Thursday, 31 December 2009
Wednesday, 30 December 2009
Monday, 30 November 2009
Tuesday, 20 October 2009
Here's the latest revision. Croc is less scarey, Mugglewump is swinging from a branch and the log has been merged into the background a bit more. I'm going to leave this for a week or so and come back with fresher eyes...I'm not sure now whether to tone down Mugglewump's colour...
Tuesday, 6 October 2009
I am currently making some other images to go on their website, using text from Roahl Dahl's The Enormous Crocodile. Here are a couple of them. I am pleased with the movement in them & also the colour pallette. I prefer the one with the textured background and my children prefer it too, because it has more depth and interest. However, there is a voice in my head that keeps saying, 'less is more', but I think too little can be sterile, in a children's book. I need to work on the monkey, Mugglewump, and make the croc a little less scary. I have been looking at the textures in Eric Carle's and Catherine Rayner's (Augustus and His Smile) work, and combining ink and tissue.
Thursday, 10 September 2009
Thursday, 25 June 2009
I entered the Waterstones competition last month in a hurry, since it was due in a week after the major hand-in. I used a lot of found plant material which I combined with images I had already made. It was fun to do and here are some of the results. I need to rework some of them so they gell together a bit more. I am pleased with the fairy and the mouse.
Here are the updated images for Mousey and the Scary Climate Change Monster. The animals seem to work a lot better when they go across the double page spread. Now I need to work on the monster a bit more to make it more scary and more original.
Tuesday, 23 June 2009
Thursday, 30 April 2009
Monday, 27 April 2009
Thursday, 23 April 2009
Talk from Andy Pavitt 22/04/-9
Andrew Pavitt came to talk to us about the Big Orange Studio collective in Shoreditch, London. Big Orange can offer an internship for a Stockport College student this summer for one week, which would be a good opportunity to make contacts and get a feel for what a collective is like. Last year, Dan & Martin from Stockport were involved with an AOI poster which got mailed out with the magazine - & they were able to take 500 copies of the poster away with them.
The studio collective was started 15-16 years ago by RCA students including Andy Lovell and Darrell Rees. Peepshow, Container and Le Gun are all collectives, too. Big Orange currently has 8 illustrators and shares studio space with AOI, which has anywhere between 4-12 people, depending on any internships (AOI also take on illustration graduates – recently from RCA, Kingston, London).
Andy talked about the many advantages of a collective – pooling resources, sharing rent (£200/month each), phones, photocopier, computer network. Maybe the biggest advantage is the support network to keep you going at illustration. If you work on your own you need to be very well organised, good at promotion and not prone to loneliness. He feels they have a good mix of skills and personalities at the studio. They even share contacts, although this can be a problem at times if someone has spent a lot of time building up a contact. The Editorial contacts are maybe less precious, though. They do occasionally work together, although they have not done so recently. Paul Davis is the illustration editor for The Drawbridge paper, a good promo magazine & platform for illustration (comes out once/2 months).
The studio is open 24 hours/day, and this is really important in order to meet deadlines, especially for editorials with daily papers and work in America, where there are different time zones. Toby Morison sometimes comes in at 5am to meet a deadline, and then takes a kip in the studio!
The disadvantage to a collective? You need to fit with others and their music tastes. The dynamics change with the mix of people, and personality clashes could be a problem, although it has not really been an issue at Big Orange.
I had thought I would prefer to work as an illustrator from the comfort of home, but I can now see the numerous advantages in working as part of a collective and pooling resources and support. It would be a lot more expensive, though, and the pressure to find work would be more intense in order to pay the studio rent.
Saturday, 18 April 2009
I have chosen to compare and contrast Chris Corr and Otto Dettmer as practitioners. I visited Chris in London and listened to Otto's talk last month. They are very different in their processes and practices; they operate in different markets, with few overlaps. What can I learn from this that I can apply to my work?
Chris Corr is an fine artist as well as an illustrator. He trained at the Royal College of Art and won a drawing prize to study in America. This perhaps enabled him to get started on his path as an illustrator in the travel market. He has managed to translate his talent for observational drawing and painting into successful contemporary illustrations. He also taught drawing one day/week when he was establishing himself. His colouful gouache illustrations have a clear and unmistakeable style. They are warm and tactile with a folk art feel. He only uses the computer to scan his work in.
Apart from travel illustrations, Chris’s market includes editorials, children’s books, adult fiction and world map canvases. His clients are wide-ranging and include Qantas, Windstar Cruises, Royal Mail, Folio Society, Sherbet, BBC, Barefoot Books and Habitat. His agent, Illustration Web, gets him 1/3rd of commissions. For promotion, he sends emails, contacts ADs and has exhibitions of original works. After a trip to India, he came back with a one-person show, ‘Wel-come to India’, which was followed by a book and a short BBCTV film. Royal Mail sent him to Bosnia to paint the peace-keeping troops. Although Chris works on his own, he does team up sometimes with Brian Grimwood to do work for resturants and magazines.
Chris’s influences include folk art, primitive art, the Contructivists, Le Corbusier, Paul Klee, Ben Nicholson and Max Beckham. His passions appear to include travel, observation and painting.
Otto Dettmer, on the other hand, is a conceptual illustrator who largely specialises in editorials. He started off on a graphics course in Bristol, and followed this with an MA in screen-printing at Kingston. His commercial work is a mixture of photography, found images and flat shapes worked up together on the computer. He also makes screen-printed books for bookfairs. He is also fascinated by consumerism and consumer culture. His editorial work is conceptual, clever and pared-down with a simple message, but it is not always instantly-recognisable as Otto’s work.
Otto’s illustration market is mainly confined to editorial work, although he has done 2 big advertising jobs, which he didn’t enjoy. His editorial clients include the Guardian, Independent, Telegraph, Times Supplement, Economist and Time Out. His market does extend into Europe, with work for Le Monde and Freitag. He was unable to get an agent, which he thinks is because the editorial market is not very lucrative and his style is not always clear. He is very much a lone wolf who certainly doesn’t want to work with other illustrators. He is very persistent in his marketing approach, and used to travel to London once/week with 7 appointments/day, seeing ADs and agents. He doesn’t think his early work was very good and he often didn’t get further commissions from the client, but his persistence and practice has paid off. He regularly sends out promotional materials, often original and screen-printed. He finds that getting his work into daily national papers is also very good self-promotion. He also resells his work wherever possible, and advertises this on his website.
Otto’s influences include Polish poster designers, film (especially Hitchcock & Lang), Russian constructivists, Renaissance painters, neo-classical painters and sculptures, photography and found imagery. His passions appear to include screen-printing books and bookfairs.
Otto has had to embrace computer technology and compile an extensive library of images (over 1000) to enable him to meet tight editorial deadlines, where he may only have a few hours to prepare and send off the image. Chris has built up a lot of observational studies during his travels, which he is able to translate into his illustrations. Chris has a more traditional, fine-art approach than Otto, but also has more time to develop his illustrations as paintings, which he can supplement with exhibitions of original paintings. Otto, on the other hand, is in a less lucrative market and has to resell his editorial images.
What lessons can I learn from the way these 2 practitioners work? To make it in illustration you have to make striking images that communicate well, like both Chris and Otto do. I would need to work on this! I can do the observational studies, but have difficulty translating these into successful contemporary illustrations. You also have to be persistent, determined, professional, efficient, good at networking and lucky. I need to develop my networking and efficiency. I would personally prefer Chris’s broader market to Otto’s, because I think it is more interesting and varied. You can also spend more time away from the computer and not be faced with constant tight deadlines. I also prefer making and drawing to spending lots of time on the computer, but I find the computer is very useful for tweaking and adapting images. However, I think editorial work is a good way to get started, because there is so much of it (unfortunately, along with thousands of illustrators chasing it!). Also, I was hoping to do some b&w children’s illustrations for the educational market, which is apparently abundant (AOI Children’s seminar 2007), if you can draw children okay. I will also approach gardening and baby/children’s magazines. I do also occasionally exhibit my paintings and take commissions to sketch children’s portraits, and I could expand this some more with a more contemporary edge. I like the idea of having an agent who can not only bring you work, but also get your work in front of particular clients, such as Scholastic Educational Publishing. However, I need to have had some work published first and done a fair bit of promotion on my own. I also realise that finding the right agent can be difficult.
My passions include our environment, books and making images. I adore textures and materials and love working in ink, collage, clay and tissue paper. I also enjoy drawing from observation, especially people. I therefore also intend to target editorials with famous faces/climate change issues, and I aim to develop this in the final stages of my major project.
Does an illustrator need this middleman in the creative process? What do agents do for their percentage? Can they enhance or hinder your career or creativity? What methods have new illustrators used to promote themselves in the past and what methods do I intend to use?
Saturday, 11 April 2009
http://wakeupfreako ut.org/film/ tipping.html
This is a link to Robert Newman's A History of Oil, shown on Channel 4 last year, which is laugh-aloud funny, but rather long.
Edinburgh Tapestry Company and Liberties (1950s)
Thursday, 9 April 2009
Thursday, 19 March 2009
We had a very entertaining talk from Damian Gascoigne last week. Damian teaches on the animation course at Kingston & has worked as a freelance animation director for the past 25 years. His commercial work fuels his personal projects.
Damian stressed the importance of research for him. He’s always snooping around, doodling, snapping, collecting. He spoke of the joy of sketching on a weeks location in Lisbon with the students last year. He particularly loves observing awkward poses made by the students.
Japanese illustrator- ‘Ryohei – on ‘cartoon modern’ website. He did 1950s animation in America. Lewis Cook – ‘The Pierce Sisters’ – 3D work hand-rendered & fed back into computer. Also Alexander Calder.
Recent projects ‘Compilation’ & ‘The Love Books”. He reckons you need to be obsessive to persue personal work. He kept a picture diary for years with the main theme of unrequited love. This amounted to 27 books! He exhibited part of this collection as ‘The Love Books’, by projecting some of the pages onto an enormous polystyrene book. Also projected animation of a woman rising up out of a table, like a ghost. Quite haunting.
Damien pitched for 7 commercials last year, which he didn’t get. Luckily, his 8th attempt worked. This pitching amounted to 3 months solid work. Don’t get paid to pitch & very expensive & competitive. Toughest year so far for him was last year. Works within Picasso Pictures as a freelance animation director. He loves the work, but said you need nerves of steel in this business.
Has started moving into 3D computer animation, but from a drawn animation background. He explains why this is important to him when describing his process for his animation, ‘Careful’ on his website (www.animateonline.org/films/careful/stills.html ), as follows:-
“Firstly I questioned the way in which the 3D line work objects are constructed, by putting together deliberately mismatching surfaces of objects, so that the final piece looked liked badly made flat pack furniture. This betrayed its origins as a series of drawings.
Secondly I left in all the rough by-products of my ink drawings, spatters and blobs, inconsistent line weights, accidental transfers from page to page. The exciting thing for me was that these elements began to exist in the space as well as the main objects, trailing around on their own strange orbits, as chairs and turntables twisted and turned.
Thirdly I decided to disconnect the objects from their ground and background, because somehow every time we connected them together to a camera, the whole thing just ended up looking like an arty computer game. To do this we separated layers of line work and set them on slightly offset paths and then created faked backgrounds that did not follow the same camera path at all, but moved in independent but sympathetic directions.
Fourthly I decided to leave some objects as 2D drawings and others as full 3D objects. Placing them in the same space we allowed the nature of drawing as suggestion of form to remain close to the surface.
The thinking underpinning these decisions came from a belief that the pursuit of ‘reality’ that dominates current thinking in 3D computer animation is a misguided and limited path. We don’t need to worry about how things really look. We can see them perfectly well. It is our job as artists to imagine them again.”
Storyboard is the biggest struggle. He loves working in a team, with animators, modelmakers, technical people – all with specialist skills. Got a modelmaker to build his character & then used combination of 3D animated shapes & drawn elements to flatten the image. He draws small – uses a reed pen & rough materials.
A very thought-provoking lecture, especially on the nature of observation, drawing and re-imagining.
Rose & I visited Chris Corr in his studio on 4th March as part of our professional practice trip to London. Chris Corr was very welcoming and answered our questions helpfully and patiently. His studio was packed with shelves full of books, a stack of framed original paintings, colourful observational studies on the wall and a desk with work in progress. Not a computer in sight (he does use one to scan in his final work & send it off). I came away enthused & determined to do more work- even painting - without using the computer.
Chris had answered an enquiry for Liam a year or so ago about his influences and working methods, so we knew Chris’s influences included modern architecture, folk art, primitive art, the constructivists, Le Corbusier (a painter as well as an architect), Paul Klee, Ben Nicholson and Max Beckham. Chris talked enthusiastically about the current Le Corbusier exhibition at the Barbican and suggested that the British library was well worth a visit too.
Colourful gouache paintings, noses often different colours (reflecting different surroundings). Colours influenced by travels - especially to India. Editorials, children’s books (Barefoot Books & others), adult fiction, colourful world map canvases for Habitat. His illustrations for Folio Books were amazing - Simone de Beauvoir’s The Mandarins had sumptuous full page illustrations, and yet it is an adult book. With children’s books, sometimes he teams up with a writer and other times he is teamed up with a writer. Likes to present several ideas for a job. Could see on his desk that his final painted image accurately followed a b&w line rough. His portfolio was full of his commissions.
Chris emails stuff & rings ADs. Exhibitions of original painting too. Agent is Illustration Web, who gets him third of commissions.
Mainly works on own, but sometimes gets together with Brian Grimwood, who works quickly and uses lots computer imagery. Do work together for restaurants and magazines.
Chris won a drawing prize at college which enabled him to live in America for 5 months. He also taught 1 day/week as a drawing tutor. His first commissions were for a newspaper to draw some jazz musicians, some architecture and some poems.
What makes the difference between success or failure as an illustrator?
Drawing, collecting, passion for your work.
What advice would you give to illustrators just starting out?
Be yourself, be organised, meet deadlines, make sure you communicate well.