Gas! Gas!

So we had a second part to our Personification project, and this was titled ‘Trenches’.

With this, we had to take away what we had learnt and developed through the first part of the project, Rumpelstiltskin: Things such as knowing how to illustrate different emotions through inanimate objects, and working in a storyboard format.

When Amelia and Georgina delivered this project to us I wasn’t too sure what to make of it, but I think that was mainly due to not enjoying the first part as much as I had hoped (I really wanted to enjoy the Trenches part, too!). It also felt rather restricted, with the allowance of only 2 colours and 1 collage element. However, when I began to work on the project I came to the realization that actually, those restrictions were so bad and in fact, I liked it. For this project we were asked to make a 8 page book, including the front and back cover. No words, just illustrations using the 2 colours that we chose (including all of their tones) and the collage element.

We were first asked to grab a empty cardboard box and create a sort of ‘setting’ or ‘scene’ for our illustrations. All of the free ones at University got snapped up pretty quick, so I went on a little inspirational walk to get some ideas into my head and mull over the brief, and during this I managed to snap up my own free box. I was pretty stuck on what to make for this, and how to deform the box into a scene from WW1. But then I got to thinking more and ideas began to flow. I chopped down the sides of the box to give the impression of being inside a trench, and then stuck down some parts the I had cut out from an empty egg box. I then paper mache’d the inside of the box to show a sort of discomfort and instability, and I then painted it all white. By mixing in some red paint I painted on a pinky-crimson trail to mimic blood shed .At this point I wasn’t sure what was missing, but as I had previously brainstormed in my sketchbook, and decided that I wanted my characters to be parts of nature that was decaying or already dried up (flowers, leaves, twigs etc), I decided use dental floss to hang a piece of Heather from the top of my box. I’m happy with the outcome of my cardboard box.

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Once we had finished our box we were then allowed to dive into making our book. We had the choice of making it in reflection of two poems: Dulce et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen or The Hollow Men by T S Eliot. Both poems are very powerful and they both approach the conditions of the trenches in similar ways, with the emphasis on the many cases of innocent and young men losing their lives. I chose to use Dulce et Decorum Est as for me it was the most powerful.

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So here are some sample photos of my completed book. I ventured out to Pen & Paper and found two beautiful sheets of handmade paper. I decided the cream on with mustard petals was perfect for the covers of my book. I chose to used poppies as my characters, I thought this tied in lovely with the tradition of wearing a red poppy for remembrance day. On the third page I change the focus from a group of soldiers, to just one. This is so I can really focus on the impact of the Gas attack within one character. My two chosen colours were mustard tallow and burgundy. I used the colour very subtly and I worked closed with negative space- this was to clearly show the impact and devastation of the attack.


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