Monday, 13 November 2017

We take pencil sharpening seriously
Too seriously
what could possibly go wrong?

Y3 Illustrator wins top award at comic art fest

Hazel Mason (21), aka Hi-Viz Hazel, has beaten off stiff competition to win the top award at this year’s Lakes International Comic Art Festival.
Hazel, originally from Stoke-on-Trent and a third year BA (Hons) Illustration student at the University of Cumbria, entered the competition to re-imagine the 1940s comic book character ‘The Spirit’.
“I envisioned Will Eisner’s character actually in the Lake District”, she said. “The feedback I’ve had is that the judges really liked it; it was very different from what they’d seen before. I think everyone went into it making an entire comic book, because it's a comic festival, but I thought I’d put my own spin on it.”
She concluded, “Winning made me feel great and now I feel even more confident to enter prestigious awards and competitions in the future.”
No stranger to success, Hi-Viz Hazel’s work has also been recognised in this year’s Cheltenham Illustration Awards. From over 1000 entrants, she was selected as one of sixty successful illustrators to be listed in their 2017 annual.
See more of Hazel's work here.

‘The Spirit’ was a 16-page comic section which ran for 12 years from 1940-1952. It introduced action, mystery and adventure through the crime stopping escapades of its hero ‘The Spirit’ – a dashing, masked vigilante who dispensed justice in ‘Central City’ and beyond.
2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of ‘The Spirit’s’ creator, Will Eisner, and to celebrate the centenary, the Lakes International Comic Art Festival commissioned the competition in homage to comic book legend.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

First Years, Second Project - Old School!!!

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.

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.

Some students are a little camera shy...

This is what stretched paper looks like

The construction of a 3D letter 'R' is revealed

How many students does it take to use a guillotine?

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...

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

Stab stitched book with elaborate, hand-cut graduated square hole motif. Tidy!

JJS celebrates achieving perfection in the task to flat mount six postcards by adopting the classic double 'thumbs up' gesture and shouting "losers" at his fellow students

Construct a classic, Roman 'M' by following a devilishly complicated set of instructions

Cut-out letters carefully spaced

Colour wheels and tonal scales

Create a perfect cube from thin card - at the bottom we see what perfection looks like

Embossing geometric shapes, two excellent, one not so excellent

Graphic Design students were given freehand pen and brush tasks. Pictured at the bottom is the hand of destiny brandishing the Parker pen of doom

Constructed 3D 'R's and two more bashful students

Draw a 52mm square in the middle of an A4 sheet of pristine layout paper. The overlay shows where it should have been...

Oblique, Isometric and Third-angle Orthographic projections of the 3D 'R'

Graphic Design students had to recreate a poster by the German designer Emil Pirchan

Illustration students copying a dip-pen drawing by the great illustrator Mervyn Peake

Illustration students used scraper board to recreate a wood engraving by Clare Leighton

Here are the illustrators having a go at doing a 'Brad Holland' using acrylics

N.B. Once the tasks had been completed the students were advised to have a lie down...

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

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, communicative work.

Here's some of what they produced:

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Getting to Know You Grillust Style

Problem: Your students have come from all over the place and don't necessarily know anyone else on the course. How do you make them feel welcome and make new friends within hours of starting?

Answer: *Fun in the studio™!

*Fun in the studio™ is a Grillust™ product guaranteed to get students talking, laughing and sharing information within 60 minutes.

It may involve pub quizzing, throwing games, poor quality 'prizes' and a geographical challenge (see the previous post). WARNING: may contain nuts - check before consuming.

Introducing our new students.

Order is the prerequisite for rational observation, imagination, understanding, and peace of mind. 

This is the human prefrontal cortex at work and is why all animals (and some teenagers) seem content in the chaos of the wild (e.g. dirt, filth, socks left strewn around the room) and yet we (adult) humans strive to arrange our music collections alphabetically and by genre: Acid House; Afro-Cuban; Ambient; Barbershop; Beatbox; Bluegrass etc.

We at Grillust Towers take it to the next level by lining up our new students by where they come from, carefully ordered  from North to South.
Here's a sample of this year's findings going from North to South (obviously):

Glasgow; Ayr; Dumfries; Carlisle; Newcastle-upon-Tyne; Workington: Darlington; Teeside; Thirsk; York; Skipton; Blackburn; Bradford; Chorley; Manchester; Liverpool; Nottingham; Shrewsbury; Leicester; Poland; China and South Africa.

Quite a cosmopolitan crowd...

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

New Designers (and Illustrators) 2017

New Designers takes place in this grand space (The Design and business Centre, Islington). As well as graphic design and illustration there are graduates from areas such as product and furniture design. It makes for a really interesting visit and the event is a magnet for a variety of industries. It's also a great place to see concept designs for cars that will (hopefully) never be built in a month of Sundays (see below).

There are also a few highly specialist institutions like this one...

Which, in our over-active imagination, looks like this...

Anyway, here's the GRaphic Design and ILLUSTrstion space and the group of graduates who's work adorns it. As you can see, we have a massive slice of real-estate to call our own.

New Designers attracts a huge amount of industry interest. Students manning the stand were never shy of people to talk to. Business cards flew thick and fast and many promising contacts were made.

Here's Tash (21) who, when she wasn't talking to visitors (most of the time), recreated scenes from the great pop videos. This is her doing Kate Bush's Wuthering Heights...

Bass ace Tom (21) was fully coordinated with his portfolio

As were Sarah (21) and Zoe (33)...

Here's our hard working road crew at the end of a frenetic Saturday evening loading session: hot, happy and more than ready to hit the North.

So that's it for another year, and let us take this opportunity to wish all our graduates success - it's been a pleasure working with you all.

In the meantime, we'll throw a metaphorical 'dust sheet' over this Blog for the summer months as the staff take their holiday leave, undertake research and prepare for the next academic year. Currently, Jim is looking at how combustion engines can be used to turn electric cars into 'proper vehicles'. Tony is writing a long article on the furniture designs of  CFA Voysey (tragically true) before he departs to Vienna to see what colour the Danube is. Dwayne is seeing how fast he can colour-in without going over the lines. Rhiannon is working as a Red Coat at Butlins, Rhyl. Zoe is on a tour of the low countries: Holland, Belgium and Tuvalu (she often acts as a stand-in when minor Royals are indisposed). Nick is working as a guide at Walt Disney's World of Semiotics (Florida) and Dave is off to the future to bring us back valuable information about hover-cars and stuff.

Have a good summer and see you in September.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

We're Off to London to Show Off Our Graduates

Regular readers of the Blog will know that it's rapidly approaching that time of year when we head to London (a large city somewhere South of Doncaster) to exhibit our graduating student's work to industry professionals. Have a look here to see last year's foray to 'the smoke'.

We will be exhibiting our highly talented Graphic Design and Illustration graduates at at New Designers Part 2, held at the rather swanky Business Design Centre in central London (above).

The show opens on Wednesday 5 July and it runs through to Saturday 8 July.

Opening times as follows:
Wed 3.00 – 9.00 (VIP & Press Preview)
Thursday 10.00 – 8.00
Friday 10.00 – 5.00
Saturday 10.00 – 5.00

Business Design Centre 52 Upper Street London N1 0QH 

You can find more details here.

We're on stand VC34 and look forward to meeting friends old and new.

Here's an extra special, behind-the-scenes  preview of what we will be showing...

Friday, 16 June 2017

Grillust Artists in Residence Exhibition 2017

For a year now we've been sharing our studio with three of our excellent Graduates of 2016 - illustrator Miss Maddy Mould, graphic designer Master Vincent Walden and illustrator/force of nature Miss Katie Lock (all 33) who collectively comprise our Artists in Residence.

It's been a pleasure hosting them (they've been no trouble and all) and they plan to leave with a bang well, actually an exhibition. Here's what Katie has to tell you:

Being offered our artists in residency within Grillust has given us an invaluable space for us to find
our feet after graduating university, making transitioning out of education a much more relaxed,
enjoyable process. Access to workshops and reprographics along side studio space has helped
continue our shared and personal creative paths which has only but developed assuredly over the
past year. Whilst a lot of graduates end up working out of their bedroom, this has been a
very unique and significant venture!

We will be displaying a collection of our individual and group artwork at a local exhibition -
“F R E S H” at The Galley in Atlas Works. A multitude of mediums and manifestations will be
displaying across ourselves as well as alongside other Carlisle based creatives. The opening night
is set to be a sparkling event (Saturday 24th June) and the exhibition will be open for the following week.

For more information please contact

Katie Lock

Maddy Mould

Vincent Walden