Anyone who knows me well will know that it’s no secret I’m not that great with computers and technology. Don’t get me wrong,  I’m not one of those people who would love nothing more than to shun it completly and live a peaceful life in a  garden shed somewhere. I think the opportunites and quality of living it can give us are amazing…it just boils down to the fact that I’ve simply never been any good at it.

Enter, Photoshop and his even more complex friend Illustrator. Despite repeated protests of ‘it’s easy once you get the hang of it!’ I was dreading digital art briefs. Well, I still think it’s far from easy, but I’m happy to say I am getting the hang of it, slowly. And actually, our digital briefs and the oppurtunity to learn something new is actually kind of fun.

So, after 2 prior briefs I’ve finally decided to pluck up the courage to share  one. We were asked to scan a drawing into the computer and then digitally redraw the lines, to make them cleaner.

Here’s the original:

Original art

And (excuse the awful quality, it’s a screenprint since I have no program to convert it on this computer) here’s my line work, a mixture of Illustrator and Photoshop:

Digital art!

(click for bigger copies)
It is bad when your drawn lines are nearly as smooth (ie, not very) as your digital ones? Oh well…trial and error?
Big thanks to my friend David Hale for the photoshop tutorials and his patience!



Don’t you just love those moments of random inspiration? Sitting here at 11:30pm I decided to indulge in some drawing ‘just for fun’ as I’ve been so bogged down with uni work lately. Not that uni work isn’t fun of course…*cough* It’s just that I feel guilty spending time on something so self-indulgent when I have a mountain of projects to complete before the end of term!
However, I think it’s something I may just have to make time for, as from absent minded doodling I have now hit on the biggest rush of inspiration for one of my university briefs. I think we all tend to get a little sluggish during the holidays, it’s a really nice feeling to be excited about my work again.

Can’t wait to wake up tomorrow and really get stuck in. Now there’s just the small matter of switching my brain off so I can actually get some sleep…

The final lecture I attended during Creative Futures week was given by Chris Woodworth, an animator who has previously worked for Image Metrics, and currently for Traveller’s Tales games. I was a little unsure as to what this lecture would be about, but decided to go along and check it out anyway, as the computer games industry is something I’ve always been interested in. Sadly there was no mention of concept art/character design as I was hoping for, but nonetheless it was still an interesting and informative insight into the animation process.

Chris specialises in facial animation and has worked on many big titles such as Grand Theft Auto 4, Killzone 2 and the Lego series. Chris’s enthusiasm for his work was evident and it was really nice to see the way he put something of himself and his humour into his work; often acting out scenes before animating them to really get a feel for his characters.

The next lecture I attended was given by freelance illustrator extraordinaire, Jonathan Edwards. Check out his website here:

Jonathan talked us through a slideshow of his work and career, which was a really interesting insight into the life of a freelance illustrator-  just seeing the breadth of companies he has created images for was a real eye opener. I really liked Jonathan’s style- I’m always inspired by people whose work is so stylised that you can immediately recognise it as theirs when you see it.

One of the things I found most interesting about Jonathan’s work though is that even though it looks to be fully digital, he actually still inks the lines by hand, before scanning them into a computer. Quite how he gets them looking so flawless is beyond me, but the fact that he does is certainly inspiring!

I was so engaged in this lecture that I didn’t actually take any notes (oops) so I guess I’ll just let the images speak for themselves!

New day, new inspirations. The first lecture on the Wednesday was given by Alex Willmore and Lauren Sharpe, the collaborative force behind the upcoming graphic novel, Kronos City. You can find their joint blog here:  

Preview page of Kronos City

 Alex draws the lineart, while Lauren is the colourist. In a world where increasingly it seems illustrators must be a jack of all trades, I found the fact that there are still jobs out there for colourists really comforting, as I am still very new to the world of photoshop! I’m not quite sure how I’d feel handing over my work to someone else though, unless I knew they shared the same vision as myself. Luckily though, it seems Alex and Lauren do.

Probably the most inspiring thing I took away from their lecture was the way they had broken out of the ‘boundaries’ of their degree. Both Lauren and Alex were former students of Glyndwr, who graduated on the Illustration for Children’s Publishing course, and have now gone into a completely different field. For someone like myself studying General Illustration, it is nice to know that I can still go into something more specialised, if I so wish.
Along with many other handy hints and the story of their career progression they talked about the importance of networking, of getting out there and getting your work known and also taking the opportunities when they present themselves. They also advised us not to take rejection to heart, and sometimes just getting your work seen by a director is the most important thing. While you may not fit the brief they are currently commissioning for, they might remember your work for when a more suitable commission comes up. It was very inspiring to hear that Alex and Lauren were working on live briefs for clients while still studying for their degrees. Sleep is for the weak!
I enjoyed this lecture as Alex and Lauren were really friendly and engaging and, through sharing real-life experiences, gave advice that was really tailored to us as first year illustration students.

Being creative types I’m sure most of you probably already know that the game we have all been waiting for, FF13, is out today! I’m sitting here staring at my shiny new collector’s edition as I type. Sadly, I have made a bet/promise of sorts to a friend that I won’t play it until he returns from London on Thursday. So, I’m going to content myself by instead writing a little about why I love the series and how it has inspired me. :) 

Look at the pretty graphics!

It really angers me when games don’t get credit for being works of art in their own right. I mean, some of the concept art for these games is nothing short of amazing! When I first played FF7 and then 8 especially, I was completely blown away by the character design- I challenge you to find me a game that is more beautifully designed and as well put together. In fact, it is largely the character designs of the Final Fantasy series that inspired me to become an illustrator in the first place, and encouraged my art to take the direction it has. I long to be a part of something so inspiring, and as such I am forever designing characters, or writing little back stories. In fact, I am currently working on a top secret project, but more about that later…;)

Concept art/games design is something I would really love to go into in the future.

The second lecture I attended on the Tuesday was given by Denise Chilton from Barceidillo, a company who deal in stress management. For some cool stress-busting tips, check out their website; complete with relaxing background music! 
 This lecture wasn’t really what I was expecting as it was billed to us as ‘Marketing Yourself’ yet seemed more geared toward a business or ‘brand’ than the freelance artist. Still, it was interesting nonetheless.
Denise spoke to us about branding and how you project yourself to others. One interesting fact that I took away from this lecture was that when it comes to communication with others only 7% of our meaning is derived from the actual words that we say. Tone accounts for 38% and a huge 55% is based on our body language alone. This is something to take on board when meeting potential clients, and was reinforced by other guest lecturers the next day, who all spoke about the importance of actually going to meet with directors in person. According to Denise, the best way to build rapport is to act like you already have it.
During the hour we were also encouraged to think about our own U.S.P- unique selling point. We all participated in an exercise which involved us writing down what we believed to be our U.S.Ps. I wrote down ‘perfectionist’ and when Denise came round she must have thought I seemed a little dejected, as she asked me whether I believed it. I replied that I did, but that I just wasn’t sure if it was a positive thing or not. Denise told me that she absolutely believed it was a good thing, and that being successful is all about recognising your quirks and making them work for you. Passion = success.