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

Posts tagged ‘Plymouth University’

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!

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!

 

Plymouth University Illustration Years One and Two Show at RWY

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Poster for the Plymouth University Illustration Years One and Two Show 2017.

On Friday I went to the Opening event for the Plymouth University Illustration Years One and Two Show at Victuals Cafe at Royal William Yard.  The artworks are printed onto long strips of paper hung from the ceiling in double-sided rows so you can walk up and down between them like alleyways of artwork.  I met several of the illustrators whose work is on display and saw a lot of different styles of work.

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Illustration by Isabelle Hobbs

Isabelle Hobbs is a second year student and she says she usually works on till rolls to make long streams of art.  She told me she focuses on drawing women and their faces, hair and outfits and said “subconsciously I think I draw myself a lot”.  She said that for her “doodling is a natural process, like breathing”.  I like how in some areas Isabelle puts in lots of detail but in other areas her drawing is really simple.

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Jennie Scampton’s comic illustrated inside a sarcophagus.  In the background are illustrations on the glass window by Isabelle Hobbs.

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Detail from Jennie Scampton’s comic

Jennie Scampton‘s piece was for a project on narrative sequence and is the first comic she has made.   She said “I love anything to do with legends, myths and history” and so she chose to draw her comic about the Egyptian Gods onto a real papyrus scroll and within the shape of a sarcophagus.  Jennie’s comic is really cleverly done and the story is very funny.

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Psychotropics by Seren Pascoe-Davies

Seren Pascoe-Davies’ said she did her colourful piece Psychotropics on the theme of Visions.  She drew the line art on A3 paper then added colour using a tablet and Photoshop.  I like the colours she has chosen which work really well together and her curly line work.  The piece feels very dreamlike.

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Illustration by Iona Desouza

Iona Desouza told me that she is interested in rural traditions and “things being lost”.  I like how this illustration is quite busy with layers of pencil drawn objects on top of each other.

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Comic by Keir Nicholson

Keir Nicholson‘s comic focuses on a character called Steve the Robot.  Keir described how in his comic Steve goes to work on a normal day but that “his day takes a turn for the worst” and that the story “is about how terrorism can strike at any time”.  I like the limited colour palette Keir has chosen to use and his cute character.

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Illustration by Sophie Mahadevan

Sophie Mahadevan has two pieces on display.  She described the process of making this print to me, and it is a complicated process involving etching on to a copper plate then dipping the plate into acid multiple times to create layers of depth and make the print look three-dimensional.  She said she had never tried this before and she really enjoyed how the first year of her course was very experimental.  I think the tones of blue used in this make the piece seem melancholy.

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Illustration by Chloe Drage

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Detail from Chloe Drage’s illustration

Chloe Drage‘s piece on display is very peaceful and she told me that her goal was to “use nature to tackle depression”.  She usually works in pencil and said “I don’t usually work digitally, so I stepped out of my comfort zone” when working on this piece.  This was my favourite piece in the exhibition and I think this piece would be great concept art for the opening of a video game.  It is calm but mysterious, I wonder if she is a tiny girl on normal sized lily pads or a normal sized girl in a world of giants.

This exhibition is on until the 22nd of May and anyone interested in illustration or what young artists are making in Plymouth should try to go along and see it themselves.  I want to thank all of the artists above for speaking to me about their work. Thank you also to John Kilburn and Ashley Potter who spoke to me about the exhibition and are Plymouth University BA Hons Illustration tutors.

Some of the other pieces I enjoyed at the exhibition are pictured below but unfortunately I didn’t get to meet these artists.  I would be happy to add credit for the art and a link to all of the artists in my photographs below, just contact me and I will edit my post 😀

Edited to add:  The illustrations below are by Plymouth University students Daniele Caruso, Elise Arden-Trew, Sophie Evans, and Millicent Venton.

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Illustration by Daniele Caruso

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Character by Elise Arden-Trew

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Comic by Sophie Evans

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Illustration by a Plymouth University student

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Illustration by Daniele Caruso

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Illustration by Millicent Venton

 

 

Here and Now Exhibition

On the 30th April I visited the final part of the four Home Grown exhibitions held at Ocean Studios which was called Here And Now.  The artists who took part in this exhibition are graduates from Plymouth University and hold studio residencies in Ocean Studios.

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Kieran Walsh – Things On The Coffee Table

I really like the ink splatters in this piece by Kieran Walsh, they help make the piece seem alive.  I think we could all see different things in this painting, as the shapes of the objects are ambiguous.  I see a jug, coffee stains, a toy train track..  Because I might be the only person to see exactly these objects the piece seems really personal and as if it is telling me a secret.

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Fi Smart – Work In Progress: Children’s Book page

This is a page from an unfinished children’s book that Fi Smart has been working on.  The way the dog’s silhouette passes over the drawing of a house works really well and makes the page seem three-dimensional.

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Fi Smart – Work In Progress: Collage

These are some of the pieces of art Fi has made for a children’s book.  Fi’s paper dogs look delicate compared to her illustrations on slabs of cooked clay.  I recognised some of the places on the clay because they are inspired by locations around Royal William Yard.

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Kieran Walsh – Life Drawing 1

This charcoal drawing by Kieran Walsh is huge.  In some places it has been shaded and drawn carefully but in others the lines are jagged and free.  The drawing looks misty and has a mysterious feel to it.

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Close up of Joe Allen’s Baby

This is a close up of Joe Allen’s painting Baby where the artist has applied paint thickly without mixing it, giving the painting a cool marbled and 3D effect.

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Joe Allen – Baby

This is the full version of Joe Allen’s painting.  I could make out different objects and living beings as I studied this painting, it looks like a familiar family setting.  There is something messy and chaotic I like about the painting because it makes it very real and relatable (I have a toddler sister at home!)

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Fi Smart – Reclamation

I really love this piece by Fi Smart.  The huge fracture down the middle makes the clay illustration feel aged and broken but the vines “growing” through it are filling the gaps and binding it back together.  I noticed that in several of Fi’s pieces parts of the artwork (like the vines and the paper dogs) seem to be escaping or outside of the boundaries of her background illustrations and I might try to experiment with this myself.

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Paige Barnard – Momento

This glazed clay bowl by Paige Barnard reminded me of sweet sauce running over a cake.  It looks like a puddle of rain or glossy icing or the top of a jellyfish.

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Paige Barnard – Momento

I like the colours and shapes that Paige Barnard used for her Momento set.  The pastel blues and greens felt friendly, and the splatters and uneven glazes feel alive.  On the bottom right is a tall and thin vase that looks as if parts had been poked, pushed, or squeezed.  The pieces feel playful.

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Carly Seller – Ensos drawings

Carly Seller’s work during her residency at Ocean Studies has led her to “an investigation of circular forms”.  Her pieces on display include photographs, still images from an unfinished film, and drawings.  These Ensos drawings are interesting because they are circles of so many different sizes and patterns and no two are exactly the same.

The Home Grown month of exhibitions was really interesting and introduced me to art forms that I hadn’t really seen or thought about before.  I have been inspired especially by Fi Smart’s work as an illustrator (and I got to meet and talk to her at this event) and I am going to try making my own illustrations that move outside of the page or frame, and also I want to try making my own storyboxes (she has some on display in the Ocean Studios Gallery shop and I wrote about them here).  I also found Alan Qualtrough’s letterpress prints really striking and inspiring and would like to try that form of art myself too.

The current exhibition at Ocean Studios is BAFA17 which is a display of work by second year Fine Art Students at Plymouth University, on until the 15th of May.

Talk from Jack Gill at Central Library

On the 19th of January I attended a Careers talk by Jack Gill from So Good Studios in Plymouth Central Library.  So Good Studios is a games development studio based in Plymouth and Jack is the managing director.  Jack set up the company with two of his friends, technical director Sam Hession and creative director Will Hosgood.  The three of them studied Computing and Games Development at Plymouth University together.

Jack was interested in studying programming from an early age but he didn’t get to learn about it much in school.  Luckily his dad was a programmer and would talk to him about it, and bring home games which they would play together.  At sixteen Jack went to college and studied computing alongside english, chemistry, and maths.  He was also interested in and learning about cryptography and making Android apps, and made his first game, which was a text adventure.

Jack then decided to go to university to study computing and games development. He said that on his course he met many people from different backgrounds and with different skills, which is important when working together on projects.  Jack explained how his course worked at university.  Students would choose a module, study for six weeks, then be evaluated on their work.  He met Will and Sam on his course and they became best friends, and realised that their different skills worked well together, so they formed So Good Studios and made their first project, Bath Tubb Pirates.

Three days after their final exam, So Good Studios set up their business in the Formation Zone, which is an “incubator” for start-up buisinesses.  They made their first commercial product, a multiplayer game called Tap Tournament.  Jack said that there are many business and tech networking opportunities in Plymouth, including SOUP crowdfunding events.

Next, Jack talked about the Plymouth Game Devs which he described as a community to foster collaboration and cooperation and involves lots of local developers including So Good Studios, Brainy Beard, Sizeable Games and others.  Plymouth Game Devs organize game jams, and I have been able to take part in three so far; Ludum Dare 36, Games for Better, and the Global Game Jam last weekend.

Finally, Jack gave us “Jack’s Super Cool Advice for Aspiring Game Developers”:

1. Education!

  • Work hard on your studies while you are under 18
  • Studying at university or college is not a necessary route to get into games development but it can be extremely helpful!
  • Learning to find information and teach yourself new things is a vital skill for games developers.  You also need to enjoy learning new things.

2. Community!

  • Joining and building a community with other game developers allows you to show off your games and get support.
  • A community will also help you find people to collaborate with.  This is important because different people bring different skills to a project and splitting work makes it easier and faster to complete a project.
  • Being part of a community can help you to promote your work.

3. Portfolio!

  • Create a portfolio of your projects as you make them so that you can share your games, art, code etc.
  • A portfolio is crucial to your CV to show employers, colleges and clients what you can do!
  • It’s easy to make a portfolio online, for example you could share your work using WordPress, Patreon, YouTube, Tumblr, ArtStation and Scratch.

At the end of the talk Jack answered some questions from the audience.  The room was almost full and I think that the talk was really good!  I’m going to check out ArtStation and I want to get more involved with the Plymouth Game Devs and meet and work with more young games developers.

The Science and Technology Showcase at Plymouth University

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Freebies! My Explore Discover Achieve lanyard, my Event pass, a Plymouth University notepad, and our 3D printed tags from the Electronics stand

Yesterday I went with my brother to a Science and Technology Showcase for secondary school students which was held at Plymouth University.  When we arrived we were given our Event Passes and after a short wait we were shown to a lecture theatre for careers talks from four different speakers.

First was a talk from Grant Cole (Twitter) to talk about the work of being a Geologist.  His work involves studying rocks and fossils, and he has been all over the world, including Iceland, Death Valley, and a salt mine in Sicily.  Grant said that he does lots of field work on his own and he has done his research from the air and off-road.  Parts of his job sounded really exciting – lots of travelling, glacial walking and making new discoveries.

Next was Kathy Redfern (Twitter), who is a nutritionist.  Her work is researching the “impacts of food and nutrition on the health and wellbeing of humans (or animals)” to give advice for the prevention of illness.  She specifically works with pregnant women, and she says some of the benefits of her job is that no two days are the same and she gets to travel around the UK and to Portugal.

The third speaker was Jon Waters who is studying Mathematics and is part of the Theoretical Physics Group.  His current research is in lasers and he explained that normal torches contain a wide band from the visible light spectrum but lasers only contain a narrow band and can concentrate energy to a fine point.  Jon said that his work involves getting used to not knowing the answer.  His work involves coming up with mathematical models and performing theoretical tests and he learns new things every day.

The last talk was from a psychologist called Leonie Cooper.  She has worked at the National Marine Aquarium and now is working with an intelligent robot called Snap.  Her research is in using mental imagery to train people to have healthier behaviours.  She says that people seem to find that robots are less judgemental to talk to than other people.  Leonie is also interested in how games and apps could be used to reach thousands.

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The Basic code I tried out on the BBC Microcomputer

After the talks were finished we went to a big marquee filled with stands from different university departments.  It was split into three sections, and we were given thirty minutes in each section.  First I went to a stand where I took my thumbprint and compared it to one from an imaginary suspect that I lifted with powder and tape.  There was a psychology stand where I did a lie detector test.  I had wires attached to the finger on my left hand and my left ear, and I had to pick a card out of five.  They were shuffled and I had to lie about which card I had as they were turned over one by one. The wires measured skin response (sweat increases conductivity) and heart rate.  The lie detector didn’t pick up my lie I think because I was nervous throughout the whole test!  I also had a quick look at other chemistry and biology stands.

In the next section was a stand for the South West Retro Computing Archive, where I did some coding in Basic on a BBC Microcomputer from the 80’s, and J got the hi-score on Pac-man.  I have been to one of their events before and they have a huge range of retro consoles to play and learn about.  On the BBC computer there is a “return” key instead of an enter key, a “break” key to reset the whole computer, and you have to write your code in numbered lines for the system to read in order.

We then went to the Computing and Games Development stand where me and my brother played Pirate Panic, a game written by some of the students at the stand.  Pirate Panic is a multiplayer game where the players have to work together to keep a ship afloat and moving until it reaches land.  It’s a really fast paced game which encourages you to panic, just like the pirates!  I thought it was exciting and good for teamwork.  I also tried a VR game using a headset and I had to shoot lasers at robots.  It was a lot of fun to play but my arm was aching after a few minutes because the shoot button was on the headset.  We also met and spoke to Nicholas Wade who is in his final year and is working to launch his own games studio called Nikomus Games.

Next I went to the Electrical and Electronic Engineering and Robotics stand.  I watched people play with some of the university’s robots and J used a red ball and a sensor to control LED lights that were on the stand.  There was a challenge to find the right frequency on one machine by turning a knob and getting a turning circle on a small screen to stay still. We were told that the shape the green light was making was a visual representation of the frequency it was on.  J was able to do it but I ran out of time, and we were both given 3D printed tags for taking part.

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Some flyers I picked up to learn more about the courses and events at Plymouth University

In the last section there was a Geography stand where I got to try an HTC Vive VR Headset to explore London using Google Earth.  It was brilliant and I loved using the handheld controller and that you could still see it in the virtual space!  We then went to the i-DAT stand where they had a small black dome which we entered.  Inside there was a film projected onto the dome ceiling about being an astronaut. A voiceover explained that there were different levels of G-Force as we watched a CGI representation of a G-Force training machine.  We heard how astronauts need to keep exercising while they are in space so they aren’t too weak when they get back to Earth and we saw an astronaut using an exercise bike.  We also met Luke Christison who works in the Immersive Vision Theatre (in the Planetarium) which we have tickets to visit in a couple of weeks.

The last stand we visited was about meteorites and the Solar System.  I looked at a rock from Mars and compared it to a rock from Earth under a microscope.  A woman working on the stand explained to me that the Earth rock had formed in a volcano, and I could observe that both rocks had been made the same way, so at some point there must have been volcanoes on Mars as well!  There were some pieces of meteorite on the table and a few of them looked alien.  A man from the stand talked to us about the scale of the solar system.  He said if we used a scale of 1 metre to 1 Astronomical Unit (AU), and imagined the Sun was right in front of us, the edge of our Solar System would be in Taunton and our nearest star would be in London!

I really enjoyed going around the marquee and the talks in the beginning were interesting.  My favourite parts were the Retro Games area and the Games Development area, and I really want to try out more VR gaming and exploration technology and learn more about how it works.  I would also like to do more study in electronics and robotics, geology and geography, and psychology, and find out more about Leonie Cooper’s research.

 

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