Friday 11 May 2012

Animation Inspiration

I first came up with the idea of my animation after watching this guy's work. It's only 5 seconds long but it's definitely quality over quantity. It's such a clever, neat idea and it's executed so well. I love the simple concept and the shifting shapes which change direction and form. The added popping sound effects really compliment the whole concept and make it a really novel, fun piece. Enjoy!

Animation Music

This is the full length song that accompanies my animation. It's so beautiful that I thought I'd share it so you can listen to the entire thing. I for one could listen to her all day! Enjoy!

Big Illustration Party Time podcast - episode 16

This podcast was centred around contracts - which sounds pretty daunting to me! Joshua and Kevin said it was vital to have a contract as you never know what sort of mess you could get into. It also makes you appear more professional which in turn could get you more work.
You should spend time making a standardised contract which you can then adapt for different jobs. A contract makes things easier in the long run and it's always best to be prepared. The guys said that contracts are standard now in any profession and a client who doesn't have one is not someone you want to work for.
They advise you to keep a contract simple but comprehensive - you don't want to scare clients away with loads of legal jargon! You can always check with the client or a lawyer if there's something you don't understand though.
They also explained that work for hire means you assign the authorship of an image over to the client which means you wouldn't get any extra money if it went global - be careful with that!
Kevin said when coming up with hourly rates in a contract to make sure you add extra time for research and preparation - you always take longer than you plan and you don't want to work without being paid the appropriate amount.
Another essential thing to include in your contract is a kill fee. It's basically for when a job gets cancelled you are still paid - usually around 50% of the originally agreed fee.
Best get cracking with a contract then!

Graphic Guru - Graduating

I emailed my Graphic Guru Natalie Wood to ask her how she felt when she was about to leave Uni. I told her I was excited to start my own work but nervous about how to go about getting it. I also said I was reluctant to leave the security of Uni and the advice of tutors. She got back to me with an extremely detailed and thought out email which was really kind.
She gave me some great advice which included not to slip into the routine of not doing anything. I sometimes lack motivation but she pointed out that you have to be self motivated in order to get yourself work. The main point she made was not to sit and wait - you've got to get out there and find work because it won't come to you without some serious effort on your behalf.

Read her reply:

Hi Philippa,

Thanks for your email. Wow I remember the feeling of the last week of uni. I bet you're crazy busy!

To be honest it was a bit of an anti-climax when I graduated. All of the working towards something final, all the long hours you put in to your work..and then that's it! It's all over!
It's quite easy to slip into a routine of not getting anything done, seeing as there's no-one around you to motivate you anymore..but you just need to crack on.

I was quite scared of finding work to start with. I kept wondering if I was capable of actually producing ideas and images that were good enough for magazines etc. But I worked my way through big lists of art directors and contacted them by email, sending out samples of my work in the post as well as by email. It took quite a few months (of feeling quite deflated) before I finally got my first commission, but then after that was out of the way it seemed quite natural. 

I emailed agents too when I graduated but they all wanted to see experience first, so once I got a few commissions under my belt I contacted them all again. The work is still slowly building up for me still, even with my agent. Sometimes I can have nothing for a couple of weeks..and then I can have say 3-front covers all to work on at once. You just have to be good at time management and prioritizing. I work part-time hours too so I regularly find myself working until about 4am to make sure I can get a job done in time. I'd rather be working like that than have nothing to do though, so I'm grateful for every commission I get.

So I suppose my main piece of advice is not to sit around and wait..start your self promotion now so that you can get your first few commissions out of the way. After that it will just be a steady process of building up your portfolio and hopefully the more jobs you do the more you will get.

I hope this has helped in some way! When is your degree show by the way? I'd love to come to it.


Thursday 10 May 2012

Hopes, Fears and Opportunities (Part 2)

Looking back at my last Hopes, Fears and Opportunities post is quite strange! I vividly remember writing it and how determined I was to do the best I could in the Final Major Project. I mentioned the fact that I feel I owe it to myself to work as hard as possible in order to get the grade I know I am capable of. Also, at the end of the post I said I don't want to look back and regret not putting enough effort in - but low and behold I am disappointed at myself as I know I could have worked harder. The first few weeks of the Final Major Project flew by and I didn't do as much work as I could have. I don't know if it was because I was exhausted from doing the dissertation or because I kept thinking I'd got ages to do it all - but I definitely took my eye of the ball. It was only a couple of weeks before London that I really got going and started to make progress. Even then, I felt I could have done more as these last four weeks have been a bit of a rush to get things finished. As I've got a First in the rest of my modules, I know I'm perfectly capable of achieving it overall. If I don't, I will only have myself to blame - which will not be a nice feeling!
Anyway, regardless of my grade I really hope that I will be able to get work in the next few months. I've got one possible commission at Rapport Events so far, it's just after that that I'm worried about. Making contacts with industry over the past year or so has been really helpful though and I hope to make use of those connections. As well as continuing to network and try and visit people, I want to set up a mailing list which I can use to update people on my progress. An email every three months to all my contacts will hopefully keep me in their minds but will not be too often to annoy them! Art directors and designers see so many people that even if your work is amazing, if you don't keep in touch they'll probably forget about you! I also think the idea of sending a holiday card at Easter and Christmas is a nice way of reminding people about you. On the surface it seems innocent, but the fact of the matter is is that you're getting your work in front of possible clients and employers.
I'd love to be able to make a full time career of illustration and design, but I know it will be hard to achieve. Having said that, there's no reason why I couldn't - I'm the only person standing in my way! If I work hard to forge contacts and keep improving my work, there's a chance I could make it! I really want to do more hands on work such as installations or pattern design for products. Unless it's for an interesting article, I find editorial illustration quite tedious and it's not something I want to rely on to bring in the money.
At my recent portfolio visit at Rapport Events, the creative director Chris Platt said he really wanted me to do a similar sort of thing to the Music project for them. They both seemed enthusiastic but Paul Rose (who I was seeing) said that I'd probably need to keep pestering Chris until he wrote me a brief! This is something I will definitely do as soon as the Final Major Project is out of the way. I'm really looking forward to doing something like that again as I had such a great time doing the installation at Music. I've no idea what the brief could be and it will be a test if it is something tricky - but it will be interesting to see how I cope!
Another opportunity I intend to make the most of is D&AD. I'm looking forward to going to London again and am excited to have my work displayed at the fair. When I visited D&AD in my first year I remember being really impressed by all the work so it will be a lot of fun to be directly involved when I go this time. I've also been selected by my tutors to be one of four students to take part in a portfolio surgery with a design professional. It's such a great opportunity to get advice on my portfolio from the best in the business and forge new contacts.
There will also be lots of other things going on over the course of the event which I want to get involved with. I won't get the chance to go to D&AD as a student again so I want to make the most of it. Whilst I'm in London I also want to try and visit other people in the industry whether it be for portfolio visits or to try and get commissions. It would be stupid to miss the opportunity to network with the London design scene, as that's where all the big clients are.
At the moment my main hope, aside from getting a good grade, is to put on a good exhibition. Hopefully there will be people from the design industry attending (Paul and Chris from Rapport have said they want to come) so you never know what could happen. Obviously the main wish would be to get some work, but it's always good just to meet new people and hand out business cards.
My main fear is failure! I'd hate to see the past few years go to waste but I'm determined not to let it. Even if I have to get a part time job to support myself financially, I'll never stop doing illustration and design as it's my main love in life! I've learnt so much on this degree and although there's been some downs there's been so much more ups. I'm thankful I had the opportunity to learn and work with such lovely people!

Wednesday 9 May 2012


This is my animation which accompanies my Final Major Project. I created it using Flash, which is compatible with Illustrator files - so it suits my work better than After Effects (which is better with Photoshop files). It was my first time using the software, so it took quite a long time to do - but I really enjoyed the process.

As the theme of the animation project was transformation I decided to have my animals merging in and out of each other. This meant matching up all the right pieces and then adding a 'shape tween' to make them transform from one shape to the other. This had to be done with each individual piece and then 'shape hints' had to be added to guide the transformation. As I was new to the process it took a long time to do - I was in every Tuesday for the entire length of the project, trying to make it work best I could. There are still little details I would change to neaten the shapes and transformations up, but as a first try I'm pretty proud of it!

As my Final Major Project is inspired by a Finnish fairytale, I chose a beautiful Scandinavian folk song to accompany the animation. I also thought the music fitted the gentle transformations of the elements.

In the future I really want to do more animations - they don't all have to be as long as this, just some small ones of individual pieces would be really nice. I'm probably going to buy Flash when my bursary comes through, might as well make the most of being a student while I still can!