Cartographic Imaginaries

Plotting Novels in Wales

I visited an interesting exhibition on show at Swansea Museum today. Cartographic Imaginaries is a collection of commissioned artwork in response to twelve English language novels set in Wales. The works form part of the wider Literary Atlas of Wales project which explores how English language novels set in Wales contribute to our understanding of the real and imagined nature of the country.

I particularly enjoyed the Sean Vicary animation ‘sitelines‘. I remember being impressed by his work at the 2014 National Eisteddfod in Llanelli.

Reworking Twilight in Adobe Illustrator

Digital and analogue workflows

Creative computing, that’s the term I like to use when I’m working with pixels on a screen. I particularly like using Adobe Illustrator, an industry standard software package. Illustrator is an extremely powerful tool, it allows artists to create and manipulate artworks digitally using vectors. Vectors are computer-made images made up of points, lines, and curves. The picture above shows a series of artboards generated in Illustrator, they are the digital equivalent of pages in a sketchbook. It’s relatively easy to copy and paste items across boards and this can help you to develop ideas and create work quickly. In the above exercise, I began by placing a digitised version of a painting called Twilight on a board. I then carefully traced out the different shapes using a tool called the Pen tool. Once I had created my vector shapes I manipulate them. The subsequent boards show my experimentations, applying different strokes, fills and colours to the shapes. It’s relatively easy to move, resize, rotate and colour these elements and this gives you total flexibility, especially when working with layout and composition. Switching between an analogue and digital workflow is really beneficial to me as an artist, the creative possibilities seem almost endless. It can also be lots and lots of fun!

A digitally remastered artwork.