Monday, 25 April 2011

Music Live

We also have another brief running alongside the 8x8 brief. This one was set by Manchester design studio Music who have asked us to create artwork for the outside of their conference room. The room is glass fronted and quite a large area to cover so for this brief I'm teaming up with fellow classmates Megan Thomas and Dominique Byron.

One of the conditions of the brief was we had to choose a music track to illustrate, so through the power of Skype we had a meeting and decided to choose Daft Punks "Harder Better Faster Stronger".

Were having a group meeting on Tuesday morning to discuss any ideas we have so will make an update of any further developments.


The current brief I've been working on for the past few weeks is a collaboration with writers from MMU where we were asked to create an illustration for a short story. The story I'm illustrating is "Rushmore" written by Robert Cowan. The story is set in the future where the planet has been affected by radiation poisoning and the rich and influential have fled the planet leaving behind the poor who become sick. The main character is a corporal named Jack Rushmore who is left in charge of a small office where he has to power to grant visas illegally for his own gain.

We got a chance to meet with the writer and were able to run through some of our initial ideas and ask some questions about the story.

When talking to the author he mentioned a poem that is referenced in the story. The poem is called "The Lime Tree Bower My Prison" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

The poem is about Coleridge who wallows in self pity as he is unable to go on a journey in the country with his friends. Limited to sitting under the lime tree he uses the power of his imagination to alter his perception and takes himself on the journey with them. At the end of the poem he realises that nature can be found anywhere even under the lime tree bower that he once felt so confined.

I guess this links in with Rushmore as he is trapped on a dying planet with no immediate means of escape and has to make do as best he can.

My plan was to recreate the image of a family enjoying a picnic under the lime tree bower which symbolises a time when the world was a happier place and nature flourished. Below is my inked version, which I'm planning to do again in watercolour to give it a softer feel.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Neil Hanvey

I saw Neil's work in this months issue of Computer Arts magazine and really liked his style of working. Neil works mainly in Illustrator to produce his work with elements of Photoshop. I really like the use of line and texture he uses and of course the surreal humour that runs throughout his work. I emailed him to ask some questions and within about 30 seconds had a reply.

How did you start out as an illustrator?
I've always doodled traditionally but about 8 years ago I joined an online art forum, it's spiralled from there really. I didn't go to art college or do art at university. I didn't even do art at secondary school. I'd describe myself more as a blagger than an illustrator. I'm still waiting for someone to cotton on and say 'He's actually just drawing random crap!' I work full time as a web developer and do freelance illustration so I have the option to only pursue the illustration jobs that I can get passionate about. 

How would you describe your style and is it influenced by anyone in particular?
I think I have a quirky style that's not too cutesy and not too clean. I could reel off hundreds of people I'm influenced by but a shortlist would have to be niark1, j3 concepts, dj bisparulz, jeremyville, jon burgerman, frank kozik...I'll end it there before I get carried away.

What piece of work are you most proud of?
Probably either my King Kong NYC piece or my Tron Legacy one as that one won me a MacBook. Mor recently I think it has to be my chracter development pieces.

How do you go about starting a piece and what software do you like to use?
I normally start with the title and work backwards from there. I mainly use Illustrator although I do occasionally stray back into Photoshop.

How did you get yourself noticed?
I signed up to every art portal/portfolio site that I could (deviant art, behance, coroflot, slash three, shadowness, designers couch, dribbble, revuh, etc) and just kept posting work and getting to know people in the online art community. Over time I've just built up a steady profile by keeping active.

How tough is it to find illustration work out there?

I don't actively pursue illustration work so I'm not 100% sure to be honest but from what I've seen and understand, it's definitely a tough market out there. 

Do you have any advice for an illustration student that's just starting out?
Get signed up to every art site possible, you might not have a massive portfolio at the moment but the future networking opportunities you build up now might be invaluable in the future. 
Start a blog, twitter and facebook page. Blog about things related to illustration, art and things you like.
Stay original. It's ok to be influenced by people but nobody likes a copycat.

Thanks for your time Neil and for getting back to me so quickly

You can check out his website here: