Wednesday, 28 February 2018

The 'Beast from the East' has made its way West!

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Portfolio Advice

Three top illustrators from Handsome Frank illustration agency, in conjunction with Computer Arts Magazine, offer up some great advice for creating and directing your online illustration portfolio.

This is great advice for all illustration students - particularly those who are approaching graduation - but graphic designers might also pick up some valuable insight on the presentation of work.

Monday, 26 February 2018


Grillust aficionados will have already spotted this neatly crafted apology for the KFC chicken debacle, designed by Mother.

You can see more of Mother’s work here.

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Scenes From The Life Room

Year 1 Illustration students continue to explore the human figure...

and perspective...

Collage forces the students to simplify the figure into fundamental shapes

Seeing the basic forms of the human figure (motorcycle crash helmet, boxes and cylinders)!

Life drawing, it's a dirty business.

Theatrical lighting effects help to explain form.

Insert your own joke about working in a coal mine here...

The World Famous Wayne Hemingway MBE Visits to Give a Guest Lecture

Staff and students recently had the pleasure of attending a lecture 
given by Wayne Hemingway MBE, organised by The University of Cumbria Institute of The Arts and held at The Old Fire Station, Carlisle's leading Arts and Entertainment venue.
Wayne is co-founder along with his wife Geraldine of Hemingway Design specialising in place-making and regeneration, graphics and identity, exhibition design and event curation.  

He built ‘Red or Dead’ into a globally-celebrated label which he sold in 1999. A philosophy of improving the things that matter in life runs through everything Hemingway Design does.  

Wayne provided a valuable insight into how 'Red or Dead' started and how to breathe new life into old concepts and how to cut through the ordinary and expected with powerful and visionary design.  

He offered lots of practical advice to our students and went on to discuss plans for 
a major development that Hemingway Design is leading right here in Carlisle. He also explained how our students can get involved with the project!

The project is St. Cuthbert's Garden Village which will be built on land to the South of the city (see above).
Carlisle City Council and their partners have aspirations to deliver a new 10,000 home ‘garden village’ as part of their ambitious housing and development growth plan. 
It is an ambitious proposal that will also include new employment opportunities, community facilities and a new southern link road.
The Cumbrian district council has commissioned a multi-disciplinary team led by masterplanners Gillespies, working closely with Hemingway Design, to develop an ambitious vision and concept for the St Cuthbert’s area. 
Innovation, quality and local distinctiveness are at the heart of the design process, supported by creative engagement with the local community and potential new residents, as well as a comprehensive online social media campaign to generate a buzz around the area’s future.

The beautiful River Caldew flows through the area.
Wayne Hemingway has said:  “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for Carlisle to make its mark when it comes to creating much needed new homes and infrastructure. Recent history has shown that it will take real vision and an intelligent Herculean effort from a team of brilliant, diligent designers, place-makers, local and regional stakeholders who involve and represent the best interests of the community.”
It is also one of only two Garden Villages north of Manchester and easily amongst the most ambitious development projects being actively progressed within the north of England.  St. Cuthbert’s is a long term project, the planning of which will take several years and the subsequent delivery of which will span several decades.
As with most Carlisle residents, we here at Grillust towers are very excited by the prospects and eagerly look forward to future developments.

The Staiths development, Gateshead - an earlier Hemingway Design success story.

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

First Years, Eighth Project - Typographic Basics

Our first year students have just spent a challenging and fruitful two weeks working alongside our 'national treasure', H.R.H The Typographer Royal, Dame Rhiannon Robinson OBT*.

As you probably know, Dame Rhiannon is a demanding taskmistress with a ruthless, critical eye that can spot the slightest typographic imperfection at more than twenty paces. 

Luckily for our novice students she took them through the fundamentals of good typography through a series of lectures and workshops (see previous post).

This is but the start of a very long journey, but even after such a short time the students can all spot loose tracking, unfortunate apostrophes, orphans, widows and line lengths that are too long or too short.

The project was deceptively simple. Take some information about an event that looks like this:
...and turn it into something you might actually want to read!

Let's see how they got on.

 As ever, we design on paper before gravitating towards the Mac

Once the design has been put together in InDesign there are still lots of refinements to be made as you can see below:

*Order of British Typography.

Monday, 12 February 2018

The First Years Do Hardcore Typography!

Regular exercise is important when working on a computer...

It's that time of year when The University of Cumbria's very own Typographer Royal, H.R.H. Rhiannon Robinson, spends a lot of quality time with our first year students.

Rhiannon was crowned Typographer Royal by our very own queen, H.R.H Elizabeth II, in an elaborate ceremony, held in Typographers Hall (City of London) in June 1990. The position ofTypographer Royal is not to be underestimated and Rhiannon takes her official duties very seriously.Her role behooves her to undertake the following:

  1. Banish poor letter spacing, leading and tracking from all four corners of the kingdom
  2. Seek out and destroy all 'widows' and 'orphans' in documents near and far
  3. Challenge all developers of Microsoft Word Art to single, mortal combat
  4. Round-up, imprison in Newgate and finally hang by the neck until dead, all look-alike, generic fonts and that evil malefactor, known to the wider population as 'Comic Sans'
  5. Teach kick-arse typography skills to students of The University of Cumbria
As always in the Grillust Studio the designs are first developed on paper before moving to screen.
 Kiana's 'thumbnail visuals' pictured today...
Here's Dani (21) moving her visuals to screen

An aerial view of the studio showing H.R.H The Typographer Royal™ dispensing words of wisdom to an attentive BT (21), nearby Marc (also 21) works on screen while Hannah (also, also 21) tries to draw Timmy, our very own 'Typographic Tortoise'!
Key: A. Tumbnail Visuals, B. Braeburn Apples (as eaten by all top typographers).

"Hang on a mo' cowboy" I hear you shout; "what on earth is a 'typographic tortoise' when it's at home?"

Well I'm glad you asked me that...

Rhiannon has decided to make typography even more fun and, let's face it, it was pretty exciting to begin with! As an extra incentive in achieving typographic excellence, students are being rewarded with 'wonderful treats' throughout the day. 

Hannah who, as an illustrator, loves to draw all of the time produced an "excellent line length and nicely textured copy" for Rhiannon so, as a reward, was allowed to take Timmy (99) out of Jim's office to lovingly render his likeness in pencil crayon.

Below we see Milosz (in the background) who was allowed to watch a little* of his favourite TV show, 'The Teletypies' (All together now: "Ampersand, Ligature, En Dash, Bracket, Teletypies, Teletypies say hell-oh!").

In front we see The Typographer Royal™ handing out the award for 'best leading of the day' to a stunned Ellie (21). The prize was ten minutes stroking Baskerville our 'cute' studio puppy while Elise (also 21) sang and played all the great children's party hits ('Agadoo', 'The wheels on the bus' etc.) on her portable Casio.

We'll see how they got on with the final designs later...

*We wouldn't want to get him too excited as he may have trouble sleeping.

Friday, 9 February 2018

Futures Festival Visiting Lecturers

The Institute of Arts recently held a 3 day careers convention where all creative students gassed the opportunity to listen to lots of talks from ex-students, local and national industry representatives and the great and good of the creative world. Grillust were lucky to have a fantastic list of ex-Grilluster and imminent creative industry types to invite along. First to impart their words of wisdom was Alistair Fell (33), Director and founder of Prospus.  He talked to us about entrepreneurship, wellbeing and positivity in his presentation "Resilience".   The guy died for goodness sakes (honestly - that's absolutely true!), and STILL managed to build a successful company and continues to have fingers in many pies.  A real inspiration to all budding freelancers and those who aspire to run their own design business one day.
Here's Alistair imparting wisdom.

First Years, Seventh Project - Film Pastiche and Title Sequence

The first year's latest project was divided into two parts. First, we taught them basic film making techniques and asked them to study a specific movie genre (pulled at random from our 'envelope of destiny').  To complete part one they had to create their own 30 - 90 second long pastiche film of their chosen genre. 

To accomplish this they also had to produce a detailed storyboard before they started shooting. Here are some examples:

We then went on to teach them the basics of Adobe After Effects and asked them to create a title sequence to accompany their film. Incredibly they only had three weeks in which to complete this massive challenge.

Did they succeed?... More than in our wildest dreams! 

Here's the hugely exciting and entertaining 'Swashbuckler' from Kinga & Tim, made from the storyboard above:

But hold on a minute... Graphic Designers and Illustrators making films? Are we mad?

No, quite the opposite. As technologies merge (these films were mostly made in Photoshop by the way!?) and, as TV and streaming media expand exponentially, who will be there at the cutting edge, producing well designed, intelligent content? Designers and Illustrators, of course

This project marks the start of a journey for those students who have a strong interest in exploiting video, film and animation as their chosen media.

In the meantime; put you feet up, turn down the lights, open a carton of Kia-Ora and scatter popcorn down your front as you enjoy the fruits of their labour...

First up a good old Spaghetti Western from BT & Hannah:

Now let's consider a Spy Film from Marc and Alice:

Prepare to be scared as we enter the world of Ray Harryhausen and his scary monsters courtesy of Katie and Ellie!

How about some titles to a 'Dance Off' from Megan:

More shocks on the way as Dani and Kate enter the Gothic world of Hammer Horror:

Finally, lets journey into the dark once more with an 'old school' Thriller from Tiegan and Jim. NOTE: Jim is up for an Oscar for his amazingly naturalistic performance as 'the victim'.

We'd like to congratulate all our students for the time, effort, passion and ambition they all put in to this project. Well done and all have a house point!

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Scenes from the Life Room

The Year 1 Illustration students are just getting started with an intensive 12 week block of life drawing.

Last week as a special treat we invited in tip-top fashion illustrator LucyMacLeod as guest lecturer. You can see Lucy's amazing work here.

Lucy MacLeod
Let's see them having fun!