Monday, 31 March 2014

Portfolio Review 2 & 3 - Illustration Agency, Wednesday 26th March

We went to visit the Illustration Agency Office on the second day of the London Trip. Everyone was lovely and really encouraging, they offered some very valuable advice on joining the AOI, websites, competitions and how to promote yourself in the industry. I was very lucky to show my portfolio to two members of the team at the Illustration Agency.

Portfolio Review 2 - Alice @ Illustration Ltd Agency.

Thought my work was very character based and thought I had created collage work digitally, I advised I make my work by hand but may consider going more digital if it is quicker.  Alice mentioned it was very playful - I hope to have more work to show a variety in my portfolio as I don't like any of my previous work, a majority of the content in my portfolio is from my current Circus project so it all has the similar feel, I want to have more composed pieces that actually show a scene rather than one character on it's own as it looses so much atmosphere and content, Alice also explained that if I was showing an Art Director they would need to see it in context and she suggested illustrating a story for a book cover and making sure I present my work in context - this is something I really need to focus on.

Portfolio Review 3 - Ju & Victoria @ Illustration Ltd Agency.

Ju & Victoria asked where I source the material for my collage work from, I explained that a lot of it is from old books & vintage books from antique shops.  She explained that it worked but advised that if I had a set brief to work too and didn't have the right imagery, it may delay me as in a way the materials I use can dictate the images I make, which in some ways but may be a challenge.  Ju really liked my horoscope collages, she mentioned that they would look beautiful on post cards to either sell or as promo materials, she said the detail really drew her in.  She also mentioned that I should get the horoscope images over to Spirit & Destiny magazine, which is reassuring and a confidence boost, I will be working on making the rest of the horoscope images then I will send them over. The same thing was advised regarding context of my work, same feedback as the other visits which I know I need to address.

Portfolio Review (1) - Visit to DDB & Day Job Collective Tuesday 25th March.

The PDP trip to London was really helpful, inspiring and a confidence boost. On Tuesday we started the day with a visit to DDB to meet Daniel Moorey who is Head of Print. Daniel gave a talk on the industry and how he would go about selecting an illustrator from his perspective.  He advised that when he looks on an Illustrator's website, he wants to be able to navigate around the site easily, he wants to see medium sized thumbnails of images and wants to be able to access up to date contact details easily.  Daniel explained that the site needs to communicate your style clearly as he categorises illustrators by the style of their work, if you have more than one style you should separate them on your site clearly or have two sites.

The next visit was to Day Job Collective at their studio.  The collective expressed the importance of being around other illustrators and artists after graduation as it's a great way to share ideas, opportunities and develop ideas, they also mentioned that collaboration is a great thing to get involved with when you are starting out, and attending local meet ups is also important to meet other illustrators. 

After the talk I had a portfolio review with Grace who said my work was whimsical and colourful and very atmospheric which was nice to hear, she advised that it would be great to see my work in context which I totally agreed with as all my characters in my portfolio are placed on a white background, this is something I need to focus on when re working my portfolio.

Hopes, Fears and Opportunities (Part 2)


The three objectives I set last semester were to complete some industry related work experience, conduct portfolio visits and identify a theme for my major project.  Below is an update on the three objectives I set, how I achieved them and my thoughts on how they have enriched my learning to date.

1. I volunteered for 4 months at the Manchester based Prop House and I really enjoyed it but decided not to continue with the placement as I have been focusing on my Major Project and Journal writing.  It was a great experience but unfortunately I didn’t get an opportunity to gain some actual prop making experience.  Initially I thought it would be something I really wanted to do and it is still of interest but for the moment I want to focus more on creating Illustrations and working on developing my style.

2. I conducted to portfolio visits in December and the feedback was really helpful, my Guru suggested adding texture and more of a mixed media effect to my collage work which I did and I am really happy with how my work is developing, sometimes it takes a fresh pair of eyes to suggest something you never actually thought about!. I have since been on a PDP trip London and gained feedback from 3 practicing industry professionals which was very useful and will inform the decisions I make for improving my portfolio.

3. I finished writing my journal in January and it was stressful but also a wonderful opportunity to fine tune my influences, interests and gain a better understanding of me as an illustrator.  After thinking about how my work is very much about mood and atmosphere and worlds, identifying a theme of Circus for my Major Project felt like a natural choice, and I think writing the journal definitely helped me to get to the core of what drives my work and I am so glad I chose the journal as an option.

As I approach the end of my degree I hope to continue setting myself objectives as I feel it gives you focus, and it’s a great way to measure your progress and success.  I want to start seeing my illustration work as a business and not as a hobby (even though it still will be!) and investing in what I do by buying a mac and a printer/scanner etc. so that I can set myself up with the right tools to work from home, although I would also like to look into hiring a shared studio with some of my friends from the course.

Being active on social media is also important and I do use Blogger, Facebook and Twitter already and I am currently working on a website and plan to join other social media sites such as Tumblr, Instagram and Etsy.  In addition I hope to attend Draw Northwest, networking events and exhibitions to meet other like-minded creatives.  I would like to have an online shop selling prints, handmade gifts and cards as a way of getting myself out there and applying my work to other surfaces, this is something I plan to do after university. 

I feel that I have avoided competitions and set briefs through my course as I have struggled to bring my work together, I have no problem creating work and generating ideas but I seem to find it difficult to make images using more than one element, for the first time I have started created scenes and images for my MP and it’s a wonderful feeling seeing my work come to life and in context.  I know I need to become better at this and so I want to start entering competitions and Illustration Friday to become better at working to set briefs, I still enjoy having an authorstrator approach but I have realised that if I am going to get commissioned I will need to meet the brief.

When I met with Fig Taylor she advised that my work would suit Horoscope editorials and also fashion illustration, so I want to develop my portfolio further and begin contacting magazines with my work, I think the more and more I do it the better I can perfect my style and hopefully start getting work.

In terms of ‘fears’ I don’t really like to think about them, but I guess the thought of not having any work commissioned and not evolving as an illustrator or giving up are things that fear me.  The last three years have been challenging and rewarding in many ways and I am not prepared to give up, as long as I know that I am working hard and giving everything I have then that’s all I can do, I also expect there will be rejection but I know that’s all part of finding your way as an illustrator.  I know the next few years are going to be tough but I am ready for the challenge.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Updated business cards

Below are my updated business cards, I feel much more confident about them and the way they look.  My last version was very dark and I felt it gave it the completely wrong message about the work I make and the way I work.  This time I chose 5 different images to appear on the back of the business card as I like having a variety of images to choose from, I also made my own type to appear on the front of the business card to evoke the feel of my work as collaged, colourful and mixed media in it's appearance.  I have included my web link and a professional email address.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Portfolio update (Pre London) March 2014

Today I finished updating my print portfolio in time for my trip to London next week.  Last month I was very lucky to meet with Fig Taylor who offered some really helpful advice, Fig mentioned that I should focus more on the collage work and to take out the hand drawn stuff as this really isn't where my strengths lie and I never draw by hand to create images so it makes sense.

Some of the work in my portfolio is from my first and second year and does not reflect how I am working now for my Major Project which is mainly collage based and I also add texture with pastels, acrylic ink and a little pen.

I like how my work looks at the moment so I have included a few images of my MP work, I am aware that the context is playful and colourful and I also want to demonstrate that I can reflect different contexts and moods in my work, so I have made two horoscope images and a Zoltar image as they are different in colour and tone.

Below are a few images I have used, I will update my portfolio when I get back from London and I am really looking forward to the feedback I receive.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Magic Woman

Starting to face the scary Photoshop and realising it's a pretty fabulous tool!

Further images

Below are some more images I have been working on.  The Magic Woman and a scene with the Fire Lion.

Playing with type

I have been playing with type for my business card and MP - it's bursting with colour and has a mixed media effect as this is the style I am working in more and it also reflects  the theme of my MP which is Circus.

I plan to use the type on my re worked business cards and also on my imagery for MP.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Collage Characters

Today I have been experimenting with placing my characters onto backgrounds and thinking about how the colours in my work could work together in a composition.

Below are some of my images.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Henrik Drescher

Below are some images of the very talented Henrik Drescher.  I have been looking at his use of colour and composition within his images and the way in which he controls the use of colour and achieves a balance across the elements that feature in his work.

All images sourced direct from Henrik Drescher's website - Please visit to see more of his work.

Sasha Helim - Fashion Illustrations

I came across some beautiful fashion illustrations by the very talented Sasha Helim on her Blog.   I found them really inspirational as fashion illustration is an area I would love to work in after graduation.  I love how strong the images are against the white background, they have character but are mysterious at the same time.  Sasha also animates her illustrations on her blog which is a great way to show your work and bring it to life.

Below are a few of my favourites…

Please visit Sasha's blog at:

Jeff Keen - Video Inspiration

This is 'Flick Flack' by artist Jeff Keen, I was really drawn to the mixed media effect of the video, the use of colour and the way in which lots of different imagery and objects are pulled together by random but work in harmony in a chaotic kind of way, which reminds me of my own work!.  I had intended to create a full blown stop motion narrative as my final piece, but after conversations with my tutors I have realised that my stop motion skills and strong enough and time restrictions would affect the quality of my final piece.

When my tutor showed me Keen's video 'Flick Flack' it really shed some light on how I can bring my own work to life using simple techniques that are really effective, I also really like how Keen's use of the 'uncanny' fir perfectly with the feel and mood of his work and I think it would work well with the colourful, uncertain and randomness of elements within my own work.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Magic Shoes..

I have been looking at Shoe adverts for ideas and inspiration and I am still keeping my options open in terms of age range as originally I wanted to photograph a pair of fashion heels that would be aimed at teenagers/young adults but I feel that my work appears childlike in context and so I may aim my final piece at 6-10 year olds. 

When I thought about how footwear is advertised to children Clarks 'Magic Steps Shoes' came into my mind!.  Being an 80's child myself I had these shoes and took pride in wearing them to school, everyone had them or wanted them as they came in a magical shoe box with a secret ket that you could insert into the heel of the shoe and and a picture would be revealed - They were amazing.

I also looked at the advert for the shoes and all the memories came flooding back to me, the advert is very fantasy based and it shows a girl who is trying to run away from the evil one but struggles - then the Magic Steps Shoes appear on her feet and she manages to escape.  I believed I would be that person as a child seeing as I had the shoes, the narrative in the advert became so real to me.

Below are some images of the shoes and the advert.

Pierre et Gilles

I have been looking at the work of Pierre et Gilles who are french artists.  Their work is mythical, colourful and fantasy-like and they combine various mediums to create a special feel to their work, they use photography and combine it with handmade sets and costumes, they then use acrylic to paint onto the photographs.

They way they combine real life photographs with small 3D sets and characters is really inspiring as it has got me thinking more about how my own work could be used in context.  I am making a Circus themed world and I will be photographing a pair of footwear that will be displayed with my characters/set.

Below are some of my favourite images of their work.

Collage work.

Below are some further images for my MP.  I have recently become fascinated with vintage Zoltar machines that are found in arcades.  Zoltar is a fortune teller who sits inside a glass cabinet and will tell you your future and fortune when you insert a coin into the machine - I have also made a 3D version of the Zoltar machine and will be using it in my stop motion animation.