I will be blogging all throughout the Plymouth Art Weekender from different events, so look out for me and keep checking back here! I will definitely be at the Athenaeum for parts of Saturday, alongside other YEA Plymouth members, giving out free copies of our PAW exclusive zine, YEA ’17, and selling badges. I’m going through the PAW17 map now to decide where else to visit!
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!
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.
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.
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 Being. We left with bundles of minizines and ideas for our next projects and I felt the entire workshop had been a huge success!
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.
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.
I have been coming up with ideas for comics recently. The first one is a fan comic about Monster Hunter and features me and my brother. The sketch above are characters based on us with neutral faces. I’m going to draw them from different angles with different expressions this week.
This is a page of my initial idea. I like to read manga (One Punch Man, My Hero Academia, Monster Hunter Flash Hunter, Gon, Fairy Tail..) and comics and comic strips like Peanuts, Garfield, Bone, and Calvin and Hobbes. I started writing my own comic strips a few years ago.
A lot of my comics are based on video games I like. This one is based on Journey which I played last week (free via Playstation Plus!).
Back in 2014 me and my brother created the first issue of our zine MACS (Magazine of Awesome Cool Stuff..)
The zine included several of my comic strips at the time including ‘The Misadventures of Link’ which followed Link from the Zelda games.
It also featured my comic strip The Odd Days which was inspired by the asdf movies on Youtube by Tom Ska . My versions really didn’t make a lot of sense.
Me and J have plans to FINALLY get round to our second issue very soon.. until then you can enjoy this page from issue 1 by Jenson!
I’ve been to the Graduate Show several times this year, partly because I have something on display in the Young Arts Club section. I’ve been really interested in the Illustration and Game Arts exhibitions, because those are the areas i’m hoping to study and work in, but I had a good look around the other galleries too.
This year I met Elena O’Neill and Lorna Davey who are graduating in Illustration. They showed me around the exhibition and talked to me about their course. Elena had some beautiful patterns on display and had pencil cases and pouches made from printed fabric of her work. She also had really cute tiny clay(?) birds scattered around her section. Lorna had an amazing self portrait up on the wall in a comic style. She also had a book of other portraits there and I love the details in the hair and how her portraits have loads of character. Lorna is staying in Plymouth after graduation, so i’m really hoping we can meet again to do some sketching.
I bumped into Alice Kensington, who is also graduating Illustration, on opening night. I’ve met Alice a couple of times before at DevCon (the local science fiction/comics convention) and we are both into cosplay, cartoons like Gravity Falls and Steven Universe and games like Zelda. The first time I saw her she was in costume as the Other Mother from Coraline and I was Mabel Pines, the second time she was Scarlet Overkill from the Minions movie and I was Frisk from Undertale. I really like her illustration work, which is so colourful and soft and curvy. Alice is really sweet and i’m definitely going to meet her soon to buy her a piece of cake and do some drawing together :3
There was a badge making machine in the Illustration shop and I made three custom badges with my own quick sketches. One was for a friend and I didn’t take a photo, but here are the other two, one is a picture of my brother and the other is the character Ellie from the game The Last of Us:
There were so many amazing things in Illustration and I got a zine called Floating Around by Cameron Williamson. It’s about someone who’s anxious about going to the Art College, but makes a decision to give it a shot. In the center theres a great picture of him staring out to sea on Plymouth Hoe. It reminded me of what it felt like when I started at the Young Arts Club. I also fell in love with the work of Emma Baker for zines, fanzines and the characters she designed to illustrate phobias. I wanted to buy one of her zines but it wasn’t on sale, so i’m going to contact her about it to see if she has any copies.
I’ll do another post about the rest of the exhibitions another time.