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.