Colour Studies

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Here are a couple of little colour studies I’ve made as part of my research kick off for my next project with The Drawn Chorus. Super excited to be collaborating with them again! I call these colour studies…though I’m not sure if that is the technical term for them. The idea was to quickly and freely get down a range of colours and compositions to help me loosen up and get inspired around their exhibition theme. The first is a still from a Tomb Raider game, the second a campfire on a snowy mountain. More on that in the coming months!

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Secret 7

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I took part in this year’s Secret 7. A nice, inspiring project which invites creatives from all over the world to interpret designs for 7” record sleeves based on one of 7 songs chosen each year. The designs are not allowed to feature the artist name or track title (hence the secret bit!). Whilst my entry wasn’t selected for the charity exhibition I was really glad I took part. I chose to create a piece for the Tame Impala track ‘The Less I know The Better’ a melancholy song with hints of unrequited love, lust and longing.

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I wanted to push my conceptual thinking but found it tricky to choose an idea. Finding a way to reflect the themes of the song without feeling too obvious or being influenced by existing media attached to it. Eventually it was the electronic sounds that inspired me the most. I felt they had an underwater-like quality to them conjuring imagery of ripples and watery light. I also enjoyed the lyric ‘Wait ten years we’ll be together’.

I imagined that the lover in the song was banished to an isolated underwater lair and forced to wait, striking off each year on a seaweed covered rock until they could return to their love. Something like that. I’m pretty pleased how the final piece turned out. It uses a mixture of watercolour, oil pastel and pencil. It helped me to explore use of composition and layers texture.

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Year Walk

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I’ve played some really great games on my phone recently. I haven’t had a Playstation of my own for some years but I’m finding that puzzle and adventure apps are just right for enjoying on a smaller device. In the same way that you can’t put a good book down, I find myself sneaking in a breakfast gaming session, tapping away on the tube and trying (and failing) not to play in bed.

A recent stand out for me is Simogo’s Year Walk ; an atmospheric game set in the snowy Swedish woods.  In times of old, man would walk deep into the woods in the hope of catching a glimpse of his future. It was a perilous activity and many who ventured never returned. As the story unravels, you encounter strange, dark beasts of the forest taken straight from Swedish folklore. You must solve the puzzles they set out for you, searching for clues and performing clever interactions to impress them.

 

The art style is beautiful. It somehow manages to be both cute and creepy at the same time. It is Illustratively rich, the textures adding just the right amount of detail. The gentle shift of focus and blurring/sharpening of foreground and background objects seem to add to the feeling of unease.

The interface is super minimal, which seems to me to be a mark of a well designed experience. I would rather focus on story and game art than an ugly button or unnecessary menus. If you do download it, be sure to grab the companion app which has a few secrets of its own!

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Edinburgh

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I had a wonderful time exploring the beautiful city of Edinburgh. This was my first trip to Scotland as an adult and I took my sketchbook along to record the adventure. Good thing too as there was plenty of inspiring stuff to draw; from stunning gothic buildings to the cheeky airbnb cat ‘Minou’. Here are some of the other things that made my trip special:

Visiting Edinburgh Castle, climbing Arthur’s Seat, cobbled streets and ‘wynds’, The Elephant House, a battered Mars bar, bagpipe wars, crumbling graveyards, Michael Fassbender’s Macbeth, the National Museum, trendy cocktails, getting spooked in the catacombs, veggie haggis, quality whisky and vintage trousers.

 

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Drawlutions

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January always feels like a good time of year to think about where you are now and where you’re headed. To dust off the cobwebs, consider lessons learned in the previous year and psych oneself up for some self improvement. I’ve been thinking about how this applies to my illustration for 2016 and what my ‘Drawlutions’ should be (yeah I went there). So here’s the list. I could have gone way beyond eight but for now these feel the most important to me to carry through the year.

1. Get Conceptual
I’d like to create more conceptual pieces. Really consider how I could fulfil a brief and look for unusual and interesting ways to do so.

2. Use Colour
I’d like to be more experimental with colour in my work. I often shy away from it, feeling scared of getting it wrong. The time has come to experiment!

3. Skill Up
There are so many online courses out there, I want to get involved and increase my skill set. There are typography lessons to be learned, use of composition and light to name a few. I’m always attracted to the Skillshare site…

4. Create Portfolio Pieces
My personal projects can get benched and neglected when client work takes priority. Meaning lots of illustration ideas I have aren’t seen through to their final conclusion. I want to add more to my portfolio this year with both client and personal work.

5. Set Up Shop
I see so many lovely prints and products sold by illustrators who have organised, sexy shops. I want to join the online shop gang! Or at least explore the idea of selling work, cool items to share with the world, things I’d actually want to buy myself. I feel like i’ve got a LOT to learn here.

6. Keep Drawing
I’ve been pretty on it lately with sketching which I’m chuffed about and definitely feel like my drawing is improving. I want to keep that up this year and get along to more life classes.

7. Artist Studies
I found this really helpful last year. Looking at artists I admire, examining their style, having a go myself to see what I learn. Mixed results but definitely useful.

8. Texture Play
Layering up marks, messing about in photoshop, this is something I’ve started to do. I’d like to keep it going and try to find my style.

I’ve kicked off experiments here with a young kayaker paddling away from 2015, more experiments soon! If you have any Drawlutions of your own I’d love to hear about them and how you plan to carry them out. Happy New Year!

Exhibition Time

I’m very happy to be able to invite you to the ‘Easy As’ book launch! Thanks to the lovely backers of our kickstarter campaign, this illustrative alphabet extravaganza (try saying that after a mulled wine or two) is being printed. I collaborated with the wonderful Drawn Chorus Collective for this project and was tasked with creating the letter ‘L’.

Easy As Exhibition

Featuring the work of 27 international illustrators, a popup shop stocked full of cards, prints and other goodies, plus the ‘Easy As’ book itself, this is shaping up to be a corker of an event. The show will be up from the 10th – 16th at Light Eye Mind gallery, London. I’ll be at the private view on the 11th so do come along and say hello!