Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Portrait Commission

A customer from where I work (Staples) asked me if I could replicate an old photograph of an ancestor of his. This is the final result, which he seemed very pleased with. I used Derwent graphite pencils to complete the sketch. I don't usually draw portraits so I expected it to be more challenging than it was. I think the amount I've been drawing lately has been paying off!
Size = A4 approx.

New Work

So sorry for not updating for so long! I've been working on a few things lately. Here are some drawings from recent doodles/competitions/progression:
Firstly, for a competition from one of my favourite musicians, Hayley Williams. Her new single with Zedd called 'Stay The Night' helped inspire this piece for a competition.

Secondly, a piece inspired by the band Bad Religion, their song '21st Century', which is about people caught up in today's world and are too involved in gadgets rather than things that really matter. People who have been dumbed down by media etc.

Finally, just an experimental piece in the style of a tattoo design.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Prints Shop

Above is the link for my new online prints shop with Big Cartel,

My prints are taken mostly from original graphite pencil drawings and occasionally watercolour paintings. The latest of which is entitled 'Number 24' which I submitted for a recent project.

My prints can also be found on my Etsy page too!

Monday, 19 August 2013

Etsy Shop

Discounts and summer sale available on my Etsy shop!

I sell handmade earrings, necklaces, rings, tote bags, cards, paintings and other things.

- Emz

Monday, 12 August 2013

Are Social Networking Sites Crumbling our Communication?

Everyone has Facebook. Even our mums. But does it make it hard for us to speak to people face to face? Have we forgotten how to address people properly and are we being rude when we sit with our faces glued to our iPhones at every given opportunity?

Facebook is great for talking to friends when they're perhaps at other universities and we can't see them as often as we'd like. However, do you really need to write to your flatmate in the next room via the internet something ridiculous, for instance, 'Dude, we've got lecture in 20, you awake mate??'. Just knock on the door and be civilised.

Admittedly we all do the 'look at our phone when we're on our own so we don't feel quite so awkward' scenario. Just to feel a bit less alone while we're waiting for someone or a bus when making eye contact with the gent opposite is too cringey. Yet when we're out having a drink with our friends and they're constantly on their phones, it can make you contemplate why you bothered venturing out of your comfort zone to spend a fortune on a beer, to then be ignored for the duration of the night. Or to be informed several times about someone's relationship status that you've never even met, yet you still feel inclined to say that you can't believe they've got a girlfriend either.

Many people check Facebook in the cinema more often nowadays, which forms all kind of nightmare situations. Imagine you're sat with a massive bucket of popcorn, slurping on a slush and watching the latest horror film with eyes as wide as an owl, (which for the record you've taken out a loan just to be able to be there). Then sat next to you is someone, whether a friend or a stranger, with a phone screen about as bright as the sun, checking to see who likes their profile picture that they uploaded a whole two minutes ago. They then proceed to look gormless and start flailing around screeching 'Oh buzzing! Daz 'The Man' Drayton has liked my profile pic!'. It sort of ruins the moment.

Only being able to communicate with people on the web can make us anti-social in person, not only because we're hooked to the latest gadgets and gizmos but because we can't talk to people correctly. We've forgotten how to converse with our lecturers differently than our friends. Which is fine if your lecturer is hip and down with the kids but not really sufficient vocabulary for approaching a Professor of Medicine.

Eventually people will start to think, 'do I need to go out?', I can just chat online all night and stay in my pyjamas forever. In the end we will become agoraphobics, finding it unnecessary to leave our rooms because we know what everyone else is doing every minute of the day. Would that type of contact with other human beings be enough for us?

Maybe I'm just talking to a wall.


Saturday, 10 August 2013

Graffiti and Street Art - Master or Disasterpiece?

Graffiti is seen as either a mess, simply unsightly scribbles on the walls of the city or to others, an amazing concept, a pièce de résistance. But is it really vandalism? Should we blame a generation for expressing their feelings or should we embrace it; whether it conveys an angry or a positive message?

Agreed, some artwork is morbid and sometimes even disturbing, for instance when on the wall or your local shop the haphazard words 'death is near' scream at you, it may seem farfetched and often a little pointless. Except not all of it is this juvenile, a lot of it has taken time and thought. In urban environments, street art can often give the public something to contemplate, and potentially something they can relate to.

To produce a lot of the graffiti found in city centres, a stencil has to be drawn and cut out first. This is usually if an image is being rendered rather than just the words 'Fresh' or 'Cool'. Spray paint is also the most tempremental material to use on the planet. The street artists only get one chance to paint their canvas (since it's the walls of a city it doesn't rub off so well), yet there are rarely mistakes make in this type of art. It's a fearless way of expressing yourself, put out there for everyone to see.

Graffiti is accessible for all classes and ages, a rebellion against art being made only for big shots who can afford it in their homes. As a student you aren't likely to be able to afford the latest auction of the last painting Van Gogh ever created, so graffiti will have to do. There's no back breaking admission prices either. It's also most likely to have been done by someone the same age as you. Maybe they're crazy, maybe they love dogs, or perhaps they hate their mum and needed to write it on that streetlamp. Either way, its going to be there every time you walk past it, so you might as well get used to it.

Another thing to consider is how they manage to get onto the bridges on the motorway. Graffiti often covers all corners of underground walkways, surely the artists must be half spider monkey to reach the places they do? They must be determined in order to dangle over a busy street just to be bothered to write their name or possibly 'School's Out' upside down.

Whether you are a fan of street art or aren't really fazed by it, it's someone elses personal thoughts and feelings which they wanted to express, which they're probably proud of. If it looks cool then that's half the battle and it might make a good cover photo for your Facebook page. Search 'Street Art Anarchy' on Facebook and Instagram for updates about new contemporary street art all over the world. Street art could help you design your tattoo you've wanted for so long. Oh, and if you're not familiar with Banksy's work, you need to look at it. Now.


The Catcher in the Rye - Article.

The majority of us have read it or at least heard of it. Perfect for someone who loves to read but finds themselves with little time on their hands, due to spending all hours of the day (and night) committed to that assignment you despised from the word go.

The novel has sentiments that, despite being ancient and written in 1951, echo the problems that follow coming of age for us today. For instance; we all frequently hate the world as the transformation of teenager to adult is such a torturous experience, particularly because of the numerous responsibilities to cope with when we'd rather just be playing Pokémon.

The Catcher is a good book to read for essay-writing masochists as it's around 200 pages long, with small chapters that make it easy to put down and pick up again, especially if the flat upstairs decides to turn it up to 11, disturbing mentality to the point of no recovery.

The book is set over 2 days in New York, in which a lot of cash gets blown, mainly on alcohol and cigarettes, hotel rooms, ice-skating, the cinema and a hell of a lot of taxis. It also deals with themes such as depression. If anyone knows about depression, it's students. Deadlines and the pressures of whether to go out or not are enough to make anyone contemplate their own existence. The protagonist, Holden Caulfield, suffers with the disorder. He narrates the story, looking back on his time before he becomes 'ill'. The trigger could be the fact that he's failing at his fourth college. He contradicts himself a lot, just like the rest of us, changing our minds like British weather. His behaviour is inconsistent and he refers to several people as a 'phoney', finding faults in everyone he meets, which is too easy when people are complete morons, right?

Holden Caulfield recalls things from his childhood, like the ducks in the park, always wondering where they go in the winter when the lake freezes over. When he visits the museum, he's pleased that it never changes, the exhibits remain the same. He doesn't, however, like the fact he's changed so much every time he visits. He just wants to be a kid again, which don't we all? A time when you don't have to worry about when your rent money is due, you didn't have to make sure you're eating habits are relatively normal and that you don't look too much like a zombie from next to no sleep night after night.

Does any of this ring true? If you wish you were a kid again and you'd rather not have to face the challenges of adulthood just yet, or you're an insomniac, maybe this is the book for you. It's also a good read because it's very American and there's a bit of swearing every now and then. It might give you some inspiration and get you motivated for that 50 million word dissertation that's right on your doorstep.

- Emz

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Sunshine + Flowerpots Logo - Work in Progress

It's been a while since I last posted, and I've been making jewellery with most of my time. It's also been my 21st birthday so I've not had chance to get online much!

Apart from a logo I've been creating for a small local business that is recently opening called 'Sunshine and Flowerpots', a shop that sells ornaments for the garden. Here are some ideas I've come up with after talking to the owner of the business that is set to be going ahead at the end of summer. The designs will be used for stamps, banners, flyers etc, so I chose a circle which will have text around it. I will upload the finished result at a later date...

Comments and feedback will be appreciated, thanks!

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Degree Show

Photos of my work up for the Illustration degree show just before the open evening, enjoy!

Final Major Project

Photos of my Final Major Project in context as they've all come together. Not posted for a while as I've been busy getting ready for the degree show!

Final Major Project consists of:
  • Book Jackets for 'The Catcher in the Rye' and the 'Lord of the Flies'
  • Fold out map posters that sit inside the book covers for each novel (inside a makeshift pocket)
  • A set of bookmarks for each novel that relate to the text
  • A whiskey label promoting the book 'The Catcher in the Rye'

Monday, 6 May 2013


These are the maps I've created to accompany the book jackets as a fold out map poster. Originally I was going to create different maps for different audiences (same as the book covers) but when I created them they were both appropriate for both targets.

I have roughly read the book to try and find where things would be on the map, and also looking at other maps of New York etc. 

The first map, to accompany the Lord of the Flies, has been shaped like a conch shell, as in the book it is an important object that represents authority. I used a limited palette of greens, executed in gouache and inks. I tried to use the same typography through this map.

The second, to reference while reading The Catcher in the Rye, is again a limited palette using only reds and greys. This has been influenced from my graphic novel cover for the book and runs as a theme, as red is a theme and the grey resembles Holden's depressive thoughts. Again I used gouache and inks. Different styles of typography have been used to emphasise different areas of New York that Caulfield visits, which have been highlighted with red ink.

Both are A4 in size.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Hawkwood Book Cover Competition

My book jacket design for the book 'The Strange Encounter of Sally Shakespeare and Toby Tinker'.

Painted with gouache and edited on Photoshop. The most challenging part was fitting such a long title into the space, not only on the front cover but also the spine, whilst leaving room for the Hawkwood company logo at the bottom. 

I collaged relevant elements including phonetic cards, toy clocks and school equipment; exercise books and prefect badge into the background of the boiler room (mentioned in the story). The text is handwritten, the names are supposed to appear as though they have been written by the characters themselves in chalk on a blackboard. 

Unfortunately due to a coffee spillage on my laptop, I have lost the original file for this with its layers, so I will have to re-do it in a different editing software (if I get the time!)

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Lord of the Flies Book Jackets

My book jackets for the Lord of the Flies. The first is aimed for an audience between 9 and 12 years old, although the book is not initially intended for such a young audience, I wanted to produce work for different audiences to show a range across my FMP. 

The second is for 13-17 year olds, particularly teenage boys because the story is about a group of boys around the age of 12 that get stranded on an island after their plane crashes. The 'Lord of the Flies' refers to a dead pig's head on a stick that attracts flies, which in the cover for 9-12 year olds I felt was important to show because they might have trouble understanding it.

In both I have painted all the elements using gouache and then collaged different elements using Photoshop. I have used relevant images from the book such as the conch shell for the background and the spectacles that get broken trying to make a fire. 

I might change some aspects of these covers, but these are the final thumbnails.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Cartoon for Crosslincs

Above is my cartoon created for Crosslincs newspaper (issue 38), that was published not long ago. This is my first publication and it was amazing to pick up a copy and see my work inside!

I was asked to create a cartoon about Lent that would be witty and humorous. I missed the deadline for applying for creating cartoons for them a while ago because of being busy with work, however, they hadn't published any since so I got in touch and was pleased they were enthusiastic about having a cartoon in the newspaper again.

The newspaper is a bi-monthly religious newspaper based in Lincolnshire and the surrounding area.

Cartoon painted using gouache and details in ink.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Wind In The Willows Penguin Comp

So I decided at the last minute that I wanted to enter the Penguin Design Award this year.

I had an idea in mind so the past few days I've been painting and creating this. I chose Mr. Toad standing in front of Toad Hall because in the book he stands as the main character that can teach children about morals, since he represents rebellion and he is conceited. 

He is also the most fun to attempt to illustrate! I gave him a monocle so that I could reflect in it the motor car he desires, and it shows that that is all he sees. His bow tie has been incorporated with a steering wheel and goggles he wears to drive the motor car. His buttons are a mixture of wheels and headlights.

Materials include gouache and inks.

Size = 278mm x 178mm

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Lord of the Flies Sketches

Above are my sketches for starting to work on the book covers for The Lord of the Flies by William Golding.

I am creating book jackets for children aged between 9 and 12 years old and for teenage boys, approx. 13-17 year olds.

Both of my ideas are based around a pig's head, because on the island they hunt the pigs, and the dead pig's head they put on a stick becomes 'The Lord of the Flies' in the book. I feel this is important to show on both covers because it is the hardest part of the story to understand and might be difficult for the age groups, especially 9-12 year olds to interpret themselves. I think it will also attract them to the cover because it is not only showing the genre of adventure but horror (which also relates to the story).

Here are my preliminary sketches to begin to understand which materials/angles look most intriguing.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Catcher in the Rye Book Jackets

My book jackets for The Catcher in the Rye. The first is aimed at an adult audience, young adults upwards. I have painted the background using gouache paints and collaged relevant elements later using Photoshop.

The second is for a graphic novel, aimed at collectors or people interested in them. Again originally painted using gouache and collaged imagery was added later in Photoshop. 

I have used typewriter styled typography for the blurb because it signifies the time it was written, and it mentions typewriters in the book too. In both I have tried to keep the quality of the gouache painting because it creates a distinct feel to the work.

I might change parts of these slightly before the degree show, though I'm quite pleased with the way I have managed to show hidden elements from the novel, which was my main ambition from the beginning.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Palmer Hargreaves Brief

This is my completed design for the illustrative brief for Palmer Hargreaves after their refurbishment. The illustration needed to capture the company as a whole including the new changes to the office. 

As they are an international company I wanted to emphasise this, so began by painting the word and creating a tessellation. I then collaged on top other painted elements which are relevant to the company and their new look. Looking on their website they are very professional so I created illustrations for things that make a professional company, for example, reliability, security, strong ideas.

Painted with gouache.

Size = 1920 x 1080 pixels.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

'A Calendar of Tales' by Neil Gaiman

This is the illustration I created for the month of July in Neil Gaiman's 'Calendar of Tales', a story for each month from people's past experiences that have inspired him to write. 

You can read the story here:

July is my favourite month so I was edging towards that story anyway, but I liked how the story described an igloo made out of books, so that's what I focused on. I thought about making a scene with it, however, a lot of the images already submitted were scene like and I preferred it without when it came to the final result.

Collage edited on Photoshop.

Size = 24cm x 19cm

Monday, 4 March 2013

Working on A3

I've started working on A3 pieces of paper as part of my development for the FMP. This gives me chance to brainstorm as I go along and will also add to a portfolio, which in the end will hopefully look organised! It also gives me a chance to breathe from working in my sketchbook which is quite controlled.

Here are some pages deciding on materials for the main character which will go on the book cover. The top image is aimed at adults and the second is for a graphic novel. 

I feel grounded with this project, I just need to keep up the pace and make sure I fit in my own style at the same time.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Hawkwood Book Cover Comp

A few pages from my sketchbook for the Hawkwood book cover competition, since I've not posted anything yet. I'm currently changing my idea to create a better composition and overall aesthetic because the idea I had was too scene like, and I want to include collage to look exciting and be attractive to the audience which is 9-12 year olds.

Here I am looking at ways of drawing the two main characters, however, I want them to be quite anonymous since there is little description of them and it is for a mystery genre, so I want things to look ambiguous at this stage.