Monday, November 21, 2011

Character Design Week 9

Here is the last assignment for Steven Silver’s schoolisim character design course. The brief was to redesign the first character he gave us in week 1, a yardstick for how far we have come. The cartoon shading is done with two masked luminosity layers in photoshop and could have been finessed them abit more if I had the time. The course has given me a lot of new aesthetic considerations to strive for and I think this last piece is a good culmination of the lessons. I would recommend this course to anyone who wants to progress their drawing skills and expand their potential to push the human form into the cartoon realm.

Monday, November 14, 2011


Paunch is a journal devoted to comics and culture. I co-edited and designed the logo and layouts. For issue 1 each cover was individually hand painted with spray-paint and stencil. It took a while to do but we were very pleased with the result, no two copies were exactly alike.

Character Design Week 8

In the penultimate week of the course Steven emphasised the importance of keeping a sketchbook. He challenged us to fill a page daily and I don’t doubt that such discipline is the key to his artistic success. As an exercise he introduced the memory sketch: producing a character from the details we remember about a recently encountered real individual. I chose a chubby girl I observed in a London park. She was a rolling clichĂ©; speeding on a scooter seemingly oblivious to the world as she greedily licked at her ice cream.

VUWSA Posters

There is something magic about seeing your designs and illustrations plastered up on walls around town. I have been lucky enough to see several of my posters displayed in full colour A2 size. They were hugely fun to come up with and I have been told that they contributed to the success of the events. The only downside was inevitably having to chase the odd straggling sponsor to get their logo in the appropriate print size. "I have a business card, can you get the logo off that?"

VUWSA Publications

In addition to my work with Salient, I designed a number of books, publications and advertisements for their parent company VUWSA; The Victoria University of Wellington Students Association. These were interesting mini challenges to fit around my other duties.

I designed the handbook diary around the idea of “notes to self” with each daily memo space being a torn piece of paper with important calendar dates already entered.

I based the course handbook around actual desk graffiti from the many Victoria lecture halls and library booths. 

I photographed several student meetings and marches and used these photos to add gravitas to the guide for foreign students.

Salient Re-brand

Here are some of the internal documents I created for the Salient re-brand. I was focused on making it fun and irreverent with found objects and torn paper in the backgrounds to break up the hard edge of most digital design.

I realized we were free to float the masthead around on the page because we had our own dedicated magazine racks around town and so were not hiding behind other magazines in newsagents' shelves.

Salient Magazine

In 2005 I was hired as the lead designer on Salient Magazine, the student magazine for Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. It is widely respected for its uncompromising stance and in 2005 we received national attention for exposing an underhanded covert student fee hike by Victoria University.

It was a great job. It taught me a ton about designing for print to a hard weekly deadline as we had to FTP it off to the printer every Thursday night / Friday morning. Weekly print design requires both planning and stamina! I redesigned the magazine masthead and was responsible for all text layout, illustration, photography and typography, as well as the look and feel of the website. It was pretty much an intensive year long course in Adobe InDesign, which I much prefer to Quark.

I had a lot of fun designing the covers using a variety of styles and media; I was trying to push vibrant dynamic compositions, figuring that if I could compel someone to pick it up then my job was a success.

I won an ASPA award for the above cover for issue 17. We also came 2nd in the best student magazine category.

Character Design weeks 6 & 7

During this week I was asked to create turnarounds and expressions for my Dr Jekyll character, as I would provide for the animation industry. I’m getting some great feedback from Steven Silver on how to push my designs further: pull out your shapes, vary the size of objects, draw through your shapes and avoid tangents and the dreaded ladder! Taking his schoolism character design course has really helped me understand the fundamentals of visual appeal and will help me in all areas of design.