Monday, 1 July 2013

First Class Honours!

Due to my excitement (and relief!) I am blogging twice in the same day which I'm not sure has occurred very often so far. 
But I am very glad to announce that I will be graduating on the 19th July with a First Class BA Honours Degree in Illustration from Loughborough University! :D Hurrah!

Due to this momentous occasion, I thought I'd write a bit of an overview/ reflection of my work throughout my 3 years at Uni to see how I've progressed as an illustrator

* PLEASE NOTE: Mature content below in form of life drawing and elements of nude photography


My first try at Editorial Illustration based on an article about Knut the polar bear's passing away. This was a collage made of: sand paper, gesso, tissue paper and wallpaper with acrylic paint and bleach(!) details.

In the first year (Part A) at Loughborough, we were encouraged to be experimental and try lots of different media. I had experimented with digital collage (the process I use to create illustrations now) for my FMP at college for my Foundation Year, but hadn't really had chance to carry on developing that style yet. So I tried to get stuck in being experimental again at Uni, but was always drawn back into scanning things in and arranging them digitally.
I think this was mainly because I like to have the control of being able to manipulate and edit things (I've always been a bit of a perfectionist!) and that was how I first got used to using Photoshop before I got to the stage of actually creating images on there from scratch.  

Early Photoshop 'collages':

Life Drawing.
A Photoshop-edit of a drawing in my sketchbook


'Part B' at Uni was where we were given more 'commercial' briefs and encouraged to try and find our own individual styles and working process. This gave me the opportunity to develop my digital style a bit more and apply it to editorial and competition briefs. We also went on a study trip to San Francisco which inspired and influenced how I worked further. These are a few images of my 2nd Year work:

Semester 1

Peter and the Wolf storyboard and poster brief:

This project involved me making a 3D 'set' out of an apple crate, mono-print textures and slotted-in trees.
I drew all the characters by hand, scanned them into Photoshop and spliced them into each photograph of the set,
adding in reflections and shadows as I went

A life drawing project: creating a 'portrait' of the life model based on an interview with him
about his life, hobbies and beliefs. For this I randomly decided to try sewing for this outcome, and hand-appliqued 4 separate pieces, each showing a different aspect to the life model's story 

Semester 2

Illustrated map of Peru in the Inca period:

This was the point when my digital style really evolved into the distinct style I have now. 
I'd built up a 'bank' of textures to use on Photoshop at this stage and just kept experimenting with colour and composition and refining my digital process.

San Francisco 'Destination Conversation' outcome.
An image inspired by conversations and noises I heard whilst on my study trip to SF:

Internal illustrations for Philip Pullman's 'Northern Lights' 
(also adapted into a film called 'The Golden Compass') :

 This image still makes me laugh! 

My tutor was always telling me the subject matter I chose to draw was a bit too cutesy and friendly at times and that I should try tacking darker subject matter. 
I had to do 9 images for this project and was showing them on a Powerpoint presentation to the class for a crit. This image was the last one I had yet to flash up on the presentation, but my tutor thought I'd finished and started asking the class what they thought of my work. I quickly flashed this illustration up on screen and got a delightful 'Woah!' gasp from the class, and my tutor! To see a gruesome illustration by me (cutesy, patterned, animal lover) was apparently quite shocking and amusing! 
My style has improved a lot since this image, but I still like to add it to my portfolio just to show that when the occasion calls for it, Emily can do gruesome! ;)

Another slightly sinister outcome for a project which combined both my digital collage and photo-editing skills to produce a rather creepy anthropomorphic outcome. 
This was a life drawing project based on the 'Army Ants' narration by Tom Waits, and was an experiment combining the human form with the insects described in the narration, making them appear as if being viewed down a microscope. I was never amazing at life drawing, but this was one of my more successful project outcomes - despite being a bit strange, creepy and different to my usual work!

And of course the last project of Part B, my entry for the Cheltenham Illustration Awards 2012, which was later exhibited and published! This remains (in my opinion) one of my best illustrations so far, and was my first attempt at narrative illustration where the image/story is split into frames

.... To now!

Designing a 28 page graphic novel book! My biggest triumph to date :D

I have already posted a lot of my most recent project work on this blog - just scroll down!

Overall you can see a bit of the evolution of my work. There was definitely a turning point for how I created my images in Part B, primarily in the second semester, where I was able to develop on my style and encouraged to pursue the working process I have now.
I'm continually playing with how I create my images on Photoshop (mainly to make my process more efficient and dynamic) and adding to my growing bank of textures with mono-prints, scribbles and brush spatters among other things!

Sooooo....what's next Emz?

I have so far a small commission with an online card company, which I'm hoping will act as a 'foot in the door' to freelance work and lead to bigger and better things! 
I'm also in the process of creating an online store to sell my jewellery, cushions, badges and such as a sideline, but in the meantime I am simply looking for a part/full-time job so at least I'm earning whilst pursuing any other freelance work or in-house opportunities.

I have recently entered the Lilla Rodgers 'Global Talent' search which will add to my portfolio and give me practise on a professional brief. Excited to get working on our first assignment!

I think all-in-all, the key is to be pro-active, stay positive and keep getting myself known and my work out there and hopefully *fingers crossed* something (perhaps my dream project!) will come up!

Thanks for reading my longest post so far! :D

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