Thursday, May 31, 2012

What The Butler Saw (at Leeds Castle)

Tuesday was a bright sunny day and I seized the chance to visit Leeds Castle.  An exhibition, entitled 'What The Butler Saw', opened at the castle at the beginning of May that features some of my illustration work and I thought it was high time I went to take a look.  The exhibition is about Lady Baillie (who purchased the castle in 1926 and used it as her weekend pile for outrageous parties during the 1930s) and her small army of staff.  I had never visited the castle before and it's not in Leeds, as you might think, but about an hour outside London in Kent.  Très convenient.  

There's a bit of a walk from the entrance to the castle but it's pretty spectacular.  I have clearly gotten used to living in London because all that open space was kind of a shock.  There are geese, ducks, swans, peacocks, some crazy plants and water everywhere.  Needless to say, I took some photos on my way...

Leeds Castle
The castle door knocker // One of many peacocks milling about

The castle from a distance // One of the more ornate ceilings inside

Remains of the medieval barbican

I did the illustrations with Art Direction from Andy Spencer, who designed the rest of the exhibition.  You can see my portfolio page with my end of the project here.  I had a ball listening to 1930s swing music and researching servants' dress for the pictures.

Entering the castle

The Butler

First info display, designed by Andy Spencer with staff illustrations by me
(note the black silhouettes on the right are not mine)

The entrance display with my 'Staff Line-up'

Part of the display, with costume example from Angels

The Housekeeper

The Housekeeper's hands

The Butler

The Butler ushering guests out

Thank you, come again!

I really enjoyed the exhibition and it was quite informative about the elite and the staff of the day.  The castle really is a very charming place and the grounds are just amazing.  I spent an afternoon there, but I was rushing it a bit.  I could have easily spent a full day.  Or even longer in Lady Baillie's lemon yellow wardrobe room, with shoe closet, marble bathroom and secret staircase.  I defy any woman not to find that magical.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Electric Witches

I recently entered a competition run by to design a shoebox for Miista's new shoe collection entitled Electric Witches.  I love the London-based company's designs and since the prize included free shoes I just couldn't resist entering.  I mean, who wouldn't want to win these?

Even just the title 'Electric Witches' is a feast of inspiration.  I set about creating a magical mandala.

My Psychedelic Mandala

For my shoe box design I drew inspiration from ancient cultures and rave culture alike.  I looked to the signs and symbols of magick. The visual language of mysticism is often arranged in concentric circles like a wheel or mandala, representing the universe and infinity.
I drew my own mandala and chose to drape it over the lid; the void around draws everything inwards, to the eye at its heart.
I wanted electrifying colours: an inky blend of bright cyan, magenta and yellow, creating a rainbow mess. The black background provides a weight and darkness so that the design really pops. 

Miista Shoe Box Design

Part of the entry was to make a Pinterest board with your inspiration images.  Here's a link to mine.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Art of Packaging

Here is a bit of work I did recently under the direction of Khary Simon for Jansy Packaging.  

Jansy Packaging design and manufacture packaging and accessories for cosmetics.  It was really interesting to study and portray the glass, acrylic and metal (and bristles) used.  I combined pencil drawings with ink for some variation in texture and colour.

After my part was done the individual drawings were arranged in a layout which will run as a print ad in a trade publication.  Voilà.