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Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Alumni - Neequaye Dreph

Neequaye graduated from Illustration in 1997 here's an update of what's he's doing now and some examples of his fabulous work - from his blog.

"Neequaye is a secondary school art teacher based in London. As an established artist / designer with comprehensive subject knowledge, he is passionate about bringing real life experience into the teaching environment. He prides himself on his ability to engage, enthuse and motivate pupils. For the past two decades he has worked with young people in education, youth justice, the youth service and social housing. He has experience working in SEN and PRU establishments and with young people with mental health difficulties or with medical conditions.

He holds a post 16 teaching qualification (PGDE) and experience teaching KS3 – KS5 pupils across the ability range. Neequaye has delivered art programs in schools and for the youth service, prison service, youth justice and pupil referral units in Greater Manchester where he lived for nearly a decade, and throughout the UK. The young people He has worked with were from all walks of life and often were those considered to be hard to reach. Projects often focused around issues of health, citizenship and community agendas, relating to the Every Child Matters program."

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Alumni - Lloyd Jones

Hello - It might excite you to know that I just signed the contract to have a heavily updated version of The Princess And The Fog, my final MA piece, published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers next year and I couldn't have done it without my Illustration BA (hons) from The University of Portsmouth!

It came about because a course mate of mine on the MA, Emmi Smid, author of Luna's Red Hat emailed them and arranged a meeting with them to have her book published. In her meeting she mentioned me and my book for some reason! They told her to tell me to email them, I did, and here we are! Pretty cool. It's been heavily expanded beyond the version that I had up on display for the MA show to fit with JKP's specialist mental health portfolio so you might not recognise a lot of it. I think it's a lot better this way.

It will be released in June 2015 in the UK and the US, and July 2015 in Australia and Canada. More dates may be yet to come, as I'm told the book will come out in other places in Europe and Asia as well. Jessica Kingsley Publishing will be publishing it. They are a publisher who deal mostly with books about mental health issues and it is a book about depression. They are only just breaking into children's picture books so this will be one of their first. This is also one of the first few books specifically geared towards children suffering from depression that has ever been published as that's only a thing that has been discovered relatively recently. It will be an awesome book.
As part of the contract I will be given six copies of the book. I will keep one for myself, and I was always planning on giving one copy to you guys and one copy to the MA. I don't know what to do with the other three exactly but you guys are definitely getting one :)

I'm currently doing a teacher training course at University of Southampton.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Kelly McKenna: Designer at Target Publishing

Hello Ros and Maureen!

I just thought I'd email to see how you all are, and to give you a little update on what I've been up to since graduation (I know you all like to hear these stories).

So, I applied for a job in publishing during the last few weeks of my third year, getting ready for life after uni. I don't think i even got round to telling you as those last weeks we're so hectic!
But as it happens, I got the job! My title is 'Designers Assistant' in a publishing business called 'Target Publishing Ltd' We publish loads of different magazines from Health, Beauty, Sports and Food - here's the website if you fancy a look:www.targetpublishing.com (don't forget to check out little old me on 'meet the team') I am currently re-designing our most popular magazine 'CAM', making adverts and putting together our advert pages in two other of our biggest mags, oh, and all using InDesign - so thanks for that! After my probation meeting a few weeks ago, I thought it would be a nice time to update you guys. In the new year I am being promoted to an official 'Designer' within the company! I feel so lucky to be straight into this amazing job so close after leaving Portsmouth, but it goes to show that hard work pays off, and Illustration can take you in all sorts of directions.

Hope you're all well, send my love to Bob!
And tell all those level 6's of yours to keep at it.

Kindest regards,
Kelly McKenna

Rj has success for funding for 'In a Bind' project

Myself and Jim recently started a book binding project called In A Bind. Our aim was to make books for people in psychiatric wards and hold book binding projects and workshops in the community. We have just got funding from Tonic Music for Mental Health which has given us a massive leap forward and hopefully soon we will be able to hold our first workshop!

Congratulations to the students who have their work displayed at St Edmunds

The work is now up in the School and looks really great. Well done to Francis, James and Dale.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Winners of the Trafalgar Competition

Just to confirm the winners of the Trafalgar Competition.

Emily Freeman – Waves & Boats. £75
Sorry no image of this.

Jordan Baines – Door  £75

(Joint third place for the last 2 at £50 each)

Caitlin Cronin – Uniform.

Holly Stanton – Coloured ships

Thank you for the wonderful set of work. It was very difficult to choose the final pieces.


Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Some suggested viewing from Darren Garrett - Visiting Lecturer


IWDRM is a series of animated movie stills started in 2010. A video installation based on this Tumblr was shown in exhibitions at the Contemporary Arts Museum (Houston, TX), &FOAM (Amsterdam) and The Event (Birmingham).

Some of his favourites

Craig Valin - Pull Up Banner

Dear Craig

Photos of the stand with your illustration on the pull up banner, well done on your piece. We felt very proud having a creative pull up banner compared to the corporate ones around the room! We'll be able to use it for many events in the future hopefully.

Two more vines produced in the Friday workshop

Darren Garrett's Animated Classics

Comments on the level 6 vines from Darren. "Just had a look at the site. Loving those animations. They really did well with those. "

This is the link to Darren's wonderful animated classics. Worth a look. They are really great.

Here are lots of stills from them.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Workshop for level 6

Some more images from the group working in collaboration with Bo.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Darren Garrett Lecture and Workshop

Darren gave a lecture to level 6 about his company Littleloud and the illustration and games work undertaken throughout the 12 years. This includes work for the BBC, Channel 4 and Sony. In the afternoon we looked at vines, and the use of animated gifs for Illustration. Then the students used electrical objects, wire, paper, toys, maps and general ephemera to produce their own short animations and vines. It was a great afternoon and below are just a few of those produced. There will be more to follow. Darren is sending the link to his Illustrated Classics for students to view in full.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Alumni -Andy Potts

Hope this newsletter finds you well in the run-up to the end of 2014. Before then here's a little
run-down of the latest illustration and animation work from the last six months. Hope you enjoy and I appreciate your time as always.
To see more of his recent work visit http://andy-potts.com/

BBC Focus Magazine have been keeping me busy with two cover commissions. Firstly, this on the theme of How To Travel Faster Than Light with accompanying iPad editionanimations.

I wrote, designed and animated a short film on the life of legendary diva Maria Callas for the release of the album Pure, a collection of remastered arias, on Warner Classics.

Editorial illustration for the Wall Street Journal on the Ebola breakout.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Adam Mitchell - Comes in the top 10 of the International Winston Churchill Design Competition

Hey Maureen!

Hope you and the gang are well! Just wanted to email you to ask a few things and share some news!

I recently came in the top 10 of the International Winston Churchill Design Competition and headed to Pentland in London for an interview. I also was asked to meet the judges from Artsthread and the Churchill Museum to talk about my piece. I'll include an image so you can see the piece! 

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Alumni; Magazine interview with Luke Spooner

I thought I'd send through the text from an interview I did back in August/September for a  horror magazine in which I was feature as artist of the month as well as their cover artist for the issue. There's a couple of things that people just starting out may find interesting in there so I've copied and pasted it into this email to save you having to buy the issue. I've put the questions in bold so that you can find which questions and answers interest you. There are some about my artistic education, how I tackle a piece from beginning to end and also how I got started.

UtB:  Let's start with an easy one: Illustration.  Why? 

Initially, once I realized I wanted to do something creative, I started subconsciously weighing up my options as to what it was I could possibly see myself doing for the rest of my life. I was able to do a fair few things when it came to being visually creative, like photography, animation etc. but it would always boil down to drawing, painting and just being able to arrange things on a page. I then took stock of my life previously and noticed that, although it hadn’t seemed odd to me in the slightest, I had always been drawing and painting in whatever medium I had to hand and it was something I clearly enjoyed. Plus – I loved anything with a narrative. If you were to pick up a handful of my CDs, my films, my books and video games – you’d see that the common thread is always a strong narrative. So with that in mind I decided that illustration was the best way forward as it allowed me to do what I loved, explore new narratives and stories that perhaps the world hadn’t even seen yet and hopefully get paid for it in return. There’s a saying that goes: ‘If you can do something you love for a profession then you’ll never have to work a day in your life’ and I started quoting it as a front line of defense whenever people questioned why on earth I was doing what I was doing.
However, once I got out of University and started interacting with clients and their source material I came to appreciate the level of honesty and trust between client and illustrator. As an illustrator you become a translator of sorts for the author’s work and that in turn is a huge responsibility and ultimately an honor, but I think that in my line of ‘darker’ illustration I have had the opportunity to translate some of the most honest pieces of work I will ever read. Darker fiction, or ‘horror’ if we fancy being very general, is often the stage through which people explore and play out some very deep things about themselves. I’ve had clients that use their writing to explore their sexuality, their fears, their beliefs, their passions – even some shocking home truths but ultimately it’s honesty and that’s something that I respect above all else. In everyday life, and especially as an illustrator or writer, it is far easier to lie than to tell the naked truth.

UtB:  Often, we ask our horror artists why they can't draw something pleasant.  But you do create art for children as well as truly disturbing horrific art.  Why so versatile? 
When I came out of University I started applying for anything and everything that had the word ‘illustration’ in the title. After weeks of sending just over 1,000 emails I got a reply from a brand new publisher who wanted to commission me to write and illustrate a children’s book with the hopes of developing it into a series. I was completely baffled as I had no idea what they’d seen in my style of work that had led them to think I was capable of such things but I had a stack of work that didn’t get added to the portfolio (ironically because it wasn’t dark enough) that proved that I might be up to the task. A year later the books came out (‘The Girl Who Could Make Things Float’ was the debut) and I had a great working relationship with the publisher but I was also suddenly aware of how balanced I felt. Something that should seem obvious but isn’t as an illustrator is that if you do dark work all day long – you get a little dark in yourself by association, so having that new outlet to explore a happier side was incredibly relieving and eventually I remembered I used to enjoy that sort of work long before all my darker stuff started creeping as a student. Anyway – a year into being an illustrator I was still relatively unknown for my children’s book work but I was also aware of how niche I was as a darker artist. I knew I wanted to be doing this for the rest of my life so it seemed that the best way to do so would be to have a more inclusive style of illustration running in tandem to my existing ‘Carrion House’ style that could bring in the extra funds I needed to comfortably keep myself in what I love. I needed a style that would be commercial but at the same time uniquely my own and that’s how my ‘other’ illustration alias: ‘Hoodwink House’ was born. However, upon making this decision and launching it to the world, Carrion House started gaining more and more popularity, almost like some sort of sibling rivalry, and suddenly Hoodwink House seemed to become the supporting style but that hasn’t deterred me from pursuing both in equal measure. I have numerous projects for both styles in the pipeline and am almost at a stage where I’d consider both styles to be 50/50 split in contributing to who I am as an illustrator.

UtB:  How important is it to you to keep the macabre and fairy tales separate?  I mean, have you ever read those Brothers Grimm? 
I find it very difficult to stop the darker work bleeding into the child-friendly work quite often, although it’s not usually until I am about half way into one of the happier projects that this starts to happen. This could be chalked up to the fact that I don’t really separate my work whilst it’s ‘in utero’ – my desk is covered in drawings of corpses and happy woodland creatures in equal measure, but you rightly mentioned the Brothers Grimm, and they are proof of how fine line the line between whimsy and melancholy truly is. For instance I recently had the chance to collaborate on a children’s book called ‘Emlyn and the Gremlin,’ with an incredible author by the name of Steff F. Kneff, that has a plot built around the idea of a small, humanoid creature sneaking into a young girl’s bedroom at night to play with her possessions, whilst she sleeps, before leaving again come morning. Now, obviously the story is incredibly bright, very happy and is created with the aims of teaching children not to judge on first impressions, the importance of understanding other people’s reasons and backgrounds etc. but with themes like breaking and entering, small children being visited by strange life forms – and a rhyming pattern throughout reminiscent of Dr. Seuss, you can see how easily (and how tempting) it could have been to just cross the line into darker territory for a spell and see what would happen. But on reflection, I think all of the best children’s stories have an element of horror within them, whether it’s obvious or sub text, it’s that element that stays with you long after you close a page and adds a lasting effect to any moral lesson that the book may have been trying to impart. I heard someone once say that a great comedian is the perfect choice when casting a drama because they know how peoples’ minds work and I think it’s the same for darker writers and artists – they can explore and appreciate innocence on a level uncharted by most because they know what real horror is capable of.

UtB:  Artists vary widely in their education and training.  Please tell us about yours.
In the U.K we tend to go: Nursery school, infants school, primary school, secondary school, A-Level or sixth form for two years, then University. It’s whilst I was at A-Level that I realized I was going to be doing something creative. The teacher that I had for those two years was one of the biggest influences on my work ethic and overall respect for the artistic world, in all it’s forms. He would tell you outright if he thought your work was terrible and had no problems berating you in front of the whole class – he even ripped out one of my sketchbook’s pages and forced me to paint over another with white wash but he did it in such a way that you went away wanting to prove him wrong, not out of petty teenage angst, but out of pure respect and admiration. He was an artist in his own right, still is, and his studio would be covered in students’ work, past and present, as well as his own work right along side it. He’d set us up for a lesson, tell us what we had to get on with, show us how and then go over to one of his massive canvasses and paint his own personal piece right alongside us for the rest of the lesson. I think it was that effortless transition from professional creative to self-directed creative that showed me first hand how easily your passions could be transferred to real ‘working’ life. It gave me hope and something to aim for. Then, I went to do a ‘Foundation degree’ before University which, unless you are an art student, is fairly uncommon and lasts roughly a year.  I did mine in London, Wimbledon, and you spent the first couple of weeks sampling everything the establishment had to offer. Then you whittled it down your three favourite fields for another month or so before finally selecting what you thought you were most suited to. I ended up in a scary umbrella option called ‘visual communication,’ which basically meant commercial imagery in the most general sense. I was trapped in a room shoulder to shoulder with photographers, graphic designers, typographers, traditional illustrators, children’s book illustrators and even a couple of ‘fine artists’ who had severely lost their way but continued to scratch their chins and occasionally ask from across the room in their most Shakespearian monologue style voice: ‘what does it all mean?!’ I made it out the other side of that year with a huge sense of confusion and a strange mix of influences caused me to temporarily lose sight of what I truly wanted to be. But when I got to Portsmouth for my University degree everything was confirmed. I was reminded of what I truly enjoyed and what I wanted to do more of in the future, I found it all by ironically being forced to look more inwardly than outwardly at the other students I was grouped with. The tutors were practicing illustrators so you knew there was truth in every shred of advice they saw fit to pass your way and it felt like a continuation of my formative A-Level experience. I was receiving the tools to do what I wanted to do but only the choice to practice and perfect them, to bend them to my will was completely up to me. The unofficial mantra of the illustration degree at Portsmouth is “what you put in – you will get out,” and I know that sounds like common sense but you’d be amazed at how many people decide to sit back, put in minimum effort and sit lethargically in the belief that the work will just find them. It doesn’t work like that and once you’re out of the starting gate you know that. You have to do the leg work, you have to put yourself out there and you have to believe in the work you’re creating but if you truly enjoy what you’re doing then it won't even feel like effort. It’ll feel necessary. I heard from one of my friends at a London based art degree that her department’s mantra during her University years was “nobody wants you,” which although incredibly depressing is an unfortunate truth. The difference with my time at Portsmouth and my combined education to that point is that I came out of there wanting to make people want me and that’s probably more important than the degree itself.

For the full interview see 'Under the Bed' September 2014 Vol. 02, No. 12

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Jade Spranklen

Hi Maureen,
So, here is an update on all the crazy things that are going on in my world at the moment. All I can describe it as is a 'jack of all trades’ journey through creative life.

With illustration, I rebranded myself as Sprankenstein. Mainly because I was finding that the projects I was getting commissioned for just under “Jade Alexandra Spranklen” were corporate, boring and meaningless for the sake of some money. I wanted to do something more me, and focus on my own project ideas more. So Sprankenstein was born!

Under this guise I have been doing Press Packets for Independent films, Album Artwork for musicians in LA (I spent some time there in January and made lots of connections - Including Jay Z haha). I am also working on publishing my first short book called “The Little Book of Nobodies” which should be out for Christmas. (Fingers Crossed)

Most recently as you saw, I was exhibiting with the Art Apart Fair - London Edition at the Bethnal Green Town Hall Hotel with the Singapore Art Garrett Gallery (who I exhibited with in Singapore back in 2013). There were some amazing artists there. Basically Art Apart curated the whole first floor of the hotel, and each gallery involved had a room to display several of their artists. In my room there was also two incredible photographers - Barry Cawston and James Sparshatt.
I think I sold three pieces, including the Jimi Hendrix #2 that I did especially for the event.

Aside from illustration, I am also working with Soho House Group again helping them launch bits and bobs in the East London-sphere, so thats an interiors thing.

And aside from that I’m in a band called Felt Tip, and we have 3 singles out and an EP, getting played on BBC Radio 2/BBC 6 Music and signed by Fierce Panda Records and managed by X-Ray Touring for our gigs (they also manage Pulp, Franz Ferdinand, PJ Harvey). So thats super exciting! This is our latest single video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8MreHYo51kc and the next is out in November along with a physical EP that I designed limited edition artwork for. We played Victorious Festival this year on the Seaside Stage.
Here are some links to lots of things and stuff of recent:
Buddy - Last Call for the Quiet Life (I did the album artwork) -
Tall Tales - Magna Carta Media (I illustrated the press packet)
Art Apart Fair - London (I was described as the Young Darling of British Illustration……..although I’m not so young anymore hah)

Oh and one more thing, recently got a new studio in the grounds of the William Morris Gallery with Waltham Forest Council. Such a great space. There should be a press release about it soon. THATS IT. Huge email, sorry.

Portrait Workshop

These are some images from a series of workshops in the Level 4 unit Identity Through Print. Exploring the portrait through a variety of materials, students think about how the myriad of media choices we make can shape our reading of an image. Also, that different media represent different kinds of thinking and making which can inform illustrative practice. Enjoy.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Craig Valin Wins the Shaping Portsmouth Banner Competition

Thank you for your entry to the Shaping Portsmouth banner competition. I am delighted to inform you that the judges (myself, Maureen O'Neill and Bob Wright) have selected your entry as the winner. We particularly liked the way your piece responded to the brief creatively and the conceptual qualities of your work stood out. I will now be working with Corporate Communications to arrange for your image to be included in our banner for the University of Portsmouth CCI Faculty stand at the Shaping Portsmouth conference on 17th November at the Pyramids Centre in Southsea. Please feel free to drop by the conference to see you work in situ, the opening times are 8.30am - 1pm. Otherwise I will organise to have a photograph taken. We will have the banner delivered to our Faculty office by Friday 14th November.

I'm pleased to tell you that the Faculty have decided to award you a £50 Amazon gift voucher which I will organise over the next few days - congratulations! If you would like to drop by the Faculty Office Eldon Room 0.98a, middle of next week, you can collect it and it would be a pleasure to meet you too.

Many thanks again for taking part and we looking forward to seeing the banner made up.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Intuos Pro Tablet and Cintiq Pen

Fab to see these large scale Intuos Pro Tablets and Cintiq pens in the IT suite, great for illustrators to be able to draw directly on screen at any angle. Smaller tablets and pens can be booked out as well.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Charlotte Knowles Update

Hello! Just thought I'd send a quick message to let everyone know what I've been doing since graduation.

I got a job at Willenhall Community Primary School in Coventry as a TA supporting in the art room. A few weeks into the half term the art teacher left and I was given the chance to step up, so I am now teaching art across the whole school from Reception to Year 6 with unqualified teacher status! The children have been developing their scissor skills and making collages, experimenting with mixing colours and creating 3D work with clay and mod roc.

I'm having so much fun thinking of new ideas that the children could learn from and I'm learning so much myself along the way. Having art as a specialist subject in this school works so well for the children and lets me focus all of my time on art and the skills the children need to learn.

I've attached some pictures of what the children have been doing.