Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Children's toys based on children's drawings



So my friend sent my this link, it's about a company that makes toys based on childrens drawing. Parents would send off their kiddies drawings and then people would make a toy based on the image and then the parents can buy them. It's fab!
The characters from the drawings are so unusual and unique! Kid's minds are brilliant, I love this. I wish this was about when I was a kid as I would have sent them a million pictures (I might send some anyway as I love random teddys and things there just fun!)

Lots of imagination goes into children's drawings, I think people just think kids just doodle and do anything and their hands just go all over the place but if you think about it, they have wonderful minds and can come up with unusual things which can relate to other things. I enjoy looking at children's drawing, they almost remind me of something or spark off ideas for characters etc. Thinking like children is hard, as we all know from the 1st year of the course when we were told to not think too much about the things we are creating and to do something different. I do like working this way (though sometimes it doesn't go too well).

I wish I was a child again, just so I can create many more drawings that can make people smile :)

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Podcast: Kevin Cross and Joshua Kemble

We have been encouraged to listen to some Podcasts by The Big Illustration Party, this is to help us see and understand what goes on in the illustration business and other design areas and how to get commissions and approach art directors. The podcast was a conversation between two designers/illustrators named Kevin Cross and Joshua Kemble; they talked about how to contact art directors and potential employees without being pushy or annoying.

They talked a fair bit about having to ring Art directors, which for some people, including myself, get very nervous doing. I don't like talking on the phone, not even to my own boyfriend really, I feel more comfortable being face to face with someone, so this is something I would get really nervous and stressed about, but the main key is to just be professional, once you get started you will be fine, I tend to be nervous meeting people, but after introducing myself and having general chit chat I tend to feel more calm and confident. 
They mentioned how to not sound like a door to door salesman, don't be too pushy about your work or a job, this might make you sound too cocky and unapproachable, therefore people might not want to work with you, you also might come across as annoying.

When emailing an art director/agency, make sure your emails are professional, and everything’s spelt right! give a few days before replying, but in the end, if they never reply, don't keep harassing them, this might come across as annoying or "spam" and you don't want people to end up blocking you as this then doesn't help you If you want to contact them again in the future.

One other thing that I found quite interesting from the convo between the lads was to do with holiday cards, and around the holidays if you produce cards or e-cards, that it's nice to send them to art directors you have worked with or want to with, this might draw their attention to you or remind them of your work and make them want to contact you. But if you do this the cards have to be amazing, and different, not too obvious. The reason I liked this part of the convo, was because over Christmas when I had some spare time I ended up producing a charismas card and it was so obvious and looking back at it, it was rubbish. If I was an art director and someone send me that I wouldn't have thought twice about looking at it again. I just thought it was quite an interesting way to approach art directors etc.



Here is a link to my website.
I keep playing around with different layouts but the one I have kept atm I like because of the shape of the thumbs of my work, seem to fit really well. Kept it quite simple looking atm but it will get better with time!

Evaluation of FMP

I decided to base my Final Major Project on the Grimm's Fairy Tales. Then Penguin/Puffin design awards 2012 competition was my starting point for this project, as the puffin competition was to create a book cover for Grimm's Fairy Tales, by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. After researching and thinking about my project a little more, I decided to do a series of book covers, the other covers would be for other stories by the Grimm brothers, after researching I decided to do create covers for 2 of the better known stories, Rapunzel and Cinderella.
I tried to split my time between the 3 covers equally. I started off with the Rapunzel cover, creating images of a fairy tale nature. Rapunzel being a fairy tale that would attract more girls than boys, I tried to use the more feminine colours. Though after researching other covers for Rapunzel I saw that most of them were very similar so I wanted to do something different, something more eye-catching, I then looked at the story from a darker point of view, which is where the skeletons came from. I always tend to struggle with typography, so with this first book cover I tried my best with typography, trying to it with the image instead of having it look like I just randomly placed the type anywhere. I thought what I had done worked quite well and I was proud.
I also started to do some screen printing, started to experiment with other things instead of just sitting at a computer and doing everything digitally, I also started to do some paper cutting to create shapes for certain elements. These worked well and I was pleased to have done something a little different than usual and as I work with texture some of the screen prints came out lovely. I also started to work with other materials such as fabric, which I then made into some pillows. I never usually do things like this with my work, but I think the context of what I was doing is perfect for things like this.
For the next book cover, I focused on the main Grimm's Fairy Tales one, again I took a darker approach to it and I didn't want to use pick one story and illustrate it, I wanted to include things from a few different stories. The main focus for this cover were some of the evil characters, such as the Wolf (Little Red Riding Hood), Evil Witch/Old Lady (Hansel and Gretel), and the Evil Queen (Snow White). I think I work well with creating characters with are animals, but I have always struggled with human faces and features. But as I wanted all 3 characters to be a similar shape, this helped me create fun and simple characters.
Both of these images took me about 10 weeks to complete. Having around 4/5 Weeks left after I did these and created 2 pillows. I started my Cinderella cover, which I was very proud of as I completed this in just over 1 week. Using simple ideas and strong typography as I have done for the other 2. All 3 of my covers work well together, using the same view points and all having nice strong colour pallets and typography. I feel they work really well as a set of covers, as you can tell they are part of a 'series' and are done by the same illustrator.
Overall I have created 3 book covers, including fronts, backs and spines. Some pillows and other things such as notebook covers and book marks. I am overall very pleased with my outcomes. I have done more than I usually would for a project, instead of just doing the main things I have set for myself, I have pushed them aside and done a few more things and experimented a lot more.
If I had even more time for my FMP, I would have liked to have experimented with different ways of working even more and try new things and possibly do even more book covers that would sit nicely with the others I had produced.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Cinderella on Textured Paper

Playing around with some textured paper, I printed my Cinerella cover onto some paper with orange petals pressed into it, this one works really well with the Cinderella due to the petals as they go with the colouring of my cover and also there are some leaves in my image which work with the petals. I also printed the others on textured papers but they didn't look as good as this one. Works really well, very pleased!

Fmp part 3: Cinderella

Book Cover number 3: Once again using the same style and view points as my other 2 book covers (Grimm's and Rapunzel), I worked in very similar ways so the 3 would look like part of a set. I did this one in just over a week and I think this is the best. I think the colours work really well together and each element has had much attentioned paid to it. I have also been playing around with shadows (which for some reason don't show up that well when the image has been flattened and reduced in size, but nevermind). I feel that I am getting better and better at typography every time I do it. I used to hate doing typography as I have never been confident with it as I always thought everything looked either rubbish or it just didn't fit in the image I had created. But with my fmp I think i have worked quite well with it. I think the typography in this image is very strong and bold. I really liked my idea for this book cover, alot of cinderella images and book covers include the carraige that Cinderella rides in, but I decided instead of just creating a carraige or just a pumkin that I would have the pumkin evolving/chaning into a carraige, so it's still a pumpkin with wheels. At first I wasn't sure what to do with the back cover, but I thought about having something to represent Cinderella's life, how she is a kind of slave to her step mother and step sisters. All of the swirls and leavey patterens give the cover a sort of magical feel. Really pleased with this image, next I am going to do some screen printing of the pumpkin/carraige and possibly make a tote bag or another pillow. I am also going to make a poster out of this cover.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Hopes, Fears and Opportunities Part2

So, for this last semester and for my final major project, what I chose to do was based around the Penguin design awards competition 2012, producing a book cover for Grimm's Fairy Tales. From this I decided to produce a book cover for Rapunzel as well as the Grimm's Fairy Tales and I am also doing a children’s mural (or part of) and if I have the time I will be making some bits and bobs to go with, things such as pillows etc.
I feel over this past year that I have started to develop my own style, and I am becoming really comfortable with it and I really enjoy doing it.
I have started to experiment more, instead of just coming up with an idea and doing it, I have started to think of more ideas, sketch our ideas more and play about with them. I have also played about with media, doing a lot of screen printing, which at first I really didn't want to do, as over the years of doing a-levels and workshops, I had done so much screen printing but never really enjoyed it. But since I have started to re-visit screen printing, I am starting to really enjoy it as it works really well with my work as I work a lot with shapes and texture and this is a good way to get nice textures, especially when printing on unusual papers and fabrics!
From screen printing onto paper and scanning things in, I have also been screen printing on fabric, these came out really well so I decided to make a couple of pillows out of them which came out really well, and I decided to add some more things onto the pillow instead of having just a flat design, I added some gems, some wool and some frilly goodness around the edges of my pillows! I was really pleased with the outcomes of the pillows, especially since I haven’t played much with textiles and screen printing since I did my a-levels (which were about 4 years ago!).
I am really proud of myself for getting back into screen printing, and though there is only about 4/5 weeks left if I have time I would like to try some more things! And if not I will defiantly be trying different things after I graduate.
I have also started to research more than I have done before, I used to just look at things and shove them on my blog and never look at them again, but I have started to put together my own file full of inspiration, such as other illustrators work, old book covers and Sense of place type things (heading back to first year here!)
So far I think my FMP is going pretty well, I started off really slowly but once I knew what I wanted to do, I did it and I am really enjoying it as well. I am doing more than usual and trying new things etc, so I am hoping to move my marks up a little higher. I have always been a 2:2 girl but to get a 2:1, even just for my fmp and not overall, I would be proud. (If I got a 2:1 overall I would be so pleased with myself) But I will soon find out in a few months!
I am really scared about finishing. I know after this we will still be sorting out exhibition and other things, but once July comes I think I will start panicking. I don't want to just end up in some horrible job that I do not enjoy, but I know that this is probably what I have to do for a little bit until I get some work/commissions. 

The visit to London really boosted my confidence, I was really nervous about my visits, but they both went really really well, I wouldn't change anything about them, they were fantastic. The first one at Short Book Publishing with Aurea, we all decided there are then we would love her job. A small company, hiring illustrators, only a few people working together, cute little office spaces, it seemed like heaven!

Me, Philippa and Chloe have talked about possibly renting a space together, our own little studio, which would be brilliant. Having to get part time jobs on the side so we can afford it of course, this way people could come and see our work and how we work, and all 3 of us could help each other move forward and possibly work together and combine our talents! This would be perfect; hopefully if we can pull together we could make this happen.
I am hoping to contact illustration agencies after I graduate, try my best to get some kind of illustration work, something with children's illustration possibly, especially doing book covers! But I would also like to try out some editorial work and get some pieces in magazines or newspapers; hopefully I will just be bugging and bugging people.

A good opportunity for us is to contact Aurea from Short books so she can keep up in mind for any work she may have for us. I will also contact Tim from John Brown Media and see if he could possibly find any work for me. 

I am terrified about finishing, if I could stay in education forever I would, but it is time for me to step into the real world. 
Just So festival might be a good opportunity for me to get creative as well, it seems like a lot of fun and very interesting, so If I have the time I think I will defiantly be taking part in this.

I will carry on working after graduation, I will never stop illustrating, I would like to re-visit my Twinkle Twinkle Little Cat story and make it stronger for my portfolio and I would like to maybe write another story and illustrator it and keep coming up with my own projects and looking for new exciting competitions that are going on. Hopefully I can get some interviews or even more portfolio visits with people I may have seen before and new people.

In a way I am excited to finish and be able to stand on my own two feet, to try and promote myself and get my work noticed by people and companies. To help with this I will keep up with my website and maybe start a new blog.

My ideal job would be to create children's books or book covers, maybe not writing them, but illustration them. I would like to have my own studio or a nice little working environment which isn't too crazy or overcrowded. I will keep working harder and harder and even some day I have start my own group or agency. But no matter what happens, I will never give up illustrating; it is my love, my passion and my dream.