For my final brief I have chosen the story ‘The Erl-King’ from the book ‘The Bloody Chamber’. I wasn’t only looking for a story I like, but also a story I felt I could illustrate well and when reading this one I was already getting some initial ideas of what I could make. My intention was to focus on the theme of confinement and being trapped, represented by caged birds, but also the seemingly peaceful and idyllic atmosphere with a subtle feeling of wrongness that is present throughout the story.
There were no implications of when the story happened and I felt like it wasn’t necessary to specify as the story could take place anytime. Besides reading the book I’ve also watched the movie Pan’s Labyrinth for inspiration and looked up various bird cages. I’ve decided to make the cages a central element of my artwork and even in the picture with no cages, the branches, trees and plants are placed in a way that suggests enclosed space. I’ve mostly used scanned and vectorised drawings, but I also made use of the brushes I’ve made.
Jorge Jacinto art

One of the artists whose work I’ve looked at is concept artist Jorge Jacinto (JJcanvas) who does, amongs other things, great environment paintings. Even though his art style is completely different from my illustrations, I feel like watching his speedpaint videos helped me to improve my art in some ways. I’ve observed what he does to achieve certain effects and then applied it in a way that works for me.

The first piece is a scene from the story where the Erl-King is playing his flute, drawing attention of woodland animals and the narrator alike, almost hypnotizing them. I wanted to capture the atmosphere of the woods, the beauty one might see when they are unaware of the possible danger. When starting this piece, my intention was to do full shading and use some of the plant textures I’ve photographed, but then I felt like the style would be too different from the other two pieces, which have a much more graphic look and only use flat colour. I have never done, or even attempted this style and so I looked for some artists who work with clear, defined shapes and mostly flat colour.
 I found the art of Jason Pickthall thanks to his talk at the Uni and his stylised art caught my attention. He uses sharp, bold shapes that give the pieces dynamic quality. Another artist I came across is Juliette Oberndorfer, whose work also interested me with her use of colours. Both of them use more textures or textured brushes in their work which I would like to include in my work in the future. The redesign was very challenging, but I really like the result. This is the picture I’ve decided to turn into a gif because there are so many elements that can be animated, like birds, plants and the Erl-King. When creating the gif, the main problem I’ve faced was how complicated what I had in mind was. Because there were so many moving elements and therefore layers, it was complicated to keep track of everything.

Juliette Obendorfer art

 My second piece was originally supposed to be the cover, but I’ve turned it into a text inspired picture: ‘A wall of trapped birds’ because I felt like I could achieve better results that way and the composition was more suitable for a quote. I tried to keep the colour palette as close to the cover as possible since I’ve recently started focusing on limiting number of used colours, but it’s not the same because those specific colours didn’t work with this picture. The most difficult part of this was finding the words in the bars of the cages. The word ‘birds’ is hard to read, but I’ve decided to trust the viewers to figure it out based on the previous words and the illustration itself. I think this picture illustrates over-crowdedness and captivity quite well. Even the quote is ‘trapped’ in the cages.

The last piece is a book cover. I prefer book covers that are simple and therefore I wanted to do a simple design. It’s just a bird in a cage and a border suggesting the setting of the book. For the title itself, instead of creating a font, I’ve formed the words out of branches, which I think fits the book nicely. The colour palette is limited to 3 shades of green and an accenting gold that appears in the other illustration as well.

Overall I am happy with the artwork I’ve made. Mostly because I’ve managed to push myself to work in style that I’ve had no experience with and despite that the illustrations turned out looking rather nice. I wish I had decided to change the style of the first illustration earlier, though because then I would’ve had more time for it and maybe I would have had chance to experiment with textures a bit.

 (828 words)

Bibliography: (2017). Angela Carter - The Bloody Chamber And Other Stories. [online] Available at: [Accessed 6 Apr. 2017].
 Jason Pickthall :: Concept Artist. (2017). Jason Pickthall :: Concept Artist. [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Apr. 2017]. (2017). JJcanvas. [online] Available at: [Accessed 15 Apr. 2017]. (2017). JULIETTE OBERNDORFER. [online] Available at: [Accessed 5 May 2017].

Pan's Labyrinth. (2006). [film] Spain, Mexico: Esperanto Films.

Final Brief - Process 2 (final pieces)

Above is the original rough for the book cover which got basically rearranged and turned into different illustration.
I started with a border which I've done with the lasso tool because I wanted clean, sharp edges and the wobbly kind of lines you get with the lasso are perfect for this plant-ish look.
At first I wanted to do the title with lasso too, but then I made an ink drawing and it works much better.

A wall of trapped birds:

This drawing was initially meant to be fully shaded, I was thinking about using the photo textures in them and I got pretty far before realising that the illustration would not fit with the other two.

Switching to flat colour was very complicated, I didn't know if it would look good or if I would have to remake it again. 

Fortunately, everything turned out better than expected.

I have several versions of the gif because I wasn't sure if all the movements would work so I saved it in multiple stages: 

Also, I was scared that something bad would happen because the file was huge and photoshop was having trouble handling it and I didn't want to risk not having any gif so I exported it after every added movement.


The final brief for the second semester was to choose a script and create an animatic for it. Carys, Karolina and I have formed a group to work on our friend’s script “Nullibicity”. I have to admit that our teamwork has a lot of room for improvement.  We didn’t communicate nearly enough and as a result sometimes there was confusion about what should who be doing.

The first obstacle in this project was to justify why this script should be animated instead of live action, which it was originally written for. As the story itself is not necessarily meant for animation we had to really think about what changes could be made. After a discussion with the author of the script, we’ve agreed that the best solution would be to give the story a certain aesthetic. Our style of choice was cyber-punk.

When we started working on character designs we’ve decided to all make designs for whichever character and we would then make the final designs based on those. I worked on Allison and Dr. Mansfield, though some parts of my initial design for Ben ended up being used, too. When designing both the characters and the set I was really trying to limit my colour palette because too many colours would clash and it wouldn’t communicate the atmosphere of the story. We’ve used mostly shades of grey and the only bright colours are the lights on characters’ skin, some details on clothing and lights in general. We’ve given each character a colour, which represents their position in society. 
We’ve decided that the higher the wavelength of the character’s markings, the higher their social status. So the main character, being homeless, is purple. The only exception is Ben’s friend, Simon, whose lights are yellow, therefore contrasting to Ben’ lights

Besides characters, we also had to design sets. Our script had only three sets: the warehouse, the police station and the holding cell. I took on designing the warehouse. I am not entirely satisfied with my designs because they’re a lot simpler than what I had in mind, but I think that they still set the scene quite well. I’ve also made a quick sketch of the space outside of the warehouse that was also used in the animatic as an establishing shot.  I was trying to keep a certain colour palette in all the sketches. We’ve decided right in the beginning that the main colours would be, besides grey, blue and purple and so I tried to kind of capture the environment in which the story would take place. As an addition to this, I helped Carys with her police station design because her original drawing didn’t have enough cyber-punk elements.

When it came to animatic we decided to divide it up by sets. I worked on the scene in the warehouse, Karolina worked on the cell and Carys on the police station. Because our film included dialogue which was necessary for the story we’ve added subtitles to the animatic. For a full animation, I thought maybe 3D animation would be a good choice, mostly because of how many glowing elements there are that would be easier to keep consistent if they were part of 3D models rather than drawing them on each frame. Also, the overall look and theme of the film would, in my opinion, look good in 3D.

In conclusion, I think the results are relatively good. I can see in my own work that it was rushed, though and I know that if we had organised work on this project better, the outcome could’ve been better. 

(599 words)

Final brief - process

I've chosen the the story Erl-king from the book The Bloody Chamber. One of the factors for this choice was the aesthetic part of the story. I felt like it had a good illustration potential. 

I started with just some quick sketches of the elements I wanted to incorporate, like bird cages, leaves, I tried to think of how the Erl-king's house would look like. At this point I wasn't exactly sure what the final pieces would be so I was just sketching what came to my mind. 
I looked at some pictures of birdcages to get a variety of shapes and types.

I knew I wanted birdcages to be the main element in at least one illustration so painted some, scanned them and traced them in illustrator.

I've also decided to design the Erl-King. I wanted to make him slightly inhuman, but not too much. I thought maybe his eyes could be inverse version of human eyes - light in the center and dark around it. 
I redrew the design digitally and I think this one turned out better. I thought since he is basically like a spirit of the forest, his clothes should reflect that. I've also decided to give him a pan flute instead of regular pipe because of its connection to the Greek god of the wilds, nature and rustic music.

For at least one illustration I was going to need some birds. I didn't want just some random non-specific birds so I used some pretty common european birds as reference.





(I apologise if I got the names wrong, but I've learned what they're called in english specifically for this brief)

Ink outlines of birds and the title:

I've decided to make some brushes.
 I played around with the brush presets and these are the results. I like how they turned out and I've already found use for some of them.
I've ended up using the 3. and 4. a lot. 3 for shading because it has a slight, barely noticeable texture that I like and 4 for the plants in the front of the picture and cage shading on the cover. 

Before I started actually working on the illustrations I took pictures of some nature textures I thought might be useful

Some thumbnail sketches

More sketches for book cover ideas and a "a wall of trapped birds" illustration

sketches for the gif:
I've had a lot of ideas for movement, but I wasn't sure if I would be able to do them all and if it wouldn't be too much.

Some progress pictures so far: