Varoom Storytelling: The Clearing

February 20th, 2017 by Special Projects
As part of Varoom‘s latest Storytelling theme, Varoom spoke to illustrator Mairead Dunne and Steve Braund of Atlantic Press about her illustrations for Luke Thompson’s book of poems, The Clearing, which recently won the prestigious Michael Marks Poetry Illustration Award at The British Library.

‘I established early on that illustrated poetry requires a very different approach to other forms of illustration,’ says Mairead, ‘Traditional concepts of storytelling illustration, in which images convey the words on the page and even add a whole new sub-narrative, don’t apply in the same way.’

Full article here

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World Illustration Awards Tour at Roe Valley

February 19th, 2017 by Special Projects

18 February –  18 March 2017, Roe Valley Art and Culture Centre
mon-wed: 9.30am-5pm | thurs-fri: 9.30am-9.30pm | sat: 9.30am-5pm
free admission


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For the second year in a row, the World Illustration Awards touring exhibition has arrived in Northern Ireland and will be on display until 18 March 2017 at Roe Valley Arts and Cultural Centre.

The exhibition showcases over 50 of the very best artworks across the diverse field of illustration. Selected from submissions to this year’s World Illustration Awards, the breadth of work is celebrated across 8 categories, including advertising, children’s books, editorial and public art. The shortlisted and winning pieces comprise posters, book illustrations, animations and GIFs to sculptural pieces and textiles.


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Rubber Stamping

February 17th, 2017 by Special Projects

Written and illustrated by Stephen Fowler

Published by Laurence King Publishing ISBN – 978 1 78067 865 8

Reviewed by Simon Whittaker

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From the first time I had a go at pulling a print on the press at college, through days spent at university in the screenprinting studio, I’ve had a love for print. But the problem with these forms of printing is the equipment, the chemicals, the space required, the costs involved. Before my eldest was born I started looking at cheaper, more accessible ways to make prints. I invested in a set of gouges and a stack of lino. To this day I’ve not had chance to use them, so I was very excited when I was given the chance to review this guide to rubber stamping, giving me a good excuse to dig them out and get my hands dirty.

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At A4 size and with 160 pages, it holds a lot of information. The foreword by Rob Ryan, and the introduction by the author give a great overview of the power and history of rubber stamping, before running through a selection of materials and tools needed to get started. Crucially, they’re all easily obtained, and all fairly inexpensive.

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A few basic techniques are covered, starting with an exercise I’m very familiar with from my school days, when not paying attention in maths, but instead drawing and carving patterns into the side of plastic erasers, before painstakingly colouring them in with fountain pen and stamping them in the back of an exercise book.

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It moves quickly on to demonstrate multi-coloured printing – and the tricky process of keeping the different images in registration – and reduction printing: the sort of all-or-nothing, no-going-back approach that gives the more digitally-focused, “undo” button hovering types amongst us a panic attack, or at least a major headache.

The middle section of the book is given over to a huge list of ideas for potential projects, from repeat and applied patterns, working with type, to printing with more unusual mediums like bleach and onto bodies instead of paper, while the final section explores some different ways to explore mark making and printing with different materials, such as plaster and vegetables, and creating postcards and books in different forms with the prints you make.

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This is an excellent book for learning the basic techniques of rubber stamping, and they’re simple and versatile enough that, once mastered, you can then apply and use them in a number of different ways. It’s a great way to get away from a computer screen to make something with a less clean, polished “digital” look. Although the possibilities of combining the imperfect, happy-accident results of a potato print with the infinite layers, blending modes and colour-changing abilities of your chosen software are just waiting to be explored.

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If you liked this book then you may enjoy these:

Drawing People – The Human Figure in Contemporary Art

Draw Paint Print like the Great Artists

Drawn Direct to the Plate

The Monstrous Forum

February 17th, 2017 by Special Projects

Friday 17th March, 9.30-16.45

Falmouth University

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This year’s Falmouth illustration forum takes as its theme the subject of the monstrous. As a subject for consideration this somehow feels timely. Perhaps that’s always been true, it is how we define the monstrous that defines our era. If the monstrous is defined as the other, the things that fall outside of the system, then when we talk about the monstrous we are actually talking about the system itself.

This year’s speakers are illustrator Virginia Mori who has most recently worked on photographic adaptations of her drawings for Vogue Arts and Gucci, bestselling author Lauren Elkin whose books include The End of the Oulipo and Flaneuse and who is a lecturer in English and co-director of the Centre for New and International Writing at the University of Liverpool, Maki Suzuki from the design studio Åbake whose collaborators include Francis Upritchard, Daft Punk, Ryan Gander and Martino Gamper and painter Marcelle Hanselaar who has exhibited internationally and has work in public collections including the V&A and The British Museum. Tickets are available here

PICTOPLASMA Berlin 2017

February 15th, 2017 by Special Projects

International Conference and Festival of Contemporary Character Design and Art

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10 – 14 May 2017

Babylon am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Urban Spree, Silent Green and a series of exhibitions throughout Berlin

This May Pictoplasma once again transforms Berlin into the epicentre of character design and art and the world’s most vibrant meeting point for a diverse scene of international artists, illustrators, designers and filmmakers, trailblazing the face of tomorrow’s visual culture. While creators and producers meet for a central conference to exchange strategies for figurative aesthetics, the wider festival invites the public to discover new trends: cutting edge screenings bring the latest animation eye-candy to the big screen, and numerous exhibitions throughout the city present original works and outstanding character craftsmanship.

In its 13th edition, the conference takes a closer look on how characters move along the intersections of visual media and push the principles of narration beyond the limits of traditional storytelling, animation or gaming.

First confirmed speakers include:

Saschka Unseld (DE/USA), founding member of German Studio Soi, former Pixar director and current Creative Director at Oculus Story Studio, where he explores and defines the future of VR storytelling;

Kirsten Lepore (USA), LA-based director and animator with a client list including Google, MTV, Facebook, and Nickelodeon, famed for her Emmy-winning stop-motion episode for Cartoon Network’s hit show, ‘Adventure Time’.

Louise Rosenkrands (DK), illustrator from Denmark known for her bright and playful depictions of sassy, confident, positive women – including the occasionally protruding lady bumps;

Sean Charmatz (USA – above), former writer/director on ‘SpongeBob Squarepants’ and designer/developer for Disney and Dreamworks, currently creating some of the Internet’s most viral content by playfully combining his knack for storytelling with found objects observed in his daily life;

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Chris Haughton (IRL), Irish illustrator and author of best selling children’s books such as ‘A Bit Lost’, ‘Oh No George!’ and ‘Goodnight Everyone’ with a strong interest in connecting design with fair trade;

Jack Sachs (UK), freelance designer and animator living and working between London and Berlin, famed for his trademark jumbled up faces, bright colours and lumpy shapes influenced by the pioneers of early CGI (and cover of new Varom);

Peter Millard (UK), celebrated independent filmmaker and animation enfant terrible from the Malvern Hills in England, retaining the DIY nature of his oeuvre by self funding himself with various part time jobs;

Mate Steinforth (USA), designer/director of former Psyop fame and Creative Director at Sehsucht Berlin, where he recently created an impressively immersive and dystopian 360 VR music video for the electronic act Moderat;

Sophie Koko Gate (UK – above), Royal College of Art graduate living and working between London and Berlin, using her immense illustrative skills to create animated psychedelic journeys into poetry and neuroscience full of whimsical awkwardness.

Eran Hilleli (ISR – below), Tel Aviv based animation director, merging simple shapes with cinematic flair to create faraway lands and mysterious characters

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The full artist lineup and all details on the exhibitions, performances, parties and screening programs will be announced in early March.

REGISTRATION

Participation in the three-day Pictoplasma Conference (11–13 May) requires prior online registration, available for 290,- Euro at

conference.pictoplasma.com/registration

Tickets for the festival’s animation screenings will be available directly at the venue’s box office (Babylon), entry to all accompanying exhibitions is free of charge.

PICTOPLASMA ACADEMY

As prelude to this year’s conference and festival, a series of 2-day workshops of the Pictoplasma Academy take place on May 8 and 9, inviting designers and illustrators to enhance their skills in specific media and techniques – guided by the respective masters of the craft.

First workshop to be announced: Resin Toy Moulding with Lunartik

Matt Jones aka Lunartik (UK) awaits participants for a hands-on short course on how to make your own edition of art toy multiples – from design and sculpting to moulding and resin casting. Attendees will be guided through all stages, gain the required experience with the materials and valuable insight into aspects such as safety, packaging and marketing – resulting in a first self-made designer toy in their happy hands.

Pictoplasma Academy Masterclass

Later on this year, end of September, the meanwhile 5th Pictoplasma Academy Masterclass brings together a selected group of 30+ international participants from all corners of the world to kick-start their careers as character designers. Under close, professional guidance of renown artists, designers and filmmakers such as Rilla Alexander (AUS), Nathan Jurevicius (AUS) and Philip Hunt (UK), participants learn how to further develop and refine the concept and design of their own projects. The results will be exhibited half a year later at the following Pictoplasma Festival in 2018. Deadline for applications to the masterclass is July 17, 2017.

All information on the Pictoplasma Academy at academy.pictoplasma.com

facebook.com/pictoplasma  twitter.com/pictoplasma  instagram.com/pictoplasma

The Animals’ Vegan Manifesto

February 10th, 2017 by Special Projects

Written and illustrated by Sue Coe

Published by OR Books ISBN 978-1-68219-074-6

Reviewed by Spencer Hill

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The latest book from Sue Cole is published this month, and it isn’t for the faint of heart. Sue is described on her website as a ‘graphic witness to realities more often overlooked or avoided’, and this latest book is no exception to that. Sue prefers pictures rather than words, so this book consists of 115 black and white prints from woodcuts, with minimal text. Other than some words included within some of the illustrations, the manifesto itself at the back of the book is really the only text, and it is very short.

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Artistically this book demonstrates Sue’s skill with woodcarving and printing. The images are detailed, expressive, emotional and often quite disturbing. They show scenes of animal cruelty and abuse from slaughterhouses to zoos, circuses and much more. This book is aiming to upset you, because the message it is communicating is upsetting. The images in this book don’t pull any punches, and even if you were reading this as a student of printmaking I challenge you to get through it without feeling a little sad at the state of the world. The last 32 illustrations do have a more upbeat feel to them though, so if you are feeling delicate, start at page 86. Also, to demonstrate the artist’s commitment to her beliefs, you should be aware that the carvings which produced the prints were made from trees chopped down to make way for a gas pipeline.

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If you believe that as artists we should be using our powers to campaign against social or political injustice, then I highly recommend this book as an example of how to achieve this. I am a vegan myself, and I have used my cartoons in the past to communicate my disbelief that we treat animals so poorly. They were still funny though, whilst this book is as far from humorous as you could get.  This is an illustrated manifesto from animals to humans imploring us to stop torturing, killing, eating and wearing them. It does nothing to dispel the belief many omnivores hold that we vegans are always angry and outraged, but sometimes this is the best way to get a message across and make it stick.

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I won’t be using this handy handbag sized book to knock a chicken wing off a fellow diner’s fork in protest any time soon, because I take the ‘each to their own’ approach to life.  However, I will keep it in my collection to remind myself of the reasons I chose this vegan lifestyle in the first place, whilst simultaneously admiring the skill of the artist.

If you liked this book then you may enjoy these books too:

A to Z of Socialism

Art Play

All new Varoom! The Storytelling issue

February 10th, 2017 by Special Projects

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Varoom magazine tracks how illustration is shaping culture and commerce – the people, the work, the ideas – and relaunches this February with a bold, colourful typographic design by James Lunn and Joe Hales, complimented by an eye-catching 3D cover image from animator/illustrator Jack Sachs reflecting the theme of Storytelling.

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Virtual reality is a perfect space for storytelling, and Varoom talks to pioneers in the field, Swiss Design studio apelab, Nexus Productions, drawing tutor Roderick Mills and illustrator Jan Rothuizen.

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Revealing their views on the Storytelling theme are top gif maker Julian Glander from the USA, UK artist team HuntleyMuir, Argentinian illustrator Isol, French animator Loup Blaster, and Ralph Steadman, Felt Mistress and Pavneet Sembhi discuss their favourite art materials.

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Varoom is free for AOI members and is available for purchase in good bookstores and at the AOI Shop

Arrest All Mimics interviews What Katie Drew

February 8th, 2017 by Special Projects

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Ben Tallon is invited to What Katie Drew’s studio where as you’d hope, sits a desk smothered in incidental ink splats, chance smudges, marks and some smirk raising doodles. Ben talks to Katie about the evolution of her style, via a ten year hiatus whilst working in the world of advertising. They discuss how time out and a look into other disciplines can help in the long run, how a talented network can be crucial and Katie’s strong presentation of her work.

Moving image is becoming more and more ingrained in our daily lives and the way we digest our information. Katie speaks about her stunning animated RSA short film collaboration with George The Poet. She also tells Ben why 5am is a slice of horror in her world right now and how motherhood can impact a freelance creative journey.

This is a fascinating insight into one of the most naive, yet powerful styles in the game and the lady behind it.

Listen to the episode now and get your thoughts over on Twitter @arrestallmimics now!

Jo Brocklehurst: Nobodies and Somebodies

February 7th, 2017 by Special Projects

A celebration of  subculture in 1970-90s London, Berlin and New York

Until 14 May 2017, 10:00am – 6:00pm

House of Illustration, 2 Granary Square, King’s Cross London N1C 4BH

AOI says: ‘Unapologetic attitude, feisty personalities and fluorescent colours – Brocklehurst’s drawings are big, sensuous and in-you-face. Fantastic!’

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Drawing live in fetish clubs, punk squats and on the performance scene of 1970-90s London, Berlin and New York, Jo Brocklehurst’s artwork is a unique record of subculture.

Her figurative paintings from fetish clubs document experiments with sex, androgyny and couture that later inspired the mainstream fashion collections of Jean Paul Gaultier, while her best-known portraits from the 1980s offer a raw, beautiful and female perspective on punk.

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Co-curated by her model and muse Isabelle Bricknall, the exhibition also features her drawings of Berlin’s 1990s performing arts scene for the Berliner Zeitung newspaper, alongside clubland-inspired interpretations of Alice Through the Looking Glass.

All images estate of Jo Brocklehurst

Arrest All Mimics Interviews Beka Smith

February 6th, 2017 by Special Projects

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What makes a strong portrait? Stylistically, it’s wide open to the viewer’s taste and use in context. But what is the essence of a great representation of a human being? Ben Tallon is joined by Beka Smith to discuss personalities, eccentricity, warmth, how others perceive the subject and other variable things to consider when creating a creative likeness.

Beka is a London based portrait artist who’s work has been seen in the BP Portrait Award and on Sky TV’s Portrait Artist of the Year show. After an uncertain start, trying to work out a creative career path that felt right for her, she found her way into portrait art in an unconventional way, with some hilarious and touching stories along the way. Beka tells us how she attains portrait commissions and the many, many things that most people do not consider that a portrait artist has to go through!

Listen now! Do you have any comments about the podcast? Get your feedback over to @arrestallmimics on Twitter now!