Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Ian Bilbey

Whilst talking about my James and the Giant Peach book cover, Ian recommended that I take a look at Ian Bilbey. He is a London based illustrator who concentrates heavily on line and colour. His work has quite a retro feel to it and can often be quite quirky. Ian said to look at how he creates characters and objects with pattern, rather than filling in a line drawing with colour. Looking through his portfolio, he seems to have a few different styles; which is quite unusual compared to other illustrators. However, it gives him a lot of flexibility and enables him to experiment with lots of different ideas rather than being tied down.
I particular like how he simplifies characters so not to make the composition too chaotic. For the brief I would like to combine the simplicity of his figures with the bright patterns of his objects. My favourite pieces of his work are those where he uses vivid colours and bold patterns, they're so eye-catching and vibrant - they make me feel very happy!!

Sunday, 23 January 2011


On Tuesday, six previous Stockport college students came to talk to us about what they had been up to since graduating. I spoke to Rose Lloyd, Chris Madden and Natalie Wood; all of whom were really open and honest about their work. They had some great advice to offer and talked us through the work they had produced. Something they all advised was to approach companies yourself and not just sit at home and wait for the work to come to you. Working as a freelance illustrator is a hard profession and you need to get yourself out there in order to achieve success. Rose Lloyd stated it is useful to build relationships up with art directors as they may choose to use your work more than once. She said it is vital to meet deadlines; your reputation could be quickly ruined if you fail to meet the completion date. Rose also said that an increasing number of people have bought prints of her illustrations. This new venture may provide a more steady income as companies choose to cut their illustration budgets.
All the graduates said the hardest parts of working as a freelance illustrator was the tight deadlines and not knowing where the next paycheque was coming from. Chris Madden advised to send work to multiple design agencies. Although they take a cut of your payment, they have access to prolific companies which otherwise might be unreachable on your own. He is represented by Eye Candy illustration agency which have provided him with a number of jobs.
Although I would like to do editorial illustration, my passion is pattern and this may be more suited to the increasingly popular market of prints, cards and stationary etc. We'll see what the future holds!!

Chris Madden

Natalie Wood

Rose Lloyd

Monday, 17 January 2011

Quentin Blake

When I went to London in December I also went to the Chris Beetles Gallery where they were exhibiting over 100 original drawings and watercolours by Quentin Blake. The exhibition was called 'Frabjous Beasts and Frumious Birds' and the room was crammed full of his amazing illustrations. What made it amazing was that Quentin was there to sign books and prints and I got to talk to him! It was really special as it was in such an intimate setting; a small gallery with barely 20 people milling around. Obviously only a few people knew about it, so I was really lucky to discover it was going on. I looked on Quentin's website and he sometimes does signings in big stores where hundreds of people turn up, so it was amazing to see him so personally. It was awe inspiring to talk to him so I was a bit excited and didn't really ask the questions I'd wanted to! However, he was really nice and signed my favourite book with his illustrations in, 'Fantastic Mr Fox'.
The prints on display were amazing and I'd never seen half of them so it was a real pleasure to see them so close up. I love his casual yet descriptive style, he can convey emotions and subtly communicate an idea with only a few rough lines. Quentin works with an ink pen and then uses watercolours to add colour. I like how it doesn't matter if the colour doesn't stay in the lines, it gives the drawings a sense of excitement and movement. Blake’s unusual figurative style and distinct scribbly, yet precise, lines make him one of my favourite ever illustrators.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Oliver Jeffers

When I went to London in December I visited the Chris Beetles art gallery to see Quentin Blake's exhibition. Whilst there I looked at another exhibition that was on; 'The Illustrators - The British Art of Illustration'. One person who really caught my eye was Oliver Jeffers. The pictures on display were from a book of his called 'Up and Down' and featuring a little boy and his penguin friend. The illustrations were so beautifully done and the story was so sweet. Following the exhibition I found his website and looked through his other work. The painterly quality to his illustrations is not something I would necessarily do myself but I really enjoyed them. The characters have a lot of personality despite being very simply drawn and I can see that they would be extremely popular with children. I also love the fact that as well as illustrating he writes the stories. He has complete control over the entire process which must be a nice change from illustrating other people's ideas! At the exhibition his work was selling for over a thousand pounds each and I can see why; each one is a beautiful piece of art.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Anthony Burrill

I came across Anthony in a book of artist's prints in the interiors shop Habitat. What really struck me about his work was his bold graphic style and strong use of colour. He rarely shows much detail in his designs and all of the shapes are very simple and clean. Anthony loves creating typography and often ventures into moving image which allows him to bring his colourful creations to life. He also likes to collaborate with other designers, artists and film-makers and experiments with a range of media. Anthony's combination of a brilliant use of colour and composition along with a witty approach to his work has achieved him worldwide success.