Monday, 31 March 2014

Masters of Fashion Illustration
by the master of fashion illustration

The thoroughly decent folk at Laurence King Publishing have furnished us with this beautiful book

Compiled by the rather well known David Downton, it's not only a first class journey through the aesthetic history of fashion illustration but also a stunning collection of analogue process', mark making, drawing and painting - certainly not for fashionistas only. Downton's insights and reasons for picking the included artists are pretension free and enthusiasm addled. Refreshingly free of vector and photoshop filters, this is a must for those who like their illustration inky, painty and human - definitely recommended by us. Here's a few sample spreads. Lovely stuff.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

(Real) Heroes

Second year illustrators have just completed a brief where they were asked to identify someone they thought deservers the moniker of "Hero" and to then illustrate them or that which makes them heroic. From electronic baby box inventors to homeless people haircutters and 19th century computer programmers - we had 'em all. Here's a wee sample of what turned up.

Ellie (21) chose Rebecca Sugar

Jess (21) went down a more historic route and looked at Irena Sendler.

Anna (21) went with Millicent Garrett Fawcett, deserving of recognition not only for her part in the suffragette movement but also for having a right good name.

And not a bloke wearing a cape in sight. Well played!

Wednesday, 26 March 2014


Thursday, 20 March 2014

Back to the Futura

3rd year graphic design student, James Cope (21), is currently enjoying an internship with Wonderstuff Studio in Newcastle. Here's what he penned for a recent article for the Wonderstuff blog

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Gestural Drawing

Phil Tyler is a London based painter who works predominantly with the human figure and urban environments. Phil works with a very gestural approach and has been good enough to post several very informative videos on his youtube channel. We'll embed a couple here but we'd encourage ALL illustrators and anyone with an interest in drawing, mark making and painting to take a look at the other videos.
It's also worth stating that although these videos talk about technique and approach it is clear that underpinning every thing Phil does is a very studied understanding of the human form without which any amount of technique or proficiency would be worthless.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

What Would You Call an Ice Cream Made From Meat?

You know these names: Cillit-Bang; Snickers; Domestos…  ...but what do they actually
convey (or even mean)? Does Cillit-Bang sound right for the product? Does Domestos
convey a powerful disinfectant that will kill 99.5% of all known germs? And just how
frightened of the 0.5% that it doesn’t harm should we be?

The naming of new products is a bizarre and endlessly fascinating subject and that's why we gave the first year students exactly five days to create names and visual identities for the following products:

  • A wig for bald babies 
  • Non-melting chocolate
  • A turbocharged mobility scooter 
  • A pram/TV combo
  • A meat based ice cream 
  • Rubber scissors for children
  • A fun boxing game for the under fives 
  • An abusive sat-nav
  • A double bass that folds to the size of a briefcase 
  • FabergĂ© Scotch Eggs
  • A hair covered football 
  • A cheese from Jamaica
  • A hearing aid that translates all languages 
  • Heavy metal tea
  • A dating site for goldfish 
  • A techno dance club for pensioners
  • A lost sock locating device 
  • Clothes made from spaghetti
  • A TV channel for trainspotters 
  • Robots made from cardboard boxes
  • Woollen lingerie 
  • A handbag for carrying Chihuahuas
  • Soft furnishings for prison cells 
  • A soft drink made from trees
  • A vacuum cleaner for beards 
  • A sundial wristwatch

As with all of our projects it's the journey that is just as important as the destination, or to put it another way, the quality of the final design is only as good as the quality of the development work.

Here's a sneaky peek into the world of design development...

First up, we have the work of Amy Sims and Deanna Carey (both 21) captured exploring the world of meat based ice cream:

Here are Amy and Deanna's final designs for a range of products:

More design development work, this time from the pairing of Jessica Plant (21) and Amy Jackson (21).

Here's Nathan Linney (21) and Ben Newboult (also 21):

Soft furnishings for prison cells:

Some of Nathan and Ben's final designs – 'Cozy Convict':

A dating site for goldfish:

While were looking at goldfish, here's the work of former Bury-ites, Callum Mosoph and Zac Street (by coincidence, also 21):

A turbocharged mobility scooter:

Finally, a Techno dance club for pensioners:

Monday, 10 March 2014

The First Years Graduate from the Old School

It's been a very busy last couple of weeks for our first year students as they completed the visual and technical 'assault course' that we call Old School...

Manual skills still underpin much of Graphic Design and Illustration and this was our opportunity to allow our students to find out how good (or bad) their making skills actually are.

Happily, we can report that the overall standard was very good. For a generation who hasn't done any technical drawing we were particularly impressed with their ability to handle constructed letters, draw straight lines, wield a compass accurately and understand the complexities of oblique, isometric and orthographic projection.

Above: work in progress (including colour wheels, grey scales, constructed 3D letter Es and the correct use of a 45 degree set square).

Above: even the Graphic Designers had to use paint...

AboveWe supplied some classic imagery for the students to carefully copy

Above: Freehand brushwork for the Graphic Designers.

Above: Everyone was asked to make a perfect, white cube.
One of these is good the other is not so good – can you tell which is which?

Above: Graphic Design students had to make a constructed R and carefully ink it in.

Above: A Frank Newboult poster from the 1930's (right) and a student's copy (left).

Above: Illustration students had to carefully copy two drawings by Henry Lamb, a pen & ink drawing by Jim Russell, a watercolour by Peter Blake and an acrylic painting by Brad Holland.

Above: A Brad Holland illustration (right) and a student's copy (left).

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Richard Johnson

Richard Johnson is an amazing artist with an absolute passion and belief is his art form. As well as being very inspiring, this video is also very moving.