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;


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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.

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

Solidarity; Creating process

I began by printing off all these images of these strong women, in varying degrees of red, and went about stetching. I didn’t like the finish of this, they felt too staged, and so I thought maybe a more accurate representation was the way to go. Using tracing paper, I went about making a stylised version of these women with accurate proportions.

I then experimented with mediums and size, luckily, not long in I lucky to find the perfect medium, this browny red, really rich when edited right and perfect for this. I really wanted everything to be in one colour, or at least on the colour range.

I then went about re-creating until perfection, the usual case, I kept on drawing, I made 100% I was happy with the medium, by using multiple mediums for a number of my orginal drawings. Something about the images at this point thought were lacking depth, and were also on paper that encouraged ink bleed.

I moved on to thinker cartridge paper, and carried on, re-creating, until 100% satisfied with the images.


A little update

Quite ironically, it took a day without the internet for me to finally get around to updating my blog, just imagine it, no Mobile Data, no Wifi, just DVD’s you’ve watched a dozen times each, and a knowing weight on your chest that you’ve still to do a very important part of your degree but you despise it more than any other thing. 

Without any further adue I suppose I’ll get on with it, I’m not entirely sure how I’ll go about it so there may well be little-to-no sensial order to these following posts, which I suspect will be coming in some regularity for the next two weeks.

Of late, I’ve spent majority of my time since January (post dissertation hand in) working on my subject content, of which I will be debuting in the degree show in May. When I’ve not been doing subject work, I designated select hours per-week to work on my professional practice. Obviously when I wasn’t doing either of these my life was fairly occupied with sleeping, drinking and working, all fairly regular practices for students. 

So I suppose a sensible order would be to do my professional practice posts first, in the order I completed them in real life, and then go back on myself and update subject in a relitiveoy compact re-telling of how I’ve got to where I am. 

Can you tell I’m stalling?

Solidarity; a zine concept

Internation Womens day, is just bloody amazing, I love it, I love the feeling of solidarity, unity and the serge of activist energy that floats around in cities, on social media, and I this year, I got a real buzz of energy from it, seeing all the protests around the world, against the patriachy society we live in.

I was inspired, INFUSED, and all of a sudden, I knew exactly what I wanted to do, schrolling through twitter, the news, social media blogs, I see these women, all dressed in red for this years campaign, and just felt a serge of pride, and realised that was it, that’s how you inspire the next generation, you show the strong, proud, happy women fighting today, to show them that they can do it tomorrow.

The idea is simple- I’ll take all these images of strong women I see, I draw them (how, i’m not sure), and I show an inspiring show of solidarity, and use it to promote international womens day.