Initial Experimenting with Monoprint – Loneliness amongst Crowds in the City

I have been experimenting with paint and ink and photo manipulation a lot so far. I think this is going well but I now I wanted to experiment with different mediums and different techniques of producing imagery. Here, I have experimented with mono print, a simple transfer technique that involved spreading ink onto perspex, placing a surface like newsprint on top and drawing into the ink so that it prints onto the paper. I thought about the fact that being alone in the city around others is out of your control, even if you smile at someone or try to converse they are not guaranteed to do the same back. In monoprinting, You are drawing into the paper and cannot see the result until it is finished. As a technique, the result of monoprinting is highly out of your control as well so I felt it was appropriate printing method to explore this loneliness through.



I used a basic ball point pen to draw into the paper, pressing firmly, it was an easy tool to use to ensure the ink printed onto the other side, It also helped me achieve sharp lines and to draw quickly within the method of continuous line and cross hatching.





I started by printing onto newsprint, an incredibly thin paper and not pressing too hard. An image of the result achieved is above, The lines were sharp and it does have a nice inky quality to it, but I think the colour of the paper is a bit too bright and stark for the ink. Even thought it is quite eery looking and the people do look lonely in the city, I thought a darker background colour may show the isolation around others further. I thought about maybe using brown paper to print onto to see whether it heightened the feeling of loneliness. The image left in the ink, when held up to the light was also highly interesting so I have documented this as well.






I went on to experiment with monoprinting onto brown paper, as predicted I feel that darker paper heightens the feeling of loneliness within the print. This relates to my grounds workshops and how background colours can influence the mood and atmosphere of a piece. Again, working with dark colours and creating a feeling of loneliness in my work is inspiring me to contrast it with looking at colour and experimenting with showing this loneliness even though the image is bright because at the moment, I feel that the dark tones of my work are definitely helping me along. I like challenging myself and taking risks throughout my project which I feel I already have but this seems a new way to stretch my project further. I  think that these initial monoprints are successful, they are the result of having no control of an outcome, they emphasise the fact that we don’t have control of how lonely we feel when wandering the city, because people have to engage with you, if you are trying to converse with them and they don’t reply at all, the loneliness is perhaps even heightened. Monoprint has definitely been a worthwhile experiment.

Field Collaboration: Drawing Session 2

We wanted to progress in this group collaborative drawing session. This time, we wanted to produce collaborative drawings with a twist of our own artistic backgrounds within them. We all brought our own materials to the session, with focus on what we would use on our course. As a fine artist, I brought paint, charcoal, sketching pens, brushes, palette knives and oil pastels and tracing paper. The textiles girls brought fabric, and tissue paper, thread and various cottons, buttons, beads, needles and embroidery kits. Our illustrator brought along black fine liners and our graphics guy preferred to work in Biro. For this session, the ceramicist brought along watercolours and drawing materials she uses in her sketchbook but will be experimenting with clay and glaze on the paper in the future.


We started by sticking on surfaces like tissue paper and tracing paper, adding paint washes and backgrounds and drawing on top of them.



I really liked the effect of ink and fine liner on tracing paper with water. The drawing styles and ideas of others are starting to inspire my own practice.



After finishing one drawing, we reflected on it, talked about what we liked and dislikes, things we would like to add or develop and moved on to another one. We felt really inspired by each other and wanted to take advantage of this.




This was a highly successful drawing session, the use of mixed media and materials was a great idea, it brought all of our disciplines together and the outcome is definitely an improvement on the last session. We are all looking forward to  creating an animation with our drawing next time and eventually working on an even larger scale.

I am really pleased with how well we are all collaborating and really enjoying producing the work. It is a very valuable experience seeing how the others think and draw and learning from one another.

Experimenting with Tracing Paper

I have been experimenting with tracing paper within my hidden loneliness project. I wanted to highlight that when you are walking around the city, all the other people may as well not be there. I also thought about the fact that they are not important to you, they are just silhouettes passing you by that you may catch a glance with every now and then.



The existence of the other people around you is very transparent with not much significance or importance in your day. I thought the use of tracing paper highlighted this transparency. I started thinking about people being in a rush to do things or get to places in the city and how the world around them is foggy and muffled and not really taken note of. I experimented with placing tracing paper over my black and white photographs and drawing one person only in bold black fine line on top to highlight this observation.




I think these explorations are successful, they definitely convey an immediate feeling of loneliness and look artistically interesting.  There is something highly charming about them. However, I’m not sure I will be incorporating the use of tracing paper into my art work or final pieces for this project.  Experimenting with it has been valuable and made me consider more ideas and think about not noticing other people or the city around you when you are in a hurry. I may incorporate its use into the collaborative drawings I am working on in my field group.






Laura Lina: Photo manipulation Influence

I came across the work of Laura Lina whilst browsing around “the circle walked casually exhibition” situated at the Kunsthalle in Berlin. Her work inspired me to think about how I could use my photos to their full potential and how I could start manipulating them and drawing on top of them as a quick way to get my ideas flowing and display something visually interesting at the same time.

laura lima

Above is an image of her work that I took in Berlin, The colour palette of these images is interesting to me, they look very grand and renaissance. She has drawn on top of existing imagery using gold pen and framed them simply as stand alone art pieces. The shapes and lines are very geometric and contrast with the curvature of the women within the underlay nicely, however interestingly at the same time they seem to complement one another.

Laura Lina’s work was the initial inspiration to my own photo manipulation related to my project on hidden loneliness in cities. I started thinking of ways to show to show this idea using my photos as a medium of their own. I have started experimenting with cutting people out the pictures, scribbling over them and painting on top of them. I have eradicated all the other people apart from one in different ways to show that when in the city, even though you are surrounded by people you are still lonely. There is no interaction and you may converse with no one all day.




The images in the previous post were black and white. I thought that I would do some colour experiments too to fit in with the inspiration of Laura’s work. This process has allowed me to think about how I can portray my ideas in paintings and final pieces etc without having to spend ages producing trial and error experiments that may be unsuccessful. It has shown me I can use existing imagery as a starting point to fuel my investigation into a project.

I think these images are highly successful. They definitely portray being alone in the city and accurately convey the idea that the other people around you may as well not be. It may be interesting to explore the idea of the fact that the people around you don’t even notice you really. You are just a body that they are passing by with no identity. I could portray this by not showing any facial features or things that would identify them.

I believe that collage, photo manipulation etc is a brilliant way to start making work and can show you ways of portraying an idea that you hadn’t thought of before. I will now use this research and experimentation to influence paintings/mixed media pieces that I will produce.

Berlin: A Few Sketches

Here are a few sketches from my time spent in Berlin. I made some quick sketches and note taking of the two powerful pieces that caught my eye at the jewish museum, drew people of interest and made some general observations of the city itself and the people within it.

Berlin sketch 2

Sitting in a Cafe in Kreuzberg, I observed and drew a man sitting with his laptop, it made me think about the hidden loneliness of coffee shops in cities nowadays. Rather than seeing people with friends, I often see people alone there. Most of them are usually using some kind of technology like laptops or ipads or reading the paper, avoiding the fact that they are alone. However, I could look at this from many different angles, even though they are, the fact that these people are alone probably doesn’t really bother them. Infact it may be that they have specifically come to the cafe to get some work done or to relax and check their emails etc. This idea doesn’t really fit in with my project as much as people using technology on public transport to avoid being alone or talking to others. People have the chance to talk to others on public transport most of the time but chose to avoid it. Hidden loneliness is only hidden because it is normal. It’s normal in cities not to talk to strangers on buses or in cafe’s but people don’t realise the isolation of this existence.

berlin sketch 3

berlin sketch 5

Berlin Sketch 4

berlin sketch

It was interesting to draw scenes where there were many people but no interaction. Above, is a sketch from the Brandenburg gate. It is interesting to me, that all these people are not aware they are lonely. Being from a rural area where there is a sense of community, I find it fascinating that there are so many people but there is no conversation and a sense of being alone that is unaware to the individuals experiencing it. Where I am from, you would say good morning to a stranger in the street or on the bus but that it just not the case in cities.


Zachary Johnson travelled around a lot and took note of just how lonesome each big city he went to was, despite the company of dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of people.

This is highly relevant to my ideas of a hidden loneliness even though you are amongst other people.

Johnson’s collection of pen and ink illustrations known as Lonely Cities depict beautiful, towering architecture, occasionally including tiny people, yet they manage to capture how isolated one can feel. The seemingly simple, monochromatic sketches are rich with their own urban culture and style, though they all share a feeling of desolation and isolation. They are simple pieces but highly effective, the dark tones within them add to the negative feeling.




It is clear to me that there are many ways I could approach showing the hidden loneliness within the city. Zachary Johnson’s work inspires me to work with dark materials like charcoal and pen and ink when drawing down ideas and observations in my sketchbook. It has also shown me that simply sketching the city itself can emit a sense of isolation.

Hidden Loneliness – Initial Sketches

Sketches – Hidden Loneliness on Public Transport

transport slide

I produced a few quick observational sketches of people on public transport. People on public transport are avoiding the loneliness by using technologies like headphones, phones and tablets. It is normal to avoid people on transport in cities today, as you can see from my second sketch. There are many people on the bus but no one is talking to anyone, there is no conversation between strangers. People think that they cannot be lonely because they are around people but that isn’t the case. The fact is, you may as well be alone on this bus, nothing would change.

Sketches – The Loneliness of the Homeless, People that are overlooked

homeless slide

Here are some quick sketches of homeless people in Cardiff. People who are overlooked by society. The city is glamorised as a highly social place to be, but here I wanted to capture the people who are around others all day but are ignored like the homeless and buskers and big issue salesmen. They have a heightened feeling of loneliness because instead of being around others but not interacting, they are asking people for spare change etc. and being ignored. The loneliness of these people is hidden from the media, like a hidden secret of the city.

Sketch – Being alone but surrounded by people

crowd sketch

On the weekend, I sat in Cardiff and sketched my surroundings. The image above shows lots of people in Cardiff wandering around but no one talking to anyone. People always seem to be in a rush, some have headphones in and others just don’t make eye contact with you. This sketch shows the hidden loneliness of the city. The inner city can be a very unsocial, noninteractive and lonely place. If you don’t know anyone being in the city is a lonesome experience.