Saturday, 28 February 2009

Susan Cutts

Dear Susan Cutts

Hi! My name is Sarah and I am on my final year of an illlustration degree at Stockport college of higher education.

Your work is beautiful, I particularly like Nursery Rhyme and Lullaby, but all your work is so delicate and fragile, its stunning!

My work is done in a paper cut out style, with illustrations accompanying my own and my sisters stories. Although I don't use paper the same way you do, I want to create the same fragility that i see in your work, in my own.

I have some little question for you, which I hope you wont mind helping me with? I understand you must be busy, but any hep you could give me would be greatly appreciated.

What education did you undertake? And what were you steps after? Right now were being prepared for the big scary world, particularity editorial Illustration. Do you work free lance? or do you have an agent? how do you go about approaching galleries?

I hope to hear from you soon, and thanks for taking the time to read over my email!

Sarah Frost

thanks for your email and I'll try and answer your questions.
I left school at 15 with no qualifications. My first job was with Vauxhall Motors - I spent three years there on a secretarial training scheme. I worked as a secretary for many years in Central London, I also in my spare time made 'one off' items of clothing which I sold through various outlets. In 1987 I applied to the London College of Fashion and the London College of Furniture - I had plans of taking up 'fashion design'. The interview with London College of Furniture came first and I accepted a place. I had read that Issey Mikaye always went to his textile designer first so I thought it a good idea to study constructed textiles. I did a four year City & Guilds in Constructed Textiles. Half way through, upon realising that my work was very sculptural I decided to concentrate on textile 'art'. I chose to make and use my own handmade paper because I knew if I used fabric or stitch in my work I would end up a dressmaker, which I no longer wanted to be I was more interested in why we wore clothes as opposed to making them.
0 I left London College of Furniture and applied to EVERY exhibition I came across. I think I was lucky to have galleries interested in my work from the beginning. I never thought about making work to sell as I felt it would compromise the finished work. Not always a good idea but as I said before I have been very lucky. I tend to explore ideas and these sometimes culminate in a 'piece' of work. I am also commissioned by galleries to make pieces (most of my big pieces have been commissions). This is great as other galleries then pay me to show the work - a sort of hire charge I suppose.I don't have an agent and could never see the point especially as the actual 'making' of the work although very very time consuming does not take up every minute of my day and perhaps my secretarial experience does help in this repsect. I haven't approached galleries for quite a few years but seem to have more than enough offers. This may sound like boasting but I have been working with paper since 1991 and I think after a few years of very hard work exhibiting where ever I could did pay off in the end.
Ok, the world is probably a very different place from 1991, but we were in a recession then. My advice would be follow your instinct, easy said and it doesn't always pay the bills.
On leaving College, I had a body of work, loads of slides and had a postcard done of some pieces. Today I would suggest a good body of work, a website, images on disc. I know its expensive but it is always worthwhile having a profession photo taken of your work this will guarantee it being used in books etc. If you are passionate about your work and it has integrity you are half way there.
Hope this helps - if you have an image send me one I would love to see your work. SUSAN

Mary Poppins Musical

After watching Mary Poppins last night at the Palace Theater for the second time, I had a mini brainstorm, lots of ideas for little paper scenes. The stage design was amazing, especially the movable 'doll' house which was the Banks' house. It has a back and a front which opened and closed with which the characters could move about in. Also, the use of perspective in the bank scene was difficult to get my head round! the background drop was the a view of the banks ceiling as if you were looking directly up into it, yet with vertically sloping doors which could be used normally!

Also, I loved the use of silhouettes in the first opening act, and all through. The background scenery of silhouetted buildings and smoke was beautiful. The whole stage scenery reminded me of what I wanted my work to be about, and there for, lots of little ideas have sprung from it.

Kites will be what im working on this week.

Monday, 23 February 2009

Paper House

My sister and I are writing the story for this image as I type.

CD design

Ive been asked by my Dad to create the CD design for his bands next CD! and it will be sold on Amazon :) so heres what Ive done so far.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

'Here's what we'll do, we'll start a new, and take a boat to Timbuktu."

"This world that we live doesn't have to be what it seems, You can go there each night, take the boat of sweet dreams"

Me and my sister have written a short story to go with the image. The image was originally inspired by a Lullaby from the film 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang' so we created our own Lullaby for this. I really like the overly sweet sentiment in children stories, and the combination of a darker twist.

I would like to create a simple type to write the story along side the image, thats why it has been photographed with the space around it. Eventually I would like to make my own book with a collection of stories and illustrations created in this style.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

WWF Climate Change Campaign

Heres a couple of images I found for the WWF new climate change bill campaign. I'm having difficulty finding any information of the designer behind the images and website design. I love the simplicity of the waves in the picture above, I was contemplating creating waves on panels for the Husha by Mountain Illustration, but I may try this system. Also the 3-D boat is something I would like to try myself. Whilst working on a summer camp in America last year, one of the projects was creating huge paper lanterns, similar to the boat. I would like to try doing something similar in my major project, incorperating some of the characters I have been using.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

I want to eat this film

Can't wait to go see this. The style is quite quirky and how I would like my work to be represented. Its making me think about the possibility of creating characters and then using them in the cut out style I am working with at the moment.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009


Heres some lanterns I made whilst playing around with some paper bags.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Thearter der Dammerung

After emailing Axel Brotje who created the short animated film Fische und Schiffe, he gave me the link to this German theater group. Unfortunately, most of the website is in German, so I couldn't read much about the group, even after a shoddy Google translation. but I got the idea of there work through the pictures. The links appear in the contact report from Brotje in my blog but here they are again:

the second link if for a particular play that Brotje said had inspired his imagery for Fische und Schiffe. The theater company use traditional techniques and I would like to explore this by looking further into Shadow puppets. I also found some information on a basic way to make a stop motion film with a digital camera, so may also try that.

The figures they use in the Dammerung plays are very similar to the figures Lotte Reiniger created, and I can see now what a huge influence she must have been to the use of shadow and silhouette animation.

To all the boys and girls who read my stories — and especially to the Dorothys — this book is lovingly dedicated." -L. Frank Baum

After doing a little research into 'The Marvelous Land of Oz' ( the second book) and 'Ozma of Oz' (the third) I would like to inform you that there are forty Oz books!

After 'Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz' (which is the fourth book) I get a little lost, So I'm going to select one scene from Ozma of Oz to Illustrate. The scene being Dorothy, Ozma, Billina (her chicken replacement for Toto), the woodsman, scarecrow , 27 soldiers of Oz and Tik Tok have to locate a missing Royal family who have been transformed into ornaments by the Gnome King. They each have to guess which ornaments they have been transformed into in the Gnome Kings ornaments collection, if they guess incorrectly, they themselves are transformed into ornaments.

Billina was not allowed to guess until she infuriates the Gnome King by laying an egg, which are poisonous to gnomes. Once they have guessed correctly, the Gnome Kings is angered, but any attempts to capture the party are stopped by Billinas eggs, which she lays in there path.

I think the bizarre plot will be very exiting to illustrate through cut outs, and done in a pop up book style similar to Su Blackwells work.

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Major Project

I would like to create motion in my final pieces, whether it's with an animation program or me physically moving it! I've almost decided upon the five stories I will be looking at:
  • Great Expectations
  • Husha-bye Mountain (from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang)
  • The Time Travelers Wife
  • Ozma of Oz/ The Land Of Oz
The last one will be out of Oliver Twist, One of the Grimm Fairy Tales or An Inspector Calls. I like the idea of doing Oliver Twist as there is a lot of darker things happening in the book, such as Fagin being hanged and An Inspector Calls will also have a lot of darker Imagery.

I know I've included a lot of videos in my blog at the moment but there what seem to be the my main inspiration. The one I include now is a scene from the film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and im showing it because I would like to re create how I felt as a child watching this scene in my final exhibitiion. Also, the simple motion of a doll on a music box is beautiful, and I would like to use the same device in my final pieces. If I make a whole scene out of paper i could have elements of it moving, like a doll on a music box.

Friday, 6 February 2009

Andy Martin

Andy Martin told me it would be interesting to create a portfolio completely of paper cut outs, just wondering whether to make that literal and make a portfolio out of paper cut outs.

Michel Ocelot

This is a 1minute extract from one of the first Michel Ocelots animated short films. The delicacy in it is something I would like to re create in my own work.

Lotte Reiniger

I have been looking at the animator Lotte Reiniger after the email from Axel Brotje. Reiniger worked in the early 1920's and produced silhouette animations which included Cinderella, Hansel and Gretal and jack and the beanstalk. Her work is stunning, and all I want to do right now is go cut things out!

After looking at Reinigers work, it lead me to other animators such as Michel Ocelot.

Below is the Lotte Reiniger Silhouette film Cinderella

Axel Brotje, Fische und Schiffe

Dear Axel Brotje

Hi! Im on my final year of an Illustration degree at Stockport College in England. I'm currently researching into Cut Out design, in particular animation. Your short film is stunning, especially the the image of the inside of the boat. Could you please tell me what inspired you to create this short film? And what problems, if any, you may have encountered with the 'cut out' process?

any help you could give me would be brilliant.


Sarah Frost

Dear Sarah,

thank you for your email and the feedback on my short film. For this project i did a lot of image-based web research. Which means that i actually google and look at different websites and save images which are visually interesting to me. One of these sites is a group of artists who make plays with cut-out shadow puppets. Just without the computer. It is a german site unfortunately, but they have lots of images:

There was one special play they made which inspired me to do a seaside story, which is this link:

One thing you should know by the way is that my film only has a cut-out look. I wasn't cutting any paper at all. This film was completely done with computer software and the cut-outs are vectorgraphics from illustrator.

However, another inspiration for me was "Lotte Reiniger". She made the first silhouette film feature waaay back in 1926. But she had a great style and it was all handmade. Here's her wikipedia link:

You mentioned the inside of the boat. The idea was to really connect the fisherman to his boat. To create a whole world in which he's living. Thats why i put all the details in there: The wanted poster, the table and accessoires on the wall. It should look like he's developing masterplans from down there.
I collected images of reallife fisherboats and adapted objects which could be recognised as Silhouettes.

As i said, there wasn't really a cut out process. Sure i encountered some problems in the process of making this short film, but these were more or less technical issues. For example the smoke was a bit tough or the flowing puppet animation. I used a 3D-program which is called maya to do that.

I hope this is helpful for you. Do you have some illustration work online? I'd love to see something.

Kind regards,

Axel Brötje

Andy Martin. Final Image. Diary Project. Inside Cover.

Here is the final image for the diary project. The whole group worked as a team to create a Diary illustrating the Beaufort wind scale and we were each given different jobs. My job was to create this inside covers pattern/texture. As i did not have any exact description to follow I decided to create a pattern/illustration that showed the force of the wind. I did this by showing small characters being physically dragged from the page by the winds force. I decided to create it completely out of cut-outs as that is what I have been researching into at the moment, also it is what will make up my Major Project.

I have flipped the image horizontally so that the figures appear to be being pulled away from each other.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Who did this?

Going to see if I can find the creator of this music video.

Fische und Schiffe

I came across this animation whilst researching silhouette animation. Fisch and Schiffe is a student animation short film. The cut out style is very much what I would like to attempt, and have done so in the Diary brief. I would be interested in looking further into animation. Here is he short film accompanied by a still image of the boat. I have included this as I adore its simplictic appearance, but apon closer inspection, you see the great detail and time that must have been put into it.

Diary Work

Just a few more

Ok, so Su Blackwell wasn't the most helpful person, but all is forgiven as her works beautiful. So heres just a few more pictures to keep myself going.

Below is an image for Vanity Fair jewelery promotion and The Story of Peter Pan: The Pirate Ship

How very helpfull

Dear Su Blackwell

Hi! I am on my final year of an illustration degree at Stockport college and I am about to begin my final major project. Ive been looking for a new angle to my work and my little brother (of all people!) told me to look at your work. I absolutely adored your book sculptures and how you made them into a stage. I was most interested in your short films, can you tell me what inspired these? was it someones work in particuler?

When I see your work it pushes me on, thankyou!

Sarah Frost

Su Blackwell:

glad to hear that Sarah...keep going with it!!

Best wishes,