Thursday, 4 June 2009

The Word Shaker Tree
From The Book Thief By
Markus Zusak

Monday, 4 May 2009

Ben Shahn interview, 1964 Apr. 14, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Richard Doud

Ive read this entire interview and found it really interesting. Ive copied a snippit here. I though to look up this interview and others after the lecture from FAKEID. I used this part of the interview as I like how he describes the method behind his photography.

RICHARD DOUD: Yes, I think, from what I've seen of the Farm Security Photographs this was pretty much the general idea they had.

BEN SHAHN: I would say so.

RICHARD DOUD: They were concerned with...

BEN SHAHN: I was quite a purist about it and when some of the people came in and began to use flash I thought it was immoral. I'll give you a reason why. You know, you come into a sharecropper's cabin and it's dark. But a flash destroyed that darkness. It is true that a flash would actually illuminate the comic papers that they used to paste on their walls, but this wasn't the impact it had on me. It was the darkness, the glistening of the eyes, the glistening of a brass ornament on top of a big bed, you know, a glass, a mirror that would catch light. I wanted very much to hold on to this, you see. Now, that's a matter of personal judgement about this thing whether you divulge everything or whether things are kept mysterious as they are viewed.

Fake I.D

Fake I.D is currently in its tenth year and was created by Yvan Martinez and Joshua Trees. They originate from Los Angeles and have worked in London and San Francisco and there work has been displayed in Museum of Modern Art in New York and London. Joshua's background is in Graphic design and says the school he attended was very techincal and at the end of the course he didnt feel confident with his abilities. He then went on to do an MA in fine arts and explored the issue of 'the line between art and life disappearing'. Trees met Martinez in San Fransisco in a performance art group and then went on to form there first group CCSIS (creative community seriously I swear). Martinez studied Mathematics to MA level in Venezuela.

above 'Placas'

They try to draw a line between commercial and independent work, but approach both in the same manner. They find that there independent work attracts companies (which has lead them to work with such companies as MTV, NIKE and Urban Outfitters). They say working with such big clients is like 'Freedom within a Cage'.

They are both interested in sound and narration at the moment and working within schools. They like to work in schools as you can still experiment in this environment. They see schools as a sight of production - 'School can be a productive force rather than a training ground'. They say they dont see students as students but see them as partners. They say there most interesting work has been with collaborations with students.

above 'Books from the future'

They say that is is always important to 'make' without being asked, and to be constantly experimenting.

I found this lecture really interesting and i was intrigued to see such detailed experimentation into communication. This is a subject I feel I could become really interested in and would like to look at it further. Possibly through some animation work. Here is the lecture, though it is quite difficult to type exactly what happened ...


They showed how a Portuguese man was able to learn English from a bizarre combination of Data from Star Trek and the character Rosanne. The character of Data is an android and is unable to show any emotion and unable to use contractions. The character of Rosanne, from my perspective, has a very strong American accent and is very stereotypical of an American (but thats only from my point of view). Through watching these two character on t.v, the portugese man created his own version of the American Language, which they called 'RosAndroid'.

I found this interesting as to me they are trying to show the impact of populer culture on this mans belief of the American language, he learnt a disjointed version from these two T.V shows. Its trying to show the mutation of language ... I think.

They talked about Tony Schwartz who was an American archivist. In this section they played a clip from 'The Sound of Lettering' which was clips of the sound of pencil on paper or the sound of a type writer.

'This is the way my typing sounds'

This to me was a way of showing another way of communicating words, through the 'sound' words make and the process' we use to create them. Showing 'The similarity of letters and sounds'

they played clips of interviews with Ben Shahn, who im quite interested in. They also quoted, or it was the title for something - 'In the Begging there was the word'. I know this to be from a passage in the Bible but I think it may be Ben Shahn who used it in one of the Interview clips.

They also played clips of a child sounding out letters. This i think is a very interesting investigation into communication and the way we process words and then how we communicate them...

They showed a Burger Chef commercial and examples of the fast food packaging. Then they played a sample recording of 'Fangburgers haunted hotel', which was a free gift in the meal.


'Breaking the Forth wall' is the moment that you get through to the audience.

they talked about Ernie Kovacs who was an American comedian who experimented visually with his comic style. They showed the credits to one of His shows (below). (I loved the experimental credits and have made me even more eager to try out animation)

They showed images from a television program 'Tell me' which was a peformance of abstraction which showed the relationship between what was seen and heard.

Placas. a placa is a style of graffiti which is the sign of a gang. Each gang will write over each other placa to instigate a fight/confrontation. They were showing us how these gangs use walls to communicate.


Talked about a gang called WLTF who communicate through radio, posters etc.

They played clips of the radio show. - 'New communism is new capitalism... this is the new order.'


This is a language, sound, text and noise workshops that FAKEID run. They played us clips from this workshop which were conversations with 'Outsiders'. The interview we listened to was from a man who was attracted to female amputees, in which he talks about where he believed his attraction started (with his female teacher who was an amputee)about Rosa Petra (famous female amputee) and his life living with this obsession.

They then talked about information theory, about how information travels from A-B without errors.

They ended the lecture by playing holding music and asking us to 'Please Hold', which we all did.

Which to me shows how willingly we are to except words without question.

Big Orange

This is a studio set up in Shorditch in London by designers such as Daryl Reese, Tom Morrison and Dan Williams. It was set up around 16 years ago. Andrew Pavitt joined 6 years ago. The studio is partially owned by the AOI - association of Illustrators, which helps pay for the rent and other utilities. The rent for the space is around £200 each a month, but AOI help towards these costs. The working hours of the studio are 24 hours, enabling it to be accessed at anytime and if working on short briefs and deadlines.

The set up and location of a studio is important and you always need to be self promoting yourself. There is now a good selection of studios in Manchester and they say that you can easily find a fairly priced studio in London. They say an advantage of joining an established studio like Big Orange or Peepshow is the set of contacts already created and its reputation.

They talked about dealing with overseas clients such as New York, saying that when they commission you for a job they will not take into account the time difference's, so you have to work around them.

The only disadvantage Andrew Pavitt could find for working within a studio enviroment is if there were clashes of personalities. The major advantage though is being within a creative environment and being able to bounce ideas of one another.

Friday, 1 May 2009

Reminds me of you

Final book inside cover image

This is my final image with a section of text added from the book'The Secret Garden'. I had to edit the text slightly so it would fit into the image. The last few words on the final line are different from the original text. The actual image needs to be sharpened also.

Monday, 27 April 2009

Practioner essay

I will be comparing Tracy Kendall and Otto Dettmer. Tracy Kendall works with interiors and has worked with clothing outlets for window displays. Otto Dettmer works with editorials and creates his own artist books. I think there will be interesting comparisons between these two as there audience, client and process' vary greatly.

Otto Dettmer.

Dettmer process' include screen printing and creating imagery through a computer. He works free lance and the majority of his work appears in newspapers, particularity The Telegraph as he believes this to be a very good paper for illustration. Otto Dettmers work is primarily editorial and his works priority is for the image he creates to represent the article it is illustrating clearly and concisely. It needs to communicate the words of the article simply and efficiently as so the audience will understand the contents of the article. For his editorial work Dettmer tends to work solely on the computer, creating the basic shapes for his illustrations on his computer. The colours he uses are also quite monotone and he tends to stick within the same pallet. This makes his work very recognisable and consistent, and from looking at his illustrations he doesn't tend to sway away from what works. This however only applies to his editorial illustrations.

Otto Dettmer.

When he is creating his artist books this is a different matter. He creates artists books to sell at fairs and prefers to work in this way as he says it displays his work a lot better and he also has free rain over its contents. He experiments more with techniques in his books, including screen printing and photocopying, replacing the black ink in the photocopier with a variation of colours.

Dettmers editorial work is quick and simple illustrations, with the main aim of communicating an article. The speed in which he creates his editorial work is essential, as they may need to be completed very quickly for the clients. Dettmer says he usually spends two hours on the roughs and then two hours of the final illustration, which is vital as to get the job finished. So it is not important to create a detailed illustration with lots of experimentation and process', he just needs to create one that will satisfy his client.

Tracy Kendall's work however is aimed at a different market, so she has time to consider the materials she uses and experiment with different process'. Kendall has a BA in fine arts and also experimented a lot with screen printing. In 1996 she began experimenting with wallpaper design, in the first instance to create one for her own home.

Tracy Kendall. Stacks of books.

One piece of advice from Kendall was to not stick to a precise formula, which varies from Dettmers work with editorials. Dettmer is forced to stick with the same formula for each editorial illustration as he knows that works for him, and under the time restraints that isn't a problem. As Kendall has very little time restraints with her work, she has more freedom.

Kendall exhibits her work a lot also. In one trade show in London she was able to work outside of her allotted space, and she created a forest for people to walk around and view hers, and others work. The vary nature of how Kendall represents her work gives her less restraints and she has more control over how it is viewed, where as Dettmer does not. Kendall often creates pieces for her own interest, rather than being commissioned, and when her work is commissioned its very loosely briefed.

Tracy Kendall. Sequins. Robin Day Chair.

One instance of this is when she was asked to re-design a Robin Day chair, and it was all her own choice about the design. The process' in her work vary to, as she says she likes all her work to be handmade, refusing to create things in photoshop as she says it loses the quality. Tracy uses Laser Cutting a lot in her work, and enjoys playing with perspective. She likes to look at wallpaper in relation to the wall, how it interacts with it, and how it can change it. Her educational background explains as to why she works this way now. Were Dettmer comes from a graphic design background, Kendall comes from a fine art background. Graphic design involves sticking to strict briefs, as where fine art is very loosely briefed by the artist and is there for more about there own interpretations.

The two designers vary mostly because of the way there work is represented and how they are commissioned. Dettmers work is not his own chosen subject, it is a representation of somebody else's chosen subject. He doesn't have a say in the initial idea, but he has to find the best way to communicate someone else's work and idea. With his editorial work he is restricted in the process' he can use, as they need to be created quickly, so the computer would be the best tool for this. He has found ways around this by creating artist books, and this is how own personal way of being creative and creating work he enjoys. He has no brief to stick to with them, and this is his way of working for pleasure.

As Kendall exhibits work, she is then commissioned to create work based on those pieces, or given free rain. She has a lot of time to experiment and is hired based on her own personal work. She is the opposite to Dettmer, people commission Kendall on the basis of her own idea, where as Dettmer is commissioned to represent somebody else's ideas. Kendall creates work with which she would want to invest in, where as Dettmers editorial works is purely there to help communicate somebody else's. I would prefer the working style of Kendall, as I find it hard to try and represent somebody else's ideas, and to ignore all my urges to experiment with it. Both designers work very differently and for different very different clients. But they both require the same skill to create visually appealing images or pieces that will satisfy there clients and the viewer.

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Tea Acrobats

I am really happy with these images, just can't decide which one i prefer. I think at the moment its the one with less stars on it. Madame Leprince is the woman my sister will be living in Paris with next year! And the town is where she lives!

Timbuktu Boat

I arranged this image as a double page spread also, as this was how it was photographed, landscape rather than portrait. I think it would still be nice as a poster... I cant use type!!

the portrait image is wrong, i dont like it, and i messed up the image background somehow. I dont like it, yuk.

Number 54

These are the final two images for the Number 54 house. Ive really struggled finding a way to add text to the image and hope this comes across ok. Ive arranged it so they could be used in a double page spread or as two posters.


Here are some examples of Maya Grafiks work. Ive been looking at them for ideas for layouts for my posters.

Ballet Poster, Tornerose

I was just doing some quick googling n Poster layouts when I found this image. I love it, and would really like to create a similar layout for my work. I like how the text doesnt deter the attention from the main image.

Friday, 24 April 2009

Elsa Mora ... No Reply ...

Dear Elsa Mora

Hi! I'm on my final year of an illustration degree at Stockport College in England and I came across your work whilst looking on Etsy and then found you on blogspot! Ive just Begun my final major project and I will be creating paper sculptures and illustrations to a selection of stories. Your 3-D sculptures are amazing, and for my final project I was looking to do something similar, but i will be creating something like a stage scene (well thats what it is in my head) and 2-d illustrations.

I'd like to ask a few questions if you have the time? What problems do you encounter with this process and how do you tackle them? Have you ever done any work for childrens books? or editorials? Im interested in working free lance once I have completed my degree and would like to now your thoughts on this.

Any help you could give me would greatly appreciated.

Thanks alot!

Sarah Frost

Bruce Monro ... No Reply ...

Dear Bruce Munro

My name is Sarah Frost and I'm currently on my final year of an Illustration degree. I understand that you must be busy, but Im very cheeky and have just a couple of question for you! If you could find the time to answer them I would be hugley greatful.

How did you get your work 'out there' and known, how did you promote yourself? was it through setting up a studio? or did the work lead to you setting up a studio?

I have a blog which I use to show my tutors where im up to and who im looking at. Recently you were one of the people and a woman called Jenny commented on it saying she did some work for you and you would be glad to hear that you Inspired me!



Container Plus Studios, dont think ill be able to make that portfolio session ...

Dear Luise

My name is Sarah Frost and I'm on my final year of an Illustration degree. I was wondering if there was any portfolio sessions coming up in May or June? I'm also very cheeky and Ive added a piece of my work to this email.



Hello Sarah,

Sorry it has taken me so long to respond!
Thank you for your email and your interest in ContainerPLUS.
The next available date is thursday, the 7th of May.
Any time after 4pm -
Would that work for you?

With best wishes


font and poster text

I found this free font on and created the text that will go onto my tea acrobat poster. I know i've spelt things wrong but they can be corrected!!

Circus Posters

As I want to create the Tea Acrobat IMgae into a circus poster I have been looking at how a circus poster is set out. The one thing I really like is how the type gradually decreases in size the further down the poster, like an eye chart.

Beringer Advert

This is an advert that Su Blackwell worked on with Michel Gondry's brother. I wish I still had time to create an animation.

inside book cover

this is the inside cover from the diary project, i have altered it slightly by making the image less grey and giving a warmer tone to inkeep with the rest of my work.

Boat work

These are extra images taken for the boat work I did. I finely chose to use the boat on the white background as the spotlight showed better on it, making the image alot more dramatic.

animal work

these are the un edited photographs for the animal referal brief.

mark hadden

What I liked about Mark Haddons illustrations is the way he creates his type. I liked the hand drawn quality of it. i think thats what comes across in Rob Ryan type also, as they are both hand crafted.

Type, rob ryan

Rob Ryan is famous for his cut out illustrations and incorperating text into them. im very interested in doing something similar my self, and then scanning them in rather than photographing them.

Circus type

Ive been trying to think how to work type in with my work. for the 'Tea Cup Acrobat' image I would like to make it into a circus poster. Ive looked at various different circus types and would like to attempt to create them in cut outs, if that doesnt work, In would possibly hand draw it.

Valerie Pirson interview

I found this interview really really interesting. In it you can see how she created a scene from 'Pistache' and what techniques she uses. Its gotten me really into the idea of creating an animation, but i dont think I will have time to create it for my final piece. Its definatly something i want to look into after my degree. I really really wish I had time to create something for the show!

The Secret History

These are the images i created for the penguin book competition. Although I did not end up entering the competition I am very pleased with the images I created for it. Especially because I had to photograph the images myself and I have the most unsteadiest hands. The only thing i struggled with was the text. Im having this problem when it comes to adding text to my final images.