Week 17- Final Preparations

Well here it is the final week of my degree…its been madness all week trying to juggle last minute changes with getting things printed. We started off this week by working together to curate our show and allocate spaces which was done fairly by picking names out of a hat. We then had to paint our tables and uprights to ensure they are immaculate for exhibiting our work. Once that was done I collected my A1 giclée print (which looks brilliant, though I think I might trim the sides) and ordered my A2 prints, which are arriving at my house tomorrow. I’ve also received my postcards which I ordered as well:



I’m going to purchase moulding for shelves for my exhibition as well as velcro to attach everything into place tonight. I’m getting my boyfriend (who works in the Student’s Union of the university) to help me put up my show on Saturday as I’ll require another person to help me put things up straight. Looking forward to see it all coming together at last!


I’ll probably not partake in another personal blog update for a while, sticking to just posting things I like or find inspirational. But looking back on all my rough work (which I sorted through yesterday) I’m proud that I’ve come on so well. From starting out a bit afraid, not really knowing what my style is (a term I still find disputable) to finding a few ways of working that I find thoroughly enjoyable. Of course I won’t stop experimenting with my personal work! But my new employers ,with whom I start work with next Monday, liked it so I’ll continue to build on it in the working world when I can. I’m looking forward to starting my new job and enetering the next phase of my professional life!

Week 16

I finally feel happy with my YCN portraits! I approached them as pure illustrative portraits rather than as part of a design and I think they’re looking good. I knew I wasn’t 100% happy with them and I’m glad I made the extra effort, here they are:


I’m printing them on a paper called Mohawk Felt and will be arranged onto a shelf as a set for my show. There will be another shelf below that with postcards with a sample of my Ulster University project (which will be on full display downstairs) an octopus I drew for a personal project and two images from my animation. These will be set under an A1 giclée print (which I’m picking up this Wednesday coming) containing my Macmillan project…I can’t wait to see it all come together!


The boxes for my A3 rough work have only arrived this weekend so once I’ve painted my allocated space I can get on with making sure all is neat and tidy for the examiner and for anyone who wants to take a peek while the exhibition is on.  I’ve also got two A2s and my D&AD piece to print which I’m getting done at the Ream as Northside does not offer Mohawk Felt in large format and has limited options for A2 poster. I’d like to have all the final printing done and dusted for the examiner but as dummy prints are allowed for examination purposes I can always get it done at Windsor Graphics on plain paper until the real thing arrives.


The only thing I didn’t get done this week (due to social commitments) was my animation but I’m planning to get that done by the end of today so that I can get the stills printed alongside my Stormont piece. They will both be A2 and set flat at either side of my table. I’m not sure about whether I want D&AD or my dissertation in the middle as I don’t want my table to be too “flat” but I’ll see how things look and can tweak accordingly between the hand in and the show.


Got my roller and tray ready for tomorrow, very excited to start putting this show together!

Week 15

I’ve finished the bones of my animation work from last semester, so hopefully I should have that up on the site by next week and ready for the end of the year show (cannot believe this is my last month of university!) I feel like moving image for me is possible, but I can’t say its my strength. Still I do think After Effects is a good software to know anyway!


I’m currently in the process of revisiting my Stormont piece from last semester also- the majority of the constructive criticism I received was that the type and image did not work that well together. I hope to change that! I also plan to revisit my YCN and get a series of postcards ready for the show. At the end of the day, I want to feel proud of what I’m showing and I don’t mind putting in the extra work to feel that way on show night.

I’m getting a quote for my A1 giclee print of my Macmillan from a local printer outside Belfast which will be the bulk of the cost of my exhibition. I’ve also ordered business card holders, one for me and a few more for anyone in the year who might need one.


Well that’s all for now, another busy weekend and week ahead!



Week 14

Finished the Macmillan submission in time for the final deadline so very happy with that. It was a bit of a challenge, and I do feel I could have put more effort into my rough spreads however considering I had to prepare an entire portfolio and get ready for an interview I didn’t do too badly!


spread 1

spread 4


The most important part of this week is that I got the internship which I’m over the moon about! I learned a lot from my careers guidance counsellor, my tutors and the course residents about how to put together my portfolio and tips for the interview so I have all of them to thank for getting me this opportunity, so if you’re reading this thank-you!! 


Now that I know I have employment figured out after I leave its time to get my head down and start getting ready for the end of year show and go out with a bang! I’ve decided the project I want to revisit most is Waste Not Want Not as I don’t have any moving image in my portfolio yet and I feel like I could really improve on what I submitted last semester. It also won’t interfere as an extra project with my show plan which I plan to get squared away within the next week so I can start sourcing materials I’ll need.


Well that’s all for now need to get my head down next week!



Week 13

This week I managed to finish off my first two Macmillan spreads- it took a bit of fiddling to get them just right but now I feel I have the confidence to get the other two finished before Tuesday. I also have the storyboard to rough up which I hope to do in loose ink and watercolour, with the type indicating what’s happening in the story.


spread 2 redraft

spread 3

Once that’s done on Tuesday I will then look at which projects from the last year I’d like to revisit- or if I have time to undertake another short project before the end of year show (maybe a short moving image, as my portfolio currently lacks my After Effects skills.) I will discuss this with my tutors on Wednesday and figure out a plan of action after that.

I also finally got around to compiling my CV, Cover Letter template and Website (as you can see). I feel like a simple layout is key as I don’t want them outshining my actual work.

Well that’s all for now, lots to do and so little time to write about it!

Week 12

This week was a hectic week to say the least. I was flat out trying to get these spreads done, considering its now a mere six weeks to finish this last project, revisit some previous projects and to have our show up and ready for the external examiner! After a chat with my tutor yesterday, I’m feeling a lot more confident about my approach as I floundered and struggled a bit earlier on in the week. I’ve got an already more confident and interesting colour scheme (no more cliché greens and browns!) and composition so feeling happy enough to tackle the remaining three spreads in the same vein next week. I also have the entire storyboard to do up in pencil roughs for the competition submission so I will more than plenty to get on with. I aim to have this project done by the end next week, giving me four weeks to work on my previous work, my show and my personal promotion.

spread so far


This weekend I will try to get started on my website, during my research last week I found that the majority of agencies are looking to see a website. I want to strike the iron while its hot (i.e. while I still have funds in the bank!) and get sent off to my chosen agencies ASAP.


Hopefully by the end of next week I’ll have four finished spreads to show you!



Week 11

After a much-needed break over Easter weekend I started the week off with doing a bit of career research, reading “How to be an Illustrator” by Darrel Rees and currently reading “Steal Like an Artist” and “Show your Work!” by Austin Kleon. I have found these very helpful contributions towards my next steps after final year. Sadly, I didn’t get the time to research web design yet but I have a few ideas about illustrating some navigation buttons…



I also did some research into Illustration agencies and where I might like to apply to be once my degree is over. I made a list, noting whether they were accepting applications, their location, if they had any illustrators similar to myself and other notes like how big their representation was.


The ones I’ve decided to prioritise applying for when I have my website sorted out are Hear Agency, Eye Candy Illustration, Handsome Frank, Agency Rush, Illozoo, Inky Illustration and Owl Illustration…unless my tutors reckon otherwise!

As for work my writer got back to me with her script- its a little long but I reckon I can pare it back for the average 6-8 year old.I managed to get my first set of illustrations done this week …I’ve deicded in terms of process to resarch as I go along, and get the images sorted first as they’re what I’ll be judged most fiercely on. Then once my images are finalised I will start to consider typography and layout. I’m hoping two and a half weeks will be enough time to finish, chop and change what I must and also provide the rough complete storyboard/book dummy for the competition deadline on the 19th!


first spread images

Week 10

It is the first week of the Easter holidays but I’ve had my nose to the grindstone! With the submission for Pan Macmillan in just under a month’s time I’ve got no time to waste.

I’ve drawn up my schedule and got down to some serious research. Illustrating for children is not something I’ve done before so just like John Lewis I need to look at how its already done by professionals before attempting anything myself.

The only thing I know about my project for sure is that it’s going to be a bilingual book aimed at 5-7 year olds to make learning Irish more fun. Unfortunately, my writer has been away at the USI conference this week so she hasn’t had time to get in touch with me but I’m hoping to grab her next week after I’ve had a break over Easter weekend. This hasn’t inhibited me from research and some early ideas and will at least give us somewhere to start when writing the story.I spent a lot of time this week just looking at books and websites on children’s illustration and trying to get a feel for the field, the type of art style I should be looking to lean towards etc. and also, obviously, at the work of some well-known children’s illustrators such as Oliver Jeffers, Quentin Blake and Jon Klassen. I feel now I’ve done this I’ve got a strong reference point to work from when it comes towards laying out my own picture book towards the end of next week.

My business cards also arrived from moo.com and they look great! I didn’t want anything too flashy, just my brand on one side and contact details on the other, the detail is in the edging, a black coloured edge to reflect the black outlines I do in my work! Very excited to get into doing my CV and Website next week!



Week 9- Ulster Uni Project

With D&AD out of the way I could finally focus on my week-long short project: “Ulster Universiy: A Civic Building” the brief was none too inspiring but one question caught my eye: “What does it meant to be part of Belfast School of Art?” It was originally going to be a piece of satire, calling out some of the major hypocrisies of how the University is run (for example, axing 200 teaching staff only to appoint an over-paid PVC with a flashy title with, no doubt, a six figure salary)

…but then the Brussels terror attacks happened on Tuesday the next week. And I knew there were more important things in the world to make comment on. “Make Art, Not War” is a well-known protest slogan, but I also felt it is my duty as not only an illustrator but straight-up an artist to do my bit to make the world a better place through my work. I can only hope one day that the only red on the streets of the world is red paint.

Update: I have since developed this project so below are the three stages of development from initial outcome to final outcome.