Brian Dettmer

I found Brian Dettmer in issue 10 of Artbox magazine a few months ago and was blown away by his work. I don't think there's anybody out there that can't be blown away though. He is a conceptual artist from Chicago who spends his time delicately cutting into media that has already been published (mostly books in the traditional sense) to create stunning visuals. He seals the book by it's edges so all the pages are locked in, then using intricate tools slowly carves the pages back out, one page at a time. It has been said that his work is a statement on the vulnerability of the static media forms of that past, saying that knowledge and information is constantly in change making these old forms of information less powerful tools of the present.

I really like this work above because one can appreciate the time and effort that went into creating the pieces, and they are visually mesmerising. But also i like the fact that it does sort of manifest part if Dettmers personality. In the interview in Artbox magazine he explaind how he comes up with the finished result through process of elimination:

"Whenever i'm worknig on a book, i know i can potentially miss several images that could have been great. I don't worry that i'll miss a beautiful image because there will always be more and there is onlya certain amount control i can have over a book that already exists. I try to go to one page, or remove one layer at a time so that i can use the most interesting image of text in a piece. Sometimes i fragment of an image below something i have already carved around and i want to use the whole image. So i go will go back and remove the piece i previously thought i would originally keep."

I like this type of planning where he follows a strict set of rules with his books yet the process will lead him to a different outcome every time, depending on mood, day, current issues, type of book etc. It's like wanting to create a piece of artwork but letting the results come out for themselves, rather than forcefully.


Las Meninas: Final Outcomes

This post is so late in the making! Here are the three final versions from the Las Meninas summer project, where we each produced an image based on a sculpture called Ghost (see previous Las Meninas posts). Generally i think all three of them turned out really well, and i was suprised to see that although we'd all included each others elements in our new versions the end results have turned out so varied!

This first final outcome bagan as Katies piece with the sketch of a figure. Paul then worked on it by adding some really cool-looking characters that appear to be part of her self-conscious, as they all appear to be surrounding her brain. When i got the piece i was confused as to what i could possibly add to the pice but ultimately thought that there wasn't a strong enough relationshipbetween the two. So i played aroung with my limited skills on photoshop and changed the saturation and hue to create a cold blue effect. This, i thought, brought the characters relationship with the figure together. I also added a lens flare to create a more realistic look on the overall picture.

The second picure was started by Paul as a beautifulgirl with half of her face escaping out into a butterfly. I continued the piece by adding the flowers from my original piece and making a montage of them, desaturating the colour and producing a background, then adding a little green colour to spice it up. Then Katiemade the picture more natural by using watercolour, and only keeping some of the flowers. She then used more of the flowers in an isolated position to represent the lonliness of the girl.

And finally here is the final outcome of my original picture. Istarted with a bright and colourful photo/ mirror frame in the style of what i thought the girl might make herself. Then Katie used her original picture of the girl and stuck her in the middle of the frame. She also added a few line drawings to compliment the colours. Finally Paul used my colour scheme to add a border, bird and some typography, which really makes the piece look finished.

Card Designs

For project one of our first brief of the year we had to create a "thing", an object that we could design and actually put into production. We had to come up with the concept, design and final excecution, meaning the the final result was to look professional. As part of my research i found this website full of interesting card designs, and these two in particular caught my eye so tohught i'd share them on here.

Dot. The world's smallest stop-motion animation character shot on a Noki...

Here's the stop motion video i saw not too long ago that was probably the main source of inspiration for my narrative project. I was amazed at the amazinglysmall scope and how it affected the overall look of the piece, but that was obviously something i couldn't respond to in less than three weeks. So i used the idea of the character staying pretty much in the centre of the picture and the background reeling continuously, keeping the narrative at a consistant pace.

This cool animation is actually a viral video ste out by Nokia, advertising (as you can see at the end of the video) on it's new device, the Nokia N8 using Cellscope technology that you can get on the phone. The actual animation was created by Sumo Science.

Chris Bachalo

Chris Bachalo is a very popular comic book artist from Cananda. I know of him because i essentially grew up with his artwork, i collected X-men comics since i was about ten, so throughout the 1990's there were a lot of stories where he'd feature as the penciller. He has an extremely distinct style compared to other pencillers i grew up looking at, where he uses angular shaped to draw his characters.I like him because whilst other artists sometimes go for the most realistic look possible, Bachalo goes for a unique cartoony look which does a good job of showing atmosphere and emotion on characters faces. He accentuates the male heroes muscles to make them look more powerful, and focusses on making the heroines look slimmer and more agile. Most of the pictures shown here are from a selection of x-men comics, except picture two which is another unrelated comic.

A point to make is also that he's only the penciller, so always works hand in hand with a writer, editor and inker for story and colours. This combination makes up the feel of the comic. Aside form pencilling for comics he has been involved in other projects in magazines and has had guest appearances on TV shows such as Pictionary. I decided to include this in my blog because of project two of the first brief of the year.


Shaun Tan: CR

Just thought i'd stick this in while I'm on a roll here. It's just an email between me and Shaun Tan from my foundation year. It was from when i first saw his artwork, and my favourite piece of his intrigued me so much i thought i'd just go out there and ask. This was a decision i made off my own back, and i didn't think i was even going to get a response since he's been involved in films like Wall-e, so was pretty excited when he replied. This will give me the confidence to contact future illustrators.

Hi Kyle,

Thanks for the email. Unfortunately, I don't have much time these days to comment on student's work or offer advice about technique, colour or composition. Of Grandpa's Story, I can briefly say that the medium used here is a cheap, fine-tip ballpoint pen, over ink and thin gouache washes, on watercolour paper. The effect is a bit like etching, but far simpler, and not very technical. As far as other tips, the best I can do is just point to the images themselves - all answers are there :)

Good luck with your diploma!


Shaun Tan

Las Meninas: Swap Two

Here is Paul's "Ghost" Interpretation... guest edited by me! I really loved what Paul had done with the project, so was pretty reluctant to change much of it. I really need more guts! So i decided to have a little play with photoshop in preparation for the up and coming challenges i might be facing. I had fun playing with the levels, trying to get a good strong colour that would represent how naturally beautiful the girl in the drawing is. But it still seemed to be lacking something, so i used the flowers from my own frame, scanned them in a resized/ rearranged them to make a cool nature background that also shares a link with my piece. At first all the flowers also had vibrant colours, but it was just too much to look at. So in the end i thought the flowers should just be secondary to the face, and i reckon its turned out pretty good! Cant wait to see what the finished piece with look like!


Tim Burton

I was extremely reluctant to really look into Tim Burton's work, i think it was because everyone else in the class really like him, and he's just so popular. Yeah, it's a pretty lame reason but i wanted the blog to show a bit of my personality as well as research. So anyway i've decided to include him in my work. I really like the preliminary drawings and concept work that go in before things go to screen, it shows that the sketches don't have to be perfect as long as they get the general idea across. But I also like his distinctive style. Slightly creepy, yet sweet, there is a definite atmosphere put forward. I'll look into him more for sure in the future, since i'm leaning more and more towards the idea of doing set design in the future; working in T.V. and film with an illustrative twist sounds like a good idea. Also when i did my 1984 work last year i was told by a classmate that my work reminded them of Burton, which i really appreciated, it gave me confidence in my project. So it appears if i continue in this direction i'll be making the right decision.

Hiroshi Hara

Last year i gave a presentation on Architecture as part of the orally marked assessment. One architect i was going to use (but eventually didn't make the list) was a guy called Hiroshi Hara. This Japanese architect has designed some of the most iconic buildings in Japan, my favourite being the Umeda sky building in Osaka; the three images in the middle show this building at different interesting angles. It reminds me of lego, like most of his work does (especially the Kyoto Station, top image), but i also really like the idea of two entirely separate buildings that are only accessible together at the top. I've seen other pictures of tis building that have taken my breath away, but can't find them at the moment, but its shown at night, profile shot with the moon glaring through the middle of the building. I find it really inspiring as it shows a relationship between modern urban sky buildings and nature.

Keri Smith

Keri Smith is a very inspirational woman when it comes to getting myself motivated. I have one of her books, "How to be an explorer of the World" and it's full of these awesome little lessons and missions for you to do when you need a break from whatever you're doing. But at the same time these missions correlate to artists and help them in their work, so everybody's a winner. Seriously, i should rip out all the pages and paste the m to my bedroom ceiling so i can see them all the time! This first image is an example of what a page in her book looks like-- well, they all are really, and show how simple tasks can free you creatively. The second image down, a list compiled of what you shouldn't do if you're an artist, is a list i think i'm going to start following very closely for my second year. Hopefully this will keep my work and experience more fun and enjoyable.

Syefan Sagmeister

I came across Stefan Sagmeister when i was in my foundation year in a graphic design book, and his work was such a stand-out piece compared to the other work in the book it had a lasting effect in my memory. His style appears to be such a diverse change from most other designers, it strikes me as bold and risky because of how it differs. Although his work looks pretty fun and entertaining i know when it comes down to doing his projects, it's a serious matter. He also has an interesting work schedule, taking a year-long break after every seven years of working for clients so he can focus on his personal development.

"Design that needed guts from the creator and still carries the ghost of these guts in the final execution."

--S. Sagmeister

Disney Advertising

Just a bit of clever advertising i found on the internet to promote the new disneyland era. I honestly didn't get it at first, obviously wasn't looking properly, but i think thats the beauty of it. The subtle three fingers instead of four is a good statement to highlight the differences between the fantasy world of children's Disney and their version of reality. Pretty cool, thumbs up!

Christian Barthold

I first saw Christian Barthold's work when i bought Illustration Now! a while ago. Although i regularly change my favourite pieces in there, the ones that are consistently keeping my interest are his pieces. He uses collage, photography, pencil, acrylics and photoshop depending on whatever style he's doing at the time. At the moment i think he's shifted his focus onto handmade collage, with photoshop touches but my faveourite style of his are this selection, a few of them shown above. I really like his use of line, point of view and especially colour in his work. He thinks hard about the right blends depending on what he's trying to portray, i really like the consideration of exactly where the colour goes as well. I think i'll carry on looking into Bartholds work for inspiration as i move my work into more digital forms next year, his work will really help me through second year.


Stephen Wiltshire

I've been a fan of Stephen Wiltshire's work for a while now, (well about 3 years but thats a long time for me) i really wish there was a way i could draw like he does! He just has an amazing accuracy to get in every detail in a picture, however complicated, and when this gift is paired with his tendency to draw cityscapes on a huge level, something amazing is produced every time. A lot of his pictures are in black and white, which is cool, but some, like the two on the bottom have bits of colour added which bring in added atmosphere.
Stephen, however, is also autistic. When he was younger he didnt interact with other human beings, couldn't speak until he was 9, and only ever really communicated with the world through drawings. He began by drawing cars and busses, but moved on to buildings, drawing loads of famous landmarks and cities. He doesn't even need to see what he is going to draw for very long before he goes ahead; once he flew over Tokyo and remembered every aspect of the city, putting it on a 10 meter long canvas! Since then he's being working on other cities in the same way.

Las Meninas: My First Piece

Here are a few photos of my initial piece of the summer project, my groups work all being based around the piece, "Ghost". I was pretty stuck to begin with, because although i really loved the sculpture, had a hard time of thinking what to take from it. My first ideas were based on photography, to try keep the idea of realism with the piece. There were going to be pictures based on typical teenage personality disorders, as i'd done a bit of research and came to the conclusion the Ghost might have one. In the end i realised it was a bad start and no creativity was coming from the photo idea so moved in a different direction.

Instead i made a cardboard model of a photo/ mirror frame that Ghost might have made by herself. I thought of this because i wanted to take the feelings from her face and explore her everyday life a little bit. Since she seemed unsure of her position in teenage society, uneasy with her appearence and isolated i thought that she might decorate a frame with "happy, pretty" things to remind her of whats good in life and that she has beauty on the inside. I used bright, plain block colours to try breathe life into the character. I think it turned out okay but reckon i could have put a little more effort in with the painting.