Thursday, 27 February 2014

I am currently reading this...'The secret life of a circus girl'

I am currently reading 'JOSSER - Secret life of a circus girl' as it is giving me an insight into life in the circus and it also shows the circus in a totally different light and is supporting my research for my Circus themed MP.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Mini Portfolio Review - Fig Taylor

Fig Taylor came into talks to us about portfolios and kindly sat down with us to look at our portfolios.  When I showed Fig my portfolio, she advised that she thought I have a distinctive style with a surreal feel to it and that she thinks I could apply it to high end women's fashion magazines and that I should look at Astrology, Horoscopes and Spiritual magazines for reference on the styles that feature in those magazines.  Making a mock up different horoscopes for my portfolio would also be a great idea and also improve my portfolio.

Fig also mentioned that separating my 3D work from my collage would be beneficial, she mentioned that I should continue with my 3D work but to bear in mind that it is labour intensive and could be tricky if the turnaround is quick or if I don't have lighting facilities to photograph my work in a high quality way.  It was really inspiring to hear someone say where your work could be used and has really inspired me to think about creating mock up horoscopes for my portfolios.

Talk by Fig Taylor!

The wonderful Fig Taylor came into our college to offer some very useful advice on Illustration as an industry, putting together portfolios and how to 'tailor make' your approach when making industry contacts.

Fig Taylor has worked as an Illustration Agent for many years and has seen many, many portfolios, illustrators and understands the industry inside out.  Fig began by talking about portfolios and how to build a strong portfolio that communicates your style in the best possible way to the client.  In an interview with commissioners that she conducted as part of her research for a book she wrote, 75% of the people she talked to explained that they want Illustrators to have 1 strong recognised style that runs throughout the portfolio, as clients can get confused easily due to the amount of people they see and what their needs are at that time.  She also explained that separating styles if you have more than one is the way forward as you can approach certain clients who use work that is 3D for example or collage based and does not confuse the client.

Fig went on to discuss marketing yourself effectively, for example 70% of the clients explained that they received work from illustrators that had no relation to the subject matter they work with or the style of illustration that they would typically feature in their magazines etc.  Networking, researching your niche such as looking at magazines to engage with they style of work they use and always trying to stand out of the crowd in the way you approach clients will always go in your favour and paint a great impression.

Fig mentioned that it is important to constantly work on your portfolio so that it appears less like a student graduate portfolio and more like a professional portfolio, I hope that in 6-12months time my portfolio will have changed dramatically and be more refined and stronger.  Showing work in your portfolio that you either can't produce due to lack of facilities or work that you are not able to do should not be shown as this can be misleading.

Fig explained how a good portfolio should have a good running order that reflects the needs of the clients you are showing work to, she mentioned that producing a mock up of an article such as gardening if that reflects the subject matter you are interested in as it can show to the client visually how your work would look as an example.  ''Who am I'' and ''How can you use me'' are two key things that I should always be asking myself when building a portfolio.

I really enjoyed this talk and found it extremely useful in terms of thinking about how I can apply my work in the industry.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Robert Stewart Designer

I came across a book on Robert Stewart who is both an artist and designer (1946-1995).  The use of colour, faces and characters in his work grabbed my attention.  His work reminds me of Salvador Dali and there is a strong theme of theatre, mystery and alchemy.  As I approach the end of university the emphasis of thinking about how your work will be applied in the industry is greater than ever, and I need to think about how my work could be used as in the context, what could it be applied to? Cushions, Fashion or Children's books. 

I problem I have struggled with is bringing my work together into context at the end of the project, I have no problem generating ideas and work but I seem to open up projects so much that I struggle to bring it together, and this is something I need to start focusing on and over come as I emerge into the industry.  Below are some images of Robert Stewart's beautiful work and some examples of how he applies his work in a design context.


His work has also been applied to ceramics, tankard and his work has also featured in the Edinburgh Tapestry Company during the mid 1950's.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Talk by Holly Wales (Illustrator) - Tuesday 11th February

Today Holly Wales came into college to give a talk on her work, clients, methods and offered some really helpful information about the industry. Holly Wales graduated in 2005 and since has worked for many high class clients such as V & A, Esquire, New York Times and Converse to name a few, her style is loose, colourful and playful and she uses felt tip marker pens and collage techniques to make her work.  Holly explained how she responds best to briefs that are more controlled and where the content is provided, for example she explore a lot with the idea of maps as the content already exists.

A really useful point on portfolios was that you should fill your portfolio with the type of work you want to get commissioned and that best suits the needs/theme of your client.  Holly's work also is moving with technology as she is starting to animate her typography in essence with the ipad, she mentioned that illustration really is content driven and obviously you would and may be illustrating things you have never done before or that you hadn't thought of, it's still great experience to try new things and to also constantly be exploring personal work and methods in your own time, for example Holly showed images from her sketchbook of some print exploration using a Riesergraph and Omnipron to produce textures and shapes.

Other interesting points that emerged from today's talk; collaboration is good, being able to apply your work to other surfaces such as cushions will further expand your work and portfolio and that producing a seasonal limited wrapping paper can be a great marketing tool to get your work out there as a starting point.

Below are some images of Holly Wales work and were sourced from:

Mixed Media Animation Research

I have started using a mixed media approach in my making and collage work as it adds depth, texture and mystery and it seems natural that I use this approach for my animation.  Thinking of animation that combines different mediums - Mirror Mask the film by Dave McKean springs to mind, a film about a girl who is bored of her life in the Circus and is swept away to another world.  I adore the film and the feel it evokes, I was left wandering what was real and what was not, as Kean combines drawing, photography, digital animation, textures, collage and real life actors to create a world and it is hard to decipher what is real - which adds to the magic of this film.

Below are some images from Mirror Mask (2005)

I also looked at the music video 'Black & White' by the Raveonettes, the films was created by Chris Do and uses Shadow Puppetry, silhouettes, drawings and digital techniques to evoke a monochrome spring, it's a beautiful video and again the viewer is left wondering which is what I would like my animation to evoke.

Refugee Project - Friday 7th February

On Friday I worked with two groups of adults and helped them with rehearsing their stories whilst using the Shadow Puppets behind the screen, it was really magical seeing the narratives come together and I never realised how powerful a simple method can appear.  It was a really good day and I thoroughly enjoyed it, the rehearsals were filmed and will be sent of to a local drumming group who will record music and sound effects to work with the narratives.  I hope to get some photographs of the Shadow Puppets in action soon and will post them on here.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Sketchbook Research

Below are some images from my sense of place sketchbook, I have been putting together rough ideas of characters, worlds and colours to build ideas along the theme of 'Circus'.

Sun print

Following my very helpful feedback from my Guru, who suggested adding texture to my collages to create depth and enhancing my style I have started to play around with printing shapes that I then build upon with collage.  Below is the Sun I made, I cut the shape out of card and painted it with orange acrylic ink, I then printed it onto paper and it created a distressed feel, I then painted over it with water colour paint.

I hope to use it as a face of a lion or a sun dancer as one of my characters.

Circus Characters

Below are a few more collages of circus themed characters I have made..

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Barbette (Circus Performer) - Major Project

I discovered Barbette who was an American Female Impersonator, Hire Wire Performer and Trapeze Artist born in 1898. 



He began performing aged 14 in various acts then went solo and adapted his exotic pseudonym, performed in drag and only revealed himself at the end of the act.  He found fame in Paris in the 1920's and 1930's.  He was renowned for striking exaggerated poses that were masculine whilst dressed in female clothes.

He was referred to as a graceful daredevil and an angel, or that he was like a flower, or a bird.

''He transforms between man and woman, his female glamour and elegance - Clouds of dust thrown into the eyes of the audience''

Man Ray photographed Bardette during his transformation from a man to a woman and he inspired Jean Cocteau.  Bardette tragically committed suicide in the 70's due to a long battle with horrific pain caused by a fall.  As I have been exploring the theme of Circus, Bardette will be great reference and inspiration for my MP.

I will be looking at the context of Bardette's time as a performer, So far I have discovered:

-Avante Garden, Paris in the 1920's / 1930's
-Bardette appeared at the famous Moulin Rouge Theatre in Paris
-Theatrical /Circus / Drag Artistes
-Make up and illusion
-Trapeze Artists

Emma Reynolds Talk - Stockport College (Tuesday)

Emma Reynolds who is a Manchester based Illustrator came into college to give a talk on picture books, narrative structure and character design.  Emma Reynolds studied Illustration with animation and graduated in 2010, since then she has illustrated various children's picture books, designed characters and does work for Kilogramme Studios in Manchester.

Emma explained the process when planning a picture book, that minimal text is needed as the imagery communicates the meaning and the words are the characters dialogue, she discussed the use of hidden meanings and contradictions in the books, how to anchor the image.  Emma went through how to break down a story, how to visualise the story through colours, shapes and themes and how to design a character.

Emma also pointed out that it is really important to research and get to know your character as this will really shine through to the reader.  Being around other creative people in a shared studio is also important to keep positive and inspired and to attend Draw Northwest meet ups to meet like minded people!.

I really would like to create a picture book, but previously I felt overwhelmed by the idea, attending the talk today has really helped me understand the stages and important points to remember.  There was a lot I feel that I learnt from the talk.

Monday, 3 February 2014

Major Project Theme

After having a discussion with my tutors last week about my progress, we all agreed that I may struggle to creative a narrative and make from the subject matter I may or may not receive from my initial idea based on memory.  I have already been making collages and playing with ideas of circus inspired characters so it seems natural that I progress with this idea, but still incorporating the idea of memory.  I have ordered a few books from Amazon based on memoirs of circus performers and I know that there will be lots to work with.

I have also watched Cirque De Solei to gain some inspiration and I will also be looking at early 1900s theatrical and opera based productions for inspiration and ideas.  Until I receive the books from Amazon I will continue to make characters and research, as I want to build on my portfolio also.