The 'I wish I'd done this' post...

I wish I had done this...

People who know me will have already have heard me harp on about my childhood love of Jane Ray, after my parents bought me 'Magical Tales From Many Lands'; an anthologie of mystical and traditional Persian, Japanese, African, Native American, and French stories (with many more), retold by Margaret Mayo and entirely illustrated by Jane Ray.

While these combinations of folktales and legends were beautifully re-told, it was their illustrations which sparked my imagination. I have a vivid memory of sitting at the kitchen table with my mum, watching her copy the image of Babba Yaga's chicken legged house, free-hand, in watercolours, for me to put up on my wall. While I was sat attempting to recreate The Lemon Princess and failing.

Jane Ray builds up her images, 'layering' her watercolour paintings, often using found or previously decorated papers. The image at the top is just one of many of my favourites of hers, not only  because her watercolour technique is obvious, but because of the vibrancy of the colours. I also love how Ray frames her images decoratively, even allowing elements within the image to emphasise the frame, such as the small plants or trees at the bottom of the painting.

Jane Ray

Coco Sato

Amazing paper Lotus flowers made by conceptual artist Coco Sato for Brighton Festival 2011. 2000 were made!!! I wonder how many paper cuts were inflicted!?

Emma Block

Emma Block is an Illustration student at Middlesex University, in her third year, and busy creating some wonderful work by the look of it!

Jaques Town House
Emma creates the elements within her illustrations separately after sketching out ideas. Elements within these sketches are then traced to become individual pieces, which Emma then traces onto carefully chosen coloured papers. All these elements are then brought together, stuck down and worked into here and there using inks.

Punting on the Cam
The end result is a beautiful low relief illustration with an interesting quality of depth. A while ago I began experimenting with cutting up and layering my paintings in an attempt to combine two methods which I love and struggle to decide between. I'm still experimenting with this method, painting my elements in acrylic on acrylic paper though, rather than working with coloured papers, and I've begun to incorporate it into recent briefs. 

I've yet to scan in my work for the 8 x 8 brief so I'm not sure whether this method will be entirely successful, but I'm pleased with how it initially looks. We'll see.

Love Vintage

Any-who, Emma Block's a prolific illustrator who appears to be making a name for herself with her fab work, so here are links to her blog and website:

Emma Block's Blog
Emma Block Illustration

Music Brief

Searching for inspiration for one of the two new briefs: designs for a glass 'fish bowl' space at Music Design Agency in Manchester.

Discovered Judith Egger. I particularly like this piece of installation.

PDP (Professional Development Planning)

As part of my 'Professional Development Planning' there are several things I'm required to do, as well as lots more blogging in general.


'Record briefly in 200 - 300 words the best three pieces of advice
you have been given/heard this year. These can be sourced from
anywhere. The response though should reflect on how and why this
advice is meaningful to your practice.'

To be honest, I think a lot of the advice I'm usually given is along the lines of 'chill out'. I'm sure I've been given plenty of fabulous advice, but due to the nature of their timing, they don't tend to stick.

- Towards the beginning stages of working on the Wellspring brief, I was talking to Ian about wanting to continue working with acrylic paints, and he advised that it would be worthwhile working in this way, as it was obviously something which I felt I had an affinity with, and my work would be more interesting as a result; I'd be throwing more of myself into it. 

- This gent, in his first year at Kingston University, studying Graphic Design, was always telling me not to dive straight into an image, especially when it's something that needs to be developed and allowed to change. I have tried really hard to take this on-board this year; in my personal work I've always tended to jump straight into making an image, without planning it or considering how exactly it's going to take shape, and as a result the final result is usually nothing like the idea in my head. However, I've found myself getting into a habit now, of planning my images, producing rough sketches and storyboards, and really planning my imagery. As a result I've been much happier with my work (with the exception of the recent editorial brief, though I'm determined to get it to match my ideal).

Aaand that's all I can think of for now, but I'll be sure to post any more advice that crops up.


Papergirl Manchester's Help Japan - Art sale

On the 31st of March a few of us pootled off to Common Bar in the rather swish Northern Quarter to attend Papergirl Manchester's Help Japan art sale. I bought one of their posters which could also be made into a lovely paper crane.

There were various posters, prints, original illustrations, photography, totes, Japanese inspired fans and even woollen beards for sale, with all the money going to the Red Cross Tsunami Appeal. Sadly, by the time we got there, a lot of the work had been sold (although not sadly really, as it's all for a good cause!), but it was a lovely atmosphere, and it was nice to see artists, illustrators and photographers exhibiting together. And while I'd already donated £25, there was some lovely work I wish I'd gotten my hands on.

This is us:

Thanks to Megan Thomas for letting me pinch her photograph x

Common does a mean toasted sandwich by the way!


Our next brief was to choose a piece of editorial writing and produce an illustration for it. I couldn't decide between a piece from The Guardian online about communication between Sperm whales and a recent main feature in The Sunday Times Magazine about the news channel, Al-Jazeera, and the impact their broadcasts have had on the Arab revolutions, as well as the possible impact that might occur, should they reach out to a wider audience in America. Beefy right?

The idea was to chose something that might be somewhat challenging, soooo I chose The Sunday Times piece. How naive of me. It's been a bitch. I really enjoyed working on the roughs, and had several ideas I was really keen on, playing with the title 'Jasmine Revolutions', managing to work ideas and my style together rather well. But after finishing the painting for my final image and it came to placing it in a layout, I had a bit of a meltdown. And HATED it. So I've decided to re-do it and hand it in at the end of the module along with the other briefs. I was just so unhappy with it, I couldn't bring myself to hand it in. Sigh. Thus why this post isn't accompanied by images. I shall scan in and post some of my roughs when I get home, scanner willing.

So I've been really naughty...

...And put off all the blogging I ought to be doing. 

So our Wellspring illustrations for the charity fund-raising newspaper, got printed up, and they all look fab! Here's a lil link to a fellow illustration student's blog: Matt Bray, who very kindly posted all of our images on his blog!

And here's mine on the left! And Katie Broome's on the right!

I think everyone was really very pleased with the results, after a lot of hard work and pressure to produce a compilation of images which would please the client. I loved being free to continue working with paint, and while I begrudged having to finish the piece digitally (due to my own forgetfulness), I think I did benefit from finally using my graphics tablet.

Gooood Morning.

Lindsey Carr's The Fox Confessor - Image from

Jordan came into uni wearing this beauty this morning and I'm on the verge of tears, I'm so jealous. I think I'll be buying myself one as soon as I get home.
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