As with any project, the first thing I did was create a pinterest board gathering visuals to help me build an idea of what visual aesthetic I want to go for. Pinterest has this new feature where you can add sections in the pinterest board itself, sort of like folders, this was useful for adding different folders separating the artist inspiration and the other visuals, like photos and Victorian crime scene illustration.
This year The Book Illustration Competition has chosen The selected Adventures and Memoirsof Sherlock Holmes, by Arthur Conan Doyle. The brief asks for four illustrations, one each for each short story and a book cover. (You can find the link for the brief here.) The three stories that have been chosen are A Scandal in Bohemia, The Man with the Twisted Lip and The Musgrave Ritual.
Some artists I’ve looked at to gather inspiration for this project are; Dave McKean, Charles Shearer and Jonny Hannah.
I looked at Dave McKeans black and white illustrations. His black and white ink drawings are some of my favorite of his work because of his use of line. It kind of looks like he’s using a dip pen and ink, and maybe a paintbrush for the larger dark areas. I like the way he simplify shapes for dramatic effect and the imperfect and sort of uneasy look to his drawings creates a great atmosphere.
What really appeals to me about Shearer’s work is the way he captures the atmosphere of a place. A lot of his work subjects are these great British mansions that have been abandoned and left for time, sort of eerie and majestic at the same time. He uses a variety of textures in his work, with different techniques to attain them, including printing and painting.
Jonny Hannah is a popular favorite, one of them being for his unique way with typography. He breaks graphic design rules and often uses many different fonts on the same illustration, but he uses it to his advantage. I also like the line work in this drawing, the simple thick black painted lines and simple shapes mimic the folk art he’s so fond of.
Above is my design for the poppy project at the skate-park we had to do. We were asked by the British legion to decorate the skate-park with our own designs of poppy’s to help launch poppy day in Hereford. The reason why it was at the skate park is because they wanted to appeal more to the youth of Hereford and its surrounding areas.
I came to my final poppy design through a lot of experimentation. I started off with a very detailed design but after trying out the design as a stencil I felt it wasn’t as strong of an idea when put to use. The small details of the first idea weren’t successful when seen from a distance and overall didn’t quite look like a recognizable poppy. So because of this, I tried my best to simplify my shapes and get to the most basic, but effective, looking design.
Through my pages of experimenting I had a small light-bulb moment and came up with the idea of a negative poppy. So up close my design looked like a small field of red poppies with a space but from a distance its a large red background with negative space poppies.
This project for me has been a bit of an experiment. I was a little lost as to what to do and where to go with this brief so just decided to go for it and treat it as if it was a book arts project so I could get something produced.
I started out by trying my hand at stencil making, taking the shape from Jordan’s’ work and creating a pattern. I tried layering this stencil over some basic line drawings just to see how it would look, and also on to orange ink. I created two postcards using this pattern because I wanted to see what something like this would look like as a promotional print product. I like the textures I’ve created with this little experiment but overall I think its too much a pattern/textile design than an illustration.
My next direction with this project came about from just photocopying this one page from my sketchbook into different colours and then drawing on top of it to create a multilayered drawing. I used my knowledge from experimenting with the photocopier in second year and just went wild with it. I made multiple layers just drawing and photocopying repeatedly. The more layers to the illustration I created the more interesting looking it became.
Some results from my experimenting turned out better than others, I think the one without the block purple colour has something more interesting going on visually, but as an illustration, its still not quite working. As a fun little zine though, it sorta works.
To try and push it a little further, I photocopied and filled in the background colour, and I also tried out the negative setting. While it gave me interesting results it still is missing something that makes it a sophisticated illustration. In the end I think this was a fun little experiment to try out but it hasn’t gotten the results I wanted from it.
An option I have thought about trying is to take the successful parts of this design and recreate it as a screen print. I haven’t done any screen printing since my time back doing my art and design degree in college, so it might be something fun to try out again when I get the time for it, but for now this was a fun experimental thing.
In our first week back we were given a small collaborative project to do with the blacksmiths. We were tasked to create some promotional illustrative work for a blacksmith in time for the Ferrous Festival happening soon. Each of us were paired up with a blacksmith based on our work and interests. The blacksmith I have been paired with is named Jordan Kachellek, you can find his Instagram here.
Some of the things Jordan finds interest in is science, 18th century medical instruments, figurative work, photography (light exposures), cats and music, especially live music. He is also inspired by the artist Max Ernst, especially his piece titled “The King Playing with the Queen.”
After some initial brainstorming I’ve come up with a loose idea of illustration Jordan’s tools alongside the tools he is inspired by, creating some sort of illustrated toolbox. I could also include other things in this “toolbox”, like illustrations of Jordan’s personal belongings and other things he finds inspiring. I think for now though I will focus on just the tools and keep it themed on just that.
My submission for the poetry book got accepted, and here is my finished illustration with the poem it was illustrating
I wanted to do something a little different for this poem, I didn’t just want to illustrate a “haunted house” so I took the inspiration from the last line and illustrated a room in a house with three small translucent ghost mice hiding around the room, with a happy sleeping cat on the windowsill.
The style of this illustration is a bit different from normal for me, but I thought I’d try something a bit more formal, and experiment with more colour.
The exhibition private viewing went rather smoothly, with no mishaps. Putting the exhibit up was pretty stress free too, everyone chipped in and helped get their work up ready, and make the place look presentable.
I have three collograph prints on display, two A5 ones in one frame, and one A4 one in a frame by itself. I managed to make some handmade business cards to match my work the night before, creating some stamps for the social media logos and the design on the back. I also have my collection of brooches and decorative keys on display, to illustrate where the original ideas originated from in my work.
I am quite happy with the final work I managed to create for this exhibit, my favorite print being the large one to the left. With this one I think I managed to get the ink consistency just right, the others have a bit too much, but in a way it makes them look kind of atmospheric. I will eventually improve my technique with practice, I am making a mental note to get myself in to the print room and create more work, even just to experiment.
I have some work in this exhibit, it’ll be on from a week starting next Tuesday at De Koffie Pot in Hereford. All the work is inspired by each of our own collections, and mines is based off some brooches and keys I have. The poster was created by all of us as a big drawing, Nicholas did a great job of stitching it all together to create this beautiful poster. Hopefully you can come by and see all of our work 🙂