Monday, 17 June 2013


I reworked my website in time for the exhibition preview as I was originally very unhappy with the layout.
It still has a few things in need of doing/adding but I feel much better about directing potential clients to it!

Friday, 17 May 2013

Exhibition prep

I've been working on some product designs for a part of my final exhibition using the animal designs I created over Christmas last year. The images underwent a re colour and texture process to improve the quality which is fairly noticeable when compared against their originals.

I've been looking at teatowels, booklets, notepads, sticky notes, pens, bags and cushions. 
I'm also interested in making a gift wrap print some mugs and possibly a fabric box. 
I'm finding the process really enjoyable to be honest. 

Tea towel print

Teatowel/poster prints

Notepad design
front/back cover and inside pages
with alternative hand drawn and digital drawn font.

I also have plans to finish two more animations for my remaining Disney villain inspired frames, these will exhibit alongside the work above. 

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Commission Examples

I've started working on some example pieces for my agent. I'll just be uploading all the images into this post as I go along so it'll be updated constantly until I'm satisfied with the number. Then the best will be sent off to my agent for preview.

We're hoping that people will take an interest in the pieces ranging from A4 to A3 sizes printed on canvases. The artwork uses a range of random objects provided by the individual.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Hopes, Fears and Opportunities Part II

I've moved on a bit since the first time I wrote one of these, I have a greater understanding of where I'm heading from here on out along with much needed experience to see me through it.

My original hopes covered creating a body of work I was proud of, alongside a successful portfolio and to see my work circulating in print. Over the last couple of months I have managed to achieve work that I am comfortable with sharing, I've enjoyed my working progress throughout my FMP and the work produced will remain in my portfolio and on my webpage for some time as a result. My portfolio has been refined and I am pleased with the overall look and impression that it imprints on people's minds, I feel it reflects me and my style appropriately. Of course it's a given that it will always be going through improvements and updates but at its current state I am happy to show it to a potential client and talk through the processes. It is still early days in terms of circulating my work however over the last couple of weeks I have been screenprinting designs onto canvas bags and sheets of paper which can all potentially lead to future sale possibilities and ideas.
My website has come along since my original post, it is still going through its final adjustments and having the edges buffed but it is now a self standing document and has a valid url that will be printed on my next set of business cards in time for the final exhibition. In terms of my confidence in meeting with clients regretfully time has not allowed me to get many visits under my belt but I did however have a meeting with an agent whom has taken me on since. I felt I was able to talk freely to them and openly discuss ideas for the future in terms of work and clients. We spoke at length on what skills I could offer and what work could be produced and this has instilled a great sense of relief to me knowing that it is possible, that I can produce this work and that people will be interested. It remains to be seen how much work I can acquire but it's definitely a start!

In terms of my personal style, I've always felt my work was too diverse, too many different styles and too much uncertainty in my working method but now that I've sat back and looked at my portfolio and the prints selected for my website alongside my current train of work I can see there are clear links. The ultimate one being colour and texture, I enjoy producing brightly coloured work with a range of different textured backgrounds and overlays. One of the things my agent pointed out was that I often focused on the detail of each image which was a pleasing benefactor. Animation was also a large part of my potential interests to cover and just recently I have managed to achieve short animated frames, this has instilled confidence within me as I now know it highly possible [with time] to make short animated projects, there is still always much more to learn but I'm on the first leg of the ladder at least.

My fears covered lack of confidence, work and uncertainty - since my arrangements with my agent were made the majority of these have been lifted a little. I know that now, providing there is an interest, I am in a more favourable position of finding work due to the handling of an agent. I know the work expected of me as we discussed possible commision based pieces and I feel confident that I can achieve that which is asked of me. It is also a positive position as this combats my fear of losing artistic input in my own work, as these pieces are commission based the client will have certain points of input but the rest will be left up to me. I still feel myself falling short in confidence when I attempt to compare my work however I also understand it is a broad market and while it is over subscribed - people have different tastes and it's always possible my work will suit someone within it.

Opportunity wise I have taken part in a handful of live briefs over the last couple of months, which I have definitely enjoyed. The feeling of submitting the work has always been a satisfying one for me and it is what I enjoy the most with live briefs as due to the short time there will be a period of crazy and then sudden relaxation [providing I've kept up with it]. With the uploading of my peers websites and their ongoing blogs I have been able to keep myself inspired through their work and achievements, I have also been looking round the studio more often to see what others are getting up to which has beneficial in many ways. I have experimented with several techniques as well as returning to screenprinting for the last leg of this project which was something I hadn't originally intended to do but found myself enjoying [nearer the end]

Overall I am much more confident in terms of my future - the majority of my fears - while still very real, are a bit more manageable with the progress I have made. With this outlook I'm looking forward to the future rather than dreading it.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Final Animation

I finally finished it! I've uploaded a teeny, limited colour and dithered version of it in giff form above as the original file is too large for blogspot to host. I made several variants but due to the time it takes for rendering and such I'll only be showing them in img form below. 

As you can probably guess it's based around the Evil Queen and her poisoned apple. I used the frame design with some amendments and the texture paper from my print examples. I had originally experimented with illustrations of the characters themselves blinking and moving/changing but when I came to deciding on my final outcome I realised what I really wanted to make was something that actually 'moved' and had life.

I also felt that my illustrative skill in terms of drawing the characters was lacking and thus decided to take a more abstract route - aka focusing on the hands and key element [the apple] - which surprisingly has gone fairly well considering hands are the bane of my illustration career.

I'm very keen to do a few more like this - to cover the other two frames, but since each panel is drawn individually it's a very lengthy process so I'm lucky enough to actually have managed to finish this one in time for the hand in!

During my earlier giff experiments I found flash frustrating to use as it was difficult to line panels up and modify the document settings, this could have simply been down to my lack of knowledge with the programe regardless I decided to try out photoshop's animation tools.
I got the grasp through much trail and error and have definitely found myself preferring it to flash. The timeline system and layers make it much easier to line things up - it also saves the time of transferring the images between the two programes as I generally put my imagery together through photoshop to begin with.

In terms of the animation I decided to take a very old school approach and started out by filming myself rotating the apple and going through several different poses. I then manually saved the frames and split them into blocks.

I picked my favourite out of the ones gathered and enlarged the frames. I picked a sequence that rotated the apple within the hand and then further polished the skin as this produced some interesting hand movements. I removed the colour and added contrast to the frames to create the series of reference imagery used to compile the animation.

From these frames I drew the lineart for the animation, scanned the frames in and animated it using PS timeline.

Once I was happy with how it looked and had gained a basic understanding of the programe I added my boarder design and a background and slotted the animation frames inbetween them. 

I created a practise piece that used the lineart with overlaid colour effects, once this was finished I took the original lineart frames and painted them using watercolour and wax effect. These were then rescanned in and processed. I then replaced the frames and worked with the timing and positioning to get my finished product. 
For the amount of work involved the animation itself is disappointingly short but I have become more accustomed with the working method now and could probably achieve a must faster result. It does make me appreciate full length animated films a whole lot more though! I'd love to do more with this method and will possibly aim to have some others by the time my exhibition swings round.

FMP Evaluation

For my Final Major project I decided to look at Villains, Disney ones in particular due to the fact that Disney has always been a large part of my inspiration pool. Growing up with Disney stories and animation I’ve become very accustomed to their characters and settings. I’ve noticed recently that Disney have been remarketing their villains, making them look more glamorous and appealing to the younger audience in the forms of dolls, makeup bags and dairy covers. It gave the outlook of a side we’d not previously encountered, or thought possible, as their roles in standard storytelling was simply to cause friction and mayhem to the main characters, become the willing matron of our dislikes. I had also been playing with the idea of working more classical, with influences of art nouveau and print. I decided that by following a similar suit to that of Disney I would aim to make a selection of the villains more desirable, taking aspects from their stories and lifestyles that we know of to make attractive imagery simply to appear appealing to the beholder and little much else.
My initial plan was to work with 4 key villains but I dropped this to three so more care and attention could be given to the work. I selected Maleficent, The Evil Queen and Ursula as they were classic villains that I can still recall as strongly now as from my early childhood. Each also was accompanied by interesting imagery and a strong story which fed my illustrations. I ended up designing three ornate frames representing each villain. I chose frames because of their simple use of framing; their purpose is to highlight a feature or individual. We don’t generally frame something of little value or considered as rubbish, it is more often than not something considered beautiful to behold or of high worth. They also can represent the outside of a mirror, which is strongly hinted in the illustrations used for the Evil Queen’s variant. The mirror is a sign of vanity and beauty, it can also reveal and individuals true self which in my case was to reveal the worth behind these villains, in a more attractive light.
I combined the frames using hand drawn elements and Photoshop, these went on to being produced as screen prints and were further printed onto different papers and canvas bags with a mixture of inks. This was somewhat new to me as I’ve often avoided screen-printing when it comes to producing work, the process was especially long due to the finer detail in each frame, which meant only one print could be made before the screen had to be rinsed and reprepped.   I also experimented with animation effects, I had a hand at making a gif using flash but found the process frustrating to work with, when it came to my final animation I worked in photoshop and was pleasantly surprised with how much easy it was – at times. I took the frame of the Evil Queen as I feel this is my strongest design currently and focused on the poisoned apple. The fact that it is simply a hand and apple gave it a more abstract feel, the frame can be viewed as an eye point or perspective, as if the viewer were the Queen as she inspects her murder weapon. It is also a known fact that the hands of a person can tell a lot about them, in terms of how clean they are, how well they take care of their appearance, their youth and so forth. They can be considered as a beauty point and thus I illustrated them to have long manicured nails and ensured the gestures used within were exaggerated and theatrical to portray the Queen’s love of limelight and vanity. I am relatively pleased with how the animation came out, although I am disappointed at how short it is. The process was quite long as each frame was hand drawn, painted and scanned in but I’ve become accustomed to it now and thus should speed things up.
By the time the exhibition comes round I would like to have produced some more in terms of the animation, possibly two others to cover Ursula and Maleficent.  I would also like to produce a few more screenprints, I have three patterns designed for each villain aswell as a much larger final piece that combines all three frames to give it more of an impression. 

Tuesday, 30 April 2013


I've spent the last week screen printing my soul away, I picked the method back up after so long of not setting a foot anywhere near the print room and have produced a series of prints and bags. There have been several failures one consisting of a screen photocopying larger than intended and thus messing up the print - but all in all I've had a productive week. 

If time allowed it I'd have liked to have designed a few more prints to be put on screen so it's possible I will continue to do so after the deadline during the run up to my exhibition to further buff out my work mass. 

Despite not intending to produce bag prints I have become fond of how they appear against the canvas material and have since planned to create another smaller animation switching between all the different versions of each print if time allows. 
I enjoy the randomisation of each print, while I'm sure it's meant to appear perfect I do find myself liking the ones that sort of 'failed' due to not enough ink or a smudge/misline here and there. I gives it the printed impression which I find my digital work lacks. 

Portfolio Visit and Agent Meeting

For a couple of weeks prior I have been communicating with an agent via email and last Friday I managed to meet up with them over coffee to discuss my potential career with them hosting me.

I had previously forwarded this blog to them alongside my photography links as they also specialise in photography printing. Regretfully my personal website is still in the works so I was unable to link it through but luckily my blog contained enough information for them to grasp my style and way of working. I took my portfolio to the meeting and a separate folder on my ipad with my photography prints and talked them through the pieces including the methods and information behind each image. 

They took interest in my cover image and mini calender examples and talked about starting a commission based service involving taking elements and requests from the buyers and then drawing up their images in a similar style. The calender series was composed using 4 elements from an individual - favourite animal, colour, accessory and favourite fruit, we discussed how this could be adapted to suit a family in a series of small portraits or one long one. The same idea for my cover image but just taking random objects instead of a set of questions. 

We discussed the time each piece would require and I found myself considering things I'd previously not thought of, I worked out time allowances and methods which was beneficial as I realise these are very important things in terms of freelancing. I feel much better about my future in terms of becoming an illustrator knowing that these are things I can do, and with an agent helping me I'll find it much easier to branch outwards. 

It was also put forward the fact that they preferred to feature work in exhibitions which is great to hear as this gives the chance for people to see the work in person as opposed to seeing a shrunken jpeg on a random website. It feels more active and will allow more face to face chances in terms of acquiring work. 
Needless to say I'm looking forward to my future chances of work now! =]

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Animation test

I had a go at animating some of the sketches using really basic transitions and effects. I haven't really been formally taught how to animate yet so the majority is guess work using flash.
It took much longer than I anticipated as the program kept crashing on me so it's pretty clear I'm doing something wrong.


I made the black and white effect in flash itself purely for test purposes any final product would incorporate it's own textured and hand worked image. I think the gist of the idea works here but the timings need work, some slides in my mind still need speeding up more so which is something I would require help with. I'd also like to add more animation to the first frames other than eye movement - which was also done in a very basic copy and paste form for this example. 

Thursday, 21 March 2013

FMP progress

I've managed to churn out two finished boarder designers for my current and final project of the year. I'm part way through my third - I intend to stop at four and begin the process of adding in the content and experimenting with my animation techniques. If time allows I will be able to return to the boarder stage and make a few more but otherwise I think four is a good number.


Progress on Maleficent and more info can be found here


I've also experimented with the tones a little but this will remain a possibility as I don't want to take too much attention away from the actual content.
I'm happy with my progress so far but really need to step it up a notch.

I've also been sketching some imagery for the villains themselves. The general idea I have is to animate them switching between the forms. Beautiful to crazy or truth. 
I also intend to do some sample pieces that show the villains in their 'natural habitats' when they're not fulfilling the bad guy role. 

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Cosplay | Wilykat

Photo credit | Chi

WilyKat | Thundercats Reboot 2011

My latest costume venture! 
This was like nothing I've done before - facepaints - wefting lacefront wigs - resin casting.
All round more focus on makeup and add ons than the actual costume itself!
It was actually really exciting to work on and I've come away from it a lot more knowledgeable especially in terms of wig construction which I can hopefully apply confidently in my future costumes. 

I had the task of making Wilykat for the February convention. I bought a lot of my base materials - such as the base lace wig in advance due to needing to be shipped over from the US. I ended up having about a month to work on the actual costume. 

The leggings were the first thing I made - for obvious reasons - pretty basic pattern

The tunic caused a bit more of an issue than I have first thought due to it's straight hanging seams and pattern. 

But the wig was the real part that I kept putting off - my only experience with wigs was that of buying, cutting and styling them. I attempted to dye a wig once - and it ended badly
 I have personally never ventured into dicing and slicing wefts so I started searching for tutorials - which there is no shortage of - however none of them covered what it was I actually needed to do to replicate Wilykat's unique hairstyle.
So in the end I took the basic gist and made it up as I went along.
I recorded my method and made my own tutorial as I was instructing another member of our group on how to do his wig and the two characters had very similar hair styles. 

I was pleasantly surprised to find it no where near as difficult as I had first imaged it to be - despite having no clear guidelines on what I was doing in the first place.

[before fringe pieces and darker wefts were added]

The bags were a literal nightmare. He has a total of 10 smaller bags on his body and one larger backpack. 
I made a functioning bag to begin with but even when padded out with cardboard it looked flimsy and unlike the reference so I found some blocks of polystrene and sawed them into measured blocks which were then covered with the material pattern and a lot of hotglue. 

I have no fingerprints left. I swear
They were a lot more true to the block style of the animation. 
The clasps were recycled from some left overs from a previous costume. They were made by gluing two different buttons together and then spray painted to shade. 

The 'boot' covers or leg warmers ended up taking all night, I wanted to match the reference again and his are rather baggy almost padded. So I used a base of foam and built around it. The orbs for the belts were the only part of the costume that actually failed. We originally made some moulds out of clay which were then use to cast resin in. I had a lot of incidents with the resin and ended up casting about 7 gems but due to complications the moulds didn't survive and thus I ended up using a papermache top I found in hobby craft which I sprayed with red paint and painted the bases silver.
I made two as I was responsible for another member of my group's orb since the characters had the same design - in return she made both tails - this ensured we matched. 

Photo credit | Foxy

We trimmed the wigs and styled them on the morning of the event to ensure they were fresh. It took several hours to paint ourselves up - we used a mixture called PAX or prosaide which is a professional based catalyst you mix with acrylic paint that when dry gives it a sort of chewing gum texture. You have to then coat yourself in talc powder to smooth the paint out. 
It then does not come off.
There is a remover fluid that you can use to aid you in scrubbing - but you do have to scrub the top layer of skin off to remove it. On the other hand it means no smudges on the day.
We used snazaroo and sealed it with hairspray for our faces as pax is a no go in that region. 

Photo credit | Nert

And here we are! Not the full group as that will be debuted in May!

Tuesday, 5 March 2013


I've been working on some small cameo's for some of the re known female villains from Disney. It has the potential to be animated with small blinking actions and swaying etc and so I'm taking care to keep my layers throughout construction. 

I also have ideas to create shadow [blacked outlines] versions, using just iconic imagery [aka a spindle] within the character boarder or a piece of text with alternative life/interest and hobbies of the villain. 
I've been reading some texts as backup theory on my work and found an interesting article that talks about the other side, splitting the individual into two sections - the evil and normal side. I'd like to work with this concept a bit more. 

[mock up]

Gotham Villains 3MT Life Drawing

Last friday I attended a life drawing session in Manchester at the 3 Minute Theatre with Dr Sketchy. It was very close packed, a literal full house and very exciting to be at - there were 3 models, Cat woman, Poison Ivy and The Joker. It was really beneficial for my work as my FMP is based around villains. The atmosphere was great as was the entire session - they used tracks of music to time each pose and experimented with lighting and props throughout. As usual I started out slow but managed to get the hang of sketching the further in I got, however due to the lack of space I found myself unable to experiment media wise - maybe next time!

Poison Ivy started her section off with a mini performance showing the transformation,  her outfit was really interesting as it lighted up

There were also a number of competitions throughout the night that involved coming up with comic and film titles and compositions. 

I really enjoyed the session and would definitely participate in another one