Behind Bars

Behind the bars there are curiosities

They gaze at our every move

They guard us from them

Prowling around, watching and waiting for a millimetre of mistake

I want to do something but fear they’ll laugh

I can’t talk to them, they just think it’s cute

Their skin and fur fascinates us as it changes between them

Their eyes are one of wonder

The smaller ones look at us with innocence but we know the truth

They grow up killers

Perhaps the bars do keep us safe

Safe from them

As we only allow select few to aide us

They are the beasts not us

Hare Development

After looking into the styles of illustration I have researched in my mood board and deliberations of my initial idea, I decided to create a cross over between the adult and child appropriate sketches. The hare I drew for the adult side of the book, is age appropriate for children. With this in mind I attempted to work on different styles I could develop him into, after deciding he would fit best on the cover.

The cover for a children’s book needs to entice and being that the hare was the reason why Alice fell down the rabbit hole, not just LSD as childhood spoilers suggest, he would be the perfect character to entice an audience.


Time BunnyTime Bunny 2  Time Bunny3

Music Is Life

In relation to the TED Talks presentation on classical music, I also decided to experiment with the relation between life and music. I took readings whilst playing piano of a piece I composed and layered them with the audio waves of the piece to have these experimental outcomes:

Doodles To Learn

After my recent blog posts in regards to my brief titled: Conversation and my self directed learning. I have decided to combine the two for the sake of this brief. With thanks to Digital Tutors, I am slowly going through some tutorials to aid me in making these new compositions.

My initial sketch:

Passion Dance

Editing with Photoshop (Rough copy):


I will now be converting this to an Illustrator file and working through the tutorials to recreate something similar to the Sherlock Holmes credit sequence.

Social Media

Social Media advertising is one of the fastest growing way of advertising. For this reason I have been experimenting with my own facebook page. From working with Misspap, I have learnt this. Also from working there, I learnt about the specific sizes for social media ads. The images that I have created, or ads, have all been experimental work I have created as I continue to learn about my own abilities.

With the help of a few friends my post had over 200 hits in 24 hours. Today I have released another post, and I hope that my following will grow with the next coming weeks.

FB1 Vintage



After Effects Layers

I did not realise when working through some tutorials that most of the adobe collection have similar tools. A main example of this are the transparency settings and the pen tools.

Transferable skills are very important in any industry, let alone the design industry. One cannot expect to be a master of the entire Adobe collection, but one can aim to conquer the key skills. Transferable skills allow easier transitions between jobs. Using the pen tool, for example, is helpful in Photoshop, Illustrator and After Effects, and yet the use of the pen tool can be for different purposes. In one sense, the key to transferable skills is that you need to know how to do something but be able to know that that skill has many purposes.

Layers And Masks

Cabinet of Curiosity (Final)
Cabinet of Curiosity (Final)

Using my Cabinet of Curiosity image I created as an example, I’d like to talk about layers and masks.

Using layers can be advantageous in many respects. Using layers can not only help with adding depth to an image, but it can also help arrange an image, and edit specific points without damaging the rest of the image. Blending options can help the piece look more natural, in the image above, I used the blending options to merge the multiple layers in a more natural progression. If it weren’t for these layering options, not only would the image look like it wasn’t on a grunge styled paper, but also, the images of my late grandparents would not look like one image, and the blending watercolour effect better myself and my father and my grandparents would look unnatural. The idea of good graphic design, was once said, to make things look and feel as natural as possible.

Using masks instead of deleting parts of an image can also be advantageous. If you were to delete parts of an image, you would never get it back properly. By using masks, if you make a mistake, or choose to feather the image slightly, it is easy to modify. Using masks can also help you work in textures, for example the water colour effect in my image.

From the photoshop tutorials, I have learnt that layers are vital and using masks instead of deleting an image are very advantageous. I hope it will prove to help in the future, and not just for this specific project.

Self Directed Learning

I think it’s always good to learn tips and tricks outside of university as well as in lessons. Self directed learning can help you in your own projects as well as aid in your own work. Here is a piece I created with the help of an online tutorials.


Interesting Self Tutorial

I found an article online, after looking up some tutorials I needed to catch up on. The article listed the things that magazines do to make models look “better”. With the use of some tutorials from the university and my own tutorials, and trial and error, I tried to edit a model in the ways the industry would. Please find below, the original image, a progression and the final piece. I would like to point out that I do not agree with the over use of Photoshop in magazines but I am merely learning about it.




Commodified Heroism

In days of late, there has been much controversy over the use of Photoshop and various other marketing techniques. As a graphic designer I struggle to set aside my personal opinions on this topic. These techniques have pros and cons, whether you like them or not.

I will admit to being reluctant to learn how to Photoshop people’s waistlines and various other components. I may feel like I am being unethical, but sadly, the industry dictates to us what beauty is, or rather, what it thinks it is. Like it or not, sex sells and as graphic designers, we must make up a generic image of what the industry consider ‘sexy’ and ‘perfect’. Sex used to be a taboo subject and now-a-days it has lost it’s innocence and naivety. Sex used to be a secretive topic, but now it is widely spoken about as if it means nothing. This kind of makes us a very sex orientated world. Everything can be sexualised. A nation that can speak freely, is often seen as idyllic, but should we keep some subjects behind closed doors?

Advertising campaigns that use sex to sell, work. The majority of perfume and male cologne is sold in this manner. Human beings, due to our natural instinct, will strive to be a better mate. Not everyone finds these models attractive, but they are there as commodified heroes. It’s difficult to understand, but we idolise people who we see on television and in other media, because we feel they are better than us. I admit that advertisements like this use our insecurities to persuade us. That’s all commodified heroism is. Our extra jiggly bit, isn’t as sexy as a slim model on t.v. We will strive to look our best, or rather what the majority think is the best.

I have seen first hand the manipulation that goes on in various ads. You can witness for yourself on the likes of youtube what goes on to make an already beautiful, or handsome, model look ‘perfect’. In looking into this further in my own study, I realised what magazines do in general: lightening skin tones, making a body skinnier, eyes bigger, lips plumper, boobs given fake, non realistic cleavage, legs longer, feet smaller, abs drawn on or more defined and much much more.

I know, it’s cruel to us ‘normal’ people and possibly offensive to the models, but we have to realise that this is just an advertising strategy. It works, probably better than other legal strategies.

Dove most recently had a natural beauty advertising campaign, where they used ‘real’ sized models and ‘real’ women in their ads. I would however like to point out that this was not the case. Yes they did have real sized women, but they still asked for women with perfect skin. I’m sorry, but the average woman probably will have the occasional blemish, one or two scars and stretch marks. Dove’s idea of ‘real’ was still moulded. I do, however, appreciate the attempt, as did millions of women who bought into their products. This is more the kind of advertising that we think we buy into, but it’s just not true. We admire this advertising, but whether or not it works in the same way, we will never know.

Everyone reacts differently. In changing topic a little, to another form of commodified heroism. There was an advert not to long ago by SMA Baby Formula. The advert shows the reality of parenting, but ends with the voice over person saying, “Take it from us, you’re doing great”. It normalises the realities of parenting. It tells you the reality of it all. Some ‘super-mums’ found this advert patronising, but first time mums, and mums who maybe had post-natal depression, found this exactly what they wanted to hear. They, therefore, bought into the product.

Commodified heroism, may seem bad in certain ways, but the truth of the matter is that we are all just a demographic. Advertisers need to do anything to sell their products. I may not agree with the over use of Photoshop in magazines, or raunchy adverts for perfumes, but I acknowledge the necessity to be like that. In conclusion, I think, as graphic designers, we must embrace the modifications we do, as it is just business. It doesn’t mean we have to like it, we just have to get on with it. If we had it our way, we probably wouldn’t use Photoshop to adjust images, for the greater good of the average human’s self esteem.

Beauty is always in the eye of the beholder. Take it from me, if you are reading this, someone out there believes you don’t need Photoshop to be perfect. You are perfect to them exactly how you are.