Sunday, 22 May 2016

Denial of Peter - Supporting Web Material.

As mentioned within the digital section of my PDP Journal Appendix, here are the links to video references used in my project with Devonport Live Cafe:

Animation by The Jesus Film Project:

The Passion of The Christ Clip:

Individual Self-Promotion Strategies: Website Links

The following links will direct you to the websites I have generated as part of my individual self-promotional strategies.

Cargo Collective






Friday, 6 May 2016

BAIL 303: Project 2 - Specialist: Book Jackets: Emil and the Three Twins: Rough Composition Development.

Before deciding I didn't have enough time to produce a completed jacket of a decent quality, I was working towards developing a specific composition for Emil and the Three Twins.

I took a rough sketch and edited it in Photoshop, playing with the scale of the characters and the position of the individual elements.

I took to Facebook to get some responses from this. 
Phil gave me some great points to work with if I return to this composition at a later date. 

I also had begun to render Byron Sr. working over the initial character sketch as a guide.

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

BAIL303: Project 3 - Progressive: Illustrating the Point: Editorial 2: Okido Magazine

For my second editorial I'm continuing the route of editorial for children by looking at Okido Magazine. Like Anorak it is a collectible children's magazine and has high production values with a focus on sustainability, using FSC paper and printing with vegetable inks. Okido describes itself as an arts and science magazine that aims to help children learn through play, whilst stimulating creativity and inspiring scientific interest through it's contents.

When planning to look at this specific editorial, I tried to have some foresight towards how much work I could realistically achieve for this module whilst considering the possibility that I would fall behind schedule due to pacing or issues juggling multiple projects etc.

It is for this reason that I chose quite a simple editorial to tackle. Looking at this specific page in Issue #37 by Rachel Ortas, creative director of the magazine, which involves a couple of spot/vignette illustrations being made for each side of a 'flip-o-rama' a simple animation toy that works on the same principles as a thaumatrope.

Design Process

My initial approach was to render my own version of the Okido characters, following the format of this page. Thinking that each character could have a different colour palette for the background and television.

This lead me to producing this image of Messy Monster, the character featured in the original editorial

In a crit session with Phil he explained that although it was a faithful rendition of the character, the contributors to Okido each have their own character which they exclusively produce the artwork for.
As you can see on the inside front page above, through stylistic differences you can clearly see that some characters are handled by different illustrators. I therefore decided that within the context of the publication it would be far more appropriate for me to produce artwork with one of my own characters.

Above are some creature designs produced in the summer of last year. Initially I had intended on featuring the 'clubjub' as part of my submission towards a year-group illustrated playing cards deck. I had drawn the 10 of clubs as one of my cards, which is why the club iconography appears in the birds design. As that project never really kicked off, I thought it would be a good time to put the character to use, the design felt appropriate for the publications audience and could be easily rendered using the digital collage technique that I adopted this year.

To begin with I created a colour wheel using process CMY

And began to explore compliments and potential colour palettes.

Once I had a colour palette in mind, I rendered a block colour version of the clubjub, using the lasso and fill tools in Photoshop.

I then tried out the application of painted textures. I do like the aesthetic of the block colours, but felt that the use of textures and drop shadows was more in keeping with my other portfolio work.

For the background of the page Rachel has echoed the pattern found on Messy's cheeks. For my rendition I decided to render a simple feather-like pattern using the two green tones from the block-colour version of the clubjub.

For the other elements of the page, I worked on top of a scan of the original using the ellipse tool to get the size of the disks correct. I then used the magic wand to select the dotted lines, copying them and then cleaning them up.

I decided to apply a font that I have used in other projects to the text, as I believe it has a naive aesthetic, that also reflects the shapes generated by the lasso tool. The purple used for the text is taken from one of my complimentary palettes.

This purple carries over to the image of the television, which also uses an orange complimentary to the blue of the clubjub's beak. Whilst running with the idea of representing several of the magazine's characters, I sketched up a few different T.V. designs. I worked from one of these using digital collage to render the television on an A4 canvas, before scaling it into the document.

In the print version of the editorial Ortas uses an image of a girl to demonstrate the toy in action. I felt that enough was described through the photograph and the instructions in order for the reader to work it out - especially with the help of an adult. I also didn't want to copy the original completely, so opted to draw the contents of the 'you will need' list. These were straight up rendered in photoshop, with some rough sketches to hand to assist me.

Initially I had intended on drawing a hand that demonstrated how the finished toy should look.
I wasn't content with it's appearance though and decided to use photography instead after mocking up the design to see if it worked correctly.

(See a video of the toy in action on my instagram here:

It was then a matter of arranging the elements within the text box until I had reached a satisfying conclusion. As there was a gap I decided to add a small example of how the two images should come together to form the clubjub on the television.

Following  quick crit from some peers I made a few adjustments, deciding the arrow was a bit bothersome and unneeded and editing the brightness of the photograph.
After several crits with Phil I became aware of my custom typeface and it's over-compensation when using the space bar. And so made some changes to the horizontal width of these 'space' characters, reducing them by 50%. At some point this may be something I consider trying to alter, but for now the font works well enough as is for me to be content to work around it's quirks.

I'm glad that I had the hindsight to search for an editorial that could be completed in a short space of time. My editorial for Anorak took a couple of weeks due to rendering the individual characters, whereas this editorial was completed in a couple of days. To begin with this was a bit of a worry for me, I wondered if I had sacrificed quality somewhere along the way. But through crits from peers I am quite confident that this is a successful conclusion and knowing that I can produce editorials of this nature over a couple of days is a bit of a confidence boost after the slog of the last image.

Further Amendments 

Taking the design to my peers, I didn't get much in the way of critical feedback, so I asked Phil what he thought of the image. 
He commented that he thought the elements worked together, but that more could be done to make the design punchy and dynamic.  A particular criticism was the eligibility of the clubjub character, being at this particular scale it was difficult to read the character as some sort of bird, I had decided to take away the legs so that the character fit within the frame of the television. 

My response to these comments was to look back at my original sketches, I decided to go with an image of the bird bathing in a pool of water. I also went for a more vibrant background colour and edited the size of the text and position of the photograph. 

Using the previous image of the club-jub as a base, I added wings which are made up of two layers. I then added the water layers, one behind and one in front of the bird, using a clipping mask to add light coloured ripples on top. I adjusted the opacity of the water droplets so that they were more subtle than solid blue shapes.
The most involved section of this updated artwork was the rock, which is made up of two layers. Initially these were two tones of orange which I later added a painted texture to with a clipping mask. I tried to give the rocks a layered appearance without actually drawing lots of individual layers by creating shadows with the darker colour.   

Further comments picked up on the purple accent colour now being lost against the reds of the background, so I switched it out for a light green, reflecting the palette of the club-jub. I replaced the photograph of the toy in action with one of the new design, discussing with Phil how to best demonstrate the toy in action. We spoke about how a static representation of the merged image could be demonstrated without being misleading. I decided to use some directional arrows and brought back the illustrated items to fill in the space of the box. 


Satisfied with the state of the design, I trialed printing it both at home and through local art supplier/printer The Artside. 

I've found when printing A4 or A3 images at The Artside that the images print with quite a high saturation and with a slightly red hue. You can see this in the image above where the purple of the pencil is much closer to a violet colour than a middle purple. After reprinting at home I noticed the faded effect on the photograph, where light had caught the mock-up (printed on a college copier, resulting in a smooth finish) and I had edited the brightness settings.

I went back in to the Photoshop document to amend this colour variation somewhat and got a decent print through my home printer, which was a lot more accurate to the colours displayed on my screen. (above.) This print is labelled as my final outcome within my physical submission.  


Sunday, 1 May 2016

Researching Products for Children

The following post was written in early 2016, having sat as a draft on my blog awaiting the introduction of images for quite some time I finally got around to finishing it. Rather than deleting the post, I thought it would make a good edition to my PDP Journal as evidence of my reflections throughout the year. 

With BAIL301 Experimentation and BAIL304 Contexts of Practice (Dissertation) handed in it's time to focus on BAIL302 Professional Practice and BAIL303 - which is currently a mystery!

In a pastoral tutorial with Phil I discussed my heavy focus on children's picture books in BAIL301 - looking at book design, cover design and character design -  and a desire to explore editorial work and illustrating for products for children later in the year.

When I say I'm interested in products for children, I think that'd be exclusive to applying illustrations to products for children, rather than producing 3D vinyl/plastic products myself.  Although I think producing some items might not be beyond my capabilities - like 3D elements of a rucksack or a plush or paper toy, for example. Though I believe I would prefer and be more comfortable with just conceptualising the product or just designing the packaging. 

Applying illustrations to products:

The most likely avenue to allow me to do this independently would be print on demand websites like society6 and red bubble. Something to look in to once I have a solid portfolio of work I think. 

Socierty6 Page of Louis Roskosch. ( 
Uploading pieces of artwork and selecting their application for various products ranging from iphone cases to tees, mugs and stationary as well as art prints has proved successful for him as he has gained over 4000 followers. 

Creating products from illustrations:

Although I've not really explored these avenues before, I could see myself applying illustration to 3D designs, like those below:


Craft/sewing kits by Kaselotti (
She produces brooch and cushion sewing kits using simple printed designs. As well as producing pre-made coin purses.


Plush and paper toys by Jennifer Springett. ( (

I've handled fabrics before whilst producing some cosplays, but I don't think I'd quite be confident enough to produce plush toys professionally - seeing my designs produced by someone else could be a possibility though. Paper toys are probably more reasonable as they just require printing and folding, like greetings cards. Paper craft toys are a popular alternative to vinyl toys too.

Product Illustration:

Hilmers Studios ( specialises in technical, patent and product illustration. Although I'm not interested in the stylistic value of their work, or the context of technical or patent illustration - I did product design at GCSE which strongly affirmed this for me - their product illustration is something I may consider producing, but in a much more stylised fashion more native to my practice. 

BAIL303: Project 3 - Progressive: Illustrating the Point: Editorial 1: Anorak Magazine: Development

Editorial 1: Anorak: Image Development


Using the reference images found in my research post for this project, I sketched out some images of the four animals. I used these sketches to get a feel for how to pose and render the animals. (in the pine marten sketches, you can see me considering exaggerated shapes and more geometric forms.)


I then rendered these animals as individual digital collages in Photoshop, often referring back to the research photos and other google images for inspiration. 

This was done using the technique I have recently adopted of building up elements of a drawing on separate layers and then adding drop shadows. (I've demonstrated with a GIF of one of the beavers above.) I decided to use block colours as I knew it was going to be a complicated scene learning from my experience of my 'Explorers!' woodland image that I made in BAIL301. 


Rendering up these individual animals took a fair amount of time - perhaps a bit more than it needed to, as they were inevitably going to be reduced in size. However I suppose I now have them at a larger scale to use them for another purpose if I need to, as they were rendered to fit either the height or width (roughly) of an A4 page. 

After completing the animals, I sketched a rough composition to figure out how to use the elements as a cohesive image. I left some of the page blank, as I wasn't sure how much space I was going to dedicate to the text until I had it made up in my working file.

Using this rough comp I began to render the environment using the lasso tool and block colours, just as I had done with the animals. I used my sketch to begin with, but quickly moved into a more spontaneous way of working, constantly editing the position, size and shape of the elements as I went. 

I tried to break up the woodland floor by using a brush preset and varying the stroke size and using a custom brush of a shrub shape that I made up for a previous project. 

Once I had roughly half of the image made up, I decided on how much space to allocate for the text. I decided to build the text into the environment by having it appear carved into the bark of a tree in the far left area of the foreground. Once deciding on a size and layout I used the lasso tool to build upon an existing font, trying to achieve a carved aesthetic by exaggerating the shapes with tapered edges.   

I then used the remaining space to create a suitable environment for the remaining pine martens and squirrels. 

I used the multiply blending effect on grey shapes to create the illusion of shadows being cast and to create a depth across he whole image, with the light areas being the left-hand side of the image and the foreground, with the shadows in the background and to the right of the image. (see draft 1 below.)


In an initial crit with Phil Trenerrey, he mentioned how he thought the image was successful and demonstrated how far I had come since starting out with BAIL301, he also suggested I change the colour of the text to improve it's readability against the tree.

In a crit with Tristan Manco where I went over my BAIL303 projects, he commented that he felt that the shadow effects weren't working, stuck between looking real and unreal. He also noted that he felt the sense of depth could be improved by re-scaling some of the elements. Cam and Holly, also in the crit session, agreed. 

Taking these comments on board I made some changes to the image. (Above.)
Unsure as to how to approach the issue of the shadows I consulted Caroline Pedler, She suggested trying to imitate the reflections of water, rather than shadows. She also noted that I ought to desaturate the whole image to look at areas of contrast that could use improvement.
Image full bleed.

Image cropped. 

Alongside further scaling edits, this advice led me to my current version of the image. (Above.) There was quite a drastic colour change over the whole image in order to make the elements stand out from one-another, though I enjoy the twilight-esq nature to the colour palette as I think it communicates an air of mystery and woodlands ability to shut out sunlight.

Left page detail.

Right page detail. 


As a whole this image needs to be printed on an A2 sheet, so I went to local artsupplier/prnter The Artside to get a full-colour A2 poster printed for £4.25

Initially this was on an off-white paper stock, similar in texture to the 120gsm recycled drawing paper I have been using for my A3 prints.
The grain of the paper really affected the quality of the print, although not bad it is rather muted.

Out of curiosity I wanted to see how it would print at home with half of the image on an A3 sheet. Unfortunately I was running low on paper, so only got the one image printed. The colours are a bit off and the contrast between the darker colours is quite low, I think as a result of the settings I chose.

I returned to the artside for a another print, this time using their standard paper stock with a matte finish. The print quality is far superior to the previous prints.

When cropping the first print from the artside, I realised that I had made an error when making up the template in Photoshop, omitting 5mm worth of canvas on the vertical axis. This was a quick fix and is represented in the digital submission as a final outcome.(above.) However because this change was mostly functional for the context of being bound and cropped as a book, I decided not to get another print, as the aesthetic value is represented by the former print quite adequately.