Madison Webster Illustrates
My name is Madison Webster , I’m a visual artist / Illustrator undertaking the advanced diploma in creative product development at Melbourne Polytechnic, where I hope to put my ideas in place and create something that everyone can enjoy.
As an illustrator i struggle to stay with my own style as i have more than one
You can find my work consisting of anamorphic animals created in water colour in fine liner , mostly wood land creates going about there days around Melbourne. Click here for an example ! Here’s where my first ideas came from but ill talk about that later … i also have a type of style where i work in graphite and create soft images of animals focusing on the detail of the fur Click here!. Then i have a style which is a mix of both so maybe a little fox walking around trying not to get lost in the CBD ,illustrated purely with graphite.Click here !
This is my third year in Melbourne and I’ve come to released my animals wearing fancy clothing or what some may call ‘hipster’ fashion is a representation of myself learning to live int he city as i was a country kid.
30 Days of Drawing
This challenge I chose to do a series of mall works to practice and develop my realistic style. I used Archer’s 300 gsm hot press water colour paper and Lumograph Steadler pencils. My subject matter was going to be animals and only parts close up so I could develop the up-close details I have not mastered yet. I wanted to capture the fur texture, scales, claws, whiskers and all the little bits that aren’t normally focussed on in more broad illustrations. Doing a drawing every day might seem easy well this is what I thought, what I didn’t consider at the time was my travelling to work, travelling to class, spending time on other briefs and projects. As with creating this kind of work I find it easiest when I am in a quiet, clean and well-lit environment, usually at night, and this didn’t work out for me every day. However, I did manage to get the works done by the deadline even if I had to double up some of the days for the home stretch.
In one of my life drawing classes I wanted to try and experiment with some new media and ended up falling in love with conte. Conte is a type of compressed graphite mixed with wax which gives it a kind smoothness that you can’t get with other charcoal type medias. I liked that it was pure black and I found it really easy to use expressive strokes in not much time at all. This pace I kept with this piece is clearly visible in the work and I captured the form of the subject better as opposed to just using charcoal. Since using this media I feel as though I’m more willing to attend life drawing classes outside of class.
Small Works Competition Brunswick Street Gallery
Following through with my 30 days of drawing I heard about the Brunswick Street Gallery Small Works Competition. I haven’t entered into any galleries this year and I already have some work ready so it would be a great opportunity for me to exhibit, especially as it’d be great to showcase my more realistic style. Along with that being my first also having prices on my work for sale. My real challenge for this was picking works that I could part with. I selected these
My second challenge was the framing and hanging system as I was not sure how the set up works or if my frames would work. So, I worked out I can glue the back after removing the temporary backing and using D-hooks attached to the back of the frame so I can hang them on normal hooks. The downside is that there is a chance that the D-hooks will be seen and that the works are unable to be taken out of the frames. Unfortunately, on delivery to the Brunswick Street Gallery the glue that I had used had spread between the two pieces of glass and created a hazy fog effect around the graphite works, this caused me to lower the price in hopes that they still will sell after all of the hard work I put in.
I have decided that I am going to do a homage to Beatrix Potter using her techniques and style, my characters and my image to complete the project. I chose Beatrix Potter as I am very passionate about her stories and watercolour works. She has been one of my main inspirations and has widely influenced my work. I also chose her as I would like to be realistic with my watercolour application, focussing not just on the main character in the image but also the foreground and background of the work as I have hardly ever used background or surroundings. At first I found it quite daunting to do an A3 work including a background and non-organic objects other than my usual animal characters. I tried to make that more easy for myself by sketching in my visual diary casually of some of the things I might include (flowers, ladybugs, bricks, vines ect.). Later on I did some watercolour testing of these things to try and understand how layering, colour and drying time would affect the outcome of the work. Here are some tests that I have done.
Brunswick Street Gallery Opening Night
The night of the exhibition came and I was feeling quite uneasy about it because of the experience I had with the frames. I honestly thought that none of my works would sell which me apprehensive to go and I didn’t really want any of my friends to go but I had already invited them. When I arrived at the gallery shortly after it opened one of works had already sold which was a welcome surprise. Then I went to go into another room to admire some of the other art and returned after 10-15 minutes to find that two more of my pieces had sold! I was overjoyed with this result and ended up being pleased to see that several of my friends had come to support me, some of whom brought me flowers. All in all it was a successful exhibition for me and it had given the confidence to pursue entry into my competitions with this style of work.
Van Gogh Exhibition
I attended the Van Gogh Exhibition at the NGV with high hopes as Van Gogh is my second favourite impressionist artist. However, my experience was not as fulfilling as I had hoped due to some issues I had with the layout and the foot traffic. I felt as though I had no time to stop and appreciate the work as people were queuing up just to take a photo and move on, and it was almost like people got angry if you were standing in front of the work looking at it for too long. What i did like about the exhibition was the front room which was full of Van Gogh’s inspirations and references. This includes some Japanese art and renaissance etchings which informed his practice.
Self Directed Project
In the proposal for my Self Directed Project I had intended to do a character turnaround sheet for the character I had created with the chosen media of ink and watercolour. This required me to research animals that were similar to my character to help me form body structure and different types of fur textures to compliment it. I later found out that I was unable to do this after I had already sketched out the poses and completed my research. So I decided to change what I was going to do while I was sick in hospital as time was becoming more scarce and I needed something I could complete in my timeframe more realistically. This led me to go with my hybrid creature concept which I already had a sketch of prepared. All I had to do was gather my references for the sketch and do a second drawing based off of this idea. The process of making this piece was both fun and relaxing as I knew I could complete it comfortably within the time frame and to a standard which I was happy with.
This year I’ve been wanting to create an original children’s storybook series. Whether it was in collaboration with an author or having no dialogue whatsoever I really wanted to create spot illustrations in a storybook. I find myself drawn to this kind of media as these are the only books I’ve really been able to understand due to my dyslexia, and I’ve always admired how my favourite authors can convey so much through their images alone. I still get this sense of childlike wonder when flicking through the pages of a children’s book, I’ve carried this feeling into my adulthood and now want to make that possible for other children.
I found it difficult to create a character and story that I liked, I think it had something to do with it feeling forced and just didn’t convey what I wanted it to as i wasn’t passionate about it. However, one morning in my parter’s new house I was looking out of the window while sketching and I kept hearing this strange noise. I wasn’t quite sure what it was as it was way too loud to be a rat or a mouse and really didn’t sound like a possum. I started getting a little scared actually but I thought it was nothing and then kept on sketching. A few moments later I heard a knock, so I got up as I thought someone was at the door, to my surprise no one was there. Then I heard a knock from the corner of the room, this alarmed me as I thought it was something scary like a ghost, and then this little image appeared in my head that it might be a little creature, so I sketched the little fellow out. After that I started to write about him next to the sketch and just couldn’t stop writing, and that’s how I found myself a story that I wanted to explore and found that I could in fact create a series. The main idea is to create creature that could explain things that are sometimes hard to explain to a kid in a more light hearted way. So all the creepy noises you hear are the little creature up to mischief.
My Health Experience
Unfortunately throughout semester one I’ve been very unwell and have been back and forth from doctors and in and out of hospitals. This has provided me with a large challenge to attend class and start and complete my works in time. After a short stay in hospital I chose to go spend a weekend at my hometown in Beechworth to focus on getting back to full health.
Term 3 July
The pros for this event was the experience we got in practicing for our end of year exhibition and the snacks haha. I had a lot of trouble with mounting and framing my work and a I had an issue with the lighting about where my work was positioned. I had the role of marketing for the Midway Show which I created a Facebook page and an event and promoted it as much as possible with the little time I had. The little time might have accounted for the little amount of guests which I’m okay with considering the look and feel of the exhibition. I’ll attach a few photos below of the opening of the exhibition.
Typology – Ugly Pretty
In Greg Nevil’s theory class we were assigned with a project where we had to creative a typology following a theme of ‘Ugly Pretty’. I quite enjoyed exploring what this theme meant to me. I came up with a range of ideas, some silly and some gross and finally ended up with a typology of different types of weeds. I chose this subject matter because I realized that most of the flowers and things that I picked up on my walks through the bush were in fact weeds. I find them quite beautiful but strange to be considered as pests and ugly to those who pluck them out of their gardens. I chose to cut A5 cards in half so my images would be small as I had to do 9 and I was worried I wouldn’t have time to get them done in the timeframe. I was originally choosing to use the media of graphite but I was worried that would take too long so I chose ink instead as I felt that painting would be faster. I was wrong. Graphite, unlike ink, you can erase when you make a mistake however with ink once you put it down it’s there forever. This caused me to be quite delicate and tedious with this work and it resulted in me finishing the last image in class time the day it was due. Overall I’m quite proud that I tried doing something in a different medium even though some might not have come out quite as well but overall put it a typology layout they complemented each other and came together as a unit.
Anna Jenkins (Anna Seed)
Over a three-week time period my course had the pleasure of Anna Jenkins being a studio mentor on our Tuesday afternoon Studio Practice classes. I was lucky enough to have the chance to talk to her about watercolour techniques as we have quite similar styles and subject matter. I was able to find out what type of watercolour paint she uses and the type of paintbrushes she uses and how she uses them in her practice. The follow week I was able to sit down in a tutorial she was doing for the diploma and advanced diploma group which was very informative and clear. I found her way of speaking was very easy to understand which I was grateful for given it’s usefully hard for me to following things like this due to my communication dyslexia. The following week I was able to snatch Anna for some one on one time. We sat together and exchange techniques with painting in watercolour and we painted one of my foxes together. It was very interesting to see the differences in my fox and the one that Anna had filled in as I was worried that our styles were going to become way too similar. However, side by side they are still completely different. I learnt a lot from Anna and I would be keen to have a catch up with her sometime soon.
Café Paradiso Art Project
I was approached by the manager of a restaurant in Camberwell named Café Paradiso to see if I would be interested in curating and managing an art project the café had in mind for their outdoor space. Basically, the manager wanted to pay me to collect the work of young artists to work for free in the outside space to paint on the tables in their own style following a story. I felt as though it would be unfair that I would be getting paid and that the artists would not and I know that I myself would not want to work for free under such limited constraints of possible media and requirements. I told the manager that I would think about it and that I would get some insight from my fellow artists and they all agreed with my concerns and that wouldn’t be interested even for the publicity. So I later contacted the manager and said I had to decline the offer as I didn’t really think it was realistic.
Art Blitz (Isabelle’s 24-Hour Exhibition)
Art Blitz is Kingston Arts longest running community art competition for artists of all ages and abilities working in 2D, 3D and literal arts. The competition begins when a secret theme is announced from which artists have 24 hours to create an artwork or piece of creative writing and deliver it to Kingston Art Centre. Prizes are up for grabs for the visual and written categories as well as a people’s choice award. It was my first time visiting the opening night to see Isabelle’s works she created for this competition and I was quite surprised how packed it was, there was almost nowhere to move! The theme for this year was adventure. I saw a range of mixed media works of people setting foot on a journey and I think this is what made me love Isabelle’s so much more. As she depicted what’s left behind when you go on a journey. Her work was inspired by Peter Pan with a titled quoting from the book ‘To Die Would Be an Awfully Big Adventure’. She used a circular wooden board and a mixture of fine liner and ballpoint pen with etching marks to create shadow and dimension of an empty bedroom with a window open, suggesting that characters had just left, at least that’s the impression I got. One thing that I found was quite unnecessary was that they had hired two gymnasts to perform stunts in-between the crowd which I almost felt like was a hazard. Overall, I thought the exhibition was a success. It was well lit and well curated which makes me think I wouldn’t mind entering next year.
Self-Made: Zines and Artist Books State Library Exhibition
On the opening day of Self-Made Isabelle and I decided to make our way into the city after class to see what it was all about. I myself am very interested in zines. I find them very interesting to read and that they’re honest, and the honesty is what I like most. For a long time, I wanted my subject matter to be featured in zines that I would make and it’s a good stepping stone to creating your own storybooks. I feel like the curation was really well done as the State Library had painted their space to accommodate the logo and theme of the exhibition. I found it really interesting looking back on old zines and newer interpretations. It felt very welcoming and not too crowded which made me feel like I could stay in there for long enough to appreciate the works.
RAW – Natural Born Artists
This definition was taken from the RAW website: RAW is an independent organization for artists, by artists. They provide independent artists within the first 10 years of their creative career with the tools, resources and exposure needed to inspire and cultivate creativity. RAW showcases indie talent in visual art, film, fashion design, music, performance art, hair and make-up artistry and photography.
I’ve been approached twice by RAW through my Instagram account. Both of these times I have rejected the offer as I simply don’t have enough work that I want to showcase and would like to wait until I had a good body of work to showcase through them. I thought it was a good offer because they don’t take any commission from what you sell that night but the only thing you have to do is sell 20 tickets which costed 20 dollars each and if you did not sell those tickets you would have to sell them yourself. I was a little worried I wouldn’t be able to sell that many tickets and I don’t have the money to pay for them myself which is another reason I decided not to enter. I had the opportunity to go and check it out as Isabelle knew one of the artists and was trying to help them sell their tickets. I saw this as a great chance to see what RAW is all about and decide whether or not I would like to showcase with them. When I entered the building, I was shocked with how loud it was and how much of club-like feeling it had. The set up for the artists were scattered around on metal mesh stands almost like a market where they had individual stalls. One thing I liked is that the artist was sitting at the stall in person so it gave you the opportunity to introduce yourself. However, it was near impossible to hear a word that was spoken. I did meet one of the artists I have been following on Instagram for quite a while now and purchased two of her prints. I was very excited to have the opportunity and I thought by far her stall was the more appealing in appearance and organization. Unfortunately, due to the crowd and blaring music I started to feel like I was going to have a panic attack and couldn’t stay any longer.
By the end of year exhibition I had the goal of completing 5 works in my Hybrid Creature series but it’s come to a time where I don’t think that’s especially realistic because the thing I want is for them to come across as rushed. So with the intent of taking my time I barricaded myself in at the restaurant my partner works at for a whole day to work solely on a new jumbled animal. Several lemon lime bitters and kids sized serve of spaghetti later I had completed ‘Sylverian’ which I was quite pleased with considering the timeframe I finished it in. This left me with 3 completed hybrid creatures just in time to start thinking about compiling my works for the FLUX exhibition.
Fennel and Chuck
Just as I was getting ready to start finalizing my works for the year I was struck by the idea for a new series of works while I was I was in the shower. The idea was for a children’s book titled ‘Fennel and Chuck Run Amuck’ in which an outcasted snail and lonely fox become a pair of unlikely friends and go on whimsical adventures together. This idea stewed around in my head for a week or so until one day I was a lunch party in a lovely garden overlooking my home town on a particularly beautiful afternoon and I couldn’t help but pull out my sketchbook and start scribbling away. What I came up with was a small sketch of Chuck, the snail, stuck up in a gumleaf which he mistook for a potential new shell after he lost his old one in some mysterious circumstances. I’m not sure whether or not this piece will end up making it into what I want to showcase at the end of year exhibition but I really enjoyed making it and am exciting to see where this series goes.
Rose Street Market: Mia Emma Freeman
The Rose Street Market is one I’ve always wanted to visit so one day I mustered up the courage and rode bike to the heart Fitzroy, one of the most creative suburbs in Melbourne. While I was there I saw a range of different creative outlets from many creative people. Theres bag, handmade jewelry, greeting cards, little handmade nic-nacs and of course a lot artworks their accompanying prints. I found out that Mia Emma Freeman had a stall set up and I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to sit down and have a chat with her as I decided that she was going to be my mentor for the studio access brief. She had given me some useful tips about markets and what ones are the best to go to and she was really friendly. After this visit I have decided that I will work hard to get a substantial body of work printed so I can be a part of this wonderful artist’s market.
I first heard about this film called Loving Vincent from watching a trailer online that popped into my news feed one day and I knew I had to see it. It’s the first ever feature film completely comprised of oil paintings will over 60,000 frames made by over a hundred artists from all over the globe. What’s more is that the story is about and in the style of Vincent Van Gogh whom I love dearly and has been a great inspiration to me. So I told my partner Nathan about it and he insisted that we go see it right away so we got all dressed and went to lovely vintage theatre in Camberwell for an impromptu date night. Visually the film was absolutely breathtaking with every shot being exquisitely crafted to look exactly like some of favourite works by Van Gogh. Storywise it was a little bit lacking but still it made for a wonderful experience that I would highly recommend to anyone with an interest in painting or even art generally.
Part of why I haven’t entered a lot in this blog over the last couple of months is due to my not having too much to report given how severe my state of health has become as of late. It’s made it extremely difficult to leave the house to and take part in creative events and view galleries and visit opening nights which is really disappointing because these are the things I’m passionate about as well as greatly enjoy doing. Usually my art helps to keep me stable but it was really difficult to get anything done because of condition which made it tough to cope towards the end of the course
So finally it came to the big night that I’d been leading up to for the last three years. All of the grueling preparation that had been by everyone in the course had led to lots of nerves and excitement about how the night would go. I myself felt a bit stressed that I didn’t have enough work to display due to some of my health issues but even so I keen to the space full of friends and family.
Once everyone arrived and the playlist I had curated was being played through the space I paid my attention to my guests and admirers of my work who it was lovely to hear from. I took the opportunity to eat some olives and biscuits and enjoy all of the hard work everyone had put in. It was kind of surreal to see everybody’s ideas I’d seen grow throughout the year up on the wall for everyone to see, especially Isabelle and Gaelan who I felt did an amazing job of completing their goals. One thing I didn’t love was how hot and stuffy it was in that confined space so I found myself having to duck out for air pretty often because I was feeling a little faint. But that was just a minor thing overall the night went off without a hitch.
All in all I think the night turned out to be a success both for the guests and for the students involved. There had been more of a turnout at this exhibition than I had seen in previous years which made me feel great seeing as how much hard work we all put in. Personally, it was lovely to see some of my housemates there and not only my friends and family but my partner Nathan’s family there as well. I was glad to have them all there because I felt the gallery looked great and I’m really proud of all the passion and dedication that everyone showed off through their art.