PDP- Exhibition Reflection

Third year has been professional practice focused, which is ideal when you’re heading into the real world as soon as June comes (jeeeez). While It was heavily focused around becoming a freelance illustrator, (which for some people I think they would suit to a t) I’m not sure I have the self-motivation to find jobs and pursue work myself, but that hasn’t stopped me from trying. In easter I even went about contacting various art & design companies for internships around where I live in Suffolk for summer, while I’ve had no replies I will continue the search closer to the time.

The Professional practice seminars were unbelievably helpful, they helped me understand the realities of being an illustrator; the taxes, invoices, pricing, legality, as well as simple things about how to confine to briefs and email clients. I also took on board the CV seminar and worked to make a professional creative CV I’m proud of and am happy to send to potential employers. While I faced the task of creating my CV, Business cards, Portfolio, I realised how important professional formatting, font, imagery were in order to encourage people to contact and hire you.

Another part of being a professional creative, is having a website portfolio for people to visit and view your work and learn a little about you. I spent weeks creating the perfect website for me, working to make the perfect smooth finish, simple, stylish that was diverse enough to show the variety of my work and my skills, but being sure to only show work I would be happy to do again.It never occurred to me before professional practice how imperative platforms are in promoting yourself, especially the use of hashtags/linking/tagging, and so I went about giving my social platforms a face-lift, making them more illustration based removing anything unsuitable/inappropriate, and being sure to link all my other platforms, website, blog on every-one.

All of the time I spent creating these important things, I was trying to figure out what I wanted to be after I graduate, what career field I want to go into, and I began to realise through the year, as I procrastinated all my time away, that I work best with short deadlines, I work best when I’m not self run, i.e I don’t think freelance for me is an option, but rather another creative field such as a creative in a team in a company perhaps. That being said I wouldn’t rule out freelance, I think I would like to explore free-lance on the side, as its not a very financially stable career, I would purse it part-time, and see how I do.

Obviously a big part of professional practice is the degree show, in this case making and presenting all my work so that people want to see more of my work, and hire me as an illustrator, and so I created things for my show that hopefully the professionals during industry night would want to and can take home with them. I chose a subject I was passionate about which was a worry for me for a while, as I assumed that some people would have opposing views to that of me, but decided that people like to see illustrators passion and fire. I spent a long way thinking how to best show and present my work so that people want to and feel like they can take it, and so I chose disposable things such as newspaper and zines, but I also made them (hopefully) so pretty and powerful that they don’t want to dispose of them. I also chose a newspaper stand to present them in, as a it suggests that people can take them.

Since first year I’ve come to realise how important communication is, whether that’s in an email to a client, in an interview for a job, or in a meeting with your colleges, it’s impetrative to be clear and confident. In my job, I meet lots of different kinds of people, and occasionally those people are in the art and design industry and so have been taking it upon myself to make connections with these people, being sure to invite them to the industry night. I’m not sure if it’s the course or university in general, or just growing in confidence personally outside of university, but I really do think I’ve come far from the nervous reck that cried in meetings and group tuturials in first year. I can quite honestly say I’m ready for the professional world, and that this course was a big part of getting me there.

PDP- Subject Reflection

I find my work comes into two forms, heavy on the context or heavy on the aesthetics, but I struggle finding a happy medium. I weigh on the side of context, because there are millions of Illustrators, artists, and creative in the world that are able to create images way past my abilities. Context is the quintessential ingredient to a amazing piece in mind, to be able to make work that conveys a message, a understanding, that people connect with is all I aim for, and if the aesthetics (which yes I do work hard on) fall into rhythm then what more could I possibly ask for in life. I believe Illustration is there to aid understanding, and to enlighten, which for me is the whole point of this degree, I wanted to learn to communicate through images (perhaps this is to do with my struggle to get my words out in a logical order when I’m scared or angered, the times I most want to speak my mind).

In previous years I’ve explored a lot with different mediums, stylistic approaches, and contextualisation. In previous years, I felt I connected better with subjects with a gritty/socially active/emotive topic, which tend to come with campaigns and editorial pieces. So when given the opportunity to create my own topic, I was at a loss with all the options, but I knew as soon as I started my dissertation I wanted my work to be based around Feminism and Everyday Sexism, both topics I have a distinct passion for.

My work is all directly fed from my own life, I didn’t want to make work I couldn’t relate to, work I couldn’t put all of myself into, hence how my ‘in plain sight’ newspaper came to be, of which the entire project came from one night of anger boiling over after work, and said anger spilling onto a page and the creative seed being planted (So cringey). It is worth noting somewhere that I while the ‘in plain sight’ newspaper was a personal passion and so I felt no guilt including ‘illustrated by Becky Watts’ where as the ‘Solidarity’ zine, was creating to support and promote International Womens Day, and so although warned against it, I chose not to include my name on it, this is because of a quote by a Gloria Steinem, of which I loved so much I included it in the newspaper;

“The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organisation but to the collective efforts of all who care about human right.”

-Gloria Steinem

its not about me, it’s about the cause.

I think it’s easy to see how I’ve developed as an Illustrator since I arrived at Cardiff three years ago, my confidence in my mark-making, and confidence in making decisions on my own work with out 3rd party feedback, I can see what’s working, and what isn’t and when I can’t, I’ve made amazing creative friends who know me and what how I like my work to look, and can give me directed advice. Specially this year and last though, I’ve learnt to be an illustrator, last year I learnt to follow and brief and this year I learnt to make my own. I’ve also developed a MAD amount technically, I’m fluent on Photoshop and have a basic understanding of InDesign, and have learnt short cuts and how to teach myself things I may need (i.e. adobe help, YouTube), plus I’ve become pretty nifty on the graphics tablet. None of these I think I’d haven’t learnt if I hadn’t been left to my own devices this year, it has given me the chance to explore things I wanted to and made me problem solve and learn in the process. All of these I’ve been told make you super employable-  I’ll believe when I see it!

A side note, as I’m unsure where this should be includes, i’ve come to realise that i’m a seriel procrastinator and need to set myself regular small deadlines when working with a long deadline, so I’m not working 16 hour days for a month.

I have no idea if i’ve done this right, but what more could I possibly say about my subject work, and so I will conclude by saying I’m very happy with how it all came together at the end and probably abit too chuffed with myself, but I can quite honestly say I’ve never been so proud of single thing I’ve created.

The Printing Wait…

It’s all about that waiting game…

My Business cards arrived first, sleek, in bulk and exactly how I imagined them when i was designing, in theme with my zine, and no colour-distortion. I can’t help giving them out! I carry them on me and give them out to all my friends… (I know I shouldn’t but I’ve got so many, a few can be spared!)

My Solidarity zines arrived next; theres no other way to say it, I bloody love them, they’re perfect, they’re everything I wanted and more. The paper is perfect for what they are, and the fact there are enough that people can take them away with them, especially on industry night is ideal. The colour, quality and everything was just ideal, and they were the perfect size for my newspaper stand.

My ‘In Plain Sight’ Newspaper has yet to arrive, I expect it wont arrive until monday now, but once it arrives, I think they will fit in perfectly, with the large print number (200) I think it’ll be able to stacked next to my newspaper stand with the zines, and I reckon they’ll look brilliant.(If I say so myself)

 

There is alot of pressure with deadlines and printing, and I wish I was more organised and got everything made and sent off way sooner, but I’m not worried because that extra time putting off the printing deadline meant that they are going to be the best they could possibly be. (Big up to my beautiful friend Mr Eliot Southwell for helping me with Indesign and getting these off to printer, without him i suspect I’d be in a hole crying right about now.)

Desk Presentation

The components of my desk are as follows; my sketch book, and first mini sketch book, of which the large one is divided by a colour soding system, I chose to leave all my work in the stetch book and cover it in black sugar paper to keep it with the aesthetic, as the sketchbook feel organic and shows my process, more than it would taking all the images out and presenting them that way.

desk 4

I also got printed an A3 professional porfolio, although i do have a website, I felt I wanted an A3 portfolio to accompany it, with little explainations of the project, i think this was because personally I like looking at physical work, and I like having something to look at and feel and interact with. The only problem with this is that I didn’t have time to get my ‘In plain sight’ project in there. On top of my physical portfolio I also had a memory stick (I bought a new sleek one to fit the aesthetic of my desk) on which I put PDF copies of both my zine and my newspaper, although it was primarily for my newspaper as I knew it wouldn’t be printed in time for the desk submission. I also included copies of all the reciepts and dispatch information in regards to my newspaper.

desk 3

As one of my final handed in products, I really wanted to show my zine of, pride of place, and thought it looked nice, showing my developement process, below you see, top left of the quare my two prep zines, then a high quality print of each page to the right of them, below which I have a few copies of my final printed zine, which came a few days before the deadline. Also on the table i have a mock-up copy of my newspaper “In plain sight” obviously it isn’t the right proportion size, but the newspaper it’s self was hard to print due to it’s unusual size so it was the best I could do.

At the top you can see a fan of my business cards next to a box, which also contains business cards.

desk 2

Finally on the left of my desk you can see a large A2 folder, in which contains my large prep work and final images I then scanned in, I chose to back on the images onto the same size black sugar paper, and then split the sections up with simple dividers on the top image, on which it says what it is; i.e. “Solidarity” or “In plain Sight; Prepatory work”.

desk 1

On the back board, I just have simple black sugar paper on a MDF board bought from wickes, to hide the ugly plastic electics panel, and a tracing paper sheet with important information, following the organisation themes of the rest of the desk.

I used tap to secure and specify, as it added a big of colour, as well as made everything look abit more relaxed and authentic.

 

Degree Show Presentation

My degree show presentation, much like my work reflects an air of simplicity and strength. I knew I didn’t want my work presented on a wall, or on a shelf, although I was considering a shelf at one point when I couldn’t think of a better way of presenting my zines.

Originally, I was planning a short run of a only a few zines, hand made, this would have looked fine on a shelf, however when I decided to make the print run large, and the zines of a more light weight disposable paper, this became impractable and aesthetically, it wouldn’t look right or fit the concept of the work.

While the zines became an issue of presentation, my newspapers were clear, I knew exactly how I wanted them to be presented, in a tradition corner shop newspaper stand, the wire kind they present magazines and newspapers in.

Screen Shot 2017-05-15 at 21.04.21

I knew exactly what I wanted, and so with very little effort, but a fair amount of money, I purchased the above. It arrived, it was perfect, and the next day, my zines arrived, a box of 100. On a whim I put them in the stand, thinking at least until I come up with a solution its a good way to store them, but when in, they actually looked brilliant, they showed off the cover perfectly. So that resolved the how I was to present the zine, but created a new one, how will I present my newspaper now that I’ve used the designated stand for zines.

At this point in time, the only solution I can come up with, is to have the newspapers stacked free beside the stand, because its’ll fit the non-shalant nature of everyday sexism, the disposable nature of the press and newspapers, and just in general it’ll fit the aesthetic.

I got a print run of 200 papers, so hopefully it’ll look okay, should it not I’ll work it out as an when, I may have to make of find some kind of stand to raise them off the floor.

Professional Printed Portfolio

Over the last few days I’ve been compiling my work to be printed and put into a professional portfolio;

The images I’ve chosen are images that reflect my skills as an artist and illustrator, but also show what I like to do, would be happy to do again, as I didn’t want to include any project, no matter how successful if I wouldn’t be happy to do similiar work again.

My Professional Portfolio is more or less a visual representation of what I have stated on my CV. I will be adding and editing this selection as and when I create new work. All of these images were originally scanned at a high definition, and I will be printing these A3 at the Print Studio on campus.

I’ve added a boarder round the images to make them look professional as the images are different size, and the less distortion of size and layout, the better. I also made sure when presenting the images in my portfolio that the portfolio doesn’t need to be rotated in order to see the images.

With each project, I also did an accompanying text, with the project title, a small description, with some a quote and then the mediums used.

The first page is simplistic, with a elegent easy to ready font, with my name, what it is, and my website address.

 

Printed Porfolio

Attached above is a PDF copy of my Printed Portfolio.

 

Solidarity; Printing & Presenting

Using InDesign, I put together my zine, with the assistance of my good pal Eliot southwell, who also helped me with typography, helping font choose and writing styles.

It took my a good few days to put it together, with neither of us being particulary edept with indesign software, but I was soon happy with it;

ZINE PRINT

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I knew I wanted a flip through zine style product, but it wasn’t until I got samples of all of newspaper print styles that I chose a printing style I genuinly loved, on newspaper style paper, and slight see-through pages, it felt the perfect fit for my zine.

My orginial idea was to have only 3 or 4 copies of the zine, A5 and present them on a shelf, but after deciding on 100 copies, of an entirely different sort of zine, in a different paper, that idea went out the window.

I had the idea of printing stacks of newspapers and putting them in a oldfashioned paper-shop style wire newspaper stand, and so figured I could combine and have them presented together in the stand.

However once it arrived I decided that on their own the zines filled half the newspaper stand, and look amazing when put in every other slot, so you can see the front image without anything blocking the view.

Business Cards

Simple, sleek, uncomplicated- all things I knew I wanted, however it wasn’t until after i did my zine that I knew what image to use.

The image choice is not only stylish and in theme with my current work, but when making my zine, I chose not to associate my name witht he images, as theyre a non-profit piece of promotion for a good empowering cause, however it occured after they were sent to the printer, that they are in no-way associated with  my name, and so the image choice was made for me;

but in no-way am I complaigning, I love this image as image choice, I even chose to use the front from the zine’s back cover, as the front for my information side.

I chose not to give myself a title of Illustrator, because it felt redundant, it being in both my email and my website address!

IMG_1559

 

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My Website

My professional website is up and running, linked on all my social media platforms, it is basically an online collection of my favourite work, a more extensive version of what will be in my professional Portfolio.

How I made my wesbite;

A good website should be simple, elegent, clutter free and show simply the answer to these questions;

  1. Who is this person?
  2. Where are they based?
  3. What work have they done before?
  4. Examples of recent work?
  5. How much do they charge? (Dayrate)
  6. How do I contact this person?

It should also be easy to navigate with a simple introduction saying who you are, what you do(shory and sweet). The work displayed should be categorised and clearly labelled, showing a varied and carefully selected varitey of work.

The work shown should be alongside context for the work, with a client brief/process/description/relevent links to articles or websites.

It should include an about me Page, with a compelling biography, that should sell yourself and your work, by showing your skills, work and experience all of which should be simple and conversational yet factual.

The about me will be written as if talking to a stranger, saying who you are, where you do it, why you do it and how you do it, all of which you should say by being humble yet confident in you ability. The most important thing for your wesbite though is to make it as easy as possible for potential employees and people looking for an illustrator to contact you, this is most easily achieved by having a contact me page, on which you should put links to all your social media, a phone/email address if you so wish to share this, and a contact form.

When designing my website it took me a while to think of catagories that would best summarise my work, I went with types of editorial work;

  • HOME- Which is just my favourite work, with my name and menu catagories under.
  • PROMOTIONAL- Which includes my favourite select promotion based work, i.e. things I’ve made to promote a subject, the images I chose were from a charity project, and a post I made to promote a shadow puppet performance. These show my techiqual painting skills, and my paper-cut, collaborative skills.
  • EDITORIAL- Of which includes my favourite select editorial based work. The images I chose were four images from my Illustra-TED project from second year, two images from my War Horse Project, and a GIF I made to go with a news article, also from second year. these show my techniqual artistic skills, especially my use of ink, water colour, plus my ability to make a GIF.
  • NARRATIVE- Of which includes my favourite select narrative based work. The images I chose were three collage based pieces, two from my Biographies project, which using collage and paper cut, and one from the 28 Days of Something project, which is a purely collage based piece. These show my ability to use the adobe suite, and my paper cut and collage skills.
  • RECENT- Which gives a little summary of what my most recent work entails, plus a tease image of what the work will be based around.
  • ABOUT- Which includes a little summary of my creative life and work, plus where I’m based, and my rates. I have also listed my key skills on this page.
  • CONTACT- This has links to all my social media, an email address they can contact me on, plus a form that can be filled in to contact me directly and quickly, using my website.

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Above shows screen shots of each of the pages on my website, for a closer inspection, please feel free to have a look on my wesbite;

Becky’s Website

What Am I like? PP Workshop

 

WHAT DO I HAVE TO OFFER?

I’m creative and can draw (obviously), as well as being good with technology, specifically Photoshop/adobe suite basic knowledge. I am very good at coming up with ideas.

WHAT ARE MY PROFESSIONAL ATTRIBUTES, SKILLS, APTITUDES, AND TALENTS? (INTERPERSONAL SKILLS)

INTERPERSONAL SKILLS

  • Social/Personable
  • Good Communicator
  • Creative Problem Solving
  • Detail Orientated
  • Ability to Multi-Task
  • Reliable
  • Ability to Priotise
  • Concientious thinker
  • Self Motivated
  • Works well in pressure/time sensitive situations

CREATIVE/TECHNICAL

  • Indian Inks
  • Digital Drawing
  • Watercolour
  • Etching
  • Screen Printing
  • Perspective Drawing
  • Versatile with Mediums
  • Creative and Innovative thinker
  • Adobe Suite Proficient
  • Microsoft Office Proficient
  • Experienced using Graphic Design Tablets
  • 2D Design

AM I A CONNECTOR/ MAVEN/ SPOKESPERSON/ ARTIST/ THINKER/ FACILIATOR?

I am an artist and thinker.

Am I a Natural Freelancer? Employee? Entrepreneur?

FREELANCER; I personally think I am lacking the personal motivation, and am probably too lazy to make any kind of success of myself.

EMPLOYEE; I am good at following instructions so yes, I believe I’d make a good employee, I have worked for two people in the past for long periods of time and have been told I am a briliant employee.

ENTREPRENEUR; Long term I have various Business ideas but in most I would need a Business partner for support and motivation, as i work best when I have to get things done for others to do what they need to do.

WHAT ARE MY AMBITIONS, CURIOSITIES, NATURAL LEANINGS, MOTIVATION?

To work as part of a creative team, maybe eventually aim to be in a role such as creative director or maybe create my own Creative consultancy firm. I personally think freelance is too much pressure for me, and I don’t think I’d do well in it, I would still like to do freelance work occasionally or on the side but not full time.

WHAT VALUES UNDERPIN MY WORK?

Social Change, Social Issues, Feminism, Sexism,(Gender Inequality) Women, Sociatial Normalities, Accepted Normalities.

WHAT HAVE I LEARNT ABOUT MY CREATIVE POTENTIAL THOUGH MY DEGREE COURSE? 

I have learnt that I have plenty of creative and fascinating ideas/concepts with potential but have very little follow through(scared of failure, better to never try than to fail) so wouldn’t make a brilliant freenlancer as stands, so I should use my creativity in other ways, as I can draw without issue but fear of failure is a very real issue for me.

HOW READY AM I FOR A PROFESSIONAL LIFE?

To be a freelancer; not at all, but to in a professional working environment, I think I am ready, other than my feer of public speaking but I am improving dramatically in that respect, although I think the pressure of the End of Year Viva may be too much for me, and I could well crack under that pressure.