Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Illustrators at work

An illustrator work space is as individual as their work. Here's a few from around Grillust Towers.

Tom Gauld
Cause and Effect

Tom Gauld just posted these two images on his twitter feed, offering a nice little glimpse into his working process.

If you don't know...
Tom Gauld is a Scottish illustrator with a knack for combining sophisticated deadpan humour with a disarmingly simple visual approach for great communicative and comedic effect. His work can most often be seen in The Guardian, he has a website here and is on twitter here

Monday, 26 October 2015

The Penny Library of room 2017

This is the first in a series (possibly a series of one) bringing you, fine reader, up to date with the acquisitions of 'The Penny Library' of illustration lecturer, Dwayne Bell (33). So called because it's populated with cheap books - often costing mere pennies.

Today we're looking at 'The Three Poor Tailors' by Victor G. Ambrus of Time Team, fame. As far as we're concerned Victor, is one of the best.

This edition is dated 1966 and comes via Amazon from West Bay Christian Academy, Road Island, USA.

Victor's work ranges from 'realistic' through to stylised and childish - depending on his audience - but his line work and material use is consistent, as is his draughtsmanship, for which he famously requires little to no reference (don't think that you can get away with the same - you can't).

Victor's use of ink is legendary.

Look at those colours!

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

The golden section
and a Duck

Okay, so this is a weird thing to be posting, seeing as it's a Donal Duck, cartoon but we think if you give it a watch you'll see why it caught our eye. Plus, where else are you going to see Donald with a pentagram tattooed on his palm? skip forward to 7 minutes for the 'graphic design and illustration' part if your attention span won't get you there.

Walking the Line

The University of Cumbria Institute of the Arts at Brampton Road in collaboration with the LakesInternational Comic Art Festival [LICAF] in Kendal is delighted to present an exhibition of sequential illustration, based around the theme of walking.

The exhibition, at our brand new Vallum Ditch Gallery, features the internationally acclaimed comic strip work of Oliver East (famous for his artwork for the band Elbow). Oliver is one of a new wave of comic creators with a fine art training who takes both art and comics in uncharted directions. He gets his inspiration from walking long distances, along predetermined routes and creating comics that meditate on the experience. Accompanying the exhibition is a selection of work from staff and BA Illustration students who have produced their own 'walking' creations inspired by Oliver's methodology and approach.
The exhibition showcases some of the original artwork that Oliver made for The Homesick Truant's Cumbrian Yarn [2014]. Oliver walked over 140 miles in 10 stages from Arnside train station to Carlisle train station keeping as close as possible to the 30 or so stations that form the Cumbrian Coastal Train Line. Intently observing his surroundings but without taking photos or making detailed sketches, Oliver focused on the humdrum incidentals of the landscape and human activity. Later he drew and made comics, one for each stage of the journey. The end results, in dramatic monochrome, present not documentary images but closely involve the reader in a series of painterly soundscapes.

Oliver came to the Brampton Road campus on Thursday 15th October to view the student work and officially open the exhibition (which runs until November 12)]. He was accompanied by San Francisco based artist/comic book creator and educator FrankSantoro, who gave an inspirational talk and ran a workshop with BA Graphic Design and Illustration students, more of which in another post...

Exhibition poster courtesey Mr. Vincent Walden (Year 3 Graphic Design)

Future Dave Robert (33) helps exhibition organiser Mr. Nick Dodds (33) 'achieve the perpendicular'

Nick introduces Oliver East at the exhibition opening.

Oliver showing Frank Santoro one of his pages...

 Charismatic illustration tutor Mr. Dwayne Bell (33)

 The exhibiting artists.

The Golden Section
& Rock n' Roll

Frank Santoro pops in!

The Lakes International Comic Art Festival (or LICAF from here on out, saving us all a lot of time) is a european style festival - the whole town gets involved - that celebrates comics in all their many forms, right here in Cumbria. Kendal, to be exact. 

This year The University of Cumbria began what is planned to be an increasing amount of involvement with this amazing event. Watch this space for exciting future news.

The first 'bit' of festival news is a visit from comics firebrand and Michael Hutchence look-alike Frank Santoro, to give a lecture and workshop. Frank is both a comic book practitioner (he makes comics) and a comic book academic (he talks about and teaches comics). He's incredibly passionate and an absolutely first class speaker.

Frank looking suitably Rock 'n Roll
Frank was here to deliver a talk which he titled 'Comics as Music'. We didn't really know what we were in for. He turned up, jet lagged after arriving from his home turf of The U.S.A, and went straight into blowing minds.

We would never do Frank's ideas and philosophies any sort of justice by trying to explain them secondhand but you can take a look at his blog here, for more details.

Essentially Frank talked about composition, the importance of ratio and understanding the inherent visual intuition that is in us all - We all know when a musical note is out of key in the same that way we know when a visual element appears out of key (comics as music, see?)

Frank introduces various international comic format standards and the panel arrangements suited to each. Essential information if you want to create a comic but the underpinning 'maths' can be applied to any visual practice.

Frank uses a wide variety of examples to demonstrate his theories and add clarity. Here he's showing the hidden geometry behind a page from Tintin by Hergé. These images are taken from his blog where you can read more about his ideas.

No comic based lecture would be complete without a mention of Jack 'The King' Kirby
In the afternoon Frank gave a workshop on putting a comic page together and using alternative angles - much like the camera in a film - that built on the morning's talk. There was a magical reveal at the end of the workshop that resulted in gasps of breath - always a good sign.

Grillust students creating a comic page in 10 minutes
Frank brought all his materials including sunshine

Needless to say the students had a fantastic day and were left buzzing with Frank's enthusiasm. It'll be interesting to see how what they learned impacts on their future projects.

On the way to his train back to LICAF we had just enough time to take Frank into Carlisle's cathedral which he proclaimed as the most impressive church building he's ever been in AND THEN he found this...

We can't repeat what Frank really said when he saw this.

And with that he was gone but his enthusiasm and passion have left a lasting effect. Frank, Grillust salutes you!

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

On the X95

Here at Grillust we believe that drawing is at the absolute heart of illustration. Our number one piece of advice for illustration students is draw! Illustration lecturer, Dwayne Bell (33) practices what he preaches and pictured here are his sketchbooks from the last 13 months or so (the eagle eyed amongst you needn't worry, number 14 isn't lost, it's just on holiday).

Dwayne commutes to Grillust Towers on a daily basis and clocks up about 200 miles a week on a public bus. A fate tantamount to torture in most people's view but he's managed to turn this time to his advantage and spends his time secretly drawing his fellow passengers.

Recently Dwayne has compiled his favourite pages and spreads from a 12 month period and printed an A5 booklet of those pieces, cleverly titled 'On the X95' (the bus is the X95. Gerrit???)

On the X95 is on sale from Dwayne's online shop or by simply banging on his office door and giving the secret code word - "Ihavesevenpoundsforyou"

First Years, First Project

Working in teams of two, we asked the students to produce a digital magazine that attempted to capture something of the essence of a location of their choice.

The idea here is to point out from the start (N.B. we would never use the phrase 'get go' because we hate it...) that design and illustration are not impersonal, neutral activities. 

Having passion and something to say are central to the production of memorable work.

Here's some of what they produced:

Tabitha and Sian (both 21) explored the local bowling alley:

Alex and Shona created a response to the market hall (if you're wondering, they're both 21):

Olivia(21) and Chris (also 21) went underground to look at a system of underpasses:

Hazel and Megan (who are nearly 22) looked at some 'urban sculpture' that you can sit on:

Monday, 12 October 2015

Older than we thought...

We knew Rod was getting on a bit, but that old!!! Really?...