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

Archive for July, 2017

Illustration at the Plymouth University Graduate Show 2017 – Part 3

This is my third post covering the Plymouth University BA (Hons) Illustration Graduate Show 2017.   Previous posts are here: Part 1 & Part 2

Sophie Downer (Instagram) is an illustrator specialising in character creation.  I really liked her fan art illustration of Eleven from Stranger Things which communicates the mysterious atmosphere of the story well.

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Illustration by Sophie Downer

Christie Wills’ (Instagram) work is very much centred around wildlife, and she creates illustrations with soft, sketchy lines and calm, muted colours.  I met Christie last year at the Plymouth Arts Weekender and really liked her papercut and watercolour art.

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Observational Drawings by Christie Wills

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Deforestation – Painting by Christie Wills

Lily Byron-Martin (Instagram) is an illustrator creating sketchy-style portraits and animations.  She also does branding and design for business.  Her work for Drift Records is really eye-catching and cool.

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Drift Records – Designs by Lily Byron-Martin

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Gifs – Animation frames by Lily Byron-Martin

Lauren Ogbourne (Instagram) specialises in designing patterns, logos and other artwork for events and small businesses.  She has created some really cute and charming designs, like this bear enjoying beer for a craft beer label, and uses different styles throughout her work depending on the project.

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Huggons – Illustration by Lauren Ogbourne

Briony Trott specialises in watercolour and children’s marketing. Her artwork for her picture book uses flashes of strong, bright colours and lots of curvy, wavy lines which gives her characters lots of life.

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One Day I Went To The Library –  Picture book illustrations by Briony Trott

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A page from One Day I Went To The Library by Briony Trott

Hannah Bone (Instagram) has a really pretty, cartoony style and uses a lot of warm shades and colours.  Her work on display was narrative based, and focused around children’s books.

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My Grandmother is an Alien! – Character Design for a picture book by Hannah Bone

I like how Hannah uses only a small range of colours in The Magic of the Gallery to draw attention to the artists and their work.

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The Magic of the Gallery – Picture book illustration by Hannah Bone

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The Magic of the Gallery – Picture book illustration by Hannah Bone

Anna Bowen (Instagram) creates humourous illustrations with simple linework.  Her caricatures of people on social media in her zine Social Media-ing are hilarious and I really wanted to get a copy, but unfortunately they weren’t available at the Show’s pop up shop!  I was gutted about this because Social Media-ing is one of the most enjoyable zines I’ve read this year.  You can read Anna’s very funny comic Counting Bits here (adult themes warning!).

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Social Media-ing – Zine by Anna Bowen

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Illustrations from Social Media-ing by Anna Bowen

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Exhibition display from Anna Bowen

Lizzie Day (Instagram) specialises in detailed papercut artwork, individually hand cut.  Her piece at the exhibition was based on Greek mythology and showed each of The Twelve Labours of Heracles as if it were on a piece of Ancient Greek pottery.

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The Twelve Labours of Heracles – Wall display of illustration work by Lizzie Day

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Detail from The Twelve Labours of Heracles by Lizzie Day

More to follow!

July Zine Workshop

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My flyer for the July Workshop

Next week will be my fourth Zine Workshop!  Here are the details:

ZINE WORKSHOP

Saturday 29th July, 1 to 5 pm, £2 entry

@ THINQTANQ, Central Plymouth

Book online at: tcnv.re/zineworkshop

You can read about previous zine workshops here..

 

Illustration at the Plymouth University Graduate Show 2017 – Part 2

This is my second post covering the Plymouth University BA (Hons) Illustration Graduate Show 2017.  Part 1 is here

Laura Hole (Instagram) is a webcomic and zine creator.  I managed to get a copy of Pumpkin Spice from the pop-up shop selling work by the artists exhibiting at the Show which is now in our Zine Library.  You can also read the comic on her website.  Laura’s work is colourful and enchanting.

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Pumpkin Spice – Webcomic and Zine by Laura Hole

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A page from Pumpkin Spice by Laura Hole

Laura’s wall at the exhibition was a huge display of each and every panel from Pumpkin Spice.

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Exhibition display of Pumpkin Spice by Laura Hole

Sophie Ridley (Instagram) is an illustrator whose work provides social commentary on modern life.  This project was really inventive, with the story told through phone-shaped frames and dialogue shown in messaging apps.

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Love at First Swipe – Illustrations exploring online dating by Sophie Ridley

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Two frames from Love at First Swipe by Sophie Ridley

Thomas Simpson (Instagram) draws incredibly detailed illustrations of wildlife.  This page is from his zine Woodland Birds.  Thomas had some fantastic examples of his work on display, unfortunately I couldn’t get good pictures of them as they were in glass frames which reflected the light behind me.  I hope I get another chance to see his work on display, I really like his crosshatching and shading which gives a lot of depth to his illustrations.

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A page from Woodland Birds – Zine by Thomas Simpson

Kira Timpson (Instagram) uses soft friendly tones and happy-feeling colours to make engaging illustrations of interesting characters.

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On the theme of night – Ink Journal piece by Kira Timpson

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For an Eden Project calendar – Illustration by Kira Timpson

Lucy Hirst (Instagram) creates character designs.  This project links animals with humans to create exaggerated and fun characters.

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Humans & Animals – Character Design by Lucy Hirst

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Humans & Animals – Character Designs by Lucy Hirst

One of the benefits of going to Graduate Shows is that some of the artists include their sketchbooks in their displays.  Lucy included several thick and full sketchbooks for visitors to look through in her section of the exhibition and I found these as fascinating as the finished work on display around the room.  It is really good to see the working process of artists and how their designs progress.  I would love to go to an exhibition based completely around artists sketchbooks like these.

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Sketchbook pages by Lucy Hirst

Annie Gordon (Instagram) is a character designer and animator.  Her character design work gives a good range of expressions and poses and this project had a dark and moody atmosphere.

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Search and Rescue – Character Design by Annie Gordon

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Frames from Search and Rescue – Animation by Annie Gordon

Dawn Louise Sims (Instagram) had on display these scratchy and scary images of hairy toothy creatures and a girl.  Other work of Dawn’s included nautical themed work exploring mythical beasts and stories.  I would highly recommend a visit to her website to see more of her work, including this illustration of the Kraken attacking Winstanley’s Eddystone Lighthouse.

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Illustration by Dawn Louise Sims

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Illustration by Dawn Louise Sims

Tara Prudden (Instagram) combines prints of text and images to create powerful illustrations.  I really liked her zine about Secret Pocket Poetry which was filled with faded and shattered imagery.

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A page from Secret Pocket Poetry – Zine by Tara Prudden

Unfortunately Tara’s zine was not available to buy in the pop-up shop.  This is usually the case for many of the comics, zines and picture books on display at Graduate Shows, as they are final projects and not necessarily produced for sale.  This also means that the only chance most of us will have to view these publications is by visiting the Shows in person.

Another post will follow featuring eight more artists!

Illustration at the Plymouth University Graduate Show 2017 – Part 1

A month ago I went to the BA (Hons) Illustration show at Plymouth University.  There was so much there that I loved that I won’t be able to fit into one blogpost, so here is the first of my posts on the exhibition.

The Illustration degree at Plymouth University encourages students to experiment with animation, comics, and illustration for commercial products like cards and labels.  This is different from the approach at PCA where you choose a specific pathway for your degree from the beginning, e.g. BA (Hons) Animation.  Below are some of my photos of different artist’s work.

Rebecca Hughes had several storyboards on display as well as a monitor showing her animations.  I like the simply drawn characters and warm colours.

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Stars – Storyboard for animation by Rebecca Hughes

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Dreamweaver – Storyboard for animation by Rebecca Hughes

Wallace Smith (Instagram) illustrates comics and zines.  I like how Wallace has chosen colours reminiscent of a sunrise for his morning scene.

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Comics and zines by Wallace Smith

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Morning/Evening – Comic by Wallace Smith

Anne Helene Åmo (Instagram) had on display this heavily detailed and quite sad scene which I found really emotional.

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I found you in sunlight, lost you at midnight – Ink Journal project by Anne Helene Åmo

Emily Mead (Instagram) does greetings cards illustrations with a humorous tone.  The colouring looks like it could have been done in watercolour and the inking on the second image below has a cool, sketchy texture to it.

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Design for a men’s birthday card by Emily Mead

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Christmas card design by Emily Mead

Chris Perry (Instagram) had on display some dramatic and creepy linocut pieces which illustrate a picture book.  I think the two-tone artwork is very striking.

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Page from Yokai & I – Linocut picture book by Chris Perry

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Page from Yokai & I – Linocut picture book by Chris Perry

Frankie Hill (Instagram) illustrated the walls of their display with an enormous creature which really stood out.  I like the different shading techniques they used on their pen drawing of a character with horns and it would make a great t-shirt print.

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In One’s Mind – Illustrations by Frankie Hill

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In One’s Mind – Illustration by Frankie Hill

Hannah Cavaney had character and concept art on display.  When I look at the image below I feel like I have been on a journey and the end is in sight.  The character below is cute and her different expressions make her look confident and opinionated.

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Concept art by Hannah Cavaney

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Character Designs for a project on the legend of King Arthur by Hannah Cavaney

Verity Robson (Instagram) has illustrated a picture book about bereavement called Letters to Dad.  Her simple artwork and messages give the effect of being drawn by a child and help make sense of a really difficult subject.

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Letters to Dad – A picture book by Verity Robson

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A page from Letters to Dad – A picture book by Verity Robson

Another post with more from the exhibition will follow!

 

YEA Plymouth

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My flyer for YEA Plymouth

I’ve been working on a really exciting project called YEA Plymouth for the past few months, it is a new independent organisation for young emerging artists, and you can read all about it in my blog post on the YEA Plymouth wordpress site!

Bratpop gig poster design

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My poster design for a local music gig.

I was commissioned to design a poster for a gig which I am going to be performing at (I play guitar).  The specification was for a ’90s theme and to get it done asap!  I started the project by researching ’90s gig posters.  I used Google images and Pinterest and asked my parents what they remembered from that time.

 

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Screenshot from a Google image search for 90s gig posters.

I noticed that the posters were usually on brightly coloured paper or had bright designs, often with simple lettering and striking single images in clashing colours.  I found a few posters with a similar yellow-orange-red colour scheme which I liked and decided to try using something like that myself.

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Posters with a yellow-orange-red colour scheme.

I started to sketch some design ideas to use as the central image on the poster.  I tried sketching band instruments, rock hand gestures, and a “back in time” clock doodle (my sketchbook page is on the right below).  As I played with my sketches I decided I liked the hands rising from the ground and I thought of them as zombie hands (bottom right) in front of a big bass drum moon.  I decided to also draw this sketch in white ink on black paper to see if it looked more interesting that way (on the left below in my black paper sketchbook).

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First sketchbook pages for the poster image.

I then drew out my design images bigger on white paper for scanning (first in pencil, then in pen using my lightbox) as I had decided to use Photoshop to put together the full poster design.  I did the hands and the drums separately so I could layer them and move them around as individual elements.

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Hands pencil sketches.

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Hands inked using my lightbox.

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One large hand from pencil to simple and more bold inkings.

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“Moon” drum kit in pencil sketch then inked.

I also started playing with lettering.  The bands were asked to come up with a name for the show and one of my friends suggested Bratpop, as a play on the ’90s Britpop movement.  This was chosen as the gig title, and I was given the rest of the text to be included on the poster.

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Sketches playing with parody band names and lettering from original gig posters.

I hadn’t designed a gig poster before so I had to find information about scaling and file size.  Erin (the woman who commissioned the poster) asked that it be printable at A4 and A3 so I consulted the poster artwork spec sheet here and set up a new file on Photoshop.  I edited my uploaded images that I wanted to use and put them into separate layers, and I dragged them into different arrangements so I could see how they looked.

After choosing where I wanted the illustrations I chose what colours to use.  I chose a yellow background, which I would add an orangey-red pattern to later and added a black border.  Then I chose a blue shade for the hands thinking of my zombie idea and so that it would clash with the background shade.  The hands were in three layers – light blue main, darker blue shadow, and black outline – and I chose to keep the drums as an outline only so that the hands would stand out.

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Border, background, hands, and drums layers in Photoshop.

I noticed that the text used in a lot of ’90s gig posters had the title in large letters along the top, and the rest of the information was squashed up at the bottom.  Often the text was in two colours only and swapped their colours in alternating lines (so light against dark, then dark against light).

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’90s band posters with examples of lettering.

I added the information text to the poster using this style, and also added the logo for the venue.  I wanted to hand draw the gig title but didn’t have enough time (I was only given a short time to make the poster).

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Poster with the necessary information added.

I researched grungy styles in text and textures, and found that a lot of the text was messy, blobby or cracked.  I decided to add a crackly texture to the show title, and I used a youtube tutorial on distressed text to figure out how to do it myself. I used all lower case characters because popular Britpop bands like Blur, Oasis, Pulp, Suede, and Elastica all used lower case in their band logos.

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My Bratpop gig logo for the top of the poster.

Finally, I needed to create the background pattern.  I found out using another youtube tutorial how to make a halftone colour effect in Photoshop to make the background seem more interesting and have a grungy pattern.  I created a new layer and applied the effect  from the left and right edges using an orangey shade to transparent, which was layered on top of the yellow background.  Finally I brought all the elements together and saved my poster as cmyk files for printing and rgb files for sharing online.

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My final poster design for the Bratpop gig.

I think this project went really well even though I only had a week or so to get it done.  I think the style looks close to other ’90s gig posters and I learned quite a lot from the project, including how to make halftone effects (which I think I’ll find useful for zinemaking) and how to do a distressed text effect.

If you are in or near Plymouth please come along to the gig and share the info with your friends!

 

 

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