Thursday, 29 December 2011

Animal Anatomical Models

I just want to say first and foremost, that you people in the US are jammy buggers. You get all the high detail beautiful dinosaur models, and now this. Its just too much. One day I might become one of you, but well, then again, maybe not.
What am I rambling on about? 
I'm talking about these babies. Beautiful animal anatomical models that you can take apart. They're beautifully crafted. They're well designed. They look pretty accurate.

They cost a fortune to ship to England, and this is my qualm people.
Take a look at them.




I'm thinking that there had better be a shop that sells these in new york. Where I can easily access it within my busy schedule and get back to the hotel and stash them before my next meeting. 
If there is any research for New York happening... it will be for a place to buy these first. Don't worry about meeting publishers... just give me the damn models.

*faint*

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Aftercrimbomath

So, Christmas done with for another year.
I love spending time at my family home in Plymouth, its just a shame that it's in Plymouth.
Still, a nice christmas had by all I think.
Now I'm back in Falmouth, and having not done any work while I was in Plymouth, I really should get cracking! I'm ill at the moment though, so this could put a vice grip on actually getting much done. But I'm going to curl up with some nice food, and a hot chocolate, watch some cool documentaries, listen to my lovely new record player, and get some sketching done. 
When I finally feel up to it, I'll unpack my bags and get down to doing my dissertation! I reckon I can bash that out in no time... but I'm hoping that the uni library is open!

Here's a couple of christmas cards I did that I can now put up!
These 2 are of Chinese tea cups that are around 3 - 400 years old I think?  David and Kathy can correct me if I'm wrong!



Right o... Onwards!
Everyone else have a good christmas?
xxx

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Christmas Cards & The Late Night Scanner

I've been painting Christmas cards this year, and so far I've managed two. One for a tea shop, and one for a coffee shop. The hand seems to be coping quite well at the moment, but I don't want to stretch it too far.

So here's one of them!




I've been up late scanning sketchbooks most nights, and I have to say, I haven't managed to actually get very far at all. Still, life goes on, and I have a few more days before I head home, so I'd best get scanning faster!

Friday, 16 December 2011

New Sketchbook

As promised, the first few spreads from my new sketchbook. Nothin but moleskine baby. 
There's just a certain beauty that comes with that yellowy paper. 


 unspeakable terror you say?


 Lightnin' Hopkins is well worth a listen... The song Mojo hand in particular. Spotify it, or youtube, do whatever you can, just listen to it!


 Frog skeleton from the natural history museum, London... normally I get people ask things or comment when I'm drawing... not a soul did this time... perhaps they were all too engrossed in their own goings on.


 An alternative Christmas carol, a beautiful teacup from the teashop, and yep...a frog


 Big Butter and Egg Man... what a cool song, my favorite version by Louis Armstrong and The Hot 5

I've just gotten back into blind contours (where you don't look at the paper while you're drawing) and am rather pleased with the results (page above and below) I may have cheated a tiny bit (to make sure a hand gets attached to a sleeve and not a face) but for the most part, I'm not sneaking a peek.



So maybe you'll see some more blind contour work cropping up... maybe you won't. But its rather enjoyable, I just have to figure out where it fits into my illustration practice.

Next up - more sketchbooks from a bygone era.

Jazz, Blues and Book Up!

Well well well!
Recently I've been listening to a lot of jazz and blues to ease my gloomy mood because of my hand. I've been doing a bit of drawing here and there, but nothing really noteworthy. 
At the moment I'm scanning in sketchbook pages so that I can do an overhaul on the sketchbook section of my website. I think I'm going to have to get someone to help me sort it out, because the way I was taught to do it meant creating a separate page for each illustration, and not just doing an image swap... I don't quite understand why we didn't do that, but nevermind. Perhaps it was because of the scroll bar. 
In the end I'm going to have a separate little icon for each sketchbook, so you can browse through each one. It will be far more organised than what is up currently, and I hope that it will also provide some organisation to my sketchbook archives at home too. 

So, Jazz and Blues... I've fallen in love with the music, and just can't wait to get my record player, everything may well sound 100x better than compressed to death mp3 formats. 

Among the artists I quite like at the moment are,
Lightnin Hopkins,
John Lee Hooker,
Robert Johnson,
George Lewis,
Louis Armstrong,
Tom Waits
and 
Sidney Bechet

I had a lovely long talk with the guy that sells blues/jazz vinyl at the vintage market (on now at the Poly, Falmouth). Its really great that he doesn't mind me asking a million and one questions, and sometimes just liking the look of a vinyl cover. I picked up a really good George Lewis vinyl with a beautifully illustrated cover. So I'm well on my way, Robert Crumb's guide in hand, navigating my way through the stars of Jazz and Blues.

BUT WAIT!
The long awaited book 'When the Tree Flew' by Gabrielle Jonas is now up for sale on Barnes and Noble. Take a look!


Its really lovely to finally see my name on something available to the public! 

Hope you all have a lovely Christmas or holiday period, 
I'll be putting up some long forgotten sketchbook work soon, along with some recent stuff!
x

Monday, 28 November 2011

Tea Illustration & Packaging

Well, I finally finished the tea packaging (I think). I definitely bit off more than I could chew. What started as a 2 week project (although I had only planned to design the motif and make it in that time) turned into an 8 week project. 
I tried to do the packaging design, motif design in cut out that I had never tried before, typography, branding (what was I thinking?!) and design and layout for the information insert to go into the box. I wanted to do all this... for 5 teas. 

So what did I end up being able to do?
I did the packaging design, the motif cut out, I did an illustration for the insert and designed the layout of it myself. The branding didn't get too far at all, and I think I was hitting my head against a brick wall for a long time. I finally gave up when a local design agency came to my rescue and designed David and Cathy's amazing logo for the company.
I'm not going to beat myself up about it... at least I had a go, and I mean, there's an entire 3 year course devoted to that stuff... that I haven't been studying, and we never really covered branding at all in ND Graphic Design all those many years ago at college.

So here you go, I'll be taking some photos for my portfolio shortly when I can make a prototype in its entirety. It probably won't make it into my portfolio, or if it does it will play a mere cameo role.


The internal illustration... rather fun! I'm really enjoying single colour illustrations at the moment

  The front of the insert
(you would see the name of the tea through the cut out, but not the company name)

A different version with the red logo


and the back of the insert with all the information on the specific tea.

The motif



Packaging prototype


There would be general information on the outside of the box about the essence of tea and their ethics, plus I think there would be information on the taste of the tea on the back of the packet (applied with a sticker.)

Photos to come soon!

Studio Space?

I thought I would let you guys take a peek at my 3rd year studio space... or should I say, my studio clutter. I manage to bring in roughly 4 tons of rubbish to uni every day, spread it all out, look a it, ponder on the nature of my artwork and if I will ever make it as an illustrator, go and get a muffin and a hot chocolate to console myself on the outcome of said pondering, pack it all up again and walk up a big hill or two back to the safety of home, where I spend my days cleaning to avoid working. 

But its not all negative... no no no.
At roughly midnight my brain and creativeness wakes up! But by that time my body is pretty tired. Still, 2-3 am most mornings I'm there laying in bed, my body trying to get some rest while my brain is whirring with ideas. All I can manage to do is scribble down some vague ideas and hope that my rational brain will be able to decipher them in the morning. 

And then repeat.

Sometimes I get work done, I swear.






Running, Hognose & Foodweb

Hey guys!
I made a drunken bet the other night to lose a stone before my friend does... and what better way to do that than signing up to a 10k run? My thoughts exactly.
So I'm currently looking for one to sign up to around March time, and I'll commence training asap! 
I'll also be asking you lot to sponsor me to raise money for the 'Illustrated Quotes & Sayings" Book that our course produces for its 3rd year graduates. 
Its a book that contains an illustration from each of us lovely 3rd year illustrators, and also all of our contact details just in case you really like our work and want us to do some for you!

So, please, if you would like to make a donation, see me flailing wildly trying to reach the finish line of a 10k run, or perhaps even buy a copy of the quotes and sayings book once it is done, drop me a line on stephanie_ayres@hotmail.co.uk

P.S- Illustrators from all 3 years, if you're game for doing a 10k run, let me know, I should be putting up a sign up sheet in the 2nd/3rd year studio by the door once I actually find a 10k event for us to run. It would really be a great help, and could be a good challenge for us all, and the more people participating, the more sponsors we can hopefully get.

Cheers!

Now here are some of the recent illustrations finalised for 'When the Tree Flew' by Gabrielle Jonas












Getting there eventually! 
4 or 5 more to go



Thursday, 24 November 2011

Mantis, Book Illustration & Procrastination

As the dissertation first draft deadline looms, I'm surprisingly calm. This however, doesn't mean that I've done anything towards it, nor indeed will I be able to today. 
I don't really know what I'm doing, it just feels like a big wave about to wash over me, but I'll survive, I haven't died at sea quite yet.
I feel like everything has just been piling up around me in big stacks... there are projects left unfinished and because of my hand right now I'm having to fight the urge to try and tie up lots of loose ends. 
Today I did manage to put the final tweaks on a book illustration, so that is at least something. 
But I'm behind schedule because of my hand.
I need to get 2 illustrations done this weekend/next week so that I'm back on track, and ideally I need to have the next rough done for the image after that. I'm sure I'll be just fine, but thinking about it really spins my head sometimes.
I still need to finish off the tea project which had a big hiatus for quite some time. I haven't even managed to go for a cup of tea recently, I think thats partially because of me not having finished the project. Its not like they will actually be using my packaging, and its not like it really affects them at all if I don't get it done, but I want it finished, I want to hold it up, take photographs for the portfolio and be able to say I made this whole thing. 
Anyway.
Work that I have done...
before I injured my hand I did these... 2 for the book, and the mantis just for myself.





Below is a colour rough, just a small thumbnail. I do these before every painting so that I know what I'm doing colour wise. I also produce a tonal thumbnail before I do the colour thumbnails, so that I can balance out the darks and lights accordingly.

Before I even do any of that I do a rough pencil sketch.


Rough for the parakeet feather





 The final for Beulah reweaving her food web, colour adjustments to come


Getting there slowly,
Can't wait to get onto the next batch of fresh exciting projects though!
I can't wait until my hand gets better.


Wednesday, 23 November 2011

New York and Dissertation

Today we were briefed a little bit on our trip to New York. I'm pretty stoked, but also very apprehensive... will I have a coherent portfolio to show? Will I have found my niche in the world of illustration?

Who knows.
Its too early to tell, and I really shouldn't worry about it...
but I do.

And thats no good to anyone!

Also, with dissertation on the cards, and repetitive strain injury in my drawing hand, I'm like a dog tied to a stake in the ground with a big juicy steak just out of reach. I'm surprised I haven't gnawed my hand off yet.

While we're on the subject of metaphors, creating a portfolio and getting everything together as well as dissertation, website and figuring out what I'm doing style/subject wise may well feel just about as awkward as an elephant climbing a near vertical mountain. 
Just think about that for a second.

Tasty huh?

So thats where I'm at right now, and thats why you guys haven't really been seeing much work from my end right now. I'm also looking into breeding/keeping praying mantises, and doing a study on them for my natural history section of the portfolio. 

I'm hoping that when I finish the book I'm working on I'll be much freer to explore what I want to, a looser style will be much appreciated I think.

So, I'm on hiatus for a little while due to the hand, but I'll be back! 


Friday, 11 November 2011

C.W Stoneking and His Primitive Horn Orchestra

If you haven't heard of C.W. Stoneking, then you really should rectify that by listening to this
He's playing in Bristol on the 22nd, and I'm so sad that I can't afford to go, it breaks my heart really.

So instead, I stayed up all night with 2 of my lovely (yet crazy) housemates doing work, all the way through to the next morning and out the other side.
At around 7am we decided to watch the sunrise...it was hammering down with rain, and we headed to the beach, however it dawned (haha. ahem.) on us that we wouldn't make it in time, so we ran practically from our house to the seafront. Soaked through and still in my pyjamas, we stood and faced the elements and watched a hazy orange circle burn in and out of the clouds. After a good while being woken up by the rain in our faces, we walked down to the seas edge and just dared the waves to try and reach us.
All in all, it was an amazing adventure, super camaraderie, and I managed to get a lot of work done! I somehow managed to attend crit this morning, and still be coherent, and even lasted the day until 5 this afternoon. An achievement for someone who is crabby if they stay up til 2 instead of 1 in the morning usually. 

Anyway, story aside, here is one of the things I did last night



aaaand goodnight!

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Website!

I am now very very pleased to announce that my new website is now live on the tinterweb! 

Have a quick peek and let me know what you think

Thanks!

Friday, 28 October 2011

Animation, Website & Monkey

first draft of animating monkeys for my website
click on the image to see the animation
aaand faster...

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Jury, Beavers & Lovely Artists

I want to say thank you to all the artists who have ever contacted me to compliment me on my work. All too often, when people like something, they don't speak up enough, or tell the artist in question. Me included. So I endeavor to tell any artist whose work I admire, that I do indeed admire it.
It brightens up someone's day no end... I hope that remains the same no matter how much of a big shot you are. 
Anyway, thanks to all the lovely people I've talked to in the past and recently. You've all been absolutely charming.


Anyway! Here are the latest illustrations for the book 'When the Tree Flew' by Gabrielle Jonas

This is the Jury deciding on what Beulah the tree's fate will be



I think my favorite is the one below.



and here's a scene where the Beavers are saving? Beulah from the saw mill.





so... more to come soon! I'll get some sketchbook pages in soon, and photos from recent events!


Tea Packaging, Oyster Festival & 3rd Year

Right! Time for many updates on the work I've been doing.
Yesterday I completed my first cut out design for a local tea company "The Essence of Tea".
I presented the idea to them today, and they really like it, so I'll be doing a few structural adjustments to the design, and then I can start to create the prototype next week!

Here's a sneak peek of the first cut out
(my first attempt at such a detailed cut out ever!)

The orange areas are the areas that will be cut out of the front of the packaging, and will show through to the insert that will be placed inside to denote which tea it is. 
We're thinking of colour coding it so that the colour matches the colour of the tea when brewed... we'll have a look at the possibilities! Anyway, still a fair amount of work to do on this, I'll update as I go along, but I don't want to give away too much!
I'm so excited to work on this project, and I can't thank David and Kathy enough for including me in this venture! 

So its back at uni and into the third year!
Nerve-wracking times but everything seems to be going smoothly at the moment.
I'm currently designing my website,
here's a quick preview of what it will look like.
I might be attempting a little bit of animation, so keep your eyes peeled! Or I might wait until its up and running for the big reveal!


So here is the main page that will appear when you first head to my website

and here's 2 of the galleries that you will be able to flick through when it all goes live!


exciting times, and there will definitely be a big update on the work I show there. 
Any feedback on things you think I could improve then please let me know!
I'm going to be looking into hand drawn type for most of the links, so I might create another mock up soon. 

Next up - When The Tree Flew 
More illustrations from the book,
Sketchbook work & Mad Men party photos!

x