Art, reviews and thoughts from a young artist in Plymouth, UK.

Archive for June, 2017

About Zine Workshops and Gurt Noodle

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Flyer for my third Zine Workshop on 24th June

 

In April, I set up my first Zine Workshop in collaboration with MESH at ThinqTanq, Plymouth.  I didn’t charge a fee to take part because my intention was to introduce zinemaking to people who hadn’t tried it before as well as attract current zinemakers, and I thought it would be more likely people would want to come and have a go if it was free!  I created a  “zero” issue of my zine Gurt Noodle (issue one is in its early stages) to give out as a simple guide to zinemaking for people who had never done zinemaking before.  In this issue I included a brief history of zines, some ideas for new zinemakers (zinesters) and instructions on how to make a minizine.  You can look through my portfolio for this issue in the video below:

I chose to do my zine in a comic style because I am an illustrator who loves reading comics and drawing characters!  One of the characters is a comic version of myself and the other is one I invented.  I knew I would be printing in black and white (because of the costs involved) so I used different crosshatching styles to provide texture, shade and ‘colour’.  On the back cover I included a folding guide to make a minizine.  I packaged an A6 copy of Gurt Noodle Issue Zero with a minizine I had made earlier (each pack got either Robot Ads and Odd Creatures or The Tale Of The Girl Who Ordered Zelda: BOTW But Could Not Play It Because The Console Broke) and a handmade Gurt Noodle badge in a clear plastic envelope.

 

 

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My Gurt Noodle Issue Zero package

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My flyer for the first Zine Workshop was based on the cover for Gurt Noodle Issue Zero

Around 14 people took part in the first workshop, including some professional local illustrators and a number of young artists.  A few participants had made zines before but others weren’t completely sure what a zine was.  Everyone seemed to like my Gurt Noodle package (I have now given away around 200 of these all over Plymouth!).  At the workshop I demonstrated how to fold a minizine and helped some of the participants to come up with ideas.  I also made a few minizines myself.

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Minizines and tiny zines that I made at the first Zine Workshop

As we worked, we shared and passed around the zines we had made or were still working on.  Everyone made at least one design for a badge, and I used my badge-making machine (a birthday present!) to make those into badges that they could wear home.  At the end of the workshop the feedback was really good and everyone wanted to come back again.  Most of the participants had made minizines on topics as diverse as The Short Lived Life of Hairyworm John or How To Function As A Human BeingWe left with bundles of minizines and ideas for our next projects and I felt the entire workshop had been a huge success!

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My illustration for the second Zine Workshop flyer was based on the design of my Tippa typewriter

In May, I organised a second workshop, again supported by MESH. This time, I had to charge a small entry fee towards the (discounted by ThinqTanq) venue hire, MESH provided snacks and drinks, and I brought all my zinemaking resources from home to share (vintage typewriters, white paper, black pens, scissors, stapler etc).  I made a new flyer (above) and this time I drew a typewriter as I was hoping to entice some writers into coming along, to hopefully provoke some collaborative work between them and the illustrators who were already planning to come.

Again there were around fourteen participants but not exactly the same people – a couple of different professional illustrators came to take part and a couple of new young people came to give zinemaking a try, but for the most part the participants from the first workshop came back again.  Although I was intending to introduce some teamwork exercises, unfortunately I didn’t have a very good plan to encourage work crossovers and collaborations, and no new writers came along.  It didn’t seem to matter though as everyone seemed quite happy with the work they were doing and with the workspace. I have also collected quite a decent collection of zines (mostly perzines or comic style zines, and many are by local zinesters) for my Zine Library (available to browse at the workshops) and the participants seemed to really enjoy looking through those.

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Some minizines made by participants at the second Zine Workshop

This time the (many!) minizines made by participants included Perfect Pairs, The 90’s: Yay or Nay, Spider and The Many Artstyles Of Me.  I made some more minizines of my own including Link Responds To Things and Periods Suck. My brother also finished his first solo zine Sweet Tooth that he started before the first workshop and I added a copy to the Zine Library.

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My flyer for the June Zine Workshop

 

 

The next Zine Workshop is on the 24th June (TOMORROW!).  I plan to take along some short creative exercises for anyone who would like to try those.  I would like to collaborate with some of the other participants on a project, so I am taking some ideas for how we could do that. I hope that previous participants come back and that new people join us!

There is a fee of £2 towards the venue hire, but there will be tea, coffee, biscuits, and zinemaking resources (such as paper, spare pens and pencils, scissors, and glue) all there to use for free.  I will also be taking my badge machine (making a badge will cost 50p to cover the cost of the materials) and more copies of my Gurt Noodle Issue Zero for anyone who doesn’t have one yet!  If you or anyone you know may be interested, you can find more details and book on the MESH Eventbrite link or you can contact me via email or Instagram.

 

Thank you to:

MESH and ThinqTanq for supporting these workshops

The Art Side, Final Frontier, Make, PCA and the Peninsula Gallery for allowing me to put flyers in their windows or flyer displays

and to Everyone who has participated in the workshops so far!

 

 

 

 

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Illustration at PCA Summer Show #BreakingThrough17

Last week I went to have an in depth look around the BA (Hons) Illustration rooms at the PCA Summer Show.  I have written previously about the BA (Hons) Game Arts exhibition and the BA (Hons) Animation exhibition (click the links for my posts).

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Sophie Clark – Sensory Monsters

Though Sophie Clark‘s main work is centred around illustration (and some pattern designs) the project that she has been working on and has displayed at the Show includes these cute, fluffy, hand made monster toys.  The monsters come from the children’s book she has been working on, There are Monsters in My Head.  The ears of the cuddly monsters crinkle and the large one has a squeaker and a rattle.  My little sister (who is nearly three) really loved these toys and was fascinated with them.

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Jake Cutler – King Arthur Narrative Concept Art

Jake Cutler‘s concept art on the story of King Arthur makes me feel like the environments he has illustrated are cold and mysterious.  My favourite image is the illustration on the top left.  I love the way the distant cliffs and mountains are covered in mist but you can still see there is a ravine down the middle..  What could be in there?

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Nathaniel J. Hall – Sunshine

I talked to Nathaniel J. Hall while at the college about his artwork and about his experience on the course.  He mentioned that an animation he created (also on display) was inspired by his “thoughts and feelings about coming to Plymouth” and pointed out that the animation starts off with negative words and illustrations but gradually becomes happier and more positive.  He also told me that before enrolling in the Illustration course, Nathaniel visited and looked around a previous Summer Show at PCA and was inspired by what he saw.  His artwork is normally monochromatic, and Sunshine is one of three screenprints on display inspired by his favourite films.  I love how this one is dramatic, like an explosion.

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Anita Yip – The Guardian’s Contract

 

Anita Yip‘s work is inspired by anime and manga, and she incorporates lots of geometric shapes into the backgrounds and characters that she illustrates.  A lot of her characters also have animal traits or features, for example this character is wolf-like.  Anita also has on display prints covered in tiny hieroglyphic symbols, and her zine Meep! which tells a funny and endearing glimpse of her life.

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Joe Mouzourus – Reel Women

Joe Mouzourus was also available to speak to when I visited.  Joe said he has “always wanted to be an artist since secondary school and that with illustration, “you can go in any direction”.  Joe has displayed a collection of posters of films with strong female leads, including this one of Rey from Star Wars VII.  I really like the dry brush style background and in the foreground it looks like he’s used pencils to create a detailed, shaded sketch which really stands out.

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Nicola Owen – My Visit to Grandma

Nicola Owen‘s work has cute and simple lineart, colouring and shading.  This display contains pages from her comic My Visit To Grandma.  The artwork is adorable but the story is really sad and thought provoking.  Nicola also has some minizines/comics on display and her overlapping cat pattern is clever and humorous.

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Cosmo Lloyd – Uprooting/Dragon Slaying Character Designs

Cosmo Lloyd‘s work is inspired by medieval and fantasy themes, and her work centres a lot around character design and comic art.  She is the author of a webcomic called Uprooting, which is about “self worth and family issues with a sprinkle of medieval” and a printed preview of Uprooting is on display at the Show.  She uses lots of colours in her work, and creates very detailed and well developed character concepts.

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Briony Difford – Asian Folktales

Briony Difford specialises in illustrating book covers, and her work is inspired by Asian folktales.  Her illustrations are beautiful and detailed, yet she keeps her colouring simple by using separate individual shades, and leaving out any highlights or shadows.

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Stephanie Parnell – Legs Occult: Dark Rituals

Stephanie Parnell made this artwork for a small vinyl record sleeve (also on display was a poster version of the same piece).  I find Legs Occult: Dark Rituals creepy and dark but also beautiful.

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Amber-Louise Crawford – Untitled

Amber-Louise Crawford’s creature illustrations are full of life.  She combines simple, sketchy lineart with heavily shaded and blended colouring.  This creature in the photo above looks like a forest spirit.

There are so many artists I haven’t covered in this post who had work on display, but today is the final day of the exhibition and I wanted to show how brilliant the work on display is so that if you’re interested in the Summer Show, you can take this last chance to check it out for yourself!  I will most likely write a second post about the Illustration show later covering some of the things I missed here, so come back later to look for that.

 

Animation at PCA Summer Show #BreakingThrough17

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PCA BA (Hons) Animation – Poster

This is my second post from the PCA Summer Show #BreakingThrough17 and is about the work on the display in the Animation room.  My previous post was about the work in the Game Arts room.

**I am sorry about my bad quality photos but it is hard to take pictures in the Animation room as there is not much light so that visitors can watch the films!  And I only have my phone camera so..**

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Still from Migaloo by Sophie Oliver

 

BA (Hons) Animation

When I visited the Animation room I was lucky to speak with graduating students Tim Howe and Bram Whitford.  They explained to me that the first year of the degree course was quite experimental, in the second year they started to specialise and took part in a big project with the other Animation students, and in the third year they specialised further and worked on their final projects.  Tim said that students can “start from zero on this course and develop their skills” and Bram explained that students are “encouraged to experiment on this course and explore their strengths”.

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Still from Jerome by Time Howe

They both said that students are able to practice at different roles to see what suits them, for example directing or creating assets, and they are encouraged to collaborate with students from other departments in the college (some collaborated with Plymouth University students too).  Bram said that the course covered a lot of different styles of animation as well as business and practical skills.  Now that they have finished their degrees, Bram plans to focus on running his own illustration company, and Tim is hoping to do more CGI animation work.

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Model from Catawampus by Jessica Mehler

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Models from Catawampus by Jessica Mehler

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Poster featuring stills from Catawampus by Jessica Mehler

Jessica Mehler is a 2D and Stop-motion animator.  For her animation Catawampus she has created beautiful models, she has even hand sewn the clothes worn by her characters.  Jessica’s attention to detail is incredible and she has put a lot of her models on display at the exhibition.  There is a whole miniature house to look inside, with tiny food and crockery and furniture, and faces featuring different expressions for her main character.  Jessica collaborated with filmmaker Julia Claxton on the design and building of the set for Catawampus.  The story is about a young girl who gets lost in the woods and finds a mysterious cabin.  The animation is of extremely high quality and was one of my favourite pieces in the Animation degree show. Watch a trailer for Catawampus here.

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Still from Goldi And Red by Larisa Cleaver

Larisa Cleaver has put a twist on the stories of Red Riding Hood and Goldilocks in her animation Goldi And Red.  The style is really cute, using paper cutouts and split pin joints.  The movement of the characters and scenery are really exaggerated like puppets and this makes the animation seem playful.  The story is fun and I think that younger girls especially would enjoy it.  Watch a trailer for Goldi And Red here.

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Still from Ava by Libby Durose

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Badges and illustrations by Libby Durose

Libby (LJ) Durose is an illustrator and animator and her work on display includes badges and her animation Ava.  In Ava a young girl is chased by bullies and thrown into a well, then is befriended by a mysterious girl, who might be a ghost?  Ava was another of my favourite pieces in the Animation degree show and I would like to see a longer project or even series of shorts based on these characters.  The style is sketchy pen in black and white, it looks influenced by anime and the shadow work is really good.  Watch a trailer for Ava here.

Libby’s badge designs are closeups of pen sketched faces and I plan to get one on my next visit to the exhibition.  She also does ink portrait commissions and her artwork is in a detailed comic style, contact her by email.

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Still from Jerome by Tim Howe

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Models from Jerome by Tim Howe

Tim Howe originally specialised in stop-motion but is now working in CGI.  His animation Jerome is a stop-motion animation about a man and his dog.  Sort of.  It has a really unexpected ending which young children might find a bit disturbing, so beware!  The story is strange but darkly humourous.  Tim’s models are made from oven hardened clay and wire and have a lot of personality.  He has also used action figures in parts of the film.  Watch Jerome here.

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Still from Migaloo by Sophie Oliver

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Still from Migaloo by Sophie Oliver

Sophie Oliver is a 2D Animator and her animation Migaloo has painted backgrounds and uses flowing fabric to create a wavy effect.  The story is based at sea, a young diver is carried away by the current and helped by a giant whale.  The style reminded me of Eric Carle’s story books and the animation was gently flowing.  I really enjoyed how the music began smooth and calm and picked up pace and became more frantic when she was swept away.  Watch Migaloo here.

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Still from animation by Bram Whitford

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Still from animation by Bram Whitford

Bram Whitford is an illustrator and animator.  His animation is about a young person who finds an old top hat in an attic which attaches itself to their head.  It seems like an origin story for a crime-fighting hero or villain.  It was a funny short animation and I like the simple but cute artwork.  Unfortunately I couldn’t find a link to it to share here!

There is more to see in the Animation room and even just seeing the models used in Catawampus and Jerome are really worth the visit.  Allow at least half an hour to watch all the animation pieces which are being shown on a loop projected on a large screen.  The PCA Summer Show  is on until the 22nd June and the Animation room is on the first floor, next door to Game Arts.  The Tavistock Place campus is also having an Open Day this Saturday 17th June so if you are interested in their Foundation, Undergraduate or Postgraduate courses you should go.

Game Arts at PCA Summer Show #BreakingThrough17

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Andrew Cole – Hero Brawl – Concept Art

Last weekend, Plymouth College of Art opened their main campus to the public for a huge exhibition of work by their students.  The college holds a Summer Show every year to show work from the students who are graduating that year.  I try to go and see as much of the Show as I can because it is great to meet the artists and talk to them about their work, to learn about what the courses are like, and to see so many different styles and forms of artwork.  I will be trying to cover as much of this year’s Show #BreakingThrough17 as possible this year but as there is so much I will be doing it across different blogposts.  This one is about the Game Arts room on the first floor.

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Sarah Damo – Wonder Seekers – Artbook and 3D printed robot

BA (Hons) Game Arts

The projects on display range from interactive VR prototype games to character design work and projects with more focus on story development.  I wore a VR headset and experienced being in a virtual spaceship as it flew around a space station and dodged meteorites as the creator, Jake Kay, piloted it using the keyboard.  Jake’s simulation of being in space felt realistic and I could look at stars and a planet and asteroids all around me.  I felt a bit unbalanced when I took off the headset but I would like to try out more VR projects because they really can give the sense of being in a different world.

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Jake Kay – Back to the Station – Render art

Jake said his project took around four months to model and code and was inspired by other games he enjoys like Elite Dangerous and Star Citizen.  He said he had “lots of fun” on the course and he hopes to find work as an environmental artist in the future.

There are other environmental modelling projects on display in the room.  One is an interactive VR experience called House Vr by Lucy Kisielewska, where the player is able to move around with teleportation (in a similar way to Google Streetview) and pick up and throw objects like cushions and cans using handheld controllers which show up in the VR simulation as a pair of hands.

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Lucy Kisielewska – House VR – Monitor view

I also watched video of a 3-dimensional courtyard built by Amy Watson complete with houses, wagons and a well.

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Amy Watson – Unlockable Dreams – Full display

One of my favourite projects in the Game Arts room is Sarah Damo’s Wonder Seekers.  She has some beautiful concept artwork on display as well as a 3D printed model of a robot, an art book, and a video of short animated scenes.  Sarah told me that Wonder Seekers is about “the story of a girl and a parrot in a post-apocalyptic world full of marvels” and that she wanted to do something “a bit different” by creating a post-apocalyptic world that “isn’t dark”.

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Sarah Damo – Wonder Seekers – Artwork

Sarah explained that her work is inspired by many things, including Romanticism, Impressionism and 90’s cartoons.  She works using Photoshop and creates short animations with After Effects.  She showed me how she had deliberately placed a three-dimensional robot character on a two-dimensional background drawing in order to make the character stand out.

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Sarah Damo – Wonder Seekers – Full display

Not all the concepts on display are for video games.  Jack Challoner has created bright and colourful artwork for his card game design project The Art Of Restrict.  I read through his detailed explanation of his decision making and artistic process designing monsters.  He thought about real creatures in our world and incorporated some of their anatomical features into his invented creatures to make them more believable.  He has thought deeply about colour, shape, environment, movement, and behaviour.

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Jack Challoner – The Art Of Restrict – Artwork

Another project I was really impressed by was Hero Brawl by Andrew Cole who has designed characters for a “team brawler” video game.  Andrew has carefully explained every stage of his character design process in an artbook, including how he attempted to emulate the style of Norman Rockwell’s character paintings and how he has combined elements of  Steampunk, Samurai, Medieval and Nazi armour and clothing to create his character designs.

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Andrew Cole – Hero Brawl – Page from the Artbook

The artbook for Hero Brawl really showed how much work goes into character design – Andrew identified an aesthetic style that fits the concept, did lots of drawing and painting exercises using stock images to get a feel for that style, studied history for ideas and inspiration, and painted characters and costumes from all directions.  I would like to see more books like this one published regardless of whether the games are made or not as they are a really interesting insight into how the artist works and into character design.  I hope that PCA is able to keep copies of these Artbooks for their library because I would like to have a much longer look at them.

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Andrew Cole – Hero Brawl – Full display

There is lots more in the room to see but unfortunately I can’t cover everything and some of the work is interactive so it is best experienced for yourself!  You can visit the PCA Summer Show until the 22nd June and the Game Arts room is on the first floor.  The Tavistock Place campus is also having an Open Day this Saturday 17th June so if you are interested in their Foundation, Undergraduate or Postgraduate courses you should go!

 

Land/Sea exhibition

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A pebble plastiglomerate.  Here, plastic has fused lots of pebbles together, and I thought it looked like it could be ore or materials from space.

In April, I went to the Plymouth Arts Centre and had a look around Mike Perry’s exhibition, Land/Sea.  This is a photography exhibition that takes a look at the environmental issue of our oceans becoming polluted by trash dumped by people.

The exhibition is set out across several rooms.  The first room is filled with photographs of old and tattered shoes that Mike Perry found washed up on the Pembrokeshire coast.  Each picture focuses up close on an individual shoe.  Some were so deteriorated, they weren’t recognisable as shoes to me!

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This shoe sole looks like a rocky cliff wall.

The second room has images of assorted junk like broken plastic crates, shredded bin bags, and more.  It is linked directly to a smaller room with a display case filled with lumps of plastic that has fused with nets and other bits of plastic, and then been broken down by the sea until the pieces look like natural rocks.

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Some of these are obviously plastic lumps (like the big blue chunk in the middle of this photo) but a few look so similar to normal rocks anyone could mistake them for the real thing.

There is also a short documentary Môr Plastig by Eiler Pierce playing that shows clips of Mike Perry talking about his work and working through the stages of finding, examining and photographing the different objects.

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A broken piece of a pink plastic crate, covered in some kind of mold or vegetation..  It made me think of ship wrecks.

The fourth room has lots of photos of old, empty plastic bottles.  Some of these have such unusual colours and shapes, they could be from all over the world.

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My favourite is the red bottle in the top right corner.  It looks like it could have been a poster paint bottle.

The final room contained large landscape photos of British moors and mountains that have been deforested.  To me, these landscapes looked like they could be on an alien planet.

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This landscape photo gives me a mysterious and miserable vibe.

Land/Sea will be open until the 17th of June at the Plymouth Arts Centre, and I definitely recommend a visit.

 

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