To start my week I focused on collecting primary research from the local area and analyzing how I could inform my own practice with the research I gathered. I did this in order to develop my observational skills and my primary researching skills before I start fully researching my FMP so that when I come to doing my FMP I am as prepared as possible.
I went around Canterbury looking for possible inspirations that I could use for a WWI or fantasy setting, taking photos for anything that I could use in the future possibly as a reference or as inspiration. I first started by seeing what I could find at my college.
My first Image was that of a leafless tree. I can use this as a reference image when creating a tree (dead or alive) as it shows the structure of the tree, if I want to put leaves on the tree it’ll be easier to overlay them knowing where the branches are. Although I only got an image of 2 trees I think this will suffice as a good reference material for creating the base structure of a tree.
In a fantasy setting this is useful to portray the colourfulness of the world as I can put leaves on the tree but in a war setting I can use this to portray the death that war brings.
I took a couple of images of a corrugated steel wall as it is good primary research for a possible WWI theme as this was quite common inside trenches due to it being a strong and durable resource. If I was to recreate a trench this image would be quite useful as a reference to recreate both the style and the texture of it. Although the images are the other way around for how they would be in a trench, it would simply just require rotating the image to use it as a reference. Below is an image of a recreated WWI trench in Zonnebeke, Belgium.
As can be seen, there is corrugated steel sheets along the side of trench. Sadly this may not be the most accurate source as it is only a recreation and not a trench that has survived since the war, but I did visit Ypres a few years ago and may still have some images of a museum that has a lot of WWI gear and a trench that was made during the war to use as more accurate resources.
In the college there is a mesh horse that could actually be a very useful reference if I was to create an appropriate WWI environment as for a lot of the war, horses played a big part in both cavalry and the transportation of supplies and artillery. I believe the pose this mesh shows can be seen as quite majestic but I can also see that if the head was a bit higher it could be fear overcoming the horse as it was charged into machine gun fire. I may not ever use this even if I do decide to do WWI for my FMP as I want to focus mainly on just creating landscapes rather than living creatures.
The last image I got around the college was that of a bin. It may seem odd but when I was thinking of what I could take pictures of I realised that the top of a bin shares similarities with a pillbox. If I expanded the top half I could turn it into a pillbox by using the holes as firing holes.
If the bin covered a larger surface area and had more holes it almost be a smaller version of a pillbox. Although I could use the bin as a reference it would better for me to go take images of a pillbox around where I live that was used in WWII and looks exactly like the pillboxes used in WWI.
I decided to do a quick 5 minute sketch to show what I meant. I started by drawing the bin top (roughly) to get the base shape onto the page, I then drew an expanding version of the bin top like I said before, at that point it started to resemble a pillbox more but It was still too curved. I finally took the expanded version of the bin top and straightened it up, although It didn’t come out as good as I wanted I believe it still shows what I talking about with the similarities in the shape.
I went to Canterbury Cathedral to get reference shots of a cathedral incase I decide to put a partially destroyed cathedral into a WWI landscape and although these shots are good for references, I realised that a cathedral is too big. Instead I would much rather just put a church into the landscape, it’s much smaller but would still help show the destruction of the war and that even sacred/holy places weren’t able to avoid the violence. I can still use this as a reference as it has a lot of similarities with a church, especially with the colour palette, but I would need to do more secondary research into the look of either French or Belgium landscapes and church’s of that time.
I decided to lastly visit a museum within Canterbury called the Beaney House of Art and Knowledge which held items more related to a Fantasy/medieval theme.
Although the reflection on the glass made it hard to get a lot of the images clearly, I found a variety of weapons and shields that I could use for inspiration or reference when creating my own as I enjoy re/creating weapons with pixel art. These are useful as they show me both the design/shape and the detail that is put on the each item.
I can definitely improve upon my technique when taking images as I should have spent more time trying to get better images where the reflection was kept to a minimum. The reflection makes the bottom left practically unusable, a mistake in which I must learn from.
Lastly I came across these 3 statues within the Beaney that are representations of religious symbols.
These 3 character would be great references for character design as fantasy and medieval tend to go hand in hand in design. The detail on these statues is amazing which would be really helpful as either references or inspiration when designing/creating a character that looks similar. There are a couple of key issues with using these as references though, for starters I couldn’t get any photos from any other angle due to them being behind a barrier, and secondly they have no real colour so I couldn’t only use these to get shape and detail.
I believe that this task was a huge help as I managed to get many possible references/inspirations to use to inform my own practice. It also helped as I analysed my ability to get primary research and can definitely see where I could improve, especially with taking images of objects behind glass and I believe I should try harder to get better angles with some photos.
I wish I had managed to find more places related to WWI around Canterbury but with a lack of knowledge of the city and poor planning ahead of time I did not. I would definitely plan out my primary research much better in the future so that I can get exactly what I’m after. I could also try to see inspiration for a fantasy in more objects, such as taking simple things like a box and re-imagining it as a medieval building in a fantasy realm.