Tuesday 30 July 2013

How I got Started in Illustration - Part 3

I'm gonna make this post really short...because life is short; less talking, more doing I say! My first real commission was a children's book entitled Matthew and the Money tree. It can still be found on such websites as Amazon ---> right here.

The cover is still the most epic aspect about the book.

I got the job through a site called "Elance" ...it's one of those bid-for-projects sites in which talented people under-cut each other ensuring that few people get paid what they're worth and where non-discerning clients get said work very cheaply. Those were dark times and I usually begrudge such sites even though I am in the unfortunate position of crawling back to them once more despite bigger projects since my first commission. Odesk is another such site. You "could" say they are useful for those starting out, at a push. As an artist with moderate success, I find such sites a pain in the arse; whereas students from the Philippines probably have some financial success out of them. Suffice to say, my fee for Matthew and the Money Tree was small.

This is one of the better pages.

The work was fraught with other problems too, namely a lack of consistency in my drawings. I remember that after finishing the book, I had to go back and visit each page and create new heads for "Matthew" because he looked different from page to page. This was a lack of experience on my part in creating anything sequential. What I should have done was create "style sheets" from which to draw reference.

One such page I had to re-visit for head-swapping.

Despite my problems with inexperience and the sheer disheartening workload of the book, I am glad I did it. Better things were to come... by which I do not entirely mean nightclub flyers such as this one:

Apparently they all died of scurvy. 

I was also in a design "collective." ...I did that drawing of women in a boat whilst someone else did the design work. I will always be eternally grateful for such opportunities but boy does the drawing make me cringe. 

Friday 12 July 2013

Thou shalt write on the walls of Manchester Art Gallery

Thou shalt accomplish the task

1) Get commissioned.

I used to work at the gallery, so they know me. This bit was key to me scoring this job.

Scrawling text onto the interior walls of Manchester Art Gallery's early 19th collection is no mean feat; the text in question is the Ten Commandments according to Gilbert and George. It needed to be in gold and in the typeface "Anglican Text." This was part of the current "Do It!" exhibition, which in turn forms part of the current Manchester International Festival.

2) Panic and figure out how to do it.

Having never done wall-lettering before was another daunting aspect, now however, I am happy to say that I am available for weddings, bat mitzvahs etc. Here is a quick tutorial detailing the process which thankfully worked for me:
  •  Purchase some thin wooden boards to practice on. 
  • Find techniques that work and email images to the client to reassure them. 
Thou shalt reason that gold pens were
the way to go (in this case a bullet tip Poska Pen).

4) More figuring out and cracking on with it.

I became increasingly concerned that I could not freehand a specific typeface. Moreover, It had to look deadly accurate and I needed to work up a ladder so the idea of doing it entirely freehand was out. I looked on-line to see what other people had done.
  • Rule evenly spaced lines on the wall.
  • Print out the text in large light grey and stick the printed A4 sheets together using low-tack masking tape.
  • Get some carbon paper and masking tape it onto the walls.
Thou shalt trace over fancy lettering.
  • Stick the printed A4 text over the carbon paper and trace over it with a pencil.
  • Remove the paper to see the text on the wall
  • Go over it in gold pen.
 Thou shalt do one at a time to avoid smudging.

Thou might get tennis elbow.

Thou shalt stand back and admire.
  • Chug down free wine at the exhibition preview.
There was another task too. Copy as near as damn it, the illustrated text of Icelandic artist and musician Ragnar Kjartansson. This was the easy bit...

I was given a print out with this lettering in black and white. 
Copy on to wall (skirting board). I said this was the easy bit.

Start repenting! 
  • Get credited on labels!
 Thou shalt have name mentioned alongside the more famous.
Thanks to all the staff at MAG including Natasha Howes and Paul Morley.

Wednesday 10 July 2013

How I Got Started: Part Two

Where was I? Oh yeah 2005, I ditched the whole greetings card thing because I found manufacturing them way too expensive. On reflection, I could've tried a bit harder but I didn't have the inclination to sell them to a card company either, I don't even recall if I tried to do that. Though I did fantasise about it once or twice because I remember wanting to draw a picture of me waving the little bastards goodbye.

Got a Webby:
Next stage was to have a website to sell myself as a freelancer: www.paulloudon.com. My first website looked quite different and is lost unfortunately, well, saved somewhere perhaps amongst a stack of CD's. Though I did find one image from it:

 It was styled like this, pretty cool eh?

Oh yeh, forgot to say "obtained" a copy of Dreamweaver 4 and learned how to use it via the medium of books: "Dreamweaver 4 for Dummies."

Got Artwork:
Obviously starting out in freelance, what work will you have? Nothing. Well, perhaps some conceptual crap left over from university, but I always found that having a website entirely of university projects especially the dross I had churned out, is a bad idea. A friend of mine also advised me that potential clients want to see skill and enthusiasm over a list of other clients. I was supposed to like drawing right? So I made artwork. Plus I enjoyed making it, getting views on Deviant Art, and I've always been a sucker for not living in reality.

This He-Man vs Lion-O pic was the amongst the first I
whacked down on my site back in 2005. Available to 
purchase as a print on Etsy: HERE

"I Hate Mushrooms" 2007 also available as a print: HERE

I'll create another post featuring more of my artwork soon. Worth noting that this process is a long one (that second pic being from 2007). In-between those years, other things happened too such as my first ever commission which I'll show you in the next post...