Cumberland Piazza, in the Hotwells area of Bristol, has recently undergone a colourful and illustrative transformation. Made possible by local community groups, and in collaboration with illustrator Dave Bain, the once dismal space is now a bright and inspirational area to pass through and explore...Read More
I've recently had the pleasure of working with Bristol Old Vic and Little Bulb Theatre on the promotional imagery for their Winter children's production. I submitted an initial rough based on the working storyline...Read More
The team at Taxi Studio teamed up with Bristol's Festival of Print (hosted by The Letterpress Collective) to create a selection of collaborative artworks as part of the music-themed exhibition at Centrespace Gallery.
The task was to add to a sheet of A2 already letter-press printed with the image of a 7" single b-side.
I had a lot of fun with this one and wanted to also use a method of "print", so screen-printed my contribution. The record player featured is a classic portable Columbia GP3. Exhibition photos snapped by the talented Stuart Grimshaw.
Running now for a number of years, The Bristol Palestine Film Festival is an in-depth showcase of film-making from up-and-coming directors, as well as digging deeper for film reels from past decades. Previous festival imagery was created by the talented - and also Bristol-based - illustrator Aurelia Lange who delivered a stunning set of delightfully loose and engaging illustrations, which focused on Palestinian landscapes and the process of watching a film.
This year the festival wanted a change in direction with their imagery and so I was commissioned to create an illustration that has a greater focus on the human nature behind the films, picking up on themes of gender, expression, identity, power, choice and autonomy.
By focusing on a female character confidently posed and in a head-dress, this hints at the festivals themes. And by having the head-dress constructed out of film-roll this is enough of a visual indicator to the nature of the festival itself. I choose to keep the image very raw in construction, with obviously hand-drawn lines, rendered in a rough, immediate and textured way, to further emphasis the conviction and independent spirit behind many of the films to be shown.
I've had my head down for the best part of the Summer working on a few things that I can hopefully shout about later this year. In the meantime, here's a quick project I enjoyed collaborating on with studio buddy and quality graphic designer, Dan Hayman, back in July.
When I'm not in my studio, you can often find me digging for records and sometimes even playing them in some of Bristol's bars and clubs. In July, myself and a few friends were invited to put on a night at one of Bristol's legendary underground spaces - Cosies. Dan and I took on the task of designing a poster for the night, which was covering all things disco, house and electro.
After some thought, we decided it'd be quite fun to go for a tongue-in-cheek approach by creating a marvel-comic-book-superhero inspired look to go with the outlandish title of the night. I sketched up a character in this style - taking classic elements from super hero poses and combining them to form the "Supersmash" heroine. We had also decided to produced a small run of screen-prints to give away to early arrivals, on the night. This limited our colours to two and with one being a punchy black, I introduced some half-toning to give the figure extra depth, with the orange colour picking out clothing and other elements across the design.
I then passed this illustration over to Dan who worked on the text, layout and background "burst".
We then spent an evening screen-printing the finished design out.
Regular client Tobacco Factory also have a hand in one of Bristol's best back-street boozers - The Barley Mow (not to be confused with the one in Bedminster, Bristol). Via them, I had the rather lovely commission to visualise the regular pub happenings to fit an A6 promotional flyer format, complete with a simple, quirky map targeting some key local areas.
The odd looking zebra is based on the pub's mascot - a charming, vintage wooden toy zebra.
Making sure this was printed on high-quality, matt, thick pulp-board stock was important to the aesthetic of the flyer's hand-drawn, keeping-it-local and lo-fi focus.
Long-running club night, Alfresco Disco, hosted another secret-location party recently and I had the pleasure of devising a creative way of artworking the words 'MAXIMUM JOY' to serve as visuals for the night.
These promoters know how to put on a good party, but they also know the value in getting something new and unique to them, particularly when it comes to the look and vibe of a night. A tight budget and time-scale on this particular event meant some thrifty thinking on how to effectively portray the MAXIMUM JOY words in a quick, yet effective fashion.
The venue, being on the top floor of the Arnolfini / Bush House building, boasts incredible panoramic views of Bristol's harbour and waterfront and it seemed advantageous to make use of the windows surrounding the loft space, but without blocking the evening Summer sunlight.
I focused on constructing a design that used a single shape that could then form a patterned grid, out of which the words could be revealed by removing shapes to create negative space - important space to be able to look through. By sourcing large sheets of coloured acetate, it was a simple matter of cutting out 400 of these identical shapes to then use on the windows.
Before installation, I'd already mapped out each window exactly to work out which shape went where, to save time on the single day we had to set up. I used spray mount to fix the acetate onto the glass, to ensure an easy post-event-cleanup.
The same colours and shapes I carried over to decorate the front of the DJ booth, along with a single infamous Alfresco stag logo.
And to further celebrate this slogan and to pull the focus towards the music, as the night crept in, I adapted the window design to a static visual projected behind the DJ booth that faded between four colour-ways and the stag logo.
Look out for more Alfresco Disco action. This one sold-out in under 24 hours.
lead and final photo credit: Kane Rich
Drawn in Bristol have their Summer exhibition coming up.
It's called Holiday Homes and is a celebration of the humble bird box. With a portion of the sales going to the incredible work of St Mungo's Broadway - a charity helping people recover from the issues that create homelessness - buyers can feel extra positive about dipping into their wallets to purchase one of the 30 illustrated bird boxes that will be on display inside Bristol's No1 Harbourside bar.
Being a bit of an enthusiast for bird life, I opted to transform my bird box into a keen bird-loving character, on an ornithological mission. Clutching a pair of binoculars, I thought it would be comical to have have this surprised "twitcher" not only have a few cheeky birds perched just out of his eye line, but also to have them potentially popping in or out of his own mouth.
The bird box has a nifty hanging fitting at the back and is sealed for all manner of weathers, but equally might simply make for a quirky bit of indoor artwork.
For more information about the launch evening on 12 June and to spy updates of other bird boxes, simply follow this link. The exhibition continues til 21 June.
Bristol's Big Market is part of Bristol's Big Green Week and, if previous year's successes are anything to go by, this year should be another incredible event. Stretching all the way down Corn Street and off into the surrounding roads, it quite literally is the biggest market for the city.
The design brief was to capture an essence of the atmosphere and location of the market with an illustration. Corn Street has a number of remarkable buildings with heaps of fine detail, stunning sculptures and great architecture, towering over the, what can feel like, quite a narrow road. Referencing photos and memories of last year's market I noted how the street is transformed when the colourful stalls are in place and especially when the sun beams down into the market, flooding the central street with light.
Working from my own photographs of key buildings along the street, I sketched up an image that combined many of the elements of the buildings, focusing on an atmosphere rather than an exact replica of the street. I then drew out a series of different people in various states of shopping and walking. I scanned these all in along with some watercolour washes and experiments. These experimental textured washes formed my palette for the people, which I pieced together digitally.
The resulting illustration formed the main focus of the design, with the header, logo and key information sitting within the image. This will be now be used as a promotional advert and as the front of the event flyer. I'll be working on a map to go on the flyer's reverse.
Opening from April are two pop-up shops in Quaker's Friars, Cabot Circus, Bristol. And yes, for those who know all about shopping independently, these are familiar faces: Paper Scissors Stone and Made in Britain return.
But, with a new hexagonal look on their joint flyer.
The design process, in this instance, began with a discussion with Bryony Morgan, the mind behind Made in Bristol, as to what the role of this flyer should be. We talked about how people respond to adverts, a flyer's longevity and whether it could have multi-purpose roles.
Previous joint flyers had advertised one shop on each side, which - while providing a dedicated space for more information about what each shop had to offer - the viewer would only ever see one side, when casually glancing at it, and may never realise the double-sided and double-advantage of going to the same area for both shops.
We also wanted to avoid a sell-by date on the flyer - i.e. including a date for a launch or specifying a time period the shops were open for. By removing any mention of a date, then all the printed flyers could be used to advertise the shops, the website and be placed in various locations or given out to customers, without them being veiwed as defunct promotional media.
Finally we wanted to create something that could be seen as a piece of artwork in its own right, maybe even something that a viewer would pin up somewhere. Conceptually, we wanted to hint at a working creative community. The interlocking nature and strength of a beehive honeycomb structure seemed to convey this idea.
Drawing on a colour palette, provided by fellow designer Dan Hayman, and working with hexagonal shapes, inspired by honeycombs, we developed a pattern that could be tweaked to create an eye-catching flyer front that doesn't give too much away.
Carrying over the hexagon shapes and colours to the back of the flyer, provided a link to the front. Information was kept to an absolute minimum, with the onus on the viewer to play detective and find out more.
The flyer is printed on matt stock card, softening the colours, lending a slight screen-printed aesthetic to the artwork and the white space - on the reverse - allowing and easy-to-take-notes surface.
The hexagon shapes and colours will also be used in the window displays and interiors of both shops, lending coherence to the whole brand.
I'll be knocking back a launch-night tipple on 2nd April - more details here - while checking out the world of handmade gifts and artwork from talented Bristol (and beyond) people. Come join.
The Gallimaufry set me a good challenge last week to design and illustrate a poster advert for their Monday night Open Mic, hosted by the incredible Jay Wilcox.
The challenge soon became apparent when I started to research and think about the various ways to clearly advertise such an evening, that has such a well-recognised premise. Internet hunting quickly revealed that the common-place open mic event has a pretty appalling repertoire of badly designed posters. Perhaps due to quick designs in Word or Paint and possibly on the cheap by a pub owner! Obviously, I wanted to avoid that and any obviously easy solutions.
The Gallimaufry's open mic is open to all manner of musical styles, with the most common place item being the microphone itself. I wanted to figure out a way to integrate the microphone into the text and immediately began to think of the "i" in "mic" being an obvious letter to replace. At first I thought about the microphone being attached to a stand or having the connecting cable coming out of the bottom of it. However, both those options seemed to be quite cold and impersonal.
I'd been provided with a snappy line of copy about the offer for those who take part: "Play us a song or 2, have a drink on us if you do." This informal phrase felt very much like something you might have scribbled down or been passed on a scrap of paper, which led to a thought about bringing the individual directly into the poster design, with one hand clutching such a note and the other the microphone.
After that the rest of the design came together very quickly. I drew out the hands, adapted a standard photo of a microphone, adding a circle around the microphone head to form the 'O' in Open and after sketching out some small design thumbnails composed the final design layout - incorporating The Gallimaufry colour palette, logo and address footer.
Layouts where the text was on a horizontal axis made the composition look stilted and stiff. So, to encourage the interaction between the drawing and the type, I deliberately slanted the key elements of the design within the A-size advert. This also helped add a level of informality - an important attitude for any good open mic to adopt, being as it is often the platform for many a debuting musician.
Doing this job reminded me of this great TED talk I'd listened to recently, featuring a brilliant song to conclude.
I've had the pleasure of not only having my screen-prints for sale in the vibrant pop-up shop 'The Print Shop' since it's launch in the Summer, but have also had the challenge of developing it's brand, which has involved designing the logo and all the flyers for the various volumes/stages of the shops life, so far.
As we're heading into the festive season, I thought I'd reveal a bit of the behind-the-scenes on my most recent flyer for the shop. If you want to nip along to the opening of the festive edition then find out more here.
View more of design work for The Print Shop and other clients here.
Drawn in Bristol have organised a limited edition giclee print run of 10 of the designs from 10 of the members, plus the prolific Katy Christianson and I have screen-printed our own designs. More info on the opening night here. There's even a one-way, £1 only boat trip from Cascade Steps on 24th Oct at 6pm - directly to the ferry stop next to The Goods Yard.
Funded by Bristol City Council’s Creative Seed Fund, Paper Cinema were invited to partake in Bristol’s city-wide theatre event, Mayfest. They created a new show called ‘West’ which acted as a companion piece to their 2009 show 'East' about London’s East End.
‘West’ was a reflection of contemporary Bristol, conjured up with Paper Cinema’s trademark animation, projection and live music. They worked in collaboration with a small group of Bristol-based animators, musicians and artists, including Becca Rose, Catherine Whyte, Joe Roberts, Lisa Yardley Will Newsome, Hazel Mills and myself.
Bristol is a city teaming with all kinds of music. One young lady leading the way is Lizzie Murray, a bright talent writing fragile songs spun together with delicate electronica, rooted down by an obvious love of contemporary folk.
She asked me if I'd like to illustrate, design and screen-print the artwork for her new three-track EP, which I, of course, agreed to.
Having known Lizzie for a while, I was aware that much of her creative song-writing has occurred in the night hours and that she sometimes struggled to switch off, searching for precious moments of sleep. This background fed into the thought process for the artwork's suggestion of night and the question as to whether she is asleep or still searching.
Working from a photo taken in my studio, I produced a drawing which I then digitally produced four tonal variations of. As the final product was to be screen-printed onto a natural, brown, card stock it was important to discover a pleasing level of contrast across the artwork. My aim was to have a hair-line balance between the delicate shadows of the original drawing, with the darker tones that a screen-print of this nature would naturally bring.
You can buy the album digitally from here or the physical, screen-printed EP from the lady herself at her gigs.
"Bristol singer songwriter Lizzie Murray is breaking in to the music scene... with her heart-wrenching velvet vocals, delicate guitar playing, ambient soundscapes & folk/trip-hop influences" (Drunken Werewolf)
Every month there is a lovely food market in Bristol at Temple Quay. I was commissioned to create an illustrated A5 flyer that could double-up as a poster, as well as a logo that reflected the already existing Temple Quay brand.
My choice of colours for the logo and flyer were drawn from the colours of the umbrellas used in the market. I requested a list of the various stalls that are usually present at the market and sketched out some of the many delicious items you can buy. Using the 'Q' shape, I drew these items to fit that, along with descriptive words that help sum up the ethos behind the market. The 'Q' shape also mirrors the shape of the area within which the market is held.
It was important that the map was simplified down to key roads and landmarks to emphasis how local and easy it was to get to and access the market. The final product was printed on thick, matt stock to enable notes to be written on it and to further emphasis the tactile, earthy and organic nature of the market.
Back in August Alfresco Disco invited me to paint up some signage and a mural for their "Welcome to the Sambadrome" party. Fellow Drawn in Bristol member Alexia Tucker assisted with the painting, beyond the call of duty, as there was a lot to do in a short space of time. Also, thanks to Liv Bargman for her contributions to the smaller signs.
During the first half of the event I transformed the face on the mural into a Mexican inspired Day of the Dead mask. By the time I'd finished the party was in full swing.
Over the last few weeks I've been very busy screen-printing the entire Drawn in Bristol calendar for 2013, which is launching this Thursday at Colston Hall's 'the Glass Room' (in Bristol). All details are at the bottom of this blog post or click here.
I selected North Street, as it's an area of Bristol that I'm very familiar with, having lived near there and, for a short period on it, for about five years. I love the independent flavour of the whole road and that you can pretty much find all the essentials (and more!) along the one road. I've plenty of happy memories strolling along the stretch of North Street, on a sunny day, bumping into friends and browsing the shops.
When it came to figuring out how to depict the road for the calendar, I originally had map-like visions in mind or a single shot of one area of North Street. The map idea stuck, but I began to be inspired by the natural growth and development of North Street over the years I've known it. It's always changing and certainly in the last few years has become even more of a united whole along the entire street, with exciting, interesting and varied independent businesses springing up or becoming more established. Translating that notion into a plant like form seemed apt and it was a good challenge to space out the stems of each leaf so they approximately corresponded to where those place are along the road.
I'm sure that the landscape of North Street will change in 2013, but that's just the way things go. My artwork captures a moment. Yes, I've some definite favourite places along the stretch that you're likely to often find me frequenting, so it was a joy to obviously include them.
Each page of the calendar is a 2-colour screen-print. Each of the artists were given four colours to choice a combination of 2 out of.
I set aside two weeks to print 60 copies of the whole calendar. This equates to quite a lot of "pulls" in screen-printing terms, so my arms are just about recovering! Plenty of evenings were spent in the Drawn in Bristol screen-printing area, methodically lining up the screens and printing away. It was a good challenge for me to expose and screen-print other people's artwork. Everyone approaches creating artwork in a different manner and so the variety of imagery to print meant I had to adapt my printing technique to suit the image, depending on, for example, the amount of solid colour that had to go down, or the complexity of detail that I had to ensure was coming out, in full, on each print.
Music definitely helped keep me going, as well as some sugary snacks, good company and perhaps the occasional beverage. The whole job has certainly not quashed my love of screen-printing. If anything it's increased it.
Once the calendar was completely printed we invited the artists together to pack the calendar, sign a set of 10 prints, one of which will be framed for the Colston Hall exhibition. It was fantastic to reveal their page, from the calendar, to the artist who had designed it.
Below are details about the launch and click here if you want to see more shots of the calendar being printed...
☆ Thursday 6 September ■ 6pm - 8pm ☆
the Glass Room, Colston Hall
with live music from world folk act Nasrudin
Twelve members of local illustration collective Drawn in Bristol collaborate
to create a unique calendar celebrating all things Bristol.
OPEN NIGHT SPECIAL OFFER: £25
to buy the whole A3 size 2-colour screen-printed calendar!
Alexia Tucker, Ben Goodman, Bethan Buss, Carys Ink, Chris Dickason, Dave Bain, Katy Christianson, Martha Ford, Naomi Hocking, Paul Roberts, Sarah Barnes and Slumber.
Each illustrator has chosen to reproduce an iconic place in the city, including Christmas Steps, North Street, Brunel's ss Great Britain and the Bristol to Bath Cycle Path, to name a few.
Using a specially selected colour palette the resulting artwork is handprinted as two-colour screen-prints and presented as framed, signed limited editions.
All the original designs are screen-printed onto high quality paper stock and collated together to form a special calendar for 2013.
Paper Scissors Stone Vol 3 is just round the corner (opening on Aug 1st, from 5pm) and I thought this would be a good moment to mention my hand (pardon the pun) in the design and illustration work behind Bristol's best pop-up shop. I've long had a fascination with drawing hands, so it was with pleasure that I developed the three images making up the illustrated logo for Paper Scissors Stone. I'll also be stocking some of my illustrated products in Vol 3, alongside the carefully curated selection of locally made work - organised by Made in Bristol.
In case you missed Bristol's BIGGEST illustration exhibition, BUNT, then here is my contribution to it. I painted the Long-eared owl surrounded by Early Spider Orchids, which are both endangered species of the South-West (the theme for the exhibition). I had my piece of wooden bunt on display in Bristol's Colston Hall foyer during Bristol's Big Green Week and The Festival of Nature.