On Friday 25th I had my second portfolio visit with the lovely Craig from Music, which is in the Ancoats area of Manchester. I felt much more comfortable during this visit as, in the summer, I spent three days at Music putting up my Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds design, so I know Craig fairly well. We started with a chat about how I was getting on at Uni and what I was working on at the moment. Then it was down to business...
I was a bit more confident about talking about my work after Taylor O'Brien so I launched straight into an explanation of the Wellspring image. He really liked this piece and loved the fact I'd bought the newspaper along as well so he could see it in context. He said all the elements were really nice but suggested changing the type as he thought it didn't quite fit with the geometric shapes in the rest of the piece. Being a designer, he said he was automatically drawn to the type and just to make it a bit more uniformed, which I completely agree with.
We then moved on to my recently created characters. I explained to him that although I am beginning to feel more confident with designing bodies, I am still finding the faces difficult. He suggested experimenting with taking all the facial features off or to simply have one feature like a nose to show the character. He said loosing the detail might make the images even stronger. I thought this was a great idea and will definitely give it a go.
This led on to a discussion about how much detail I should include in my images. Craig said it's really important for all designers and illustrators to be critical of themselves. In loosing some of the small details in my work he said my work will become more and more consistent. For example: in my 8x8 main image, do I need the little green line to distinguish the signpost and in the Native American image do I need the lines in the feathers? It's little things like that that will make my work more 'purist'.
Like Helen Taylor, Craig really loved my Russian and Indian images from the zine book. In particular he was really impressed with my choice of type. He said he could tell I'd thought carefully about what style of fonts would fit the theme of the images. He commented that a lot of illustrators struggle with typography so he was pleased with my efforts.
Another suggestion he made was to perhaps put a drop shadow around the images that had no defining edges. He said the light grey lines I have are fine but shadows might just lift the images off the pages a bit.
He also said my work was strong enough to be made into 'things', like my paisley cards. This could be another avenue to explore in order to further progress my work.
When we had finished looking through the portfolio he said he loved my work and was struggling to find any criticism so any feedback he had given was just being picky. I was so amazed at this but really pleased that he liked everything! To top it off he said it was one of the best student portfolios he'd seen (wanted to start singing at this point!!).
Towards the end of the visit, having had a talk with Ian about adding texture and mark making into my work, I asked Craig what his opinion was on this. He said he didn't think my work needed anything else but there would be no harm in experimenting with the idea. He said if I didn't like the outcome I should be confident in saying so. Everyone has their own points of view but if you feel strongly about something don't let someone persuade you otherwise.
This was a very positive visit, I felt much more relaxed and Craig was so great to talk to. I haven't felt as good about my work as I did last year, so to hear Craig saying he liked it really boosted my confidence. He said he'd love to work with me again and was sure there would be a moment when he'd say 'we need Philippa for that'...I couldn't have asked for anything better than that! Thanks Craig!