Market Ready : idea generation

For the upcoming Christmas market, Sunday Up Market, we are on the path to creating our own product and brand. Its not easy to know where to start with a project like this so as a group we decided to come up with a product and brand ourselves around it.

We began by thinking about the target audience. Seeing as it will be a Christmas market we decided to think about what people are going to be looking for. we settled on items that could be bought as gifts such as prints and cards. They are also likely to be tourists, given that the Brick lane area is extremely popular among tourists.


As illustration students we decided this would be a brilliant way to get our own work out into the public domain. we first discussed the key ways of working that we enjoy within our creative field. screen printing was common ground for many of us. As a result of this we thought about creating prints. Being realistic we decided to think about an un-costly way to produce products ton sell. Screen printing is a cost effective way of creating something that we enjoy using facilities that we can make the most of. It also broadens our horizons as we are able to create bags as well as posters and cards. We are all fans of block colour and discussed that we fine line drawings really appealing. The bold colours will bring these drawings to life.

once we had decided what we are about we thought it be time to come up with a name and a unique selling point. We through around many ideas for names based on the screen printing process. We thought a squidgy would be a really suitable and clear symbol of us as a team. We thought about using the name squidgy as our company name, however thought this might be unoriginal and didn’t feel quite catchy enough. We began researching names for some of the processes  that actually take place in the screen printing process.

screensho (2).png
screen grab screen printing glossary

We came across many technincal terms but the term ‘cured ink’ stood out to us. It is the ink once it has been cured through the chemical process that bonds the ink to fabric. The term is relevant if we would be making tote bags and almost sounds poetic. The work ink is included which also gives us a clear message about the kind of work we would create.

Dialogue: Using mixed media


It was really interesting approaching a variety of different techniques in one day. After the process of collecting images we continued on to look at some practitioners and collage artists to get some inspiration. We looked at the work of

George Douglas,

Image result for george douglas collage
George Douglas. Collage and illustration

I particularly took inspiration from his use of ripped paper and confident approach. The us of block color against black and white works beautifully and is incredibly easy on the eye.

We also looked at the work of Hannah Hock:

Image result for hannah hoch faces
Hannah Hock. Collage Portraiture

I have in fact been interested of Hannah Hock’s collage work in the past within other projects as her style automatically appeals to me. The use of surrealism works really well in her pieces.

Ladislav sutnar:

Ladislav’s work is far more minimalist, however this works really well. His use of white space adds so much to the mixed media pieces. This is a new dimension of collage that i had not thought about before.

I did feel motivated and inspired by their techniques, especially from those mentioned above.Their  use of colour and their confident approach towards a page is what captured my attention the most. I took from this that i shouldn’t hesitate and need to change my attitude towards collage and creating large quantities of tests to see what works best.

Setting up a studio space


Creating your own studio can be an exciting yet daunting task. You know that you want it to feel just right and getting there can be difficult when you are working with equipment and space. However, there aren’t too many people in our studio so we found it easy to work together and come to conclusions. The space is extremely light and airy and it was exciting to be given such a blank white space to work with. We were lucky enough to have three large peg boards, two bookshelves and a plinth. There is also plenty of desk space between the 20 or so students that will be working there. We kept the space quite simple and airy with plenty of space for us to build up wall displays and surround ourselves with inspiration.

We began to think about the ethos of our studio and looked at manifestos created by the likes of Sister Corita Kent, ken Garland and El Lissitsky. They all created a manifesto for working spaces and creative students. I found the Immaculate hearts college art department rules created by Sister Corita Kent were really appealing as they weren’t displayed as a set of harsh rules, but were very human and natural.

Sister Corita Kent, Immaculate hearts College Rules

We then went on to create our own manifesto to create an ideal working studio environment for us and we thought about what that meant. We kept our own manifesto simple as we didn’t want to put too much restraint on each others way of working. Ultimately we discussed keeping our displays fresh and not leaving work up for a whole year. We also discussed that no one should feel afraid to share and give opinions.



Four Corners Books, a studio visit

Four Corners Books website photograph

Four Corners Books was establishing in 2004 and is run by Richard Embray and Elinor Jansz. When visiting their studio, I learnt something about the way in which they work and work as a team. Their studio is within a grade A listed room from the 18th century that maintains all its historical features. As a result of this they are unable to make many changes to the room such as sticking things on the walls. This may have made it difficult for them to create their own creative space to work in, however the room is incredibly beautiful and has a great sense of calm due to its neutral colours and tidy appearance.

own photograph
18th century ceiling

This could be seen as features that enhance a calm working environment. They have been in this studio space for 6 years which appears to have worked well for them. Un-like some practitioners, Richard and Elinor do find that they don’t gain much of their ideas and inspiration from being within their studio space, instead they tend to find getting outdoors and visiting different places, and seeing what’s out there is their main source of encouragement and they then take back all this ideas and research to their studio space and use it as a place to tie everything together. Ultimately a light, spacious and neutral studio space will cater to this.

Their website runs with this theme of clear and simplistic and you should find it is easy to navigate. Visit their website Here.

They began working on one book together at art college about adventure playgrounds and how they exist as inner city spaces and their partnership built up from there. All their books take on a different style but they all push the boundary of what is common in some way or another. For example, their edition of ‘A picture of Dorian Grey ‘ does not even display the title or author on the front cover.

‘a picture of dorian grey’ edition


Katie Hardcastle, A case study

Katie Hardcastle is 22years old and currently studying illustration at The John Cass Art School, London Metropolitan University. She feels the East London area has huge energy about it which she finds is perfect for her as a creative environment.

Q: So Katie, tell me about the influences you use in your work. In your poster pieces you seemed to use influences from the people close to you, would I be right in thinking that family is a key stimulus towards your work?

print 11
Brother: Katie Hardcastle 

A: Yeah. I find I naturally turn to my personal life as it is the best way to bring passion and a connection towards my work. When starting a project, I automatically turn to memory and past experiences.

Q: Are there any practitioners in particular that have inspired you within your creative field?

A: Katherine Asher is an illustrator that works with water colour and ink and her use of portraiture is really appealing to me.

Image result for katharine asher fashion illustrator
Fashion illustration: Katherine Asher
Image result for katharine asher
Ink Painting: Katherine Asher


Q: What would you say is your preferred way of working within illustration?

A: Within the Past year I discovered a new interest of mine. Screen Printing has been an extremely enjoyable practice for me. The satisfaction you gain at the end of a long process is really fulfilling. It Is also a particularly colorful way of working as well, which I love!

Screen Prints: Katie Hardcastle