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.