Wednesday, 28 March 2012

DD 2000-The Fig Taylor Portfolio rules.

Recently the Illustration course had an informal lecture from the AOI portfolio advisor Fig Taylor,this was an eye-opening and entertaining talk on how to present your work to potential clients. Fig came across as no-nonsense and pithy,but also as someone who cares deeply about the Illustration industry and those who seek to make their way in it. What follows is a list of "The Rules" of portfolio construction,and getting jobs.

 THE PORTFOLIO:
-No sketches/life drawings. (we know you can draw)
-Don't get attached to old work. (even if it is good)
-Be honest with yourself. (be objective)
-Concentrate on YOUR strengths.
-Your Unique,show it!
-Don't do BIG. (A0-A1)
-Your portfolio should be relevant to the client (portfolio full of cats but your pitching to dog-owner weekly?)
-If you do 3D work get it Professionally photographed.
-Don't mix and match your styles. If you have 2 distinct styles get 2 portfolio,s. (and a split personality)
-Pieces should be finished.
-Don't put in work YOU don't like. (if the client likes it..you're fucked!)
-Include a variety of subject matter done in YOUR style.
-Take your sketchbooks in-case the client wants a shufti.
-ipad your stuff (you hear that? that's the future approaching)
-Don't present on a laptop PC coz they're shit.

THE INDUSTRY:
-The Art Director is always busy.
-Getting a face to face meeting is hard.
-Clients don't like risks.
-Assume you're potential clients are lazy and/or stupid.
-The client doesn't know you,so you will be judged entirely on your portfolio(for good or ill)
-Research your potential clients thoroughly.
-Don't E-mail them(you'll just get deleted/blocked)
-Write a letter to potential clients and follow up with a phone call.
-Editorial have very short deadlines. (bare this in mind if you take a month to finish a piece)
-Advertising pays well but it's high stress and you will need to work with a committee of meddlers.
-Graze all the magazines you can find to see where your style may fit in.
-There are over 5000 trade magazines. (this is a good thing)
-All publications need "A look" to distinguish them.(this is also good thing)
-Move to Australia! There's hardly any illustrators out there...

Got that? Good.
Fig also had a few anecdotes from within the industry about bonkers Illustrators("I only want to work for The Times or the Observer") and seemingly disinterested Art directors(Stressed out and tired is their lot apparently,bless em).
But It was good to hear that there is work to be had,you just gotta find it and pitch for it. Make sure your'e portfolio is up to scratch first though.

Ed Allen

Thursday, 8 March 2012

DD2000 Editorial Illustration part 2


This short essay is a subjective look at the work of Geoff Grandfield http://geoffgrandfield.co.uk/editorial.html who is currently director of Illustraion and Animation at Kingston University in the UK. At first sight his work is reminiscent of the work of Saul Bass's film and poster work of the 1960's and the "Film Noir" cinematography of John Alton.
 Above John Alton
Below Geoff Grandfield
 Geoff uses a "chiaroscuro" technique which originated during the Renaissance,it literally means light-dark in Italian. The artist would work from solid black to pure white or vice-versa,within the image to create depth or to make the main focus of the picture stand out. "Google" Carravagio to see this technique executed  by a master painter.
 Geoff's editorial work can be seen in The Guardian,The Times and The Big Issue amongst others. His style of work is well suited to the small scale allowed in most newspaper editorial pieces,having both visual punch and wit which in itself is no mean feat to combine the two.His compositions are beautifully balanced with his use of colour being key to the overall impact of the images,primary yellows reds and blues predominate.

It's hard not to see a nostalgic influence in Geoff's work. The art of Saul Bass(1920-1996) who was primarily a Graphic designer but who also worked in film titles and posters seems to "channel" through Geoff's editorial work. I think the correlation of  film poster and an editorial piece is close. A poster needs  to entice someone to see a particular movie and hint at the films content/mood,similarly an editorial illustration must do basically the same thing to entice a reader to read what could be a dry editorial by the use of a single image.
  Film posters by Saul Bass
Geoff works in pastels and gouache predominantly using photoshop to digitise his images for transmission purposes, though he now says the use of photoshop is increasingly influencing the way he produces images.(a common tale from all arms of the creative industries). He is also known for his book-cover work,his style fits "noirish" subjects like a glove.http://causticcovercritic.blogspot.com/2008/10/grandfield-on-chandler.html
If you would like to hear more from Mr Grandfield on the subject of Illustration,I suggest you listen to this http://www.graphicdesignontheradio.com/ click on listen and select "The state of illustration" where you can listen to him,Roderick Mills and Darren Clifton discussing where illustration is likely to go in the next few years. A very interesting listen if you aim to work in the creative arena