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:
From: www.abigail-brown.co.uk

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

From: rachaelfelstead@hotmail.co.uk
Subject: Just a few questions
Date: Mon, 22 Oct 2012 20:40:02 +0100
To: abigail@abigail-brown.co.uk

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: http://www.frontispiece.co.uk/site/product.php?id_product=1009

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!

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Age UK: Revisited

So this week was our Age UK illustration launch at Stockport Town Hall, and I have to say what a great success it was! We had lots of interest from strangers, and we had a speech and even a ribbon cut to open our mini exhibition. A big well done to everyone who put the event together and also to my classmates and I for doing a truly great job. I was impressed with everyones work and it was so nice to see strangers interested in my work! I think it really pays off when you put so much work into a project and you get to see the impact it makes on people from the smiles on their faces. The project was aimed at raising awareness of Dementia and Altzheimers disease, and other memory loss related illnesses.
It was an emotional journey for us all working with people suffering from the illnesses and hopefully we have managed to somewhat help people dealing with this, or even towards making us one step closer to a cure. Here are some pictures I took on the day of our exhibition:
This here is my work 
Click to Enlarge