Sunday, 18 December 2011

Little White Lies

For the competition brief I decided to do a magazine cover for Little White Lies magazine, choosing the film The Tree of Life:

The Tree of Life is a 2011 American drama with experimental elements written and directed by Terrence Malick and starring Sean Penn, Brad Pitt, and Jessica Chastain. Malick's film chronicles the origins and meaning of life by way of a middle-aged man's childhood memories of his family living in 1950s Texas, interspersed with imagery of the origins of the universe and the inception of life on Earth. After decades in development and missed 2009 and 2010 release dates, the film premiered in competition at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, where it won the Palme d'Or. The film received polarizing reactions in response to Malick's use of technical and artistic imagery, directorial style, and fragmented non-linear narrative.

A mysterious, wavering light that resembles a flame flickers in the darkness. Mrs. O'Brien (Jessica Chastain) recalls a lesson taught to her that people must choose to either follow the path of grace or the path of nature. In the mid 1960s, she receives a telegram informing her of her son's death at age 19. Mr. O'Brien (Brad Pitt) is notified by telephone. The family is thrown into turmoil. In the present day, Jack O'Brien (Sean Penn) is adrift in his modern life as an architect. When he sees a tree being planted in front of a building, he begins to reminisce about his life as young teenager during the 1950s.

The universe is formed. As the galaxies expand and planets are formed, voices ask various existential questions. On the newly formed Earth, volcanoes erupt and microbes begin to form. An Elasmosaurus, a large wound in its side, gazes out to sea. In a forest, a young Parasaurolophus is wary of predators. Later on a riverbank, the Parasaurolophus lies wounded. An Ornithomimus[3] emerges and examines the wounded dinosaur. The Ornithomimus places its foot on the Parasaurolophus' neck, preparing for the kill, but then reconsiders after watching it struggle. The predator wanders off. An asteroid impacts the earth.

In a sprawling neighborhood in Waco, Texas, live the O'Briens. The young couple are enthralled by baby Jack and, later, his two brothers. When Jack (Hunter McCracken) reaches adolescence, he is faced with the conflict of accepting the way of grace or nature, as embodied by each of his parents. Mrs. O'Brien (grace) is gentle, nurturing, and authoritative, presenting the world to her children as a place of wonder. Mr. O'Brien (nature) is strict, authoritarian, and easily loses his temper as he struggles to reconcile his love for his sons with wanting to prepare them for a world he sees as corrupt and exploitative. He laments his decision to become an engineer rather than pursue his passion of becoming a musician, and now pursues dreams of wealth by filing patents for various inventions.

One summer, Mr. O'Brien takes a trip around the world in an effort to commercialize his inventions. While he is away, the boys enjoy unfettered access to their mother, and Jack experiences the first twinges of rebelliousness. Goaded by other boys his age, Jack commits acts of vandalism and animal abuse. He later trespasses into a neighbor's house and steals her underwear. Jack is confused by his experiments with violence and experiences guilt, throwing the stolen underwear into a river to rid himself of it. Mr. O'Brien returns home, having failed to sell any of his inventions. Shortly thereafter his plant closes and he is given the option of staying with the company and relocating to work a stable yet unfulfilling job, or be terminated. Mr. O'Brien agrees to the transfer and he and his family pack up to move. Mr. O'Brien laments the course his life has taken, questioning whether he has been a good enough person. He reconciles with Jack, asking forgiveness for his harsh treatment of him.

Far in the future, the planet Earth is destroyed, first burnt to cinders by the sun when it has turned into a red giant and then left alone as a desolate, lifeless frozen place still orbiting around the sun, which by that time has turned into a feeble white dwarf.

In the present, adult Jack leaves work. Riding the elevator down he experiences a vision of walking on rocky terrain. He tentatively walks through a wooden door frame which is erected on the rocks. On a sandbar, Jack is reunited with his family and all the people who populate his memory. His father is happy to see him. His mother is overjoyed when Jack's memory resurrects his dead brother. She thanks Jack, kissing his arm twice. Jack's vision ends and he leaves his building smiling.

The mysterious, wavering light continues to flicker in the darkness.

Still a work in progress, tried to give it abit of a 50's feels with the shapes/type and colour.

Thursday, 8 December 2011


So, today there was a talk by a guy called Stuart Price, he is part of a design group called Thoughtful which are apparently based as Stockport College, he was talking about what agencies expect at interveiws, how to build a strong portfolio and just giving basic tips on how to contact people and hopefully find a job in the future that is right for you.

Convergent thinking- 1 straight answer.
Divergent thinking- Multiple answers.
Dancing apparently helps the way we think, certain dances have a positive impact on the way we think- Dr Peter Lovatt.
15mins of structured dance makes you better at convergent thinking, and 15mins of improvised dance can make you better at divergent thinking.

Things that are going to keep you in the interviewers mind is keeping in touch with them, even if you didn't get a job or placement, showing new work when completed, shows that you have developed and are becoming a mature designer.

The prefered method of first contact with industries/agencies is email, no just show up unannounced! and if you get no reply via email, email again in 4/5 days.
It's also good to know what the agency that you are goin g to contact does, it appeals to their vanity if you know what they do/things they've done.

You should make it as easy as possible to look at your work or get to your website, via email. Don't pile up peoples emails with massive files of your work. Just 5-7 Small JPEGS. But don't send an empty empty email, this is a potential for you to show your work. You don't have to worry about sending them your best pieces either, as these could be saved for the interview, but it could be a good idea to show your best pieces as you might get more of a chance of a reply.

Showing sketches in your portfolio can be a good idea, some people like to see how you got to your final ideas, but this could also show weakness's, if your not great at certain things, so it could be a good idea to re-sketch some pages from your sketch books to show the stronger sides.

Always be openminded and prepared to learn, don't close that gate once you've graduated, you can learn new things for the rest of your life.

With portfolios, the biggest mistakes which are often seen are spelling mistakes so make sure you and a friend proof read it before showing an agency, same with emails! Have around 10 projects in your porfolio, enough to keep the viewer entertained but not too much so they get bored. Don't show something you are not happy with or feel is as good as other work, start with a stronge piece and end with a stronger one.

Be interested more than interesting, everything you do describes who you are, your work, the way you talk about your work, the way you sit when presenting your portfolio. Also when presenting your portfolio, make sure the veiwer can see your portfolio, don't present to yourself! make it so the interveiwer doesn't have to move. Also make sure there is a brief description of each piece, keep it short and sweet.

Making connections and taking advantages of things is a good way to get yourself out there, don't think what has this got to do with design? think, what could design have to do with this? look at a variety of different things to influence you. Go to venues, galleries, soak up all creative things around you, be inspired!
Admire and respect the work you are given.

You are allowed to make mistakes! They wont effect you forever!
An interveiw should last around 30mins max, don't be offended if its only 10 minutes, you can always ask the interveiwer how much time you have so you don't run over and ramble or talk too quickly!

Always look for places to work where you've got a broader possibility to learn new things.

In portfolios, most agencies are looking for good ideas, greater ideas, simplicity, wit, good typorgraphy, good execution, personalitly, imagination.
Great ideas and having a good personality are equally important.

Overall, don't give up! It's possible to find something if you don't give up. Keep working hard and getting better. Have self belief as design is a tough industry!

Work out what you want to do, who you want to work with/for? what studios? Research, contact!

Was a great talk, with alot of good points and examples of good and bad portfolios and ways of handling things.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Critical Review 2

Film: One that I would recommend is The Awakening, it is a thriller set in the 1920's in England, about a female ghost hunter who is asked to go to a boys school to check out the paranormal activites as one of the boys died there. Things start to unravel, with an interesting twist at the end. If you like thrillers then it's a good one for you to watch.
Another would be Big Fish, by Tim Burton, sort of fantasy story telling film, with unusual characters. Very fun.

I'm not a huge reader, but the book I would reccomend is "Something at the Window is Scratching" by Roman Dirge. There are twenty pieces of poetry forming "Children's tales for disturbed children," as the front of the book calls them. Some are just that too, dealing with everything from the silliest of notions in "devil bunny" to darker aspects of demise in "the coo coo lady." Also included in the book is a little treasure hunt Dirge hints that you play. Dirge has hidden "something" in the backgrounds of some of his illustrations. Why would he do this? As he says, "I don't know." Still, it's a bit o' fun for some strange reason.

I found an event that seems quite interesting, which I would like to possibly go to check out before it finishes. It's an art project called Sketch-O-Matic,
"In an age of buy to invest instead of buy what you like, the making of art has been torn from human hands as mass-multiple prints flood the high street, while the buying of art is seen as rarefied and reserved for a wealthy few. Sketch-O-Matic is a full size photo booth situated in our busy cafĂ©-bar, but where the machinery should be is a tiny, fully equipped artist’s studio. You, the public, are invited to sit inside as if for a photograph and make a donation to the artist through a slot for a self- portrait. Wait five minutes (give or take) and the image will appear. It may be a pencil drawing, doodle, cartoon, collage or even word-poem. Take it, frame it, consider it. Now you are both patron and muse!"

It takes place at the cornerhouse, started on the 24th November and finishes on the 4th December (so not long left) hopefully If I get some free time, I can head down and check it out.
LinkCheck it out, here.

Monday, 28 November 2011

50's typography

Checking out some 50's typography, for my magazine cover I need to have the name of the film, and the film is set in the 50's so thinking about making my work seem like a 50's style.

Siggi Eggertsson- Portraits


So I'm doing a magazine cover for Little White Lies, and I chose to illustrate Brad Pitt, never really illustrated a portrait of someone before and I think I may struggle a little bit, so Ian told me about this guy Siggi Eggertsson, his stuff is pretty cool, very pixelly and graphicy, not really the way I want to go with illustrating Brad but I do like the shapes and bold colours. You can also see slight patterns emerging through the pixels, which Is something I've thought about with my illustration. I think my problem will be actually getting the portrait to look like Brad Pitt as he has such a recognisable face. But hopefully these may help me along the way.

Portfolio Visit! Taylor O'Brien

So today I had a portfolio visit with Helen from Taylor O'Brien, was feeling very nervous and tired after walking to the top floor as I was not getting in that lift on my own.
So we got started pretty quickly, I went through my portfolio explaining what each piece was and why I did it, etc etc.
She seemed to like alot of my work which was great! The pieces she seemed most interested in were the Editorial (Killer Fashion), My James and the Giant Peach Shark character and my Dia de los Muertos skulls. She felt that some of these pieces were very graphicy which is why she liked them, she is a designer not an illustrator so i could understand why she liked these better.
She said from looking at these pieces she knew what they were about, or could atleast guess what they were about and not be far off!
My textures and shapes apparently work very well together and give off a good feel, even though I had lots of different things in my portfolio, childrens book, editorials etc, she could tell that they had been done by the same illustrator, which made me feel great as I was not sure if some of my work looked samey or completely different!
She liked my childrens book, thought the characters were very cute and friendly, though she felt that I needed to work on involving my text into the images more as the text just seems a little seperate from the imagery, which she understands as I am an illustrator and my main focus is the imagery. She also mentioned that I should possibly pick 2 pages from my book which I like and really move them on and make them stronger and put them in my portfolio and if i carry on bringing my book with me then I don't need to have loads of the same images popping up in my portfolio.
My junctures pieces are nicely done, she prefered the fruit machine one which Is unusual as people tent to like the roulette wheel better. Though she suggested a couple of changes just to make the image stronger.
She also said it was nice for me to have put something personal into my logo.
She loved the simplicity and the graphicy ness of both my shark and gun, very effective.
My skulls she seemed to love, especially the title page skull, she loved the contrast of the colours, textures and the white teeth and spaces. She felt the other skull in my portfolio was not as strong as the title page, so she suggested changing some colours to give more contrast.
She also loved the black outlines! (yayy!) she said they really amde the skull stand out. She liked the text and suggested me using it in the background of my other skulls.
She gave me lots of advice about my portfolio and how to talk to professionals and how to stay confident. Overall I think the visit went really well, she said I had a nice variety of things in my portfolio and is looking forward to seeing what else I can do in the future!

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Bug/Insect Project for National History Museum event.

Scorpions! I was going to do a 10page fact book about scorpions for kids, But it didn't go to plan as I wanted, so decided to do the poster instead! And finally made some typography I actually like!
I have also created an activity sheet for the kids! Where they can colour in a scorpion, cut it's body tails and claws out and pin him together so he's moveable! fun fun fun!
I have also created some badges with googley eyes, which are very fun (will get a picture soon)

Monday, 21 November 2011

My books

Lord Whitney

So Lord Whitney came in today which was very interesting. Rebecca and Amy both talked about there trips in college and uni and how they did not find what they really wanted to do till the end of 3rd year, they played about with a lot of other things, photography, illustration, cover design, typorgraphy, etc.
They both came between them to love 3D illustration, making sets and photographing, they started working together at the end of their 3rd year and began working on things for themselves, they could not afford a studio so they would end up making things in each others houses.
They would use alot of people in their sets and things, wearing silly costumes, there work wasn't very pretty, or precious, but this is what they came to love about it and also others liked this feel, not everything has to be perfect, its about enjoying yourself. They could not afford to make big fancy sets so they would use things that they already had around them, or they would buy cheap bits and bobs from poundshops. They've even used a spare room above a pub to create sets and photograph them.

They have a wierd yet wonderful way of working and you can tell that they both love what they do, which is great. If you didn't enjoy what you were doing, then you'd probably get bored and it would show through in your work!

They gave a lot of good advice about some work industries and how to just keep doing what you love and how you don't need loads of money to do things that you want to!
Doing free stuff to get experience is always a good one, though they've said if people like your work and want you to do things again they will start treating you to things or even pay you, if people just keep recieving and not giving, then stop doing things for them (unless you really want to of course), but if people treat you well its always worth seeing what they've got on offer.

They've also art directed a few festivals which is pretty cool! They very much enjoy their work.
They told us about some companies/agencies and art events, such as Culture Vulture which organise art events in leeds and tried to encourage us to enter competitions, like the E4 competitions which look pretty good (may look into that a little more)

They have now have their own studio which they share with a friend and it's named Control Freak. Their work is very funky and makes me laugh, I like that they don't go overboard with a budget even if they have lots of money, they tend to stick to the simple as thats what they look, it gives a more personal and fun approach and brings the girls personalities through. Very interesting.

Portfolio Visit! Craig Oldham

So, I had an appointment booked in with Craig from design by Music for 2:30, I was very nervous and ended up getting to the place 20 mins early, so I ended up wondering around before I actually buzzed in. I was sat up on the 1st floor while waiting for Craig and I got to see Matt Bray's work on the glass office, which look pretty cool, especially as I was sat infront of his KISS illustrations, (being a big KISS fan this made me smile).
There were a few meetings going on around me so I just sat quietly and waited.
So I waited for Craig to come down and get me and he took me to the ground floor which he called "the Dungeon". I was very nervous but Craig made me feel calm and comfortable, started off witht the usual small talk.
So I started flicking through my portfolio explaining what each piece was about and why I did them etc etc, I also showed him the books I had printed (Twinkle Twinkle little cat, and dia de los muertos, I'll get them up on a seperate post).
So after he looked at my work he said he was very impressed (thank god!) Out of everything I put in my portfolio his favourites were my 'Killer Fashion' and my shark from the James and the giant peach brief and the roulette wheel from the 8x8 brief, he said he can see that I'm good with soming up with Ideas and answering a brief, and responding to them, he said this could possibly be because he is a designer and that is how he usually works.
He thought that my textures were great and worked very well, he said in the past hes seen people work with texture and It sometimes never works too greatly or just fails completely, but he thought mine worked brillianly and clicks with the shapes and white backgrounds.

With my Twinkle story, he loved the characters (espeically the dog) he thought that the pages worked better with a white background, which most of them have, he thought some of the pages needed to be boiled down as the characters worked better with simpler backgrounds.
Also, he thought with putting pieces from a story in a portfolio that things look better without the type, which I fair enough considering i am an illustrator and people want to be more focus on my illustrations than writing.

My roulette wheel is apparently instant and craig felt he knew the story behind it straight away just by looking at it, he felt this was stronger than the main piece I did for the 8x8 brief, which I tihnk everyone agrees with!
My textures used for my shark are apparently spot on, as they are aggressive which is what the personality of a shark would most probably be.

Overall Craigs main points were that it seems like a I have a 'Creative Head' good at problem solving, he said he could see that by looking at my editoral piece mostly, All my textures are spot on and apparently Craig wants to try and touch the textures in my work, haha. He also thought from looking at my work that I work abit better with briefs given to me, instead of things being so 'open' and thought it was a good idea for me to possibly play with some more editorials, which I may do as I did enjoy doing the editorial in second year.

Also he was very impressed that I had my books printed and brought them with me, He said I was the first student he has seen to have done this, and it was nice for him to see my work in some kind of context instead of every page being put in a portfolio.

Overall I think the visit on a whole went brilliantly, even though I was very nervous at first I soon felt confident and comfy, Craig is such a lovely guy I would suggest people to get intouch with him (though he is a very busy bee at the moment).

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Alice in Wonderland Exhibition at the Tate, Liverpool

So, yesterday me Chloe and Philippa went to the Alice in Wonderland exhibition at the Tate gallery in Liverpool. I was so excited about it as I’m a huge Alice in Wonderland fan, I love all the crazy characters and randomness and colours! The exhibition opened on 4th November and is open till 29th January 2012 and it has been described by the Tate as the ‘first comprehensive exploration of the stories’ influence on the visual arts. His stories are rich in logical, philosophical and linguistic puzzles – reflecting their author’s fascination with language and with questions of meaning’. So we go there, paid to get in (got student discount too yay) and walked into a room, which had a few paintings in, and some letter/word lights which were pretty cool. (Unfortunately we couldn't take any photos, but found some on the brilliant Google). There were many pieces of works around, photography, installations, illustrations, paintings and pottery. (Some of which I didn't understand why it had anything to do with Alice in Wonderland.
(Isn't photo from Tate, but you get the picture)

Jason Rhoades- Touch from my madinah in pursuit of my emitage.

Interesting piece was full of words, some coming across as a bit rude but yet funny. Thins such as serpent socket, Brazilian caterpillar, beef curtain and Chloe's favorite, trout basket! This gave the feel that the exhibition was for adults and not for children who are fans of the Disney! Very strange and unusual, an interesting way of expressing feelings or stories. I loved the colours, and how the things were dangling, very Alice and wonderland, especially with the words everywhere! Lovely installation, even with dangling wires everywhere, just gives another strange but nice feel to the piece as a whole.

Annelies Strba: Nyima 483

These dreamlike landscapes are beautiful, the girls are almost like fairies or pixies, they are glowing, standing out from the natural woodland backgrounds. The colours are bold and eye-catching, very playful and imaginative.

After we saw these, the rest of the exhibition was on one of the floors above, thinking it was going to be a fun, interactive environment; I was disappointed as it was a normal exhibition, with pictures hanging with a few descriptions, no bright colours and not much to reflect Alice in Wonderland.

There was a lot of information, a lot about Lewis Carroll, also known as Charles L Dodgson, there was a lot about his life and about the ‘Liddell sisters’ rather than the story of Alice In Wonderland. Some photographs around, by Carroll as well as he was fond of photography. Also sketches scattered around. There were many books with different illustrations for the covers and illustrations inside. Here are some which I thought were interesting.

Deloss McGraw, 2001

Charles Folkard, 1929

Gwynedd M Hudson, 1926

There very varieties of posters for plays, metal printing blocks and a few books we could flick through. One of them being a pop up book by Jotto Seigolds which I thought was brilliant.

There were also things such as tea pots and a deck of cards by Thomas and Greta Schuster which looked very delicate and detailed (which I can not find any picture of :( sorry!)

There was a big section on Surrealism, Surrealists were drawn towards Carroll’s fantastical worlds in which natural laws were suspended and a subjective, apparently random ser of rules applied.

Max Ernst, For Alice’s friends. 1957

The 3 little girls set out for the white butterfly hunt, 1958.

Towards the end of the exhibition, there was a section on Salvador Dali, he did 12 illustrations, one for each page of a story of Alice in Wonderland, 1969.

Very surreal and interesting, he used bright colours and unusual shapes to capture the story. I think he did it brilliantly. Throughout the whole exhibition, on this floor, this one the section that had to most colour and excitement, which is what we were looking and hoping for.

There was also a short animation where Dali collaborated with Walt Disney, the animation was titled Destino .

At the end of the exhibition, there were some random clips from movies showing, a screen with words flicking through and a few other bits which I just did not understand at all, no idea why they were there as they did not represent Alice in Wonderland at all.

Overall the exhibition was disappointing, I was hoping for some fun, colourful Alice type things. It was nice to see some different illustrations of Alice, but the set out was simple, like any other exhibition in any other gallery. I thought after seeing where the story began, I thought it would have moved on to some later illustrations of the story, including the Disney animation and Tim Burton film, but none of this was included. And I don’t think I saw one Cheshire cat though the exhibition.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Hopes, Fears and Opportunities

My main hope for this year studying illustration is to do well, I’ve never got good grades/marks throughout my education (apart from GCSE’s, so I’m hoping to do well and get some good marks, I know I’m not top of the class or anything but I want to at least pass the course (which I’m pretty confident I will do). I want to become and be known as a good illustrator, towards the beginning of the course, I felt that I wasn’t a good illustrator; I couldn’t get my head round ideas, concepts and Photoshop /illustrator! But over the years I’ve developed. At first I did not had a consistent style, everything I did looked completely different and I could not find anything I felt really comfortable with, until the 2nd half at 2nd year, where I started to work with texture and shape, and since then I have felt very comfortable with this style and I have been developing it for almost a year now. I feel that my illustrations are getting stronger and I am very pleased with some of them.

I also hope to build my confidence up, I haven’t much confidence, I get nervous and shy talking to people I’ve never met, so hopefully some portfolio visits will help with this, I have one on the 21st of November, I’m very nervous but hopefully I will overcome this and be confident when it comes to talking about my work, as this may be something I have to do every now and then so I better get used to it!

I believe I can be a hard worker, but sometimes I can get easily distracted, and I’m trying my best not to be distracted and to put my work first. (I even take my work to my boyfriend’s house at weekends to do some work!).

My main fear is definitely leaving education! I’ve been in education for a long time; I went straight from school to A-level, to a foundation to a degree. Throughout this time I’ve had one job, which did not last long at all. I’ve always want to just concentrate on my work than have a job on the side taking up my time. So I’m worried about leaving and having to possibly get a job, if its park time or full time depending how well things go. If I’m good enough I may hopefully do something brilliant with illustration, if its getting commissioned, working for a children’s book company (which I would love!) etc, this is another fear, not being good enough, not being able to get myself out there. Fear of no one wanting to publish/commission my work, no ones interested, no one likes my work! But with a lot of hard work a help from my fellow illustrators and tutors I should be alright!

I have some opportunities to show my work to some design agencies and illustrators. I have made an appointment with Craig Oldham from design by music, and hopefully I’ll be able to get in touch with some other agencies. I have also sent some work off to illustrators and they have given me some helpful feedback and been so very friendly! I have also had to chance to be apart of Salford Zine Library, where I did a self publication based on The Day of the Dead, Dia de los Muertos, so hopefully the public have had a chance to see some of my work.

My aims for the rest of this year, to do well in every project, make sure they are finished by the main deadline. To have a strong portfolio, with at least 12 pages, hopefully more! I may also re-visit some pieces from last year, definitely going to neaten up the Killer Fashion piece and the junctures pieces I have done, as I really like them and think they are strong, I would also love to re-do the James and the Giant Peach book cover, I loved doing that project but I wasn’t completely happy with my illustration for it as I only just felt comfortable with a new style. I will hopefully get a chance to do this over Xmas break, or over Easter, when I’m not going crazy from lots of other things to do!

I would also by the end of the year love to have a good website built, which we get the opportunity to do from January I think, I would like to have a fun website, nothing boring because then no one would want to look at it.

Another aim as I’ve mentioned before is to have build up my confidence.

For my personal project I illustrated a children’s book which I has also written myself as well, I really enjoyed doing this and was thinking that I would maybe do something similar for my Major Project, I’m not brilliant at writing but it is about the illustration after all, I could possibly contact some writers and ask to illustrate there stories, but I need to think more about what I would like to do for my FMP.

Also to help build my portfolio I may set some editorials for myself to illustrate, if I find some articles to illustrate. I enjoyed doing the editorial last year and have only had the chance to do one so I would like to play with the idea of editorials some more.

The ideal dream would be to have my own studio! And possibly have some of my own books published, either ones I have written and illustrated, or even just illustrated!

So to hopefully get to this point, I have to keep working hard, re-visit some other projects and work out what I want to do for my FMP, build on some other projects at home, without tutors initiating them. Build my portfolio, make it strong and nice to look at, look at other illustrator’s portfolios for inspiration, and try to have variety pieces of work in my portfolio, not just from one or two projects and get in contact with more agencies and book publishers!

Keep working hard!

Monday, 7 November 2011

Portfolio Visits

Well, i've emailed soooo many agencies/illustrators and Only a few have got back to me.

I have an appointment with Craig Oldham from music on the 21st November at 2:30 (already very nervous!!)
I also emailed Helen at Taylor O'brien and she has asked me to email her again next week and we will then make a date, she was very busy that week so she couldn't see me.

A few illustrators and a book publishing company have asked me to send some work off via email which I have done, a few have got back to me (which I have posted already) and others haven't.

I have also Emailed agencies such as Love, MonkeyFeet, Chase and a few others, but nothing.
So hopefully I'll make arrange a date with Helen so I should have two appointments then!

But isn't that your job? Lecture/talk.

On thursday 4th nov, Craig Oldham, from design by music agency came in to talk to us about his expericence with illustrators.

Firstly I just thought, another lecture, Didn't think I would be interested and thought I might zone out 10 minutes into it, but straight away Craig grabbed my attention, it was nice to see someone who was outgoing and obviously enjoying what hes talking about than just being stood there with a sheet of notes. His swearing in almost every sentence made me laugh aswell, he wasn't afraid to show his colours and give an opinion wether it was good or bad.
You could tell from the way that he was talking that he enjoyed his job in design, which was great.
The talk was about six projects where he collaborated with illustrators, 4 of the projects being part of one bigger project. Firstly he talked about the role of an art director which was quite interesting, each project he used a different illustrator for, some projects he even had more than one illustrator doing pieces for him, as some of them wern't doing what was asked, or things just wern't working out (or some were subborn).

I really enjoyed Craig's talk, was very interesting overall. We had to create a poster for craigs talk which you can see somewhere below, it was a competition, which I did not win, but never mind!

I emailed Craig after having a quick chat with him, asking if he was able to meet with me so I could show him my portfolio. And he got back to me (yay finally).
A quote from Craig which I thought was interesting.
"If your mum doesn't understand it, it's wronge!"
I thought it was quite funny.

He also told us some thing about, what to look out for with designers.
- They will change their mind about everything
- Not good at explaining what they want
- Majority of the time they will say "I like that, can we have it for this"
- Prefer a lot of scamps, quick and often oppossed to more worked images
- Have to pass on pressure and time constrants
- And don't hate them if they can't get you all the money (or asking)

"If you want something so badly, and you work hard. you'll get it!"

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Emailing Eric Carle

I know it was a long shot and I couldn't find a proper email address from Eric Carle, I decided to email the fan email, thinking I wouldn't get any kind of reply, but I did.

Dear Becca Hadfield,

Thank you for your e-mail message to Eric Carle and for all of your thoughtful comments.

To answer your question, Eric tends to refrain from commenting on other people's work and on the business of publishing because he entered the field so long ago when things were very different.

However, you might be interested in visiting Eric's web site at where he has listed resources on writing and publishing that we hope will be useful for you.

We wish you all the best with your own work and thank you for your interest in Eric and his books.

Best wishes,
Rachel Hass

Oh well, I tried!

Portfolio Visit 2 (email)

I emailed T.S spookytooth and a quick response was given asking me to send some JPEGs of my work, and heres the response!

Dear Rebecca,
Thanks for sending these over; I think they are good. I really like the Killer Fashion piece, it shows a strong visual solution to an editorial brief. If there's any advice I can give, it's to just keep drawing and experimenting.
In my third year of Uni I was nowhere near ready to begin getting commercial commissions. Don't feel rushed to be ready. I know there is a pressure to leave Uni and hit the streets looking for illustration work.
Remember you need to stand out from the crowd, so when you promote your children's book to publishers think of an imaginative way to give it to them so they stand up and take notice when it arrives on their desk.
Do some black and white work as well as many illustrators make a solid living from this area.
Keep producing work, the more you produce the better you'll become, it's that simple.

Good luck with it all.

Do you think you could send me some of the briefs that the university sets you?
It'd be good to get an idea of how these are presented to undergraduates.

All the best and keep in touch.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Illustrations Digital Future

Firstly, with things such as the i-pad and kindle etc, which you can read books from, this challenges printed books, but with some things I think a printed book has more personality. For example, you can't do a pop up book on an i-pad? (unless it's 3D, which I my opinion is rubbish) and you can't have things like 'touch and feel' books for children, fun things which children like. Giving a book to some as a present, if it means something to them is special, downloading it to a computer isn't.

I love producing art digitally, and sometimes things look different printed than on a screen, but I much prefer to have printed book than digital books.
Something which is interesting for illustrators and digital books, prints etc is that illustrators can start to make their images move, creating little characters and using them in small animations, but should this kind of thing just be left to the animators out there?
Most images/illustrations that are published in magazines/books etc are somewhere online, but what we don't really know is if their being seen more online or in person?
I feel that reading a book to a child is much more personal than reading it from a computer screen, it's something to help people bond with children, computers/ipads etc should be left for the older children, you couldn't give a 5/6 year old an i-pad for them to look at pictures and try to read? And if you're asking, why not? Then, give a 5/6 year old an ipad, lets see how long it lasts before it doesn't break?

"Things weren't always this way. Before the digital revolution, life as an illustrator was fairly straightforward, or so it seemed - there was no Bill Gates, no Apple, no Photoshop, no Google, no internet, no email, no hassle. Looking back at life before the revolution, albeit through rose-tinted specs, the working day for your lone illustrator was a fairly simple affair. In fact, depending on just how far back you wish to peer, it's clear to see just how much has changed."
Take from Computer Arts magazine, November 2006.
I think its strange how different things were before most technology had been created, how different illustrators worked and got themselves seen.

I think the future of illustration will change, thanks to things like the i-pad and downloadable books etc, but I don't think many illustrators will be please by it, I would much prefer something hand held and printed than on screen, but that's just me.

Web Site Research

Thinking about my own website that I would like to have, I would like mine to be very 'in your face', lots of bright colours and random illustrations everywhere. With funky boxes that link to things, instead of something that says "click here". I want it to be something you would want to look at as you want to see more, not something you look at because you have to. If a website isn't fun to look at, then I don't really want to look at it, and if there is lots of bland writing in big bulks then I probably wouldn't read it!

A web site I always love to check out is Tim Burtons, I love the loading page and how he has illustrated the numbers into characters or has characters surounding the numbers. Dark yet colourful. Once into the website, theres a little animation which is interesting, you move a character onto different areas of the page, which lead to different things. This is fun but I don't think I would want this for my own website, though it is a good idea for Animators I guess.

Another website that I like is Julia Woolf's. It's quite a simple site, simple tabs/links to other pages, but I like that as soon as you go on the page there is a nice bright eye catching image including typography.

Another is Dave Quiggle, His work is to be seen everywhere on the page, even if its just little snippits of pieces hidden in the Contact box. The layout is very catchy too which I like alot.

I think even though people are checking out your web site to take a look at your work, your website needs to be quite eye catching aswell, will possibly help people to remember you, especially if they've come across your page by accident!

How ever much I love Eric Carles work, I feel his website is lacking in personality, I'm aware that it may not have possibly been Mr Carle who has designed the website but the lack of colour and imagination is capsized, it is just white with simple links to other pages. I don't mind simple links and simple things, but when everything is simple, it makes things quite limiting and not very rememberable.

I love this website by T.S Spooky tooth, I love that little illustrations are links to other pages of the website, this is something I would like to have for my website, creating little characters to click on, something fun, friendly and inviting.

I've seen some illustrators websites where the background is just plain white and the text is black. I think this is pretty boring for someone who is artistic and creative. I feel that a website should reflect what it's about and it should reflect the illustrators personality and their work.
So I would like my own website to be colourful, crazy and abit 'all over the place'. With lots of textures!

Craig Oldham Poster

We were asked to Produce a poster for a talk by a designer called Craig Oldam. For this piece I thought i'd play around first with typography as I'm not very good at it so thought I could have a practice. And I came up with some text that I liked so I decided to use this. Having to come up with an idea pretty quickly as we only had a week of so to do this. I decided to have the text encoporated onto a computer screen as most designers/illustrators etc at some point use a computer to design their works, finish works or even just to scan images in and send them off!

Keeping it to a limit of two colours wasn't fun. I tented to make my computer blue, not sure why. Most computer are black/white/grey/silver. But those colours are abit boring when only usuing them with one other colour. So then after placing my text I just played around with the colour of it and purple was the colour that seemed to fit best with the blue computer. I then kept the background white (as that would be the colour of my paper) so I left some of the text white aswell.

If I had more time with this project I would have possibly worked on a better Idea and played with text and colour a little bit more! But overall, for a quick outcome, I actually quite like this piece.

Guru: Liam Bardsley

So we got to meet our Gurus a few weeks ago and my guru is Liam Bardsley. I sent him some of my works via email, A few pieces from 2nd year and then some I have recently been doing.

Hi Becca,

How's your half term been? I've had a look over your samples and have written some feedback for you.

First and foremost hang on to the textures and charm of collage in your work!

Killer Fashion

I really like this Illustration Becca. However there is too much charming collage going on. Charming collage always works great providing you don't overload the image with it. Geometric straight shapes done using Illustrator/photoshop would provide balance and contrast so we can appreciate the collage more, but it has to appropriate to the element you're representing. The pink lipstick at the front of the gun is lovely but the silver case it's emerging from needs to be straighter and more perfect (as wobbly can look amateurish as opposed to professional) - have you considered producing this part in Illustrator? The handle of the gun would look better straighter as opposed to ergonomically friendly! Looking at the perfume bottle could do with looking 3D as it looks like a sticker. I think your use of textures provides a very organic, human feel to your image that you need to keep. Are you influenced by Eric Carle by any chance?

Junctures 2

Once again a really nice image however not without it's faults though. In terms of the idea I am questioning whether the icon/symbols (eye, faces, skull, dummy etc) are necessary above the spinning ones. I realise this may be evident on a real fruit machine but in relation to art I think we can afford to remove these. As long as the main icons are visible on the spinners then you've communicated them to the viewer already - just don't say things twice is what I'm getting at. What do you think? Looking at the hold 3 buttons be careful of elements that need to straight and precise as opposed to charming (like in the Killer Fashion image) again. Are the face characters both men? I'm not sure whether the longer haired character is a man or woman? lol.I think if it is a woman then accentuate parts of the face to make them more feminine and then you've done it!

Junctures 3

There is no doubt in my mind that you have a mind that is capable of coming up with lateral ideas. This image looks to me like a wheel of fortune? I think choice of colour is an issue in this image, the muddy grey is a bit dull if I'm honest, the red's are lovely. Looking at the heads I can see a white outline around them - is this inadvertant or done on purpose? I think you could do with losing this line tbh. Like in the Killer fashion image why not have a go at representing some symbols as precise computer rendered to balance out the collage?

Dia de los Muertos title page

Have you looked at Nicky De Saint Phaille's work before? This reminds me of her work.

Not a favourite of mine this mainly as it is far too busy even with a fainter opaque background. I think what destroys this image is the black line around the shapes, it can make things look cheap and tacky.

Twinkle page 9

Very experimental use of shapes for the animals heads, not sure they work though. I love the cat's whiskers and their' eyes! Once again the use of an outline (even though it isn't black) could afford to be discarded. Do you work with other textures? I think it would be well worth having a go to come up with a wider resource of textures to dip into and put into this image. Just look at the different things going on - grass is different to animal hair, tree bark is a different texture to leaves. Just have a real play and could up with more diverse, contrasting textures! What about the colour of the sky too?

Twinkle page 6

I think this image could well do with a bit of collage going on. It looks solely computer rendered. Compositionally though I think it's good that this is lateral resulting in memorable (important in Children's books) just don't like the way it's been put together - bring back the charm! lol


Having looked at twinkle again I'm not sure about the shape of the head. I'd collage it personally and perhaps make him/her look a bit rougher?


More and different textures
Balance computer rendered shapes with collaged (where appropriate)
Don't say things twice
Get rid of outlines!

Hope this is helpful for you. Please ask me any questions to elaborate further once you've soaked up my feedback. Then we'll move onto to emailing more newer work over for me to look at! Ps do you have a skype? We can talk on there too if you like?


Liam :-)

Some very helpful advice here from Liam. Specially from the 2nd year pieces which I do love but want to make them stronger for my portfolio. We had a breif chat about my Twinkle book and I explained why I've only used 1 texture and colours etc etc. This was my reply

Hey Liam, thanks for the feedback. I don't have skype, I use old fashioned MSN (sad I know).

Firstly, Junctures. After looking at them properly again I agree with everything you've said. I think the fruit machine would look much better without the icons etc. I think I just put them in to fill up space tbh! which I know I shouldn't do.
and the roulette wheel, I tended to go for the grey colour as I wanted to stick to original roulette wheel colours, (red,black,green) but I thought black might be a little too dark? Do you think I should try changing it to black? And i've only just noticed the white line around the faces, Not sure what that is but i'll deffinatly be getting rid of it!

The killer fashion piece was a piece I did when I was first starting to develop a style and I realise that it is a little messy and Ian mentioned that I could maybe re-do some of it to make it look a little neater, my Works never been very neat (not sure why, I think it's just the way I am!) but i'm working on it!

Gonna start to re-visit these pieces as I do like them and would possibly want them in my portfolio.

With the twinkle pieces, I tended to stick to the same texture 'cause every time I tried to add different textures they just didn't fit together at all, and I was struggling with it a little bit, but Ian said he thought it looked alright as Its for a childrens book and he didn't want me going too over the top with different textures. (There are a few different textures on other pages). But I'm gonna keep practicing with textures, starting to put together a little texture book and hopefully I can start using more than 1/2 textures in different pieces of my work.
Ian also thought it was best for me to leave some background colours white as it took focus off my characters and elements, which I agreed with, everything looked too clustered.

And the outlines on the twinkle piece I've used as things started to look too flat without them :\ but I might try getting rid of some and see what things look like then :)

And my half terms been very busy, Ian gave us 2 more projects to do just being we finished! Hope you are well :)
Thanks again!


After this we got chatting about influences etc. And hopefully I'll be able to send him some more work in the next couple of weeks!

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Portfolio Visit 1 (email)

After speaking to Tansy Myer, she agreed to taking a look at some of my work, though as she lives in America and I live here in England, obviously would be abit hard and alot of money to meet, especially just for a portfolio visit. So I sent her some of my works via email. I sent her, my Gun, Fruit Machine and Roulette wheel from last year, and some skulls and my twinkle character from the work I had done so far this year. This was her reply.

Hi Becca,
Nice work! I love your use of texture and color in your illustrations. It almost gives them a paper cut or wood block feel to them. The flat perspective also contributes to this wood cut feel.
I think you should go even further playing with texture. Maybe even try textures/patterns that relate to the subject matter. Create your own textures, photograph or scan them in. I can see this being something really cool for you. Would work especially nice for a fashion piece.
Your color palette is very bright and fresh - I really like the pinks/reds contrasted with the silver/grey in killer fashion. Different tones of the same color range give this piece a sophisticated look.
Don't forget that for editorial it needs to be eye-catching and pull you into the story- Junctures works really good for that. I love the color and look of Killer Fashion the most but I wish something a little more "killer" could have come into play besides the brass knuckles. My feeling is art directors can always pull back from what you've given them, so I'd rather go over the top and edit it down. Don't play it safe.
I would also suggest playing around with some layouts that use negative space. Maybe try to do this one with a piece that relates to an emotion or a feeling. Just a thought.

Again, great work Becca. Keep pushing yourself and pushing boundaries for yourself, trying new things and always do what you love. Challenge yourself, but don't force yourself to love something if you don't.
I hope this been helpful.

She's given me some great tips and advice which I will deffinatly be taking on board, and I thank her so much for taking some time out to take a look at my work and get back to me, such a lovely women and a fab illustrator!

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Critical Review 1

Arictal taken from Eye Magazine, summer 2011.
by David Crowley.

Handwriting is a touchstone in the history of graphic design, where lettering meets the messy reality of the human body.
Out of hand.

The aritcle is about typography, and how hand written type is more personal and digital type seems quite bland and boring. I thought it was quite interesting as I have never been any good at typography and this makes me feel that hand made typography is much more personal and fun. I have to come up with a type for my childrens book (title etc.) and i know if i used a digital type it would look very plain and not so attractive to younge children.

An exhibition I would reccomend is the Alice in Wonderland exhibition at the tate gallery in Liverpool, which starts on the 5th november to the 29th January.
It goes through different adaptations of the story, illustrators/artists who have tried to make their own alice in wonderland pieces.
I love Alice in wonderland so I intend to go to this exhibition.

A film I would reccomend, is The Lovely Bones, very unusual film, thriller/drama/fantasy. About a young girl who gets murdered and she looks over her family and her murdered from an unusual place. Very strange film but I quite enjoyed it.

I'm not a very big reader so I do not have many books to recommend, but my favourite book ever is The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and other stories, by Tim Burton. Great book full of little poems written by Burton with strange unique characters also illustrated by him. Love it, massive fan of Tim Burton, just a quick little book that can be read in less than half an hour. I love the characters that much that I have 2 of them tattooed!

Monday, 3 October 2011

"Cute Illustration" Book from Monsa

Monsa Publication, publicated a magazine/book called 'Cute Illustration'. It contains illustrations from illustrators everywhere, cute images including some work from Tansy Myer who I contacted last year, we became friends on facebook and I have been spying on her since :)

I don't feel like I am all that great at drawing/illustrating people unless they are sketches, and even though me and Tansy have completely different styles of work I find her illustrations of girls, brilliant. They are unique and unusual. Some of her works are very sketchy and some very colourful and illustraty.
I love that most of the faces she illustrates are out of proportion, the eyes are always huge and dominating. All of the girls are slightly different, with hairstyles and clothing. Lots of detail are put into these girls which makes them interesting. Her use of colour is also fantastic and eye catching and works well with the drawings.

Tansy's work has also been published in a Computer Arts magazine, sex and design issue as some of her works are very feminine, looking at the naked female body. Also her work has been puslished in 'girly' magazines such as Cosmopolitan and teen vogue, her work has been used to advertise shoes and trainers such as sketchers and rocket dogs.

Tansy has agreed to look at some of my work and give me some feed back :)


I got bored :)

Zine project

Decided to do my zine publication on The day of the dead, Dia de los Muertos. I ended up creating a variety of skulls and putting them together in a hand made book. I chose to put together my book by hand as it shows my personality more, I'm not a very neat person so I didn't want my zine to look perfect and neat so I thought the best way would be for me to do it by hand.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Twinkle Cat

This is the cat i created on photoshop as my main character for my story, Twinkle. Using simple shapes and colours which kids will easily enjoy and recognise. I also decided to use simple shapes for the face, so things don't get too complacated or un-easy. Using textures in a similar way to Eric Carle.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Personal Project

For my personal project, I have decided to write a short childrens story and illustrate it, depending how long we get for the project in september, this will help me to work out how many pages i will be able to illustrate (hopefully the whole thing).
My story is about a Fat cat, who goes looking for some food to eat.
Heres the story:

Twinkle Twinkle Little Cat.

By Rebecca Hadfield

Twinkle is a cat, a very fat cat, who loves to eat cat food all day long. There is always lots of cat food in the kitchen for Twinkle to enjoy.

Other than eating, one of her favourite things to do is sleep, sleeping on the window sill or at the end of a nice comfy bed.

Twinkle lives in a house, with her owners, a little girl named Emily and her Mother. Twinkle loves it when they give her attention and also when they feed her lots of tasty cat food.

While having a little nap, Twinkle heard the front door slam shut. She ran to the window and saw Emily and her Mother getting into their car.

“I wonder where they’re going.” Twinkle thought to herself.

Then Twinkle started to hear a rumbling sound, a grin began to grow on her face as she knew the rumbling was coming from her tummy and that it was time to eat.

Twinkle ran down the stairs, “What’s for dinner? Chicken? Tuna? I wonder”.

Twinkle approached the kitchen but could not smell any delicious cat food, she could not smell any food at all.

She looked into her bowl and it was empty.

“Where’s my cat food?” Twinkle said, with a sad look on her face.

Twinkle’s tummy started to rumble even more than before.

A strange smell was coming through the cat flap, “I wonder if that’s my food” thought Twinkle, so she followed the smell outside into the neighbours garden, where she ran into Mr Scruffles the dog.

He was eating his bowl of dog food, Twinkle told Mr Scruffles how hungry she was and that there was no food in her house, so Mr Scruffles let her share his food, Twinkle’s face grew with happiness as she started to dig into the food.

After a mouthful of dog food, Twinkle spat the food out as she did not like it, “Thank you Mr Scuffles” Twinkle said, “But this food isn’t for me”.

Twinkle then heard some tweeting coming from the tree above, so she climbed the tree to see who it was. It was a little bird called Susie, she was feeding her babies in their tiny nest.

“Do you have any spare food” Asked Twinkle, “I’m ever so hungry and I have no food”. Susie replied, “Of course you can have some food” and gave Twinkle a long slimy worm. Twinkle swallowed the worm whole and her face went green. Susie offered her some more worms but Twinkle replied “Thank you, but this food is not for me”.

From the top of the tree, Twinkle spotted an ally cat routing in some dust bins. So she went down to see what was going on.

“What are you doing?” Twinkle asked the ally cat, “Looking for my lunch” he replied, while munching on some leftovers he had found in the bins.

Twinkle thought to herself, “This is definitely not for me”.

Her belly was rumbling louder and louder every minute, she really wanted some food to eat.

All of a sudden, she heard someone shouting her name, “TWINKLE, TWINKLE!”.

She ran back to her home, through the cat flap and in to the kitchen, there Emily was with many bags in her hand full of food.

She then poured some cat food into Twinkles bowl. “I bet you’re hungry” Emily said. Twinkle started to meow with happiness and she began to eat. She ate and ate until her tummy was full.

She then went for a nice long nap on Emily’s lap, while Emily stoked her head and started to sing.

Twinkle Twinkle, little cat,

How I wonder, why you’re fat

Eating cat food every day,

Poo-ing in the litter tray,

Twinkle Twinkle, little cat,

How I wonder why you’re fat.