For my Sherlock book cover I wanted to keep things simple. The image of the pipe with the smoke is from a small painted sketch from my sketchbook, which I scanned in and copied. The simplicity of this cover is inspired by other old hardback books, the type that have a small image embellished into the cover. I first tried out doing the image just as small, but it didn’t quite look right so made it larger.
The pipe motif is also used in one of my collograph prints, the one for “the Scandal in Bohemia.” I really liked how that small sketch turned out, so used it for both the cover and as a detail in one of my illustrations. The colours I chose were also inspired by my illustrations, but instead of using a dead black I used a dark grey, much warmer and inviting than a dead black.
After the success of my collograph print I made at the print workshop with Charles Shearer I decided to go ahead and do the rest of my Sherlock illustrations using the same printing method. I tried to keep the two other illustrations in a similar style to the first one I did, creating a sort of abstract composition of key visuals influenced by the story.
On the day of printing I had a considerable amount of help from the print tech, Jess. She helped me try out various ways of printing my collograph prints. The first one of the two I decided to go with just black, so it would pair well with my first print from the previous workshop. This print illustration was based off the story of “The Musgrave Ritual.”
Jess had found some old typography reference sheets that I could try printing on, I was weary about it first because I thought the sheets were too nice for me to print on. Once we tried it out, I was still unsure at first if i had liked how it had turned out. Once I had gone for break and come back tho, I realized how interesting it looked. The strange typography peering through the image gave a strange mysterious, atmospheric feel to the illustration.
For my last print, which was based off the story of “The Man with the Crooked Lip”, Jess suggested we should go with a colour instead of black this time. I choose a blue, slightly more on the greener side, to reflect the water of the Thames the coat was thrown in.
Something was still missing from this image tho, so Jess suggested we try out a stencil. She printed the leftover ink onto a piece of card so I could cut out parts that I wanted to be black. The card was too thick in the end, so we used the small pieces I had cut out to print black onto the print. Of course I had to choose the small fiddly bits to print black details.
The effort was worth it in the end. Printing some details with black really gave the image more depth and character, plus it was a good learning experience for me.
The other day we had a workshop with printmaker Charles Shearer, creating collographs. We were each given an a4 sized piece of display board. Display board is particularly good for this style of print because you can peel away the layers of card that it is compromised of.
For my first print I created a composition based off a bunch of small sketches and visual ideas I had in my sketchbook for the ongoing Sherlock illustration project I’m doing. The story that I was focusing on at the time was a Scandal in Bohemia. My first print didn’t turn out particularly well, I had forgotten that prints come out as a mirror image, of course. Charles recommended to fix this by cutting back some layers of where I had used type. To help this mistake look like it was originally part of the image I cut away more layers on the letter part.
I think it looks much better being lighter than the background, previously the overall image was too heavy, and now the focus of the image is drawn into the center, where it is supposed to be. I particularly like the nice unexpected effect of the pipe overlaying with the letter, but I do not like how the hand turned out. I think this goes to show that I need much more practice with hands and with this medium.
The second print we did was an experiment with colour and shapes. I originally tired to do something linking to Sherlock, but it was too detailed and wasn’t working out so I cut out simple bird shapes instead. Birds always seem to be my go to thing when I’m absentmindedly doodling. To layer the different colours on to the prints we made we cut out stencils of small shapes. I’m quite happy with how this print has turned out, the colours are quite beautifully muted. It was fun to try out something new.
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.