The Selfish Giant: Costume Research and Design

After finishing the my first year project based on The Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde, which can be seen here:, I decided that as preparation for my third year, I would re-visit this project and almost ‘remake’ it. The medieval style I had used in this project and my TED project is something that I really want to explore more and develop and so my first starting point was to do some research on medieval costume so that I could then apply this to the design of the characters in my illustrations of the story. I used the following books as reference, ‘What People Wore When’ by Melissa Leventon and ‘The Anatomy of Costume’ by Robert Selbie. During my research, I produced some quick fine line sketches of costumes based on reference images from the two books, and then used pro marker pens and sharpies to get a small idea of applying colour to them.

After this, I began to develop ideas for the characters and their costumes which can been seen below.

Book of Portraits: Part 2, Self Portrait Practice

Above are images from my sketchbook of portraits that I have started this summer. In order to practice drawing people I decided to attempt a series of self portraits using different mediums, including pencil, graphite pencil, quink ink, watercolour and pro marker pens. I’m not entirely happy with how these turned out as I don’t think they particularly look like me that much, but I did really struggle with drawing and painting these, particularly with getting the proportions of the eyes, noses and lips right in comparison to the shape of my face. I also think that next time I plan on attempting self portraits I should probably work bigger, rather than in an A5 sketchbook and should maybe think about drawing different parts of my face separately first in order to practice getting the drawings more spot on. However, these are all just practice at the moment so that I can refine my drawing skills and so I am not expecting them to be perfect at all, I am however more pleased with the profile portraits below, especially the ink one, as I think they have done a better job at capturing my face and I definitely found drawing a profile portrait a lot easier than a forward facing portrait.

Charity Shop Skeches

While I am home from university, I have been volunteering at a charity shop and this summer I decided to sketch some of the objects for sale there. All of the sketches were done with a fine liner in a small brown paper sketchbook and they are all mainly of tea sets and ornaments of animals and human figurines. The sketchbook is still on going at the moment and it is great practice for me in terms of improving my sketching and drawing skills, so I will continue to update my blog with sketches from the book as I continue with them.

The Romanovs: Line Drawings and Portraits

Here is some work from a project I did about two years ago during my foundation course. I was inspired to put it on my blog after watching a documentary the aired on BBC2 a few nights ago titled ‘Russia’s Lost Princesses’. The project is based around the last Imperial family of Russia, The Romanovs, and their time and death during the Russian Revolution. I have been fascinated by this topic ever since I was a child and I saw the Don Bluth animated film ‘Anastasia’ which is a fictional account of the rumoured escape of the youngest Romanov daughter Anastasia. I decided to put these on my blog because I think they could serve as a possible starting point for a new project as I am still very interesting in the whole topic. The project began with a few simple line drawings of portraits of the family which reminded my of the recent ink portraits I have been doing and I think at some point I would like to re-create these with ink.

After these initial drawings I began to play around with drawing on photocopies of a wallpaper pattern that reminded me of the material used to create the royalties court dress. I also began to use the wallpaper in a combination of collage and drawing and even created an image of the mysterious Rasputin who was involved in the lives of the family.

Book of Portraits: Part 1

As preparation for my third year, over the summer, I decided that in order to improve my skills when it comes to drawing and painting people, particularly portraits, that I would dedicate a sketchbook entirely to practicing this. One of the first things that cam to my mind was the ink portraits I had done for my Beyond Fiction project and so I used that as one of my starting points. Below are ink portraits of the actors and actresses I had used in the Beyond Fiction project. I am really pleased with how these turned out, they were initially quite difficult to draw and they don’t look exactly like their real life counterparts, but I still really like the look of them and doing this exercise really helped to improve my drawing and quick painting skills. I plan on continuing this book over the summer and through my final year and will post more updates of it as I continue.


First Year, The Selfish Giant: Final Images

For The Selfish Giant project, we had to create six illustrations for our finals as well as a cover page and end papers, below are my final pieces for the project. All of the images were drawn out with dip-pen and then painted with gouache and gold ink. I found the painting part of these finals very tricky because the images are quite small and detailed and it was hard painting in the smaller areas. Also, the sepia ink I had used for the outline would often run when it became wet so I had difficulty with the ink bleeding into the paint and ruining the outline, so I had to then re-do some of the outline with brown gouache.

Overall, I’m fairly pleased with the overall look of this project, even though I think that the finals look more inspired by stained glass windows than medieval manuscripts, but they are still effective in telling the story and exploring the style I was researching and experimenting with. I’m happy with the colours of the images, a lot of which was inspired by the manuscripts and illuminated pieces I had studied, but at the same time, they managed to be bright and colourful which I think created an interesting look. However I think the painting could be improved but as I stated earlier it was a rather tricky process and I have learned that the next time I wish to work with a dip-pen and paint, I should work a lot bigger and then scale down digitally. As a starting point for my third year, I will be re-doing this project and am hoping to achieve a look I am more satisfied with. I have already begun my research and created some development work for the project and I will post all of that soon.

First Year, Field: The Land of Lost Objects Character Boards

For the final part of my first year field project, I drew these character boards/posters with dip-pen and ink. The compositions of these images were based on my earlier concertina book idea and I also wanted to pair up the characters and have each pair be able to create one full image when they are put together and I have tried to show this below in the presentation of the images. I really liked how these images turned out, they are very simplistic but I think that’s what I like about them, and because I was pleased with the final turn out, I was very apprehensive to add colour to them so I had them photocopied so I could paint them and have two copies.

Below are the watercolour versions of the images. Unfortunately due to the photocopying, some of them don’t line up as well as the originals but you can still see the idea in the images. Overall, I was quite pleased with how most of them look painted, some more than others, but am glad I photocopied the originals so that I could see which worked better as images. Looking at all of them now, I’m pretty unsure about whether or not I prefer them with or without colour, I think that both coloured and non coloured versions work as illustrations differently and in their own ways.