Those times between commissions can be a good opportunity to do some self-initiated work or submit to competitions. This piece was a combination of both. I'd been playing around with plant shapes in my sketchbook for a while, so saw it as a worthy...Read More
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.
Look what came in the post from Lentejas Press.
On their third issue, this Barcelona based outfit work with Do The Print to risograph print each edition in two colours. This issue has fluo pink and black as the chosen two.
I submitted a playful drawing and am lucky enough to have been included, alongside incredible talent from Austria, Chile, Germany and, of course, Spain.
Each of the 16 pages is a delight and I don't want to reveal too much, as you should go and jolly well buy one as soon as you can. If you're in Barcelona, you should nip along to this event tomorrow (28 June) and buy from them direct.
Otherwise, keep an eye on their etsy shop page and follow them on facebook to find out how you can bag yourself a copy. They have printed 165 copies, so be quick.
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.
It’s been quite a journey over the last two years with local curios bar and restaurant, The Gallimaufry. Right at the start I was invited to create their stage mural, with which I applied some already existing characters and introduced some new ones. At the time I wasn't really aware of how defining of the venue this mural would become, so it only seemed appropriate to create an image for the first year party, featuring all of the characters.
The Gallimaufry is a magical venue - full of other artistic creations from Tom Mead, Lucy Smailes and Josh Owen, as well as carefully curated exhibitions. Add on the delicious food, an excellent drink selection, top-notch live music and friendly staff - and you can see why it's like a second home for me.
As well as being involved artistically, it's been a joy to hold down a regular DJ residency, playing vinyl-only sets to weekend crowds.
To celebrate two years of being open, I've created a new drawing, this time featuring two of the characters on a mysterious journey, one supporting the other.
This drawing will be available as a limited edition, signed print on the 2nd year party night - 16 March, 3pm til late. The originals of both drawings will be on display and for sale in the exhibition area.
Year 2 party details here.
I'll be kicking the proceedings off with a choice selection of soul and jazz.
All are welcome.
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.
(re-posting my interview from The Print Shop site)
Please can you introduce yourself and tell us a little about your work… What sort of prints do you make?
I enjoy taking on a challenge, which is what has held my interest in exploring illustration and the associated grey areas that it merges into, such as design and more conceptual or character artwork. Sometimes it's a tricky job to try and personally define where my work sometimes falls. More often than not it's focus is illustrative and I think even when I'm creating a piece of artwork from my own imagination, there tends to still be a purpose, meaning and attempt-to-explain a wider concept or story.
Recently, I've tried to include my screen-printing know-how into my practice more and more. I fell in love with the way screen-printing can force a limitation (depending on what limits I set) on how I create an image. It's focused me even more on the colour palettes I choose and I've had fun discovering the layers that build up an image and how I can reduce those layers down, without losing the complexity and clarity. You can see a range of my screen-prints here.
Are you solely a printmaker or do you work in any other creative fields?
I have always loved producing things in a traditional manner and have drawn and painted as long as I can remember. Painting and drawing is certainly always the starting point with all my projects. It's interesting to be translating these skills into printmaking methods.
What is your earliest recollection of making a print and what made you to want to do more?
Creating little rubber stamp letters at school is my earliest print memory. In recent times, simply seeing the wealth of print talent in Bristol alone is such an inspiration for any budding print-maker. Since moving here, I've been enjoying learning new techniques from masters in this craft.
What inspires you and are there any themes or ideas that often run through your work?
Colour is an obvious inspiration. I often draw on themes of optical illusions and geometrical shapes, as well as my long-term fascination with bird-life, nature and texture. I also love expressions and dark fairy stories.
Could you give us an insight into where you work – your studio/workspace and where you print?
I have been part of setting up the Drawn in Bristol studio and print studio space, which is situated inside the Hamilton House building in Stokes Croft. Drawn in Bristol occupies a large area of one of the floors with over 20 people working within a lovely open plan space. I create all my work and print work from this studio, as well as inducting new members of the print studio into the space.
The work of which other printmaker/s do you admire?
Too many! But if I have to be specific, Simon Tozer, Hannah McVicar and Paul Farrell - all Bristol print-makers - have been a long-term source of advice, inspiration, support and general loveliness. Please check their work out. Hannah is also currently part of The Print Shop.
Printmaking is made up of lots of different processes, which aspect do you enjoy the most?
I think it's the puzzle of working out what should be on each layer of a multi-layer print. I've always liked puzzles!
Do you have a favourite tool or something you find invaluable when printing?
I purchased two mini-squeegees in India, which I love using, when it's appropriate as they are so light-weight and fit well on the lip of the screens I use. Acetate is invaluable when I'm working out registration.
Can you share a little printing trick or secret with us?
I always try to not print when tired - too many mistakes happen otherwise. Music is really important to me and having a good sound-track when printing can often help focus my mind. I've recently been getting into Forest Swords.
How would you like to develop your printmaking skills in the future?
There's always more to learn and to improve on - I love discovering new tricks. I often feel like I'm at the start of a fun print-making journey and am excited about what's next. I definitely want to challenge myself by creating some much larger prints.
Which printed publication do you most look forward to thumbing through?
Juxtapoz is always interesting, as well as Digital Arts. I really enjoy the free comic compilation Off Life too.
Monochrome or multi-coloured?
I was invited by Absolute Design to hand-draw an intricate version of two archival illustrations with some slight modifications. The fighting ladies were then incorporated into the identity for the Olive Tree restaurant, while the gentleman became associated with the restaurant’s venue, The Queensbury Hotel.