Professional Work

I won a Design Competition!

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My entry for the Design Competition

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..)

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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.

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Collecting my prize from The Art Side!

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..

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College Work, Personal Work

Block printing cotton bags

I bought some cotton bags from Hobbycraft for £1 each so that I could try printing on them at home with my Plymouth Pilgrims linocut which I made at my NatSatClub.  I washed the bags and they shrunk quite a bit, and I couldn’t get them completely flat with the iron but I like the slightly crumbly texture they have.  The other equipment I used was:

  • Blue Essdee Block-printing ink which I bought from Cass Art (Bristol)
  • A stainless steel serving spoon to use as a baren
  • A thick slab of glass to roll the ink on
  • The four inch roller from the Essdee Cutting and Printing kit bought from the The Art Side (Plymouth)
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Attempt #1

Attempt #1 – I used cardboard inside the bag in case the ink bled through and the usual amount of ink I would use for printing on paper.  The print is visible but looks pale or faded.  There was no ink on the inside of the bag.  I thought that I needed to apply more ink next time and wondered if the cardboard had cushioned the fabric so that the pressure from the spoon wasn’t enough to transfer the print.

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Attempt #2

Attempt #2 – I removed the cardboard so there was nothing inside the bag and used a thicker layer of ink.  The ink did bleed slightly on the inside of the bag but it was quite a patchy print.  I decided I needed a thin protective layer inside the bag and to apply more pressure to the spoon.

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Attempt #3

Attempt #3 – I used a thin piece of paper inside the bag to protect it from ink bleeding and a thick layer of ink.  I put greater pressure on the spoon in all areas.  The paper took any ink that bled through but the print was still a little patchy.  The print wasn’t aligned properly on this bag but it was my best attempt so far.

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Attempt #4

Attempt #4 – A thick layer of ink, a lot of pressure with the spoon, and a layer of paper inside the bag.  I aligned the bag carefully and went over the print area thoroughly and with a lot of effort with the back of my spoon.  This print looked really good although I did lose definition in some areas because of how thick the ink layer was on the lino.

I enjoyed this experiment and I’m going to make some more block-printed bags soon.  I need to find a better way to apply more consistent pressure with the equipment I have at home because the spoon works well with paper and card but doesn’t work as well with the fabric.  I really like my design and I’m glad it looks good on bags.  I don’t know if the ink will stay on the bags in wet weather or if it will wash so I’m going to test one of these bags after they’ve had time to dry properly and look at different types of ink.

Personal Work

Watercolour drawings

I’ve just finished my sketch of Link from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.  I watched gameplay videos of it at E3 online and I HAD to draw a picture:

Link Watercolour

I used Kuretake Mangaka fineliners and Sakura Koi watercolours.  Here is a picture of my watercolour kit:

Kitty's Watercolour Kit
From left: Seawhite A5 Sketchbook, Sakura Koi Pocket Field Sketch Box, Uni Kuru Toga pencils, Pentel Water Brush, Sakura White Gelly Roll pen, Zig Millennium 005, Zig Mangaka pens, Sakura Pigma brush pen, Tombow Spray Mister, Staedtler Mars plastic eraser, Koh-I-Noor Kneadable Eraser

I’ve had my Koi sketch box since early May and my Seawhite sketchbook for a fortnight and got them both from The Art Side.   Some of the other things here I got for my birthday, and some of them have been in my art kit for a long time.  I have three Kuru Toga pencils, all with different leads in them.  My silver one is HB and my most used pencil.  The green holds 4B lead and I have a blue one (not pictured) which holds non-photocopy blue lead.  I like to use water brushes because they are easier to take out and about.  I use the spray mister to make my paints damp before I use them.  The white gelly roll pen is great for highlights and covering mistakes so I have it with me constantly.  I have a wide variety of black fineliners and brush pens and at the moment I prefer using small fineliners so I can be really detailed in my work, and i’ve been testing different types of crosshatching with them.  I’ve also been learning to use dip pens and ink.

I’ve only been working in watercolour for the past two months and I think it’s really fun to do.  It’s slightly harder to work in than pencils and pens because you need to be careful about how much water you put on the paper.  Here are some examples of my work so far:

Ellie and Joel
Ellie and Joel from The Last Of Us

I just completed The Last Of Us (on easy..) and have been drawing Ellie and Joel a lot.

Girl and Fox
Girl and Fox

I invented the girl.  I sketched the fox on a visit to Delamore House’s annual arts exhibition at the end of May.  The original is a giant sculpture made from recycled materials (car bumpers!) by Ptolomy Elrington.

Ellie
Ellie in Winter

Another picture of Ellie.  I worked on this last week.  She is a really fun character to draw.