Anyway, since I could reach exactly the same degree by doing the practical project instead of writing dissertation I picked that and carry on with exactly the same theme. I came up with self-initiated brief which contains creating two posters for imaginary exhibition, particularly "The Death Exhibition".
I have to be honest I went through some deep research on death, how different cultures feel about it and so on. But I mainly focused on the christian tradition. The bits of it cover few legends that mainly come from the epidemics from the Middle Ages (plague etc.) such as the legend of "The three living and three dead", "The death and the maiden", "The Dance of the death" or "The Triumph of the Death". Really interesting stuff it is, worth looking at!
I also looked up "The day of the dead" and the cult of "Santa Muerte" in southern America, mainly in Mexico. I loved all the colours and celebrations connected to this, so different to european understanding of death, represented by Grim Reaper, black colour and allt he mourning.
So I started with this, I had an idea in my head: having this portrait of a girl with her face painted in the style of celebrations of the Day of the dead with some meaningful slogan accompanying it. I drew the rough in my sketchbook and it sort of looked like random pretty girl with some face paint on and I wasn't exactly happy with it. But I guess I went through the breking point when I just doodled the exatcly same image ( while having a meeting at work ) from toop of my head. It wasn't perfect drawing, only a biro on a quarter of an A4 sheet of paper, but in a way it gave it ( meaning her face ) some strange weirdness, I could even call it a style, rather than having a straight portrait drawn from reference in front of me. I found I drew her eyes too small and too far away from each other, but in a way I preffered it to the original one. Here it is:
Now it was a matter of blowing the image up a bit, trace the shapes so I could get the clean line work, something I could work with further.
Outlines were the most important to me, then I had to start thinking how many colours ( therefore layers) I was going to use. I agreed on 5 layers / 5 colours. Text and outlines were the same layer, eyes, nose and little details on banners was next, then middle tone within her hair, then face paint on her mouth and little dots within the background design, which is the final layer.
This order of layers wasn't the one I used in final screenprinting but I'll come back to it later on.
Now here are the separate layers I had to get ready for the actual silkscreen printing:
For the actual screen printing I started with the background layer, the flowery motive, which is in fact silhouettes of Deadly Nightshade, poisonous plant, considered in some cultures the represantation of death. Then I carried on with the middle tone of the hair. Now I came to conclusion that I didn't plan the whole print as I should and I realized I didn't think of having a register ( or line up ) point for each one of the layers. Now if you feel like you're really good at this, you don't necesarilly have to think of it, but it always makes the job easier. Just so you know where exactly each layer should go and fit within the previous one. Because if you don't it takes hell of lot more work to line each of the sheets up properly. I made few mistakes myself, only because I didn't think about it while I was in a stage of making the actual design before even start of printing.
So I carried on with the middle tone of hair, then the eyes, nose and bits on banners, then the mouth face paint and details on background Deadly Nightshade and finaly the black outlines and text all together.
Myself ( and to be honest most of the people I asked ) I prefere this version. The green background against the red on the face makes the face itself stand out a bit. The previous version just got sort of melted within the tones of blue and you had nothing to focus on ( even though the purple colour is much closer to the actual colour of Deadly Nightshade ).
The text I used I downloaded from the Dafont website, it's called the Gothica Time. I didn;t think I would come up with my own font as I'd be rather focus on illustration itself, than trying to be a typography person.
The quotation is a reference to the "The legend of three dead and three living". Meaning you come to this world having absolutely nothing and you leave it the same way, as you can't take anything with you.
Thanks for reading, I hope that something of this was helpful to you.
I just add more photos of the progress and results.
The exposed stencils on silk screen:
The exposure unit. Used for transferring the stencils from mark-resisting films, acetates or tracing papers onto the silkscreen
The first layer ( floral motive of Deadly Nightshade ) printed. only a starting point so far. Lots of work to go still.
Series of colour versions I did for this design