Monday, 21 December 2015

Welcome to the Shakespearean Menagerie - Shakespeare's Animals

Today the Illustrated Menagerie was interviewed by Hannah Sperring, Creative writing student at the University of Portsmouth, who's now penned an exciting piece about our involvement in the upcoming festival in Portsmouth celebrating all things Shakespeare; Much Ado about Portsmouth. We have a number of things in the pipeline for exploring animals this year with this new focus of how Shakespeare himself employed their characteristics to describe characters in his plays.

Our remit ordinarily involves illustrating animals which are actually living and breathing, but this year we will embrace the mythical and legendary creatures also to try to capture some of the range of the creatures which featured in plays and sonnets penned four hundred (plus) years ago.

We are also lucky enough to have been offered a very exciting opportunity to exhibit of some of the work as a group student show, in the Freda Swain room at Portsmouth Guildhall.

Exhibition Dates: 12 March - 7 June 2016 

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Much Ado!

The Illustrated Menagerie is now dipping its toes into the writings of Shakespeare for inspiration to work with, as part of the upcoming Much Ado About Portsmouth Festival (see for more details)

Portsmouth-based festival events marking the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death. The festival will run from the 18th to the 23rd April 2016 (culminating on the day of Shakespeare's death).

Friday, 24 April 2015

Kerry Thompson- Rats

For my Methodology project my chosen animal was a rat. I chose a Rat as I found a rat is a well-known species commonly found around the world and imbedded within different cultures. Often thought of in a negative way, which I felt left room for a wide variety for visual interpretation. For my final piece I focused around my key five words I chose to describe my animal, I created a picture book with photography from local locations to best match each word and simulate a sense of journey throughout the book.

                                                                     My Final Piece

                                                                   Stop Motion animation

Faris Kamal - Raven

The animal that I choose for my research methodology is raven. I’m always been fascinated in these creature, as they have raised so many myths and legends about them. It has sleek, black feathers also very nifty in terms of surviving in the wilds. That is why I’m interested in researching on that particular animal. I’ve never seen ravens in real life until I came to Portsmouth where I get to study and observe it. I made some wire mesh of raven with two different type of metal wire, each giving a different look. The last picture, I was experimenting on photography on a raven sculpture that I made and have some fun taking pictures of it.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Alice Dillon Great White Sharks

Alice Dillon - Great White Sharks

For my Research Methodology Project I decided to do Great White Sharks, as they are very fierce and scary creatures but also very misunderstood.  I looked into the history of shark evolution, biology of the shark, films such as jaws, shark attacks and the mistreatment of sharks. There are lots of continuous line drawing is this project to get a feel of movement for the sharks. For my final piece I decided to do a stop frame animation about a shark's monster fin which was inspired by the shark finning industry. 


The My Dog Sighs-Workshop

A Screen Shot from my final piece

Olivia Trangmar Jellyfish

Into the Methodology unit I wanted to study jellyfish! Researching them were fascinating, the six words that I chose were Evil, Colourful, Electric, Neon, Glowing and Graceful. For my final piece I looked at Colourful, my final piece a motion colourful shot of a Jellyfish. I wanted to get a sense of movement. I also used the colour pink to emphasise the gentle side of Jellyfish that people don't normally see.

Samantha-Jo Carter - Dragonflies

Chalk and Charcoal.

For my Research Methodology Project, i chose to research into Dragonflies because of the many miscommunicated ideas about them. Through my research i found that depending on where in the world you are, and what culture you lean towards, Dragonflies can be seen as either an evil creature or on the other hand a creature of peace and tranquility.

Wire Sculpture.

For the first half of this project i experimented into different ways in which i can portray the dragonfly with numerous materials. When it came to experimenting with different materials i wanted to keep the out come of the image somewhat relative to the research into culture i was working on at the time. For example the image below was made rather dark, with thick colours to show how in European culture the Dragonfly was considered to be the Devils insect, and as a rather evil creature.

Acrylic paints.

This image is of my final image, a piece of wallpaper sample that i decided to create after researching about Japanese cultures and their relations with the tranquility of Dragonflies. After researching into how the Dragonfly is often used within him Decor, i thought i would try and incorporate both decor and Japanese culture into one image in order to create my final piece.

My final piece was created with a mixture of drawing inks, charcoal and chalks.

Adam Darwish- Iberian Ibex (mountain goat)

For the 'Research methodology' project I looked at the Iberian Ibex (Spanish mountain goat). This particular goat caught my attention mainly because of its large horns. I wanted to express the use of its horns, I did this by creating a sculpture from wire of the particular goat taking the stance during an attack.

I looked further in to the symbolism of goats in mythology and came across the 'Capricorn zodiac'. In early depictions the astrological sign was depicted as a regular goat rather that a goat with a fish tail.

I created an image with watercolour paint and a white gel pen which depicts a goat head on a background that looks like outer space.

For my final piece I wanted to combine the use of wire with the mythological aspects that goats are surrounded by. I looked further in to myths and came across the murkier side of the myths like how the devil is depicted in some cultures and religions as half human half goat. I worked with the lighting and shadow to try to emphasise the darkness of the sculpture.

Paishe Ansell - Fox

From the beginning of my research into methodology unit, I knew I wanted to research into the fox. Foxes are often labelled as pests by humans but after researching into them  thoroughly I found that foxes and humans have many similarities and were not as different as we think we are.

To explore the concept of humans and foxes being very alike I decided that I wanted to make  my own narrative of a fox and human on their travels meeting each other along the way. I decided to make a concertina book with the two character meeting in the middle. I wanted the back and front cover of my book to contrast showing the different habitats each characters live in, however the inside pages to show the similarities. I  started to experiment with stitching as it was a media I have not worked with before. From that I decided to do a continuous line stich throughout my book telling the story with out the use of words.  

My Final piece consisted of a concertina book with the front cover made from a log and back cover made of concrete with the inside paper pages stitched with black cotton presenting my narrative.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Allison Carter - Seahorse

For the Research Methodology project, I researched into the Hippocampus "Seahorse". Seahorses had danced around the edges of myth and have always been a fascinating creature to me. I chose to research into the Seahorse firstly because of their mythical value but also because I have known people who didn't even think they existed. Through my research, I delved into the Greek Mythology of Seahorses and their importance in there stories. I discovered that the Hippocampus was the steed of Poseidon, and in fact, the Zodiac Symbol of "Capricorn" is in the same species of the Hippocampus. I also researched into all the different species of typical seahorse, some more stranger looking then others, and facts about them i.e The Seahorse are the only species in which the Male becomes pregnant.

Hippocampus Abdominalis - Profile Illustration of a Typical Seahorse

Hippocampus - Greek Myth Hippocampus Illustration using Ink and Gouache Paint

1st Solution Image using the Hippocampus Abdominalis

2nd Solution Image using the Hippocampus Abdominalis

Final Solution Image using the Hippocampus Abdominalis

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Rainatu Habib - Squid

For my Research and Methodology I looked at the Colossal squid. I choose to look at squids as they are very misunderstood creatures, what first drew me to them was their jelly like body which then led me to look at the Colossal squid which is know to have the largest eye in the world this fascinated me.

 Tentacles done using wire and plastercine.

This is my Squid from the my dog sighs workshop

Screen Printed Tentacle

This is my Final piece 
A life size eye made of Mod Rock, letter press and paper cut out for my tentacle.

Ross Hughes - Owls

Owls always seem to be there in the background, when I chose to do them for my project I started to see them appear on a lot of things, mainly as cute little patterns. This inspired me to do create a patter of my own, I drew them by hand and then clean them up and duplicated the owls in Illustrator. I then looked into owl myths and found a creature in one Native American tribe called Stikini who are sinister monsters from Seminole folklore. Originally they were evil witches, who transformed themselves into owl-beings. By day they still resemble people, but by night, they vomit up their souls and become undead owl-monsters that feed on human hearts. With this in mind I thought that comics are the modern day myths so I turned this monster into a anti-hero and a comic cover and the cowl he wears. The felt owl was made as a children's toy, its head turns all the way around to try and help them sleep at night as owls were seen to ward off omens.

Georgia Down - Japanese Flying Squid

For this project I chose to look into the Japanese Flying Squid. I always found squids fascinating, mysterious and totally unique, so I chose them for this project. I experimented with printing with actual squid corpses, which was a unique experience that yielded some interesting results (see below). I also wanted to create cute, childish squids - away from the colossal monsterous creatures like the Kraken that typically spring to mind (see below). For my final I chose to hand bind a concentina book focused around solving the mysterious nature of the Japanese Flying Squid. I wanted it to be broken up into basic factoids but impossible to read for the average consumer - so I wrote it in Japanese in homage to the squids home land. It was all done in ink (to represent the squids ink, of course!), which I smudged a lot. If I were to go back and change my outcome, I would have pushed that smudging more and made the final product much more weathered and aged. (See below).
I also took part in a 'My Dog Sighs' workshop which included me painting a piece of rubbish and discarding it - I took a picture of my piece where I found it originally!