Friday, 24 December 2010

Business Cards

My sample business card has come in the post from, check it out!

(I've blocked out my number on the image for privacy reasons)

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Industry Contacts List - Complete

Industry Contacts List

1. Dan Mumford

2. James Fenwick

3. Becca Thorne
(E-mail through site)

4. Russell Cobb
T: 01462 441614

5. Thomas Flintham

6. Cow Lane Studios Salford

7. Binding Service – University Of Manchester John Rylands Library

Address: Thesis Binding Service,
The Joule Library, The John Rylands University Library,
Sackville Street Building,
The University of Manchester,
Manchester M60 1QD

Telephone: +44(0)161 306 4916

8. Ken Adams
(email through website)

9. Bastian Sobtzick

10. “French”
(email through site)

11. Henrik Drescher

12. Ben Boos

13. Paul Romano

14. MARC Printers
T: 0161-839-0839

15. Hilke McIntyre
t: 0133-372-0263

PDP Entrepreneurial Artefact

This is my idea for the promotional artifact. I wanted to make a totem pole with collectible heads, and initially I was going to sculpt them from clay, but when I came to consider how it would be mass produced I thought it better to be flat. That way I could make the designs onto stickers and stick them onto the heads separately.

In terms of selling the product, I would sell the pole and base, and one of heads, and then also other heads separately. That way the customer can buy whatever heads they want and make their own personal totem pole, thus giving the person a uniqueness to their own choice and order of heads.

At the moment it is made from wood, however I would seek to make it out of plastic for easier manufacturing and to also have the heads cylindrical. I have included some sketches of what designs might go on the heads including a Pirate, Knights Helmet, Robot and Native American Mask. These are all things I like and things that inspire me. I would seek to include some nice line-work in these designs to remind clients and anyone who buys it of my illustration work, and I would have my contact details around the rim of the base.

Monday, 20 December 2010

PDP Potential Clients List - Complete

1. Vintage Publishing
Website :

2. Bloomsbury.
Address: 36 Soho Sqaure, London, W1D 3Q
Tel: 0207-494-2111

3. Harper Collins
Address: Human Resources
77-85 Fulham Palace Road
W6 8JB
Tel: 0208-307-4000

4. Faber
Address: Faber &Faber Ltd
Bloomsbury House
74-77 Great Russel Street
Tel: 0207-927-3800

5. Walker Books
87 Vauxhall Walk
SE11 5HJ
Tel: 0207-793-0909
PDF samples to:
Physical samples to: Illustrator Submissions, The Art Department, Walker Books Ltd, (then rest of address as above)

6. Oxford University Press
Tel: 0186-555-6767

7. Random House
20 Vauxhall Bridge Road
Tel: 0207-840-8400

8. Headline
Headline Publishing Group
338 Euston Road
Tel: 0207-873-6000

9. Macmillan Publishers: Pan Macmillan
20 New Wharf Road
N1 9RR
Tel: 0207-014-6000
E: Suzy Sheperd

10. Macmillan Publishers: Nature Publishing Group
The Macmillan Building
4 Crinan Street
N1 9XW
Tel: 0207-7833-4000
E: Paul Riley

11. Kevin Candela
Art Director

12. Mind Army

13. Invisible Creature
Invisible Creature Inc.
P.O. Box 375
Seahurst, WA 98062

14. Abacus Books
45B, William Pickering Drive
Albany, Auckland 0632
New Zealand

15. Scholastic Children’s Books
Euston House
24 Eversholt Street
T: 020 7756 7756

16. Profile Books Ltd
3A Exmouth House
Pine Street
Exmouth Market
T: 020 7841 6300

17. Orbit Books
(contact through website)

18. Orion Books
Orion House
5 Upper Saint Martin's Lane
London WC2H 9EA
Tel: 020 7240 3444

19. Penguin Books

20. Polygon/Birlinn Books
Birlinn Ltd.
West Newington House
10 Newington Road
Tel:+44 (0)131 668 4371

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Competition Brief - Final Image (for now)

I haven't posted anything about my James and The Giant Peach cover for a while because I've been getting on with it in my sketchbook and creating the final image. I have annotated my sketchbook to show the progression of the image, but I would like to make a blog post to express my thoughts as well.

I was struggling to create an idea for the cover, I was a bit daunted by the amount of text that had to be on the front cover and so I spent a lot of time looking at examples of text (some of which I have posted on here, others are in my sketchbook). I came across some beautiful illuminated letters (posted earlier on my blog) and these along with a chat with my tutors inspired the decision to do my own illustrated letter forms. Making the letters into characters from the story seemed to solve the problems of having a lot of text on the page and having an image that encapsulated the story. I started tracing some letters and making them into the insects from the story and seeing how they worked out. Some of them were easy such as making the earthworm into an S, others a little more difficult and forced, however on the whole they seemed to be working out.

After some more chats and external input I realised that I needed to break away from the font that was the basis of the characters, both to make them more visually appealing and to make them use the space available in a more effective way. So I hit the sketchbook and marked out the size of the format, to give me a better idea of exactly what space I had available, and experimented with fitting these insect/letters into the format in a more visually dynamic way. After a few versions the image really seemed to be coming together and I proportionally enlarged my format on the photocopier so that I could fit in more detail. I then penciled in the characters and finalised them with a fine-liner. I was able to include the fine line work with its pattern and textural qualities in the drawing and I think it is really working for me at the moment. Doing the whole cover simply with pen and pencil has boosted my confidence in terms of drawing and also in dealing with letter forms, and has actually made me want to use them again in my work somehow.

I made the decision to make the background orange and reverse the line-work out in white as I thought the bright colour would be very apt for this lively children's story and also it would be visually interesting to have the line-work reversed out in white.

N.B - The reason I entitled this post with the suffix "for now" is because the deadline from Penguin for this image is not until June so there is quite likely to be some changes made by that time, just small refinements.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Potential Clients List - a few more

A few more potential clients, obviously I need contact details for these people but I just thought I'd note them down here because I am very likely to misplace the piece of paper they are currently written on!

PUBLISHER: Harper (an imprint of harper collins)
PUBLICATION: Agatha Christie mysteries.

PUBLISHER: Walker Books
PUBLICATION: "Necropolis" by Anthony Horowitz

PUBLISHER: Oxford University Press
PUBLICATION: "Finding Sky" by Joss Stirling

PUBLISHER: Bantam Books (London)
PUBLICATION: "Relics Of The Dead" by Ariana Franklin

PUBLISHER: Headline Publishing
PUBLICATION: "The Templar" by Paul Doherty

PUBLISHER: Macmillan Publishers

PUBLISHER: Vintage Modern Classics

Friday, 10 December 2010

Becca Thorne Interview

I recently contacted fantastic illustrator Becca Thorne and she has been very kind indeed and spared some of her time to answer me these questions. A huge thanks to Becca for doing this, it is very much appreciated!

1. Who or what currently inspires you artistically?

-I've just joined Twitter, and seeing all the illustrators tweet about work on there is hugely inspiring whenever i'm not sure what to do with myself. I've got a big interest in Medieval history, so I take a lot of inspiration from Anglo-Saxon and medieval artwork. Also traditional Nordic and Scandinavian art and old Japanese and European woodblocks have a big influence on my work.

2. Your lino and mono prints are fantastic and it's great to see these
traditional techniques being used. Do you think these are dying arts in
the age of digital technology?

-I wouldn't say they were dying arts, but they're definitely not used as much in illustration as they used to be. I'm always a little disappointed when I see work that looks like woodblock or linocut but turns out to be digital, but illustration often needs to be done so quickly that sometimes vector work is the best route (and sometimes I really wish I could use Illustrator!). Even so, traditional techniques (including drawing and painting) have been making a big comeback in the last 5 years or so, especially for book work, and my clients pick me because my work is so obviously hand-rendered.

3. If you ever hit a wall in terms of ideas for a commission, what do
you do to overcome it?

-I'm lucky in that my partner studied fine art at uni, so he's good with ideas and understands the work- he's often hugely helpful. But I've found that the best thing to do to stop any problems happening in the first place is to understand exactly what a client wants before starting. If i haven't visualised a basic idea in my head by the time I've finished reading a brief (which are usually pretty heavily detailed anyway) I email or ring the client back asking for more info, or with some suggestions for us to run through and come up with a solution. An illustration job is invariably a collaboration of sorts between you and the art director, so you're never alone.

4. Do you find it easy or difficult to manage your time effectively?

-I find it pretty easy, but I'm never swamped with work (unfortunately!). I know how long it takes me to work through a job from start to finish, and make sure a client is aware of the time it takes to complete a lino cut. For example i know that 10 quarter-page-size illustrations will take me two weeks; one week for roughs and approval and just under one week for the cutting, printing, approval and posting. Because of the nature of my work I never get daily papers, or anyone else who needs work done the same day- although, if it was one small print and I had no other work on, I could do it easily!

5. I noticed you have been commissioned for several books. Is there any
authors in particular whose work you would like to illustrate?

-I would love to illustrate Philip Pullman books or anything mysterious and historical like Jonathon Strange and Mr Norrell or the Cadfael books.

6. Finally, if you could interview one one artist, alive or dead, who
would it be?

-I wouldn't want to interview him as such, but I'd love to have met Jean-Michel Basquiat. As well as his work being amazing he also led an amazing and tragic life- at 15 he'd dropped out of school and was living pretty much rough, but by the time he died, at 27, he'd had major shows in the US and Europe, formed a punk band with Vincent Gallo, dated Madonna, been in a Blondie video and collaborated with David Bowie and Andy Warhol. (I wrote an essay about him for A Level art...).

You can check out Becca's brilliant work here:

Again a massive thanks to Becca for this interview and some great advice!

Thursday, 9 December 2010

James Fenwick Interview

Hi all, I'm pleased to say I've got another interview to post. This time it's with a great chap and illustrator named James Fenwick, who works out of Hull, UK. Big thanks to James for this interview, so here it is with some of his work...

1. I have trouble sometimes getting started on a piece of work, how do you approach a new image and how do you avoid hitting a wall?

-I always start with writing, just writing words and things that are related to the subject. I whittle down to just a few of them which work together and start scribbling out a load of thumbnails. Then I'll do some slightly bigger rough sketches just to make sure i can get everything in, once the composition and content is settled I'll then start a more ellaborate sketch.
It's surprising how often I get halfway through a project and suddenly have a new idea which fits better and start from scratch. Or how I'll finish inking a final sketch and realise it was never going to work out so I've wasted a day or so doing something that's going to get binned.

2. Is it difficult to know when an image is "finished" or do you just know?

-I can usually tell when an image is finished, but that's only when I've over-worked the hell out of it in Photoshop a few times and it has so many stupid little graphic bits it just looks awful. So I tend to take a few steps back and go with an earlier stage which in most cases works out.

3. Quite a few of your images have music as a theme and have a real energy to them. Is music something that is important to you and inspires you?

-I'm more into music than I am art, so I think I maybe try to mix the two which is where some of the energy of my drawing comes from. Like most artists, designers and illustrators I listen to music when I work so my heads usually bobbing whilst I'm working which probably keeps me pushing on with things (as well as so so much caffeine). It's not just a specific genre either, I listen to pretty much everything and anything.
Content-wise I think a big chunk of my work is based on/around music because it's something that's always around me no matter what I'm doing so maybe it's become part of my subconscious thinking process. I don't know, that sounded deep. I heard a quote somewhere that said "Good music makes you feel cool no matter what you're doing," don't think there's a better way to put it really.

4.Do you find yourself easily motivated, or do things like a strict deadline help?

-I'm one of the least motivated illustrators I know, but at the end of the day I'm only human and I get distracted by things really easily! I'm trying different methods of working like organising my time in different ways but I always end up working best in the early hours of the morning, no idea why. Deadlines are a massive kick when you need it though, when a project starts coming to a close everything focuses in and that's when I really knuckle down.

5. You can obviously draw really well, how much of it has come naturally to you and how much can yo say has come from your education?

-I've always drawn so I think my actual motor skills and hand-to-eye co-ordination are a natural thing, but I think I've become a lot more conscious of the content and quality of my line work during my time in uni which is something my tutors really pushed. Now I'm bothered about line thickness, what pens/nibs I use and even what paper I use which is something I wouldn't have even thought of a few years ago. So professionalism over talent is a big factor there I suppose.
I reference a lot more than I did before uni as well, so say if I'm drawing a rabbit riding a moped or something I'll get like 10 photos of rabbits and 10 photos of mopeds just to make sure everything's correct, then I'll draw it freehand which I think is where my own observational style comes into things.

6. What things have had a profound effect on you in terms of inspiration?

-Music was already talked about. That's the biggy. Films, books, other pieces of artwork, conversations with people and just general taking notice of what's happening in the world around you.

7.Finally, if you could interview one artist, alive or dead, who would it be and why?

-There's this guy called Ray Jones who's work I'm really into...he seems like quite a cool guy to interview. And he plays drums in a band I think.

A massive thank you to James for doing this interview, it's much appreciated and very helpful!

You can check out James' awesome work here:

Monday, 6 December 2010

Interview : Dan Mumford

Hi all, I have a great post to make here, I recently got in touch with awesome artist Dan Mumford, and asked if he would answer me some questions, to which he graciously replied yes! Many thanks to Dan for this, I really appreciate it. Here's the interview and some of his work.

1. What kinds of things influence your work on a daily basis?

--Not that much really, but it tends to be music or film, I normally get ideas just walking about more than actively looking for inspiration.

2. I first came to know of your work through your album sleeves. Is music something that is important to your life and work?

--Yeah, the only reason I work in this area of artwork and design is because of music, I grew up very much involved in the music scene and this is essentially just an extension of that.

3. How do you approach a new piece of work when you have a “blank canvas” in front of you? Is it mostly client lead or do you have more of a free reign?

--Its a mix of both, I don't like to have a completely blank canvas, its always nice if the client has at least some idea of what they might want me to do for them.

4. Do you find time to draw for yourself as well as commissioned work?

--Not as much as I'd like to, but I have my own clothing brand now, which allows me to do my own stuff.

5. How important has “networking” been to your success?

--Not as much as it should be, I don't feel I do enough networking at all, and if I did I could probably open up a lot more avenues to myself than I have now.

6. Finally, if you could interview one artist or designer, living or dead, who would it be?

--Probably Alfons Mucha, his works been a big influence.

Again much gratitude to Dan for this interview , very much appreciated and very helpful!

Check out his website here -

Raymond E. Feist

I have come across some books by the author Raymond E. Feist and looking at the front covers I believe that the publisher of his books, Spectra, could a be a good potential client.

I think my work would suit the style of these books as they usually have a plain cover with one image in an almost iconic way, on the front cover along with text. Obviously they're not exactly the same in style but in terms of having a single "element" on a plain background I think my illustrations would work well like this, in particular the images I made recently for Paradise Lost made me think that my work would be suitable for book covers like this.

Potential Client List updated again

Here's an updated potential clients list:

Publication - "The Children's book"
Publisher - Vintage Publishing
Author - A.S Byatt

Publication - The Cardturner
Publisher - Bloomsbury
Author - Louis Sachar

Publication - Harry Potter Series
Publisher - Bloomsbury
Illustrator - Clare Melinsky

Publication - Robin Hobb Novels (Assassins Quest)
Publisher - Harper Collins/Harper Voyager

Publisher - Faber
Publication - Faber poetry hardbacks
(Illustrator - Sarah Young, for the poem "Ariel" by Sylvia Plath)

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Competition Brief - some more nice type...

As the title suggests, here's some more of my research for the competition brief I am doing for Penguin, James and The Giant Peach. I have come across these great examples in a book called "New Vintage Type" from the college library. The illuminated letters are woodcuts that are fantastic and along with the German illuminated letters have given me the inspiration to do some illuminated letter forms myself, as a way of including all the type that needs to be included and also being able to represent the characters of the story.

The image with the building on it I thought was a really nice example, not only of hand rendered type but also of the type going around an image on the page, which I think I am going to have to do on my front cover. Also I included the last image (the one with the words "beauty" and "pony") because I think the hand rendered type is fantastic and I am really quite jealous!

So, back to the sketchbook to nail these letter forms!

More type inspirations...

OK so here’s some more research for the Penguin competition for James and The Giant Peach. There is quite a lot of text that has to go on the cover so I have been researching a lot of different examples of text to help me, as it’s not exactly a strength of mine. My tutor and most of my class went to Berlin recently (I couldn’t afford it unfortunately) and he referred me to a book he purchased there, about German type. It has some great examples of beautifully hand drawn type and illuminated letters. The letters are a great example of how type can be beautiful (I can't believe I just said that, Mark will kill me) and the fine line work is reminiscent of a lot of other great hand-drawn stuff I have been looking at recently.

The very old, medieval feel of these letters really appeals to my interests and I love that the illuminated letters have warriors and knights fighting each other I think they are brilliant. These have inspired me to create some letter forms based on the characters from James and The Giant Peach, how I will do that exactly remains to be seen, looks like it's time to hit the sketchbook!

Monday, 22 November 2010

Potential Clients List - updated

Here's an updated potential clients list:

Publication - "The Children's book"
Publisher - Vintage Publishing
Author - A.S Byatt

Publication - The Cardturner
Publisher - Bloomsbury
Author - Louis Sachar

Publication - Harry Potter Series
Publisher - Bloomsbury
Illustrator - Clare Melinsky

Publication - Robin Hobb Novels (Assassins Quest)
Publisher - Harper Collins/Harper Voyager

Aubrey Beardsley - Inspiration for type

Due to the fact that a requirement of the penguin brief is to have quite a lot of text on the cover (author name, title etc) I have been looking to find some good examples of type that I really like. I was looking through an Aubrey Beardsley book just for general research as I really enjoy his fine line work, and I found some really nice examples of him using hand rendered type.

I really like how his type is cohesive with the rest of the image and looks just as natural and beautiful as the rest of his illustration. The letter forms are not at odds with the rest of image, nor do they compete for attention, and this is something I would like to be able to create in my own designs.

Competition Brief - James and The Giant Peach

After looking at all the different competition briefs on offer I have decided to try the Penguin children's book competition, which this year is James and the Giant Peach. I am excited to take this on as it is a great story (one which I need to re-read asap) and is full of great imagery for me to get my teeth stuck into. So far I have just done a couple of sheets of thumbnails but watch this space for further progress. One thing that will be challenging on this brief is that one of the requirements is to have quite a bit of written information on the cover, including the title, author, illustrator etc. I have never really attempted to put typography in my work so it will be an interesting challenge. I have attempted to consider the type from the very beginning as to avoid it being an afterthought.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Dandi Palmer

Again perusing the AOI website... I have come across Dandi Palmer. Something that really caught my eye was Dandi's illustrations that were in a Celtic style. I really liked the intricate knotwork and fine line-work that is typical of that style and her black and white drawings really appeal to me with there textural qualities.

check Dandi's porfolio out here -

Thomas Flintham

While I was perusing the AOI portfolios online, I came across this chap named Thomas Flintham. I really admire his use of black and white and limited colour schemes. Also his line work that has a texture-like quality is something I really like and strive to create in my own work. His use of black and white is very bold and creates a dynamic ansd striking effect that I really enjoy while looking at his work.

You can check out his portfolio on the AOI website here -

Monday, 15 November 2010

Stolen Peace Album Art

I have recently come across the opportunity to submit some artwork for the band "Stolen Peace" for their album "Bones" (if my work is chosen, obviously). I am quite excited about this as I am a fan of rock and roll and metal music so this is right up my street. Also the band has given a good idea of what they want on the album cover in terms of themes etc. One of the things that really grabbed my attention was that the album is named "Bones" because of the band feeling as if they have to give up the bones of who they are as people and musicians to get recognition in the industry. I think this is a great statement and will be trying to visually represent this in my artwork.

So here's a quick page of little sketches of my initial thoughts, they're all quite cliche with regards to rock and metal album covers, but, I really don't care. That's what I love about most album covers of that genre, straight to the point, no frills just cool as F**K images. I hope to express the the bands feelings in regards to giving up the bones of who they are, but at the same time I want it be a really cool, eye-catching image. Rest assured it wont be some abstract expressionist crap that takes four hours to explain.

Check out the Stolen Peace's website here and give them your support if you feel so inclined -


Saturday, 13 November 2010

Potential Clients List

Here's a few potential clients that I've come across, I have chosen them based on the work on the publications either being similar to mine in style, or just the way they are presented reminding me of my own work in some way.

Author - A.S Byatt
Publication - "The Children's book"
Publisher - Vintage Publishing

Author - Louis Sachar
Publication - The Cardturner
Publisher - Bloomsbury

Negotiated Project - Final (ish) Illustrations

So, I've finished (sort of) the illustrations for the Negotiated Project, which for me, is images based on some quotes from Paradise Lost. We had the preliminary deadline and I handed my illustrations in, and I am quite happy about he feedback I have received. As far as the images are concerned I am pleased with them. There are some issues to iron out but on the whole, I think they are working well and fulfilling the brief that I initially set out. I have to find somewhere to get them nicely printed and bound though!

I have had a good experience on this project, learning some things along the way that has given me a clearer idea of my working method. For example, I was using the collograph technique to produce a "base" image. What I mean by this is that the printing technique created a textured background and solid shapes, and I was adding to this with hand rendered line work. As much as I love the collograph technique and I will definitely be using it in the future (in fact I think it has become a mainstay of my working method) I think I may have used it too much. When the background texture and main foreground shapes were on the same plate, it created problems. I had to discard some prints because, even though the main shapes looked really nice, the background was too dark, and so I couldn't really use it. If I had created these elements separately, then I could simply alter their levels digitally to fit.

Furthermore, I think I overused the collograph technique, because I could have created a similar effect in a much more time effective and efficient way. I really like the background texture, but this effect could be similarly created with a roller and some ink. In fact, I could even create several sheets of these textures and scan them, so that i would always have nice textures on hand.

So with regards to collographs, I will definitely be using them in the future, as I love the effect they produce and the analogue quirks that go with them. I really enjoy the "halo" of white space that the process leaves around shapes sometimes as well. However, I have (importantly) learned when to use the process, and when not to, and I think the things I have learned along the way on this project will be more valuable to me than the images I have produced.

PS - I am happy with the inclusion of the fine line work in these images as well, and feel good that it wasn't just a one trick pony with the 7x7 project. I enjoy using the fine line work and will seek to use it more and more in my work.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Negotiated Project - Inspirations

As I have discussed in earlier posts, I have recently got into doing quite fine line work in my illustrations, and I have got an amazing book that has inspired me quite a lot in this new endeavor. It's called "A Tolkien Bestiary" by David Day, it is a wonderfully illustrated book that describes the flora and fauna of Tolkien's worlds as well as characters and major events. There is many fine colour illustrations, but it is mainly the black and white illustrations in pen and ink that interest me. The Ultra fine line work creates a visually stunning look and is a great visual language for things like armour and the hide of a dragon, and I hope to replicate its effect in my own work.