Saturday, 26 February 2011

Merijn Hos

I came across Merijn whilst flicking through a blog I had come across and was instantly struck by one of his pieces. Although his style is not at all similar to mine and it's something I will probably never aspire to do - I couldn't help being amazed by it. I looked on his website and there is so much stuff on it! His work is really diverse and he experiments with lots of different media. On one page there is a beautiful watercolour, on the next a colourful collage and on the next a gigantic installation. But what really caught my eye were his series of China ink drawings. The detail in them is astounding and the content is so playful. I love the use of pattern and although they are black and white you can tell they would be bright and dazzling if they were in colour. They're so quirky and fascinating I just had to put them on here for you to see!

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Nicola Meiring

Following on from the presentation by The Chase, I had a look around the internet at some of the design agencies they had mentioned. I was having a mooch around Folio's website when I came across Nicole Meiring's page. She is originally from South Africa but recently moved to England. Her work is really amazing and certain elements really remind me of my own work at the moment. Nicole obviously uses Illustrator to create her pieces and they have a clean graphic feel to them. In several of her designs she has used elements built up in a pattern to form a shape; which is what I'm trying to do with this current brief! I love the style of her work - there are clear influences from Scandinavian design and she has a passion for iconography. She has a great sense of colour and works with an array of tones and shades. Nicole has worked for a wide variety of clients and she is in frequent demand. Her work is really inspirational to me so it may be that I'll contact her to find out more about how she works.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

The Chase

Today we were given a presentation by Lise Brian and Mika Shephard from a design agency called The Chase. They came to Stockport primarily to talk the third years about their portfolios but very kindly agreed to talk to us as well. They gave us some excellent advice on approaching design agencies and how we should prepare our portfolios.

They had contacted several agencies for us and asked them what they look for in new designers; their responses were as follows:

- CIA (Central Illustration Agency) - look for originality, good communication skills and a positive professional attitude.

- Heart Agency - look for someone who is different from anything they've seen before.

- Lemonade Illustration Agency - treat illustration as a real business.

- Folio Illustration Agency - know what illustration the agency works with.

Lise also gave us her own advice on how to approach an agency:
- Make sure you spell the person's name right.
- Don't attach too many files in an email.
- Follow up with a call.
- Be nice to receptionists.
- Try not to be too nervous on an interview.
- Know something about where you're going.
- Be enthusiastic.
- No job? Ask about a brief.
- Turn up unannounced.
- Can you help with anything?

Finally they gave some advice on preparing your portfolio:
- Take work out you don't like.
- Have a good mix of work.
- Keep your folder spotless.
- Treat it like any other layout job.
- Seeing the original piece is lovely.
- Don't put foam board in your folder.
- How much time have you got?
- Given advice? Don't take it all to heart.
- Practice talking about your work.
- Start and finish with your strongest work.

Lise and Mika had some excellent tips and I found the presentation really useful. Some of the points were quite obvious but it's amazing how you can easily forget about them. When I graduate I will contact as many agencies as I can to try and get representation. They have access to major clients that you couldn't reach on your own and they will scout out work to fit your style - they're well worth the effort!

Friday, 11 February 2011

'James and the Giant Peach' book cover

For the past four weeks I have been working on creating a new book cover for the story of 'James and the Giant Peach'. We were given a selection of competition briefs to choose from, all from various publishers and organisations. I chose the Puffin competition as I had loved 'James and the Giant Peach' when I was younger and thought it was something I could really sink my teeth into!
Any Roald Dahl book is automatically associated with Quentin Blake and whilst I love his work it was a challenge to move away from his iconic illustrations. I wanted to do something completely different and inject my love of colour into the design. I had initially decided to have a large circle representing the peach sitting on top of a patterned background. I spoke to Ian about this and he suggested that rather than just having random shapes, why not use elements from the book to create the pattern. I really loved this idea so set about drawing different components from the book. Some had quite a major part to play in the story, like the seagulls, whilst others were less significant, like the rhino. I tried to make them as simple as possible to compensate for the colour overload and decided to use Illustrator to create a clean slick line.
Symmetry played an important role in the cover; all the elements were symmetrical when possible. Also, the circle on the front is balanced by a square of the same height and width on the back.
Regarding the typography, I opted to design a bubble-writing style type to highlight that this is primarily a children's book. For the back I chose a sans serif font that looked 'child friendly' but I would really like to make my own typeface for when I send it off to Puffin in April. I also wanted the text to be a part of the pattern not just an afterthought so incorporated it into the design, e.g. the worm is normal on the back but forms 'Quentin Blake' on the front.
When finishing the cover I decided to limit the palette to six colours, which were the basis of the rainbow. I added pink to the worm but other than that I didn't want to overload it with lots of colour.
Overall I'm really pleased with my cover, its everything I wanted it to be - colourful, eye-catching and unusual. There are a couple of things I need to tweak before I send it off but this is the version as it stands at the moment.