I continue build my portfolio, twenty pieces of work for my website is my goal. I am reminded occasionally that my progress as an illustrator has been long and arduous. As I have mentioned in my previous posts, my development has covered many styles and as any artist will contest, there have been many howlers, experimentation is important in finding your niche and your style. There was a time when I became infatuated with new technology and dismissed  traditional working methods. However over time I realised that I was never happy with the feel of the medium. (tablet and pen) not least the long hours staring at a screen, to me  the craft was lost. drawing felt mechanical, touch and feel where compromised, in the end it made me unhappy and subsequently, the howlers were many. The ideas generated at this time where useful though and so I have been utilising some of them to create new work in my new style and approach. I have revisited a side project i started a few years ago now and I will keep plugging away at it, as a sideline to my main work. below are 2 examples from little jacks big adventure I have re imagined to encompass my new style.

                      Little Jack discusses his plans for his new adventure with his parents.

                                                         Little Jack meets the Bullies

My current work involves a lot of drawing from my imagination, I don’t know exactly, what potential clients within the children’s book industry would be looking for, but I have an idea of the things I can include in my portfolio that may inspire. There may be  moments from my own history as a young boy I can utilise. Also there is the standard, almost cliche narratives that are universal. I try to place my focus on imagery that a young child may enjoy. There is universal coding that can explain certain narratives that can enable the translation of imagery to young viewers. Namely, infantilization, large eyes, and exaggerated features can add to the humour content, as can the use of exaggerated colouration ( strong unnatural primary colours). Everything is parred down to a simplified naive aesthetic. I intend to have a separate category on my website just for drawings. This will show my process, and my skills in completing initial sketches for character design and initial layouts. for a brief, it will also show work in monochrome, that may be used for small insets within a story. I would like to have an equal amount of these as my main work, Below are a few  recent examples :

 The generation of ideas for final artwork sometimes comes from the initial drawings. I begin a drawing by seeing the final concept in my minds eye, I may lightly place the individual characters where I want them on the pictorial plane, usually just a tiny  indication, I then usually work from top to bottom, defining details as I progress. I realise the drawing process may be of interest for some and so I have plans to produce a video of me drawing from blank piece of paper  to finished drawing. (and upload to you tube) 
The above drawing was the initial layout for a new piece of work inspired by the recent change of seasons, entitled Its Windy! this concept enabled me to include all the seasons as ideas for future work. Below is the final artwork taken from the drawing.:
Its Windy!
I have tried a different approach with this work, leaving the characters free from any unnecessary background detail. I like this approach and will produce more work in this manner. In line with universal imagery that I wanted to include in my portfolio I have produced a work where all the different generations of a family  are present within one image, first I present initial drawing followed by the completed artwork: 
The miles family visited the countryside to look for a new family home to purchase. They enjoyed their walk in the countryside, and had found a lovely road with houses for sale. They liked very much one of the houses in the street, and where heading towards it, but Fred the family dog had his eye on another beautiful home.
After much deliberation I decided not to take up my position at university to study for yet another MA  this month. The reasons are many but the financial concerns are the main reason. I think I would of enjoyed the experience and meeting like minded people, however I do believe one MA is enough to validate my seriousness and professionalism within illustration. I also believe I have the imagination and ability to accomplish my goals within the children’s book Illustration industry. I have around 14 pieces of coloured work and around 8-10 drawings. now and so I have 6 more full artworks to complete and another 10 drawings before I organise and publish my website. Although I am happier than I was with my new camera purchase results, it is still hit and miss, and so I am considering employing a professional photographer nearer the time to make sure I am representing myself and my work professionally. The camera just doesn’t achieve true colours or the depth and detail in my work.  It also tends to over expose. My future goals involve sending out postcards to publishers, and so it is important my work is print ready and the best it can possibly be.