Selected Work & Reflection

Assignment Links

All assignments, roughs and comments can be viewed here:

Assignment 1

Assignment 2 

Assignment 3 

Assignment 4 

Assignment 5 

Links to selected coursework 

We were asked to select ten pieces of work, the finished pieces are available in print form. However please do view my work online as it includes all the comments and preparatory work. Many thanks!

Here are the links. I’ve selected a cross section of work, starting with the very first brief:

  1. The History of Illustration 
  2. Exploring Drawing & Painting 
  3. A Subjective Drawing 
  4. Image Development 
  5. Abstract Illustration 
  6. Identifying Tools & Materials 
  7. A Menu Card 
  8. Visual Distortion
  9. Working for Children 
  10. Educational Strip 



Assignment 5 – Seven Days

“The title is Seven days.

These can be the seven days of the week or random days that tell a story. Your interpretation can be objective or subjective. You can produce seven separate, one large diagrammatic or a continuous strip illustration. You can decide on the media and methods you will use; the context – magazine, newspaper, book, brochure or poster; and the intended audience.

You need to write yourself a brief that is clear and challenging but manageable.”

Looking at Illustration

As this is such an open brief, I felt it would be helpful to look at the work of various illustrators, and see how their ideas and approach vary. You can see here how each person has interpreted the same brief – which was to produce an christmas themed image without the usual cliches.

Posy Simmons – vomiting snowman! I particularly like Posy Simmons, her illustration style is gentle, with a subversive twist. I’ve noticed that her work usually conveys a cosy softness both in shape and the suggestion of texture. But it departs company from children’s illustration when it comes to subject matter, and I like the contradiction.


Paul Thomas, Noma Bar, Jean Jullien, Peter Blake and Axel Scheffler. You can see a big variation in style here. I particularly liked Paul Thomas, and his tattooed snowman, for both the subject matter and style. He’s used an appealing range of colours for a snow scene. Perhaps like Posy Simmons, its only the subject matter that lets you know its not meant for children. I would enjoy the pared down images on a card but they feel less interesting to view here in terms of illustration inspiration.


Quentin Blake, Matt Blease, Shaun Tan, Jan Pienkowski, Judith Kerr and Mairi Hedderwick. Top left (Quentin Blake) and top right (Shaun Tan) appeal to me most here. Shaun Tan’s reindeer shadow is so atmospheric, it has plenty of drama. I also enjoyed the crisp simplicity and humour of Matt Bease’s watch dial. I do like flat colour sometimes – it can look very pared down and unfussy.


And this fantastic book, which is a collection of postcards all sent to the same chap – Klaus Flugge, who works for the publishing company representing these illustrators.

Each card is the same dimensions, but the subject matter is entirely down to the illustrators imagination.


They are quite a few by the wonderful David Mckee, and other images are by people such as Tony Ross, Satoshi Kitamura and Philippe Dupasquier…Even the same illustrator hasn’t necessarily stuck to the same style or media.




My Ideas

As this is effectively a set of images, I found myself thinking of things that come in groups of seven. The point being that I could then use one image as the theme for each day.

I brain stormed on the theme of seven.


In addition, there is obviously the days of the week, and outside of the christian story of creation, there’s also a buddhist tradition of seven bowls. Its not about creation, but to offer gratitude.

At the Ashoka centre in Plymouth, they set out Buddhist offering bowls each filled with water. Its a friendly place, which offers meditation classes for everyone, believers or not. Its ages since I’ve been, as its a long way for me, but I find the symbolism of the bowls rather lovely.

In brief they symbolise:

1. Drinking Water
2. Bathing Water 
3. Flowers
4. Incense 
5. Light
6. Perfume
7. Food

I picked out some elements from my first set of ideas, and brainstormed further on seven lies…


And seven questions…


Seven regrets in pencil


And you can see them a bit clearer in pen


They are all pretty trivial apart form the last one.


I was thinking about the fact that we struggle to imagine life changing beyond recognition, whether we are in a dark place, or a contented one.  So its about both hope and loss, and trying to appreciate what we have.  At this point I realised how difficult I find it to put that into words, yet alone illustrate it effectively. Perhaps not the best brief to try to work with in my inexperienced hands!

Next I looked at the seven continents, with an idea of showing some sort of holiday or voyage, stopping around the globe.

AfricanAntarticAsianAustralianEuropeanNorth AmericanSouth American

I picked an animal to depict each region



Inked. You’ll notice I strayed off into fiction with some of the animals like the “South American Apology Bird”…


I’ve always liked kangaroo pouches, they look so useful


A few more fictional ones at the bottom. Why Prayer Dog? I’m pretty sure there’s a Prairie dog, thats where that came from. (Oh I’ve just looked it up, apparently its a rodent)image

Animals I also found appealing



My chosen theme

And lastly, here’s the theme I’ve decided on… Is entirely by accident and not what I set out to do. Its Creation.  I did a quick page on the theme, thinking I wouldn’t dwell long, as its so obvious…but it sort of developed a life of its own.


As soon as I started drawing God, he just seemed such an endearing  character. This isn’t intended to be offensive in any way,  just an affectionate look at The Big Man. Do I really think God is a man? Hmm. Well, who can say?

It turns out the bibles description of creation is a little confusing. I always thought God created light on the first day – he did, but specifically the sun, moon and stars come later.


He’s  mega busy on the 6th day, making all land mammals and everything that “crept on the earth” AND humans all on the same day.

I took this timeline as a starting point, and began to plan my own. Not quite sure where all these come from, but I woke up thinking of them. image

I began sketching the extra scenes I needed to add, and refining the ones I’d already drawn.

First rough of mother nature, I wanted her to come along, as I’m sure she’d need to sign off on the animal creations.  I pictured her as mature and rather elegant.


Light bulb, baking and icing


Figuring out where to position God’s hands


God with Mother Nature and a sloth


I spent quite a bit of time refining my images (such as re-drawing hand positions, or changing the image order) until I was happy.

Here are the line drawings


You can just see I added some screwed up pieces of paper, but I hadn’t inked them in yet


Although I still like the idea of icing the matterhorn, I had to edit down to one baking scene.god3

I’ve grouped some of my animals here from the earlier sketches god4god5

I spent quite a while refining the way the little figures gradually animate, as though they are coming to life, ready to leap into the world.


Another late addition – some stars and a cloud in pencil which you might just be able to see.


Next – the colour. I decided to use chalk pastel/pastel pencils on smooth paper. Its a bit of an odd choice, as the chalk sits on top of the paper, but I quite like the effect and it allows me to combine it with pen.

When I was about half way through colouring my images, I stopped to scan them in.

I worked in an order that has only just occurred to me(!) which is to colour in all the obvious colour choices first – e.g. skin tone, shoe leather, hair, green for grass etc. Then I felt I could make better decisions about the remaining elements.









I was a bit frustrated with the way the scanner bleaches out the pale colours, so for my completed work I took photos instead.

You can see that I have done a second version of some of the images, to pull all the colours together better. Each has a golden glow to imply they are infused with God’s creative light (bulb)!






Once I’d transferred my photos to my laptop, I added the text to each image. I wanted to keep the word count low, so I hope they offer just enough information.

Seven Days – Creation


GOD2-textAlt copy






I brightened my images in photoshop – but you can see they are too saturated. Its hard to either scan or photograph accurately! Grrr.

Still, I’ve enjoyed developing the character of God. I felt more confidant about using colour. For example, bringing in a bit of ‘reflected light’ to add colour to nearby elements and harmonise them. (Such as pink from Mother Nature’s jacket on the sloth)

I hope the character of Mother Nature makes sense. I didn’t want the text to run to 2 lines, but it may leave the viewer a bit puzzled. Maybe it should read “Mother nature fails to veto the sloth” ?

I’ve deliberately tried to make the images ‘float’. The ground is only visible when he’s making humans, and the oven appears out of nowhere.

It was also quite a challenge trying to assess whether my ‘snap shots’ tell the story. Are the gestures and elements appropriate? I hope there is enough information for the viewer to get the narrative. Most of all its intended to make people smile.




Speed drawing again

Every so often I have another session of speed drawing via the figure drawing website, Pixel Lovely.

I’ve recently tried their “class mode” option, which starts displaying images at brief intervals e.g. 30 seconds, then extends to some 5 and 10 minute poses by the end. It really does help to “warm up”.  I know this is a common technique, but its pretty new to me!

Here’s a selection of human and animal speed poses


image image

And some 5 minute poses






Educational strip

“You have been asked to produce an illustrated strip of up to five frames for use in schools explaining to young teenagers how to cope with the onset of puberty. You can decide on which aspect you want to tackle. Due to the subject matter and the intended age group it is suggested that you use metaphor and humour when conveying the message – though take care not to trivialise a serious message. The client would also like you to provide a single illustration of your character for use on the front cover.

The leaflet is called What’s happening to my body? It’s all going mad!”

I was stumped by this brief at first! I couldn’t for the life of me see how to convey this subject metaphorically, and it kept frustrating me. I’ve gone with my instincts, which is to try to show some simple clear facts without apology or embarrassment. I began by looking at some resources online, here’s a selection.



I have to confess that I’m not that keen on many of these, they seem a little dated and cheesy. I’m not confidant I can do any better but still I have struggled to find much inspiration.


I like this pared down cartoon image

Boys and Puberty

This is rather sweet (but perhaps a little too nicey-nice?) It doesn’t seem to lend itself to humour, which is suggested for this brief.early-puberty-affects-health-young-girls.w654 image images posters Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 11.09.52

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And the prize for the ugliest goes to…

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I like this style and colour palette.

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This picture is about peer pressure, but I like the illustration  style here too.

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Again, I think this would be appealing to ‘tweens’

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This image is a modern take on growing up, and I’m guessing it wouldn’t be perceived as patronising. I like the range of femininity depicted, including the girl with her football.

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Next I brain stormed the effects of puberty


I also found some useful websites, these pages are from, with subjects such as “Concerns boys have about puberty”

And a similar page for girls

This is a screen shot of


The brief does present me with some unanswered questions. I can’t be sure the exact age of the intended audience here but I am assuming logically this is for pre-teens. We are required to produce an ” illustrated strip of up to five frames” plus “a cover”. Its not clear if  this is a sort of poster – headline on the front, with the reverse featuring a 5 framed cartoon strip, or a fold out leaflet. Also, is this being printed by the school itself? This would effect my design choices. Obviously I have free rein here, so I will choose.

The other question I’m pondering, is how to develop a suitable character ( or multiple characters). This may be a cop out, but I would prefer to focus on girls, as I find it easier to understand a female perspective. I also remember aspects of sex education at my school were taught separately, which I think we all appreciated as a tactful approach!

( Though I do remember our whole class at middle school watching a very graphic video of a woman giving birth. I can’t help wondering if this really conveyed the joy of the occasion….. One poor lad toppled right off his chair. There was a small thud as he fainted onto the floor. Eek!!!!)

Some more useful references…



I decided to use A4 paper as a simple bi fold leaflet, which allowed me to plan a cover, plus 5 panels.

image image image

Next I planned my character, and the subject matter of each panel.

Facial expressions…




Panel rough


This was shaping up, but the girl looks too young on the cover.


Front cover image re-drawn



At first I drew her with one hand on the toothpaste, but you’ll see later I drew her with two hands on the tube, and the spot cream landing on her head.


Here she is again, hopefully the mis-hap adds interest and ‘motion’


My hand drawn mock up

image image

Once I’d finalised the line work I scanned it in



Work in progress via photoshop…Here I was working out the details of my colour scheme, and the style of the background for the lettering ,to bring it forward.

Oval shape





Straight lines. You can see here on the left, it disappears on its own.


I simply made the text up as I went along, to give an indication  of the overall look of the leaflet. Naturally a real brief would require an actual word count and more careful positioning.

I was still a bit unsure if the black line with a white stroke made the whole piece a little too pale.


I switched  back to my live trace in Illustrator and saved a simple transparent png with a black line. This helped a lot.  Below is the finished version, front and back.

Puberty Leaflet 






I’m umm…actually really pleased with this! I hope I’ve made it age appropriate and reasonably fun. The purple is girly but not over the top. I wasn’t sure whether to place text over her legs in these panels. I feel its perfectly legible, but it would also be an option to fade them out if preferred. I also like the way my hand lettering has worked with the pale tint behind it. Probably a fairly common design trick – but a bit of a brain wave for me!

This is quite exciting, as I feel I’m getting quicker at making simple effective colour palette decisions. It just felt natural to choose shades and tints of the purple, plus the blonde hair to contrast. (Incidentally, I recently saw an American artist refer to complementary colours as “contrast colours”. I like that term)

I think this leaflet has pulled together as a whole. Just a few months ago I would have probably spent ages getting very stuck. I’m not saying I don’t want to experiment, but nobody wants to be choosing 30 different colours, all of which look wrong!

One more point to mention, I’m aware that using a single character has drawbacks. In the references I found, the groups of girls varied in ethnicity, clothes, hair colour and so on, which is appealing and more representative of all teenagers. For a real brief I think this should be discussed with the client.

No doubt when I’ve learnt more, theres plenty I would change, but for now I’m happy and feel very glad to have improved my skills.

Working for children

“Collect as many examples of imagery for children as possible. Group the illustrations you’ve collected into the target age groups. Include at least one image for each age group.

Pre-reader, Pre-school (3–5),  Early reader (5-7),  Established reader (7–9) and Older age groups.

Take two of these age groups and, for each one, go through a process of brainstorming around at least one word chosen from this list:

Festival  Scary  Wild  Growing  Journey  Sad  Family  Discovery

Pick an animal appropriate for each age group and brainstorm to identify themes, images and ideas pertinent to your age groups. Create a simple image of your animal engaged in an activity that communicates this word”


Here’s a brief overview first…

Pre-reader Very simple text and clear colourful images, sometimes with fun tactile elements


Aged 3-5 Clear bright colours, easy to follow, repetition


I pretty much grew up on this book!


Aged 5-7




Aged 7-9

I remember my brother getting heavily into jokes! Although fantastic Mr Fox is illustrated, its a longer story, with more text.



It felt it was important to talk to children at this point, and gather their advice directly. I’d like thank my lovely nephew and niece for their help with this project. My friend Katy also kindly asked her partner’s children for feedback on this subject too.

My nephew Alex reads very fluently, and falls into the “Established reader” age group.  His interests include knights, weaponry, and star wars. When he stayed at my parents for Christmas, he was very happy reading the Beano annual and Lauren Child books.

Zoe is now in the “Older age groups” category. She’s moved away from picture books, and enjoys reading novels for children. Her interests include art and gymnastics. While visiting, she was reading a full length novel by Lauren Child called Ruby Redfort…Here’s some blurb…”she’s a genius code-cracker, a daring detective, and a gadget-laden special agent who just happens to be a thirteen-year-old girl”.


Zoe was very patient with me as I asked her quite a lot of questions about children’s illustration, her preferences and ideas.

We looked at a website together, which is a directory of children’s illustrators, and it quickly became clear most of the styles were too young for her taste.

However, there were some she liked….

Anne Yvonne Gilbert

Zoe liked the style of this picture, though she thought the girl looked rather young

anne yvonne gilbert

Emilie Chollat

I mentioned this artist in a previous post, its just a little less cute-sy than some!


This style is more realistic, and she felt therefore less patronising


Mark Beech

Zoe really likes Quentin Blake (so do I), and this illustrator has a very similar style

mark beech

I wonder how Quentin Blake manages to appeal to all age groups? And what about animation? We all enjoyed watching “Shawn the Sheep”, and the film “Minions”. I think animation has been particularly effective at catering for all ages, particularly in recent years. So it is possible to span age groups.

I also showed Zoe some websites that my tutor had kindly recommended I look at previously, to view some modern illustration styles.

Mick Marston


This really fascinates me as I conducted a small straw poll on this one! Question: Is this style crisp, edgy and cool…but a bit creepy?

Zoe felt unsure about the ‘half realistic’ images. She wanted them to be abstract or realistic, not somewhere in between.  I agree, there’s something very discordant about them – so is that cool or off-putting?

I think some images can be rather challenging or just not that ‘friendly’ to the eye for the intended audience. I can certainly remember not enjoying some picture books as a child, as the pictures just made me feel on edge and even queasy (it was the 70’s!) I didn’t like dense cross hatching/dark colourless pictures, and some of the wacky colour choices of others.

Heres an example, I really hated this as a child. I felt it was depressing and had too many scribbly lines! With apologies to the late Edward Ardizzone, but I think it was just too grown up.


Not enough white space!


Clearly this is for younger children, but I loved Richard Scarry who I’m amazed to discover was born in 1919! I think the style still holds up today. For me personally, I always loved a picture with lots of characters and plenty of incidental detail – the longer you look, the more you see.


Zoe gets Aquila Magazine, here’s a screen shot from their website. I like the vibrant header.

Screen Shot 2016-01-05 at 16.14.45


Are the target age brackets for children really as clear-cut as we’ve made them here? I think the age brackets serve as a useful starting point. There is a loose time line from tiny tots to pre teens, starting with very simple picture books, moving through more elaborate images/plots (these days with a great deal more irony and humour than years ago), and on to illustrated books with extended plots and  a greater density of text. As I mentioned though, there are certain books and films that appeal to a wide range of ages. Not forgetting some books are often read to children, such as the narnia books, which I then re-read by myself at an older age. Also some authors write for different age groups, such as the wonderful Raymond Briggs.

How did the function of image and text differ within the different age groupings? The text and images have a more literal and direct relationship in the younger age groups. They are often based on simple information such as colours, objects or animal noises. Picture books for slightly older ages vary. They may involve humour, suspense or metaphor. Sometimes the text might carry the bulk of the story line, and the pictures in a  supporting role, other times with the turn of a page, an image might serve as a plot device or twist in the tale.

What is your response to the idea ‘all children’s illustration has bright colours’? I think I generally would agree with this. However clarity of line and appealing characters goes a long way. I wouldn’t describe Beatrix Potter as colourful, but I’ve loved her drawings. And to return to Raymond Briggs again, ‘The Snowman’, and ‘The Bear’ are very softly coloured, but so tactile and friendly.

There are masses of lovely children books, some I remember from my childhood – David Mckee was a big favourite.

Fast forward to the present day, and I think Lauren Child is hard to beat. The Percy’s Park books by Nick Butterworth, are very different in style, I love these too. And many more. I haven’t ever really out grown them.


I just stumbled upon a website for vintage childrens books some fantastic retro covers!

I really could prattle on pretty much forever on the subject of children’s books, but its time to brain storm on the words we were given.

Festival  Scary  Wild  Growing  Journey  Sad  Family  Discovery

I chose to focus on the word “Wild”.


The first age category picked was for the older age range of 7-9. I felt cats were suitable to represent a wild animal  (and for irony I was also thinking of domestic cats) I started drawing cats in a variety of styles from realistic to highly simplistic to see where it led.

Starting with more realistic big cats…


And on to stylised images…I think this age group can cope with a touch of humour, or aggression in the facial expression. I’ve very rarely tried to deliberately alter my drawing style, but it felt appropriate to try for this exercise, and I enjoyed the challenge.


I developed a scene around this cat, performing a burglary. He’s rather over weight, I’ve no idea how he’s going to slip out un-noticed.


The same style of cat, this time he’s a bit of a fire starter.


Here they are inked and scanned in






I turned next to a younger audience (3-5) years old. This time I chose a fox. Again I simply drew a variety of styles, but with more of a lean towards gentle, friendly and cute animals. I found this type of drawing a little harder, as I felt a bit more conscious of trying to keep the images particularly soft and safe looking.



I decided the fox was behaving ‘wildly’ simply by being a bit naughty. I’m pretty sure foxes aren’t usually allowed on the bed, or invited to eat cupcakes.




Here are the coloured versions, one for each age group.




The cat has more subdued colours, appropriate for the slightly older audience, whilst the fox has brighter colours and softer texture, which I hope would appeal to younger children.

All the colour was applied digitally, which may have been a mistake as maybe I could have achieved a greater softness with chalk pastel. I hope I’ve hit the age categories well enough though.


“Produce a series of illustrations for packaging to be used for a new range of organic biscuits for children. There are three varieties in the range Raisin, Choc Chip and Ginger biscuits. The client specifically wants three illustrations featuring extinct animals interacting in some fun way with a biscuit to be used on the boxes. The drawings should be in full colour, and the client would like the colours to reflect the ‘flavour’ of the biscuit.

Produce thumbnails, visuals for all three designs and a mock-up for at least one.”

I love packaging! Its really quite embarrassing how much time I can spend looking at it.

There is a very posh farm shop near Exeter called Darts Farm, which has a vast range of foodie stuff. The website isn’t very big, but heres a few images

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As you can see, I needed to dig a bit deeper to find suitable inspiration. There are plenty of organic food companies out there, some well known, others that I’d never heard of. Waitress led me to various brands such as nakd.

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Graze is a fun company, I think they are particularly good at putting across a friendly upbeat message. Although not specifically aimed at kids, I think their approach is definitely appealing for youngsters.

Screen Shot 2015-12-21 at 11.00.53

I like their typography too

Screen Shot 2015-12-21 at 11.02.44 Screen Shot 2015-12-21 at 11.02.26Abel and Cole are another company with similar branding, who again, make healthy eating ‘fun’.

They have a grocery section, with many organic brands

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Here’s a few highlights



6289_10466_z nom truffles

I really need to take a detour into bad packaging territory. How totally odd is this??? “Tasty Brand” appear to live in a parallel universe. Even the name of the company reminds me of an episode of The Apprentice. Because we are used to organic packing looking rather tasteful and upmarket, this appears to scream “Processed! Tacky! Full of crap!”….even though its not. Hmmm. Hang on maybe its really, really ironic?

sandwichcookies-group-r2 star_cookies_chochip

This seems a bit better, though somehow still a bit naff?

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I found it quite hard to find organic cookie packaging especially for children, but the baby/toddler market is quite large.

Ellas Kitchen has some great stuff

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I like the way they have used bright colours,  with  a pared down simple, uncluttered look.


More bright packaging that is tasteful



More packaging. I like the handle for carrying the box

happy-tot-organic-superfoods-best-friends-toddler-cookies-2-flavor-variety-pack-4-x-45-oz_5619_500 animal-cracker-cookie-mix 22oz_ChCHIP_front_w_silo_cookie_web

Look at these! Witty, stylish and fun.


And this is just a bit different from a lot of the packaging I’ve found. Very retro! Much as I love the nakd, abel&cole, ellas kitchen, graze look, they are pretty similar, so this is an interesting variation.late-july-1

And if you have the stomach for it, I’ve collected lots more packaging inspiration on pinterest. It was much easier to find gorgeous examples on there. Heres a taster…

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Here’s a few animal themed images that inspired me for this brief

Aga Kowalska



Laura Huliska-Beith

LauraHuliskaBeith LauraHuliskaBeith3

David Dean


Katie Schaefer


And not forgetting the Jurassic Park films.

Obviously its a bit of a shame the Jurassic Park tourist attraction is closed or I would, of course, visit. Maybe they’ll rebuild it one day if they can figure out how to stop the animals rampaging, killing and eating humans. Sigh.

Anyway. My mum can usually be depended on for a stash of children’s books, on most subjects. Here’s a selection of dinosaur ones. Some older than others.

image image

I know that there are other extinct animals, such as the dodo, or the woolley mammoth, or even the other Australian animals that had pouches. But I’ve picked dinosaurs as most children love them.

My first step was to think about the shape of the packaging. I’m guessing in real life we would be given a net to follow, but for this exercise, we have the choice.


I really like the idea of the ribbon or rope handle, which was inspired by one of the reference photos. I’m not sure how well this would stack, but they do exist so it must be viable! (I also looked at the proportions of packs of biscuits in my cupboard.)

We were asked to show extinct animals interacting with the biscuits


Hopefully its fairly self explanatory that they are balancing, licking juggling and having fun.


I had the idea of a biscuit shape bulging in the neck, but with his head down, maybe it looks like he’s being sick?!!



After this I selected some of the characters to appear on the packets, and added some basic text.


Adding colour…


I’m fond of the Tyrannosaurus Rex lying down guzzling his biscuit. In my imagination, he’s a little overweight, with a rather velvety coat, and very friendly. (I’m not sure if I’m barking, but sometimes characters become quite ‘real’ to me)

Questions to ponder – Are the cookies prominent enough? Do the colours work effectively? For example the green on the choice chip might suggest mint (rather misleading).

Yes. I spelt raisin wrong! Tsk.

Colour Roughs


I chose to work up the one I think is most effective – the ginger packet design.(A3 sized)







Ginger Biscuit Mock Up



I’m not sure if this works better without the black outline? Or if I need to vary the thickness of line.

I’ve kept the text hand drawn, and I’m hoping the ‘home spun’ feel suits the product quite well. I did notice a great deal of packaging (including organic) is very obviously purely digital. If this hand painted design is possible to reproduce, I would prefer to keep it looking close to this mock up, rather than losing character. I would need to know more about printing costs and materials though to really understand what is feasible.

(Obviously ‘organic biscuits’ would be added in smaller text, plus all the extra blurb on the back and sides.)

I wonder if they taste nice?!






Text and Image

“Begin by taking each pair of words in turn from the list below and writing them in your own handwriting.

Big Small Fat Thin Fast Slow Fun Boring Calm Mad

…Turning to your computer software, scroll through the fonts and select one that suits your word…Print off, trace in pencil and colour in to suit the meaning of the word. Repeat freehand.”

My Pencil Roughs




Computer Fonts

I had a lot of fun finding the right typeface for each word, thanks to



The photos come out looking a lot better if taken in natural light. The rest were taken in the evening – really fuzzy looking. Sorry.


If you look carefully you’ll see that the “Fun” fonts include super flexible felines, and assorted wardrobe items. I found “Boring” the hardest word to work with, and none of the fonts actually strike me as boring?!


“Mad” was extra fun to work with, and I love the abstract/deconstructed one!


Inspiration & Research

We were asked to produce a mood board, but I found myself scribbling my ideas in words, and drawing colour inspiration from these art books instead. Why? Because a lot of them are so good at evoking mood.



As you can see many of these images evoke different moods – joyful, brooding, playful, mysterious – some colour combinations are high impact, others are more subtle and delicate.

I wanted to capture something of this vibrance if possible, without necessarily reproducing the actual colour combinations. Hmm. Sounds like a bit of a tall order, but its good inspiration!


Traced lettering

I’m not very neat or patient with tracing. So I  just had to get it done! Once traced, I used coloured pencils. “Fat” is probably the most successful one. (I’ve used the same  font for “Thin” and “Slow”, as it fitted them both so well)





Once I’d drawn the pencil outlines (and a couple of font swaps, changed from the traced ones for variety), I decided to broaden my choice of materials. Here they are…

image image image image image

(…and paint, I forgot to take a picture of that)

Freehand lettering

I’ve never liked hand lettering, but this time it really flowed, and felt much more like drawing. (Rather than a boring, time consuming way of writing) I got really into this project to my complete surprise.

Coloured pencil – Not too pleased with the coloured pencil as it just looks scruffy, but the colours are inspired by heavy machinery, hard hats, high vis jackets and other stuff that is “manly”!



I’ve photographed and scanned each one of these. A few of the words became very bleached out with scanning, and lose character. As far as I know, the only solution would be to isolate the lettering in photoshop, and create a white background digitally.




I managed to scan the wire in by holding it in place with blu-tack, then deleting it digitally.  “Calm” has all but disappeared, and would need photoshopping to correct. I left it alone for now, partly because I wanted this to be a paper exercise as much as possible.


I still don’t know how to convey boring! This looks bronze, rather than brown to me.



And finally, my favourite, using black and coloured inks. Just lovely to work with. I used a brush for the colours, and a dip pen for the outline. Without blotching. Yay!!



I’ve really enjoyed hand rendering. Blimey! Never thought I would say that. I’ve also been pondering how to colour in each piece of text neatly with different materials. It seems its sometimes going to involve some digital manipulation to get a really crisp polished image, but in my opinion the inks were the best and scanned in beautifully.