Sunday, 4 October 2009
This is my Illustration for the September issue of Management Today. The article is about business Tsars, I wanted to depict the feeling of authority that Tsars have combining the feeling of regal tsars and someone mentioned in the text having been appointed government tsar Sir Alan Sugar.
Saturday, 12 September 2009
Friday, 4 September 2009
Wednesday, 12 August 2009
I have just completed my first two commissions for Management Today magazine. The illustrations are for the 'Brainfood' section of the magazine- the articles are 'Do it right: Managing Interns' and 'Wordsworth: Tsars'. My first illustration for managing interns is a response to the title of the article using humour and a feeling of sensitivity whereas the second article 'Tsars' is a striking response with a feeling of power. The managing interns illustration will feature in the August issue of the magazine available to buy at Borders amongst other places. When the magazine goes to print I will post the images on my blog. (The image of the magazine above is from the July issue)
Wednesday, 22 July 2009
Just a post to make people aware of 'Videogame Nation' an exhibition currently running at Urbis. The exhibition includes examples of games dating back to the 1980s when gaming really started to take off and also gives a view to what computer games mean now and their place in society today. It was great being able to play on games that i played on as a child but to also read about the people behind them. Computer gaming is becoming more accessible to the masses with the console moving out of the bedroom into the living room played on by the family rather than just the child.
Tuesday, 7 July 2009
One of my images that was on display at D&AD New Blood has been selected to be in this months issue of Digital Arts. 'Office Party' and another of my previous images 'Money Grabber' are both featured in a section on new graduates with my contact details and my place of study. This is a real buzz as my work has never been in print before.
Tuesday, 16 June 2009
I have been chosen along with four other students from Illustration to exhibit works at the D&AD New blood show at the Olympia Hall in Earls Court, London at the end of the month. This is a real buzz as many design practitioners go to New Blood looking for emerging new talent so fingers crossed that I can get some commissions out of it! I visited New Blood last year and it was really interesting to see the diverse range of styles on display. The event runs for 3 days displaying approx 2000 students work with 8000 visitors.
Thursday, 7 May 2009
Issues & Practices: ‘The Rise of the Authorstrator’
The tradition of an illustrator is to respond to a brief producing an image/images that communicate an idea to provoke an interest in a subject or theme. Commercial art can be constricting as illustrators do not have a choice in what they are illustrating and arguably have not had the luxury and freedom that other disciplines have in terms of expression. Furthermore an illustrator must be mindful of a wide audience avoiding becoming self indulgent and talking to themselves visually. But more recently it is emerging that many illustrators and graphic designers are producing work in styles that transfer into other areas including surface design, toys, producing books for self publication and their own magazines. More so commercial artists are producing works for exhibition and their own self initiated projects marketing themselves as fine artists as well as illustrators.
The effects of this are that illustration’s boundaries are widening having traditionally been shunned by the art establishment begging the question what is the meaning of illustration now? The meaning of fine art has become increasingly diluted, the benefits of illustration are that the desirable aesthetic that is needed to catch the viewers eye whether reading a magazine or driving past a billboard advertisement can attract and communicate effectively to a gallery viewer.
Matthew Richardson is a great example of this phenomenon having exhibited in collaboration with Emily Mitchell at the George Rodger gallery, Kent in 2008. Richardson is a commercial illustrator with experience in editorial, advertising and book cover design that has used his experience of narrative in illustration to produce exhibition art for the narratives of ‘Conduits, schemes & spheres’.
The causes of this phenomenon are for a number of reasons. Firstly an illustrator may produce self initiated work while the commissions are drying up temporarily in which there is more time to explore deeper concepts to produce ideas from. It is also useful because ideas generated during this time can be drawn on or pushed further for commercial work in the future. Brad Holland, a very influential illustrator whose illustration has been described as a cultural force in an interview commented:
“I have a painting that’s going to be in the Society of Illustrators show this year that was published last year but it was done 10 or 11 years ago. It just took a while for the right article to come along. I’ve also got boxes full of sketches that I can mine for ideas whenever a job comes in.” (Holland, Varoom issue 04, 2007).
Promotion is another reason, many illustrators collectively produce their own magazines to send to art directors while self publicised books are an extra source of income.
Style is an important part of being an illustrator particularly a recognisable one which demands a strong, bold aesthetic. But appropriateness of style is considered when branching out into other areas like surface pattern design and toys. EBOY are a prime example of this having developed a style that resembles toys echoing the charming computer graphics from the 1980s/90s. The result of this is their style transfers well into toy design and it is clear that what is driving them is a love of toys ultimately from their childhood. An illustrators visual language is often informed by their own individual influences including any childhood interests.
They express their art as an extension of their childhood. Their influences come from: "Pop culture... shopping, supermarkets, TV, toy commercials, LEGO, computer games, the news, magazines..." (http://wapedia.mobi/en/Eboy, 20/04/09).
Illustration is commercial art and commerce is business. What Illustrators are doing is what is common in business practice- diversifying. This means that the meaning of illustration is widening becoming a multi-faceted discipline and cultural influence.
Gillian Blease is an example of an illustrator whose work transfers into surface pattern design, like her placemats for Jenny Duff. Like EBOY her style is appropriate to the aesthetic specifications of surface pattern particularly because of the simple ness of style and use of colour. Culturally now there is a real sense of having everything under one roof particularly from the influence of the Supermarket. This in turn has influenced the mentality of people including those in design. The boundaries of many disciplines including graphic design, fine art and illustration are blurring and in my opinion it is only right that someone should not be labelled as one thing ruling out the option of doing other things. Overall I think there are more avenues for the illustrator to explore.
Wednesday, 6 May 2009
Practitioners- Matthew Richardson & Otto Dettmer
The two practitioners that I have chosen for analysis are Matthew Richardson and Otto Dettmer to compare and contrast their methods and practices in the context of the industry. Matthew Richardson is an illustrator whose imagery combines collage, printmaking and digital media having had experience in advertising, editorial and book cover design.
The design industry demands an attractive aesthetic to catch a viewers eye and Richardson’s work definitely has this making use of full colour in his compositions. Upon viewing his images he shows evidence of a trait common to successful illustrators, that of being a visual magpie collecting found imagery, in Richardson’s case using textured papers as backgrounds. There is a sense of eclecticism in his choice of media as his style also combines painting, line and photography. Style is an important part of being an illustrator, particularly a recognisable one and utilising a medium effectively is part of this.
Within the Illustration industry visual communication is an important aspect, the communication of the idea in Richardson’s imagery is what is more difficult to read as a viewer. Although the visuals are attractive and very striking, often they have a mysterious quality about them. Within editorial design in which Richardson’s work is largely based however, it is important to take into consideration how the image marries with the text so the illustrator is not just cloning the text, in this respect Richardson’s imagery is strong, his images often communicate feelings.
Wit is valuable in the industry and an important part of a successful visual which is evident in his work too. Often wit can amuse prompting a laugh or a smile from an image capturing the viewer’s attention but also can offer the reward of satisfaction to the viewer having deciphered it. It is about the interaction between the viewer and the image, an example of wit in Richardson’s case would be using a photograph of a pen quill and using it as sail with a boat made out of paper. People semiotically make the link between objects and the positioning of them. Another important quality in an image is charm, trying to capture the spirit of I.e. an object which Richardson uses where appropriate to his advantage. With so many graduates becoming part of the industry highly populated already, using wit and charm can contribute to a successful career as when used properly can achieve unique results.
Otto Dettmer is an illustrator who has enjoyed success in the industry in editorial and advertising having developed a style that incorporates screen-print, collage and digital media. Dettmer similarly to Richardson has an attractive style capable of drawing a viewer’s attention but the styles look completely different. Dettmer’s work tends to be much more slimmed down using a large amount of white space, images tend more to be vignettes contrasting’s Richardson’s full colour backgrounds. The effect of this is Dettmer’s work looks clearer, simpler and communicatively direct to the viewer. Contrasting Matthew Richardson Dettmer tends not to use found imagery but is resourceful in the sense of using unlikely media such as accidental photocopy textures. Dettmer claims not to believe in style but his style does seem more precise in the execution of ideas.
Viewing Dettmer’s work there are strong repetitive themes such as the use of mannequin heads. An important part of surviving as an illustrator is building yourself a visual library as sometimes an illustrator may be commissioned to produce an image with a deadline of a few hours. Having visited his studio in London it was memorable because of all the elements that I had seen in previous works pinned to the wall to be reused and rehashed with newer elements and ideas. Also many illustrators will back up textures, patterns and objects for reuse in the future for the purpose of expediency. Being expedient is important for an illustrator because you need to give an art director the confidence that you can meet a deadline as one of the comments that stuck in my mind when Andrew Pavitt did a talk at College was that the design industry is small and if you cant meet a deadline word will quickly get round and so your career will crumble.
Visual language is integral to an illustrator in the industry and Richardson and Dettmer strongly contrast each other in this sense. Dettmer is more direct and his imagery is punchier, the communication of the idea is often given to you on a plate whereas Richardson’s imagery as mentioned above is less easier to decipher and looks richer. This difference is common within Illustration as an illustrator when developing their visual language will be drawing on not just design theory but they’re own personal influences essentially what makes them tick drawing on childhood influences, TV, film practically anything that has inspired them. But this doesn’t mean one is better than the other I believe that Dettmer’s work works close up and far away because of the simplicity of elements and bold use of white space. In this sense I think his style is more appropriate to advertising. In contrast Matthew Richardson has produced book cover designs including Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s ’Love in a time of Cholera’. His style is excellent for book cover design because of the richness of his aesthetic approach whereas Dettmer’s work doesn’t work in this area because of the simple approach. This is an important consideration when working in the industry putting yourself in context and promoting yourself in the right areas. Often when browsing editorial directories they’re will be a brief description of what each magazine is looking for and there will be varying appropriateness of style. Overall with all these industry constrictions and parameters Dettmer and Richardson both have strong visuals achieving success in a competitive industry. Upon this analysis the lessons that I have learnt are the importance of the aesthetic approach and communication coming to the conclusion that I believe in a balance between abstraction and communication.
Wednesday, 29 April 2009
This is an image I really like from an album cover of a band I really love. It is the 'Dark side of the moon' cover for Pink Floyd designed by George Hardie. It is a bold image using shape and colour with an intersting use of black space. It has been an influence on my latest illustration on 'The office party' in which i've used a black background rather than a white one as Ive been doing for a while now
Tuesday, 14 April 2009
This is another book I'm reading for my major project- 'Blaikies Guide to Modern Manners'. It is written in a different style to 'Debretts Modern Manners' which I'm reading too. It is more stories and accounts of people's experiences relating to manners and etiquette rather than dictionary style definitions like Debretts but I find both books useful and have used them to respond to visually. This book seems quite humurous which is an important element of my work.
Monday, 13 April 2009
During the formation of my 'on the spot' illustration I was looking at the YCN agency website and after being told about an ex student from Stockport College- Ben Jones being part of their agency when we visited the agency office in London, so I looked him up. This illustration caught my eye, I'm guessing that Jones is saying that a company will bend over backwards for their employees but I didn't get that at first. I was drawn to the hands which I mistook for forks and then when the image is turned to portrait length it looked like the character had its hands up.
This cover from the 1973 album 'Band on the run' by The Wings was an influence on my 'On the spot' illustration mainly because of the spotlight catching the characters out. I was suprised to see a few well known faces including Michael Parkinson and Christopher Lee dressed up as prisoners.
Also I used to love Mr Bean as a child particularly because he behaves like a child so there was an instant ifinity with the character. Mr Bean tended to be very slapstick in humour and I remember finding his behaviour, mannerisms and expressions funny. What was interesting is that I thought that Mr Bean is hinted at being alien because of the intro seeing a spotlight and the character hitting the floor as if dropped from a UFO. This is also what has influenced my 'On the spot' illustration particularly the spotlight.
This is an illustration I have produced for my major project to do with table manners. When you go to a restaurant especially when in the company of people you don't know that well it can feel like a daunting experience and we often say we feel "on the spot". I felt a good way to show this was to use a spotlight like in film when a prisoner would be escaping they would be caught out by the spotlight and they would freeze. I like combining objects associated with a subject and composing them in what loosely resembles a person- they become a character.
When film and TV is so successful to a mass audience like Doctor Who and James Bond they are christenend 'Cult'. And one cult film that enjoyed success in 1999 was 'The Matrix' which I remember feeling was so different especially the idea that were are all part of a computer simulation. What stood out to me most was the green codes that has become one of the defining aesthetic elements of the film. This also was going through my mind when composing my dress code illustration.
While composing the idea for my dress code illustration one of the things that was going through my mind was the intro to the Warner Bros remake of Thunderball in 1983 called 'Never Say never again'. The film's ok but not in my view brilliant but what stuck in my mind was the way the film began with a pattern made out of 007 numbers, I thought this was an interesting way to open the film where the traditional gunbarrel would have been used. In actual fact this was because of a dispute between the rights to the original Thunderball so because of copyright it was not allowed to be used. Entertainment wise the things I like are programmes and films that are popular to a mass audience so they become long running like household names but I also like to see challenging of tried and tested ideas within them so long running programmes and films can appear fresher and more rounded.
One of my all time favourite graphic designers is Abram Games. He is credited as one of the most successful and influential graphic designers of the twentieth century and it is not difficult to see why. The communication of messages in his work are strong and his style is instantly recognisable. Maximum meaning minimum means is the addage that he used favouring simple designs with a powerful message and I strongly believe in this notion. His clients were Shell, The Financial Times, London Transport, British Airways, United Nations and Guiness. He also during the second World War was made poster artist designing 100 posters for the war effort. His career in the industry spanned 60 years and was once when describing his work was quoted as saying, 'I wind the spring, and the public in looking at the poster will have that spring released in its mind'. I would love to achieve the same success and influence that Games did in his lifetime. One of Games's posters that has influenced my newest illustration on dress code is for the Finacial Times seen above. I love the way the object of a newspaper is combined with a pair of legs so it becomes a character.
Sunday, 12 April 2009
As it may be apparent from the frequency of posts about Dr Who on my blog it is fair to say it is a major influence on my work. Looking at classic Dr Who through adult eyes I find that the storylines, scenes, effects, costumes and sets weren't always realised as effectively as they could have been with a few gems here and there. But it didn't affect my enjoyment of it as a child as you see things differently and there was a charm about the programme.
The 6th Doctor was played by Colin Baker, not a personal favourite of mine but the character has influenced one of my manners and etiquette Illustrations. Colin Baker is remembered among other things as the Doctor with the clashing frock coat. It was recommended by the producer at the beginning of his era that the character's coat should be 'totally tasteless' which many would agree affected Baker's performance in a negative way.
The coat is what has inspired my latest illustration which covers 'Dress Code'. Baker's coat is made out of different patterns, colours and textures and it is impossible to see how the coat could be appropriate for any social occassion, it is anti social. My illustration combines suit dress appropriate for formal occasions and business situations with a jumper for casual occasions. The styles clash, the suit has a barcode pattern and the jumper is decorated with morse code as I wanted to communicate the code part of dress. You may ask the dress code of a place or occasion which is why I've incorporated a question mark as a coat hanger.
Saturday, 21 March 2009
The YCN was established in 2001 to celebrate new talent in design and visual communication. An offshoot of the YCN is the YCN agency which looks for illustrators and designers for varied projects for clients. It was great to see their studio and talk to the directors, we were shown examples of illustrators working for the agency including Ben Jones, an ex student of Stockport College. We had the opportunity to show our portfolios to two women who advised us on the layout of our portfolios and our ideas. When it came to my turn I was pleased with their response as they commented on my Orange poster from the second year saying that it was an optimistic image which is what they look for. I was asked about the context of my images and the scale of them which I thought sounded promising. I mentioned my Ibook but unfortunately I didn't take it with me but I also said that my images could be seen in many formats and sizes frm A4 to the side of a building!
While in London I was able to see Richard Keenan, the art editor from Timeout magazine. I managed to find my way to the Timeout office on Tottenham Court road and waited for him in the lobby. I had expected to be called upstairs to his office but he came downstairs to see me and we spoke on the sofa.
After recovering from a very embarrassing coughing fit aided by a kindly offered glass of water from Keenan I began discussing my portfolio. I discussed the simplicity of my style combining a graphic approach with photographic elements and the ideas for my imagery.
He asked me how long I had been an Illustrator for and when I told him I was still studying he asked me why I was making appointments with art directors. I explained that I was trying to get a head start before I graduate as I really do want to be an Illustrator. He said to me it isn't going to be easy and it would be a challenge for me to which I said I feel confident about, he thought this was a positive response. While looking through my portfolio he commented that he liked my style and that it was similar to Otto Dettmer's whom he said he had commissioned in the past. I think it was a positive interview as Keenan asked me to email him a pdf of my latest work when I graduate.
Thursday, 19 March 2009
Initially it had looked like I wasn't going to meet Otto Dettmer as we had arranged an appointment prior to the London trip but he had to cancel. Which is why I was all the more thrilled when he suprised me on the Wednesday night by texting me to say we were back on! I was so nervous about meeting one of my all time heroes I did't have a clue what I was going to ask him. Nina is also a big fan of Otto's work too so between us we put our heads together.
It was interesting to see his studio and I remember thinking it wasn't as big as I'd expected. Looking on the walls I saw photocopies of collaged and screenprinted elements from past works so I gathered that he reuses things alot. What was interesting to see was the computer that he works on, it was a very old apple mac from the mid 1990s. His reasons for using it were the high rate of burglaries in the area and he didn't think anyone would want to steal it! But also I felt that he works organically, very simply with collage, screenprint and digital so alot of these new intricate digital techniques are irrelevant to him.
Dettmer has produced many self publicised books one of which I own but his newest book was out on his desk which I was immediately drawn too. He works with alot of white space but what was interesting was this book was different, they were full colour and compositionally his designs bled out of the page. I remember in one of my questionnaires he said he doesn't believe in sticking to a set style, ironically I think he does though becuase it is so recognisable as his but he isn't afraid to try new approaches.
We started to discuss clients that he has worked for such as The Guardian and he showed us a fold out page that he mails to people to promote himself. The page was full of illustrations all with the same two tone colour scheme which myself and Nina thought looked great. He showed us a few magazines with his illustrations in so it was great to see how his images marry with the text. I found him to be very modest as I said that I thought he had a good reputation in the industry as having contacted art directors for the London trip some of those mentioned Otto after noticing a similarity in approach with his, he said he didnt know about that.
Both myself and Nina showed Otto are portfolios, he distinguished a difference between them saying that Nina's style is appropriate to book cover design and my own is suitable for editorial. A common influence to both my own style and Otto's was Russian Constructivism and hes showed us this big book full of Constructivist images. He asked us to consider scale of images in our portfolios, he favoured some of our images being bigger so he see them more clearly.
He advised me to explore screenprint aswell, I said I wouldn't have the first clue about it, he responded by saying "Well why don't you get on with it then!" I thought that was amusing. As we were leaving Otto was saying about him promoting at a book fair in Leeds the next day so I got the impression that he travels all over to promote his books. I did want to go to it but unfortunately I couldn't. I really enjoyed chatting to Otto in his studio about my own work and his, I found him to be a very likeable person, Cheers Otto!
Damien Gascoigne's lecture was one I found very entertaining particularly as he started by talking about his family and saying that he originally came from Bradford. He was a confident speaker and I got the impression he really enjoyed talking to us.
He specialises in animation and went on to describe his everyday behaviour as a designer. He is always doing something and urged us to pick up a camera, collect things and doodle. Many of his characters emerge from nothing taken from everyday drawings of people in different situations. He even described a special occassion where he sat there and just drew people. Often he will notice things like light fittings and everyday objects which he feels have character, takes pictures of them and doodles on whatever he can find like newspapers. Gascoigne showed us a picture of a cup sticking out of a bin but rather humourously the cup hada face on it and he said it was calling out to him to animate it. What was comical was his very honest admission that he is obsessed with hair and went on to talk about his own students as he teaches at Kingston University. He showed us pictures of them and described there personalities, one in particularly wearing a toy car round his neck.
He described his animation as fine art animation and began describing a projected animation onto a polystyrene book for an exhibition which took 4 years to come to fruition.
Being creative is something you don't have to apologise for was a statement that really stuck in my mind from Gascoigne's lecture because it is so right. But his optimism was also paired with realism as he discussed the conditions of being an illustrator and animator. Sometimes you have a lot of work coming in but you have to be prepared for times when the work drys up. He mentioned his tough time last year having made 7 pitches for commercials not being successful with any of them.
Being a freelance animation director/illustrator is stressful from this point of view but he is happy to keep going and is exploring other avenues of animation like 3D animation with handrawn line, being taught by his own students. He went onto say that he loves working in a team. AS his talk drew to a close he mentioned that he was an illustrator for five years and then wanted to see his illustrations move with sound, im thinking along the same lines with my own work. Overall I found Damian Gascoigne to be a very interesting, entertaining and witty person.
Wednesday, 18 March 2009
One of the themes im working with for my newest illustration is "ladies first". I wanted to show this idea in a non smarmy way as we are living in an age of equality and it is an outdated notion that i think would be frowned upon by many women today especially feminists! I thought about running races as if getting to the door first which would give the illustration a competitive edge. I thought the best way to denote male and female is to use the symbols off a toilet door! However I felt it would communicate the wrong message and as it is an old tradition from an older generation I felt that old fashioned hats would denote this better.
One of my all time favourite movies is Goldfinger not just for the great plot but the introduction of the first gadget car that many classic James Bond films are famous for. The Aston Martin DB5 was equipped with machine guns, a bullet proof shield, oil slick and the passenger side ejector seat. For my latest illustration I am illustrating giving your seat up for the elderly. I thought a humurous approach is necessary and I remembered the scene in Goldfinger where James Bond ejects an intruder out of the roof and thought it would be good if I could bring this element in. So with this combined with the moral element of honouring the elderly I composed an old lady boarding a bus pressing a button ejecting a youth out of the roof. I think that the elderly generation are viewed as weaker and out of touch I like this illustration for the power that the little old lady holds.
Thursday, 5 February 2009
We had the opportunity to work with Andy Martin on 4th and 5th of Februaury to work on a brief that he had set. The brief was to design 12 Illustrations for a proposed 2009 Diary with front/back cover and endpaper illustrations. We each were assigned different roles, my role was to design the illustration for January. The Beaufort Windscale is one of the first scales to estimate wind speeds and their effects designed by Admiral Sir Francis Beaufort, the scale is still in use today to estimate wind strengths. As stated on the brief the 12 illustrations must reflect the months characteristics but also incorporate the definitions of the wind speeds and effects for that month.
Initially I found it difficult to respond to the month I was given as there was very little in the definition. January is denoted as calm and smoke rises vertically. The first thing that sprang to mind was chimneys as they are associated with smoke but it seemed too weak and mundane to go with that idea and in any case it wouldn't reflect the month's characteristics. I started thinking of incorporating snow as January is a cold month but still disatisfied I explored the idea further. January, particularly the begiining of it is a time for New Year's resolutions and a popular one is giving up smoking. Smoking is also seen as calming for many so I decided to combine the chimney idea with a cigarette packet to make it look like a building and a theme in my work is boxes. I don't know why I doodled a fag packet with a cigarette sticking up but that was what began the idea. I placed the cigarette vertically upside down with smoke rising from it to reflect the definition I was given. The last part of the idea was as the fag packet looks like a building I thought a good way of denoting giving up was to collage a wrecking ball swinging towards it, I felt this humourous element was just what the piece needed. Overall it was a great experience working with Andy Martin particularly the professionalism aspect of it, working to a two day brief was a taster for what life is like for an Illustrator after graduation.
Monday, 2 February 2009
I love the sculptures of Willard Wigan because of the scale of them theyre tiny! They look impossible to produce and are smaller than a needle. The artist works with gold, gems, glue, dust and paint. I have always enjoyed collaging small elements and have started to work more in this way as I think it can make the elements look more charmful.
Saturday, 31 January 2009
One of the things I remeber frm this film was the class divide between the people aboard the ill fated Titanic. But what was great was the love affair between two characters oblivious of this class system. I remember the character of Jack asking Rose what he was supposed to do with the cutlery laid out to him at the dinner table her response was "just start from the outside and work your way in" i thought was a particularly humourous moment.
Thursday, 29 January 2009
The character of John Steed from the TV show 'The Avengers' I think is a great character and a cult icon. The character is a gentleman, polite, well dressed wearing a suit, bowler hat and carrying an umbrella. John Steed and Emma Peel were investigators the storylines would combine spi and science fiction themes. What I liked was that Steed was able to defend himself but in subtler ways, often the character of Emma Peel would fight so there was an interesting reversal of gender stereotypes.
Wednesday, 28 January 2009
Grant Gilbert studied a national diploma in Graphics at Stockport college going on to study at degree level at the UCE in Birmingham. After graduating he worked for 3 years at Planet 24 starting on the bottom rung. Thereafter he worked for Channel 4 again for 3 years. He has had experience with title sequences and promos whose work has included the rebranding of BBC 1, ITV 2, Channel 4 and Five. He owns Double G studios and went on to describe his process which involves making moodboards and detailed storyboards. He showed us powerpoint slides of his work including a channel 4 music ident which I found really interesting which involved tents with cables coming out illuminating, I thought it was extremely abstract.
Gilbert calls himself a designer but gets labelled Graphic Designer which he said he has done but it doesn't mean he he can't do motion graphics. He has eperience with logo designing/development including the More 4 logo, the sister channel of Channel 4. He went into detail about rebranding the BBC logo being influenced by past BBc logos including Abram Games' 1953 logo. He went onto say that he uses After Effects and described one of the ads he was developing for the BBC. He wanted to produce a design of people holding the BBC logo divided into seperate squares. There is a lot of development with his ideas and that things that stand out are simple and striking. I had no idea that Gilbert was involved in the hippo ident which got many complaints because of the financial cost of 1.2 million pounds. Gilbert mentioned that he has collaborated with 'Spin' a company in London and likes to paly the channels off with each other when promoting himself. He did comment that he found it difficult to work with the BBC because there was so many people to work with. Overall I found the lecture very interesting and felt that his ideas were original and inspiring.
I had a correspondance last year with Christopher Corr, a travel Illustrator whos childlike style I find charming. I emailed him again for further information and this was one of his responses:
I’ve always loved painting, printmaking, drawing.
Very old fashioned forms of image making.
I enjoy seeing what’s around in current exhibitions, galleries, museums.
A lot of my work is inspired by travels that I make, places that I want to draw.
I like to make comments on life as I see it and show a world that I’d like to live in.
You can communicate with abstraction.
Monday, 26 January 2009
When Gillian Blease did a lecture last year one of the things that interested me was her fine art background and that she did a crash course in illustration. Fine art vs illustration is an issue in the industry and i was interested in her opinion on the matter. More so i was intrigued to know what her experience of fine art education was in relation to defining the meaning of it and how she sees herself.
I think the term still applies, but only within its traditional use, and mostly with regard to training. I can say I was trained in the Fine Art tradition (ie I studied the crafts of painting, architecture printmaking etc.) but if I continued to make art I would call myself a visual artist or a contemporary artist. So I think its possible to study fine art but, unless they were working in a very classical way, most artists would not use that term to describe their practice.
I used to produce lots of work for exhibitions when I was an artist. I think I struggled with the fact that the endpoint of a piece of art is generally an audience in a gallery space. I found it impossible to get away from the constant awareness of how it was going to be perceived, which always interfered with the process of making it – ie self-conciousness. What I love about illustration is that its main purpose is functional and it exists in tandem with something else usually – ie the host copy or product. It’s a real partnership of different media. It’s about making a difference in small ways as opposed to making a statement. I find it more ego-less than ‘art’ which is full of ego!
Another of my contacts is Otto Dettmer, a freelance illustrator who has produced self publicised books. I admire his style and contacted him asking questions relating to illustration.
> Hi Liam here some answers. good luck with that.
> 1. How do you go about generating ideas? And what do you do if you
find it difficult to answer a brief?
as I read through a brief, I make little drawings in the margins of
anything that comes to mind. I don't normally go into details at this
stage. I make a quick 5 second drawing and then move on to the next
bit. All that obviously depends on how much time there is. But the
point of the brainstorming phase is to collect a large number of very
basic ideas. In any case I try to find out what the main message of
the piece is about, so as not to get sidetracked. Then I see which of
the drawings have any potential, as in do they fit the brief, are
they elegant. are they unusual? I'll use a drawing program like
freehand to make some montages of drawings and photographs, that's
the 'playing phase'. Sometimes unexpected solutions come about that
way. I'll send of the best ideas to the art director. sometimes the
art director also makes a useful input. Usually, hopefully, at the
end is a half decent solution. As a rule, I try not to do an
illustration which I wouldn't be happy with myself.
> 2. I believe that we are living in an age where Consumerism is more
prevelant than its ever been and is affecting our behaviour, i.e going to a shopping mall for recreation rather than going for a walk or playing sports etc. What is your opinion on Consumerism?
Well, of course, it's evil. A phenomenon of our times. The Soviets
believed in producing things, the capitalists believe in consuming
things. It's all a waste of time of course. Being human should be
about more than just producing and consuming. But what it actually is
about, I'm still working on. I'll let you know if I come up with
> 3. What do you think the advantages and disadvantages are of
working for both agencies/in house illustration and freelance?
I'm not sure, have never worked for an agency. I suppose there is a
bit of mutual distrust going on. I think of them as too commercial,
and my guess is that they think of me as too unpredictable.
> 4. How have you created a style that is instantly recognisable in
the industry as your own?
I have never tried to get a 'style'. I think the style should go with
the brief or the publication, not be something that comes with the
illustrator. So for example if it's a piece about war, I might chose
to do it in the style of Picasso, say. (as in Guernico) Having said
that, I suppose some kind of style will come about by itself, because
everybody has a way of doing things which is going to come through in
Friday, 23 January 2009
I emailed Matthew Richardson last year enquiring about his thoughts on Fine Art & illustration. My questions related to both areas and the idea of the two areas coming together. I also asked him whether he classed himself as an illustrator/fine artist. He reponded by saying that he doesn't class himself as an illustrator/fine artist but says rather sometimes "I illustrate" and or sometimes "I do my own work". He acknowledged that the edges of the two areas have blurred wishing there was more respect for each side from each side. He went on to say that he sees people as practitioners and the fine arts could learn alot from illustration. In terms of his work for exhibition he says he wants to communicate different things to different people whereas direct visual communication is needed in his illustration work. My opinion of him has changed since last year when he worked with us in the sense that i saw him as just an illustrator whereas now I seem him as purely a practitioner.