Introductory Media! Portfolio and Business

As part of our graduating module, we have been asked to produce some “introductory media”, which is basically promotional material. These include things like business cards, zines, postcards and whatever you can think of. There are many creative ways to produce work that can be used to self promote, and can include anything from posters and paper-craft figures to fortune cookies and personalized sweets.

For this module we were asked to produce five promotional materials of sorts, an illustrated CV and a portfolio. I have a digital portfolio/CV that I created on a website called carbonmade.com, which you can view here.Β But I have also put this link in my about section of this blog. It was also suggested to us to produce a printed portfolio and CV as well, so I created a printed portfolio that was a little different. I decided to produce a small zine portfolio with my contact details on so I could hand out a preview of my work with all my contact details on it to people. I thought this was a good idea because in this day and age people aren’t as likely to carry around a portfolio folder with them, and personally I’m not a fan of putting my work in ugly plastic sleeves. Something such as a small zine I could easily keep a few on me for the right occasion, and I don’t always have to rely on technology to be able to present some of my work to people. Also something this simple and cheap to produce means I wont have to spend too much money reproducing them when I want to update my work.

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Portfolio Zine Printout

Producing a high quality business card was a high priority for me. Over the years I myself have collected a bunch of different business cards which has been a great source of inspiration. I particularly love the thick layered card ones that has a layer of colored card wedged in the middle, but unfortunately I have a pretty tight budget so wont be able to produce something so fancy, but I will definitely keep that in mind down the line.

What I particularly liked from the cards that I have seen is the combination of using hand drawn typography and simple type. Personally I’m not a fan of using digital text with my work, but I’m also not particularly great at typography, so it took a bit of practice to get something that I liked the look of.

My first try of making some simple business cards were these:

I wanted to keep things simple and sort of elegant, and I used some ink textures from my sketchbook, where I was experimenting with India ink and a dry brush. I prefer to use a warm off-white colored paper when I produce prints, so I used that same idea for the card. I’m happy with how these look, but I was unsure if they reflected my current work well, so I made a new design that was more colorful and incorporated my use of lino-cut and digital color that I have recently been really getting into.

I thought it would be fun to have some stickers, (because honestly who docent love stickers), so I created three stickers to match this card. I took small parts of the larger illustration to make them, and used the same colors to match. (These images are square now, but the final stickers will be circles.)

I do have another version of the fire, but overall I think I prefer the one with the darker background. However I do love the simplicity of it. Here it is if you were wondering what it looked like:

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Please check out my portfolio website at nimillustration.carbonmade.com!

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Cider Labels Inspired by Folk Tales

Near the beginning of the semester module we were offered the chance to contribute towards a live brief. The brief was to produce 6 labels forΒ  co-fermented craft cider company, where the ciders were named after various folk and fairy tales. “Telling a story” was a priority for these images. I thought I should try my hand at producing some labels because I love the topic. The target audience for this cider were craft beer drinkers, young adults aged about 18-30 years old, and the artwork must NOT appeal to children in any way, even if they are illustrations inspired by fairy tales.

This project took a lot of brainstorming to get any ideas that I was happy with, and even though I’m pretty happy with the images I’ve produced, I still don’t think I quite hit the criteria of telling a story.

I decided to create these images using lino cuts, but I wanted to add color and typography. I’m never happy with any digital font I can find to match well with my work, so for these illustrations I experimented a lot with hand written typography. I personally struggle quite a bit with this but its good to get some practice in.

I know these sketchbook pages don’t look like much, but I did eventually use a number seven and the text “ravens” for my “7 Ravens” image, and the yellow pen text with “Run Rabbit, Run” was used as well. One thing that I have definitely learnt from this little project is that I definitely need more practice with not just creating hand drawn text, but with incorporating that text gracefully with images I’ve created.

It took a lot of trial and error and experimenting to get the images right in Photoshop. While I was happy with the colour choice I had chosen, I realized that I had made the mistake of using the wrong tone of colour for the wrong things.

If I was going to use these images for cider labels, and the images weren’t going to be especially large, the text just was not going to show up like this. It was a simple fix though, and all I had to do were swap the colours round and they read clear enough, even when the images were relatively small.

The apple tree image was a different problem. I wanted the text to be properly incorporated within the branches of the tree, so I used my graphics tablet to write the words by hand. I’m still not 100% happy with the result but I got it to the best of my ability. I tried out many different brush textures, but decided to go with a thin brush that I could write scribbly text with, because I thought it reflected well with the thin and pointy branches.

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Overall, I have learnt a lot from creating these three images, and am fairly happy with the outcomes.

Lisbon Trip!

I recently went on a trip to the beautiful city Lisbon with the college. Lisbon is the capital city of Portugal, and I had never been there before, and had never been on holiday without family before so didn’t really know what to expect, but I had heard nothing but good things about Lisbon. I had a (mostly) great time but the highlights of the trip was getting to go to the aquarium, which was one of the biggest in Europe, and getting to meet the teacher and author, Ed Hooks. His enthusiasm for animation is endless, and almost makes me want to get back in to it. Either way I can relate to his love for the medium, even if I don’t make it myself.

Lisbon is the second oldest city in Europe, after Athens, which makes for a very interesting city to explore, although very confusing at times. Getting lost is just part of the fun, and in doing so I came across some beautiful back alleyways, churches and streets. This day of exploring these streets was the main inspiration for my illustration.

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While I was in Lisbon I collected some leaflets that were appealing to me visually, and from these I took some inspiration for the colors I chose. I played with a couple ideas, including some aquarium doodles, before settling on illustrating the streets and houses of Lisbon, and the way they seem to pile and layer on top of each other.

My initial thumbnail developed in to some experimental sketches, and I really loved how the simple composition of just a handful of houses turned out, so decided to try and redraw and refine that idea again on the next page. I did have this other, more ambitious idea of doing a large illustration of lots of buildings and landmarks, illustrated almost like a pattern design. I never really went that far with this idea because of how time consuming and tedious I thought it might be, but who knows I still might come back to it.

As an artist I should really push myself to try new things, so I decided to try something out with my favorite sketch I did from my sketchbook. I haven’t got nearly as much experience with Photoshop as I should have and have been wanting to try out using it for adding colour to my illustrations for a while, so I thought this was the perfect opportunity.

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It took a while, but I managed to figure out a way to do it with my limited knowledge and memory of Photoshop. I’m mostly pretty happy with how it turned out, but maybe its not quite as clean as I would’ve liked it to be. I still cant decide entirely which colour pallet I like the most out of the two I’ve played with. I think the I’m possibly leaning more towards the red/orange/bluey-green one from the two, because I feel the colours represent the city better, with the red rooftops.

Overall this illustration was a great exercise in Photoshop, and I learnt a lot by doing it, and will experiment further with this method of adding colour to hand drawn images in the future because I’m quite happy with how this turned out.

Hereford Courtyard Film Guide Competition!

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This is my submission for the Courtyard’s competition to create an image for their A5 film guide. This was one of the first proper goes I’ve had at producing an illustration in Photoshop. In the past I’ve mostly just used Photoshop to clean up or edit prints that I have done, or have only really used it in workshops at college.

For a change, I’m actually kinda proud of this one. For someone who spends a lot of time on my computer I don’t actually have much confidence at all with Photoshop and tend to be a bit old fashioned in my methods, but these days I’ll only be helping myself a great deal by getting to grips with it. Ultimately I still prefer to do my original drawings traditionally, and I have thought about colouring them digitally for a while. Mostly because it is easier, and I can play about with colours endlessly, and it took a while before I figured out the right colour combination.

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I’ve had the composition for this piece in my head for a while, just wanted to do something simple. At first my ideas were getting a bit too cluttered, so I just focused on the one item in the illustration. It is after-all for a guide cover and needs to have a simple and recognizable silhouette, something recognizable when its surrounded by other leaflets, and the top part especially needs to be noticeable since that’s the part you would see first if this leaflet was placed in a stand.

I think if there was one big thing I would change, it would be maybe moving the camera and everything further up on the page. I tired keeping rules of three in my mind but not sure if it all looks too far down the page. I was also keeping in mind the graphics Courtyard will overlay onto the image too. It’ll be interesting to see how it may possibly turn out as a final product (I hope).

Good luck to anyone else who entered it too! ❀

 

Sherlock Book Cover

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.

Sherlock Illustrations – Collographs

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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Book Illustration Competition: The Adventures of Sherlock – Research

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 MemoirsΒ of 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.Β 

Some artists I’ve looked at to gather inspiration for this project are; Dave McKean, Charles Shearer and Jonny Hannah.

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Dave McKean

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.

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Charles Shearer

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.

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Jonny Hannah

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.