Wednesday, 29 February 2012

What would you make with a 3D printer?

We're in the process of looking at 3D printers. Amongst lots of samples of diverse, complex and interestingly engineered objects, the tat-compass in Grillust™ operative Tony Peart's (33) head, was inextricably drawn to this testing example of the 3D designers art. A lovely novelty, er, something (we're not quite sure what it is).

Tony's verdit? "I haven't seen anything so utterly tasteless all week!"

To the unobservant, or our more recent blog readers, this might seem like criticism; but as Tony is a firm subscriber to the old adage 'Taste is the last refuge of the unimaginative' he put in 'a cheeky bid' in the hope of adding it to his collection of Fulham – No sale!

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Scenes from the Life Room

This week an Emma Hodgson special!

Important notice for sheep


Capt. Davies (33) accompanied by his faithful Mini Me, Dave Wharton (21), quietly contemplates a world dominated by 1940's austerity haircuts. Mwooohahahahahah.

This type of cut used to be widely available from any local barber (Something for the weekend, Sir?). In a damning indictment of modern society, these days haircuts are called hairstyles, meaning that Capt. Davies and his Mini Me frequent Toni&Guy's for regular 'style adjustments'

You couldn't make it up!

Monday, 27 February 2012

Visiting Lecturer - Sally Henderson of Media Clash (Bath)

Northern lass moves South (West) for creative employment but has hardly changed at all shock (full story below).

Sally, back at her Alma Mater (last Friday)

Sally (33) graduated in June 2008 with a job secured at Future Publishing, based in the faraway city of Bath, Somerset.

The faraway city of Bath (yesterday)

You must appreciate that the City of Bath, in all it's Georgian splendour and middle class affluence, is a world away from Sally's home town of Bishop Auckland, Co.Durham. So much so in fact, that we were a little concerned about how she would cope with such a massive social, cultural and geographic change.

Bishop Auckland (yesterday)

Happily we can report that our worries were groundless and Sally took to her new lifestyle with gusto. Traditional Bishop Auckland staples such as cheesey chips with a mug of tea (below)...

...became a thing of the past as Sally embraced the 'Tea Room' culture that is synonymous with 'Bath living' (coincidentally the title of a magazine she would go on to design for).

A Bath Tea Room (pictured on Tuesday)

She has developed a real love of those Bath favourites, the Bath Oliver (below)...

Cheese not pictured

... and the Bath Bun (above).

Sally quickly made a home for herself in a rented flat located close to Bath's world famous Pulteney Bridge (see photo at top of post) and got down to some serious editorial design work.

Sally's flat last week

Her real skill and passion for editorial design was recognised immediately by Future who put her to work in the 'Art Studio'. The 'Art Studio' was a specialist team of hardcore editorial designers who had the flexibility, stamina and courage to work on any title within Future's huge portfolio of magazines. This elite cadre were the graphical equivalent of the British Army's Parachute Regiment. If a particular magazine had a designer 'down' or was under staffed a member of the Art Studio would be 'dropped in' at a moment's notice to help save the day.

Sally with just a few of the many titles she helped design whilst at Future Publishing.

During the three years that Sally was a member of Future's 'Art Studio' she worked on magazines as varied as: Classic Rock; Popular Prog; Total Cake; Vampire's Digest; What's an iPhone?; Moulinex Monthly and the evergreen Didn't You Kill My Brother? (a gangland genealogy guide).

It was refreshing to see that Sally still designs everything on paper (below).

Sally went on to bring her attentive audience up to date with her career.

She recently left Future Publishing and now happily works at the dynamic Bath based agency Media Clash.

Sally shows us the new Media Clash identity.

Within a short period of time she has extended her skills to include branding and corporate identity. Happily her first love, editorial design, remains at the forefront of her creative activities as Media Clash are responsible for the design and production of a range of 'city' magazines.
These currently have a West Country focus but the company are planning a national roll-out commencing next year in Lincolnshire. Soon titles such as Clifton Living and Bath Life will be joined by Grimsby Existence and Louth Lifestyle.

Lecture over, Sally adjourned to the studio to hand out helpful advice and experience to our third year students including...

...Grace Neal (above)...

...and the Shrewsbury Biscuit (the art student formerly known as Gary Nicholson) pictured above.

As Sally has spent so long in the South West we were a bit worried that she may have spurned her Northern roots. Our concern proved to be unfounded as Sally repeatedly pronounced Bath in a correct, flatten the vowels, Northern style and went on to criticise South Western fish and chip shops for not doing "decent cheesey chips".

In fact apart from one small giveaway, Sally could have been working in the North for the last four years.

What was the giveaway we hear you ask? Well, due to spending a little too long in Bath tea rooms, Sally has developed 'Bath Finger'. This is a straightening of the little finger (when drinking) that develops from using the fine, bone china, tea cups commonly found in Bath tea
rooms and fondant fancy houses (see photos above and detail below).

Sally with her 'Bath Finger'

Happily the condition has no health or design implications and should quickly fade if she ever decides to return to the North.

On behalf of all the Grillust™ team I'd like to say thanks for visiting us Sally, it was lovely to see you and the students really benefited from your advice.

Friday, 24 February 2012

The Dedication of the Long Distance Illustrator

A rare insight into the working methods of a professional illustrator.

Picture the scenario...

You've been commissioned to create an illustration of a man on a bicycle trying to out run a rampaging Tyrannosaurus Rex (something of a common occurrence in the Cretaceous Period) but how exactly do you capture the terror that would be writ large on said cyclist's face?

Well, if you're RADA trained like our very own Dwayne Bell (33) this is how...

'The Shrewsbury Biscuit' is your inspiration!

Salopian sensation, Gary Nicholson (21) aka 'The Shrewsbury Biscuit', is enjoying some sizzling blog activity at the moment.
This week he submitted a recent project to Abduzeedo. Not only was his work shown on the main blog, it was also selected and featured as a 'Daily Inspiration'.

Here's a link to Gary's own website.

'Good taste' Warning: This Grillust™ Operative couldn't help noticing that other doses of 'Daily Inspiration' seemed to focus largely on dodgy digital fantasy drawings of sparsely-clad, well-appointed young ladies of the sort Gary's Mum probably wouldn't want him to bring home.
You have been warned.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Well hello there! Welcome to Grillust's new weekly feature - Claire's Book of the Week!

Each week I will cherry pick the sweetest fruits from the literary orchard that is Brampton Road Library and will tempt you with tantalising titbits from each title. Now try saying that twice as fast.
It seems appropriate that the first volume for the Claire's Book of the Week treatment should be a book about....books.

From the World's Smallest Book to book tiling to the predictable images of book jackets, this book covers all to do with book-dressing. The cover is modest - possibly some ironic statement given the content? Maybe not, but either way do not be deterred. Inside you will find examples of experimental binding, innovative shapes and sizes as well as beautifully quirky front covers...

The Guardian
-Graphic Designers are ruining the web
John Naughton's a silly sausage

I recently came across this article whilst enjoying some good old upper-middle class liberalism on The Guardian's website. I nearly chocked on my feta stuffed olives and antipasti.
It seems that John Naughton, (columnist and professor of the public understanding of technology at the Open University, no less) pictured here with a stiff neck -

feels that Graphic Designers are ruining the web.
Good old John discusses why, in his opinion the progression from simple data provision to fully fledged media outlet is BAD and apparently the fault lies at the feet of graphic designers.
He mentions that between 2003 and 2011 average web page download sizes more than septupled and this is, again in his opinion, the fault of graphic designers; not client demands, not user demands, not even web designers but graphic designers. Of course, he fails to mention any growth in web provision speeds. No, that might make his argument seem, well, pointless.
Another claim made by John is that he prefers minimalist web pages. "Oh!", I thought, "so do I John, so do I". John had been good enough to include a link to one of his favourite minimalist sites, so I went for a gander and this is what I found.

Oh dear!
As one commenting reader has posted - Not minimalist, just bad.

So, if you want your heckles raised, good and proper, head over to John's article. Be sure to read the comments.
On the whole they are far more informed and entertaining.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

A Wonderfully Obsessive Exploration of Tints!

We've been interviewing prospective students today, in fact we've been interviewing every Wednesday since Christmas! Along the way, we've talked to some great people and seen a lot of excellent work.

Today, hiding quietly within a very impressive portfolio, we found this anonymous looking sketchbook.

Both portfolio and sketchbook are the work of Saffron McCormick, currently a student on the Pre-Degree Foundation Course at Wigan & Leigh College.

The sketchbook contained a fantastic surprise for us and we've asked Saffron's permission to share it with you (she said yes, by the way).

Documented on page after page, is an intense and obsessive exploration of specific colours and their tints.

In the images below, you see the journey of a colour on its way to white. Saffron begins by painting the full strength gouache hue (top left) and then adds just enough white to create a discernible tint.The process ends when no colour remains.

This amazingly analytical approach and commitment to doing a job well (Magenta has an amazing 639 tints!) has produced a document of great power and charm.

Well done Saffron!

PS. If you've found your way here via The Student Room click here to see the portfolio advice that the BA Graphic Design & Illustration courses at The University of Cumbria offer to our prospective students. 

However, it's important that you remember that all Universities are different (for instance some won't interview you at all and will offer you a place based on your UCAS points) this is simply an indication of how we go about things at Cumbria.

Here's some general advice we can offer to anyone applying to Graphic Design and Illustration courses

  1. Don't accept a place at somewhere you've never visited (three years is a long time...) Once you've experienced a few Universities, your heart will tell you where you should study.
  2. Find out how big the year groups are. The amount of tutor contact and support you receive will decrease dramatically as the size of the year group increases (once you get above 80 things will become quite impersonal).
  3. Check that you will have a studio space to work from (some Unis expect you to work at a distance).
  4. How many projects will you undertake per semester? Deadlines in the professional world are short and virtually everything you undertake in the workplace will be completed in less than a week. Are lengthy projects preparing you for life after Uni?
  5. Always remember that getting a degree (easy) and achieving a career (a challenge) are two completely different things. To work in the industry you need two things: A) Your personality (likeable, highly motivated, reliable, pro-active etc.) B) Great work in your portfolio.
    A degree certificate doesn't get you a job in Graphic Design or Illustration.
  6. Our students continue to have a great record of getting great jobs once they graduate. What is the secret? They all worked really hard, are all lovely people, are all passionate about their subject and all produced great work to put in their portfolio (see 5 above)

If you're curious you can see lots more of our student's wonderful work by following any of the links below:

BA Graphic Design

BA Illustration

Course Blog

Course Flickr

Course ISSUU

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Proof (If Proof Be Needed) that the Studio is a Cunningly Disguised Bicycle Repair Workshop...

Here's a wonderful bicycle, let's take a few seconds to soak in all its magnificence...

Drop handlebars, down-tube gear lever, streamlined chromium detailing to the mudguard (below) and 'striking' colour scheme of metallic blue and gold. In every respect I'm sure you'll agree that she's a 'beaut'.

But who could own such a stylish velocipede and more importantly where was she made?

Well the answer to the first question is easy - the proud owner of this eye-catching machine is our very own Jade Wall (21) of Year 2 Illustration

Where she was made is a little more surprising. The bike in question is a 'Whirlwind' model crafted in that sleepy, North Lincolnshire town of Barton-upon-Humber by the Elswick Bicycle Company.

It has to be admitted that Barton is hardly synonymous with the production of sturdy 'sports bicycles' but it is the birthplace of Chad Varah, founder of the Samaritans and manufacturer of the famous Chad Varah Teddy Bear.

Anyway we digress... The real point of this story concerns a spot of rear mudguard slippage that was threatening to turn Jade's 'metallic steed' into an accident waiting to happen.

From his office high above the studio floor our very own Jim Millington (33) sensed that something was wrong. On descending to the studio floor he was drawn to the bicycle in the corner and quickly ascertained the cause of his distress.

This dramatic display of paranormal power is easily explained, as Jim also hails from North Lincolnshire, and has the semi-mystical gift of 'Elswick empathy'.

It should be noted that all people from North Lincolnshire have the 'empathy' and feel duty bound to offer assistance if they encounter an Elswick in trouble.

After a quick 'fettle' with a pair of long nose pliers (NB. totally the wrong tool for the job) all was well and Jade was free to ride off into a golden sunset but sadly couldn't as it was raining.

The great man in action - Jade (21) looks on, understandably concerned.

"All done and no charge as it was my duty to help" - Jade breathes a huge sigh of relief...

Scenes From the Life Room

Stephen Arthur (21) - Year 3 Illustration

Rae Valters (21) - Year 1 Illustration

Monday, 20 February 2012

Dear every artist
and illustrator ever
- taken from juxtapoz

Juxtapoz is a "leading monthly contemporary and underground art bible" - their own choice of words - but that aside the magazine and website does showcase a vast array of contemporary work. Exactly the sort of place that it could be considered 'good' to get your work shown. With that in mind, here is some recent advice that was given after a call for illustration submissions brought to light some issues in 'artists' attempts at contact and self promotion. Take heed...

"So I'm going to do you a favor and write up a quick list to make all of our lives less painful and better your chances for future success, recognition, white tigers and rooftop jacuzzis. You're welcome....

#1 It's important to spell correctly. If you can't remember how to spell Juxtapoz I'm automatically deleting you. Harsh I know, but come on... but please- wake up, pay attention, this is your life.

#2 I hate your enormous, poorly shot photographs of art? Is that a dog? OMG wash your hands!! Archiving is important, presentation is important. Please don't even add attachments. Ok, maybe 1 is ok, if its a reasonable size to give us a teaser but if it takes more than 10 seconds for your email to load, delete. Again, this is your life.

#3 Make it short and sweet. Send a link to your work, say something funny, complement my hair... I'm sure you're deserving and you've worked really hard to get to this point so get your shit together and put up a website! Tumblr is so easy. Behance is cool, Flickr is good too. Deviantart and sites that I can't figure out aren't my favorite, sorry.

#4 Write a bio about yourself and put it on your site. Say something interesting, I mean come on... mystery is cool and I get called an enigma all the time but nobody is out to get you, you're not being watched, quit being so damn weird and paranoid. You're already an artist, face it. Its no secret, be confident.

#5 Have decent sized, well archived work on your site. Make it cohesive, I mean, this is kind of obvious right??

#6 Please don't send more than 1 email or be a jerk. Nobody likes your ego and nobody likes a jerk. Actually I love jerks, but you have to at least be charming, dress well and have good hygiene.

#7 Don't stalk, find personal emails, facebook accts, phone numbers or addresses of people you're trying to submit to. This will most likley make them hate you and block you at every chance they get. Be respectful.

#8 I can't think of anything else. You're welcome. Go get em killer, but first go draw some epic shit. Love ya!"

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Saturday, 18 February 2012

What Do You Mean, You've Not Seen...

The documentaries of Jonathan Meades

Friday, 17 February 2012

Andrew Byrom - If H is a Chair

We've not featured Andrew on the blog before which is remiss of us, especially when you consider that he grew up in Barrow-in-Furness (Cumbria) and went on to start his career in Art & Design at Cumbria Institute of the Arts (now The University of Cumbria), leaving us in 1993 to continue his studies in London.

Since then he's gone a long way - in his case quite literally! He's now a professor of Graphic Design at California State University at Long Beach.

Although 5,500 miles apart, Andrew's home town of Barrow and Long Beach share much in common. They are both positioned on a Westerly facing coast, they both enjoy a semi-tropical climate and also share a strong naval/shipbuilding heritage.

In these idyllic surroundings Andrew pursues his two great loves: inspiring young minds and pushing the boundaries of typeface design.

Here he is giving a recent Ted lecture:

Here is his website.

Here is a great idea for a business card.

Carlisle is the Happiest Place in the Country - It's Official!

You probably know that Carlisle is home to the GRILLUST™ empire.

It's a great city, full of all the things we need, but we
hadn't realised (up until now that is) that it is also the happiest place in the Country!

Here's a totally unaltered (honest) scan from the 5th of February 2012 Sunday Times that proves it.

ronnie wood (but we kinda wish he wouldn't)

Ronnie Wood is a guitarist. He's good at it, listen...

(In the interest of fairness and not sounding petulant, we should point out that we are not against Mr Wood painting, or anyone with a 'have a go attitude' for that matter - in fact, we salute you. Our bone of contention here lies with the recognition and acclaim that is given over to work, that let's be fair, would be considered amateurish and naive if it weren't for the artist's level of fame and notoriety that his rock career has brought him).