Thursday, 20 December 2012

Self Publishing

I guess this post has turned out to be a bit more personal that I had hoped but it's still a good self reflection and a good plan of action for me to have. Self publishing is very important. These past few weeks I've been trying to get myself out there a little bit more, and trying not to let my fear of other people criticising my work or insulting my work get to me. Having made 20 business cards and setting up a page on Facebook, I really have to face my fears now. In mind of setting up my own website, and the website research I did, I've set up a page, which is actually a Facebook page. Although I can't completely customise it, I've tried to make it look professional and a bit interactive. I know Facebook is though of as unprofessional, I think it's a good way to get yourself out there. 99.9% of people nowadays have a Facebook account, and you can add them to your own personal page, and spread it throughout the internet. It is very accessible. I've managed to get myself 60 followers, and hopefully as more people like it, more people will come and have a look. I have also set up a Linked In account and applied all of my work there too, as well as having a more personal twitter page that I send sneak peeks of my work before it is finished on, as well as a couple of other things too. I like to keep my pages professional but personable, so that it's easy to relate to without sounding like a child getting hyper over every thought they have during the day and writing it down. Twitter is good because you can target the audience you want with hashtags and spread your work to others very easily. I've noticed a lot of successful designers like Kath Kidston and Laura Ashley have their own twitter and Facebook pages, it's cool to think that these people we look up to are just a message away, it feels like you're getting a more personal side of the person rather than the professional front you see on adverts /  other websites, it's nice to see the human side! Hopefully  I'll be taking over the internet with my illustrations soon as well! I will eventually have my own domain set up. My dad owns a web design company so I count myself as lucky to have someone with knowledge in that area to help me out a bit and be able to make it completely my own without breaking my bank balance, and after all, what kind of a student can afford to have a website professionally designed!?

My Business Cards!

So if you're reading this, hopefully you are interested in my work, and however you have found yourself reading this, maybe you can check out these sites I've been talking about? :)

So you're probably wondering, why Red Jay?
Because because because becauuuuuuse, I think it's important to have a nice name for a business! My initials are R J F, but a few old friends call me RJ, and I love Blue Jays (favourite bird ever) so naturally it's red jay. It's my name, kind of, and it's what i'm about. I love animals!

Nikita Austin: Portfolio Review #2

This portfolio review was a bit different because this was I did over the internet. I had planned to send it to my old tutor Nikita Austin, because she is teaching a Graphic Design ND and she actually taught me in college, she also studied illustration at Stockport college so I thought who better to chose! She is in a similar place to where I'd like to be in a few years time. So I sent her my portfolio and this is her response to my work.

"Hi Rachel
Thanks for that, it is lovely to see your work and how much you have progressed at Stockport, it really is a credit to you, work looks great.
Okay here goes.... It's all very diverse at the minute. You are 'dipping your toe' into a bit of everything- drawing, 3D pieces, collage, digital etc... which I love but you might have to start thinking about which one of those best represents 'you' and what you enjoy doing and focussing on that? Maybe this will come naturally towards the end of your 3rd year.
My favourite piece is the one with all the lovely blue birds. How did you make them? It's just beautiful and I can see it working on a greetings card or even wallpaper and bags etc. I would fill my walls with this 
I also really love the Little White Lies cover.... it's very striking and the composition and framing looks great.
I do think there is something really interesting about your little 3D pieces you do aswell. They are different and quite intriguing?? The black swan thingy is very good. It reminds of some strange little abstract sculpture. A little bit Joseph Beuys drawings, the way it is quite dismembered and fluid.
Just one last thing... your digital portfolio is a bit all over the place in terms of opening up different folders/ images. Could you not set all your pages in InDesign and then save it as a PDF? That way you can add all your little bits of text where you want them and it will be nice and easy to flick through? Completely ignore this if you just sent me this in a rush, I know you were having trouble sending it!
Hope this helps 

Nikita Austin"

I definitely agree with her, I think my work does need to be narrowed down, I do want people to look at my work and be like "Yeah, that's Rachael Felstead's work" but also I want to refine it and make it really the best I can do. I think so far, with it being the end of 2012 and half way through my last year, I think I'm close to being there. I've really tried to keep myself within a certain style without restricting myself. At first with the Zine project, I looked at what I had done in the past, an tried to think how I'd do it, but I just decided to do it and it went really well for a first time. The with the BMW project at first i struggled trying to think about how to do it, and time was passing and i was becoming worried, and then i realised I should just do it anyway because I can't let this defeat me, and it sort of came together. I always had it in my mind but I didn't let it control me. Then I started on my Fishtank with NO problems. I do think I need a little more work and refinement, but I am progressing and that's what is important. I agree that at the end of the 3rd year it will be natural to me!
I am really pleased that the Mug design is your favourite! I seem to have a lot of good feedback on it. It helps me see clearer because after looking at my own work so much and over analysing it, I really get a clouded vision, and it's good to have reassurance that i'm heading in the right direction.
The Little White Lies cover is a strong piece yes, but I missed out on making it more 'me' and I think that if i knew how at the time, it could have fitted in more, but I am still proud of it. It proves that accidents really are good!
I love doing the creatures and making animals, I just feel like my sewing skills and knowledge hold me back from making my pieces as professional as they could be. In my spare time I really hope to improve these skills, because in the future I would like to have my own range of clothing, home decorations and other things like that, even if it's just for myself. 
Yes my digital portfolio is a bit of a mess! I do have the actual one on InDesign but for some reason when I save it as a PDF it doesn't open after. This is a technical issue i wish to resolve very soon on a different version of InDesign, as mine is very very old! 
Nikita has been a really great help through out my years at college and will always be a role model to me. She has a good style and continues it in her own time, and is in a teaching role which is definitely something I am going to continue with after I leave.
So thank you, Nikita! 

Some of Nikita's work.
Go see her page, it's so good!

Creation ADM: Portfolio Review #1

This week I took my portfolio to a place called Creation ADM in Manchester, a design agency who deal with many different types of design work, ranging from Graphic Design and web design to more illustrative arts. I arranged to meet the Creative Director and owner, Gary, and have a review of my portfolio with some of the design team there. I chose this place because they are friends of my Dad, he is in the same industry and building up my contacts list is very important to me. I showed them through my portfolio and explained about each piece and what kind of work it was for. I met Katie and Laura. They started off my talking about my first piece which was my designs for my BMW project. They said it's nice that I've included my best pictures from the brief, and that they liked the colours I had used because "the colours aren't what you'd expect, but they work really well together as a piece" in response to my Bag and T-shirt design. They said I had represented the themes of the brief in my work well, and they could see the message within it. They both really liked my mug design as well, they said my use of pattern was nice, but not to include so many images for one brief in the portfolio for next time, which is fair enough. Although I agreed with them, I am quite unconfident looking at a lot of my work, so I like to be safe and keep only the ones I class as 'good' to be shown to other people. Next in the portfolio was the Zine, And they really liked my drawing and the book itself but they asked why I's used so many paper textures, but after pointing out that I had actually used fabric they understood, and told me next time to perhaps have a clearer shot of the book so it's easier to see details like that, which i definitely agreed with, and plan to change. After the Zine was the Black Swan from the previous year. They commented that I am a "chameleon" and that being diverse is good, and they did bring up that it doesn't look like my other images but they said they were the strongest images in the whole portfolio, as a double page spread and as single images. On the pages were my actual swan, and the magazine cover I'd made. They said I seem to have talent for sewing and that my worked looked like surface design, which a few other people have picked up on too. I think it's because we work very closely with the surface design students. They understood why I had chosen not to include the had, but that they worked nicely as separate images. After that was my One for All Illustration and my One day brief from the end of last year. I talked about how I wasn't too keen on part of the one for all piece, but I included it because it does show that I can draw human forms in my own illustrative way, and that i'm not scared by it. They understood but it turns out that they both seemed to like the image and the mood that it gave off. I showed them the book it was published in and really liked that I had brought some physical pieces with me. They said it makes it better when you bring your things in because it's nicer to physically interact with it rather than just flick through a flat page. And the one day brief they liked too, they said for a days work it's nice to see what you are able to accomplish, although they didn't really look at that one too much. Then after that was my Age UK booklet and cards, this was their favourite because of the story my image told, and they kept saying "awwww". It was nice to see that my image had brought out a feeling in someone unrelated to the charity. They said it was also nice that I had brought the actual booklet in too. Then it was my Totem post animals, and they thought they were really cute characters. They asked about the patterns and they seemed impressed by it. They said next time it would be nice to actually take all the physical things I can, like the swan, the creatures and also sketchbooks so they can see all the thought processes I go through and initial sketches I do. I had actually planned to take more, but I was unsure if they wanted that kind of thing or just wanted to flip through quickly and have a chat. I was surprised because we spent 30 minutes  talking and looking over my work, it was really nice to see people in the industry impressed by my work. I was surprised because I was expecting a lot of heavy criticism but they seemed happy with my work! I also showed them my business cards and they fell in love with them! They liked that I had spent a lot of time making them individually and i should continue that way. I had mentioned earlier that I would like to go into teaching art in schools, and said that "the fact you have skills in lots of areas will be a positive to you because you are capable of teaching skills outside of drawing as well". One of the women took my business cards and said she would contact a friend of hers that was arty like me and had gone down the same path I'm planning to take, to give me some tips, and a little taster of what it's like. She said he was happy in his job and I think it's very important to enjoy what you do. She said that the size of my portfolio was a good choice, they said it was nice to see something that isn't an A2! She said it's very important to choose a portfolio that's the right size for you, but she prefers the smaller ones anyway because they're easier to pass around and it's not hard to carry around when travelling.

Over all I really learnt a lot from this review. For next time I will take everything  that I like and shows off my skills, and I will also do some better prints, because they did mention that my print quality could have been better. They liked that I did all the photography myself and that I was diverse. I know i need to keep my style together a bit more but they told me it will eventually and not to worry about t all too much! I kind of want to go back at the end of the year because they were so nice. I want to show them how I have improved but for now I'll just have to wait and see! 

Monday, 10 December 2012

BMW Transfer Experiment!

Today I experimented with some transfers, ceramic and fabric. I used the brand LazerTran because it's the most available transfer paper to buy. The reason for the transfers being that the project I was working on called BMW WHF required me to make designs for a T-shirt, mug and bag, so i decided to see what they look like in reality, and also now it's more professional for a portfolio, so i can take some professional pictures of them! :)

Watch these videos to see how I did!

My Ceramic Transfer Movie

My Fabric Transfer Movie

I am actually really happy with the way all of the designs have turned out. I've kind of done these without really having much information on how. But they're really really nice! I'm just worried about the mugs since they aren't varnished yet. I can't wait to get these photographed! :)

Some shots of my finals:
Pre transfer



Mug pre transfers

And there we go! Amazing!

Very nice indeed :)

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Negotiated Projects: BMW WHF

I have to design some merchandise for BMW's charity in China called World Heart Fund. The aim was to represent the charity with an idea of the charity that it intends to be, for example, it helps communities grow and educates children in parts of china that have been  victim to natural disasters or are in need of help some way. BMW do this because they take from the Chinese community and they want to do their part and give something back. So, we were given the task to re design their merchandise for people of all ages, which includes:
  • A new years Card
  • A certificate
  • A T-shirt
And then you can pick from a list which other items you'd like to redesign (minimum 2)
So I chose 
  • A mug
  • A canvas tote bag
I am planning my designs so that one character is throughout the designs and can be re worked in to every format desired, I have to keep in mind that if they chose my designs I would have to design some more for other merchandise such as iPhone & iPad cases. 
So I start off looking at birds (again) because they can represent so many happy emotions and are nice characters to work with, they are also something i find personal to myself. But before I jumped into anything I knew I had to research the meanings behind birds, colours, and everything i'd thought about using in my illustrations, because there's no point drawing and making something if you'd be offending someone showing it! 

I researched different kinds of birds and their meanings, some were bad luck omens and others were more fitted to my brief.

I had considered Cranes, Magpies and Mandarin ducks, they were all relevant. But I wanted to stay away from the cranes because they are so typically chinese and I thought after reading the brief they didn't want an image that was the epitome of chinese culture, they want a surprise. So i had to find a balance between different and being careful what i'm showing to people.

I had seriously considered mandarin ducks because of the idea of relationships behind them. They represent odd couples, and i thought that was a nice idea because BMW and a charity like WHF are just so odd together! But The idea was loose and I thought people might take it differently to how i'd intended it, and I don't want to imply that BMW are in the charity for a ulterior motive. 

So I chose the magpie, it was kind of my first choice anyway, they are a good luck charm, they bring happiness and I think it's relevant for WHF to bring happiness, so that was one aspect I could cover.

Next I had to think about how i'd represent more than one aspect of the charity, I couldn't have just a magpie anyway, it doesn't say enough, i wanted to paint the picture clearly so i experimented with ways to represent other aspects. I decided to represent growth with trees, friendship through another character perhaps and prosperity with a dandelion. I also did some tye dyes for the colours of the magpies and leaves for the tree, ect. Here are some of my drawings:

After experimenting with different ideas and drawings these were the ones i picked above the others, and i had ideas in mind of how to fit them together for each design, so I started to play with my pictures on Photoshop and after a bit of play they came together nicely. Here are some of my finished mock-ups. I just need to perfect them now and I will be able to send them off ready for print!

Monday, 26 November 2012

Colin Self

This weekend I was lucky enough to be in Norwich at the time of a Colin Self exhibition at NUCA, called 'One Thousand Sketches'. Self was actually a student at NUCA before he attended Slade in the 1960's. Self is a Pop artists and works with a variety of medias, which is actually something i really admire of him because even though he works with different medias he has his kid of look of making things, although some of his photography and digital manipulation are quite 'out there' and far away from his sketch work, to me. The display was supposed to evoke feelings of restlessness and self immersion from the audience. A lot of his drawings were influenced by the cold war and other main scares during his younger years, for example nuclear war, and challenges our view of the world.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Website Research

Recently i've been looking into artistic websites and also sites of my favourite illustrators to build a base of what my ideal website should look like, since I don't yet have a website of my own I try to take care of my blog because I know creative people and potential employers could see it, and presentation is everything!

I've looked into the websites belonging to Leif Podhajsky, Sophie Parker, Kath Kidston, Ritu Kumar, and Sara Fanelli, because I think i fit somewhere in the middle of all of them (and they're some o my favourite artists!) 

I'll go through the websites and analyse it, saying what i'd like and why, and what I wouldn't like.


One of the first things i've noticed about Sophie's website is that she has a good palette, it not only is continuously reused, it also relates to her work, which is think it something that is very important because the last thing you want to do is have all crazy colours like this:


Sophie's site is really easy to move around and very functional. For my website i'd like to have fairly simple colours and limit the amount i'd use. I'm unsure whether i'd go for pastel colours or natural colours yet, i have elements of both in my work and it just comes down to how it would suit the website at the end.

I probably wouldn't have a starter page because I think that for people that aren't used to using computers it might be confusing. It also takes time, although not much unless you have a bad internet connection it can take a while. In terms of the layout, I like the easy to navigate through picture tab at the side, i'd like that but i'd make it more functional and less pretty.


Cath Kidstons work is a lot more commercial because she's so popular, but i can learn a lot from her because she is so successful. I like the simplicity of her layouts and the fact that she creates graphics purely for the use or her website, I'd very much like to set a week aside and make lots of things for my website. Another thing is that she's managed to get everything professionally photographed which does make her website much more professional, I should perhaps invest in a better camera but maybe for now get someone with a camera and some good photography skills to help me out with that. Applying pictures of her work onto actual products is obviously a plus, but i'd probably give it my best go in photoshop, or perhaps make prototypes of my work and model them out in functional situations somehow if it happens to be 3D.


A website i stumbled on a couple of years ago actually stuck in my mind because it had music playing on it, relevant to the content. It was an indian fashion website and it had some very serene quiet traditional indian music playing on it. I'd definitely consider something like that, because if it's executed properly it can be the thing that pops in your head, thus making it memorable. It also adds a nice atmosphere to the site. I actually just left it open on a separate tab to listen to the music! I'd have to be careful it doesn't distract and also be aware of copyright laws. There is also the option of making my own simple artsy music...


Lief Podhajsy's website is probably my favourite of the bunch, because he does nothing to distract you away from what you're there to see, his work. I like the selection of font, layout, everything. You can tell it's a serious business, it's very professional and minimalistic. This is something I imagine mine to look like, but perhaps if you add a few custom parts, like a handwritten title since if you changed the words and pictures it could be one of thousands of websites on the internet.


Last but not least it's Sara Fanelli's website. I like the way she's customised it, but for my taste i find it to be a little bit too busy for my kind of work. Come to think of it I guess it's just subjective to the work and the kind of person and artist you want people to see you as. The custom hand made links she's got is definitely something i'd go for, but in terms of the background I just don't find it that interesting. I'd perhaps have a cream colour and an illustration of my own.

I think looking a these websites has definitely given me a clearer view of where i'd like to start with my website. If i manage to buy a domain soon i'm going to set a week aside and think and draw!

Challenging Illustration

"As our visual language evolves the playing field is levelling. Graphic designers, sculptors, painters, creative developers, and even musicians amorphously meander across different parts of our creative industries. As a consequence, I often wonder what the term 'Illustration' now means. Maybe as a medium it might need to do more than vocationalise aesthetics and cultivate a border palate of profundity for it's own survival." Michael Salu Artistic director of Grants Magazine 2012 Varoom

After reading this article i begin to start asking myself why people are so concerned about where the industry is heading. Over the years it has changed shapes and has bettered itself within society, i know as a society develops, as does everything around it and i don't think design should be an exception to this. It is perfectly fine to find yourself delving into different paths as it broadens the creative mind and also broadens the minds of those watching us, by changing the way we see and know things we learn, and find ways to better our creative understanding, i mean to say that this should and will go for Animation, Illustration, Graphic design... everything. Politics and art have always gone hand in hand but as i understand extremities will always occur and continue to push the boundaries, for example Damien Hirst and Tracy Emin have recently been in the news due to people arguing against their 'art work' and therefore they aren't being sold in auctions anymore, I think society shapes everything and filters all the other things out that we aren't ready to face yet, or maybe things that should never have been here at all! My views on Damien Hirst and Tracy Emin aside, if the boundaries are being pushed, who says it's a bad idea anyway? What are we so worried about? The meaning of illustration will never be lost, it will always continue to be because it is always needed. I don't think a name change is in order, i simply think  that if something new breaks off from what we know as illustration, that alone will be considered something else completely. I definitely think all illustrators, designers... basically everyone, should push the boundaries, it's how we learn. Even if this is all one big mistake, we have learnt from it. In terms of seeing it being done within my own work, I can't say I make my work specifically to push the boundaries of this issue, I actually just think it happens by accident, and it happens by the choices we make, it's hard to avoid, for example, at some point in my life i will more than likely be asked to make an animation, and it will be both illustrations and moving image, because it's what I know, I don't think the types of design are all that different anyway and are intermingled with each other. If it evokes enough emotion, whether it be outrage or love, it will be strong enough to shape people perceptions.

Also, in terms of eBooks and apps, making artwork free and accessible is quite futuristic to me, because as a community peoples class doesn't matter like it used to hundreds of years ago (within art) it's to share with the world, and in today's it has to be quick fast and easy, an app is quick easy cheap and also permanent. It's always in your pocket when you need it. The potential downside of this thing i can see happening is people won't want to visit galleries anymore because it's easier to get it electronically. But i think for a creative person specifically or just someone who is passionate, then you'd always want to go and see it in reality, because it's so much better than having it on your iPhone. We can boast to our artsy friends about it! 

This is the article I was reading the other week about Tracy Emin and Damien Hirst, I think they're perfect examples of pushing the boundaries and for it not to be accepted. Although my opinion isn't necessarily correct, A whole lot of people agree that this is taking it too far, some people love this though purely because of the fact that they challenge society. It is purely a subjective matter. The people who add fuel (Like Emin and Hirst) to the issue will keep the fire burning and society (who in the instance would be the wind) blow it in the direction of the way they make it go.

Pictures and Article here:

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Hopes, Fears & Opportunities Part I

There will be 2 parts to this post, the first half way through the semester and the second at the end.

For my hopes fears and opportunities, i will be discussing how i have planned to keep on top and achieve my goals so far, and what I can do to step up my game further on from this point I am at now.

My hopes up until now have been that I manage to stay on track with my work and not fall behind, and in doing so i will have more time & effort to put into my work improving the outcomes. I've also hoped and tried to balance out my style of working so it can sit nicely in the middle of everything i've done so far and connect to previous work, and also work to come. I must, however, keep in mind that in doing so I have to not let that control my work and then become stuck, I have to keep experimenting and discovering new things, but learn how to use them in my own unique ways.

So far I have to say I've more or less pushed myself and managed to keep up the good work! I just have to keep setting higher goals and refine my work.

I've had a few demons in my head! I suppose I'm not as confident with my work as I should be, and I become my own worst enemy. It sounds silly when i put it into words but I get scared when I have to face doing my work in fear of it being unacceptable and bad, and having that mindset I actually put myself off doing it well, and sometimes even doing it at all, I know my work has definitely suffered because i struggle to see past this wall of bad thoughts that fill my mind, and I'm trying not to associate doing my work with bad things happening, and that doing work really is my way of communicating. It shouldn't be something I'm putting off doing because it makes me unhappy, it should be something that makes me happy that stops me from doing exactly that! I'm also pretty harsh on myself when i receive criticism and i think i take it personally sometimes, even though i shouldn't take it as a bad comment i should take it as a helping hand from my peers but again it's down to my lack of confidence. I feel the way i've written it in words it seems really really negative and that i'm extreme, but I don't mean it to come across that way i'm just trying to portray what it's like with my words.

Working with fears is difficult and sometimes is overwhelming, i did struggle a bit last year, but so far i've stayed focused and my game is on! Think positive, be influenced and never close my eyes!

There will be many opportunities this year, and actually being in Stockport College studying a degree is an opportunity in itself really. Learning & getting a degree is really something i try to be thankful for as not everyone can have it so easily. But talking of up and coming opportunities I've actually arranged for myself to get some work experience in a school. When I leave I've thought about becoming a teacher and I am seriously considering it as an  option when I leave, so this is really a good start for me. It will be in January. Other opportunities have come for me and i consider myself to be lucky really, my dad just so happens to be in the printing industry and has a lot of contacts with people who have studios and businesses, from Web Designers to illustrators, so I am going to see if i can get an interview with someone through that. I also would like to try and get one by my own means to prove to myself that i am perfectly capable without help. 

Saturday, 3 November 2012

September: A New Start - The Last New Start of Uni!

It's the start of the year again, but this time it's slightly different. It's the last time it's the start of a university year for me, but it's okay because even though i'm going to miss everything about this place and the people i'll be really starting a new part of my life. I really have to stretch myself this year and do everything I can do to help my future self to cope with being on my own and making it. 

Personal Project

So we started off our project over the summer, and it is going to continue on through the rest of the year. We have to look into a theme - I chose Michael de Certeau's theme of looking at the city and seeing it from a cultural perspective and also looking at the hierarchy, de personalised. So i chose to turn the tables and look at a 3rd world country and see how the effects of globalisation from western countries affect the culture and art. A lot of modern indian doesn't look traditionally indian and is quite minimalistic in contrast to ancient indian paintings and tapestries. I like to focus on the dated art and textiles to take inspiration from. I've been looking into printing and dying techniques but some of the ones i wanted to try were impossible to achieve with the limited resources I have and can be quite expensive, so i worked with this and decided to do some very typically western styles of print, e.g tie-dye, which was a strong part of the 60's fashion in western countries and also the more modern style of print which is now used in most print studios, acrylic screen printing. So with various ideas in mind, i went ahead to come up with some vague sketches  and experiments to lead on to the continuation project, the zine.

Negotiated Projects: Zine

So the first project of the year is our Zine. We have to make a series of images to go inside the zine and it has to have meaning relating to the summer project - it is a continuation of the summer project itself. Surrounding myself with indian imagery of every kind and looking at some of my favourite artists, i started to look at patterns and shapes and incorporate it within my work. I wanted to do something with animals - traditional indian animals with indian patterns. I thought I could create a mascot to represent the indian culture but some how make it so it was western too, i had thought about using the american colours but i had chosen a peacock as the mascot and i really didn't want to lose any of the colour on it, for me that is one of the reasons for picking it, because i love the colours of it so much. So without wasting any time to linger on the thought i just decided to go ahead and plan it all out and think about how i'd mix that in later on. We did a day brief on some studio rules on our first day, and that came into mind since the one i worked on with my classmate hannah was called 'accept mistakes and move forward' i look the meaning from the quote, like 'don't linger on problems, just experiment and go with it' kind of thing, so i just did what i thought would be best. As i was thinking about it, i'd got my material together and thought that it would be a nice idea to photograph it in a certain way, for example, wearing an american flag as a cape or surrounded with coke cans or something cheesy like that, which might work since i'd get to keep the colour but have the meaning i really wanted in it too. In the end it didn't really work out, and ended up looking really badly put together, since i left little time and was working with very few resources at this point. My ideas were thin and i wish i had left more time to think on what to do for it, but it is a lesson for next time really. 

Along side making the mascot i was reading more on the subject and came across and article on a man who lived in india a while ago before it became globalised, and remembered how it was, he moved away for some years and when he returned he could see and hear a difference, there were young girls saying really american things such as 'dude' and a McDonalds was no more than a 10 minute drive down the road now. So i decided i'd have those indian animals with indian patterns saying really american things like 'would you like fries with that?' and 'Well colour me stupid' - I think humour is a really good way with connecting to people and allows you to trust and create a relationship with the image and think 'Yeah, that's funny, I wonder who thought of such a silly thing' my idea made me smile when i thought of how it would turn out. I had tie-dyed some materials that were plain white, some with a floral pattern on, kind of like something you'd see from the western 80's and used that as a background for my animals. I decided gold was the colour to use as it would be traditionally indian and also it would stand out and shine on top of the bright tie-dye colours. I transferred my images on to screens and printed, some turned out really nice but with some, the tie dye background was too harsh and the gold didn't show up like i'd imagined. I did some tests on some bright green sating before and now i wish i hadn't taken such a big risk and tried it out on the right fabric. I carried on with our class quote in mind. Once i'd decided on all the quotes i got them out on to speech bubbles and inverted them, they'd stand out more on black against the harsh tie-dye. Once I'd fixed them together i put everything on to photoshop and tried to brighten up the images with the tools on there but i could only do so much without ruining the quality, another lesson for next time - do more tests! 

Having bought some hand made papers from turners in warm indian colours, i sewed my book using a coptic bind, which creates a plait pattern as you go along the spine, which i thought was a nice element since my work is full of patterns. I made a golden medallion on the front and it looked like an ancient indian book of spells and secrets, i loved it. I just wished the interior looked as good as the outside. My in-pages were in the theme of handmade things and i wrote a quote on globalisation inside.
Overall, I am very pleased with it, i think it's one of the best pieces i've done yet, I just have up until christmas to fix it completely and re-photograph it, and then it will be perfect.

With it now being the end of the project, the Salford Zine owner came in to give us some critiques on our work. I remember him saying that he didn't really understand the whole concept of mine, but he thought it was funny. He didn't take such a long look at it and i think if he looked through it he'd really understand the message i was trying to convey. I will take his words in to consideration though and see next time how i can improve the message that i am trying to convey. I am not letting him take my zine for the museum! I like it and i want it at home with me!

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Abigail Brown: Creature Textile Designer & Illustrator

Just a short & sweet post really.

A while ago I came across Abigail Brown whilst browsing the web and instantly got in touch with her to find out more about her work and how she got to the point she's at now. Looking through her work I can see relevance to my own work because of her love of birds and nature and the fast that she works in 3D as well as being an exquisite drawer too, although I know she uses wire as a base which is something i'm not familiar with. I wanted to get in touch with her to ask her a few things and hopefully find new ways to expand my knowledge of techniques for 3D art. Here is an example of her work:

I just want to say that I understand that working artists are very busy and I am grateful for the replies I have!

The E-mail

Subject: Just a few questions
Date: Mon, 22 Oct 2012 20:40:02 +0100

Hello Abigail,
I just wanted to say that your work is amazing! I wish I could do what you do. Your work has inspired me to make more 3D art! 
I just wanted to ask you a few questions regarding your work if you don't mind?
Who are your main inspirations for creating your work and why?
Are you influenced by any classic art e.g Picasso or any specific art movement?
I can see your work is clearly inspired by nature and birds, is there anything else in day to day life and culture that inspires you?
What processes do you go through to put your spectacular work together?
Would you mind giving me a criticism on some of my art work if you have time? I understand how busy you can be, but I would be very flattered and grateful! :)
I am learning my own style at the minute and confused as to which way i am working, you can probably tell as some of it is flat illustrations and some are 3D. 
Here are the pictures of my work: 
(Sorry if I have overloaded you with images!)
Thank you! :)


Hi Rachel,

Thank you for your email.
Lovely to hear you're enjoying my work.

I find inspiration in anything, there's not one thing I look to to inspire me... just always keeping my eyes open.
I do picture research, create drawings, turn those into a template and build each piece from there.

I didn't start doing what I'm now doing until a year or so after I graduated so I don't think you need to worry about when you'll find your perfect style and niche... just keep on trying and enjoying what happens until you do!

Best wishes,

studio e2r
cockpit arts
cockpit yard
northington street
london wc1n 2np

tel: 07940 497488

Sunday, 14 October 2012

8x8 Book Launch

The 8x8 book launch was actually a project from last year that was published this year and we had an event at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation in Manchester. We had to create illustrations to go in a book, working alongside writers from the Manchester University. Working together with other students was really a ton of fun, and we made sure to talk in person rather than e-mail and phone calls, which was actually really nice to do since in todays age we rarely get to work with people in person.  The book launch was an absolute success, and during the event talks went on to advertise our project and show our works. There was an opportunity to be interviewed on stage and I decided to give it a go! It was quite nerve racking but when I was on stage everything just seemed to flow really nicely and went just as i had planned. My question was "Why was my image chosen to be in the Rogues Gallery?" The rogues gallery is the illustrations which didn't get to go along side the story text but were still featured in the book. My answer was simply "My illustration was a creative journey for myself, experimenting with elements and different types of illustrating that I had not done before, I think with more practice and refining my images would have most definitely been chosen, which is my goal for the future". It's safe to say our launch was a success since we sold out all our copies!

Photos above by Bryony Hopkins

My work featured here

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Creative Review: September

This is our first Creative review session and for this we had to pick 3 things, a news article, a book, and a movie to talk about, but not just any, something that has some kind of a meaning to us in anyway possible. This is a very personal post to me, and as I understand, it doesn't matter if the connection with our work is not as important here, it's something which I have to explain why.

The Movie

The Plot
The Movie I chose was called 'The Other Boleyn Girl' and it was about the Boleyn sisters, and the story starts off my introducing us to the characters and their lifestyle. Anne & Mary were very close sisters. Anne was the straight forward daring one of the sisters, whilst Mary was the gentle kind hearted one, also being the better looking one of the pair. Mary was married off to an average man whom she loved, but the family had something different in mind for Anne. Annes uncle was in connection with the king, Henry and had talked her father into getting the kings attention to possibly become his mistress, and after she had given him a son she could be married off to someone with a high title, like a duke. The kings wife was unable to produce a son and the king was growing impatient. The plan was to get wealth and a sure future for the family and get a well respected family name. But Annes mother was unhappy with the prospect and warned her husband. Anne was in agreement with her father and took on the challenge and shared thoughts with her sister about how one day she could become a duchess if things went well. Eventually the king came to visit and seemed to take a liking to Anne, as she worked her quick and clever mind to charm the king. The king took Anne hunting, and being over confident she caused an accident and the king was hurt, though his pride more than anything, the family was anxious to find out if the king had changed his mind about Anne. Mary was assigned to take care of the king whilst he recovered from his fall. The king became interested in Mary, her beauty and her kind heart, but being the kind hearted sister she tried to keep out of his way so her sister could do her duty. After the king left, Mary got a message from the king asking her to go to court and tend upon the king himself, everyone persuaded her to go, and Mary knew the real reason why she was being sent off and tried to refuse, but she was denied refusal. Anne became angry with Mary thinking that she'd done something to charm the king. With no choice, Mary left to court to give Henry a son whilst Anne had an affair with Henry Percy, the Earl of Northumberland who was already betrothed, her father and uncle found out and she was exiled to France until her father forgave her, and had to keep it a secret or the plans for Mary could be abandoned as Anne had brought shame to their name. Anne & Mary's mother warned her husband again that if something goes wrong their daughters lives could be at risk, but he denied. Mary fell in love and pregnant and was sentenced to bed rest, whilst Anne began to seduce the king once again, angry at Mary and blaming her for being exiled. But Anne played games seducing the king knowing that he had chosen her sister over her, and tempted him, then turned him away, but the king promised to keep away from her sister and wife. After Mary gave birth to a baby boy, the king paid attention only to Anne, and decided to send Mary back to the country with the her son, then Anne could have him all to herself, and made plans to marry the king and give him a son who is not a bastard. Anne talked Henry into getting rid of the queen, and the queen is forced to leave court, just after Anne gives birth to a baby girl to the kings disappointment. Anne becomes pregnant for a second time but has a miscarriage, and is so scared the king will find out and kill her, that she asks her brother to sleep with her, and he does try but he just can't. Jane Seymour,  another girl at the court finds them together, which is perfect for her because she's had her eye on Henry for a while, so she tells him everything. Anne and her brother are found guilty of both Treason and incest and are both sentenced to death, and they are beheaded. Mary tried to reason with the king but he warned her never to return. 

The reason why I chose this move is because I am very interested in history. As a child our school focused a lot of our studies on this time period so it has always been something i'm knowledgeable about. I am also quite interested in old traditional tapestries and the paintings from it too. My grandfather used to own an old hall called Barlborough Hall in Derbyshire and most of it's decor was 16th century. My mum used to tell me ghost stories about it and there was a lot of personal history in that place, it was very eerie. I was sad when my Grandfather sold it since i felt like I had a personal connection with the area, although it was far away and i rarely visited it somehow felt like home. My mum had stayed many times in the hall and always came back with stories from friends who had stayed there / caretakers and maids (it was a hotel at the time). So it's always been influential to me,  i had taken on a personal interest in this, which i felt i've lost in more recent years, and watching this really brought back some good memories. It's not something which i directly link with my art work but it was in my mind when I was doing my Age UK work in the second year. 

Image from:

The Book

The book I chose was the Horse Whisperer, though I didn't talk about it in our review, this is my all time favourite book, I was going to do it as the movie but I really wanted to talk about the Boleyn movie too. I've read the book once when I was quite young, and I won't bore you with a long plot but it is something that you must read - horse lover or not. The book is by Nicholas Evans and i've not actually read any other material of his, the only real reason why I picked it out is because horses have always been in my life since i was born and i have a real passion for them. The book is about a girl called Grace and her horse, Pilgrim who she loves and they are close, but one snowy day she goes out for a ride with her best friend, Judith and the horses slip down a hill onto an icy road and they are hit by a big truck, Grace and Pilgrim survive but Judith and her horse are killed instantly. Grace has her leg removed because it was so damaged and the horse, Pilgrim slips into a wild mental state, trusting no one and becomes angry and tormented. Grace becomes depressed and her mother, Annie is determined to save both Grace and Pilgrim, and finds out about a so called 'Horse Whisperer'. Both Grace and Pilgrim slowly heal their mental and physical wounds with the help of the horse whisperer, Tom Booker whilst they stay in his remote ranch in Montana. Annie begins to fall in love with Tom, and him with her, and in the end has to make a hard decision, does she stay with the man who she really loves, or does she keep her family together after this ordeal? In the end, I won't say what happens but it made me cry at 11 years old and still does now. The reason why I like the book and the movie is because it is so well written, you can understand the exact feelings and emotions the characters have and even though i've not been through anything like that, I know how they feel. As a horse lover I can understand how the horse is so important to her, after losing a horse myself. The movie is equally as beautiful as the book, the characters are amazing, the scenery is breath taking and the music is haunting. I think the music in the movie is one of it's best elements because it moves you without words. It's a lesson really, because as an illustrator, we have to emote to people like that, without words. It's nice just to listen to it whilst writing, it's very inspiring. The music is by Thomas Newman, who has created other master pieces, I love his music so much, he really has a gift. I'm actually stuck, I don't know which piece of music to link. If you have the time you should listen to them all.

The Article

Since we were asked only asked for one of these I've yet to work on finding an article that I find important to me, though I have one in mind so expect an update soon with that in it!