.
Mischievous Mink? Toadstool Poison? Pandora's Story? Frog Spawn? Chocolate Emporium?
I think in the end it was a cross between Pandora's Story and Chocolate Emporium. Like the remnants of chocolate ice cream on the wooden stick. My colour names were already hinting at fantasy and fairytales...
I started experimenting with watercolour flowers - the Japanese Anemones and my version of them in vivid purples and red, and the stag fern with its seaweed-esque structure and sinews hinting at both freedom and entanglement.
One evening a day or so later the full idea for my 'concept' flashed into my mind: a fairytale garden. Yes, that's what I would create, that would be my spin on this creative brief.
I could see flowers with faces swaying in the foreground and the portentous 'greige' swirl of magic clouds in the distance and an image of red riding hood, glancing back towards us from the camouflage of her slinky hood.
I was so excited because a big part of a good (art) assignment is coming up with a winning concept in the first place; something I struggle with getting lost instead in the individual elements.
There was inevitably a gap between the vision in my mind and what came out on paper, but that's all part of the creative process.
Once I had my initial pieces drawn and painted in analogue, I started piecing everything together digitally.
First the watercolour textures of the greige background, and the hand lettering I had created in the style of the stag fern itself. I was quite pleased with that; still am. (I especially love the little apple I used for the dot of the i!)
The flowers next with their amused, happy, sultry and animated faces, just how I imagine a magical fairytale meadow.
Red Riding Hood was last, but she really is the star of this show, creating a focal point that draws your eye with the dramatic sweep of red against the pale greige background. She's sophisticated rather than Disney-fied and that helps set the tone for the piece too.
I wasn't one of the 50 chosen finalists to go on to receive the next assignment in the competition, but I am still so pleased and proud of the final piece I submitted.
Lilla's advice was to "create a journal cover that you would want to buy yourself" and I know I definitely did that.
View the Global Talent Search 2018 semi-finalists here