Sunday, 26 December 2010

for us book lovers -an exhibition.......
Our next exhibition theme (2011) is crop.

Please start thinking about the theme... As ever you can interpret it in any way that you like.

Crop will be slightly different to our other exhibitions.
We are taking some time out to make plans for 2012.
Our plan for crop is that it will be an exhibition where all the selected entries will be on-line and a cropped selection will appear in cases at The University of Northampton in the reception area and Executive corridor outside the main exhibition space.

Initially we are asking for 3 photos of your bookwork we will then make a selection from these for the on-line and cropped exhibition.

Email submission date – for completed submission forms and photos:
June 1st 2011 (UK and worldwide)

Email photos to:

Initial photo requirements:
3 photos in total as tifs or jpgs at medium resolution (180dpi).
(If selected we will then require a high res image at 300dpi so please make sure you have that available.)
The photos will need to be either:
a) if your work is like a book = 1 of cover, 1 of a spread and 1 of a close-up (cropped bit) or
b) if your work is like an object/sculpture = 1 of front, 1 of another view and 1 of a close-up (cropped bit)

As usual we are looking for work that is innovative, creative and very well crafted.
These are our selection criteria and we stick to them closely. The curators decision is final
and we will not exhibit work that is deemed by us to be offensive. Our exhibitions are open to the public including children.

We will only consider work that is appropriate to the theme and accompanied by the completed submission form.
Work must be under A3 in size and under 1kg (if it is selected and needs to be returned to you).

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Underground Alphabet

Timmy Timm Timms

Timothy Treadwell...the man who loved the thing that killed him. For those who are in my group doing this dude, you should know that he actually had a pretty impressive life. Ducking the National Park Guards, understanding grizzly bears, giving them names, and hanging out with them for 13 summers with his lovely girlfriend; but wait! it gets better, they actually did a film based on his life and he invented a group that protect these bears called Grizzly People.

Nice touch there, Tim

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

The wonders of Iggy Peck, Architect.

This was from ages ago when we were looking at space and place. And whilst Penny and I were looking through out Iggy Peck book, we discovered a page with ALL of our lecturers on it....
Spooky stuff indeed!
Please click to see the names clearer! =D

once apon a pixle

Monday, 8 November 2010

Mr Bingo - Group Visual Analysis

Text to be posted! Just add what you can to the headings below:

Visual qualities/Formal elements


mono print in black on yellow paper; contrast light & dark; intense; primary colour & black.

Contrasting, strong colours.

yellow and black!



2D shapes

fairly simple


Sillouette; strong vertical images with right angle text; unbroken edge.


images of human arms same size as guns to create mirror image/reflection


Typography looks like it is cut out of paper; the images of the arms & guns look like from photos but simplified - has an overall lino-cut look


Hands & guns look realistic like shadow/photogram


strong grid structure; upper & lower images laid out to look like reflection

either side of text


symmetical; uniform visual syle; contrast soft shapes of hands with mechanical shapes of guns

Focal point

Use of same visual style overall allows viewer to concentrate on 'reading' message

from top hands & arms raised - text explains - examples of guns


simple 'handmade' look, simplified sillouettes make pattern


strong suggestion of upward/downward motion

suggestion of space - crowd of children with arms raised

table with collection of guns laid out

Expressive qualities/Content & meaning

What is the subject matter?

Political/ humanist/protest/ campaign to protect children being used in armed conflict

Does it have a visual style?

handmade lettering- punk style

lino-cut/block print - textile printing

sillouettes - puppet theatre

What do you think it represents/symbolizes?


What do you think the illustrator was trying to communicate?

strong message to protect vulnerable children

What is your gut reaction to it?

simple; powerful & clever play on words

What feelings does it provoke?

shock that this situation exists; fear of the number of different kinds of guns that exist

Sara Fanelli - Group Visual Analysis

Group Visual Analysis - 2nd Nov

Visual/Formal qualities


Dominant red, vibrant and complimentary

Big contrast between light & dark tones – full spectrum of tonal ranges

Basic & bold, intense rich colour palette


Flat 2D forms – use of geometric shapes

Shapes build up human-like features


Scratchy, harsh lines, unusual angles

Scribbles and curves juxtaposed with straight lines

Both hard and blurred edges

Indication of movement/direction through arrows and lines


Painted on wood? Spray painted using stencil?

Ready made, found background? Spray painted down a dark street?

Print? On metal?

Digital? Hand drawn?


Lots of visual texture – gritty and edgy, scratchy and rough


Repetitive triangular shapes

Visual rhythm from alternating middle section



Focal point

Eyes emphasized by their detail in contrast to the rest of the image

Head, eyes in bold, dark beak/nose

White face highlighted through tonal contrast to the rest of the image

Direction of shapes and lines from left to right


Unusual perspectives

Blurry edges suggest movement/energy

Suggestion of motion – winged shape

The whirlwind tummy

Expressive qualities/Content & meaning

What is the subject matter?

Birdman, reminiscent of the child catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Does it have a visual style?

Reminiscent of Dada imagery – uneasy, unusual angles

What do you think it represents/symbolizes?

Text at the bottom: ‘voler, volare!’ (French then Italian for ‘to fly’)

The reds are not warm an welcoming – more ‘keep away’ & ‘danger’

What do you think the illustrator was trying to communicate?

Sense of freedom? Or sense of dread?

What is your gut reaction to it? What feelings does it provoke?

Intense & violent, dark and sinister - not a positive vibe.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010


Thought i would post up my favourite blog at the moment, if you're in to monsters then you will love this, its updated pretty much daily and is very good for some monstery illustration inspiration!

Sunday, 31 October 2010

There is an article about the Simpsons intro by Banksy at as well as lots of lovely other things, really worth a look.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Children's Illustration

Oodlez and Noodlez of kids illustrators on this site for those interested in that kinda thing.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

David Kracov

I was just thinking about Space and Place and different examples of how space can be effective in an artist's work, and it got me thinking.

I was looking around an art shop in New York when I visited in the summer, and I was introduced to the work of David Kracov. David Kracov is apparently one of the only people in the world allowed to officially produce artwork for Looney Tunes and Warner Bros.

Some of his "Shadow Boxes" feature characters like Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and many others in different scenarios and the titles of each piece of work is always a clever play on words, and it shows that in the little space that each character is given, there's a lot of humour behind it.

For example: Taz holding up the word "PRESSURE" - Under Pressure. Daffy looking from behind a corner - Peeking Duck.

The Prodigy - Warrior's Dance - uncut

Monday, 25 October 2010


so who knows what they actualy want to do for it? or has an idea what they are doing for it?

Thursday, 14 October 2010

BOO!! Its Shape and Place again

This is slightly carrying on from Penny's post, but Ive always enjoyed Tim Burton's films, particularly the animated ones, and this scene from Corpse Bride shows off the beautifully constructed scenery and painstaking animation.
Each part of the scene is intricately crafted with an amazing amount of care and detail, it could almost be real, where it not made from what it is made from. (Although when thinking about it, it is real, the actual set was made as if it were a life-size set.) Some elements are made with CGI but they blend seamlessly with the crafted elements creating a clear idea of space and place.
Its also worth thinking about the filming. Tim Burton uses stop-motion animation, but looking at the smooth camera sweeps and particularly the scenes towards the end, its hard to come to terms with the idea that its composed of thousands of still images strung together.
Apart from the fact that its done with still images, the effect is identical to the regular kind of filming. The camera man still has to get in there and zoom out as the scene pans out, and so too does he have to move the camera along a track like he would when filming any sequence.
It kinda gives a new dimension to the idea of shape and place, to think about the 'actor' moving around in the entirely constructed scenery as well as the camera men, even though its all only a few inches tall and made from plasticine etc.


Beatrix Potter - Space & Place

We all know Beatrix Potter for her children's stories about bunnies and squirrels and all sorts of other furry critters, but she was also a very talented artist who illustrated all of her books.
Spending most of her time outdoors, sketching animals, she managed to create a very organic feel within her illustrations using watercolours and ink. The soft wash of the watercolours creates a dreamy outdoors sunlight effect. The colours, dull and lacking in vibrancy, portray a gloomy, wintry, British day perfectly. She used harsh brush-strokes to paint in the grass blades and leaves of the trees.
You really become absorbed into her illustrations, almost as if you can smell the grass and feel the wind on your face.
Though there is a sort of unrealism about the illustrations too, as you don't usually find cute beady-eyed ducks waddling around the countryside dressed in a shawl and bonnet. Yet you get a sense of time and place as what Jemima Puddle-Duck is wearing is a typical Victorian outfit, a perfect depiction of the era.

- By Lucille Bond.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Lauren Child/Space and Place

The artist I immediately thought of that portrays space in their work (in a very simple/obvious sense) in Lauren Child in her 'Charlie and Lola' work. In this image above Lola is very obviously at the beach :-)

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Space and Place...

I found this photo the other day and I just love the way it confuses the brain. This is one of the set designers from the Corpse Bride by Tim Burton (LOVE HIS WORK) and it makes you think. When you watch one of his films i.e. this one or A Nightmare before Christmas, you accept the characters as being perfectly proportioned, however when you see them like this in their real perspectives and sizings, it totally throws your brain out of wack while you get your head around the fact that they actually are very small compared to humans...

From Anorac Summer Colouring Book

In terms of space and place this image feels like it doesn't really belong to any particular space or place. It feels quite random, but when you actually begin to look at it closely, you notice words and a kind of sequence to it, almost like a piece of writing that you read left to right. It features drawings of little creatures, instruments, rainbows, trees and clouds. It feels like when your looking at it you could be following the artists train of thought through doodling, or maybe he or she was listening to a piece of music at the time and it represents different parts of the song, the instruments could be the instruments the artist was hearing, the expressions on the creatures faces could be the way the music sounds. It could be a timeline or a journey of walking through an area and the things that the artist has seen or heard have been jotted down. I don't know exactly what it represents, but i think instead of being a specific space/place, it sort of flows and its like your supposed to read the illustrations as they are set out, like a page in a book.(emily)

Girls who draw (present Menagarie)
This piece represents a space because it’s background is a cut down woodland area but it is also a non space as the woodland area is no longer there.
It could be fixed within our time as deforestation has only become a huge impact on animals recently.
This image is unreal as this scenario would never happen, it is the artists ideal conclusion to the story they are trying to convey through illustration.
This image feels unfamiliar as the woman is blue and the background is very vague but it also feels familiar because of the current wildlife crisis.
This is definitely a unnatural image as a bear wouldn’t fit in someone’s hair and the image is negative as the image is about the animals losing there homes due to deforestation.
From the little book called Girls who can draw Menagerie (male animal lingerie) comes this picture from Gemma Correll.
In relation to it being in our lecture on Space and Place, this illustration represents the illusion of a space within the background by the fact that it is empty. The concentration of the space is by the girl and the animals in her hair. There is no fixed time, but I think it is universal because of the message it brings forth. It has unrealistic approach to the concerns representing animal and forestry protection is also unfamiliar because of the colour of the girl, and the animals that are wearing make up and/or clothing; it is Gemma’s unrealistic and unnatural approach to a global and recognised problem. Though the colours are light, the message is not. This is because though pink is a represented colour that brings forth emotions of happiness, if one looks at the picture thoroughly, one could note that the skin of the girl contradicts her hair; she is blue, therefore melancholy, and her facial expression helps this. The animals do not look happy either, therefore, the dark satire of the fact that a bear cannot be placed in a girl’s hair is there, but this picture is dominated by the negative thinking of the animals being there, in her hair, for a reason. All in all, the sense of place and space is around the girl and the animals, but the sense of it all is empty because it has been stripped bare by the emptiness and by the colour. This makes the realistic idea unrealistic to get your attention.

This images space reminds me of wasteland, its not warm or exotic its cold, dark and image is slightly surreal because of the elements of dispostion ie the teddy bear; slumped beside the building is the same size of the building.
The image feels unfamiliar to me, like it could be the result of the 'end of the world' or something disasterios as the space is deserted and bleak. Its unnatural and has a negative appeal, it could also be seen as a concentration camp as it has the element of control and the train track is segregating the area from the rest of the wasteland. The landscape is ridgid and random, its swallowing buildings and I think it looks like there was once water on this land and its at the bottem of the sea (which has gone) as the ship in the backround is perched on a raised area like its a sunken ship that got stuck.
All in all i think the illustrator 'Shaun Tan' has made some amazing, effective and interesting illustrations and I will like to follow more of his work. (Tora)

Simone Lia

Image from : BOTH By Tom Gauld and Simone Lia
The picture appears to be set in a warm space, quite a homely vibe is given off; the mans shoes are off, theres a cup of tea or coffee on the floor and a magazine opened and over turned carelessly on the floor, this shows he is relaxed and cosy, probably settling down for the evening.
the atmosphere of the image is very realistic but once you begin to read the text its becomes unrealistic (rabbits cant talk) the rabbit comes across as a child to the man because of the way he hugs it, and shows they have a natural bond which makes this quite an unnatural piece of work.
Beyond the unnatural/ unrealistic values its a very positive picture, there are no colours to show much bad feeling, the smooth running, bold outline gives a happy appearance to the artwork.
although visually the facial expressions are a small part of the image, when reading it they play a major roll. because of the lack of colour i relied mostly on the facial expressions and the text to tell the storey.


David Shrigley

Oliver Jeffers

Rob Ryan

This is "London Fashion Week 2009" by Illustrator Rob Ryan. (It's not very clear from this picture but the image is actually a photograph of a very intricate, paper cut out design!)
Answering the set questions:
Does it represent a space or a non-space?
The image represents London- 'tower bridge' is a main part of the image and there are even tiny london underground logos around the border.
Is it fixed within a particular time?
It is advertising 'fashion week' in London in 2009.
Does it seem real or unreal?
There are definately 'real' aspects to it- it is obviously a person sitting on tower bridge but it's not a 'real' image- tower bridge is suspended in mid-air and the lady is giant! It is also lacking the colour of real life.
Does it feel familiar or unfamiliar?
The image of tower bridge and the underground logo are both fairly familiar.
Does it feel natural or unnatural?
Pretty unnatural- I don't know many giants....
Does it feel positive or negative?
Um... I don't think that if, in real life a giant woman did actually sit on top of tower bridge that it would be received in a particularly positive manner as the bridge would most probably be broken! However... in this context I think that it's fairly positive- especially if you like fashion... if you don't like fashion then perhaps it's not so positive. Taking the positive negative thing further- the whole image is in only 2 colours- black and white, the black here being positive. Also it is a cut out of which we can only see the positive here as the negative has been removed....

Matt Groening

Anti-fat Ad

Stephen Appleby

This is an illustration from Stephen Appleby's "Antmen Carry Away My Thoughts As Soon As I Think Them".

It's a really simple design but I believe that just in this simple sketch, there's actually quite a bit of meaning, and even humour, about isolation and empty space.

I don't think there's any real theme or event, but it seems slightly real like it could happen, you could end up feeling as isolated as the image represents.

It seems like it could naturally happen, but the picture had a bit of a neutral feeling to it, although the loneliness aspect has a negative feel to it. (patrick)


David Roberts

Me and Toby had this as our picture as we loved the way the illustrator has left the background entirely white, meaning that it is up to your imagination to put the children in a specific place... (Penny)
Toby edit-
The characters and props help to tell us more about the 'place', for example the children holding the tree trunk (just how strong are these kids?) give us a clue as to where they may be, maybe in a around a forest area?
Another point is that the illustrator relies on our familiarity with these signifiers to help tell us more of the 'place'.

Graham Rawle

Cindy and I both felt that this was quite an innocent, if a little odd, image at first but the more you look the wierder it gets. The hand for example, one is a paper cut out the other some kind of inflatable, some of the fruit and veg is flat some 3D and after a while it makes you feel uncomfortable. The whole thing is confined within a box (not that clear on the photo) but the intense dark behind the figure gives it a real claustrophobic feel and it really does get stranger. You have to be impressed by someone who can elicit all those feelings with an image.

Shaun Tan

Sara Fanelli

Tony Diterlizzi

Edward Gorey

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Bookbinding - a world awaits.....


B/W drawings throughout text & 17 monochrome plates inc. 2 fold-out in colour.

G. Guido Giannini. Publisher Ulrico Hoepli, Editore Libraio Della Real Casa, Milano. First edition. 1908. 204 pages + 64 pages other Hoepli books. Cover is Vellum with 2 ribbons threaded around, with black & red lettering. Marbled end-papers. Approx. 11x15x2cms. Text in Italian.

Book Condition: Fair for age. The cover is undamaged but needs cleaning, the front edges wrap around, and the ribbons are broken. Page edges and margins (2cms) tanned. The binding is solid but 3 monochrome plates are detached.

A book for ‘amateur’ bookbinders with some historical background, illustrated instructions & plates of traditional styles – Aldino; Groliere; XVII century; Canevari; Padeloup; Derome; Impero etc.

There are several editions of this book - this one the first. The book block is rather boring but the cover is exceptional - I've never seen vellum before. It had become very grubby & was really easy to clean having an impermeable quality.

An internet bookseller hopes to get £600 for a similar copy - it sold for Oxfam on ebay for £120 to a bookbinder in San Francisco.

more amazing paper sculpture!

Friday, 1 October 2010

Jeff Nishinaka- Paper Sculptures

Found some rather snazzy stuff while researching for Khamal's Design Journey workshop. A few pieces of work by Jeff Nishinaka, mainly white paper sculptures simular to what some of us were looking at on wednesday.
Rather complex to make, but it gives one a good idea of what can be done with white paper on white paper. =D

more Upcycling

Another local artist (Totnes) David Greenaway put together this installation for Totnes Open Studios earlier this year using books bought from Oxfam Bookshop where I volunteer.
To be in the presence of so many books in such a solid mass was staggering; the hidden spines were challenging & the thought of how many words & how much information is contained in 10 cubic metres of books stayed with me for many days afterwards.
Logistically nearly impossible to reproduce in another gallery - each book has its place like a stone in a drystone wall. The most impossible aspect perhaps would be the artist's inability to resist changing the work in some way when re-assembling it elsewhere.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Awesome online books!

I was looking at books online and found this really cool site where you can read the actual books, page by page, over the net. The illustrations are all very different, I loved the one titled 'Invisible Alligators' above is a pic of the inside.
There's books for children, older children and young adults, but I thought we might appreciate it from an illustrative point of view.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010


A NEW TERM TO ME - “Upcycling (unlike recycling) is the practice of taking something that is disposable and transforming it into something of greater use and value, leading to a higher material and energy benefits.”
I'm familiar with Re-fashioning - altering existing clothes (usually 2nd hand) to make them more fashionable/interesting/individual - also a form of recycling.
This is a link to a local artist (Rattery, near South Brent) whose work I saw at Devon Open Studios, she isn't really doing Upcycling as defined above, but another kind of recycling by taking rather old-fashioned ceramic ornaments that have limited appeal & transforming them into new - well -ornaments!

Attention, Sci-Fi fans...

This is a blog I've been following for some time, composed by a guy called Justin Page. He's compiled all this work from other Graphic Designers, Illustrators and just all-round fans of sci-fi, video games, fantasy etc.

If you've got the time, check out as much as you can, if you're into that stuff, it's really worth a look!

May the Force be with you, live long and prosper, nanu nanu an' all that!

The House of Fairytales

Just a few photos from the House of Fairytales trip in Penzance...

we love dinosaurs