Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Vintage Inspiration

Inspiration in the form of source materials is an invaluable resource for any illustrator.
I had two editorial illustrations to do, and found inspiration in the form of some wonderful Penguin book covers.
You can see quite a few on this Flickr site:
I've long been a fan of vintage books, their design, limited colour use and simplicity.
The first article was about how the original line up of any classic band is usually the best (especially Led Zeppelin.)
This is something that is quite tricky to convert to illustration. I chose a venn diagram and an old 70's text book feel with reference to the idea of being a mathematical formula for the band, and thinking about school books from when I was a kid.
This look was successfully spoofed by the BBC TV show 'Look around you'
For the second piece, (about using a fretless guitar) I went for a similar look, but this time the 50's look of the Jazz record label was the direct influence. I just love the simple use of colour and shape - it's a case of less is more when designing this way.

Monday, 24 November 2008

The Christmas Markets

The run down to festivities has begun, with the arrival of the Christmas markets in Manchester. It really helps you get into the spirit wandering around, looking at the food stalls, taking samples of dutch cheese, drinking gl├╝ehwein and eating german sausages. I love this time of the year.
Here's some more photos:

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Chille Beans!

We're going to get a cold spell here in a few days time - winter will finally be upon us......

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Keep Smiling!

Being an illustrator is in general a fantastic job, you make your own hours, you can work from home, you have no boss - it's such a buzz completing a piece that really works, and eventually seeing your work in print.
In the main most clients are fantastic and I always try to give them the best job I possibly can, I take a lot of pride in my work no matter what the budget - so they are usually extremely pleased with what I give them - and hopefully they'll return.
However like any job, there are times that are not so fantastic:
- Some clients pay very little money for really a lot of work, (there are some jobs that pay less than minimum wage if you work out all the hours you spend on it.)
- Occasionally a client doesn't brief you properly, doesn't know what they want in the first place, but they know what they don't want!
- Now and then a client won't pay what they owe you for months (imagine saying to a plumber working on your house, thanks for that, I'll probably pay you in 3 months time!)
I expect this will occur more regularly in the current financial climate.
Anyhow this illustrates how I'm feeling at the moment...

Friday, 7 November 2008

My Autumn's Done Come

The nights are drawing in, the days are crisp and chilly, my favourite season Autumn is truly upon us. This shot was taken at a nearby graveyard that is now a small walk through park.
It is my favourite part of Chorlton especially when the sun is shining. The light at this time of the year is beautiful.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Hi Cutie!

I've designed some more cards for my 'Hi Cutie' range.
Once a style has been set, on the first few illustrations, it's relatively easy to continue.
I'm used to designing whole ranges of cards, it's pretty satisfying seeing the final product on display in a shop. You have to fight the urge to say, "I did that!"
Currently there are a few of my designs in Paperchase (just one in their Christmas range this year) Marks and Spencer, and probably the main supermarkets, where I have designed stuff for my old employer Carlton cards, and Camden Graphics.

Other blogs I like.

I emailed the Tigerprint blog:
They liked my work enough to feature it on their website - which was an honour.
Tigerprint are an off-shoot of Hallmark and do all the Marks and Spencers cards.
I've long been a fan of the products in M&S, they're always finished to a high quality.
I've always make my way there when looking at the market.

I think the tigerprint blog was inspired by the Print Pattern blog - the blog for surface pattern fans: http://printpattern.blogspot.com/
It's such a brilliant resource to see what's currently out there in the shops.
Bowie at Print & pattern is bringing a book out next year, I'm lucky enough to be featured, so I'm really looking forward to that.