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For this project we were put into groups of three and asked to produce either an artists book or zine based on one of three given texts, which surround the theme of disasters. The three texts were Protect and Survive – a public information series on civil defense produced by the British…

Heather’s already said most of what’s important here. We had difficulty at first choosing which project we wanted to do, because we both liked ‘Protect and Survive’ because it was incredibly open to interpretation and there’s so much that’s associated with it, so it could become anything we wanted; on the other hand, ‘The Birds’ is an incredibly relatable story, and the narrative is compelling.

Obviously, we ended up choosing The Birds, but we almost ended up making too much work for ourselves, as we found it difficult to narrow down our story to its simplest form, as every time we simplified it, we then ended up expanding it almost immediately. As it was, we ended up making a decent book even though Miroslava (our third group member) only turned up once (and that was to an unrelated workshop), despite us sending e-mails to keep her up to date. It would have been useful to have another pair of hands to deal with the work, but as it was it turned out fine as me and Heather worked almost daily over the holidays to finish the book in time.

I really enjoyed working with Heather, and I feel that our styles compliment each other quite well, especially when we started working on top of each others images. As she says, she does need to improve her people drawing skills, but I think she gives herself too little credit with her skills. Next time, we definitely need to make storyboards earlier so that we can fully plan out the story, and make a stricter schedule, especially as my work became too dominant through the book. Heather had made several images which were unused because we changed the story so much, and while she might say otherwise, I do worry that I may have taken too much control over how the story went.

The final piece looks very professional and impressive. I find it amazing how much difference the quality in paper can make to finished pieces, and I’ve become more open to the idea of redrawing and editing/cleaning my images for final pieces. I’ve also learned more how to work as an organised group, whereas before I mostly worked alongside a group, kind of doing my own thing.

{ Heather McCulley }: A Recipe for Disaster – Reflectionnaire

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