Friday, 11 May 2012

Inspiration From Diverse Sources

Working on this 'Final Major Project' has lead me to realise that inspiration for illustrations can come from a diverse range of sources. As a first year I imagined that my inspiration should always come from within the illustration and design discipline. Now, however I realise that if you never take ideas from anywhere outside of the 'illustration bubble' then your work will lack originality. You should always be soaking up inspiration that can feed back into your illustrations.

I understand now why, at the beginning of this year, once a month our tutor would gather the class for a 'creative review'. This was a discussion where everyone came with a book, a film, and article from a publication and an exhibition to recommend to the rest of the class. At the time I really enjoyed these discussions, I enjoy any excuse to chat about books and movies. Now, I'm grateful to these sessions as they made me realise that all of the above forms of diverse culture can feed back into your work.

When it came time to decide on a brief for our  'Final Major Project', we were asked to use the Christmas break before starting as time to gather inspiration. One of my presents that Christmas was the book 'The Road' by Cormac McCarthy. A book as bleak as it beautiful, that tells the story of a father and son, trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world. McCarthy describes terrifically the way that the father cares and worries for his son, who he will do anything to protect and the son who fears the large, dangerous and confusing landscape, and looks to his dad as his saviour. McCarthy sums up their love and dependency on each other perfectly when he writes that they are: 'each the others world entire'.


When I wrote my initial brief for my 'Final Major Project', I wanted to write and illustrate a children's book and I looked to 'The Road' book for inspiration. Although 'The Road' might seem like an odd place to take ideas for a book aimed at children, the core themes of the text seemed to me like ones that would suit children's literature. The themes of parent- child bonding seemed universal to me. The way that the child looks up to his dad, reminded me allot of my childhood years, where a parent can be your entire world.

So I came up with a story of two bears, a father and a son, lost in a forest, trying to find their friends. Like in 'The Road' my book is about parent-child bonding, about father and son against the world, working together to overcome adversity.

The book is now finished, I'm pleased with the illustrations I created for it and with themes those illustrations represent. These are themes that I found by looking to sources far outside 'the illustration bubble' for inspiration.

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