So finally the next part. School keeps me busy, and as much as I want to write stuff, it’s just never enough time or energy left in me. But here it comes, the description of the tasks. this is also the task that I started with.
Describe yourself using visual techniques. Try to convey a sense of who you are by creating a visualization that represents your personality, feelings and interests. Mount your visualization on maximum one A4/letter format paper or other material.
How I did it:
Honestly, I was extremely confused after having read that. What does it even mean? What am I supposed to do actually?
My first thought obviously went towards photographs – they’re visual all right. But boring. Then I thought about scrapbooking collage – cutting pieces out of newspaper, printing a picture of myself, and just doing a collage of things I like.
Remember, I didn’t have much time (only one week) so I was thinking about quick solutions.
Soon I realized that if would be too difficult. Most of all finding the right material. I didn’t have that many newspapers and magazines, and it’s difficult to find elements of the right size. I also didn’t have a printer that could print pictures in color. And then it occurred to me that the lack of pictures can be easily solved by Dr. Internet and the same way I wanted to do a physical collage I could just easily do it in Photoshop.
The thing was that I felt doing something digitally makes it less personal in a way. I just feel like old-school paper and glue have this nice, cozy, personal feeling to it. But on the other side that was a chance to present my skills in Photoshop. I’ve been working with collages, photomanipulations and small graphics since 2007, and that was a chance to show my proficiency (even though there a bunch of people much more skilled, and I don’t think my skills are particularly high.
Well anyway, I came up with a simple concept of arranging the things I like in thought bubbles and having a “me” in the middle.
I didn’t have good enough picture of myself that would fit, plus in fact I just didn’t want to use myself, I already attached my picture to the application elsewhere. Since I studied Computer Science before, and I’m interested in electronics I started looking for a picture of a “geek girl” and “nerd girl”. What I found were in fact two pictures, one with a woman in her 30s holding a bunch of tangled wires and looking at them confused/dissatisfied, and an enthusiastic teenage geeky-looking girl with thick-framed glasses and pony tails. I just loved that picture. Both of them in fact. I decided to combine them (I wanted the wires but not the expression of confusion). The geeky girl was watermarked, but I decided since it’s just for an school application, non-commercial stuff, and I really like the picture I’m gonna use it anyway.
I think it took me around 20-30 minutes to merge the pictures. What I had to do was cut out and resize the geeky girl head, paint the missing part of the ponytail, change the skin color of the wires lady holding the wires (to match that of the girl) and paint missing part of the elbow. I also decided to change the color of her clothes slightly. Possibly the head is a bit too big, but it looks acceptable.
Then I plunged into filling the thought bubbles.
I estimated the work to take around 3 hours. But it never works like that with graphic design. Photoshop is a terrible time-eater, it’s just so easy to loose track of time shifting images and making them fit each other.
I divided the clouds into categories, starting from the right: my engagement in social media (I included all or most of the services I have account on), my interest in traveling and photography, my persistence in graphic and web design (showing some of my works, and simple representation of software proficiency), my interest in snowboarding and longboarding, and lastly my immense love for video games, gadgets and digital media (and a Ninja Pirate Riding atop a Zombie Unicorn, just because I love that picture).
In the end I also added my favorite lines from various songs to complement information about my personality and have the “hey, I also know Japanese!”, ’cause I felt like it. I also wanted to emphasize the fact that I really love music, and it’s of big importance to me.
In total I spent 8-10 hours (constant work, one evening) on the assignment. If I decided to go with a physical collage it wold take significantly less, partially because I would have much less material.
Most of the pictures used were taken from the internet, various stock websites and search on Google Images. Only the photographs belong to me. That is why I added a small copyright disclaimer at the bottom. I got extremely stressed about it. Because what if it will make me look like I just took pictures of others without putting more effort in it myself. I debated leaving it on or taking it away. In the end I left it there, but after submitting the application I agonized about having left it. But it just felt right to acknowledge the facts most pictures did not belong to me. I’m very upset seeing all the art theft going on on the Internet, so that’s the least I could do.
I don’t know if I did it right or not. But I love the picture. I even put it in my portfolio (removed the lyrics though, for cleaner look). I think it represents me very well – the things I like, the skills I have, and maybe also my approach to design, somewhat minimalistic and simple but with a lot of details.
It couldn’t have been terribly wrong since I got admitted :)
How I look at it now and afterthoughts
I still like it in fact. I’m quite proud of the quality of this thing. It took a righteous amount of time, but it was time well-spent. Probably it could have been done better or more creatively, but I really didn’t have any other idea that fit, or that I knew how to realize.
I’ve seen this part of application from some of my classmates, and they did paintings or drawings of themselves, some did that on paper, using paint or pencils, and some painting in Photoshop with a tablet, creating a portrait of themselves different from what a photograph (e.g. one classmate draw a flaming sword next to him to show his passion for fantasy). I actually need to ask some other people what they did, because I’m extremely curious!