Sunday, 29 May 2011

Stockport College Illustration Newsletter

So the Illustration department newsletters came through from the printer's recently with my image printed on one side. It's really cool to see the image in print, and I've posted a few snaps of it below. The newsletter has been printed up really nicely, and works as an A2 sheet folded up into an A4. When folded out, one side becomes an A2 poster, and the other side has all the illustration information and news from the spring and summer. I took a few photos of the inside too, and particularly the type at the top which I think looks great, so all credit to whoever put it together. Thanks!

Sunday, 22 May 2011

OWT Issue #6

So I submitted a little illustration to OWT a while back for their 'Differences' issue, and they were kind enough to include it in the issue that's on sale at the moment! I blogged about my image I while back so I won't go into details, but I just used it as a chance to have a go at something a bit different (no pun intended) and mix together some of my ideas and influences from other people. Anyway, I've posted the image below along with photos courtesy of OWT of the actual zine in print. The zines are on sale on their website here, in Magma and I believe also the Cornerhouse in Manchester. Cheers guys!


Thursday, 19 May 2011

3D Book Covers

I just found a link to cool article on Digital Arts online, about some 3D book covers that have been made by Vintage Books, for some classic horror and science-fiction novels such as 'Planet of the Apes', 'Journey to the Centre of the Earth, and 'The Lost World'. They work by the viewer wearing some of the classic red/blue 3D glasses, and the covers then jump out at the viewer, adding a more interactive experience to buying or reading a book. It's interesting to see how 3D, an effect obviously popular in films, has been translated over to still imagery to try and draw in a wider audience in the midst of the 3D revolution. I think this is a really good idea, especially for children, and as it says in the article, the illustrations work well even without 3D glasses. It would be cool to try and do a project using this method in the future. Anyway, I've posted some of the books covers below along with their illustrators...if you've got some 3D glasses maybe try 'em't know if it would work though......enjoy!


Thursday, 12 May 2011

Illustration Newsletter

Earlier this year I submitted a load of rough ideas for the college illustration newsletter, based around the theme of 'Transformation'. The image had to be in one colour, so most of my ideas were bold central images, some with typography. I think I emailed in about 13 different ideas to do with transformation, from butterflies, origami, evolution, and superheroes to scientific changes, werewolves and Dr Jekyll/Mr Hyde. Jo liked the idea of using origami to represent transformation, and it became a bit of a collaboration between me and Jo as she helped me develop it from the initial rough through to the final image. 
The image went through a lot of changes, and went from a more simple image of some origami, through to a more conceptual image that involved showing all the stages of the folds of an origami crane. I also originally had some typography at the bottom, and it also went through a colour change from a dark blue, referencing blue print type drawings, to a leaf green colour to represent changes in nature, as blue had been used before. 
I've posted some images below showing the changes it went through from rough to final. The newsletter has been sent off to print so it'll be interesting to see this printed up to size!


'Music' Project Part 2

Below I have posted our proposal sheet for our 'Music' window design, based on the song 'Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger' by Daft Punk. We will be taking this proposal to the next stage before it finally gets sent off, so the sheet will probably change a bit from this one. In the next couple of week we are going to be doing some scale tests on a piece of glass/perspex using cut vinyl to see if it's feasible. So we will have to look at finding specific sizes for the triangles of vinyl used to create the pattern, check out what colours are available, decide on numbers, look at trying to get some uniformity between the images and also creating more examples of the images we will use. So still a bit of hard work to come!
Check it out below, along with a couple of my image ideas and the original window sketch,  and I'll post again when we have developed it a bit further....


Bugs Project

So on Tuesday we had a quick one day project set by some of the HND graphics students. We had to create an image for a poster advertising a bug/germ spray cleaner that was meant to be safe to use around children and made of natural ingredients. The tag line on the poster was '...send them packing!' so we had to take that into account also.
In all we had about 4-5 hours from first seeing the brief until the deadline, needless to say my image wasn't great. Because of the tag line I started thinking of different types of transport that I could have the germs leaving in, and I also was trying to think of a way of showing that the natural ingredients were forcing them to leave. I had to make a decision pretty quickly, so I ended up with the idea of showing the germs in a rocket, surrounded by lots of harsh weather; wind, rain and lightening, to represent the forces of nature and the natural ingredients, and to have the lightening sparking the fuse to the rocket.
I think that the idea was ok, but because of time restraints, the execution of the image just wasn't good. The overall quality of the image, composition and readablility definitely suffered. When I see the word advert I think I sometimes get a bit confused by what I should be doing because adverts are often funny or clever, or have great metaphors, or some just include the product in some form, so I'm not even sure if I was going down the right road with my idea.
The only bit I actually quite like is the rope/wick with the sparks on the end; I think that turned out ok. I like the idea of using a rocket for something so I might have another go at it in some other form in the future.
Anyway, I've posted the image below, don't judge it too harshly!


The Chase

A while back we had a visit from The Chase, a graphic design and branding consultancy based in Manchester, but with offices in London and Preston also. They came in and spoke to us about how they commission and work with different illustrators, what they and illustration agencies are looking for in an illustrator, and gave us lots of tips on how to get meetings with art directors, and how to present our work. They had compiled lots of good quotes from illustrators and agencies, which was very helpful.
Now that I'm trying to put together a portfolio, it was helpful to look back at the extensive tips they gave us on the best way to go about it. I've posted below some of what they said about portfolios (and I am paraphrasing!) :

1.  Start and finish with your strongest work
2.  Don't leave in pieces of work you don't like
3.  Include a good mix of work (mix of colour and black and white, different sizes)
4.  Spend time working on the layout so that it flows well
5.  Try and include original work or good quality scans
6.  Don't put foam board in your folder!
7.  Practice talking about your work, and find out how much time you have in a meeting so you can go through it all
8.  Keep your folder spotless!
9.  Don''t take all advice to heart!

They also gave us some good tips for when trying to set up portfolio meetings with agencies and art directors :

1.  Find the correct names and spellings (phone up to find out if need be)
2.  Include a PDF portfolio of around 10 images, or an easy link to a website.
3.  Follow up your emails and mail to see if it's been seen
4.  Be nice to receptionists!
5.  Know something about the company or people you're meeting with
6.  Don't be nervous! Enjoy talking about your work
7.  If there are no jobs going, ask about a brief you could have a go at

All the things they spoke about and told us were really helpful, and I think we all appreciated the time they dedicated to giving and putting together the presentation. Check out their website here to find out more about them.


Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Graduate Visits

I'm running a bit late with this, but earlier this year a few illustration graduates from Stockport College came back to talk to us about their work and what they'd been up to since leaving university. I think we all really appreciate being able to talk to some illustrators who had very recently graduated as it gave us a sense of what it might be like for us in about a years time.
I managed to go around have a quick chat with most of the guys that visited, and I think there were about 6 in total. I've posted examples of their work below, along with links to their respective websites. Enjoy.


All of these illustrators that came in were all great to talk to and open about their experiences of the industry. One of the main things that struck me was that many of them had only had a few commissions since leaving uni (which was fantastic!) and were still holding down their days jobs for the money, but as their work was of such a fantastically high standard it just made it really clear how hard we'll have to work to get commissions, and how much I really need to up my game in terms of volume of work, and the overall quality of the work I do. My work is no way near as good as these guys'! Anyway, check out their websites by giving their names a click!  *click-click*


Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Folio Agency - Q&A

I recently emailed Folio Illustration Agency to ask a few questions about how an agency works, and what exactly they do for their illustrators, and Lydia Jane from Folio got back to me with some great answers!
Folio is a long established illustration and design agency, and represents a lot of fantastic illustrators working in many different ways, so it was very helpful to get some information from them about how an agency works.
I've posted the questions and answers below for you all to take a look at, thanks again Lydia!

1. How does an agency such as Folio go about promoting and finding work for the illustrators/artists they represent?

Mailouts, portfolio viewing with clients, social media, reputation.

2. Do you actively look for illustrators to recruit or do they get into contact with you?

Generally speaking illustrators come to us. However, we are always on the look out for new talent at degree shows, industry events etc

3. Is it important for you that illustrators have a consistant look or 'style' to their work so that clients know what to expect? Do you represent any illustrators who work in various ways?

Illustrators are recognised and sold on their 'style' so yes consistency is very important. However we do represent some very talented illustrators who have mastered their techniques in a wide variety of traditional and digital outputs.

4. Do you take on more than one person who work in similar ways?

We try not to. It wouldn't be fair on the artists as they would be in direct competition for jobs.

5. How much contact do you generally have with your artists, both in person and over the phone/email?

Nowadays we are in regular contact with our artist via email. We represent quite a few artist abroad so it tends to be the most convenient. However, we always like a good chat on the phone and our London artists pop in from time to time too.

6. Do you help the illustrators with the business side of the work, e.g pricing, setting up contracts with clients, copyright issues etc ?

All part of the job description.

7. What do you look for in a good portfolio of work, both in terms of work featured and how it's presented?

Unique, memorable, eye-catching work. Quality of finish. Commercial quality.


Monday, 9 May 2011

Wish I'd Done This

This is an excellent piece of work created by one of my favourite illustrators at the moment, Dan Matutina, entitled ‘Amateurs’. The image was created for a magazine to advertise a club night entitled ‘Friday Night Fist Fight’, and I’ve had it set as my desktop for a while and still can’t stop looking at it.
    The first thing I really love about the image is the way that the figure is depicted. Drawing the figure is something I really struggle with, and generally stay away from because I don’t feel I have a strong enough visual language to create the figure in a way that isn’t realistic, but on the flip side my lean towards realistic never looks right either, hence I try and give it a wide birth if possible.
 In this image however, I absolutely love the way Dan has depicted the two boxers. He has a unique style of creating the figure that isn’t realistic, but gives more than enough information to make them recognisable as people. His use of strong angular lines and shapes to build up the form works really well, and he mixes it with smaller shapes and lines on the face to represent the facial features and the bruises and cuts the boxers have sustained. I think that the mix of straight lines and shapes, and some curves and circles, to create the people makes the images more fun and interesting to look at than if they were depicted in a more realistic manner. This is something that definitely inspires me and makes me think more about how I could tackle the human figure myself, and about how to utilise elements, line and shape to create imagery that isn’t necessarily realistic, but has enough information to be recognisable as a person.
   Secondly, one of the major things I love about this piece, and Dan’s work in general, is his fantastic use of texture, lighting and hand drawn elements and marks. Mixing together digital and handmade elements and textures is something I’ve tried to do in my work, but Dan does it such an extent in this piece, and so well that it could almost look like a painting. The speckled texture used as a background to highlight the figures, suggests the hazy and smoky atmosphere surrounding a boxing ring, and the circles used in the foreground to suggest dust a drops of sweat flying toward the viewer, highlighted by the lights above really bring the atmosphere to life.
   The use of what looks like handmade marks, created with ink or paint, help to build more of the picture of what it would be like to be in the boxing ring. The quick swipe used to show the speed and force of the punch, and the splatter of the blood/spit to show the impact, bring the piece to life.
   One of the things I really have trouble with is how to get the impression of depth and perspective in my work, rather than just a flat image. Despite using a lot of straight lines and shapes in this piece, rather than flowing lines and curves that naturally can make an object look more 3D, Dan has cleverly used the angles of the lines and sections of shadow to create perspective, and therefore create the impression that the blue boxer is in the foreground and the red boxer is in the background. He has also crucially used the cube shapes for the head guards which make the boxers look 3D.
    I emailed Dan a while back and he talked about how film is a big inspiration for him and his work, and you can definitely see it coming through in his work. Film is a big inspiration for me, and I always admire the cinematography and tone created visually in films, but I don’t think it’s something that I often let bleed through into my work. Sometimes I forget that illustration and film aren’t mutually exclusive visual arts; there’s a lot of crossover and tings I see on screen can work equally well in one image; the use of colour, shadow, perspective and composition for example. This is something that I’d like to work on I think.
    I definitely think that his work created in this way has a unique look about it, and the successful blend of digital and hand-made elements I think will appeal to a broad range of people. I think what always catches my eye when I see work like this is the attention to detail, and the little extra bits that set it apart from the work of others. For example, in this piece I love the addition of the tattoos, the lines in the hair and even the little string ties on their shorts. It’s finding the balance adding bits that enforce the message or the idea behind the image without overcrowding it or just adding bits for the sake of it.
    In conclusion, I think there is a lot I can learn from looking at this piece of work, and I definitely wish I’d done this.

Final 8x8

So the deadline for our 8x8 illustrations has just gone, and we had to present our illustrations to the creative writing tutor from MMU last Friday. I've posted my final page illustration and spot illustration below, although there still might be a tiny change to come regarding the dinosaur on the main image, this is pretty much the final imagery. We should be finding out soon who's work will be published alongside the stories in the publication, which is quite exciting! Enjoy.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Illustration and the Web

I found this really interesting piece on BaseKit, written by illustrator Asia Simpson some time last year. She writes about how the internet has changed the way illustrators find work, and the advantages and disadvantages of the involvement of the internet. Really interesting read. Check out the original here.


Illustration – easier to get work because of the web?

Illustration has had a resurgence in popularity over the last few years. Drawings and graphics can once again be found in advertising, magazines, web and even fashion! The times of lugging a heavy portfolio with all your most precious creations around are over.
How the web has changed the world for Illustrators

For me at least, the most important factor the web plays in an illustrator’s career is the ease with which work can be displayed, distributed, updated and changed.

In the past when an illustration was drawn out for a particular brief, it would have to be completely re-drawn if the client had wanted even the slightest change, which was not only incredibly frustrating but also time-consuming.

Now, whether work is created digitally or otherwise, Photoshop or a similar programme can be used to quickly change and tweak an image in minutes, meaning the illustrator can be more productive.

Promoting your work on the web

Thanks to the web, illustrators can create self-promotion material and e-mail it to a thousand prospective clients at the click of a button. When it comes to their own portfolio, it’s easy and truly affordable to create a website. Sites like BaseKit allow illustrators, photographers and designers to build a website easily to get their work out to a worldwide audience and keep it updated.

The web also provides access to a community of illustrators where they can network, enter competitions and most importantly get inspiration to create new work. Unlike a personal website these sites display your work to a wider and more interested audience (even if if essentially composed of other illustrators.) Many art directors and possible clients can easily visit one of these sites to sample many different people’s work.

Here are a few sites I have picked to illustrate my point:

Finding work

New trends in web design led to an increased need for illustration on the web. There appears to be an increased demand for illustrators to commission bespoke graphics as many demand that sought-after drawn style. Again there are a number of sites, such as or, where not only illustrators but also other creative’s can search through freelance projects and bid to hopefully win the contract. However, this could be seen as both good and bad for the industry.

There is also the option of selling your work to a site such as iStockPhoto. Creating enough popular images can add up to a nice amount of pocket money. However,the most popular images may not be the illustrator’s style, or fit an exciting brief, and there’s also the matter that once sold, you renounce all control to your work’s use.

Illustration agencies are also an other route to go for on the web. It’s easy to connect with anyone, anywhere in the world and have a good working relationship over long distances. Some even offer the option of creating a portfolio on their respective sites, which they can then show their clients.

A surge in online pdf magazines, such as, has created more opportunities for illustrators to create a portfolio of ‘published’ work. Those enable them to learn how to liaise with other professionals and get their work out to an already assembled audience. This represents a great opportunity for viewers to visit an illustrator’s portfolio site while consider linking their blog to the site. As a result, the illustrator will benefit from better SEO ranking and more chances for their personal portfolio to be found online by prospective clients.

On another note, the sheer volume and quality of tutorials available online help illustrators become aware of new trends, learn new skills and take their illustration abilities to another level.

In conclusion, the quality of work, despite being important, is not the main or only factor when it comes to finding work and getting commissioned. You could produce the best work in the world and no one is going to see it if it remains in your desk drawer or on your well-designed but obscure website. So my main point would be to encourage people to get their work seen by as many people as possible.

You are your own brand and make sure you enlarge and optimize your online presence through the aforementioned channels, as well as the social media ones, such as Twitter, Facebook and more… and hopefully commissions will follow!

This post was written by Asia Simpson Web Designer at BaseKit and freelance illustrator


Thursday, 5 May 2011


Just watched this cool animated music video by Ned Wenlock, via The Fox Is Black blog. It has this cool rotating, turning and bending animation that unravels as the story progresses, unfolding in a way which Ned describes as 'like a roll of paper'. I would love to do something like this myself one day... definitely worth a watch....

'Music' Project Part 1

We have recently been working on a project to design a window display/imagery to put on a window, for Manchester design firm Music. The brief was to put together a proposal to send off to Music for consideration, including the overall design and examples of what it would look like, as well as a short description of how it would be applied to the window, which is an internal glass office at the design studio.

Short description of the brief: 
Brief and Creative Challenge
Create and install an illustrated interpretation of a music track of your choice to adorn a series of connecting glass panels to create an installation at the studio of Music.

We want the windows to look great, simple, and colourful. But we also want to be challenged.

So for the brief I joined forces with Paul and Megan, and we chose the track 'Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger' by Daft Punk as our basis for the design. We all really liked the song and thought it had some potential for stuff we could do without being too specific to any type of story or narrative.

I've posted below a couple of daft punk related images that kind of acted as inspiration for our design, and I'll post our final design and proposal sheet as soon as possible. Peace.

p.s I've also posted that cool hand/word video just because it's somewhat mesmerising...


Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Digital Illustration Article

Found this interesting article over at Computer Arts, where illustrators and designers give their thoughts on the change from analogue to digital in illustration, and their own experiences of it. Check it out below....


Digital illustration

A revolution has taken place. The digital revolution has altered the nature of illustration beyond recognition – taking it from cottage industry to household phenomenon…
Things weren’t always this way. Before the digital revolution, life as an illustrator was fairly straightforward, or so it seemed – there was no Bill Gates, no Apple, no Photoshop, no Google, no internet, no email… no hassle. Looking back at life before the revolution, albeit through rose-tinted specs, the working day for your lone illustrator was a fairly simple affair. In fact, depending on just how far back you wish to peer, it’s clear to see just how much has changed. Back in the land-that-time-forgot, a common-or-garden commission for a freelance illustrator would come about with a phone call made by an art director to an illustrator’s land-line – mobiles only came into everyday use just over a decade ago. If you were out of the studio when the call came, chances are you could miss the job – answer phones even 15 years ago were not the norm. The brief itself would have to be posted or collected – fax machines were huge, cumbersome and expensive items even just a decade and a half ago. How the freelance illustrator, just ten years ago, maintained a professional profile, informed clients of new work and displayed their portfolios has altered beyond recognition. Without websites and email, illustrators would utilise the humble postcard as their calling card to the creative world, designing, printing, addressing and posting hundreds of these mailshots on a regular basis.

With just that single postcard to judge an illustrator’s capabilities by, art directors would take time out of their working day to view physical portfolios. Yes, they would actually look at real work in real time in the real world. Now, only six digits into the 21st century, those that commission illustration are able to view work in seconds, make creative decisions in minutes, have an illustrator briefed within hours and set the completion of the work with a deadline of a few days.
Gazing into the not-so-distant future back in 1992, John Warwicker, Creative Director of design collective Tomato, said without even a trace of irony: “I can envisage a time when we’ll all need our own individual Macs.” The working life, life-styles and the life-skills needed by today’s ‘creatives’ have altered, adjusted and accelerated. The digital revolution would take no prisoners – it was clear, adapt or die!

From analogue to digital
Jason Ford, Royal College of Art Class of 89 MA graduate and Association of Illustrators award-winning illustrator, entered the industry with a purely traditional skill-set. Ford recalls his own transition into the digital. “My work had always been about trying to achieve a flat graphic/silkscreen feel to it,” he explains. “I was trying to hide the brush-mark as much as I could.” Moving from brush and paint to screen and mouse wasn’t seamless though. “Numerous people kept telling me that I could achieve what I was doing with paint so much easier and much quicker using a computer, but of course I resisted this as long as possible,” Ford recalls. “For me, back then, the digital world was a void of incomprehensible gibberish!”
Also stepping out of the Royal College of Art at the fag end of the 80s was textiles designer turned collage-artist turned illustrator/designer Paul Burgess, best known at the time for his seminal book jackets for Vintage Books. “When computers came along in the mid 90s,” remembers Burgess, “we all hated them – we thought they were rubbish. However, we were all proved so wrong!”
Recognising that everything was about to change, Burgess set about embracing digital technology, but in his own punkinspired fashion. “I bought my first Mac and slowly started to get to grips with Photoshop, but trying to misuse it as much as possible,” he admits. It was clear that some of those to enter the digital domain would do so on their own terms.
Entry to the digital world came at a price, though. “My first Mac cost nearly £3,000, crazy when you think about it now, and it was so very slow,” offers Burgess. Buying and setting up a new Mac was just at the bottom of a new and radically steep learning curve – getting to grips with software, even if you could master the hardware, would be a challenge to those that have always worked manually. “I’m selftaught,” admits Burgess, “with loads of help from mates who have begrudgingly shown me tips and tricks along the way.”
Jason Ford confers with Burgess. “I’ve always had loads of help from studio buddies a lot further down the digital path than me,” he ventures. “It always helps to share studio space with designers who understand all the technical stuff and can help out when an image disappears from your screen for no reason at all!”

An education in illustration
For a younger generation of illustrators and image-makers, the digital revolution started to seep in during their time at art school. Lucy Vigrass, one of the original Peepshow crew, came out of the University of Brighton in 98. “I think we had a one-day session in Photoshop,” she recalls. “We all made pictures of ourselves looking like we had cling-film over our faces!” Keen to embrace new techniques and working methods, Vigrass learnt the hard way. “Most of my learning,” she recalls, “came from people around me and working things out for myself. I think that you pick things up out of necessity and keeping up with shortcut one-upmanship.”
Brett Ryder, emerging out of Central Saint Martins in the mid-90s, wasn’t equipped any more ably than Vigrass was at Brighton at the time. “I learnt to use the computer at home,” Ryder recalls. “The majority of people using the computer at college were the graphic design students so I didn’t get the help I needed.” As well as getting access to the right kind of teaching, just getting in front of the kit was problematic too. “Getting hold of a college computer was a miracle,” Ryder recalls. “I’m sure that they have a few more now…!”
Ryder’s work, now a unique blend of collage and hand- and digitally-rendered drawing and painting, wasn’t, by his own admission, at the time going anywhere. “I was unhappy about the direction my work was taking,” he admits. “I turned to the computer as I thought it could help solve the aesthetic problems I was encountering.” Ryder now works regularly for clients across the globe, recently for The New York Times, The Daily Telegraph, GQ magazine and O, The Oprah Magazine in the US, but his working methods have changed little in recent years. “It really is just the degree to which I draw or collage – my use of digital know-how fluctuates,” Ryder explains.
A decade after graduation from Kingston University in 96, John McFaul, no stranger to the pages of Computer Arts and Computer Arts Projects, can revisit his past with a sense of humour mixed with a touch of nostalgia. "I'm mainly self-taught,” he explains. “Graduating in the dark ages meant that computers were the tools ‘of the designers’ but because I’ve always been really influenced by design, far more so than illustration, it meant that these machines always held something of a distant intrigue,” he adds. Knowing just how far he has come since his early beginnings, McFaul muses on an early project: “I remember the first job I did using Photoshop – terrible! I barely knew how to use any of the tools and I was ringing my ‘designer’ friends every five minutes with questions.” 

The digital generation
For those that have entered the creative industries - and more specifically the world of illustration, during the last five years or so – it would appear to them that everything has been digital for some considerable time. Advances in hardware and software have been almost immeasurable in recent years, and for a generation that has grown up with a PC in the bedroom, a mobile in their pocket and a playlist on their iPod, it is almost unthinkable that the technology has not been around for much over 15 years.
Steve Wilson, fresh from completing a unique event in the window of Oxford Street’s Selfridges store, recalls his first foray into the digital world fresh out of art school in 2001. “I was commissioned to create eight thumbnail size illustrations for The Guide, the mag given away with The Guardian on a Saturday, and they were reproduced over a period of four weeks,” he remembers. “I then didn’t get another commission for another nine months so I spent the £360, earned from The Guardian, many times over during that period,” he admits. “But since then I’ve worked for many clients including Virgin, Coca-Cola, MTV, Wallpaper and the BBC.”
Self-taught, he is still learning. “I think I’m still only using a fraction of the software’s capabilities,” he explains. Working predominantly in Illustrator and Photoshop, he gets what he needs out of them, but, he admits, “There are still plenty of tools and options that I barely use. Occasionally I’ll discover something new and within a few months I’m thinking ‘how on Earth did I live without that!’.”
“I consider myself part of the Digital Generation – we started making images using computers while at art school,” explains Mr Bingo from his East London studio. “I’ve always been working digitally in a professional sense but, of course, my induction was quite some time before.” Mr Bingo keenly recounts his proud past: “I was using Deluxe Paint III on the Commodore Amiga 500+ in the early 90s,” he states. “I was making animations that simulated a few seconds of a scrolling shoot-’em-up or the occasional flying penis, you know the kind of thing…” We do?
Emily Alston, another fully paid-up member of the digital generation and fresh out of Liverpool John Moores University just two years ago, explains that the culture of her degree course actively encouraged digital working methods. “We had masterclasses at university, but as I had never really bracketed myself as an illustrator, I would leave my easel behind and follow the graphic designers into the IT suite,” she explains.

Finding your own way
“When working digitally it’s really important to find your own way of working with the technology,” Alston advises. “Every illustrator and designer has the very same technology available to them, and if everyone uses the tools in the same way, nothing would ever stand out as different or original.”
Paul Burgess, a generation apart from Alston but in absolute agreement with her, states his case: “I think it is very difficult now. Everyone has a computer, everyone has the same software and everyone thinks that they can stick a couple of butterflies onto a twiddly background and ‘hey presto’ they have an illustration. You don’t have an illustration; you have decoration – there is a big difference!” Burgess, not shy of giving his opinions, continues: “Digital technology is very exciting, but only as exciting as the ideas you have inside your head.”
“As with most professions,” adds Jason Ford, drawing upon his extensive experience in the industry, “75 per cent of the illustration put out there is a dog’s dinner, but the other 25 per cent keeps the standards as high as they should be.” Steve Wilson is a little more positive, saying, “It is really all about trying to produce work that is distinctive and original, whatever that is, and work shouldn’t be judged on the levels of technology involved in making it.” Wilson has more to say on the subject: “I never understand people who are anti computers or pro computers. Who really cares how you get the results – it is only the final image that counts, regardless of how you got there.” Burgess, though, demands the final word: “The idea is king. Once you have a strong idea, everything else just flows along behind it.”


Central Illustration Agency - Q&A

I recently emailed a couple of different illustration/design agencies to find out a little bit more about how they work and what they do for their illustrators (as I don't know much about it!), and Alicja McCarthy from Central Illustration Agency got back to me superfast with some great little answers!
I've posted her answers to my questions below for you guys to get your peepers on. Thanks Alicja!

1. How does an agency such as Central Illustration Agency go about promoting and finding work for the illustrators/artists they represent?

Social Media & PR (twitter, fb, blogs, inc mags such as CR & DW) 

2. Do you actively look for illustrators to recruit or do they mostly get into contact with you?

We don't actively seek artists, we get 10-15 submissions a day. If we stumble upon an artists on or off line we grab 'em! 

3. Is it important for you that illustrators have a consistant look or 'style' to their work so that clients know what to expect? Do you represent any illustrators who work in various ways?

A style is what an illustrator is commissioned for... you'll notice that our artists all have distinctive styles, jack-of-all-trades don't really work. 

4. Do you take on more than one person who work in similar ways?

As a rule no, we don't encourage competition between our artists, however, you'll notice we rep. 2 pastiche artists (Mark Thomas & Mick Brownfield). They are both consistently busy, and if one cannot do a job, we'll ask the other. 

5. How much contact do you generally have with your artists, both in person and over the phone/email?

Daily, also depends on the jobs we're working on... we see each other at least once a year for an artists Christmas party too, and regularly get visits from the gang... which is nice. 

6. Do you help the illustrators with the business side of the work, e.g pricing, setting up contracts with clients, copyright issues etc. ?

That's exactly what an agent does... and some.

7. What do you look for in a good portfolio of work, both in terms of work featured and how it's presented?

Consistency, talent, and yes, a good looking folio helps... as does a personal website.


Sunday, 1 May 2011

Drawsgood: Pixel Posters

Drawsgood aka Michael B. Myers, posted his pixel posters on tumblr yesterday, and not only are they really cool but link in nicely to my current 8x8 illustration. I'm trying to include some pixel elements into my spot illustration, and these just show how it's done. 
Check out more of work on his website here, but meanwhile I've posted some of his pixel posters below for you to get your peepers on!