Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Don't Believe.

OK, this isn't really illustration related so much. But, I just wanted to show off my boyfriend's wonderful talents - but more importantly say that my other half is so sweet and made me this beautiful light box with his own hands. I feel so lucky!

I've been using it for lots of projects recently... My latest project has made me staying up until 7am in the morning, stressed beyond belief. I think its because the tutor and all the feedback I've had so far this semester about my work from tutors hasn't been particularly positive. I know I need to become more experimental and be able to develop my work further. I've been playing with lino printing, mono printing, collage and even PVA and glitter for my current project. The problem with experimenting with work with such short time scales is that it can be really limiting and I know other people can do it, but when you acquire the skills of Photoshop life becomes so much easier and yes, I will say it, a bit lazier. 

I have been suffering from insomnia, working way too much, smoking too many cigarettes, probably not eating properly and listening to Vashti Bunyan to try and find a sense of calm within jumbling around a lot of things going on. This is what my living room has looked like for about two days now:

And here is some of my development work which I've been doing for my final piece on my current project:

At present I am doing an essay on the theme of Existentialism and the film/book Never Let Me Go (which I think I mentioned in my previous post). I have a huge pile of books on Existentialism which I need to read and try to understand (yes, it's heavy stuff) - and a whole bunch of other films to watch for my design theory. Although finally I have felt my practical and design theory are beginning to find ways into my illustration work which I am thrilled about. It's even made me interested in going to more film lectures after this semester. (Yes, I am that much of a nerd.) I'm using Blade Runner as one of my references which I have never seen before until recently and I am now mesmerised by the entire style and narrative of this film. 

It reminds me a little of Wong Kar Wai's 2046 and Jean Luc Godard's Alphaville. I can't believe I've never managed to watch Blade Runner before, but yes, I like finding inspirational moments like that. My two characters in the image above are loosely inspired from Blade Runner. My friend Jess (DressMeBest), made a sweet reference to Wall-E and it also reminded me of another short film by Spike Jonze called 'I'm Here' I watched a few years ago which I really liked in terms of narrative and style.

I also got an iPhone 5 very recently so I think it may be easier for me to now 'connect' better to the internet world and keep a record of my daily work and yes you can even get to read more about my daily aimless ramblings. I jest. 

I also forgot, I got featured on Amelia's Magazine recently. Please feel free to view the article here about Kate Sibley's eco friendly jewellery. In my next post I'll add some information behind the ideas of the editorial piece, and I'll show my ideas, thought processes, and physical development of a book cover which I created for an upcoming ECA Illustration exhibition at West Port Books in Edinburgh. 

Monday, 5 November 2012

Fact or Fiction

So once again, I've been pretty out of touch with the whole 'blogging' scene. I know it is something I should get back into but I have been dealing with the reality of life unfortunately to an extent. OK, that sounded pretty pessimistic. I have been having an great time in my first semester of third year and getting back into the swing of projects and doing lots of other fun things involving stuff outside of college. I have been having some problems again within the dealings between Edinburgh University and ECA in regards to exchanges, but I am not going to vent it out on here as it would be unprofessional of me, but I have been scoping out other opportunities to hopefully find some other interesting things to do.

I watched Gallery Girls for the first time this evening and the feelings that resonated within me made me die a little inside. I think it was because it reminded me of the reality of my future, how pretentious it makes the creative industry appear, and the competitiveness within an art school environment and the art/design industry. I was at an internship at an illustration agency in NYC myself just past August and this TV series has made me feel lightly disheartened about my career choice and all these opportunities I've tried to pursue. I know that these kinds of American TV series are somewhat dramatised but also touches on some things which are a bit too close to the heart. Maybe I'm just being too overly sensitive.

I also watched Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives for my design theory this evening, and I loved every moment of it. It's like a series of short stories and it reminded me of all these classic asian films I used to love when I was a kid, such as the The Littlest Warrior, Princess Mononoke, and the Monkey King (not the new version but the older versions) TV series, The Cave of Silken Web and Jet Li's The Evil Cult. The costumes, language, music and inspiration behind the story line just remind me of days long gone.

Anyways, aside from cultural asian media ramblings...

Here is some work I've actually been doing for college - I did a 'reportage' theme illustration project about Carol's Sauna on Easter Road where I created a series of 'Tart Cards' style calling cards inspired by the ones you find in London phone boxes in the 1980s/90s where they were cheaply made and printed. I was interested in the history and graphic quality of the creation of the original Tart Art cards. There's a good essay which I found a lot of my research from by Tom Phillips called the Commercial Art in the Public Realm and Wallpaper*' Sex Issue's Type Tart Art project in response to a letter sent by Mike Dempsey to Wallpaper* magazine.

I also further developed some of the imagery of these 'tart cards' inspired by the Belle du Jour (1967) film and Belle du Jour (1928) book by Joseph Kessel into a book cover which I had fun playing around with typography. I wish I had had more time to develop it but I only had one week to do this project as I was away in Moscow but I was happy with the result but I guess as I didn't cover the brief properly by not conveying my opinion more. 

Asides from that, there's a few more things I'll try and post up over the next couple of days. I have some work for a new Edinburgh street style Indian restaurant Tuk Tuk opening in Tollcross and another book cover which I've been working on for an exhibition at West Port Books which I'll put up in my next post! 

Wednesday, 24 October 2012


I have returned from my adventures in the capital of Russia, Moscow. If I had to summarise my adventure in three words - bewildering, stunning and inspiring. I have to say even though it was cold, I would definitely consider going to Moscow again although it would have been easier if I had a Russian speaking guide as the language and alphabet can be quite confusing to the silly foreigner (i.e. myself).

 I felt like a true tourist in Moscow, but it was a wonderful place to visit despite warnings of unfriendly Muscovites which is true to an extent. In contrast to NYC it was so different.

On our first day we visited Red Square and ventured inside St. Basils Cathedral –I have to say it is definitely one of the best buildings I have ever seen in all my travels. Beautiful would be an understatement. We then managed to find our way around the Kremlin to the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts featuring a large collection of ancient artifacts from Egyptian to Greek culture and various others.  It also had a special exhibition of Le Corbusier’s work ranging from painting, textile, photography and architectural drawings that were really interesting also.

Our second day, we went to the Tretyakov Gallery which featured lots of traditional Russian art in a style similar to the Renaissance painters. The architecture in Moscow, I was in complete awe of - it chops and changes from beautiful decorative buildings to Soviet style buildings, each as grand of the other as their own polar opposites.

Friday - We went to the Memorial of Cosmonauts, another absolutely breathtaking spectacle of awe for myself of a gigantic steel rocket monument and a array of sculpture figures to commemorate Soviet cosmonauts. It is the entrance to the Space Museum – which features a large exhibition of space related items that I found fascinating with a certain kitsch feel to it of being in a set of a 1960s sci-fi film. It also has Belka and Strelka immortalized in taxidermy, the two space dogs which survived their space voyage and landed safely back to earth.  We also had a cycle on a two-person bicycle around the All Russia Exhibition Centre that had a variety of an odd collection of buildings and a theme park. I also visited Leo Tolstoy's house which was also filled with beautiful crafts made by his own family.

I found some lovely children’s illustration books in Izmailovsky Market – the best place in Moscow for cheap Russian souvenirs, antiques and lots of other curiosities for all kinds of tastes. I purchased a Laika postcard from 1958, Russian stamps and badges. You could easily spend a whole day there rummaging around and find some wonderful Soviet and Russian items. There are a few other places I haven't had a chance to mention but overall my trip to Moscow was a bizarre but very culturally interesting and I hope I can return again. 

Monday, 24 September 2012

Peter Higgs Editorial

This is a piece I created recently for an editorial brief for the Edinburgh University staff magazine based around the Higgs Boson particle. Physics in general confuses and stirs my inner curiosity, but I liked the idea of having Peter Higgs celebrating over his discovery and the idea of the universe relating to his personal journey.

New York Cares

Yet another post which has been long overdue! But it is cold and wet outside, a typical Monday morning in lovely Edinburgh. I'm stepping out today and going to put some more focus onto my personal journal. Summer has come and gone so fast. I've been given a new brief today which is to do twelve drawings over the next few months and write up something (vaguely) interesting about it.

I was in New York City in August on my internship at the joint illustration agency - Gerald and Cullen Rapp and Mendola Artists. It is a very small hard working team who were all very lovely to meet and taught me quite a lot about the illustration industry itself. They have been established for over twenty five years covering a very wide range of illustration in all aspects from editorial to commercial. Gerald and Cullen Rapp are primarily editorial based and Mendola Artists are mainly commercial illustration ranging from projects in advertising to packaging and more. It was extraordinary to see the vast amount of artists and how broad the styles were and it gave me an insight to see that there is a market for most types of illustration but also keeping up with trends and style were important too. 

My role was helping Lydia with social media and administration by maintaining a variety of artists portfolios to increase potential business for the company. In some ways my job was looking at illustration all day which was great, but also daunting at how far I need to come along before my portfolio is anywhere near the same professionalism.

It was interesting to see which artists are doing quite successfully in terms of publications and the entire process from brief to the printed illustration in context. For example, Michael Crampton's poster which was shown for the U.S. Open 2012 which I then saw on the 'Museum Mile'. They also have a sister company based in the UK and became aware of a lot of illustrators names who have done work for major companies such as McDonalds, Santander, etc which made me realise there is definitely work out there for illustrators. I think I'd been feeling pretty dismal about the future but I think my internship has made me feel a lot more positive about the future.

Overall, my entire trip was a great experience in itself and got to visit and stay with my friend Cindy (who has Cuban/Colombian descent) and try interesting South American/Spanish style food and also visited some of the best art galleries/museums I've ever been to - the MOMA, the Guggenheim, the American Folk Art Museum, Natural History Museum, the New Museum, the Met, the Whitney, Neue Galerie (one of my favourites) whilst also walking the high line, Brooklyn Bridge, Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, Grand Central Library, Grand Central Library, and Central Park Zoo. It was really inspiring and hopefully I'll have the chance to go again in the future. 

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

New Blank Document.

Photo: Cerny Laun

Yes, I’ve been hiding away, and truth to be told, I have been thinking about all the things I should be doing (and haven’t). This being one of them which I really need to get into the habit of doing again. I just can’t seem to find the motivation. Also I have been looking after my lovely friend Maggie’s pug, Rupert who I am now missing terribly. 

Apart from surrounding myself with cute but expensive animals to distract myself, I can’t believe New York is just a little over a month away before I go to do my internship at Gerald Cullen and Rapp agency. I’m nervous, broke and it doesn’t feel I’m going to the States just yet. I’m also doing a volunteer placement at Dundee Contemporary Arts in their print studio and in return I should get some time to do some printmaking which I hope will make me feel a bit more motivated to do some more illustration work again.

On the topic of lasercut… I also have a secret which I've been working on - which is my new upcoming series of laser cut brooches that I made at the Edinburgh Laser Cut Studio. They will be for sale soon in my Etsy store. I am undergoing a bit of a revamp and hopefully this will all be underway soon! I did a photoshoot yesterday to create a promotional portfolio of all my new work with photographer, Cerny Laun and my lovely fellow illustrator classmate Eilidh as the face of my new line. Here's a sneak peek of one of the photos we did the other day... More to come!

Sunday, 1 April 2012

if i ever feel better.

Amelia's Magazine - Sara Harnett Modern Love

You know the saying, sometimes you win some, sometimes you lose some.

To pre-warn you - this may possibly turn into a rant as I have had quite a rubbish week.

This is a true reflection of my own personal experience of being an illustration student. I have fluctuated from the last few weeks to extremely productive to completely unproductive. I haven't really done anything university related this week as I have gone through range of disappointments and felt unsupported by my university degree so far which has therefore killed my motivation entirely.

Overall looking back on this previous year, I have done two design theories which did not relate whatsoever to my course (Textiles and Interior Design), although I guess its good to learn about these things but I still feel I have constantly been picked the short straw. I also didn't get into either of my choices for international exchange to America because there is a lack of places and I haven't been given a clear reason why I wasn't chosen. There were a lot of reasons why I wanted to go to the states but I'm not going to go in to them now.

I have been chosen for Lucerne in Switzerland but I feel its' not worthwhile to myself in terms of being an 'older' student, leaving my job for only three months to go to a school I know nothing about, extremely expensive and not being able to speak Swiss-German with the weight of third year being quite important I feel its' probably best I stay in Edinburgh. I don't particularly want to discuss exchange worries on here as to say the least it's plummeted my confidence in my school, in myself and my work.

On the brighter side of life, I have done some work for Amelia's Magazine this week for Modern Love article which can be viewed here. I've been on the hunt for some internships doing any kind of creative work over the summer to boost my CV, and I'm going to Germany for a few days for Easter break to visit family. I'm creating some text and narrative artist books for my final project based around Guillaume Apollinaire's book of short poems 'The Bestiary'.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

illustration spree.

Gummo - Harmony Korine

I have been extremely well behaved as of late! I managed to submit my 2000 word essay today for my design theory, which is a massive relief. I know it isn't a piece of literature genius, but at least its' done and hopefully enough to pass. It's strange how much I stress before essay deadlines, but once it's done I'm on cloud nine.

Böö Press Print

We are pretty much close to finishing up the Böö Press Print illustration collaboration. The boxes are laser etched with lovely screen prints inside. Here is a wee sneak peek of everyone's work but shall get some good photographs of the finished product before it goes on sale. I am surprised but I am actually starting to sell more and more work, which I'm really pleased about. Somedays, I just can't believe it! Yes, I know I am talking about the good side of being an illustrator and believe me, there can be weeks and weeks of absolute dread, being frantic and lots of pressure. Although this might just be me, personally. I've added new work to my Tumblr of the things I've been up to, so feel free to have a gander. I've been experimenting with hand made textured digital patterns which has been good fun, and I'm hopefully going to develop a few for our press print to put on trace paper in-between our prints. I also got some new walnut brooches made up, so I will hopefully have these on my Etsy store for sale soon.

Anyways, I feel I deserve an evening to relax and dine on scallops, pak choi, chillis, spring onions and soy sauce. I guess it doesn't get much better than this!

Monday, 5 March 2012

Shop Til You Drop

Yes, this is me - looking pretty tired!

Today has been quite a long day, with myself being in school from 8:30 today! As much as I love the art of Illustration, it definitely has it up and down days. I sometimes think being at art school has turned me into a slight schizophrenic – some days I’m manically happy, the next absolutely miserable. At the moment though, I’m happy to say the least even though there has been a few hiccups with projects I’ve been working on and juggling uni around with my part time job and a design theory essay deadline looming.

I was featured in Shop Til You Drop magazine in Australia as you can see - which I received in the post a few days ago from my lovely cousin. I feel I’ve been waiting so long to see it in print!

I’ve been working really hard with my group for our Press Print artist books’ project but it should be finished in the next couple of days, and is looking good from the Photoshop mock up. We’re going to screen print it in a black blue, salmon and light chestnut brown colour. I also did another project with Gylemuir primary school which was a nice change getting to work with children – although I don’t think I could do it as a full time job!

I’m going to postpone my images of the Press Print for now, as I’d rather wait till they’re printed and in their laser etched boxes! I’m doing laser cutting tomorrow (at a small fortune) and planning on doing my fox brooch in walnut so it should be up in my Etsy store soon.

There are a few exciting things coming up and my last project of the year is an eight week one, with the theme of “Character”. I haven’t had a chance to think what I’d like to do yet for it, but I’m planning on doing printmaking if I can!

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Amelia's Magazine

I also contributed a quick piece for Amelia's Magazine's article on Charini Eco Lingerie Fashion. It took me a day so it wasn't as developed as I would have liked, but I'm happy with it for a one day project. I was inspired by the Sri Lankan deer and the phrase "airing out your dirty laundry in public" which isn't that appropriate, really(!)

You can view the article here.

My Working Process

As you can see, I tend to work from my bedroom. I am guilty of being an illustration hermit but I find I get distracted easily in the studio. I worked from photographs I did with my friend Seb Singh on Saturday using my lovely friend Jess (Dress Me Best) as my model. This is the series of images I'm working on for my Böö Press Print Project at Edinburgh College of Art for the Glasgow Artist Book Fair in April.

The theme is Shamanism, so I'm working from a range of contemporary and historical influences. The end result should hopefully be screen printed in a limited colour palette, (at the moment I've chosen brown , black and pink). There are four others in my group, Emma Alqvhist, Danielle Callaghan, Emily Katagiri, and Sorcha Fitzergerald. I've used some different techniques in my work for this print, using inky pens for the feather hair band and some digital colouring. We hope to have the work as A5 screen prints and put them inside a handmade box with tissue paper tp separate the images. We may have a laser etched logo of some kind on the cover or even a laser cut stamp. I'm really excited for this project so hope we can pull it off well! Pictures to come.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

i've been so blue without you.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Enter the Dragon

OK, I know it’s a cheesy way to introduce a new post. But after being very disengaged from the internet world (apart from sadly to tell the truth, rummaging through Urban Outfitters & Topshop online and Facebook), I am going to try and make more out of my blogging again. (I really dislike the word ‘blogging’ - it just sounds so distasteful.)

It is coming into the year of the Dragon - my year - which makes it that little bit extra special for me as I am a little bit auspicious. Must be the Asian genes. I’ve had some good news in terms of my illustration work… I’m being featured in Shop Til You Drop magazine in Australia next month and I am hopefully going to produce some new items for my Etsy store, some of which may be sent down to the Nook & Cranny store in Liverpool’s Blue Coat Gallery very soon.

I have and haven’t enjoyed the first semester of my second year of ECA. We did a project with William Goldsmith and Michael Kirkham - both of their illustration work I can admire although drastically different from my own. The first three projects consisted of two sequential illustration projects and a more self-directed project of ‘Edinburgh as a Utopia’ working within a digital medium. This semester I have started the gradual progression to working digitally. I even got a Macbook Pro, which I now adore (yes I am trying to become a ‘real’ designer/illustrator!). A first for me; but is making work a lot more efficient and definitely a new learning curve for myself.

2012 has been a bit of whirlwind so far. I went to Amsterdam last week with my significant other, although I didn’t do anything that cultural except smoke and eat cakes and go to the Erotic Museum and get paranoid in Burger King. The most cultural part (and indulgent) of my holiday was our visit to Artis Zoo, which I loved. It even had an aquarium and butterfly farm. The marmosets were definitely one of my favourites, although I never found the sloths in the open area zoo.

In other news, I also found out a few days ago, that I won a competition from Vice magazine - so in the space of two weeks I’m off travelling again down with my other half to London to go on the Eurostar to Paris to see Woodkid perform on the Eiffel Tower. I can’t wait! My plan is to do lots of drawing, a bit of dancing and eat Laduree macarons. Yum.

Shall keep you posted.

Laura x