My local art shop, The Art Side, opened a competition last month to find the new design for their shopping tote bags. After finding out all of the details I needed and what my limitations were, I drew some sketches for different ideas, mostly based around art supplies and local landmarks. From those sketches I chose to do a selection of artists materials because (a) their previous bag (by Diana Mazuru Hooper) was illustrated with a picture of Plymouth’s beloved turtle Snorkel so I didn’t want to do a lesser local-based idea and (b) because I’m always looking for accessories that are decorated with illustrations based on illustration as a topic.
Because I wanted to do illustration as the theme, I thought it would be great to use a hand-drawn rather than clean digital style. I drew lots (and I mean lots) of different individual materials, from spray cans and markers to sharpeners, erasers, paints and glue. Then I scanned and cleaned up my images a little, keeping the sketchy style. I played with my images and came up with different compositions, sketching thumbnails as I went along to find balance and a good assortment of items.
Finally I found an arrangement I was happy with, and I entered it into the competition. I waited for the results with excitement and nerves and guess what? I WON! (Slight spoiler in the title there..)
My prize, as well as being the designer of the shop’s new bags and getting to see my work being carried around by people (and I will definitely get one for myself!) was a Daler-Rowney Screenprinting kit. I have tried screenprinting before at a short Saturday Art & Design Club workshop and have wanted the chance to try it properly by myself for a while, and now I can play with my kit at home and learn more about the process.
I have also been wanting to get some of my designs screenprinted for a while but haven’t had the money to do it, so now I can practice and make test versions at home which will help me to make better decisions about whether to get any designs printed professionally. I have tried lino printing on bags before but the results didn’t last well through washing, unfortunately. Now I just need a couple of days in a row free to play with my new kit..
This is my last post on the Plymouth Uni BA (Hons) Illustration show, previous posts are here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4. This post features eight more of the artists who had work on display at the show.
Natalia Pątkiewicz (Instagram) takes inspiration from fantasy and sci-fi themes to design characters, environments and worlds to illustrate short stories and games. Natalia thoroughly explores her ideas about a character’s background, story, costume and expression.
Failures of Felix was one of the game jam projects from a jam I participated in locally. The jam only went on over 48 hours but Natalia still made time to take a lot of care over her character design and his background story.
Natalia’s sketchbooks were fascinating to look through and alongside her sketches they contain written story and character ideas, as well as her research notes. As a young illustrator, being able to look at some of the artists’ sketchbooks is one of the biggest benefits of going to the Graduate Shows. On the wall above Natalia’s sketchbooks were prints of some of her Daily Speedpainting Studies which each took between 30 minutes and 1 1/2 hours.
James Robinson (Instagram) specialises in portrait and editorial illustration. I like his work’s cartoony, yet carefully detailed style. The contrasted colours give a great impression of opposite sides or enemies.
Darius Gilbey is an editorial designer inspired by music, politics, and science. His Plymtek Poster design reminds me of sailor-style tattoo designs and graffiti art. I like how bunched up the main illustration is.
Another piece on display by Darius, titled Visual Metaphor and Editorial design, has a soft and warm feeling to it because of the airbrush style of shading and highlighting and the colours chosen. I like the way that the bright illuminated colours bring your eyes to the centre of the picture.
Calum Hanchett specialises in caricature illustration and often incorporates humour into his work. I really like the oil painting style of his caricatures and how carefully detailed they are.
Calum’s piece INK Journal illustration on the theme of Night reminds me of the natural environments in Studio Ghibli movies like Princess Mononoke, the long winding branches or vines give it a mystical feeling and I can imagine hidden creatures just out of sight.
Amber Dunsford (Instagram) specialises in editorial illustration based around and inspired by genetics. Her illustrations on display had a muted colour scheme, and she uses collage and print in her work.
This is my fourth post about the Plymouth University BA (Hons) Illustration show. Each post so far has looked at work from eight different illustrators. Here are my previous Posts – Part 1Part 2Part 3 (Edit – here is Part 5)
Christopher Reilly (Instagram) is a comic and book illustrator. His graphic novel Asclepius Origins is based on Greek mythology and the story of Apollo and Coronis. I really like his dark, rough, and sketchy style of drawing and it suits the dark story.
Jessica Parnell (Instagram) Is a creature creator who works with mixed media. Her character designs are brought to life in her three dimensional models, and they remind me of the puppets and characters of Jim Henson movies like The Dark Crystal. I can imagine the Kadoti chirping and trilling. Jessica’s work was completely unique across all the Graduate shows I went to this year.
Joanna Cole (Instagram) is an illustrator with a passion for nature and narrative. She had panels from a children’s book she was making on display. I love the muted colours and dreamlike, detailed watercolour work.
Lewis Collins (Instagram) is a sculptor and conceptual artist whose work is inspired by fantasy and sci-fi themes. His concept sketches showed amazing menacing creatures that would look great in a video game.
Matt Royhl (Instagram) specialises in editorial illustration. His work on display included illustrations he has made for different clients. I really like the way Matt uses contrasting shades of colours without outlining and smooth rounded edges.
Ellie Wilkinson’s (Instagram) illustration, design, and graphic work is inspired by social and political issues. I like the doodley style of her Fight your Cause pattern, and the way she has combined typography with colouring and simple shapes in Refugee makes a really strong statement.
Callum Cowie (Instagram) specialises in illustration for book covers and editorial and narrative design. His work has been inspired by the human condition, technology, and politics. His designs are bright and colourful, and made with lots of detail. The backgrounds in his illustrations help to get the message across, for example, in the first image below, the spirally background paired with the icons and notifications in front make me feel like i’m being sucked down a vortex..
Renee Sheppard (Instagram) works with print and collage to create surreal and dark interpretations of stories and films. I like the dark sketchy shading and lineart, and the stripes of blotchy colours on the mostly empty background.
I have one more post on the Illustration show to follow, plus a post on the BA (Hons) Graphic Communication with Typography Graduate Show at Plymouth University. They will both be up this week so keep visiting and make sure you check out all these artists on Instagram and their own websites! You can also see my own Instagram here.
This is my third post covering the Plymouth University BA (Hons) Illustration Graduate Show 2017. Previous posts are here: Part 1 & Part 2 (Edit – here is Part 4 and Part 5)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Bitshere (adult themes warning!).
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.
This is my second post covering the Plymouth University BA (Hons) Illustration Graduate Show 2017. (Edit – here is Part 1, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5)
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.
Laura’s wall at the exhibition was a huge display of each and every panel from Pumpkin Spice.
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.
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.
Kira Timpson (Instagram) uses soft friendly tones and happy-feeling colours to make engaging illustrations of interesting characters.
Lucy Hirst (Instagram) creates character designs. This project links animals with humans to create exaggerated and fun characters.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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. (Edit – here is Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5)
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.
Wallace Smith (Instagram) illustrates comics and zines. I like how Wallace has chosen colours reminiscent of a sunrise for his morning scene.
Anne Helene Åmo (Instagram) had on display this heavily detailed and quite sad scene which I found really emotional.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Another post with more from the exhibition will follow!