Thursday, 8 December 2011

Pass the parcel

A really great Christmas present idea by Glasgow trained illustrator Louise Lockhart. Louise hand makes these pass the parcels in her living room in Hebden Bridge. 10 layers of excitement! Illustrated forfeit in each layer. Suitable for adults and children. She has now sold out unfortunately but a great idea nevertheless!

"I wanted to take this fantastic traditional game and make a really beautiful interesting version. 
Plus, every one is unique. I aim to make unusual hand crafted gifts for people looking for an alternative to mainstream produced tat!"

Thursday, 24 November 2011

D&AD Education Event at UCLAN

Last week D&AD came to Preston with an all day education event.
An introduction to the work and philosophy of the organisation by Rhiannon James was followed by a brilliant talk by Creative Director Jack Renwick who was at The Partners until recently setting up her own agency. She showcased some great design thinking, and gave students valuable advice on placement etiquette amongst other things.
After the lectures students took part in a workshop looking at how to crack the D&AD student awards briefs with creative directors and designers from the industry talking about how they would tackle the briefs.
Design agency Thoughtful took a workshop looking at how to get into the industry. Alongside these informative sessions a number of agencies held a portfolio surgery for students from across the North West to show their work - several illustration students had an opportunity to show their portfolio to an industry insider for the first time in many cases. Students from Stockport, Bolton, Edgehill, MMU, and of course our own Graphic Design, Advertising and Illustration students gained valuable insight from this opportunity. Thanks to representatives of MusicBecause Studio, Cheetham Bell JWT, Dorothy, The Chase, jp74, and Uniform  and all the industry contacts for giving up their valuable time for this event.
In the evening the New Continental pub in Preston hosted a D&AD North talk by Gary Aspden collaboration consultant for Adidas.
Best wishes to the D&AD team for organising it - We would love to host it again!

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

V&A Illustration Awards 2012

Student Category: Student Illustrator Award 2012

Supported by the Enid Linder Foundation
Entry into the Awards is free
Student Illustrator of the Year entries are encouraged from anyone who has attended an illustration course at any time during 2010 or 2011. The brief is open. Students may submit material set as coursework by their tutors or they may define their own brief.

The Prize

The Student Illustrator of the Year will receive £2,000 and a trophy. The runner up will receive £1,000.

How to enter

Entry into all categories of the V&A Illustration Awards is via the . Entrants may submit up to three images of their work.
Closing date for all categories: 15 December 2011

Friday, 4 November 2011

Marian Bantjes: Intricate beauty by design | Video on

Marian Bantjes: Intricate beauty by design | Video on

I have shown this video to a few of the Third year students already this week and it is quite inspirational (if you can overlook the U.S. intonation), it is a truism that if you enjoy your work and your work is personal it too could become mystifyingly popular...

"In graphic design, Marian Bantjes says, throwing your individuality into a project is heresy. She explains how she built her career doing just that, bringing her signature delicate illustrations to storefronts, valentines and even genetic diagrams."

I like the sugar drawings and the idea of making Valentines cards as self promotion.

House of Illustration Folio Society Competition

The House of Illustration / Folio society invite entries to illustrate; The Bloody Chamber and other stories by Angela Carter. A series of short stories based loosely upon Perrault's Fairy Tales. The closing date for entries is Tuesday 10th January 2012 and the entry fee for students is £15 (£25 for everyone else) anyone can enter (over the age of 18).

The first prize is a £4000 commission to provide seven images to illustrate the book for the Folio Society.

Last year's competition was to illustrate "The Outsider" and the competition was won by Matthew Richardson.
The Outsider

Mervyn Peake Centenary exhibition at the Laing Art Gallery Newcastle

Mervyn Peake was an writer and illustrator most famous for the Gormenghast trilogy of books first published in 1946 - a Gothic fantasy.

He regarded himself as a painter and draughtsman, having studied at Croydon School of Art in the late twenties and going onto the Royal Academy shortly after that. When asked to illustrate the Hunting of the Snark in 1941 he studied the illustrations of Hogarth, Cruickshank, Durer, Blake, Dore, and Goya. His respect for these masters of illustrative technique led to his trademark of closely cross hatched drawings using mapping pens and Indian ink.

Peake died in 1968 having illustrated many classic novels, he had a fellow writer's feeling for character and atmosphere. The exhibition at the Laing in Newcastle is part of the celebrations to mark the centenary of Peake's birth. There is an excellent webite devoted to his life and work here:

The exhibition of his work "Lines of Flight" is on at the Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle until January 2012 follow the link for further information.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

D&AD Education Tour comes to Preston UCLAN Victoria

The North West leg of the Education tour brings us to Preston. If you're in the region, we look forward to seeing you there.
11:30 - 13:00 - D&AD & Industry Talk. Adelphi Theatre TVI, Adelphi Building.
Find out how D&AD can help you crack the industry and support you throughout your creative career. Jack Renwick will be joining us to explain how she made it from being a student at Duncan of Jordanstone to Creative Director at the Black Pencil winning design and branding firm, The Partners. She'll be imparting some practical tips and insider insights.
13.30 - 15.30 pm - Student Awards WorkshopStudio VB214A 2nd floor, Victoria Building
A hands-on workshop in which students can collaborate with industry and each other, learn how to answer briefs and get tips on finding success at the Awards.
15:45 - 17:30 Networking and careers advice workshop. Studio VB214A 2nd floor,  Victoria Building
Pretty much what it says in the title. An industry-pro will be giving advice on how to launch your career.
15.30-17.30 - Portfolio Surgery. Studio VB225A 2nd floor, Victoria Building. ONE APPOINTMENT PER STUDENT
Individual appointments for students to share their portfolio with an esteemed professional from companies such as JP74, BJL, Music, The Chase and Thoughtful.
14:00 - 15:00 - Tutor get-together. (FOR TUTORS ONLY)
Meet fellow members, share research findings and best practice, eat cake.
Places are limited and for University Network members only. If you have any questions contact Jessica Antwi-Boasiako -
Education days one of the many benefits of D&AD Univeristy Network Membership. Find out more and join here.
Join us in the evening for the D&AD North Lecture:
6-9pm. GARY ASPDEN LECTURE  The Continental, Preston
Gary Aspden, guiding force for adidas will be giving a lecture in the evening. Find out more about what he'll be speaking about and bookhere.
(Network Members are entitled to 8 lecture tickets per year. Email to claim them).

Wednesday, 26 October 2011


The Campaign for Drawing is an independent charity which raises the profile of drawing as a tool for thought, creativity, social and cultural engagement. 
It has developed two programmes to encourage the use of drawing by professionals and others: The Big Draw and Power Drawing.
The Campaign has created a new regard for the value of drawing to help people see, think, invent and take action.
Its long-term ambition is to change the way drawing is perceived by educationalists and the public. This has won support from leading practitioners in the creative industries and in art, architecture and design colleges, signalling an overdue realisation that drawing is fundamental to the training of students in these disciplines. The Campaign takes a wider view. It sees drawing as a basic human skill useful in all walks of life.
The Campaign's work will finish when the words 'I can't draw' are dropped from our vocabulary.

Image montaged made by Rik, Amy, and Georgia Year Three illustrators

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Fantastic Creatures BIG DRAW 2011

Much fun was had drawing in the old Blackwell's bookshop in the S.U. Yesterday and Today.
Many thanks to Ali and Chris for running it. And well done to every student who showed up and worked in a brilliant spirit, and probably harder than they ever have before! And enjoyed it. Blimey drawing can be fun!!! Its also a fact that some of these pics improve the looks of most students. Ha Ha!
More images will be added shortly.


Whilst at YSP the other day I noticed hidden away in the corner of the shop "WRAP" an illustrated magazine that once read can be used as gift-wrap. What a good idea although I do get the impression you might have to buy two copies? See what you think - hit the title link.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Monday, 17 October 2011

Jaume Plensa at YSP

Beautiful October sunshine at the weekend finally decided to visit the Jaume Plensa exhibition at Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Well worth the trip. Some amazing pieces of work, the elongated dreamlike portraits of sleeping/dreaming heads are fantastic and beautifully lit. There is also a room with suspended gongs you're invited to hit - they reverberated tremendously.
The outdoor pieces figures made from letterforms were stunning as well. Really photogenic in the low October sunlight. I especially liked the tree hugging figures and the haunting heads that sat on top of the gallery roof.

Also, it also transpired that Rob Ryan was at YSP that Saturday and signing copies of his new book, "A Sky Full of Kindness". What a nice man, it was a real pleasure to meet him and chat for a couple of minutes. I enjoyed the show "You can still do a lot with a small brain" last year, and I do like his paper-cut work. I am slightly nervous at the ubiquity of his work presently, but can't help feeling supportive of an "illustrator" who is successful for crossing craft and business.

The Jaume Plensa show has been extended until January. Go and see it.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Alice in Wonderland at Tate Liverpool

Starting 4th November Tate Liverpool has curated a show that looks at the influence on fine artists in particular of Lewis Carroll's masterpiece. From the Tenniel drawings for the first edition to contemporary artists. One of the words missing from the entire description of the exhibition is of course - illustration, we wouldn't want to bring down the tone by mentioning the i word... Here are some of my favourite illustrations of Alice by Mervyn Peake, Lisbeth Zwerger, and Peter Blake

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

"More Source" a call for work from Preston students

Just over ten years ago UCLAN published Source a showcase of Preston based graphic talent. A call for work for a new book celebrating 40 years of Preston visual communication graduates has just been put out. So if you were a former Preston student and graduate from Illustration and you have had award winning, published, or just bloody brilliant work as an illustrator or designer that deserves to be seen alongside the very best visual communication work then submit your work to the source. 
Click the title link for more details, or email the organiser at the contact address on the website.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

100 Artists' Manifestos

Currently reading "100 Artists' Manifestos from the Futurists to the Stuckists" published by Penguin (and hence the previous Bauhaus entry - that was inspired by my reading of the book in the bookshop before I actually bought it to read on holiday!).

The manifesto book is really interesting and well worth dipping into, some are really quite daft like the Futurist Manifesto of Men's Clothing 1913:

"WE MUST DESTROY ALL PASSEIST CLOTHES, and everything about them which is tight fitting, colourless, funereal, decadent, boring and unhygienic...we must abolish: wishy washy, pretty-pretty, gloomy and neutral colours, along with patterns composed of lines, checks and spots"!!! Great.

Some were very influential like The Suprematist Manifesto by Kasimir Malevich 1916:

" ...In repeating or tracing the forms of nature, we have nurtured our consciousness with a false conception of art... The transmission of real objects onto canvas is the art of skilful reproduction, that's all.
And between the art of creating and the art of repeating there is a great difference.
And however much we arrange furniture about rooms, we will not extend or create a new form for them.
And however many moonlit landscapes the artist paints, however many grazing cows and pretty sunsets, they will remain the same dear little cows and sunsets. Only in a much worse form.
And in fact, whether an artist is a genius or not is determined by the number of cows he paints.

The artist can be a creator only when the forms in his picture have nothing in common with nature..."

There are some fabulous Dada and Surrealist manifestos too, like the Dada manifesto by Francis Picabia from 1920:

"...Art is a drug for imbeciles...The Dadists are nothing, nothing, nothing and they will certainly succeed in nothing, nothing, nothing."

With excellent introductions to each Manifesto by Alex Danchev, I can feel several project briefs stirring.

Grow Your Own by Esther Hall

A graduate from the MA Children's Book Illustration course at Preston, and highly commended in the Macmillan prize in 2008 I somehow managed to miss the fact that Esther Hall's first book for Macmillan was published in April and is out in the shops now.
She was also selected for the Bologna Children's Book Fair exhibition in 2009 as a result of which Esther has also just published a book for a Korean publisher.
Most of her illustrations are made up from linocuts that are hand-printed and digitally coloured, she also sells print work through her website linked above.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Images 36 Call for Entries

The only jury selected illustration annual in the UK. With a category for students and unpublished / self promo work.
Created or commissioned a piece of illustration you are proud of? 
Want other professionals working in illustration and design to know about it?

Then enter your best work into the Association of Illustrators' Images competition, the most comprehensive and prestigious illustration award in the UK. Click on the title link for details!

Kate Pankhurst illustrations for the Museum of Liverpool

Preston illustrator Kate Pankhurst has had a very nice commission for the children's signage and Little Liverpool learning gallery at the newly opened Museum of Liverpool. As she outlined in her visit to the course earlier this year, the spider character will be used across the Museum, which is the largest purpose built museum in the UK for a hundred years. It opened on the 19th July.
The character concept was a reference to the banana spiders that occasionally made the trip to Liverpool from the Caribbean along with the cargo. I think Kate has done a really excellent job of making a spider character engaging and child friendly.

The museum is certainly an interesting  building sitting on the waterfront near the Albert Dock and the "Three Graces". Designed in the main by Danish architects 3xn (three architects named Neilsen). It looks like an amazing building, the Jury is out on its impact on the waterfront, I saw it under construction and was not sure? But hope to visit soon and make up my mind.