Professional Practice Seminar: Freelance Illustration

This weeks freelance seminar was based around freelance work; how to get it, how to respond to it and the importance of self publishing. Anna talked a lot about the fact that freelance illustration is not easy and is not something that can be relied on, at least not until you have built up your portfolio and established yourself. In order to get big projects that you want and to get to work on the things that you have a really big investment in, you have to find other avenues to support that and other ways to generate the money and/or notoriety that illustrators need to do these larger projects.
The things that Anna really emphasised were; always being ready to opportunities that might come your way, finding and constantly looking out for them and having a good website and a strong portfolio both online and in print. All of this advice is aimed at presenting yourself and your work in the best light possible, with the most professional and pro-active outlook, that will allow you to always be ready to respond to a brief or any opportunity that comes your way.
One of the most reassuring messages that Anna really brought home, was that it’s important not to put too much pressure on yourself to jump straight into freelance work, as it often takes years to really build up and to get good at. You are unlikely to come straight out of your degree and hit the ground running in the realm of freelance illustration. If this is the route that I’d like to take after uni, I will have to find other things to support me during the build up and to play the long game in terms of career. While this does take off some of the pressure, it also made be more nervous at the same time….the post graduate world looks very scary right now.


New Scientist Illustrators: Natalie Nicklin

Natalie Nicklin is an illustrator who’s woork has featured in The New Scientist, Wired, Urban, Outfitters and Economia Magazine. Her illustration utilizes a wide range of processes; from found images and photography to modern digital techniques and screen-printing.

Her work resembles a retroactive futurologist excavating the remains of a culture and society that never came to be. She says; “Somewhere there’s a parallel universe made up of all our previously imagined technopias. I’d like to think my work reflects that place.”
The surrealist style and futuristic sci fi feel of her pieces, really lends itself to the mood and tone of the magazine and editorial pieces that she has been commissioned for.

Editorial Brief: Final Image

I sent off my final finished image to our fake editor ‘Brian’ Sunday afternoon, with plenty of time before the deadline, so that I could be absolutely sure, that I had the file formatted and exported correctly to the specification that he had asked for in the emailed brief. I also did that in the full knowledge that I am not a morning person and was unlikely to wake up on Monday with enough time to properly compose and send the file without being very stressed about it.
Due to the fact that I’d used the Mac’s in uni to properly export and organise my files in advance on Friday make the experience really easy; the only hard part being actually formatting and writing the email in a professional and appropriate way. Brian’s initial email had been quite informal and easy going, but I did feel like that was the tone that I should respond with, if I were to be doing this in the ‘real world’ of professional illustration, I felt I’d try to always be very professional in how I address any editor or publisher that I’d like to work with again; so as to leave them with a good impression of me and my work. No matter if I sent them a two bit gif or a full cover piece, I think I’s like to approach every job like a future opportunity.
Scan_160320173526_001 15x15cm 300dpi
The image that I produced as my final piece, was based on both my own favorite concept and the advice that I got off my piers in our tutorials. I feel like it’s the most striking concept that I produced, it defiantly embodies the gravity that I wanted to communicate with my image and I feel that it does this without showing my own personal bias or opinion on this most polarizing topic. Though I didn’t get the chance to work on the digital aspects that I had talked about during our pier tutorials; with my next editorial briefing, on Monday, I plan on basing my whole concept around making it in digital form. I am also very happy with the work that I produced for this brief and feel like it hasn’t lost any from the lack of digital enhancement; there is no point in making a piece digital just for the sake of it.

Editorial Brief 2: New Scientist.

For our second Editorial Brief we were given free rein over our choice of both the article and the publication, with pretty much the same expectations that we had in the last brief plus a few add-ons, to make it a bit more of a challenge. In addition to the 15x15cm 300 dpi image that we had to produce last time, we also have to create a simply gif to go alongside the piece. This only has to include one extra ‘moving’ or animated aspect to fit the description of gif, but adds an extra level of challenge to the project. This will also give me the opportunity to use and refresh the skills that I gained in the gif workshop with Matt.

For my publication, I chose the ‘New Scientist’, a publication that has featured some really inspiring illustration over the years and has used them to entice and educate it’s readers in a variety of ways. I’ve long admired their featured illustrations and found them to be a really effective way to inspire me to read and research the fanatic art variety of articles that they run.
The article that I’ve decided to go with is a really interesting article about how our brains can piece together things that we hear without actually hearing the whole sentence or word. It was one of the first articles that jumped out at me with concept ideas and I feel like I already have a pretty strong idea of the concepts that I want to explore.
The article I chose:
A secondary article I’m using as background research:

Illustration Collective: ‘Women Who Draw’

While looking into articles and editorials in the New York to illustrate, I came across a really interesting article about a project called ‘Women Who Draw’; this is a collective of female illustrators,  from a great variety of backgrounds, religions and minorities, who they show case and provide a platform to as part of their collective.

The inquisitive was started by Wendy MacNaughton  and Julia Rothman. Who, when they really noticed the discrepancy between the number of male vs female illustrators in the public eye, decided that they needed to act, and to help become part of the solution to this inequality. Since it was started in 2015, it has featured over 2700 (and counting) professional artists, providing tools to help users to curate their own stable of artists, interviews with prominent illustrators, monthly membership collaborations, and a resources page for artists and the people who want to hire them. Women who draw have been successfully discovered and hired by publications like The New York times, TED, The Globe and Bust Magazine. Women who draw has provided a great and nurturing space for so many female artists, giving them a community and an invaluable resource of support, as well as an active platform for political protest.


Editorial Brief Developed Roughs

Having Come away from my peer crit with my three key concepts, I then went away and developed them each into three different compositions and three more developed concepts.

Having taken in the feed back from my peer crit, when developing the further concept perspectives, I also included the consideration of the dimensions of the brief (15x15cm) and so I started my development work in square format. In addition to the nine compositions I also worked on some more developed and finished pieces along side.

The feedback that I then got from my peer crit was that, once again, in terms of strength of imagery, the red cliffs are still the strongest; and that to keep going with the metaphorical imagery. My illustration should not simply be about explaining the article, but about the issue of polarization that it is talking about. I was also advised to look at my use of mediums; which I have changed from pen to water colour pencil, partly because I wanted the even brighter colours and partly because I would like to make my images more painterly.. As well as making the images more painterly, my crit group suggested that I look at how I can change and develop my images digitally in photoshop.
In turn, looking at and talking about other people’s work in the group really helped to cement my ideas and to better understand the brief. Again i will go on with this feedback and continue to develop my final piece for Monday.

Editorial Brief Roughs

After the seminar/workshop on Thursday 9th we spent the rest of the day developing 9 rough concepts to illustrate our articles; this was surprisingly hard, as coming up with 9 different concepts is quite hard. But never the less, I manged.

I worked in fine liner because I knew that I wanted to work with bright colour, and that pen would be a good material to do this with, it would also make it easy to reproduce quickly.
Considering that the article that I was working on presented a relatively neutral perspective and actively referenced an article that held a strongly opposing argument to the issue, I wanted to keep my own bias out of my illustration. Being strongly pro-choice, it was interesting to see that the opinion in the reference was one that I had not really considered and certainly not seen presented in such a way, as to make me question my own polarized views. Therefore I feel like the aim of my illustration should be to entice people to read both articles and be drawn into the debate in a very neutral manner. to do this I kept all of my concepts very metaphorical and open to interpretation.
Having explained this to my peer crit group, they agreed that this needed to be an important factor in my illustration and that keeping my own opinion out was vital.
Of my nine concepts; the red cliffs, the clock and the scales where all considered to be the strongest concepts to continue on with. Though my favorite  aspects are absolutely the clock and the cliffs. I was also advised to look at how i was representing the figures in my work, and how much of a role they played in my message; could they be more?
The crit and idea generating exercise were defiantly very helpful in my process and have given me some great feedback to work on. Now that I have my key three concepts, I will develop them each into three different compositions for the follow up group.