Eddie Callis

Not only has Dom been working with Angela, James and JA in the States, but he has also spent time with Eddie here in the UK.  Below is a still from a short video of Eddie’s work that, incidentally, will be featured in one of our soon to be released films!

BACK IN THE USofA!

After first visiting our three Stateside artists in April – James Frye, JA Tan and Angela Weddle – Dom and Jeremy have been back for a second visit to again work with them and to see the artwork that they have been preparing for our films on Diagnosis, Neurodiversity and Art.  The trip was a great success with Dom and Jeremy thoroughly enjoying the time they were able to spend with the artists.

A Glimpse into Angela’s sketchbook.

 

AN UPDATE ON OUR FILMS

The three short films that we have been working on during 2018 capturing the voices of autistic adults, and the art and animation of autistic artists, are nearing completion.  Complemented by the beautiful cello compositions and playing of Sarah Moody we now are approaching the final cuts.  This is an exciting time!  Now into 2019 we shall be making the last minute changes ready to roll the films out at various locations during the Spring. Watch this space for an update on our progress and the locations where the films will be screened!

 

ExDx Films and a Logic Model

We are presently working on three short films that aim to capture the voices of autistic adults giving their views on subjects such as the diagnosis and treatment of autism and neurodiversity and also feature artwork by autistic artists.  As we move through the creation and development of these films we are using a Logic Model to evaluate the effectiveness of our work. If you would like to take a look at our Logic Model please click the link.  The Model will be frequently updated as we progress with the project, hopefully capturing a reflexive approach.

Logic Model

Power Threat Meaning Framework Event 25th July 2018

Our event explored the role and nature of diagnosis in mental health. Speakers argued for an alternative to diagnosis and the following discussion critically considered the proposed model of the Power Threat Meaning Framework.

Follow this link to to find details of the talks and their respective recordings: http://blogs.exeter.ac.uk/exploringdiagnosis/talks-2018/

Sir Denis Pereira Gray gave this feedback: “My personal thought that many of the ideas and principles overlap with narrative medicine. Listening intensely to what the patient is saying and meaning. Concentrating on the words and figures of speech and their meaning. Listening to childhood experiences narrated. Non judgemental style. Therapeutic benefit  in telling the story and the meanings. I think the word “threat’ has several advantages over the commonly used word ‘problems'”

We are planning to run a further online debate on this topic soon due to the rich discussion that was provoked.

JA – Day Two

Today is Tuesday. We met once more outside the Tan’s place at 8:50 and walked to the studio. JA has a Wacom tablet which his dad bought for him. He hasn’t used it before, but we set it up on his laptop along with the open source animation software ‘pencil 2d’. He did just fine, but working on the computer is not his favourite so we returned to the land of paper and crayon. I just wanted to make sure he had the software installed and a handle on how to use it should he decide to give it a go when I’m not there.

We looked through JA’s sketch book and he picked a drawing he would like to animate. A penguin on a rocky beach. He looked at a video on his camera as reference and animated the penguin flap and look up. Once he was happy with the penguin animation he drew a rocky background and traced it on to each frame. He then coloured each picture and after that photographed them with the animation app. we worked without a break for about 3 and a half hours. Jeanne told me the next day that usually they’ll do about 2 hours with a half hour break in the middle so this is a pretty prolonged and intense period of concentration. JA got a headache and we called it a day and went for lunch. on the way he introduced me to the person who makes paint in the paint shop. They make incredible acrylics.

JA – Day One

On Monday we met at 8:50 outside the Tan’s apartment and I walked with JA to his studio. His mentor Jeanne (who is also a tenant of the studios) met us there. I was going to start with a simple flick book made with reference cards and a foldover clip but on the advice of Jeanne I busted out the peg bar and a ream of paper I had pre punched. JA finds it easier to work on a larger scale. I did a quick, simple ball bounce. First day of animation school stuff. Having seen what I did, JA drew his own ball bounce. We recorded it it on His iPad using the animation app I’d installed the day before. Next a little colour was added with pencil crayons.

Bouyed by this success I demonstrated simple morphing in a flip book. Circle to square to triangle. Again, JA made his own version after seeing how I’d done it. Finally in this session

I drew a figure of 8 track on a piece of punched paper and demonstrated how it could be used as a guide to animate a coloured blob whizzing about. Once again, after a practical demonstration JA took to it like a duck to water and a colour changing scribble was soon zooming about the iPad’s screen. JA asked that I help him carry his stuff back home. On the way he introduced me to some of the people he knows on Granville island. He requested that we meet agin the same time tomorrow.

Dom meets artist JA Tan

I arrived in Vancouver late on a Friday night in the pouring rain. JA’s parents had arranged for us all to meet on Saturday afternoon, just so JA would know who i am and we’d not be going in cold on Monday morning. Unfortunately JA had plans already. His parents drove me around the city and Stanley park and showed me the sights which was lovely. We spoke a little about the project and arranged to meet mid morning on Sunday, JA too this time.
I met up with the Tan’s outside their apartment and we walked down to Granville island where JA’s studio is located. It is a lovely room with a big window in a complex of artist’s studios. On the walls hang a dozen or so recent works and by the entrance is a large rack with heaps of painted canvases. JA tells me about the group of seven, a Canadian collective of landscape painters from 1920 – 1933, who he is currently studying. He also shows me his sketch books from his recent cruise around South America. Seals, Llamas and penguins abound! Over lunch we installed an animation app on his iPad

The Making of our Neurodiversity Leaflet

We were contacted by James Rodger, a clinical psychologist working for South Devon Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), who asked if we would create a leaflet with information for recently diagnosed autistic adults and parents of recently diagnosed autistic children.

After the main focuses were decided upon, accompanying text was worked on between Dr Ginny Russell, Dr Steven Kapp and James Rodger. The art work for the leaflet was commissioned from the Art of Autism.

10,000 copies of the leaflet were printed and posted to 95 diagnostic centres around the UK in January 2018, with the PDF version also being available on our Exploring Diagnosis website. An additional print run was requested by a service in Bristol due to popular demand.

We ran an online survey to gather feedback on the leaflet and one comment received from a Learning Difficulties health team in Somerset suggested that an alternative version would be beneficial to make the information on the leaflet more accessible. Our Impact and Partnership Development Officer, Clare Pybus, helped to create this modified version drawing on her previous experience of working in secondary and further education with autistic students. An online readability checker was used to scan the text and identify terms or sections that are of high/difficult reading ability and suggests changes to reduce the overall reading level of the text. The layout of the leaflet was also modified in accordance with ‘How to Make Information Accessible’ resource from the Change People charity website.

This new version was reviewed by Autism Spectrum Co-ordinator at Bury College, Manchester, who is very experienced in creating resources for people with autism and learning difficulties. Bury College thought it was excellent and we are hoping to post a PDF version of our adapted, more accessible version very soon.

Meeting James – Day Three

Last session with James today. I’ve procured an iPad for him. He is rather taken with the book ‘the animator’s survival kit’, which I’d given him on the first day we met. It has an iPad version with the examples animated, so with the iPad set up off we purchased it from the App Store. I also added the free version of the animation studio app Angela had put on her iPad and we had a look at that while the rather large animators survival kit app downloaded. James wasn’t particularly keen on it saying that drawing with his finger is too sloppy, but he picked up the app fairly well. I’ve suggested to his parents that it might be worth getting a cheap stylus for him to try drawing with on the iPad or perhaps just going straight for the apple pencil.
James did another 20 frame sequence on paper and we scanned it in and I got him to import the files in to imovie and make them an animation so I know he knows how to do it. most of the hobby stores and even walmart sell 10″ x 12″ light boxes for $40 – $50 so I mentioned that if drawing on paper remains popular the one of those might be a wise investment.

Meeting James – Day Two

I’ve found a bit of open source software called pencil 2d. James is already familiar with working on a computer using a pen tablet. Thats how he does most of his drawing. The software seems quite simple and intuitive and I’d hoped it’d be a great way for James to work. Unfortunately his computer needs and OS update in order to run and it’s not my computer so I am unwilling to just do it. Confident though I am that everything would be fine. I think his dad was going to have a look at it tonight, so maybe it’ll be updated and I can give it another go tomorrow.
Luckily I had a plan B up my sleeve. I purchased a peg bar for each of the artists. a simple animation device on which one puts sheets of appropriately hole punched paper. This keeps the drawings on the paper lined up. I did a quick 10 frame bouncing ball loop and photographed it with an animation app on my phone. One of the advantages of working this way is that you can see through the layers of paper to previous drawings which grants greater control than something like a flip book. Much like the flip book; James got stuck in and did a 100 frame sequence. He was pretty focused on that so I went upstairs and had a cup of tea with his mum.
Drawings done, we scanned them using Image Capture on his mac then imported the stills in to iMovie where they became an animation. I’m very impressed with how readily he took to the technique.