Friday, 23 November 2012

Work In Progress

Well, I've managed to find someone crazy enough to pay me for something!  Last week I was given a really wonderful job at a local high school to support Year 11 students (and at times, Year 10) in boosting their GCSEs and future prospects.  It's a role that I feel very privileged to have; not quite teacher not quite counsellor...  Helping to make changes to how their school day works to be better for each individual pupil.
As great an opportunity it is, it does mean I will have a lot less time to do any illustration than before, but it will help me to focus and appreciate the time I do have spare.  And, you know, money is always a really really good thing.
So here's what I've worked on the past week or two (or three. I've been taking it pretty easy since uni ended!):

Prep-work pre-composition stages.

A present for a friend.  Hopefully for Christmas (1 of 5)
Tonal values decided before laying down colour.

Something silly and spontaneous!  Based on me and the mister's nicknames (pukebarfpuke).
Thinking of doing a small scruffy comic telling an abstract version of our relationship. 

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Vote Delgado

ABC Comedy's Modern Family - Manny Delgado
Photoshop CS6, Genius Graphics Tablet
If there's a TV character you're fond of and would like to see me paint, go ahead and let me know!  Suggested so far are characters from these shows:

The Wire
Due South

It's been a great way for me to learn portraiture and I change my approach with each painting to get the most effective appearance and try new things!

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Life Update

So, I finally handed in all my work for my final year at university after being granted a semester extension. (BREATHE A SIGH OF RELIEF)  I'm really hoping that's the last of it so I can graduate in November with everyone else in my class and look ahead to my life beyond education.  I have my JessicaOnPaper site back up online for one of the university modules.  What a painful few days that was!  When it's graded I can re-build it to get it looking more how I wanted - y'know, less... terrible.

Children of Lír - 'A Family Picnic'
The new Queen transforms the King's children into swans
(Graduate Painting 4 of 8)
I'm now taking a much needed break from the computer after what felt like a very cruel year and summer, where my out-of-the-blue, couldn't-be-more-badly-timed, ill health and workload felt as if they'd never end!  During my new found free time (and restored good health that I'm ridiculously grateful for!) I'm having to remember what it is to do absolutely no work and not feel guilty about it.  I think I was in a state of shock for a couple of days after I sent the last of my work off, but now it's worn off and I can catch up with all the things I've missed out on this year - a lot of reading, countless video games, so many places to visit and, above all, be with my family and friends whom I've neglected for far too long!

Of course, art projects are never too far from my mind.  My main aim for this following year is to develop my character and costume designing abilities, and a few portraits for fun.  I'm also very excited about my graphic novel that is developing quicker than I had imagined (I actually know how the story ends, which has to be a first!), which I'll explain more about in another post.  It's going to take a long time before I can even imagine completion, yet as it's a personal project that I've set for myself it means that no matter what else is happening in my life I can always enjoy working on it.

I find myself torn with how I feel now that my work for university is done.  I wanted it all to be over for so long and yet it's important that I don't try to put the last four years completely behind me.  The rough times I've had whilst at the University made me feel like the unluckiest person in all of Carlisle, often joking that I must be cursed.  Pessimism at it's silliest and I knew it!
Whenever obstacles appeared I was actually lucky enough to have the best support I could have hoped for and always at just the right time, whether they realised it or not, before I felt the lowest I could be.  I have met and known some of the most generous and helpful people through my time at the University of Cumbria; mentors, lecturers, classmates, friends and passing visitors.  Both from the creative world and those outside of it.  People who have given up their spare time to advise me, stayed up all night to keep me going for deadlines, or who have offered me a place to stay.  And I can't forget the illustration opportunities I've been given.  This is what I want to always remember, the support I've been given over four years by so many people, not the big lows I experienced.  A real honour and a big thank you to every one of you.

Awaiting my final grades, I think I'll always feel like I could have done more, despite my improvements in digital painting in general.  I realise now that is simply who I am, no matter how much time I devote myself to my work, but that's the harsh beauty of creativity - to know that you can always do more, or better, because the skills and the ways to apply them are almost limitless.

Now. Give me a job.


Saturday, 9 June 2012


I went in to uni this morning to set up for the exhibition evening tonight, and got the sad news that Wilfred Tolan had passed away.  Wilf was a life model at the University for several of the art departments.  He was the most reliable and dedicated model we had, and was always a gentleman.  I can't imagine how many students have drawn his likeness or just how many times.  Sketches of him have lined corridors around campus since before I ever had a class with him.  He had a genuine interest and enthusiasm in the work each student did, enjoying whatever we came out with and always had a friendly conversation for you at the end.  So it was great getting to know him instead of only ever drawing him.

He'll be sorely missed and lovingly remembered.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Exhibition 2012

The campus arts exhibition officially started today.  Brampton Road Campus in Carlisle has opened its doors for everyone to freely wander through all the art departments to see graduate work from this past year.
For more information visit the uni website here.

As students, we've all looked forward to being able to display the hard work we've been doing.  Not only that, but it's exciting for us to see the noticeable improvements everyone has made within one year.

For me, I really noticed just how different one segment of one of my paintings changed:

February 2012
May 2012
There's loads to see on the campus - photography, graphic design, film, and of course Games Design and Digital Arts ;)
Hope you can make it!

Monday, 14 May 2012

I Torture Myself

Started to work on another of my 8 graduate project paintings.
The transformation of the King's children.
At A2 size, for this one I doubled the resolution to 300dpi, so I could put in a bigger horse, and decided all the characters had curly hair...

She looks exactly the way I feel after painting all day!

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Andi Again

I looked over my graduating project from last year to remind myself of how I can and have improved.

Andi, the young one-handed miner of my Pied-Piper-in-space Andona story acted as a sort of psychological mascot throughout the whole process, keeping me amused and affection for the project high.  So, one night, I started to redraw her to solidify her in my mind:

I'd like to practise more gesture drawings of her.
I'll probably continue to draw her for years!  She's pure fun and sweetness.
J. x

Monday, 23 April 2012

BREACH by Catapult Inc.

At the University, one of our modules this semester was Project Development.
In groups we had to come up with an idea for a game, work out costs, the marketing and some hopeful profits.
In my group of three, AKA Catapult Inc., we devised 'Breach' - a downloadable action/adventure game set in a Camelot type world with all the characters being Arctic/oceanic animals, set entirely on land.  Picture dolphins and seals, trying to waddle after humanoid whales on only their flippers and fins.
We have so many characters, entire levels planned out and a fully-fledged story with an unfolding mystery.
I did some basic character designs, worked on the finances and marketing strategy, and created the poster/game cover:   

It was a super fun project to come up with!  I like to imagine none of us forget it and once we leave uni we could maybe develop it a little further - mainly more concept art, visuals accompanying the level details etc.  We should do our massive idea justice.  Who knows where it could go?

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Half a Day's Work

One Face:

Graduate Exhibition is on the 6th of  June, until the 13th.
Panic Stations!


Monday, 19 March 2012

Monday's Objective

Comic illustration for the soon-to-be NHS publication Words for Well-Being by Carol Ross.
No sleep until it's all done!
Then I can get back to drawing cute cartoon sea mammals :D

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Sneaky Peek

A section of Image 2 of 8 for my digital painting graduate project.
As her face is central to the piece, and now all-too-familiar to me, I'd really appreciate any constructive criticism and tips!
I'm going for a semi-realistic semi-cartoon colourful style.
(Just in case anyone thought I was delusional enough to attempt photorealism for this...)
So far it's all turning out a lot better than I had imagined!
I've never painted so much, as realistically and with so many details before!
A lot of effort and a good challenge :)