Assignment 1 – Say hello

The brief and objectives

The brief for this assignment was quite broad and represented an interesting creative challenge.

Key words from the brief were:

  • ‘Greetings card’
  • Telling your tutor about yourself
  • Interests
  • Inspirations
  • Materials
  • Notes to accompany the making

It seemed to me that the response to this brief was as much about documenting the creative process as the finished artwork itself.

Generating ideas

I found it a challenge to come up with an interesting idea – my initial thoughts were too obvious. I started down a couple of different routes and by chance ended up taking bits from each to develop the final solution.

The following sketches, thoughts and mindmaps cover my initial ideas and thinking.


I scanned through several reference books/magazines for inspiration. I came across a number of examples of approaches that I didn’t want to follow but was struggling to work out what I did want to do.

I took a trip to the coast to take reference photographs based on ideas in the second mindmap.


The ideas I initially developed were loosely based around juxtaposing different aspects of my life into a single picture. For example, the visual juxtaposition of city verses country, flocks of sheep verses crowds of commuters, corporate banking verses fading seaside amusement arcades/slot machines, crammed and cramped underground platforms verses bleak and beautiful landscapes. I wasn’t happy that this approach would adequately answer the brief although I think there is a germ of an idea in this that is worth pursuing.

At some point when I was sketching I had the idea of creating an image that talked about the creative process itself in the form of a simple narrative using a comic strip format.

The following pictures show bits of the artwork and reference materials at various stages.

The final artwork and why I decided to portray what I did

I think the final artwork answers the key points in the brief in an interesting way. Hopefully it gets a laugh too.

I really like the work of Adrian Tomine and took inspiration from his comic books and illustrations.

The structure of the final artwork was based around a simple narrative in three pictures that outlined:

  1. The problem I was up against
  2. What I did about it
  3. The solution (or not in this case)

The final artwork was constructed from pen and ink drawings collated into a single image using Illustrator.

What I learned from the assignment

I found this exercise the most challenging so far. I already know that I need more structure and discipline around how I generate and develop ideas; this is one of the reasons for doing the OCA course. My usual approach which is to take the first thing that comes to me is not enough.

I’ve had a sneak preview of PART 2 of course which looks like it will explore this in a bit more depth.

What went well

  • I like how the artwork came together in illustrator
  • I like the final result. It represents my humour, what I’m interested in visually and the materials and techniques I’m starting to work with
  • I created a colour swatch before working in Illustrator – This was a lesson from the previous exercise that saved me a load of time
  • I’m pleased with the layout – this is my first serious attempt at a comic strip.

What I could differently/better

  • More practice. Drawing, drawing, drawing!
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