STUDENT WORK- POOL POSTERS

As part of her 2nd year work student OLGA PIKALOVA has created a set of posters inspired by swimming spots in the city. Below are some of the illustrations from the set;

 

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olga-pikalova

 

Find more of Olga’s work online;

Instagram

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GRADUATE WORK: SOUTH

With his upcoming book Mr Posey’s New Glasses with authour Ted Kooser coming out later this month, we’re taking a look back at graduate DANIEL DUNCAN’S SOUTH. Released last year, Dan both wrote and illustrated the book for Abram Books, having origianlly created it during his 2nd year for the Macmillan Picture Book competition;

 

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Find more of Dan’s work online;

GRADUATE PROFILE: CHARLOT KRISTENSEN

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Illustrator and comic book artist CHARLOT KRISTENSEN graduated from the Middlesex Illustration BA in 2016. Since then she has produced editorial illustrations for clients such as The Dublin Inquirer and AARP. She was also part of 404 ink’s recent comics anthology WE SHALL FIGHT UNTIL WE WIN , runs her own online shop and has recently become a full-time freelancer.  Find out more about her work and career below!

 

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  1. Can you tell us a bit about what you’ve been up to since graduating from Middlesex?

 

When I graduated from Middlesex I knew I would have to move back to Dublin, Ireland, I didn’t know any illustrators there and I wasn’t part of any art community. Knowing that this would be important in order to keep striving to become an illustrator I had to start over and find my place. I was lucky to bump into the illustrator Sarah Bowie and Debbie Jenkinson at a random life drawing class, they introduced me to the Comics lab which they had set up, and there I got to meet many other illustrators such as Matthew Melis who established the Dublin Comic Arts Festival. I quickly realized that without them I wouldn’t have landed some of my first jobs. The last few years I’ve gotten to illustrate for the Dublin Inquirer, BHP publishing and 404ink, AARP, the Stray Lines Collective and Dublin Comic Arts Festival. I also set up an online art shop with my partner where we hope to introduce illustration into practical products such as house decor.

In addition to that, I’m part of the Drawn Chorus Collective, where I’ve been part of 2 anthology zines and an exhibition so far. I also recently managed to get my zine Black Women in History into a book store called ‘Books Upstairs’ and this year I’ve made the decision to go full time freelancing so I can focus more on my illustration career.

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  1. How do you go about producing your illustrations? Is there a part of the process you particularly enjoy?

 

All my work is digital and not so long ago I would have used Photoshop to produced my work but since getting an iPad I’ve found myself using procreate more and more.

I usually start of with brainstorming some ideas and looking up inspiration if I’m stuck. Pinterest has been my go to platform for ideas as I can easily categorize everything and you always get interesting suggestions based on what you have liked.

After that I do thumbnails in my sketchbook and the ones I’m happy with I take a quick photo of with my iPad so I can quickly do a rough based on the thumbnail.

The next step is colour, I like to at least figure out what scheme I’m going for, will it be a daytime drawing or nighttime, and what kind of atmosphere am I’m hoping to achieve with my colours. However, in the end I always tweak the colours a million times before I’m happy with the final result. As you may know most of my work doesn’t have an outline, usually I work off an outline or rough sketch but afterwards I’ll block in the colours and later remove the outline. What I like the most is the rough stage when everything is fresh and things can still change, I particularly love getting the colours down, and things like “is the character gonna have pink hair against a bright blue background” really excites me.

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  1. What does a typical day of illustration work for you look like? Freelancing can be tough- wether doing it full-time or fitting it around a part-time job. Do you have any tricks to keep yourself motivated?

 

Before February I was doing freelancing on the side of a full time job for 4 years since I graduated, that has been really tough as it means you have very little time and energy. At the time I would have spent any moment I could get, whether I was on a bus or during a break at work to work on some freelancing. The important thing here is to not take too much on your plate, I had to really restrict myself and make sure I had days off to rest, I think if you do too much you’ll burn out quicker and that will definitely end up with you giving up. So it’s important to be mindful of your health. If a project is too big and will take a long time to complete make that clear to the client, tell them that you need more time, or sometimes let a job go if it’s going to result in you not having sleep for days, it’s really not worth it. If you have a steady income there’s no need to take every desperate job, think wisely on what project u do, are they paid enough, will it give u good exposure, really research your clients.

I think if you do things in a more balance way you won’t lose motivation. Give yourself a day where you can go for a walk and exercise at least once a week, engage in your local art community and go see art exhibitions to get inspiration.

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4.This year you began running ‘The Orange Nest’, an online shop with your partner. What made you decide to do this and what have you found to be the benefits of it?

 

Since moving back to Dublin I noticed very quickly that there weren’t many independent art shops, particularly shops that had an interest in illustration and zines, furthermore, most shops where you could buy interior products, such as lamp shades, pillow cases were all mass produced designs which made them look boring, so me and my partner decided to do something about it. You can’t always wait till someone else does it, sometimes you just have to do it yourself. Our shop is still very small but last year we grew a lot in sales and this year we will focus on producing more interesting products. The positive impact me and my partner has seen is that we’ve become much more aware of what people like buying and how to really tune our product design, something I was lacking before. I can’t wait to see what more we’ll do with the shop.

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5.What’s one bit of advice you’d give someone who’s thinking of setting up their own shop/getting into art fairs and cons?

 

I would recommend using Etsy as it’s cost effective and easy to set up, the mistake I made was to pay for a Wix shop before building up an audience. We ended up losing money which could have been avoided. Another good thing with Etsy is that it’s part of a community so people can favorite your shop and items and even share your shop in community forums. As a new shop it’s important to be seen so you want to start in a place that already has an established community.

Think about your presentation, what kind of look do you want to give to your shop, even if it’s online you still want to picture your shop as if it was a physical one. A good place to start is to build a mood board, like the ones you would have done as a kid, you find images that inspire your shop look and put them together, things like displays and colours, this will give u a place to start. Another important thing is to have good product photos, if you’re selling prints don’t put up a digital file of it, people want to see what this product will look like, you can either take photos by finding a bright space in your home, you want to avoid dark shadows so try and find a wall where the shadows are very dull, if taking the photos yourself won’t be possible you could use mock-ups.. There are sites such as https://creativemarket.com which offers plenty of good mock ups. As you’re starting out, try and find one that you can use for free but I would definitely recommend paying for a good mock-up later on.

Cons and fairs are so important for networking purposes, if you sit all day at home chances are you’ll most likely not meet people like yourself, cons and fairs has help me connect with others and building my audience so definitely go for them, try and stick to fairs that a relevant to your work, when I first started out I did every fair I could find and often that wasn’t the best way, places like vintage or flea markets might not be the best place for selling art as most people attending will be looking for bargain deals so stick to fairs that are connected to illustration, craft or comics/zines if that’s what you do.

Again I would recommend figuring out how to display your table, what props to get, find a display rack for postcards or to display zines and some stands for your prints, it’s important to make your table as visible as possible, so get some decorations and a nice tablecloth. A lot of mistakes people have done, including myself is to place everything flat on the table, people won’t see your art from afar so if you can find a way to display it like hanging it above or in front of your table then that will help loads.

Doing your first fair can be nerve wrecking but there are a lot of other artist in your shoes too, talk to your neighbors, get to know them and when people approach your table make yourself available, if you’re bored, try not to go on your phone but instead sketch in a book, people are more likely to approach you if you’re working on something it also helps keeping yourself active.

Last thing, bring loads of change, be friendly, and support other artist while you’re there.

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  1. Are there any projects that have felt like milestones in your career so far? What made them stand out and why do you feel they’ve been important?

 

I would say it was the comic anthology “We Shall Fight Until We Win” that I got to work on with 404ink and BHP publishing, this would have been the first work I’ve had published and it was an amazing project to be a part of as it was related to feminism and highlighting influential women in the past 100 years. The other work that I’ve been happy about was the covers I got to do for Dublin Inquirer, they were based on 2 issues I care deeply about, the Direct Provision Center and the environment. I usually feel the proudest when I can use my skill to highlight important issues and empower marginalized people.

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  1. How did you find the transition from student to practicing illustrator? Do you have any pointers for new graduates who may be in that position right now?

 

I think for me it was a bit different as I had worked in a full time job almost 3 years before going to university so I was able to get a job after graduating. The job had nothing to do with art it was just important to keep me going, in the end we need to pay our bills and have some steady income before taking on the whole full time freelancing job and there’s nothing wrong with doing that. I don’t want graduates to think they are a failures for not finding an art job or enough freelance work immediately, these things take time. I would say start small and build up from there, it is possible to do freelance work while working in a job, we just have to be practical about it, don’t take huge projects on board or too many. The good thing about having a steady income means you’re less likely to become desperate about the art jobs you pick up.

Also while you wait for work there are loads of other things you can do such as networking online, a lot of artist I know are surprisingly not on Twitter or very active there but it’s the best place to network. Try to keep up with popular hashtags in the community such as #artvsartist, #portfolioday and #inkoctober, these can really help build your audience. Also interacting with people even if they are popular can go a long way, you would be surprised how willing people are to connect, whether you’re small or big, if they can see you have good content they’ll usually take a look and may just follow you back. I find connecting with people who have common followers usually works best, there’s trust established when they can see that some of the people they follow are following you. When interacting with people try not to come across too intense, act natural as if you met them in person, like and comment on their work, make it relevant. Also connect with people in the industry, follow companies/people that you hope to work with one day.

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8.Can you tell us a bit about what you’re working on next?

I currently produce a lot of editorial pieces for my client AARP, they are a big news company based in the USA and they have a newsletter called sistersletter, which is what I’m producing work for. Apart from that I’ll be working on my first published graphic novel with Avery Hill this year, it will launch some time next year. And Penguin Random House has asked me to design a book cover for them which is super exciting, I hope that this will open many new doors for me.

Find more of Charlot’s work online;

WEBSITE | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | SHOP

SKETCHBOOKS: BARCELONA

Each year the Illustration BA travel to another city to spend several days sketching, exploring and taking in a new environment. This year’s destination Barcelona; below is just a small sample of the work produced by our students and staff on the trip;

 

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MAGGIE DAVISON

Instagram

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WILSON SO

Instagram

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MARIANNA FERNANDES

Instagram

 

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LOUISE WEIR (TUTOR)

Website | Instagram

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KIMBERLY WILLSHIRE

Instagram | Portfolio

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ELISSE VAHI

Instagram

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AMY SCOTT

Instagram | Blog

 

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ALEX MOORE (GAA)

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr

 

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KEITH WILLIAMS

Instagram

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EKTA NARESHKUMAR

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OLGA PIKALOVA

Instagram

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ROWANNA GALBRAITH

Instagram

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YUKINA TOKUMOTO (MA student)

Instagram

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YU LING SUNG

Instagram

 

GRADUATE/STAFF NEWS: FOLIO SOCIETY

We are delighted to announce that GAA and graduate ALEX MOORE has been long-listed  for this year’s Folio Society Prize. Her illustrations for their upcoming publication ‘Howl’s Moving Castel’ have made the final 25 and are also eligible eligible for the PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD.

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ALEX MOORE (GAA)

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr

Here’s a look at some of the other fantastic submissions by some of our graduates and staff;

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CONOR FENNER-TOORA

Website | Instagram | Twitter

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MICHAEL O’BRIEN

Website | TumblrInstagram | Twitter

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SHAZLEEN KHAN (GAA)

Website | Instagram | Twitter

COURSE NEWS: POETRY CAFE

HIDDEN IN THE LINES is our latest exhibition with with Poetry Society. Featuring paintings, prints and drawings by Middlesex Illustration students across all three years the show is a response to Inside Out, a collection of poetry for children. Below are some samples from the show.

‘Hidden in the Lines’ is at The Poetry Café, 22 Betterton Street, London WC2H 9BX, 7 February – 16 March 2019. All works are for sale; proceeds go towards the students’ final degree show.

 

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KIMBERLY WILLSHIRE

Instagram | Portfolio

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YU LING SUNG

Instagram

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LYDIA HILL

Website | Instagram |Twitter

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ASIA JO-BRADFORD

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ISHAA LOBO

Instagram | Twitter

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GEROGE ARNOLD

Twitter | Instagram

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ANNA STUBBERFIELD

Instagram | Twitter | Website

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PANDORA MUNFORD

Instagram

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ALONA SKIDAN

Tumblr | Instagram

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PAULINA KSIAZKIEWICZ

Instagram

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LOUISE CLARK

Twitter | Instagram

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NAIMA RAMANAN

Instagram

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OLGA PIKALOVA

Instagram

STUDENT WORK- T SHIRTS

Our 1st year students have recently completed a project which saw them use Illustrator to manipulate and format black and white illustrations into T-shirt designs. As well as introducing them to this area of the Adobe suit it also gave them a chance to get to grips with our lasercutters and hot press!

Below are a selection of the outcomes;

 

YU LING SUNG

Instagram

NICOLE JASPER

Instagram

 

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ZUZANNA SCOBAKOVA

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JOANA FILIPA OLIVEIRA REIS

KIMBERLY WILLSHIRE

Instagram | Portfolio