Our MA Degree Show

2010 MA Illustration degree show invite

This definitely counts as shameless self promotion but nervous as we all are I think that we all have something to be proud of.

I have not only been working on more work for the final show but also our 2010 MA Illustration blog and promoting the show through the Twitter account I set up.

Lucky me Illustration has 45 graduating students on show and so the blog was a bit of a mammoth to pull together. Sadly WordPress has no easy way to bulk populate pages. Regardless of the difficulties it has been a satisfying process and the results are a showcase of the diverse illustrative styles on the course.

The show starts with a private view on July 13th and finishes on Saturday July 17th. Please come down and have a look.

I’ll be showcasing some of the students work using the MA illustration Twitter account so why not follow us.


Political Satire

Zombie banker

Zombie banker: Asleep at the wheel bankers.


Cleggmania: Spruiking for the left at the height of poll Libdem popularity.

Gordon at the end

Tired: At the end of Labour’s term in office Gordon looking tired.

Screamin' Lord Sutch

Scream’n Lord Sutch: The real face of politics?

Not perfect but I feel like these are much closer to where I want to be in terns of layout, ideas and style for editorial work.

Loving the Deleter ink and dip pens suggested by Will Bailey. They produce a much finer line than the Uni-ball pens and provide more control than standard dip pens. The ink also dries in a more scanner friendly finish than Winsor and Newton calligraphy ink. The calligraphy ink can be very shiney and reflective making it difficult when scanning anything with colour on the page.

Exhibitions and private views

Table For Living by Emily Rohrer

Table For Living by Emily Rohrer

Designer Makers MA interim show

The interim show for designer maker strand of the Camberwell College MA (south London) had it’s private view on Wednesday night. It is part of my intention to try and engage in the time left with other MA pathways and turning up to their interim show was a good way to do that.

Designer Makers are a small group but they successfully filled the Wilson Road ground floor with work. Although I’ve my favourites the standard of all the work on display was high which bodes well for the end of year show!

I really liked Emily Rohrer’s furniture models (seen above). There is something intrinsically engaging about miniatures especially ones with moving parts. Displayed with the plans they were very much like architectural models.

Ceramic work by Jessica Zoller

Ceramic work by Jessica Zoller

Jessica Zollers ceramic work also caught my eye, and for me had a link to Sara Willets gouged acrylic that was on show last year at Wilson road. The forms have an organic coral like feeling swarming up the wall as they did.

Lu Hakozaki had some interesting furniture models in a very different mode to Emily’s work. Photo’s of which are on her blog. I really liked the rounded skeletal forms and was intrigued with how these were made.

Spidering it’s way up the wall was a wirey meandering piece that I think is Ashley Hemingway’s (maybe someone can confirm this). My impression of this  wirey piece was that it felt like a journey on the underground mirroring the point to point feeling that one gets from not seeing the landscape travelled only the landmarks. The wire and enamel also felt like the steel and tiles that make up so much of the essence of a tube trip.

I’m someone who can stand a look at work I enjoy for ages, both admiring the craft and skill of the maker and trying to divine both the artists intent and what it means for me personally.

Designer Makers from this years MA can feel proud, I was impressed by the skill and ideas driving the work.

For the curious you can find out more about the artists via the Designer Makers MA wiki:


Version at Medcalf, Exmouth Market

Version invitation and map

This week also saw the private view for the Version exhibition at the Medcalf in Exmouth Market, featuring ex-MA Camberwell students.

The concept was an interesting idea with the artists pairing up and creating works inspired by elements of each others practice. The Medcalf has regular small exhibitions with a great little space paired with a restaurant bar.

This exhibition is definitely worth having a look at and is on till the end of April.

Jane Henricks has some photo’s on her blog of the night.

You can also see some of the artists work at the Medcalf blog:


Ronald Searle at the Cartoon Museum

Ronald Searle - Graphic Master catalogue

The Cartoon Museum in central London is currently hosting a retrospective of Ronald Searle’s work.

The exhibition successfully covers his life’s work featuring not only his early noteworthy pieces like the St Trinian’s series but much of the editorial work  that he became known for. Searle is 90 now so I can only imagine how tricky it must have been to pick out what to keep in and what to leave.

It’s interesting to see his transition, from the rough drawings of his prison camp life during the second world war to the success that St Trinian’s brought and the development of his line and colour work in the decades since. I highly recommend dropping by, it’s on till July.

Matt Jones on his blog has done a great job of writing about Searle for those who want a bit more background.

End note

I have been busy on my project work and hope to have some posts featuring more of my works in progress shortly.


Technological entanglement hand swipe

Not exclusively created for Illustration Friday this recent work seemed appropriate to this weeks theme. People and technology are entangled, how far are we willing to go. A swipe payment system integrated into ones arm certainly has a certain yuk factor!

Starting life as a pen and ink drawing in my sketch book I lifted it into Corel Painter and worked up this full colour rendering. Painter 11 has a more responsive feel and I’m looking forward to exploring more of the tools.

My project for my MA has become about exploring the issues of technology and biology.  Everyday scene’s with ever more encroaching technology. Surely living in London with all it’s creepy camera’s and surveillance machinery has had an effect.

It works as a topic for illustrations!


Blur thumb mono

Blur – another Illustration Friday post.

This is a very art centric piece, you often blur or blend a line or shading in pencil drawing using your thumb so this is that kind of idea looking up from underneath, as though the paper were glass.

Perhaps it should have been from above? Regardless I enjoyed this piece, it’s part life drawing practice part Illustration Friday challenge, our teacher encouraged us to use tonal drawing as a means of quickly creating a realistic ‘finished’ looking image. I enjoy the technique a lot.

I made this on a large A3 size sheet which allowed for a lot more detail but I still moved fairly quickly finishing it in a couple of hours.

I quite like working large and close up although the head of my course would say it should have more of the hand! That would be a large drawing but it may be worth trying!

I really enjoy using a variety of pencils to create different tonal shading effects. This was largely done with B, 3B, and 5B pencil and then I found my 4B graphite which I used for the British Museum sketches and adds a lot more contrast which is also nice.

Yes this is my drawing hand!

Hope you like it.

Life Drawing basics

British Museum 6th Nov 2009
Quick tonal sketch at the British Museum (a great free resource)

Just as the term started I decided my drawing skills needed a boost that drop in classes weren’t providing. Luckily, literally 2 minutes walk from my flat in Bethnal Green is life teacher who holds various fine art drawing and painting classes through via the Meetup website.

As I never formally studied fine art at a tertiary level I thought this would be a good place to start and definitely haven’t regretted the move.

My post MA illustration commercial goals revolve around concept film and game work and these skills seem to be critical in this arena. Adrian Dutton runs a high quality class barely half way through the course the ten week course I’d felt I’d had my money’s worth.

I’ve posted a few pics here so you can see the kind of thing we’ve been doing.

Life drawing basics
Grid measured enlargement from the measuring session

Life drawing basics 30 Oct 2009
Charcoal experiment for the tonal drawing session, covered the whole
page with charcoal and worked back with a putty rubber

This is also fits in very well with my MA project of creating a series of bestiary images.

Imagine FX have been running an excellent series in the back of the magazine about breaking down people and animals into basic shapes. I’d largely ignored it until I started this course and realised just how useful it could be when I come to do my bestiary images (ie. now!)

The learning curve is steep for my painting and drawing but it’s all worth it’s weight!

Digital Painting Research

Ivan Sutherlands Sketchpad in action, the first computer based drawing system.

Ivan Sutherlands Sketchpad in action, the first computer based drawing system.

I finally completed my research paper on digital painting last month and it was a revelation.

I now have a much clearer idea of what I need to do to meet my goals. Not for the faint hearted I have to learn to paint using traditional methods – either in a digital or physical environment, or both – sharpen my drawing skills and find time to produce work for my MA as well as keep working to pay the bills!

The day after handing my paper in I went to see Ray Caesar’s work in the flesh at the Art London exhibition in Chelsea and had another revelation. Digital (giclée) printing seems to have advanced quite dramatically and some of the work had a textured lacquer that made the work look more painterly.

Regardless seeing these prints was impressive and cemented the real art of his work. The detail and compositions were superb and are pretty jaw dropping in person.

Interestingly Caesar’s work was, for me, among the most cutting edge work on show. His choice of content and technique are challenging and made much of the traditional painted work on display look tired. No matter how much talent is poured into traditional style oil paintings they seemed to lack the vibrancy and inventiveness of Caesar.

There were some other interesting piece’s at the exhibition and next time I vow to allow more time to get round the whole show.

Sutherlands vision of a computer based drawing system is realised by the likes of Wacoms Cintiq drawing screen.

Sutherland's vision of a computer based drawing system is realised by the likes of Wacom's Cintiq drawing screen.

Also as part of my research paper I brought Don Seegmillers ‘Advanced Painter Techniques‘. Seegmiller is very popular with the concept art crowd and this book has extremely practical advice on using Corel Painter and Adobe Photoshop to make images. His techniques are strongly rooted in traditional painting being built up in a similar way and he uses the language of traditional oil and acrylic painting throughout the book.

One of the other key concepts that I encountered from traditional UK painter Will Rochfort was the idea that it’s completely acceptable to abandon images that aren’t working. I’ve been working on a couple of pieces that seemed like a good idea in sketch form but whose composition hasn’t worked as painted pieces. The question is do you trash the working files or archive them? A traditional painter might reuse the canvas but in digital this is not necessary.

Hockney was considering destroying the original files of his recent digital work – this would certainly affect the value of the first runs of his digital prints and raises all sorts of interesting questions.

I’ve also joined Wikipedia so I can edit the ‘digital painting‘ entry which is missing much of what my research revealed about the subject.

Lastly in the words of my mate Phoebe (and Camberwell Arts MA graduate) talking about the research paper ‘you can see why they make you do it’. Yes absolutely it has been key to pushing my practice forward.

I found it incredibly challenging not being an academic writer, I still don’t know if it made it over the line, maybe no news is good news!