Ill2002M – Audience and Message – Dogs Trust Campaign

For this project we were asked to create a poster for the dogs trust to encourage people to adopt a dog rather than buy from a breeder. They were after a positive message showing that dogs trust treats their dogs well but that it would be better if they found a forever home. There were very strict brand guidelines regarding the use of the logo and its placement on an image.

I started to sketch dogs with potential owners with the view ‘there is someone for everyone’. This then evolved into adding a slogan as if it was a dating service, with slogans such as ‘Looking for a film buddy?’ and “always good with kids’. I decided on the film buddy idea and started sketching it. Upon te review for my client visual yesterday it was found that the female looked too unhappy, the male’s pose didnt look right and overall the couple didnt look loving but as if there was a rift. Upon this review I have decided to Close the gap between the couple, change the poses to make the couple look more enamoured with each other and add tv remotes and some stray dvds to add to the setting that they are having a film night.



After my review of my client visual I made the appropriate changes and began to colour. I decided to use the ‘Dogs Trust’ yellow as the wall colour to keep a consistency to their normal ad campaigns which are all on a yellow background. I then used warm muted tones for the sofa and clothes so the yellow stood out, I didn’t want to use any more primary colours as it may have run the risk of being too overpowering. I also left the floor white as not only did it complement the yellow but also part of ‘The Dogs Trust’ brand guidelines, their logo can only sit on top of white or yellow and i wanted to avoid having a floating yellow square for the logo to sit in.

Ill 2002M – Audience and Message – The Selected Adventures and Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes

This brief was taken from the Folio Societies’ competition, this year the chosen texts were three Sherlock Holmes short stories. I came into this project feeling quite confident as I previously participated in the folio society competition in my second year of college. For the brief we were given three stories; ‘A Scandal in Bohemia’,’The Man with the Twisted Lip’ and ‘The Musgrave Ritual’. We had to pick two out of the three stories and create a single page illustration in full colour to go into the book to accompany the story. Along with the two images, we also had to design the cloth binding covering the front and back boards of the book. Unlike the internal illustrations we were given a limited colour pallet, three colours would create the cover comprised of two flat colours and the colour of the cloth acting as the third colour.


After reading the three stories I decided to use ‘A Scandal in Bohemia’ as I love the character Irene Adler as she is one of the few characters in the stories that can outsmart Sherlock. I also picked ‘The Man with the Twisted Lip’ as the aesthetic of victorian opium dens is quite fascinating, I also felt like I could work poppy imagery into the piece, since the target audience of the folio society are intellectual book readers, they will know that some opioids are derived from poppy seeds.


I started off sketching the characters as that is usually how I start projects, I am a very character driven Illustrator as you can see in previous blog posts. Soon after drawing my first thumbnails for ‘A Scandal in Bohemia’ I realised that drawing a compilation of the pivotal scenes in the story wouldn’t be the best way to go. Not only would it be alot of detail and quite time consuming but there would also be no room for error. After looking at some of the previous winners of the competition, I realized that a more abstract image would serve well as the audience wouldn’t need the imagery of the scenes spoon fed to them like the audience of a children’s book.


I played about with some of the imagery from ‘The Man with the Twisted Lip’ I researched into images and etchings of victorian opium dens , playing about with images of the opium pipe using poppy petals instead of smoke. In the beginning of the story, the woman who visits Dr Watson and his wife to ask for help finding her husband was described as quite a haunting figure in the doorway. I experimented with silhouettes of victorian women made out of poppies, eventually i decided to combine the pipe with the silhouette to show a woman coming out of the petals ‘smoke’.


After finishing the ‘Twisted Lip’ image on photoshop I then had the inspiration to create a similar picture featuring objects linked to the ‘Scandal’ story. Rather than using an image of the cabinet photograph, instead I used the image of an 19th century camera along with an engagement ring to represent the engagement between ‘The King of Bohemia’ and his Fiance and also ‘Irene Adler’s’ spontaneous marriage in the story.


Creating these two images on photoshop, I definitely developed my digital skills further. I experimented with brush textures and layer modes which helped give a richness to my work as past digital work has felt flat and dead.


I also felt like It took a few tries to lock down the cover art. I wanted to stay away from the typical profile silhouette of Sherlock in his hat smoking a pipe. I first drew inspiration from a victorian medical illustration book I own called ‘ Crucial Interventions’ and my flatmate’s copy of ‘Grey’s Anatomy’. I had the idea to use anatomical images of the brain to represent Sherlock’s intellect but after some refine sketches I realised looking at the image on a book in a shop, one would not immediately expect it to be a compendium of Sherlock Holmes stories. Then the idea of using the address number in a gas street light came to me, as many people know that 221b Baker street is Sherlock’s address but since it is subtle it will mean the audience will feel clever to have spotted the reference. I created the Image on the photoshop template but I started to struggle on what to put on the back cover. Sat watching a show on channel 4 called ‘Escape to the Chateau’, Angel Adoree, a vintage designer who moved into a dilapidated chateau, decided to use the wallpaper scraps she found cut into diamond shapes to decorate a curved room. She then used lace string and brass button nails to create a diamond pattern. Inspired by this i had the idea to create a repeat pattern instead as the penguin classics covers are all repeat patterns of objects loosely linked to the book. So as well as the lantern , I chose some key objects such as a magnifying glass and a black clay pipe as well as some others. I felt this made the cover more classy as well as paying a homage to the repeat patterned wallpapers of the era. After making the pattern i felt it was a good idea to change the red from a bright poppy red, which cheapend the image, to a burgundy as it married with the brown of the cloth background.


Overall I feel like this project has been pivotal in the way I am starting to look at illustration. I feel i should let myself explore more abstract concepts rather than creating ‘snapshots’ of scenes.

start of sherlock character design
sherlock turnaround


initial watson face sketches


man with the twisted lip
scandal in bohemia first idea
opium lady
cocaine needle and opium bottle and poppy
first twisted lip idea with childrens building blocks
poppy pipe
head on silhouette
side silhouette is more dynamic
cover thumbnails
brain anatomy on sherlcok
internal brain anatomy on sherlock
cover lantern idea
folio cover2
final finished cover
folio society twisted lip2
finished image for the man with the twisted lip
folio society scandal2
finished image for a scandal in bohemia

Ill 2001M – Books and Storytelling SWIM! A Silent Graphic Novel

For this brief I had to create five pages of a silent graphic novel along with a vignette page. A silent graphic novel is much akin to a regular graphic novel except there are no words, apart from onomatopoeic sounds. Also I could only use black and white, no grayscale, and one flat colour, the colour I chose was Yellow as i knew many people would choose blue, i wanted my comic to stand out. The subject of the novel was constrained unlike the previous project. I had to create a story about a flood in Lincoln, the water must have transformative powers and defy the normal physical properties of a flood. We were also required to create two characters to interact with the situation, one of which must be transformed.

At first i looked at examples of flood and sentient water such as Disney’s Atlantis and Moana, but the best film i found was Studio Ghibli’s Ponyo, as not only does it feature a flood, but the water defies gravity and has transformative powers. What I liked about the film was its innocence and the characters happiness at what many would see as a disaster situation, I wanted to hone on that positive outlook rather than a destructive tidal wave. I then came up with the idea to have sentient drop of water that transforms things it touches into something positive for example reviving a dead plant.

I experienced a flood when i was a child, many people had to evacuate as the water got up to six feet in some areas. The flood was not caused by a river bursting its banks, it was the rain, it did not stop for roughly a week as the water slowly crept up higher and higher. Remembering this I decided that every time my droplet encountered water it would grow in size until it engulfs a character.

With my character designs I knew early on I wanted a very dishevelled depressed man to be the main character oblivious to this droplet changing every thing around him filling his dank world with the colour yellow. I didn’t want another human for a secondary character, then I remembered an issue of the ‘Hawkeye’ comics where the issue was seen through the eyes of Hawkeyes dog. I looked at various breeds and the one I settled on was a Pembroke Welsh Corgi as they are small and fat which would contrast a tall thin character, as well as being extremely happy and playful dogs with a fun to draw build.

After creating my characters I went around Lincoln photographing some of the buildings along where I though my character would take his dog for a walk. I didn’t want to use the cathedral as i thought it was a little cliche but I did want to use some of the thin cobbled streets up ‘Steep Hill’. I then created various ink drawings and sketches of the pages experimenting with layout and panel shape until i eventually settled on layout. I used fine liner pens and brush pens to cross hatch creating the illusion of greyscale and depth. After I scanned my images in I adjusted the brightness and contrast to deepen the blacks as there were shines in some areas from the scanner’s light. This also deepened the darker cross hatched areas emphasising the light more distinctly.

Overall I enjoyed this project, it was whimsical and pushed me out of my comfort zone as I am not confident with drawing animals or buildings. I felt good about my choice of scenery for each page and discovered that I actually quite enjoy cross hatching as a working method. I would like to try out my newly developed skills on an etching plate to see if it has improved my print work. 28459819_10212505543893343_1696156272_o

character sketch


comic vignette
final vignette
comic pg 1
final pg 1
comic pg 2
final pg 2
comic pg 3
final pg 3
comic pg 4
final pg 4
comic pg 5
final pg 5


Ill 2001M Books and Storytelling – Children’s picture book

The Aim for this brief was to create a front cover and the first two double page spreads of a children’s picture book. I went to Waterstones and looked over the picture books in the children’s section. The one that caught my eye was a picture book on Greek Mythology, it got me thinking about mythology in British culture, I finally settled on a story in the Welsh Mabinogion about two Gods, ‘Llew’ and ‘Goronwy’. The story represents the ‘God of Light’ (‘Llew’) vanquishing the ‘God of Darkness’ (‘Goronwy’) with a spear made out of sunlight so he can return to his lover, ‘Mother Earth’. This story is celebrated on the pagan holiday ‘Beltane’ and represents the days getting longer and the coming of summer. I wanted to make this story child friendly so at first i decided to change the names of the characters so parent and child could pronounce them easily as not everyone can pronounce Welsh words. I changed their names to ‘Sol’ and ‘Luna’, representing the Sun and the Moon. I was going to have a story where ‘Luna’ was dark and jealous of the love and life between Sol and the Earth but then Sol throws a spear of sunlight and instead of it vanquishing Luna, it illuminates her with stars and light.

Even though the spear in the story is not lethal, a depiction of a weapon is apparently frowned upon. So I had to go back to the drawing board, although due to spending two weeks on my character development I decided that i would use the characters and just change the story. I came up with the idea of making Luna a little girl who struggles to do all of the things that her big sister does. I have a Learning Difficulty called Dyspraxia, not many people are aware of it and it effects a lot of people. It affects hand-eye coordination, speech and even writing ability. I felt a majority of picture books about learning difficulties are aimed at children with Autism, not only that most Autistic children in media and books are male, as the disability is seen to affect males more as they tend to have violent meltdowns when they are sensory overloaded more so than females. Even though Dyspraxia is on the spectrum it is very low but some symptoms are similar to that of someone with Autism. I wanted a book that would help a child and their parents overcome their symptoms and especially help the child feel that there is nothing wrong with them and that they just learn differently. I was constantly told what i could and could not do because of my disability, i didn’t want this book to reflect that so instead I created the mantra of ‘Oh well, if you get around the problem differently that’s okay.’

This is the manuscript of my story:

Luna Learns Differently

Luna learns differently to her sister Sol

Luna finds it very difficult to do up buttons

but that’s okay because she uses a zip instead

Luna finds it very hard to write

but that’s okay because she draws everything in her head

Luna finds it very tricky to tie her shoes

but that’s okay because she doesn’t need them anyway

Luna finds it very bothersome to remember things

But that’s okay Sol writes her a list of tasks for the day

Luna struggles to catch a ball

or throw it away

But even though she struggles

Sol always lets her play

Sol enjoys meal time with her sister Luna

It makes her chuckle when she has a face full of tuna

Sol adores listening to Luna talk about the stars

She even knows about the moons around Mars

Sol cherishes Luna’s fascination with how things work

Whenever she’s learning something new it makes Sol smirk

Sol admires that Luna tries hard

even though sometimes she gets in a tizz

But most of all Sol loves Luna

for everything that she is!


As you can see from my manuscript the first half of the story is Luna coming across problems and then overcoming them. The second half is from Sol’s point of view, showing love and adoration for her little sister irrespective of the fact she is different.

Finally after I had designed Luna i created a clay model of her and used it to make a 360 video for reference. Here is that video:

First design of Sol


Sol spear references


first design of Luna
Child Luna design
Luna struggling with various tasks


Luna’s expressions
Front cover font test and thumbnails
first front cover design and page thumbnails
final cover design
final design for Sol and Luna
first cover attempt, the watercolours were too muddy so i decided against using the medium
front cover
Final front cover image
first double spread with text
Final First spread image
second double page spread with text
Final Second spread image




Ill 2003 Thinking and Making – If you could see secrets

The brief for this project was to create an image (350x180mm) of a person thinking about a hidden secret. We were not permitted to use any text at all in the image, the secret had to be conveyed solely through witty imagery. We each pulled an occupation out of a hat which would be the occupation of the character with the secret. I pulled out ‘Car Mechanic’ I explored the occupation and very early on decided that i wanted my mechanic to be female, as it is a male dominated career. Initially when i was thinking of a male mechanic i thought their secret could be that they wished to be a ballet dancer, but changing the role to female made it seem less stigmatised and taboo as its usually met as a stereotypically female pursuit. I also struggles with finishing another hidden secret as more and more women today are breaking gender boundaries in the workplace. Finally I managed to create stigma by making an alien world. I decided that a desert planet would be best as I could use a limited palette of yellows and oranges to create the environment around her and push the dream into a smoky blue to create a contrast between fantasy and reality.

The desert landscape also shows a lack of abundance and wealth, making the characters dream of being a ballet dancer even less feasible as it is a high class pursuit. With the design of the character herself I wanted her to be visually interesting so I decided to give her a prosthetic arm, this would give her even less of a chance of being accepted into a ballet academy as the dancers have to abide by a strict body shape and standard. I then began experimenting with her facial features, at first i added a small scar across her eyes but this developed into half a face of burns, from this I decided to also give her a prosthetic leg as well as the burns going down the side of her body, indicative of a bad accident.

Once I figured out what the hover car would look like (based on a 60s ford mustang), I drafted up some thumb nails on how the dream would be shown. My favourite idea was using smoke from either a cigarette or a car to transform into the dancer.

Thoughts Pg 1
rough sketches of mechanics
Thoughs Pg2
Playing with the idea of prosthetic arms and tools
Thoughts Pg 3
Sketching more tools, character’s facial development
Thoughts Pg 4
Character facial refinement, body and prosthetic sketch
Thoughts Pg 5
Overalls sketch and colour tests
Thoughts Pg 6
Car trial sketches
Thoughts Pg 7
Car sketches and colour trial ( I decided to keep the iconic mustang front as the audience would be able to easily recognise it as a car)
Thoughts Pg 8
Alien Boss sketch ( it was dropped out of the final piece as it was difficult to find a place that it would not interrupt the flow of my work, instead to show the planet was alien , I added three suns in the sky) and Ballet pose gesture drawings
Thoughts Pg 9
Thumbnails and refined sketches ( I changed the pose for the client visual of the second image as it didn’t sit right in the frame)
Thoughts Pg 10
Changed pose sketch and colour swatches
Thoughts Pg 11
Reclined and dancing character layout developmental overlay
Thoughts Pg 12
Background developmental layout Underlay
Thoughts Pg 13
Client visual 1 ( I added the front of the car peeking out to fill void space and to show that she is working on something outside)
Thoughts Pg 14
Client Visual 2 ( I didn’t like the layout of this image, it was too far away, i preferred the zoomed in layout of the first image)
Thoughts Pg 15
Desert Horizon gouache test pieces on spare mount board, I was also testing how to effectively get a smoke effect using a paintbrush and chalk pastels
Thoughts Pg 16
Gouache final piece

Ill 2003M Thinking and Making – Come Dine With Me

Our first project brief of the year was to create three sequential images based around the theme of a celebratory meal. Our images were required to contain three characters that were lively with strongly defined personalities. The first image had to be the meeting of the characters, the second the celebratory meal and the third was to be the aftermath of the celebrations. Apart from these criteria, we were given free reign on the setting, size and medium of the images.

At first I had some trouble deciding on what exactly to do the images on, I wanted to challenge myself with the use of colour and light. My first few ideas were not very challenging in that aspect, I then considered central tokyo, at a street restaurant. Sadly all my ideas didn’t feel like they would have the space to show the characters personality. Finally I came up with the idea of celebrating the Sakura (cherry blossom) festival in a park. There would be plenty space for my characters and a real challenge in drawing a background. Usually my character designs tend to have a drop shadow and that is it. It then occurred to me that i could experiment with light by using the times of day, it also seemed a good way to show time passing. So finally i decided that the first image was the group meeting in the park in the morning, the second image would be their lunch time picnic and finally the third would be the group watching a show at sunset. I decided an A3 landscape format would be best as it allowed more room for detail, unlike A4. I also wanted to use watercolour as its the most comfortable medium for me, with the combination of the size and complexity i did not want to be adding in a medium i was unsure of as i wanted to meet the deadline.

page 001

Brainstorming Celebratory Meals


page 002

Thumbnailing some of my ideas to see if I like them

page 003

Thumbnailing more ideas revolving around Japan

page 004

Character experimentation and thumbnail for my final idea

page 005

First character design , Daiki (Meaning Brightness)

page 006

Second character design , Aiko (meaning child of love)

page 007

Third character design, Hisoha (Meaning reserved)

page 008

Final character design, Nanako (Meaning vegetable/green due to being a cook)

page 009

Image one experiments and park experiments

page 010

Image one trial thumbnails and final thumbnail

page 011

Food experiments and image two final thumbnail

page 012

Geisha experiments

page 013

Image three final thumbnail

page 014

Colour tests for the trees, grass, sky, blanket and geisha dress


image one CV

Image one Client visual

imaage two CV

Image two Client visual

image three CV

Image three Client Visual

page 001

Image one Final piece

I changed the angle of Daiki’s Leg to look less awkward hanging over the bridge

page 002

Image Two Final Piece

page 003

Image Three Final piece

I flipped the Geisha so the image didn’t have a stripe down one corner , I also decided to make her kimono plain as she is already lit I wanted to make sure she didn’t draw too much attention away from the rest of the image.