Thursday, 25 April 2013

Collage - Mood & Memory

Below are some collages I made to represent my fictional character for the Mood and Memory brief.  I wanted to show how my character is made up by her surroundings and how her image is transformed constantly...

Monday, 22 April 2013

I wish I'd done this...Mirror Mask

Mirror Mask (2005)

I recently watched Jim Henson’s Mirror Mask (2005) and I just got so much from watching the film, I love everything about it from the characters and masks to the way the story is told, I was also very curios to learn about the film was made. 

The film is directed and designed by Dave McKean who is an English illustrator, photographer, comic book artist, graphic designer, filmmaker and musician, his work incorporates drawing, painting, photography, collage, found objects, digital art and sculpture.  He is so talented and that really shows in Mirror Mask, as I couldn’t figure out how he created the film.

I love characters and surreal worlds, but I also love photography, animation, costume and masks and I would love to create a short film that combines all these elements just like the Mirror Mask does.  The film is also a true testament that there are no limits in the creative industry; you do anything you out your creative mind to!

I have tried I-stop motion once and I loved it! I learnt so much from it and I know that I want to become better at it. Another area I need to focus on is being able to photograph the things I make and bring out the best in them.  It seems that in this industry the more things you can do and can out your hand to the more possibilities and opportunities there are.

MIRRORMASK is a phantasmagorical treat for the eyes and mind, a wondrous blend of live action and CG animation, where strange, magical creatures live in a fantasy world of unbridled imagination and scope, as told through the spectacular, cutting-edge visuals of designer/director Dave McKean.

I have been slightly obsessed with this film of late! And recently I have been reading into the ideas behind the film and influences that I find really interesting.  For example Dave McKean’s work over the last 15 years features cats with human faces and inspired the creatures in the film, he also has a fascination with masks, which are heavily evident in the film.

As I progress to Level 6 there is so much I want to experiment with and learn, especially as there will be more self initiated briefs.  I feel really passionate about bringing together the things I make with moving image and film, for example having a character move around in a surreal house I create and using real people in costume but shrinking them, a bit Alice in Wonderland like!

I wish I had created this film because I am just naturally drawn to it because it is so me!  The film evokes innocence, childhood, mystery, the unknown and a journey.  The characters, worlds, playfulness and surreal element whisked me away into the film.  A lot of the things I mentioned about the film reflect in my work and are very much abut what drives and intrigues me in my work.

Creating something like Mirror Mask in the future would be a dream come true – bringing a creative idea to life makes me tick and hungry to learn and experiment more. 

Over the last year I have learnt that I am more of an author-strator and naturally prefer to create my own narratives and stories as I feel I generate more ideas and possibilities this way, I think this is another reason why I would love to create something like this.

Hattie Stewart!

I recedntly read a magazing article on Hattie Stewart a new and upcoming illustrator.  Hattie's style is playful and new, her work invoves customising vintage vogue and playboy magazines with her doodles and character faces.  Her work is really out there and she is getting snapped up by the likes of Diesel and Marc Jacobs etc.

A really interesting part of the interview was about how illustration is being used more and more in the fashion industry, which is really exciting news!, Hattie also explained how she is collaborating with a make up artist, something she never thought would happen.

You can read the article here

Hattie Stewart Blog is here

Just a few amazing images of Hattie Stewarts work....

PICK ME UP, London

On Friday I went to PICK ME UP Graphic Arts show at the amazing Somerset House in London.  I really enjoyed the event and feel super inspired to push myself more and more as I progress into Level 6.  Although I tend to work more in 3D and have a love for animation, it was refreshing to look at other styles and see work in different mediums.

I read an article on the illustrator Hattie Stewart who is big news at the moment, Hattie customises vintage Vogue and Playboy magazines with her quirky designs using pen and ink, she has a very unique style and it's grabbing alot of industry attention at the moment and she is getting commissioned and collaborating all over the place!.

For me, just seeing illustrators selling their artwork for a generous price inspired me to think about starting selling things I make and draw and trying out new things, it also has sparked lots more ambition in me.

I also bought a beautiful pattern book and 2 Valentino postcards that are amazing.

Below are some pictures I took during my visit...

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Research - 'House of Memories'

Whilst creating my 'House of Memories' I looked at 'altered art' for inspiration, here are some things that influenced me.

I love how they are made from old and new found parts and objects and the idea of memory is present.

House of Memory (Mood and Memory Brief)

Below are some images of my finished 'House of Memory' for the 'Mood and Memory' brief.  Initially I experimented with making collages of my fictional character and the environment and surroundings in which they lived in, naturally I progressed to making as it's just me!.  I decided to visualise a distorted memory of my fictional character.

I created a 'Persona Boudoir' where my character gets ready, alters her appearance and changes the way she looks, a 'Mirror Room' where my character years to see her reflection but she struggles, a key-memory room that consists of mis-match keys and vague messages and also a memory room that is lost in time but filled with distorted photographs.

The project leads me to question if she really did exist or was it a fragment of my memory?.  I plan to carry on creating a few more collages.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Creative Review

I have recently been reading Aldous Huxley’s ‘The Doors of Perception’, written in 1954 by the English writer, ‘The Doors of Perception’ is a recollection of Huxley’s experience of the drug mescaline.   I learned of this book after reading ‘The Doors’ autobiography.  The lead singer Jim Morrison was influenced by Aldous Huxley’s writing and his experiences of the human subconciousness.

The thing that intrigues me about ‘The Doors of Perception’ is the idea of always pushing the boundaries in illustration and not to see the world around us in a literal context.   Reading the book has made me more aware of how fascinating the mind really is.  For example during the Cross Pathway Project we held a ‘Surreal Tea Party’ and did normal things in a different way like place the teacups upside down and experimented with placing mismatch props to experiment with surroundings.  The book has definitely inspired me to play and think further outside the box.

Being a huge fan of Jim Henson and Labyrinth, it only seemed natural to watch ‘Mirror Mask’, the film is fairly recent (2006), and just blew me away with the content, mood and feel of the film and also the subject matter.  The film is about a girl ‘Helena’ who feels trapped in the family circus and yearns to escape to another world far away, soon enough she find herself in a world created from her drawings.  The film is captured beautifully and is filled with surreal masks, costumes and is very mixed media in its feel. 

It urged me to look at the Art Director Dave McKean’s website, his work is great and he is a true testimony that if you have a strong visual direction you can apply your work to any medium and try new ways of working.  I hope to explore more in level 6 with combining photography with animation and handmade characters.

Thinking about an article that I have recently read, the first thing that springs to mind with the most relevance is the article about the recession that was wrote for the Guardian newspaper, I read the article as part of research for the Discussion Forum I did with another student in my group about ‘Ambition’.  We felt it relevant to discuss the recession and if we see it to have an effect on getting a job as an Illustrator.  We did a little research and found that a degree has never in history guaranteed a job regardless of the financial climate or industry, we have always had to work hard to get into the desired career, or role that we want, nothing comes easy.

As with Lord Whitney who are a creative collaborative, they have succeeded by taking risks, undertaking lots of unpaid work, knowing their strengths and weaknesses and having the confidence to try new things and work on diverse projects.  As a student who wants to break into the Illustration industry I will certainly follow Lord Whitney an example.

Art Therapy Placement

Today was the last day of my Art Therapy Placement at the Meadows Community Care Home in Stockport as we have now fully completed the task of decorating garden posts with mosaic tiles etc to be displayed in the communal gardens.

The placement has involved working with patients who have been diagnosed with Dementia, along side Occupational Nurses and students.  I'm really glad I volunteered as it's been really rewarding to spend just a few hours of my time helping others.  I have also learnt by taking part in opportunities like this that it may help me in the future if for example I am tasked with a brief that has similar or related subject matter.  I also enjoy meeting people from diverse walks of life as I think it is relevant to being a Illustrator and a visual communicator.

The Occupational Nurse advised that she has seen what a positive impact the activity has made on the patients, I hope I get the chance to go back again in the future.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Wandering around Dublin

I have just got back from a little trip to Dublin.  I went to the OFFSET event whilst there, it was a great experience, my first at a big creative event. I also explored Dublin whilst I was there, here are a few photographs I took.

This is my second visit to Dublin, It is a beautiful city but I plan to visit a new place next time...

Tuesday, 9 April 2013


Myself and Catherine hosted today's discussion forum on 'AMBITION' and discussed with our group what it means to us and also talked about the things that are connected to it.  The theme 'Ambition' is something that all of us have started to think about, especially as in just 4 weeks we will be progressing to Level 6, our final year!, it's very daunting and we start think about our practice as illustrators and also consider where we fit in to the industry.

We talked about the amazing 'Lord Whitney' and how they got to where they are, these things stood out to us...

  • Drive and passion, they never gave up!
  • Undertook loads of voluntary work
  • They know there strengths and where they lie in the market
  • They are able to come up with a visual concept for clients on briefs
  • They also have a unstoppable work ethic

We also discussed four areas such as...

  • Our own practice - how we work, ability to work on collaborative projects as well as using self initiative, identifying own strengths and weakness, having self belief
  • Technology - Up-skilling and being versatile, willing to try new things and take risks, apps and Ipads, how it alters illustration and the way we work
  • Marketing - being pro-active, blogs, twitter, voluntary, networking and standing out from the crowd and getting yourself known
  • Recession - Does it make the industry tougher or have we always had to work hard regardless?
The session was really enjoyable and the answers from others were informative and interesting.

Mood and Memory Research - Polly Becker

Polly Becker is a illustrator based in the states and creates 'assemblages' from found and old parts of all sorts and creates people, animals and characters.  Polly's work has also been a influence during the research stage for the Mood and Memory brief.  Her work is breath taking, I really like how she uses found objects that would be in the surrounding environment and merges them with found imagery for the faces, they tell a narrative.

Check out her website here: