Le Gun Workshop 16/03/18

Neil Fox and Robert Rubbish, 2 members of the renowned Le Gun collective were invited in to speak as part of the Unit X Inspirer series at Manchester school of Art.

The lecture was followed up by a 1-day workshop for IWA based around a collaborative drawing exercise designed to demonstrate how time constraints and limitations are enabling not restrictive.

Starting at 11.00am and to be completed by 3.30pm, the workshop used b/w drawing to generate a spontaneous narrative using characters derived via an opening exquisite corpse exercise. The scale of the work was over 20m x 2m using pencil/ brush and ink.

The session was led by Neil and Robert – with GTA Rachel McMahon keeping everyone on track and recording the day as it unfolded. Additional photos via 3rd year Ella Bean.

Further final panoramic pictures to follow.

Le Gun website link


Third year Dean Smith shortlisted for The Prize for Illustration 2017

Third year illustrator Dean Smith has been shortlisted for one of the most high profile annual illustration competitions. The Prize for Illustration is a longstanding collaboration between the Association of Illustrators and the London Transport Museum.

Dean Smith ‘Sounds of The City’ 2016

The competition is themed annually and this year the them was ‘Sounds of The City’. Dean entered an elaborate hand cut paper sculpture titled ‘Shadows of the Sound’ completed as part of the summer project work between second and third year on the BA (Hons) Illustration with Animation course at Manchester School of Art

The competition is open to illustrators and students of illustration throughout the world. The top 100 entries (including Dean’s) are selected by a panel of independent judges and will be displayed in an exhibition at London Transport Museum that will open in May 2017 and run until September 2017. The winners will be announced at a private award ceremony that will take place in May 2017.

Prizes are awarded in three levels:
• First prize: £2000 and display of the winning image on a London Transport Museum poster to be displayed on the London Underground.
• Second prize: £1000
• Third prize: £750

There is also the possibility that shortlisted images will be featured on merchandise sold in London Transport Museum’s shop.


Ian Whadcock: World Illustration Awards

Illustration for Harvard Buiness Review shortlisted for the World Illustration Awards 2016

An article I illustrated for Harvard Business Review in November 2015 has been shortlisted for the Association of Illustrators/World Illustration Awards 2016. The article was written by Roberto Verganti and commissioned by Design Director: Matthew Guemple, looks at how ‘in a world full of ideas, judgement not ideation, is the key to breakthroughs’ and how the ability to assess and form critical perspectives is the area we should be looking at when we are looking to innovate.

Full article: The Innovative Power of Criticism, HBR Jan/Feb Issue 2016

As background: below are the series of initial concept roughs presented after the initial briefing of this article. A mix of layout pad, pencil drawing and on screen design, directly into the article page layout supplied by HBR.

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Lord Whitney Unit X Workshop 2016

Returning to Unit X for the combined BA(Hons) Graphic Design and BA(Hons) Illustration with Animation workshop for 2016, we welcomed Amy Lord (flying solo) from Lord Whitney for an introductory lecture followed by 2 days of group based collaboration.

The lecture describes an academic journey from complete uncertainty in the final year of a documentary photography degree in Leeds, to founding a collaborative partnership with a fellow student on graphic design (Rebecca Whitney) in the final weeks of a course. The realisation that what linked them was a sense of making and theatricality clearly comes later – but what resonates in the lecture is a sense that what they eventually arrived at as a ‘practice’ sits outside the definitions of a degree classification or a recognised academic programme description, i.e. it was not predictable.

For students in the audience to understand that their own futures could equally reside outside of the ‘known or familiar’ and that maybe they can define their own ways of working, create new audiences and blur practice boundaries, was for many clearly revelatory and inspiring. Further that this had been developed and remains a practice based outside of London,  whilst the clients maybe often be in London or indeed worldwide, Lord Whitney can remain where they choose – on the top floor of an old warehouse with a huge studio space developed piecemeal over a number of years. This with the clear advantages of reduced cost, large studio spaces, and importantly a network of collaborative industrial and creative partners.

The clearly articulated journey from ‘paying £50 to make an artwork to getting paid £50 to make an artwork’ – to now employing teams of assistants and technicians working for global brands to create events/sets/installations, is one of persistence and invention. Working with limited materials, limited budgets and impossible deadlines….but none the less, delivering witty and inventive graphic solutions that surprise, engage and generate new audiences in both the public and private sectors of the economy.

Our own workshops led by Amy Lord, focused on simple starting points: a random object and 2 unrelated words as the basis for a wearable response in 6 hours. This resulted in a wide range of creative responses and a huge amount of collateral cardboard mayhem and glue gun action! but more than this a realisation that thinking though the manipulation of materials and utilising the energy of a collaborative group, can create great results in very short time frame.


Studio Identity and Practice

The addition of partition screens to a small number of the Benzie second floor studio tables has made a marked difference since their introduction in December 2015. There is a noticeable ownership and visual identity emerging for the programme and a greater sense of community in the student cohort. Student feedback has been excellent and interestingly staff from other programmes have been bringing their students to see the workspaces as examples of good practice. The sense of ownership has also extended to a far greater use of the available wall space for large scale works on both the Illustration with Animation and Graphic Design programmes. The changes have generated a confidence in student ownership of the studio as a ‘work in progress’ space, rather than a space more readily defined by temporary seminar and tutorial activity.

Whilst aimed at final year students there are frequently second years working in these spaces and a far greater visibility of practice for the first year students to connect with and gain confidence working in the open studio space. These screens are small additions but have had a marked impact on the students sense of belonging in the art school  as a working space. As practitioners iIlustrators and animators are less defined by specific process or workshop assets, for us the studio is our primary ‘workshop’.

The switch to more flexible ‘none wired’ tables, has also had a further positive impact in better defining the remaining studio area as ‘practical’ work spaces to sit alongside digital workstations, again resulting in increased usage by Illustration/animation students.

Establishing a more defined identity for a drawing workshop or drawing lab is a longer term project to work towards.