Wednesday, 27 May 2015

St Benedict Street - Norwich Urban Sketchers

Urban Sketchers Norwich met at St Benedict Street for our monthly sketchcrawl  on Sunday 17th May. We met at the Bicycle shop cafe.


Here are some sketches I made on the day. 

St Benedict's Street is one of my favourite streets in Norwich and is part of Norwich Lanes just off the main City Centre.

 It's a creative and cultural part of the city offering great music art and theatre. It houses some of the best independent shops,cafes and restaurants. 

The architecture is from the Medieval period adding to its distinctive character . 


I have sketched many of the cafes, bars and restaurants in the area over the last few years.

Friday, 15 May 2015

Silvertown Regeneration Project East London

I had a great opportunity to join some of the London urban sketchers last Saturday  documenting the regeneration of Silvertown, Millennium Mills in East London Docklands. The plan is to transform it into London's New Creative capital . This coincides with a project I am doing as part of my masters in Norwich documenting a deprived area which is supposedly going to be regenerated in the near future.

Sue Pownall, Evelyn Rowland, Lis Watkins, James Hobbs, Julie Bolus,
Isabelle Laliberte, Olha Pryymak and Nathan Brenville
It was a really enjoyable day sketching as a group and seeing everyones unique  responses to the place . We had to wear High Visibility jackets.  The whole place was really dramatic especially with the gusty wind, the dark skies and cumulus clouds setting the scene. I was overcome and daunted  by the fantastic and colossal Millennium Mills built in 1905 lying  abandoned in a post industrial Urban landscape. The roar of the planes overhead  taking off from the nearby London City airport added to the atmosphere. I started off sketching the Grade two listed Grain Silo which was not so intimidating in volume and less windows to deal with!! Here are some of my sketches and photographs from the day.

Millennium Mills - Iconic Wasteland Silvertown


Grain 'D' Silo - Silvertown



Thursday, 14 May 2015

Notes documenting my thoughts and ideas

Here are some notes on a range of ideas like  where I see my work placed and how I might incorporate a method of social exchange into the city and why. 

Latest Version - Norwich Over the Water

In this Latest version I have incorporated all my animations with the background and set in the type to form a narrative. I still need to work on timing as its too fast and doesn't flow smoothly. I need to practise my skills in key framing and masking using after effects. 


Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Anglia Square lies in the "Shadow of the City".

 Sketching in Anglia Square has given me the opportunity to talk to a range of people mainly exchanging stories and thoughts about looming regeneration project. Many people don't experience life in the centre of the city. I have also had conversations with people who have never  been to Anglia Square. There seems to be a divide within the city. This side of the city used to be known as Norwich Over the Water. Anglia Square is an overlooked part of the city abandoned and disreputable, when in fact it is part of a rich cultural centre of the city. It would be interesting to expose my film to an audience in the main city to promote Anglia Square. I have thought about shop fonts or projecting it in empty spaces. Perhaps projecting it in the square. It would be interesting to document parts of the main city and bring it to the square. Anglia Square lies in the "Shadow of the City". 

Here are snippets of conversations with people from the square that I would like to include in My short film. I have traced them to give a hand drawn effect keeping in style with the drawings.


Stop motion Animated Figures- Anglia square

A selection of key frames and an animated sequence depicting the three wheeler walker guys.

The drawings above are inspired by a short animated film  by Marie-Margaux Tsakiri-Scanatovits - My Mother's Coat I like the way her delicate contour line drawings that are not always complete. Her subtle use of colour and type. Such a beautiful and moving story.

Drawings coming to Life!!!

I have had a huge learning curve with After effects and am really pleased with my progress so far. Achieving the correct timing is a constant challenge!! To elevate the problem with format I have tried to combine two moving films in the background with the animated man walking across the foreground. There is quite a lot going on at one time and I feel  its too busy. I would like to combine some of the stories and conversations with people I have encountered whilst sketching.

Hand Drawn Stop Motion Animation

The stop motion animation is hand drawn using carbon paper. Additional marks are created using markers and pencil to bring the figure to life. I experimented with different ways of drawing the frames from the video footage but found it difficult keeping the proportions of the figure consistent and working expressively. I decided to trace every 6th frame from clips of the footage on my i Mac monitor using a peg bar attached to the screen to keep the frames in line. I made a light tracing of the figures position and the using carbon paper transferred the image onto one picture plain erasing each frame with white emulsion to capture the traces of the figure. I think the emulsion was too thick as it didn't expose as much of the previous frames as I hoped for. 
Original artefact layered with 20 frames
Carbon paper palimpsest


Video footage - Anglia Square

The footage is filmed whilst sketching on situ recording  the sounds and movements of the square. I was also interested in capturing everyday life like shoppers and workers. 

The One Stop Watch Repair features the Jolly Doctor in the background waiting to chat to the one stop owner and documents people moving past the shop. I liked the three wheeler walker guys coming in from the left and then another from the right.

I plan to use some of the footage to create stop motion animations of figures moving with in the scenes obliterating the square bringing the square to life.

My first moving image

This is My First attempt using After effects with the help of Jaygo. These are cropped to fit the format of an old 70's/80's TV Monitors. I am happy with the effect of the paint flowing over the image.
I have encountered some problems with format issues. My drawings are all done using portrait format to capture the height of the square but all TV screens are landscape so to I have tried different ways of laying out the images.  Cropping in is one solution but then you don't get the height and some images are not as effective cropped in.

Live Artifact

 Below are my live working artefacts which have 5 layers of drawings that have been recorded over the last few months and then each layer erased and wiped away only to reveal fragments of time and place.A glimpse of the past ghosting through the surface.  No original drawings exist apart from the traces creating a palimpsest. Each artefact has its own narrative to tell. I have recorded the passage of time sweeping across each document and plan to reveal the stories that lie trapped under the layers by creating an animated film using after effects.

William Kentridge

Kentridge has been my main inspiration during this project.  He creates stop motion  animations by filming a drawing then erasing and making small alterations and then filming it again transforming the image and eventually bringing it to life. The previous marks are visible under the layers. I am fascinated by the process he goes through. His are made in the studio and mine are mainly created live on location. His work usually has a political or social meaning and often features South Africa's political unrest. My animated film captures the economic, and social characteristics of a place, archiving fragile and forgotten urban environments.

                                                William Kentridge Automatic Writing


Saturday, 2 May 2015

Layer four/five - "Norwich Over The Water"


The sketches below are observed from the upper level, built on a concrete raft and rising above the centre and evoking the Brutalist style of architecture. It houses a disused multi- story car park, Sovereign House (former HSMO stationary office) and the former Odeon Cinema now Hollywood. Teenagers are known to use the ramps and roads like a skate park.

I found it  surreal and melancholic which I have tried to encapsulate using a variety of dry media like charcoal and chino-graph pencil, black brush pen, and biro. I have worked expressively to achieve a raw, fragmented and sombre mood.  

The former Odeon Cinema built in 1971

Multi-Story Car Park

Four layers of drawing and paint is now proving difficult to work on which is an interesting challenge and effect symbolic to the local environment. Some of the paint is crumbling and the marks underneath are forming richer textures.I have tried to thin the emulsion paint more to get a more translucent effect as more layers are added. I think I applied the paint too thickly at first as I would like the sketches buried underneath to be more visible.


I have sketched directly onto the above images which you can see below with the idea to gradually fade in the sketch as part of my film, in contrast to the paint flowing over the images.   



I find it fascinating to sit and sketch people interacting on benches in the square . It was originally open to the elements but in the late 20th Century a glass and steel structure was built as a shelter. The steel structure casts strong geometric shadows adding to the atmosphere. All the times I have observed the square the benches are always busy. The last time I was on the square sketching bench life below I met  a man who asked if he could watch me draw, we then struck up conversation and we chatted about the square and the city and how this part of the city was always known as "Norwich over the water". There is a bit of a divide between the two, he commented that he never goes to the city its scary and too crowded!  everything he needs is here a local butcher, grocers and cafes. He often sits on the benches and has had interesting conversations with many people from all walks of life. Its a really diverse and multicultural urban environment with a real sense of community. Anglia Square is off Magdalen Street and St Augustines which is in the North part of the city. I have had conversations with people in the main city who say they have never been to Anglia Square.

Even though I had completed my set of sketches I stayed on to capture more folk socialising, interacting and swapping tales.