Monday, 31 October 2016

Famous Artworks Ruined By Clients Who Think They Know It All

Supremo Grillust graduate, Petra Blahova, sent us a link to a recent post on - the title of this thread says it all...

Here's a link to the original post on

...and another to Petra's own website, chocked full of visual treats!


Friday, 28 October 2016

First Years Second Project - Old School (Yeah!)

It's been a very busy last two 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 any working Graphic Designer or Illustrator's life. Think of all that packaging that needs to be mocked-up or presentation boards that need to be professionally assembled. 

Say Aaaaaaaaah!
Great Illustration is not only underpinned by an ability to draw well but also by great technical skills. The reality here is there are no 'quick fixes'. It takes years to become a really good painter, or pen & ink artist, or printmaker or...

'Old School' is our opportunity to allow the students to find out how good, bad or ugly their making/drawing/gluing/painting skills actually are right at the start of their course. It helps them identify what they're good at and much more importantly focusses their attention and concentration on working hard to develop those areas that they're not so good at.

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

Here's a small selection of what they did...

Create a perfect, 70mm high cube

You're fired!!!

Window mount a postcard. 
Use the correct tool (knife) and this can be achieved beautifully (left). Use the wrong tool (hamster) and the results can be a little disappointing (right).

Cut a perfect, freehand circle 
(Neil Armstrong walking on my face, Buzz Aldrin walking on my face...)

Two attempts at a stab-stitched book with elaborate graduated hole motif. 
One excellent, one not so excellent (can you tell which is which)?

A tidy piece of Orthographic Projection

Mmmh, lovely crisp embossing

Stretched paper containing a colour wheel and tonal scales

Exercises for Graphic Design Students

If you follow these instructions you should produce...


Hand-rendered type (pencil on tracing paper)

Original poster (gouache on paper) by Ludwig Hohlwein...

...copies by our students

Freehand drawing with a brush

Exercises for Illustration Students

Original by John William Waterhouse...

...student copies

Original woodcut by Clare Leighton...

...Scraperboard copies

And again

Watercolour by Arthur Melville...

...and its copy 

 Original acrylic painting by the great Brad Holland...

...and the copies

After working so hard we gave them the whole weekend off (to recover). Come Monday it was back to work and they are now busy on a two week animation project. 

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Field Trip to The Lakes International Comic Arts Festival

On Saturday 15 October we took a bus packed with students to The Lakes International Comic Arts Festival in Kendal for the day.

Here's some of what we saw...

Martin Rowson a multi-award winning cartoonist and writer, whose work over the past 30 years has appeared regularly in The GuardianThe TimesThe Daily MirrorThe SpectatorThe Independent on Sunday and many other publications painting a savage political mural just off Kendal's main drag.

The University of Cumbria's Comic Book Collective stand in the Clock Tower manned by Edwin 'I'm a Tiger!" Burrow

  Oliver East (of Elbow cover art fame) signs one of his book for a fan.   

 Hotting up at the UOCCBC stand.

 Sponsored by The University of Cumbria...

 Here's a comic car.

 Ken Niimura 'Making a Scene' at The Brewery Arts Centre

Ken Niimura.

José María Ken Niimura del Barrio was born in Madrid in 1981, he’s lived and worked in Brussels, Paris, Montreal and Madrid under the pen-name Ken Niimura. Three years ago he moved to Tokyo

 Various big-name talks were attended including Mick McMahon and Tom Gauld (above)

Tom Gauld is a cartoonist and illustrator who lives and works in London. He has weekly comic strips in The Guardian and New Scientist and his comics have been published in The New York Times and The Believer.In addition to his graphic novels Goliath and You’re All Just Jealous of My Jetpack, he has designed a number of book covers.

His most recent book is September 2016’s Mooncop, published by Drawn & Quarterly, which recounts the deadpan adventures of the last police officer on the moon.

 Happy (and tired) campers spilling out into the twilight back at our Brampton Road campus.

Monday, 24 October 2016

Olivier Kugler visits Grillust Towers

As it says on his website, Olivier Kugler loves to draw on location. Sounds simple. Is simple. Often the very best things are.

If you're not aware of Olivier's work, a quick google image search will show you just how much work the London based German illustrator produces. Prolific indeed. Google has, handily, put Olivier front and centre on his own image search.

Olivier's work is typified by global subject matter. Glasgow, London, Burkina Faso - he's drawn them all and then some! His lines are both accurate and kinetic. He doesn't create a simple snapshot moment but rather a multidimensional collection of moments that tell an entire story in a single image. Handwritten notes are incorporated into images as are quotes from the people who Olivier meets on his journeys and who become his subjects. For all his global travels, it's still the human connection that is core to Olivier's work and our engagement with it.



Burkina Faso

Recently Olivier's been working with Doctor's Without Borders, proving once again that illustration has the potential to make the unpalatable palatable, to bring home uncomfortable world truths in an incredibly humane, poignant and direct form. We're not going to publish any pics of the work that Olivier showed, as clearances are yet to be confirmed and the work yet to be published. Suffice to say that illustrator's talks aren't usually this emotional.

Olivier Kugler, in action. Not pictured - a packed room of not only illustration but also graphic design, fine artist and games design students.

Here's a couple of pieces...

We'd like to take this opportunity to thank Olivier for the visit - despite the 5am arrival!!! It was a real statement of the power of illustration to do so much more than decorate or beautify our world and it was a pleasure to welcome Olivier to Grillust Towers.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

First Years Attend Frank Santoro Comics Masterclass

As part of our involvement with The Lakes International Comic Arts Festival we took a group of First Year students to attend a lecture and workshop given by the legendary comic artist (and theorist) Frank Santoro (33).

The venue was 'The Box' in Kendal, an 'interesting' piece of architecture so modern it hasn't been finished yet.

Yes 'The Box' seemed a bit wonky to us too. 

Frank gave a very entertaining and informative lecture on the construction and pacing of comics, ably assisted by Aidan Koch and ex-Marvel artist Connor Willumsen.

 Frank in full flow

Geometric construction of a comic page

 Connor, Aidan and Frank (all 33)

Artwork by Frank

Wolverine artwork by Connor

Artwork by Aidan

After the lecture the students (and staff) attended a comics masterclass with Frank and Connor.

 Nick Dodds (33) thoroughly enjoying himself in his special 'comics glasses' (his workaday pair are on the desk)

We used frames taken from various Alfred Hitchcock films 

 The ambidextrous and double right-handed Gemma (21)

 Hard at work

 Frank dispenses pearls of wisdom = Nick gets very excited

 The inevitable post-workshop group photo

Thank you Frank, Aidan, Connor, Kendal College and The Lakes International Comic Arts Festival