Through my site I offer commissions and one-off poster designs done in the usual style. I had a request for a commission, but it was a way over my usual word limit. The poster didn’t get very far before the customer thought she might like to try something shorter, but I quite like the full-on version. This will never get used so I thought I would post it here.
Recently I’ve worked as part of the Show & Tell collective. Along with several Bournemouth based designers we have begun to organise sales and shows for other local makers and crafts people.
Show & Tell are looking for others to be part of our Bournemouth based pop-up shop. Please check our site for more information on how to get involved and events, or tweet @_SHOW_and_TELL_ if you would like to show us some work and we will tell you how you can be involved.
A quick pictorial tribute and my top ten Dylan songs in celebration of his 70th birthday:
A quick pictorial tribute and my top ten Dylan songs in celebration of his 70th birthday:
I will be selling posters and greeting cards tomorrow from a beach hut on Southbourne Beach. We start at 10.00 and the sale finishes ar 4.00.
Included in the sale will be 14 copies of the print below which uses the lovely typeface Reina designed by Maximiliano Sproviero of Buenos Aires.
I was asked by one of my students to answer some questions about how I overcome creative blocks. I know this is a little self indulgent, but I have posted my answers below. The photo is of me when I was two or three and after reading my answers it seemed quite an apt illustration.
Music, television, books, tea and comfort are the things I need to get started on a project.
Twitter helps a lot as people can post interesting links; the things you find can be completely unexpected and help with your current project, or ones in the future. I look at a few blogs (notcot.org is one I check daily) as these are always a lot more current then most of the design magazines and cover more of a range. Pinterest really helps as you can track who pinned certain things and look at what else inspires them.
I find films really inspiring as dialogue and phrases are often things that catch my interest and ‘inspire’ me. I like quite a range of films, but tend to go for 70’s thrillers and 80’s horror. Generally words inspire me more then visuals, even listening to people speak can bring about a spark.
Surface pattern is also really inspiring, so I surround myself with pattern and colour – this extends from mugs and cushions in my house to prints and bedspreads.
I believe that the environment you are raised in contributes most to your path; I don’t believe that any person is born creative and creativity can be learnt and nurtured. I saw a lecture once at AUCB titled ‘habitus’ and the speaker detailed how his parents had a positive impact on his career path from an early age simply by encouraging him to draw. From these he developed more of an interest in animation and this was equally encouraged so he became and animator. This is quite a simplistic explanation, but I believe most people have several key influences on the direction they take through their life. The key people for me were my parents (my mum wanted to study illustrations before she became a dental technician and my dad designed cars) and my secondary school and a-level art teachers as these people gave me sense of direction, discipline and encouragement without open-ended praise.
I always listen to music when I am designing. I can tell if work is going well because the music fades into the background and an entire album will go by without me noticing. If a project is not going well I find myself switching CD’s every couple of songs. I don’t listen to new music when I am working as this takes up my concentration. I like quite wordy music (Dylan) and sometimes this can be a distraction so I have to go for something more instrumental like Jim O’Rourke. Neil Young and Sonic Youth are quite safe bets as I know the songs so well I don’t have to pay to much attention, also they both tend to lapse into long instrumental sections. The most inspiring album I own is ‘Spiderland’ by Slint. I’ve heard it hundreds of times but I still notice things in it that I have not heard before. There is such an interesting story behind it that it leads me onto new artists and bands constantly. I am listening to Josh Rouse’s ‘The Best of the Rykodisc Years’ at this very moment.
When I’m trying to overcome creative blocks, I generally I refer back to the brief. Inspiration and ideas for me always comes from the client or the job itself. When he gave a lecture at AUCB Hamish Muir said he only has ‘small ideas’ and I prefer that way of working – the ideas come from the constraints of the brief rather than hours of agonising over concepts. If you work from the key constraints of the brief such as funds, number of images/words or format, that will suggest a lot of possible routes then the idea, or decoration, can be built around this.
When I am getting stuck the only way I can move forward is to force myself to get into the job and just start making. Knowing your software and processes really helps here; if you understand the basics of grid systems and typography you can start a project and then build the concept or idea around this. Once you get the information on the page and you have some very basic systems you can start making decisions.
Most successful techniques are centred around distraction and removing ones self from the problem. Once you have some headspace and distance from the problem it normally becomes clearer. Someone once mentioned the three B’s (I don’t remember who sorry) that help them are bed, bath and bus – normally an idea will come to the in one of the three places as they are not thinking about it and are just taking in life.
Once design becomes a person’s career you never stop thinking about it and find inspiration everywhere. When I did my MA a thing that really helped me was the layout of tiles in the bathroom of a hotel in Berlin; it was completely unexpected but I took a picture and that influenced my final design. The black and white tiles on the doorsteps in Amsterdam inspired a friend’s project. I always carry a pen and camera with me so that you can note these unexpected things as you encounter them.
Inspiration is everywhere; you just need to be open to seeing it. You have to be inquisitive – or nosey – and observe people and the environments you are in. A drift can often help; I like to go places and get lost. When I am in a new city I like to wander and find things; there are always interesting details if you look up or down often enough.
I’ve not been in a situation where the idea is the problem; I have experienced points where the relationships with the client and designer have not been entirely comfortable and therefore the project has suffered. If both parties are open to discussion then the idea shouldn’t be a problem, projects really falter when a client can’t communicate what they want and the designer cannot work out a way to get to this information.
The ideas I have always come from the brief and simple systems, so I hope the client wouldn’t have much to object to. However, when working with others I’ve noticed often the main block seems to be ego – neither the client nor designer wants to back down and admit something is not working.
In terms of my self-authored work I find this quite difficult to gauge. I sell posters online, and the fact anyone wanted to buy them was a surprise. Trying to predict what would sell from that point on has been harder so I have just put small runs out to test the market – those that don’t sell get dropped. My wife is really quite good at this side as she has a keen sense for what will appeal; I don’t think many creative people are very good at the marketing and sales side of what we do so often you need someone else to look after this aspect of this business.
Well, Alice seems to have found a few of my prints.
Very kindly Laura and Nicki from What Alice Found took on some framed A2, A3 and A5 prints. Here are some images of the freshly framed items taken just before they were delivered.
I will also be selling unframed prints and greeting cards at the forthcoming Southbourne and Durley beach events.
The Durley Beach event will be held by the Durley Harvester on the 15th of May from 10.00 – 16.00, and the Southbourne beach one will be by the Bistro On The Beach on the 22nd of May from 10.00 – 16.00. I’ll be selling work alongside several AUCB students and local artists and designers, so please come along.
I recently made a series of greeting cards that are soon to be sold through Number83 in Bournemouth and South West Artwork. You can view the set below, and I hope to be able to offer these for sale through my online shop soon. Also, I have a new web site which will be displaying more Getrealpaid work as I make it.
Locale is a photographic overview of Dorset in the UK. I designed this book a few years ago and have just added a few copies to my shop.
The book contains an essay by Derrick Price and photographs by Paul Lipscombe, Tim Edgar, Hitesh Ambasna and Paul Allen.The cover is printed on tough grey board, and it holds 80 pages packed with many beautiful photographs.
New Death Cab For Cutie quote poster!
‘I need you so much closer’ is the climax of the song Transatlanticism (from the album of the same name). This A2 print is for sale here.
My wife and I saw them play this live in Oxford with John Vanderslice on backing vocals; it was quite a special moment.