Collect, analyse & reassemble

For our latest assignment our task was to create a collection or use an existing one to then be made into a book at the start we were encouraged to research into artists books, artists collections and systems. Here is a run through of my process and how my book came about.

The first thing I did before research was to create a mind map to help me figure out things I already collect and just as a way of getting down some initial ideas allowing what I was thinking to be on paper and to help some more ideas to flow from there.


Then as a class we went to the Sir John Soane museum that contained a collecton of different objects from all over europe that John Soane had collected and arranged for his students to take inspiration from photography was not allowed in the museum so instead I decided to try and sketch one of the sculptures that I thought was quite interesting.


After the museum visit we went to the library at London Met to look at some artists books I think this was quite interesting and gave me some good ideas of different ways that I could make my book and I was quite impressed by the out’ve the box ways of thinking shown by some of these books.


So after gaining some new ideas from this research I then created another mind map of what I had learned and seen and also some of the ideas I had gotten from it my main idea at this point was to create a book that resembled a miniature sketch book and that the doodles would fill the sketch book and make people think they where supposed to be there.


I then went on to do some research into what other artists had collected and how they displayed the collections. These had quite an impact on my work and how I would go about making my collection. I think Russell Weakes “Sea Scapes”had the most impact on my work at the start I liked the fact that he took something that would be completely over looked at seen as pointless and gave it a purpose and I wanted to have that effect in my work so i came to the conclusion that I would collect doodles from my sketch book and give them an actual purpose.

Helga Stepans collection I think was a beautiful idea and is what reinforced the idea of a cluttered effect in my photographs although this wasn’t my final decision it at least allowed me to get some experimentation in my work.

Sara had also asked us to look into systems and an example she gave was how starlings fly in unison with each other this is how I stumbled upon the ant farm made by Studio 1:1 which again greatly influenced some of the experimentation I did.

I felt that I had gathered enough research at this point to start getting some initial ideas down on paper about how I could compose the photographs.


After getting these ideas on paper I couldn’t see how they would coincide with my collection so i thought it might be a good idea to re-think the collection itself so I went back to the drawing board and tried to think about collections that i had over looked and i also wanted to think about how I could create a book with out it actually being a standard book so I thought about possibly creating an e-book.


At this point I think I had lost alot of confidence in my ideas and I was ready to give up on this assignment I decided to put my ideas of photographing the doodles into action and to see if that could have some influence and maybe stem into some new ideas so i spent some time arranging the doodles in different ways here is what I came up with.

This was when I think my confidence in my work was at its lowest point I hadn’t had the eureka moment that I was expecting and I think this caused me to put in much less effort than I should have so when we had come back to uni after the Easter break I had nothing new to show or any ideas to work with so I decided to ask Sara if she could look at my work and tell me what she thought.

We looked at some of the research I had done and Sara suggested creating a poster that could transition into a book, the only way I could think to do this was to create a zine on what would have been a larger scale if I decided on it as a final piece.

Here are 3 ideas for the zines I came up with and how they would work both as a book and a poster.

After thinking about it and looking over my prototypes I couldn’t see a way that the zine could work both as a book and poster it seemed that if it could work as a book then it couldn’t work as a poster due to how the paper had to be folded.

We then had a review day as a class that I dreaded coming to because I had next to nothing to show but after talking to people about the fact that the doodles are done when im bored or disengaged almost everyone agreed that I should be trying to communicate that message in my work.

I decided then to look into the definition of boredom and distraction I found out that distraction is defined in two ways the first being A thing that prevents someone from concentrating on something else and the second is extreme agitation of the mind so I wanted to try and get the message across of how agitated I was feeling by the work.

This lead me to briefly look into colour theory and I thought about how the colour green is supposed to relax the mind and that red is an encouraging colour and increases enthusiasm and I couldn’t help but think that I needed a confidence boost and I decided red would be the main colour of my cover.


I tried to think more about what people had said to me in the review day and I had mentioned that when i find myself feeling frustrated or bored I usually just write the word bored or the phrase I am bored in different ways just as a way of entertaining myself so i thought it would be good to use this as a design for my front cover so I spent some time using different materials like fine liners, marker pens, paint brushes etc and techniques to create different styles of the word bored.

I then took photos of the words and used Photoshop to manipulate them and create a poster that would become my template for screen printing I did this by using the magic wand tool to isolate the text from the page and simply used the paint bucket tool to fill the area on a seperate layer I then used the same ones over and over again at different sizes and angled them in different positions to make them appear as if they had been scribbled on the page now that I look back at it I don’t know why I didn’t just scribble them on the page but oh well you live and learn.


I ended up printing the poster at a3 size so that when I screen printed it I could then crop it down to the size I wanted (a5) and that way it would be more of a random selection of what was on the page.

Here are the finished screen prints (it’s a good thing I made two cause i fucked up when I was cutting down the first one) the paper I used is also 300g paper I decided to use this because I thought it might slightly resemble a hard back book with out having to pay for hard back binding (money doesn’t grow on trees yanno!)


Once i had cut down my cover pages and insert pages to size I went to Ryman the stationary shop to get the pages bound together I would’ve done it myself but i didn’t expect to be able to track down all the things i’d need such as a binding block but I still think the book looks ok.

Once it was done I thought about the putting the title Distracted Doodles on it but couldn’t really figure out a way to do that but i tried some different experiments I think the main problem was that I couldn’t see how the title could fit onto the small page and be legible against the cluttered design.


Here is a photo of my book so far I think I would like to keep working on it and get the title on the cover at some point but for now I am happy with it but as all things go it’s not perfect and there is always more that could be done.


One thing I haven’t mentioned is the order that I have placed the images in because I only came up with the idea on the day but the idea of the images arrangement is that I wanted them to tell the story of how I felt during the time I was working on the assignment.

The images start off with happy expressions that is supposed to reflect my enthusiasm at the beginning and the images gradually lose that expression and they become more neutral so I thought they could sort of represent how I was becoming more disinterested in the work.

After that the images have an almost shocked expression and gradually get smaller i wanted this part of the book to show not only the shock of me realising how much I hadn’t done and needed to do but also how my confidence in the work shrunk and by the end of the assignment I kind of said to myself fuck it just do what feels right and the images have and angry expression that I used to try and display almost like a second wind feeling and as the images grow it supposed to display how I began to regain confidence in my work.

I know very arty farty of me to pull that one out of the air but it’s been a nice brief for the most part and I think if I was to start it again i’d have probably picked a different collection to work from.



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