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!