Three speakers, Two weeks, One student.
Over the course of the past two weeks I have had the amazing opportunity to meet some working practitioners from three major creative industries. The areas the speakers specialised in were Illustration, Animation and Graphic Design. The speakers I am referring to are illustrator Korky Paul, animator Samantha Moore and graphic designers Ian Cherry and Nick Raven.
The First speaker I met left me by far the most start struck. Korky Paul was such a huge influence in my childhood as my mum would always read the ‘Winnie the Witch’ (now titled Winnie and Wilbur) books to me. I have been surrounded by his illustrations in that book for as long as I can remember , they have always had such a strong visual influence on and were on of my first inspirations when I started to draw.
Meeting him was truly amazing but what was more amazing was getting to talk to him about his work and see it from what he called his ‘roughs’ to the final finished illustration. Korky Paul is an illustrator for children’s books what this means for him is he has to bring the narrative or text that makes up the book to life, to really do this he always has the text with him whilst he works. Doing this helps him to visualise the full image as he stated, “The text and artwork must work together”. Korky has been in the creative industry the longest out of all the speakers which is why his really structured way of working didn’t surprise me. He has a grid layout (shown below) that he makes in indesign and uses for every spread he illustrates. This grid helps him to physically see what space he has to do the illustration, also it shows the bleed, gutter, live type area and trim of the spread. After he has this grid in place he will then start to sketch his artwork.
His initial sketches are done in a smaller size to the grid, so using a photocopier he will make his artwork 25% bigger than the original sketch.
After he has done this he can start creating what he calls ‘ruffs’. This is done with a Lightbox an essential piece of equipment for him (shown below), he uses this so he can start to define his initial sketches. For Korky ‘ruffs’ are key in experimenting and developing a persons ideas to begin to finalise them. However, he only ever does three ‘ruffs’ and then goes for it.
His artwork as you can see is completely hand done and stays that way. To begin adding depth he uses black Indian ink to define the outlines, he will then use masking fluid to block out areas before adding washes of colour to the foreground and background. When doing this step he finds it essential to keep his ‘ruff’ at hand for reference, incase he forgets or misses a key bit of detailing.
It is really amazing seeing him go from a blank page to this fully idealised illustration. When he does this work he interestingly mentioned that he will always work in chronological order as it helps to capture the flow of the narrative, furthermore, Korky will often incorporate other characters he has drawn to the Winnie books as this makes it really exciting and interactive for the children who read it, as ultimately its all about engaging the children to read his books.
The next practitioners I met were ones that were close to home for me , Ian Cherry and Nick Raven were the senior and junior Graphic Designers for Derby county football club. They also are both graduates from the University of Derby and studied the degree I am currently studying.
Ian Cherry (https://www.linkedin.com/in/ian-cherry-9388b663), current senior Graphic Designer for Derby FC always knew he wanted to do something in this industry since he was at school. Fresh out of university he was thrown in the deep end, he secured his job whilst in the last semester of his third year and straight away had to relocate to Essex, his job was at ‘Sporting ID’ a sports kit embellishing company. His official job title was Design Assistant for the company, he got the job by :
- Being positive.
- Doing homework on the company.
- Researching his interviewers.
- Being Honest about his abilities.
- Preparing a relavent portfolio.
Working here gave him a first hand insight into what working in the industry was really going to be like and a really interesting thing he got to experience was working with manufacturing, he stated it was “where design meets reality”. Working at ‘Sporting Id’ was where Ian Cherry faced his biggest opportunity but also his toughest moment. After his Dad tragically passed away Cherry had to make a career impacting decision of whether to come home and leave Sporting Id or stay . Despite his personal conflict he stayed knowing this would off been what his Dad wanted, doing this bought him a career changing opportunity with the chance to design the 2013/14 Real Madrid typeface for the kit.
His idea behind this design (shown above) was spontaneity, he wanted to present them with something completely different to the previous years and it was this idea that lead him to active the winning design. He went on to also design two other type faces for Real Madrid across his years at Sporting Id, along with a typeface for Celtic FC, Manchester United, the Premier League and the Scottish premier league.
A really interesting point he made was about the publics reactions to these typefaces, he had to learn quick to develop a thick skin, millions of people were going to be seeing these designs everywhere in the football world therefore, there will always be haters. People can be harsh and personal but you have to learn to ignore it , you can’t let people bother you and sometimes criticism can help you develop as a designer.
He later left Sporting Id as the senior graphic designer and went to Derby FC in October 2018 and at the beginning of his career with them he was the only graphic designer. The first impactful thing he did at Derby FC was create the ‘DEG’ typeface (shown below). This was a bespoke typeface to reflect the past of the football club intriguing fans, creating this typeface became a vital part of the brand as not many clubs have their own font making derby unique and embedding the identity.
After his promotion to senior graphic designer at Derby FC, Ian Cherry went on to hire junior designer Nick Raven.
Nick Raven (https://www.linkedin.com/in/nick-raven-916231126) was fresh out of Derby University when he landed his job at Derby FC, what made him stand out from the rest of the candidates was his self taught animation abilities along with is in-depth interview preparations and how he tailored his portfolio to fit the job. It was really insightful to here about his naive views coming into the job, the industry was very different and more fast paced than he ever had imagined, he had to learn quickly how to keep up. His first big project was designing the Disability Access Guide (shown below) for the football club.
His initial idea was rejected straight away, this made him reevaluate himself as a designer and allowed him to develop a more professional, more refined style. The final guide (https://www.dcfc.co.uk/media/get/DCFC%20Disability%20Access%20Guide%203.0.pdf), was really visually successful, what he also got to learn when doing this was all the print elements he had to consider when doing this. I learnt a lot about the industry from Ian Cherry and Nick Raven that was really insightful, they put great emphasis on the fast pace environment they work in especially the turn around rates for designs, as the era we live in now is heavily impacted by social media and therefore, they have to keep up with this. Furthermore, they talked a lot about how their day to day work is never the same , and what I found particularly interesting is that they don’t have a strict design style as the industry is constantly changing. This has a knock on effect as they often don’t have time to sketch ideas, some days they have to just go straight in digitally as they need to create an effective piece of visuals quickly.
The final practitioner I was able to meet was animator/animating director Samantha Moore who balances her independent animating with teaching at her local university (http://www.samanthamoore.co.uk/current-work/4550210993). This for me was the most surprising talk I went to as i went into it thinking I wouldn’t really be able to connect with a lot of what she was discussing as I have very limited knowledge of animation. However, I found myself relating to her a lot specifically because of her fine art background, and was really inspired by a lot of her incredible work.
She actually studied Fine Art and trained as a Fine Art painter before she got into animation, it was the oil on glass painting technique that first inspired her to start animating her work. She gave us a really insightful tip that she picked up at the start of her career and that was , entering competitions and taking any opportunities thrown at you can be really helpful, as the rejection we many face from them will help us learn a lot about how to develop and create appealing visuals in the creative industry. She was quite new to the animation world when she had her first project with channel 4 with a £40,000 budget. However that wasn’t the animation that really stuck with me as I have since forgotten the name, but it was her animation titled ‘Doubled Up’ (link below) that captivated me.
Building up to the creation of ‘Doubled Up’, she faced a lot of struggle getting a budget for it until, at a convention she was told that her animations are actually animated documentaries. It was this persons interest and view on her work that gave her a fresh and original way of pitching ‘Doubled Up’ as and animated documentary rather than a standard animation.
‘Doubled Up’ was inspired visually by the work of Mary Kelly , but the actual narrative to the animation is based on Samantha Moore’s mixed emotions of becoming a mum of twins whilst also being a working artist, and this was her way of expressing it. This piece also made her realise how much she loves both the time based elements and the constant layers that animation has. She then went on to reference another animation she did titled ‘An Eyeful of Sound’, this was really intriguing to me as it is based around synesthesia, a condition in which one sense joins objects such as letters, shapes, numbers or people’s names with a sensory perception such as smell, color or flavor.
For this particular animation she got the people to draw their interpretations to various stimuli and then edited it in after effects until it was right, however, she normally works in Tv Paint for a lot of her animations. The visuals for this animation specifically were really intriguing to me as it is really quite crazy to see how people with synesthesia visualise thing on a day to day basis, it looks really overwhelming but unique and I find Samantha Moore captures this so well.
The final animation she talked about was her most recent one title ‘Bloomers’, based around a knicker factory that has been running since the 1930’s started as a side project , someone asked her what she was working on next and she gave us a top tip that you should always answer this even if you have to make it up, ‘Bloomers’ was the answer.
Samatha Moore took a risk with this project as she decided to print each frame on various types of fabric and five pairs of knickers. She found with this project that the field size really makes a difference because it needed to be big enough to animate but smaller enough that it still captured the texture of the fabric. To create this specific animation she had to use the drag and frame technique which took a very long time but she fell in love with and now wants to use more often.
The way she works is very structured as she has to balance teaching, independent animating and being a mum, meaning she has a very strict day to day schedule making sure she always has an end point for each piece she makes. She also always works in chronological order when she animates as it helps the animation flow rather than jumping from frame to frame and before she starts animating she spends a lot of time sketching, researching and developing a bank of imagergy before she animates. I really found her work leaving a huge impact on me, the way she uses visuals in such a distinctive way and the fluidity in er work has inspired me to start and experiment with animation in some of my new projects.
Each speaker left me feeling very inspired. It was almost surreal listening to them discuss all of their huge achievements they have accomplished within the industry, it gives you this realisation of all the possibilities we have in the creative industry. However, each person left me with very different thoughts, there was this clear and distinctive contrast not only in the practitioners work but also in their methodology behind it. The first distinctive contrast between the practitioners was the way they create their visuals, both Korky Paul and Samantha Moore sketch the initial ideas and gather lots of visuals before they start to expand on their ideas. Whereas, Ian Cherry and Nick Raven don’t often have time to sketch so they go straight in digitally to create their designs I find this is because un like the other practitioners , the Graphic Designers are often juggling several different projects or elements at once. Unlike in the illustration and animation industry where they work with one project at a time. This gives me a more in depth insight into what sort of things I will have to combat when I go fully into the working creative industry.
Alternatively, I also found that they all balance there careers very differently which was interesting, Korky Paul, Ian Cherry and Nick Raven all work full time in there industry as they work for a sort of corporation or brand. This is unlike Samantha Moore who is an independent animator so in order to maximise her income also works as a lecturer, I find this helpful as it shows the struggle of going independent in the creative industry but shows that there are ways of still making an income whilst you establish yourself in the industry.
Ultimately, this contrast was something that I found really intrigued me, as it is really interesting to see how differently each person achieved the level of successes that they did. However I did find one major similarity that I also stand by, they are all hard working , it wasn’t luck that got them to where they are now it was by being, driven, staying authentic and putting in the time.
- Meet with Petra Lea on the 28th February at 11.