Blowing off the dust

So it’s been a while since I have posted on here, and that’s simply down to the fact that well,


Summer has been wonderful, including my birthday, getting my job back and spending time with wonderful people, travelling and having visitors, a festival and beautiful weather. (Horay!)

But now I’m feeling the vibrations again and I’m getting itchy to be back in Cardiff, as I’m home in Nottingham for the summer.

The Summer Project

Of course they didn’t let us leave empty-handed, and we have a very enchanting project to keep us going throughout the summer and to present when we head back in September.


You are invited to create a visual biography in book form.

This is an opportunity to explore character, narrative and visual pacing.

The biography should be in the form of a 24 or 32 page book, either hand bound or professionally bound. Of the 24 or 32 pages, 12 of the spreads should be finalised and in full colour.

It can be any sized format of your choice. Begin with research and start playing around with Character, pacing and choosing scenes to focus on. Think about how to create empathy and drama or visually empathise certain characteristics of your subject.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Each aspiring illustrator was hand-picked a person in which we were expected to research, explore, and if you’re up to it, become them! So who did I get?


I had no idea who this wonderful man was when I was given him by Amelia, but boy was I in for a treat. When I first began to research him I was slightly concerned with the choice, that was down to how different and how much his style of work contrasts with my own. I couldn’t see an obvious link between the two of us and that made me worry about how I could proceed with the project. But then I got thinking to myself, maybe that’s why he was chosen for me. I have spoken of how I like the creepy and the weird and the utterly uncomfortable world of illustration before, so this fits well with Bosch’s paintings. So when I began to think about how I can indulge in this new and exciting world I had been shown, I got ever so excited and overwhelmed, and I was ready.


The internet let me down when it came to researching Bosch, little is known of him and there isn’t much information on the web. So I Matilda’d myself up and headed down to the library one sunny day after I had finished work, leaving with 5 wonderful books (all different sizes which meant they were really thrilling to stack in to a pile to walk with). I wasn’t sure which to start with so I went with the smallest.


No.5, the Last, Hieronymous Bosch by W. John. Campbell.

I managed to gather a lot of information from the book, and I began to learn a lot more about Bosch. Born in 1450, he was a Netherlandish painter who is said to have died around 1516, however we are unsure as his death was not recorded. None of his diaries, notes or letters have survived, and only 25 paintings and 40 drawings have made it to the present. Bosch heavily admired triptych and worked mainly in this way throughout his life. His paintings different from traditional Netherlandish paintings of the 15 Th Century.

Bosch wanted to depict the truth about the beginning and the end of time, religious faith, the forms of nature, the supernatural world, holiness and evil, human nature and much more. He was initiated into a religious order during a time when the church was fighting witches or demons. He was trying to visualise the beliefs of his age about evil beings. His lurid fantasies were products of his age, there is visible evidence of the fear of witchcraft and devilry that obsessed people in these decades.

The Fortunes and Misfortunes of Human Existence – such a powerful theme that manages to run throughout Bosch’s work and yet is easily mistaken for exaggeration and falsity. It is a theme cloaked in cryptic language that piled riddle upon riddle. Though he spoke in riddles and fables, Bosch was in fact at heart, a realist.

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What I am finding most important about this project is how little I know about Bosch and how much I need to learn about him before I even begin to start thinking of something I could produce in response to what I’ve learnt. I don’t want to begin anything until I feel like I know as much, or at least enough about him to be able to create an honest piece of art. I spent one hell of a lot of time in my sketchbook over the summer, pre-preparing my pages before filling them with heaps and heaps of information, focussing only on the main aspects of Bosch, and the pieces of information I feel could guide me towards generating ideas.

Shall we have a look at some of his work next? Maybe go put the kettle on first!


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