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.
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.
After my feedback from Hay Festival people, I decided to experiment a bit further with the style I have been using for some of my drawings. In these images I have used a variety of different materials, but I think the images using pastels have come out best in a way.
I especially like how the bird has come out, this bird was an experiment using feedback from Hay Festival. They liked my birds from before, and also the trees, but felt that stylistically they did not go together. To combat this problem I used the same materials I have been using to create my trees to create my birds too. In this case, the style has been dictated by the materials I’ve used. My next step in this project will be further developing this and creating more images.
I think I have learnt a lot through out this module, and explored a variety of different styles and techniques in the process of creating completed illustrations for small briefs. I’ve improved upon my technical skills, as well as organisational skills. I have written more in depth blogs about each of these illustrations that I will link below.
Art Direction Editorial Illustration
We teamed up in pairs and found articles for each other to illustrate, and took the role of art director for each other. Read about how my work turned out here, and how i directed my partners work here. (Her side of the story is here, and here.)
NC500 Editorial Illustration
Given an article about North Coast 500, Scotland’s answer to the USA’s route 66, and had to create an illustration for said article. Read about this here.
Library Pamphlet Cover
Pamphlet cover illustration for Herefordshire Libraries.Read about this here.
Editorial Illustration: Birds and Superstition
Nicholas Stevenson visited us and set us a small editorial brief, with him as acting art director. Read about this here.
Penguin To Kill a Mocking Bird Book Cover
Illustrated book cover for penguin book publishers competition brief. Read about this here.
I started out making this book cover by researching a bit into the book, To Kill a Mockingbird. I ended up watching the movie of it, and that’s where I got the inspiration to create this cover. At the end of the movie the two children are walking back home through the woods on Halloween night after a party, and to avoid much spoiler, a key moment happens in that scenery.
For this illustration I used freehand pental brush pen for the lines, and painted it using windsor and newton watercolours. I then scanned them in and created the final book cover in photoshop. The text I used for this I had also drawn with the same ink brush, to match the style of the illustration. I had decided to keep the colour pallet simple, using only a yellow ocher and a dark blue to reflect on the theme of a late autumn night.
I am mostly happy with how the final product has come out, but I’m not quite happy with the spine of the book, on reflection I think i should have added a strip of watercolour to create a wrap around of the two images and to bring it all together, but then again at least having the text on a solid background on the spine makes it easier to read.
Another idea that I didn’t implement was including a drawing of Scout in her ham costume running away through the woods. I think including this would of possibly brought the image and story together well.
For this book cover project I had also tried out recycling one of my previous images into a cover for this book, using the image from this editorial project. You can see this image below.
I am mostly happy enough with this cover trial, but if I had given myself more time to work on this I would of scanned in some brown paper to use as background instead of just block colour, and I would of re-scanned in the hand written text I had used, because the text in this image was at a lower resolution and could not be made much larger without loosing quality. It was a nice experiment with a previous image, and was a good exercise in using photoshop.
This image was created for Hereford Library Pamphlet brief/competition. I was not happy enough with it to hand in for the competition but looking back on it now I probably should’ve at least tried. In the end, I’m proud I went ahead and finished it anyway.
My original idea was to add lots more detail, but it was taking too much time so I tried having a go at simplifying the work, and using a limited color palette to match. I created this image traditionally but I think this would’ve been a more effective image if I had colored it in digitally, using flat colors.
I attempted doing something sort of minimalist but still had lots of little details creating some form of narrative to the image, like the blankets and tea, and the cat sleeping on the window ledge. I included a couple of little nods to Hereford with the small cow ornament and the bowl of apples.
An extra detail I was going to add but decided against in the end, was to add drawings of Herefordshire country side through the windows, to bring together the themes of Herefordshire and reading together.
I’m gonna be honest, weekly posts about this module would’ve been ideal, because almost every week we have created a new book or learnt a new technique. So to try and make up for it I’m giving a quick update on a handful of the completed books I’ve done so far.
This was the first book of the module, a basic pamphlet style book made from a collection of different papers. I then collaged and drew letters and managed to fit the entire alphabet in here twice because I used so many papers. The papers I used included origami paper, old bank envelopes, brown paper and envelopes, among other things, along with a piece of string to tie it all together with.
The second book of the module (I think) was this one. We were given the theme of “Journey”, so for this book I took a nice walk around the college grounds and took some photos of things that interested me. I also gathered things together like leaves and twigs and photocopied these things to collage together with my images.
I tried to explore the theme of “Journey” we were given, using the collected items and photos I had. After experimenting a bit with collage I created some dreamlike images by combining different elements of multiple photos. I really like how some of the collage aspects came out and thought it sort of reflected the way you would remember something; how it would become sort of jumbled and you would only remember specific things that had caught your eye at the time.
Celebrating Books, Libraries and Book Shops
For this particular book arts book we had to interview either a book shop seller or a librarian and either a classmate or a friend about books. I interviewed a librarian at Hereford Library pop up shop in the Town Hall and my old friend who I grew up with sharing a lot of the same books. I then picked out quotes and facts from these interviews to include in my zine and draw inspiration from.
For this book we had the theme “How to…” something. I decided to go with “How To be a Cat”. It originally started out as “How To Look After a Cat” but I thought the other title was more fun. We also had to have a very limited color pallet of only three colors, so I tried to use a simple style to work with the simplicity of the color pallet. Using basic shapes like this helped free myself up from getting preoccupied with the details and let me experiment more with the composition and balance of the images instead.