Category Archives: year 3

Working for The New Yorker

I was extremely lucky to be offered an opportunity to help with a video that will be appearing on The New Yorker website. My portfolio was passed onto Paul Trillo who is a director from the United States and he got in contact with me asking if it was something I’d be interested in. v

I was asked to create a paper cut totem pole made using common villainess targets and it would have the grim reaper on the top. I started by drawing down different styles of how the characters could look as I was asked to do them in a stylized fashion. Once a style was agreed I went on to use the same techniques on the other characters that I was asked to create. In total Paul wanted 10 characters as well as the grim reaper and I was given 6 with the remaining 4 to be decided by me as long as they were cleared with Paul.

There were a lot of revisions throughout the week and because Paul was 5 hours behind emailing could sometimes be very spaced apart. It was definitely a lot to take on but it was an opportunity I couldn’t let slip and I learnt a lot. Firstly I had never created faces before with paper especially ones that needed to look like people such as Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin so this was a new challenge but I welcomed it with open arms. Paul seemed really impressed with the faces that I came up with and only a few edits had to be made such as lowering of the eyes.

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To put all of the totem pole together I decided to take a photo of each face individually because the totem pole was so large and it would be much easier to rearrange the faces and edit them if necessary. It was a good job I decided to this because Paul wanted a different style of grim reaper so luckily it was as easy as removing the grim reaper layer and adding the new grim reaper in. I had an idea for the grim reader to have his arms arm and scythe in hand like the wings spread on traditional totem poles, Paul seemed to really like this idea and let me add it into the final piece.

Once put together I was asked to create a simple paper style background and add a few clouds in too to show the height of the totem pole. The idea was to start the clouds off light and gradually make them darker as they rise up the totem pole and finally end in stars.

Once complete the final thing that I needed to add was a blinking layer to each of the faces so Paul could make the faces blink when he brought it into after effects. This is where folders in Photoshop became really important. I had never used folders before in Photoshop because none of my work usually has that many layers so I just give them a title instead but with so many layers it was really important for me to group different elements in folders. This not only was usual for me but would also help Paul out a lot when the file was passed over to him. Adding the blinking layer was quite easy I just duplicated each face, removed the eyes and added a small curve where the eyes would be so show a closed eye.

The file was passed onto Paul who added some details himself and brought the piece into after effects to give it some movement. The video should be up on The New Yorker’s website by the end of the month and I can’t wait to see it! The opportunity has taught me a lot about creating artwork, editing artwork and making my artwork accessible to others and I’ve taken a lot away from the experience that I will definitely be implementing with future work.

Below is the totem that was created for Paul, a few small edits were made to the background before it was took it into After Effects but as the video is still being created I can’t show the final thing at the moment.

Totem pole 23.png

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Final Year Show building

Over the past couple of days I’ve been going in to help set up the final year show which will be open in a couple of weeks. As I’m quite hands on I decided to volunteer to be in the building group who’s main jobs are making the show walls for work to be displayed on as well as deconstructing unwanted stands so that they can be used for the plinth team.

So far the show is going up very fast and is looking great, I’m really looking forward to seeing it once everything is up and we’re ready to open the show to the public. Today we made a lot of the show walls and the painter team came in to paint them all white ready for work to be displayed on them!

I myself have asked for two plinths for my work and I’ll also be using a wall to display some of my layered paper work which I hope will work well alongside my three dimensional pieces. To give the work more context and to show that my work is mostly editorial I’m thinking of adding a small piece of text underneath each artwork to explain the article that the it was made for.

Below is a photo from the first day which just shows a stand before we took it apart for the plinth team. It’s not a very exciting but I’ll add more in later posts that show the show coming together! The floor itself at this time was very bare as we’d cleared up the space ready for walls to be made and other pieces to be brought in such as chairs for the cinema room.

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Working with The Philosophers Magazine

Over the past few weeks I’ve been working with The Philosophers Magazine to create two illustrations for one of their articles in their latest publication. It’s been a really eye opening and enjoyable experience and because freelance illustration is what I would love to end up doing it’s been invaluable.

I believe I worked with my client professionally and if anything may have asked too many questions but I put that down to the fact that this was the first time I had done anything like this. I started by reading through the article that was sent to me and sketching out rough ideas ranging from the more obvious illustrations to more cleverly crafted pieces that weren’t so clear but worked with the text. After coming up with a range of sketches I sent them over to allow my client to look through and pick out which they felt worked best, once feedback was received I worked on my sketch to show a more refined piece.

As I had the time I agreed to create a second illustration that was once again adapted from my initial sketches. It was great to work with the client to work towards an illustration that they were happy with, usually I just make illustrations that I like but it was nice for me to have to adapt my work to suit someone else’s needs.

The second illustration I made with the 4 dice went through more stages until a final outcome was decided on. My client liked the idea of the 4 dice with maths symbols and wanted me to play around with different compositions so do to this I made the dice and took photos of different compositions and sent them 4 that I felt worked best. A composition was then picked and I took the image into Photoshop to make some final edits before finally sending over the 2 finished illustrations.

As well as making the illustrations I had to make sure the dimensions and resolutions was correct which was easy enough to do but was also something that I’d never really had to consider before.

They have been kind enough to send me a copy of the magazine that will have my illustrations printed in and I’m excited to see my work. The whole experience has been great and I’ve really enjoyed myself, hopefully this is just the start.

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Price Cuppa Revisit – 3D

A while back I decided to redo my Pricey Cuppa illustration but made it from paper instead of using an actual cup and saucer. At the time I was really happy with the piece but felt compared to my latest work it looked a bit out of place so I decided to redo it one final time. This time I wanted to make the cup out of 3-dimensional paper rather than mount the paper onto a piece of paper and use shadows to cast the illustration of it being a 3D piece.
To give the cup a paper feel I decided to use sharp edges and give the cup a pentagon
shape, I felt this added a nice touch and stepped away from the realistic original. Using a printed out pentagon I used this as my guide to create the cups shape and placed a carefully cut piece of mount board at the bottom to make sure that it kept its shape when I started gluing it all together.

Photo 04-04-2017, 15 09 38

Once together I decided to cut individual strips of paper for each of the pentagon’s angles cut them too long on purpose so I could fold them over the edges which gave a nice smooth, slightly rounded edge to the lip of the cup.

Photo 04-04-2017, 16 29 10

I then worked on the handle of the cup which I decided to cut from foamboard first and then cover in paper so that it wasn’t too fiddly yet still gave the impression that it was made from paper alone. This worked perfectly and also gave the handle some strength rather than created the small handle out of paper. The handle was then carefully stuck onto the side of the cup making sure it was in the centre and that the top of the handle came to the same height as the top of the cup.

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The contents of the mug was created using another pentagon piece of foamboard which was then covered in brown tea like card. To bring this pentagon to the top of the cup I just used a stack of cut foamboard which was stuck to the top of the foam board at the bottom of the cup and the bottom of tea coloured pentagon. The price tag was simply made from cut coloured card and I used string that was threaded through make it look like it was coming from a teabag inside the cup.

Using a larger pentagon I created the plate which was simply cut out foamboard once again covered in paper to give the effect that it was 3-dimensional paper.

I also decided to create 2 biscuits just to add to the final illustration. These were made from foamboard covered in coloured card and to add the biscuit texture I scored the bordering piece of paper and used a small needed to create the holes in the biscuits. I tried to make them look as realistic as possible and think it adds nicely to the cup and saucer.

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Below is the final illustration which I photographed and edited on Photoshop. I looked at already existing photos of cups of tea as well as playing around with different coloured paper to decide on the background to use. Although the blue background is quite bright I think it works to push the cup out and make it pop from the page. I believe this version is my strongest yet and would be the best option to use with the original article as its eye catching and the overall quality of the image is better.

Pricey Tea Finished 6

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Site Update: A few small updates

new site

I’ve updated a few more smaller things on my website including curved edges to my thumbnails which animate to larger curves when the mouse is placed over each one. I felt this gave a bit of life to my site so it wasn’t so static and I feel the curved edges look a more up to date than having standard looking squares. I came up with this idea whilst on my iPhone and noticing the apps on the phone are all placed in curved squares and work really nicely placed next to and under each other.

I also added a small fade animation to the logo of my website so when the mouse is over it the colours slightly get fainter. This one again brings a slight bit of life to my website and also makes it more obvious to the viewer that this is a clickable button that takes you back to the homepage. I also used a fade effect on the subtitles of my site but instead these go from grey to black to highlight them when the mouse is placed over the link.

On my old website the ‘About page’ was all in third person which I was quite happy with at first but then after reading through it at a later date seemed a bit weird especially as I’m new to the illustration scene so it would be more obvious that I wrote in third person about myself. I decided to rewrite the ‘About’ page in first person which I think sounds better and gives a more personal feel the page. I also finally got a nice photo of myself to include next my write up.

All of my illustrations have a revamped description with a link to the article that they were made for if a direct link is possible which in most cases was. This allows visitors to read the original article and decide for themselves whether my illustration work well alongside it. It’s also allowed me to name drop some big newspapers which helps with Search Engine Optimization apparently which basically makes my website easier to find on search engines.

Something that you probably wouldn’t notice unless mentioned is the fact that the background of my website isn’t white anymore and instead is a very faint grey. I decided to change this because my illustrations with white backgrounds got lost in the white background of the website and especially looked weird when placed next to illustrations with a coloured background. It’s a very small change but helps a lot to separate my illustrations from the website background.

Finally I’ve added all the links to my social media accounts in the form of icons at the bottom each page. This allows visitors to easily find me on social media and give me a follow or just get more of a look into how I work and what I’ve been up to.

new site2

Currently I’m very happy with my newly revamped and believe it look a lot more professional and welcoming than my original. Although I decided to stay away from added more quirky elements the addition of moving thumbnails and mouse over interactions have given my website more life and is now less of a static site. I’m sure in the future my website will be updated again and again but for now I think it represents me well, looks modern and showcasing my work clearly.

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Background Colour Research

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been researching into colour combinations and colour theory. I’ve never been very good with choosing the right colours for backgrounds and wanted to learn more about colour so I had a better understanding of which colours work well with each other. As well as looking at lots of different colour schemes and researching into colour theory I also looked at the work of some of my favourite artists to see how they choose background colours.

Something that I saw a lot was the use of light pastel colours for the background which caused the focus to be on the illustration. I feel some of the backgrounds I’ve chosen in some of my past work mould into my illustration causing it to get lost and fall back rather than jump out from the page and catch the attention of the audition. To test out the pastel background idea I chose to use a pastel blue in my newest piece to see how it worked and I’m very happy with the results. Although I kept to a bright background by choosing a slightly lighter pastel shade I think it’s really helped to keep the focus on the main work. With future work I’ll try out more pastel colours and see how they work and hopefully they’ll have the same effect.

As well as choosing to stick with pastel backgrounds I’ve decided to choose a colour scheme for backgrounds so my illustrations all work together when placed side by side. Over time I will change the colour scheme to keep my work looking fresh but for now I think sticking with this particular fixed colour scheme will help bring all of my work together.

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Professional Practice Lessons

Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve been lucky enough to have Dan Peterson who has been teaching us professional practice. This has included everything from how to approach a client, how to agree a contract and even tips of business cards and websites.

As I would love to end up one day going freelance the sessions with Dan have been really helpful and have taught me a lot about what to expect in the future. I’ve learnt how competitive the art industry is and how fast freelance work gets snapped up but if anything it’s spurred me on to try even harder.

Something that is really important that Dan has taught me is different licenses that exist and what I should be aware of when giving my work to the clients. Depending on he license I can charge more for an illustration, if it’s only being used for a single purpose then I won’t charge as much but if the client would like to use it elsewhere then he price for my illustration may increase. Giving away complete rights to a illustration never seems like a good idea because once you’ve handed it over it’s not your anymore and the client can use it as many times as they want and even sell it on. Single use contracts seem like the ones I may use more often as a freelance editorial illustrator and I must make sure to make it clear that I’m only giving my client the illustration for a single use, if they want to use it again technically they’d have to pay me again.

I’m going to start by contacting as many art directors as possible from newspapers and magazines in the hope that if anything I can get my name known and my work seen. As I create papercraft artwork I’m lucky in the respect that I’m a bit different from the majority of artists who use paints and digital media. This in some ways works in my favour but it all depends on whether my papercraft artwork is something that the client would be interested in.

I think the most important thing for a new illustrator like myself to do is to get out there as much as possible. With me already covering the most popular social media sites it’s important that I keep them up to date and try to connect to as many people as possible. The more people that know about me and my work the better as I may be lucky enough to grab the attention of a potential client or even have my name brought up in conversation.

Something else that is very important is to reply to clients as soon as possible. Clients will most likely contact multiple illustrators for the same job and it may come down to whoever replies first who get the job. Freelance illustration can be very face paced and it’s important to keep on top of everything. I don’t want to disappoint any of my clients in any way because that will stick with them and they may not bother contacting me for jobs again or recommending me to others.

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Creating my business card

As I’d like to create a business card to hand out at the end of year show I’ve recently ordered lots of sample packs from different companies to get an idea of what’s already out there and what finishing can be achieved. Something that I think would work really well is the spot gloss finish that Vistaprint offer. The samples I received from Vistaprint were not only good quality but also very affordable compared to some other companies which is great news for me as it means more money to spend on the actual display of my work for the end of year show.

The spot gloss finish would work nicely with my idea as I could use it to give some depth to the brain that I plan on printing, it also gives a nice glossy feel to the image which shines in the light. Below shows the development of the front of my business card, I came up with the basic idea of having my brain illustration with my name and title but felt it looked a bit plain so had a play around on Photoshop. The text used for my name and title was taken directly from the same logo that I use for my website so that my business card links with what I have used already.

The idea were okay but I still wasn’t happy with them so I ended up just playing around more on Photoshop, moving things around until I came up with the idea of using a larger brain in the background but fading in black and white. The idea just came to me and it worked really well! I once again played with the positioning of the larger brain until I was happy with it and saved the image ready to send off to Vistaprint. Below is my finished front design of my business card.

Business card englarged brain background 2

The faint grey scale version of the brain works perfectly to fill what was once blank space without taking away from the coloured brain illustration and the text. I made sure it was faint enough so the text was still easy to read and stood out from the background image.

For the back I wanted a reversed brain so that when the business card was bend over the back of the brain would be a mirrored image. I wanted to keep the back simple and clearly display my contact details, at first I added my site logo but felt it looked a bit out of place and distracted away from my details below. I also played around with including ‘Paper engineer & illustrator’ just to reiterate what I do but then thought it was a bit unnecessary and drawn the attention away from my contact details which I wanted to make sure was the most prominent element on the back.

I’d researched into already existing business cards as well as already existing artist business cards and found that the most common sequence to place the contact details was mobile number, email and website address. I decided to follow this sequence as it made sense to have the most direct form of contact at the top followed by the second and third. Below shows how I tweaked the back of the business card to keep it as simple as possible removing unnecessary elements as I went.

The positioning of the contact information was very important as I had to make sure that none of it would be cut off or creased when the business card was folded. I also had to make sure that the position of the brain matched perfectly with the brain on the side so that when it was carved out the cut would follow the outline of each brain. This was quite easy to do on Photoshop as I could mirror image the front cover brain which flipped it onto the other side of the business card.

Below shows the final front and back of my business card which will be sent off to be printed as soon as possibly. I need to give myself enough time to score and calve each one so I can achieve the foldable effect that I’m planning on doing. I’ve already tested the idea out and know it works so hopefully it’ll make my business cards stand out from the rest and be memorable.

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Researching business cards

I want to make a business card that can be taken away at my final end of year show but I don’t want it to be just a stand rectangular business card. As I pride myself on being a quirky papercraft illustrator I want my business card to represent that and make me stand out from the crowd.

I’ve been researching into unique business cards online and have found so many inspirational ideas. There’s ones that are different shapes, ones that popup, some that fold, others that turn into a figure, even ones that are carved into and layered. I’ve been keeping track of all the ideas that inspire me by using Pinterest and made a secret folder where I can store all of the images that I find. I managed to total up 65 different unique business cards that I felt were really cool and would stand out from others.

business cards

The ones that really stood out to me and what I feel could work best for my business card were the ones that were carved out. There was one particular business card I found that I believe could work really well with the idea that I have. As I feel my brain illustration is the strongest piece of work I have I want that to be on my business card and I think that making a folded popup like the one below could make for a really cool and quirky business card that represents me well.

Wspin-Business-Card-l

The idea would show off my papercraft skills and would also show off my artwork and I could make it so that it folds onto a table almost like a name place holder that can be found on office desks. To put the idea to the test I made a very simple mock up of what the business card would look like when carved and folded and it works really well.

I did consider also making the business card a different size rather than having thefolded standard rectangle but what put me off was the fact that it might get lost in a wallet. By having a unique shape it cool to look at but once placed into a wallet with all the other business cards it would get lost behind the stand rectangles especially if another business card was placed in the same slot. I need to make sure that when my business card is in a wallet it stands out and doesn’t just blend in with the others that might already be in there.

I’m really happy with this idea and think it could really help me stand out from the crowd, it also does a great job is showcasing my papercraft skills. I’m more than likely going to have to score and cut out each business card myself although I could potentially use a laser cutting. I do think using a laser cutting could take away from the fact that all my work is handcrafted though and wouldn’t represent me as well as a personally handcrafted card. At the end of the day these will only be for my show although for now so putting in that extra effort would be worth it.

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