Monday, 17 February 2014

'Translator Thoughts' Logo

Here's something I worked on last year.

After producing some logo designs for KanziLingua, I was approached by Chiara Grassili to create a logo for her blog site Translator Thoughts.  Chiara has been working as a freelance translator for a few years, as well as developing a passion for digital marketing and social media.

When she first approached me, she sent me a few of her own sketches. Using these as reference, I started with these rough thumbnails:

I received some positive feedback fro Chiara, who then selected her favourite three designs for me to take even further and produce two versions of each - one with a frame and one without.

I also experimented with gradients and shadows in Illustrator to create a 3D effect.

Below is the final version Chiara picked out.

You can visit Chiara's blog site at  She also has an Italian blog site We'talia Social Media.  Check it out at

Monday, 13 January 2014

Animated Advent

Happy New Year to you all!  What better way to start off 2014 with some animation; looks like I'm finally getting back into the swing of it!

This was part of a project at work leading up to Christmas, where I had the opportunity to incorporate my animation skills into my job role.  Find out more via the link below. Enjoy! :D

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Happy Holidays!

Season's Greetings! I hope you have all had/still having a nice break. Can't believe how quickly the Christmas period has passed by, another year gone and it'll be 2014 before you know it!

In the midst of manic preparations leading up to Christmas, I have managed to do a bit or artwork, mainly for Christmas presents to family and friends, hence why I have not been able to show anything on here for a while.

The first was for my friend, Lem, who approached me some time ago with a commission to produce a drawing of her (as a baker) and her boyfriend (as a Formula 1 driver), to whom this was intended as a gift for Christmas.

Lem was very specific about what she wanted in the drawing, from the clothes she was wearing, to the colours of Mark's suit, even down to the colour of the flower in her hair! She also wanted it done in a very similar style to the drawing I did for her when she travelled to India last year.

I want to thank Lem for being ever so patient with me, for what usually takes me only a few hours took me several months, after production was interrupted by the start of a new job…and I kept putting it off!

Christmas Day was a little different for the Markwells this year; we spent it at my brother and sister-in-law's new home, and of course we had a new addition to the party.  With it being my niece's very first Christmas, I wanted to give the proud parents something a bit special this year. I therefore created another one of my photorealistic style portraits on Illustrator of their beautiful daughter, Theia.

In addition, I have been expressing my creativity elsewhere these past fee months, namely, in the kitchen! Here's one example of what I managed to whip up this festive season. No soggy bottoms here!

Happy New Year, everyone! :) xxx

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Reshika, the Construction Girl!

Artwork is back on with some designs I recently produced for my friend, Reshika Tamang, who is working on putting together a children's book.

The book is to be aimed at 5-7 year olds and focuses on females in the construction industry.  These designs are for a character who will appear throughout the book and narrate the story.

Reshika also asked if I could make the character look a little bit like her!  Here's the process I went through.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

'Do something you enjoy doing' - Meeting Paul Hollywood

I went to the Stratford-upon-Avon Food Festival last weekend and was lucky enough to get tickets on the day to see the silver fox himself - bread-maker extraordinaire, Paul Hollywood - giving a demonstration. Being a fan of the Great British Bake-Off, I confess I was a little starstruck! 

Apologies for the quality of the snaps; these were taken on my phone.

At the end of the session there was a Q&A with the audience, including what to do as a student who is about to move into halls at university and wanting to baking, and whether Paul's eyes are made to look more blue on TV! One question put forward was what would be Paul's advice to anyone who wants to take up baking as a career.  Says Paul, with a wry smile, 'First, you need to get yourself a good book', referring, of course, to his own book How to Bake. He went on to say that passion is the key; if you are passionate enough about something, that passion will drive you forward. Keep at it, keep practising, 'and just enjoy it!' says Paul.  'Do something that you enjoy doing.' 

Wise words Mr Hollywood!! :)

Before leaving the festival with sackful of tasty treats, I found out that Paul was doing a book signing, so I popped in to buy a copy of his book Bread and got it signed!  When I told him my name, I felt rather embarrassed having to spell it out to him after the look of utter bewilderment on his face!  'That's unusual!' he said.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

A Graphic Designer goes LARPing in Derby

I realise it's been another long while since I last posted on here, but after a hectic couple of months I'm starting to settle back into a fairly normal routine again.  Sadly, I don't yet have any artwork to show but that will come with the next post.

So what's been happening? First of all, since the end of July, I have started a new job as a Junior Digital Graphic Designer in Stratford-upon-Avon for FPS Distribution, a national company which specialise in the automotive aftermarket.  My job involves artworking banners and adverts for the companies various digital platforms and very much focuses on brand awareness and internal communications.

Tea break! A steaming cup of peppermint tea in my favvourite mug to get me through the working day. Whoops! Sorry Morph!

August was certainky a month of firsts, because following this, I went to The Gathering in Derby, a Live Action Role Playing (LARPing) event organised by the Lorien Trust.  Not only was it my first time LARPing, it was the first time I'd ever camped in a tent!

I attended with a group of old friends from uni, as well as some new faces, as part of a group known as The Coterie.  Many members had already been attending the Gathering for a fair few years, and therefore knew pretty much the ins and outs of the world of LARPing, whilst some of us were complete newbies to it all.  For those of you who may not know, LARPing is a role-playing game in which players physically act out their character's actions and dress up in their character's costume.

My character's name was Meira Elensar, a young wood elf training to be a healer, incantor and potion-maker, whilst also learning about the basics of combat in order to become stronger and avenge the death from her past which still haunts her today. Full back story is in working progress!

The Coterie of the Unicorns 2013. The white belts flags display our group symbol.

It certainly was an experience; picking up the various jargon of LARPing, learning how to brew a potion, realising that you had to stick your hand up in the air when you were 'out of character', and getting thrashed whilst going monstering!! Initially I wasn't sure if I was going to get in to the spirit of it all, but gradually I came to enjoy it, and I would definitely like to go again next year.  I always love an opportunity to dress up in costume, and the camping aspect...didn't mind one bit! :)

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

'What a lucky man he was...'

This was originally meant to be a gift on Fathers Day, but unfortunately it took longer than expected to complete.

Using the new skills I've learnt in Illustrator, I had a go at recreating this portrait of my Dad with his idol, Greg Lake, who made a memorable performance at my Dad's 60th.

For this of you who may not know who Greg Lake is, you'll probably recognise this song of his (sorry it's a Christmas song!)

Greg is also a former member of bands such as King Crimson and Emerson, Lake and Palmer.  One of my (and Dad's!) favourite Lake songs is Lucky Man, hence the play on words of the song's chorus 'What a lucky man he was'.  

I'm sure that in this picture, my Dad felt like the luckiest man alive to be rubbing elbows with his all-time favourite rockstar!

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Progress on designing MF mini website

Some drafts of the homepage and subsequent pages that would appear on the website, which would be displayed as anchor points, therefore appearing in one long document.  These roughs include layout of all needed content, both static and integrated, links and main navigation bar.  Created in Photoshop.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

MBO Logo

I was recommended by a colleague at work to assist with the production on a logo for someone who works for the company in the offices in Beauvais, France.

David is part of a biker group called Moto Balade Oise, who was looking to have a logo created to go on their forum website, as well as on t-shirts and caps.  He firstly sent this pen drawing example of what the team wanted the logo to look like:

David also explained that the team wanted the design to include the bikers themselves, the road, the letters MBO, France and their region. He then asked if it could be improved by someone 'professional' 

Having become confident with Illustrator, I stepped in and created a vector version of the sketch:

 David seemed pleased with this and was open to any changes I may wish to make, such as the spacing between each part, added colour, shading etc.  I wasn't happy with my wonky tracings around the text so in the end I went for a Verdana font.  I also created a white version of the above so it may stand out better on the website.

David later got back to me with some changes he'd made to the design:

I liked the changes made to the B-shaped road - it reads a lot better.  For the laptop, I experimented by tracing a photograph of a laptop and vectorising it:

Finally, David sent me a second revised version of the logo, explaining that the team wanted the laptop taking out.  There were also some changes made to the positioning of the bikers.

Here's the finished logo, in both black and white:

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Look what I found!

Whilst browsing the Staffordshire University website for details of this year's Art and Design Degree Show, I clicked through to the Fringe Festival website. There I found an article about last year's Degree Show, which included a familiar figure!  :)

I'd forgotten all about this!

Friday, 10 May 2013

More on what I've been doing with AGCO

My time with AGCO has been extended from end of May to mid July.  Work on the brochure is now about 95% complete, I'm now waiting for feedback from Helen, who is currently travelling for the next month, and then hopefully, there will be a printed hard copy by the end of it.

Below are some screenshots of my work in progress in InDesign.

I have now moved over to the Digital Media team, under the management of James, and begun working on developing a mini website to go with the brochure.  James has introduced me to methods such as site mapping (an outline of pages that appear on a website and how they link together), and wire framing (a visual representation of the skeletal framework of a website).

Here's a draft site map I put together for the website...

...and just a couple of wireframes I drew up.  

Alongside all the above, I have been assisting with some social media posts for the Massey Ferguson Global Facebook page, using specialised social marketing software.

Highlighted are just a sample of posts I've published for the MF page.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Aunty Lodders

Just this week, my brother and sister-in-law became proud parents to a beautiful baby girl!  As a gift to them, I had found a wooden toy box I made at school whilst having yet another clear out of my room, and gave it a lick of paint and re-vamp, along with some extra added details.

I hope my niece will like it! :)