Sunday, 24 February 2013

I miss drawing people!

Lately I haven't been spending much time drawing people and figures, which is one of my favourite things to do! During our talk from Lorraine she emphasized the importance of showing the figure, and characters in our portfolios. At the moment I feel that when people look at my work they are immediately drawn to the animal figures I've made. I would like to be more recognised for my drawings as well.

This has reminded me how happy I was with my work for the Little White Lies brief, when I spent hours drawing pictures of Natalie Portman in Black Swan. When I got complimented on the likeness of my drawings to her it really gave me a greater sense of achievement than I feel when people respond well to my made creatures.

Bearing this in mind, I would like to start focusing more on what may be the drawn elements of my major project. Background details and little red riding hood herself will be good starting points. It is the integration of the made and drawn elements that will be tricky. Although I have merged a 3D way of working with 2D cut-outs for projects before (e.g. Life Stories), it will be more of a challenge making the image look cohesive with a completely 3D made figure (my wolf). Because of the inevitable difficulties I will face when it comes to arranging all the elements together in an image, I am remaining open minded at this early stage about having to experiment with the representation of the characters and scenery.

With a greater amount of time to spare for evaluation and experimentation, I'm not so daunted by this task.

Final Major Project

After discussing this with my tutor, I made the decision to base the main efforts of this project producing a book: my own take on the classic fairytale Little Red Riding Hood. In addition, I would like to take advantage of our current tutorials learning some animation techniques and create some animations to go with the book. I plan to make them using the same scenery and characters I will be using for the illustrations.
At the moment I am about to begin focusing on the scenery. 
But I began by creating my wolf. 
This is the first time I have constructed a 3D figure that allows some movement. Although it is quite limited, I think it would be suitable for the wolf if he were to carry himself like a human (a characteristic I have considered in order to allude to him representing a sexual predator towards Little Red Riding Hood). As I constructed the body, head, tail and limbs separately from each other, they can all move appropriately. Thanks to the wire which forms a 'skeleton' inside the body parts, I can bend and manipulate him to a certain degree. The challenge will be creating a human character to go with him, and scenery that he feels at home in!

Portrait for a friend

Here's what I was up to yesterday...
After seeing some drawings I had edited with a blue filter, my tutor suggested that I tried drawing in blue, so here's my first drawing with my fancy dark blue pencil and detail in black fine liner.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Lorraine Owen

This week we had a talk from The Organisation's managing director, Lorraine.
She offered us great, straight-forward advice about what she feels are the benefits of having an illustration agent like her.
She made clear points about what her job entailed:
  • Providing a 'portal' for her illustrators, marketing their work to a huge range of clients.
  • Making sure that illustrators' work is recognised for its value, so they get paid good prices by clients.
  • Helping to develop illustrators' portfolios commercially.
She also mentioned that having an agent behind us might gain more clients simply because it reassures them of our credibility; an illustrator with an agent representing them is more likely to be reliable and professional.

Her other advice to us for getting work after we graduate was to always be proactive. Self marketing is important too! A positive and open mind-set towards work and potential clients will open us up to global opportunities for work; we mustn't forget that having a laptop gives us the potential to get work all over the world.
In regards to our portfolios, she had very specific recommendations for what a lot of clients at the moment are looking to see. This included:
  • The more subject matter that can be seen, the better. What the client sees is what they commission.
  • Drawings of people/the figure are vital.
  • Popular content in editorials is related to finance, travel and maps, so try to express these visually.
  • Character expressions.
  • Around 20% of the work should be black and white, so that clients can see your use for newspapers and packaging.
  • Make work look like it has already been applied to a commercial brief.
After our group talk Lorraine came to talk to us all individually about our portfolios. Although she admitted she wasn't used to work like mine, she was very enthusiastic about it and suggested there might be a commercial niche for my made animals in unusual places; I'm going to try and contact pet and animal magazines to ask if I could put in an advert about a service to make people's pets! We also talked about the importance of giving the figures a good setting, and some of my images need improving in that way.

I'm not sure joining an illustration agency would be particularly beneficial in gaining me work, but I've taken away other useful ideas from Lorraine's visit (especially the proactivity and self-marketing points) that might help to get the ball rolling for a career after graduating!


Today was the deadline for a brief set to us by Lord Whitney.
We were asked to explore the limericks of Edward Lear, and create an image in response to the rhyme we chose.
Try to work as quickly on this brief and not get too hung up on the researching and the illustrations already produced. In the world outside university briefs often have to be completed in a very short space of time.
We hope this brief will give you a chance to try something different, it's all about ideas and being as playful as you like. There is no set size or media as we want each outcome to be as creative and free as possible. 
I chose the following rhyme:
There was an Old Man who supposed,
That the street door was partially closed;
But some very large rats,
Ate his coats and his hats,
While that futile old gentleman dozed.
We were encouraged to work as quickly as possible, and when I spoke to Rebekah and Amy they advised me to keep the image simple and representative, which meant that my initial ideas changed (e.g. instead of drawing a full old man dozing in the corner, I might include just his legs and feet in view, a 'Tom & Jerry viewpoint').
Due to various inconvenient time restraints I've only managed to pull my image together at the last minute-so my picture now only includes the rat and pieces of fabric I've used to represent the old man's clothes and carpet. I would love to have more time to make the background more elaborate-I think being able to see some sort of Victorian decoration would have enhanced the setting a lot more. Luckily, I will have the chance to work for longer on this before it is used for another purpose.
Although the final image was a bit of a disappointment for me, I am very pleased with how my rat turned out. Every time I make a new animal I seem to be able to produce it faster, but getting it just how I like it does take considerable time and concentration.