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Helen Capewell
OCA Learning Log
Student Number: 522802
Degree: Illustration
Current Level: 2

Exercise 5.2

Updated: Sep 24, 2021

Making Connections

To learn from the variety of exercises throughout this course, I wanted to reflect in a productive way, a way that is learning from the methods, tips and inspiration gained so far. This feels like a great opportunity to explore the subject I wish to focus on in the assignment, and get a feel for what direction I would like to take the theme.

To begin, I needed a new set of drawings that I could cut up and reassemble.

Honestly, I have already started collecting fresh drawings in a new sketchbook for the final assignment. Those I will be building in the background until it is time to unleash them. In the meantime, I made a trip to the beach (which is a theme in this section) where I sat for the day and took stock of what was happening. I tried to gather as many mini doodles as possible as well as bigger page drawings, using the technique from 4.0 Fill It Up Fast! Still trying to find my personal balance with this technique, I also collected images and video that I could return to at home. Here are the pages I gathered during this time.

Still feeling very much inspired by Ben Tallon, I tried to include more ink nib drawings. I love the way bright pops of colour works with the ink and how they both jump from the clean white paper. I'm also very much enjoying adding the odd splat of ink across the drawings to "rough" them up, add energy. It might just be my favourite tool for sketchbook drawing, it offers more than a fine line pen and I really enjoy the result. Through the exploration in this exercise, and reassembling the illustrations to develop ideas, the ink nib really stands out to me. This and the watercolour pencils, together they create unpredictable mess as the ink nibs also react to the water; dreamy!

Ben has recently released a new book with illustrations that explores the typical British remains of trash that he finds on daily walks, which accompany short stories "from the backstreets of Britain". I've yet to catch a glimpse of the book in the flesh, however I did follow the launch and the content he shared of the works in the book. This series of work is definitely the main source of inspiration that really resonates with me. The bright yellow background and the amazing ink illustrations are the perfect combination for eye catching illustrations.

I had a real pull/desire to continue with the inspiration from Ben. I printed the images I liked from above with a few varying size differences. My thought process was arrange them in a way that would look interesting in ink. Perhaps this would lead to something similar to the series of illustrations by Ben, they work well as stand alone illustrations, and also come together as a whole to create a diagram like image. Food for thought when thinking of my final assignment here, I can imagine a tote bag for the beach!

I arranged the images to see what I could create. I also found it easier to work on the computer for this stage. I repeated a few elements to create a pattern for humour sake, it really did sum up how I felt on the beach in the UK!

Before realising the ink would bleed through the paper and mark my cute table, I decided to throw some text on the collage to see if this could change the dynamics. Above I used a very famous quote from Jaws... It had to be done really!

I quite liked the simplicity of the text (despite it looking terrible on this paper). Using one of the repeat patterns I had created on the computer, I decided to add a few of the other elements in between to make it appear to be full of people behind those wind breakers. With this I filled in a few of the gaps with typical things I would hear bouncing around and repeated several times on the beach t give the illusion of people bathing behind their breakers talking.

After doing some pretty basic layouts with the images, I soon found myself lost for ideas. It felt boring. All I had done is recreate what was a typical beach scene, rearranged my beach drawings to essentially be beach drawings. I found myself needing to reread the brief to see if there was something else I needed.

"Printed at various scales that you can draw more elements onto and be playful with..." - 5.2 Exercise, Sketchbook, OCA

I wasn't getting any ideas on how I might extend the drawings, what was I going to do apart from draw a beach? Draw them in space? I mean, after seeing how everyone piles out of their cars carrying everything they could find and then race to claim their space on the beach, pitching up in outer space didn't seem too wild for these professional beach goers.

Well, given the new obsessive billionaire race to space, this idea could be fun to mock the craziness of the lavish idea. The only holidays that will be available once this is all over, and no one will be able to afford it! Still, the idea of beach goers in space is a fun one to play with,

I took this concept to my sketchbook and doodled for fun.

I liked the parody of "Claim your space" in the doodles. Taking the common wind breaker as a mark of territory, and putting it in space actually felt like a pretty cool concept. I then added the billionaire logos to take it the extra mile of ludicrous.

I was getting The Little Prince vibes with the space illustrations, in fact I think I had the style in mind when drawing them. Of course, in the story the little Prince would travel to different planets, learning about the different people and their weird obsessive ways that he would find strange. A planet full of wind breakers and burnt people would be a good stop for the little Prince but I'm not sure it would be a place he would wish to stay long at. The illustrations in this story are beautiful and simple, contrasting to the story which, in my opinion, is complex and rather mature given the themes of the story that it discusses. It's a story that will never age, and can still feel current despite it being almost 80 years old. It's a stunning work of art in all, so I decided to hang onto this idea a little longer.

Moving back to the cutout images. I had the idea to play with the beach images, and place them in unlikely locations that I had collected throughout the course. I thought it would be fun to see how the behaviour on beaches would translate in places that didn't make sense. On this occasion, I decided to jump back to a series of location drawings I did in a previous section of the course to help with this part of the exercise..

Some worked better than others, but all had given a new meaning to the images which is how I had hoped. They seem ridiculous which brings humour.

Here's a sketch where I redrew the collage as a complete image in my sketchbook. The yellow returned as a nod to the sandy beaches, though not a bit of sand is in sight. Can you make a sandcastle out of mud and other debris?

The image on the right is another pattern I made at the beginning of this exercise. I liked using this sketch, I thought it could be great in a repeat pattern. I added the kind of quotes used previously to add interest to it. I'm pleased with the result but think it could still have been developed further.

Overall I enjoyed this exercise. It felt good to have collected new content and to have used it productively to use the techniques learnt through the course. In the end it felt like a natural development on ideas through the use of quick sketches on location. Using content I intended for the final assignment gave me early access to explore the theme; People and Places.


It took a while for you to get going with this exercise, but once you did, you produced some really interesting combinations. Your initial images were as you observed, just different versions of the same theme, but when you looked again at the reasoning behind the exercise and began to put together the seaside sketches with your earlier observational drawings things really started to happen. There were elements of humour amongst your observations and some witty comments included with the images. There is some interesting work here and it was good to see you develop this by redrawing the collaged images. It was also good to see you persevere with the exercise as it resulted in a good series of work. Some points to consider: How could you build further on this technique? Look at some of the other work you have produced through the course to see what possibilities there are.

I struggled to find a connection with the SCAMPER technique in the early exercise prior to this, which was again evident here. I feel as though I have a better understanding on how this technique in developing ideas could be useful, but it would really involve breaking down reality, and entering a state that encouraged playful imagination. It takes an eye to see possibilities beyond the obvious, for example, taking an element of life from one scene and placing it into a completely different reality, like the above beach goers bathing in an alley beside the train track. It isn't a wild idea but it isn't exactly a reality we see often, either. Understanding the point, made for another breakthrough moment that can see the benefits.

I decided to return to the older work created in this course. I looked at all areas to see what I could combine to create a new piece.

As expected this was a challenge. Although I had slightly more work to look through than when I had first taken on this exercise, the quality of sketches or content I had gathered felt useless for this exercise. I don't feel I had created anything in my sketchbook that would be useful, I can't imagine ever returning to the sketches! Never the less I tried, though the result probably wasn't really worth the effort.

Here I focused on using a texture that I created in part two, combined with a continuous line drawing and a sketch I had made when on location. Not entirely sure what the narrative is here, but the texture had me thinking of a waterfall which I lined up with the jet wash. It felt funny to combine these, as the pose of the mini sculpture I had drawn looked confident, attention seeking almost.

Second attempt I dug out a chicken head I had drawn from life, and exaggerated its size compared to the people. Perhaps I could redraw this in a Godzilla kind of scenario, giant chicken breaking through the city.

As intimidating as I thought this could have been, I feel as though I have achieved the opposite. It feels like we are looking at the packaging for a food brand. The colours of the background and the placement of the chicken feels as though it could be promoting the organic lifestyle, happy chickens. Rather than destroy the place like an angry oversized dinosaur, it looks like it's at the place it will retire. Perhaps a mural for a butchers shop, minus the people enjoying the view.

Another mix up I created was based on a few different drawings. I then drew more in to complete an image.

I thought it would be funny for the small footpath clean up trucks to be on the beach cleaning up the ocean, perhaps in doing so they were just sucking up the sea itself. I teamed this with some fishermen that are thinking they clean up team are mad. Just to make this even more crazy, I included a duck doing yoga on the rocks. I wanted this to show just how unrealistic everything was with the cleaning. Perhaps imagining the old fisher guy saying something like "have more chance seeing a duck doing yoga than cleaning the ocean with that"


I find the technique of using SCAMPER very useful. When stuck on ideas, the simple action of physically combining old illustrations can open your mind to see things in a new perspective. My works created here might not be a very good example of this, but the looseness of the results gives me hope that there is potential benefits of me using it. It make me think of silly ideas which in return can shake away any stress or blocks that may be causing me to freeze on ideas. It's like shaking them away and starting fresh. Have fun, laugh then perhaps you'll have thought of something useful in the process.

It's been a challenge working with the sketches I've scraped out of the course, but in all it was fun. With cleanups on the art and further development produced from SCAMPER, good ideas for narrative or characters can be found.



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