Julie Chen workshop: Day 3

We started this morning with another a collaborative art exercise. Just like yesterday, we were given 10 minutes to work on a piece that would eventually turn into a book.

Collaborative Book from Julie Chen workshop

Collaborative Book – front

We went back and forth with a partner who was behind us at the next table. In addition to working on the piece for an hour in 10 minute increments, today we were given the opportunity to put finishing touches on our work for the last 10 minutes (this was not an option yesterday). After today’s exercise, I found that I became much more attached to my final piece. I was able to work on an overall theme that made my book much more cohesive.

Collaborative Book from Julie Chen workshop

Collaborative Book – back

We didn’t work on our timeline/panel books today. The majority of today was spent on a text and image project, which we started yesterday. I forgot to mention it in yesterday’s post (oops!). We’re working on so many projects throughout the day that I’m starting to lose track of all of them.

Here’s the catch-up: We were given a template that outlined 6 cards, each about the size of a playing card. We had to create three image and three text cards. Text cards needed to be created with a 3/8″ margin. The image cards had to include the following:

  1. One card included one image of an object.
  2. One card included one image of a place.
  3. One card included one image of a figure (statue or person).

One text card had to be paired with one image card. The group of text cards had to include the following:

  1. One card included text that described an image without naming the image.
  2. One card included text that added information relating to the image but didn’t directly describe the image.
  3. Once card included text that was unrelated to the image, but created a sense of tension when the text and image are presented together.
Artwork by Elissa Campbell

My Image and Text Cards

Today we were given a complete set of color copies of cards made by the entire class. From these cards we would be creating a small artist book. The book had to use the following criteria:

  1. Use a combination of both text and image cards, with at least one of each used more than once over the course of the book.
  2. Create a minimum of 9 leaves (18 pages, front and back), not including the covers.
  3. Do not leave a page blank unless it is considered intentional content for the book.
  4. Do not alter any image or text cards. The exception is addition of background color.

You could also choose one of the following options:

  1. Make a minor alteration to a text or image card.
  2. Create a “wild card”, which is a text or image card of your own. The wild card could not be the first or last page of the book.

I was able to select my cards and develop a concept fairly quickly. I used only two of the cards I created myself. We worked on our books until around four o’clock, at which point my brain was fried. Luckily, our books don’t need to be completed until tomorrow. I was happy when Julie suggested that we work on something else for the rest of the day. We had 45 minutes to complete a book project.

Here’s the breakdown:

  1. Research phase: 15 minutes to collect materials and text.
  2. Design phase: 15 minutes to determine structure and start minor assembly.
  3. Production phase: 15 minutes to complete assembly.

I was so stressed out during this exercise and came nowhere close to finishing. I thought too big and almost everyone in the class had the same problem. Our collection of work was very simple and sparse. Julie told us that when we get stuck, it can often help to do a time-limited creative exercise. With the pressure of deadlines, you think less and do more.

She didn’t expect any of us to finish our books – our brains aren’t trained to complete work in 45 minutes. She said that over time it would become a more doable exercise. She told us to leave our unfinished books as they were. I am so struggling with that direction.

Unfinished projects make me

3 Responses to “Julie Chen workshop: Day 3”

By Hilary - 10 July 2008 Reply

Your course sounds really full on! Makes me feel a little panicky just reading about it – especially since I like to take my time and do everything just right. It’s more likely to take me three quarters of a day to make a book !!

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