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其实魔笛手的作业早就完成,我也自行打印并小心翼翼剪贴装订成手工模拟书dummy book。来英上这门课,若说有最开心时刻,那莫过于亲手制作手工模拟书了。我从小就喜欢做手工,剪剪贴贴,拼拼凑凑,在那一小段的时间里,专注完成一件小玩意,那种感觉很是愉快。画魔笛手时,那效果是平面的,但做成模拟书时,有了翻页的过程,立体的效果就来了。其实有没有想过,阅读本身就是一种完整的行为艺术?你把书捧在手里,按照自己心情的速度,翻阅,于是就有了时间轴。那段时间的快慢长短,从封面到扉页到故事首页直到末页,然后封底,或许间中决定倒退,重看之前一页,又或是决定暂停,将时间用书签夹着。感觉上就如在完成一段立体完整的时间演出。而如果你翻阅的是图画书,是绘本,是插图书,那么每一页都是画面的切换,那就是空间轴,在平面的书页上展开空间的无限拓展,一页一页进入爱丽丝梦游记般的奇幻世界。

人们都说阅读是一种乐趣,那是因为阅读这样的行为,就是一种艺术,人生活中不能没有艺术。很多人其实不知不觉中,都在很精心地安排自己生活中的小小艺术。有些人冲茶或咖啡很讲究步骤程序,一三五只加两茶匙糖,二四六只加奶精,这就是艺术;有些人下班回家必定先给盆栽花草浇水修剪,每盆水份多少,盆栽位置如何摆放,这是艺术;有些人习惯清早到某家咖啡店选某张桌子叫某样早餐然后边翻报纸边啜热咖啡,而且一定先看副刊再看本地新闻之后国际新闻,而体育版折起放在一旁,等到朝阳斜斜移了过来,照亮桌子明晃晃的一大爿空间,就会抹一抹嘴角动身上班,这艺术;有些小孩,会在自己的床上,给每个布偶绒毛玩具安排位置,取个名字,然后逐一道了晚安,才幸福地进入甜甜的梦乡,这是艺术。年老的爷爷奶奶,结伴成群在公园耍太极跳扇子舞,那也是艺术。艺术真的无处不在,生活本来就是最精致的行为艺术,不分贵贱不分雅俗,重点是让个人从中获取难以言喻的心灵满足,活出人之为人所需的精神养分。

很奇怪,这么重要的一种觉醒,学校从来都没有教。

PS:魔笛手就到此为止,不再上载其他魔笛手的图。

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将之前的一幅图略加修订。在背景添加远处的城镇。在剑桥,放眼远眺,最醒目的总是古老教堂的哥德式尖塔。那仿佛已成了我心目中对欧洲古镇的地标式特征。没有古旧尖塔背着蔚蓝天空的剪影,就不成古镇应有的深厚底蕴。剑桥的现代建筑都不高,我想应该是有城镇规划的限定吧?太多现代的高楼,就会破坏古镇应有的风貌,拨乱数百年数千载细细勾描而成的风景线。我们需要在历史中顽强不变的风景线,去感怀岁月温醇的氛围,徜徉其中细数人文的遗风,以及人类历经风霜傲然昂首一脉相承的风骨。前一两期期的“亚洲周刊”,访问刚在柏林影展以“岁月神偷”获得水晶熊奖的香港导演罗启锐,他努力捕捉香港60年代的风韵,找了许久才勉强找到上环的永利街,而且也只剩下半条街,再过不久连半条街也要拆除,只保留3栋建筑。什么值得保留,价值如何衡量,不是经济的问题,是人心的问题。拆除很容易,重建也不难,难的是维护与岁月顽强抵抗的那股尊严,积累历经天灾人祸的那份动人纹理。古老的街景建筑承载几多的历史意涵与人文记忆,一旦铲平了,就不复存了。新加坡容不下一丁点的岁月斑驳,在一个人文没落难以扎根的土地,簇新是唯一衡量美好的标准,当我们的步伐走得太快太公式化,不知是我们的幸抑或不幸?

全新设定的第一副对开页。这份作业的页数设定真的是一改再改。从原本的15幅对开页(相等于30页数),到14个spread(28页故事),又回到30页故事(14幅对开页,加上前后各一篇单页),所以是一边创作一边修改,重新布局,重新作画。

Back to one of the earlier spreads, the page on Tears and Hope. That’s the whole problem with me, or maybe it’s not a problem to be exact, but a working habit, I always plunge into doing the actual illustrations without finalising the storyboard. That’s why I never illustrate in sequence chronically, I keep jumping back and forth doing whatever pictures that come into mind first. For this spread, I’ve been putting it on hold for weeks, simply because I couldn’t think of a way to visually represent the idea of Tears and Hope. Anyway, I still believe the saying by Ajahn Brahm “Just do it”, don’t think too much, once I start drawing and revising and drawing and revising, more and more ideas just pop up. I know planning is important, but sometimes if we plan too much, we might just lost the crucial momentum when comes to the actual drawings. The picture shown here is not the finalised version.

一直都没有十分具体的想法如何去表现。本想画战地边陲的铁丝网,一个破烂的布娃娃在铁丝网上落寞垂泪,但觉得似乎与之前的图落差太大。跟着想画阴暗的垃圾堆,破烂的布娃娃遭遗弃,以往小主人的关爱化为乌有,但我又不想画面太幽暗。因为我打算用色彩来交代故事的进程:前面都是色彩缤纷的,魔笛手吹奏悦耳的笛韵,踏上多姿多彩的岁月之旅;而当他开始感觉孤单时,画面将以深蓝为主;最后他停止吹奏,内心出现挣扎,天地化为黑白。

We had our crit session for the diploma project the other day. I was pleasantly surprised to finally view the progress of some of my course-mates’ work, some ideas were brilliant while others were full of delightful drawings, exhibiting diverse styles, techniques and directions. Of course, we do feel the pressure to produce something fascinating, especially this time round we were instructed to create a project with a target audience in mind. But like what I told one of my course-mates, we should just relax and create whatever we enjoy. Enjoyment is the key word. It’s almost impossible for your work to be loved and enjoyed by everyone, but if you don’t even enjoy it yourself, then what’s the point in doing it in the first place?

It’s good to have a crit session, it’s a chance to receive constructive feedbacks, and it’s also to certain extend marks the “end” to a “torturous” six weeks of mental stress! I thought I could put this project behind my mind once and for all after the crit and have a relaxing weekend before the start of another “dreadful” six weeks( I’m really worried about the coming 8000 words diploma review essay), but apparently I was wrong! Even though I have already done up my dummy book for the story “The Journey” which I’m rather please and proud with, but you know, there’s always room for improvement. I think my tutor James and some of my course mates did point out some parts that I could/should re-work on, especially the ending. And so, I have decided to spend this weekend to make revisions to the last 2 drawings and here’s the revised last spread I amended last night. I’ve added in in the foreground withered poppies. Why should he carry on? There must be lots of reason, a child might not fully understand the idea of sacrifice or responsibility or even making the right choice in life, I need to visually provide them with a more accessible reason within their capacity of comprehension, something that is simple, positive and heart-warming, such as bringing life back to a once bleak and cold  black and white world. He has to carry on so that time can carry on, colours and beauty can resurface.

Another recycle of idea. 这本书的分页一再修订。因为一般的童书绘本页数有所规定,以24、32页为主,较长的是40页。而且还得将书名页、版权页以及前后的end papers算在内,因此故事本身往往不可能占据预定的页数。“魔笛手”定为32页,我一直在28或30故事页之间挣扎。这个spread是我最后决定加进去的。总觉得需要这样的一个思绪过渡,表现出魔笛手内心的拔河:该与不该的问题。我们一生当中,不也是老在“该与不该”的问题上拔河挣扎打转?有时关乎道德,有时关乎责任,有时关乎取舍。怎么去衡量如何去拿捏,似乎难以决定。其实想想也不难,若是关乎道德、责任,根本就不该存在“该与不该”的考量;不是吗?道德责任本就不容置疑的,不然要道德责任来干嘛?责无旁贷,完成大我。若是关乎取舍,那就是一种利弊的权衡,好坏的斟酌。这也很简单,只要不去给任何决定设定“好”“坏”的标签就行了。告诉自己,没有什么所谓的好决定,没有什么所谓的坏决定,决定就是决定。决定了,就不要反悔,而是依据决定的方式去进行,有何不妥就随机应变。如何决定,其实答案就在内心,自己早已有答案。很多时候都是如此的。心之所向就是最好的答案。魔笛手也如你我,也有内心的挣扎,他渴望摆脱孤独的旅程,结束吹笛的责任;他渴望来到旅途的尽头,看看是否有某个人在翘首期盼,聆听他一路吹奏的岁月故事。他累了,他该做个决定了。

是不是感觉很熟悉?我用了之前一幅图的概念,it’s more “environmental friendly” to recycle idea(无聊!)。但我实在很喜欢一些平时随意画的小图,总想将它们用在更实在的创作当中。说不出来为什么,但我对人的孤独存在很迷恋,当一个人只剩下自己的身影为伴,将是怎样的心境?有人相信。每个人都有一个分体,活着就是在寻索属于自己的分体。是无上的那个存在,是上帝吗?或是造物主?将人一分为二,使得后来的人内心总有缺失,渴望从另外一人那儿获得圆满,在众里千度百度苦寻,找回当初被分割开去的另一个自己。你相信注定有某个人在等待自己的出现吗?又或你今生本已圆满,无需分体来补缺?或许,真正的分体就是自己的身影,只有身影愿意如影随形,无怨无悔。

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Little precious moment in life

Life is full of little beautiful moments. That's what I'm trying to capture. 我用画笔 捕捉生命 瞬间的美丽

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