Professional Practice - Blog Three

Updated: May 9, 2019

Recently I have been able to attend the sessions of three guest speakers including Samantha Moore, Lise Brian of The Chase and the Illustrator Korky Paul. This has allowed for an insight into their creative working lives but it has also been an opportunity to gain knowledge through the top tips and information they have shared.

Korky Paul -Winnie & Wilbur

Korky Paul is an Illustrator originally from South Africa who has lived and taught in England for a number of years. He is best known for his work on the Winnie and Wilbur children’s novels (formally Winnie the Witch).

Korky’s talk was very detailed about to the process he has developed for producing illustrations he combined this explanation with numerous drawing and painting examples for the audience to see.

Images of Korky Paul's work (All images Copyrighted)

When describing the production process what took me by surprise was the freedom Korky had to dictate the layout of text across the book. I found this interesting due to the amount of control given to an Illustrator after both the Author and Editor have conducted their work. Korky described having full power over where the text breaks occur within the pages themselves but also across the spreads as a whole.  My first thought on this was it is a clear advantage because as the person responsible for visually storytelling Korky is able to select which scenes he would like to depict according to what he understands to be the most visually impacting or most important to showcase to accurately visualise the storyline to the target audience.

One point Korky expressed passion for was not digitally airbrushing or changing his finished paintings. He went on to explain how the first production print runs will refer back to the original artwork but any future print runs will refer back to the previous one, not the original works, so colour which is slightly adapted can become exaggerated over time and can lead to future prints being far removed from the original artistic style.

I agree with this consistency concept, I think this could be a key idea for designing in general. For example if you are designing for print with a brand you should try and keep the design elements the same to previously used elements to ensure the consistency level is maintained as well as the standard of finish. This will also help with brand identity as customers will more easily recognise the company if all elements are consistent across all mediums.  

Lise Brian - The Chase

Lise Brian is an Associate Creative Director at The Chase. Based at their Manchester studio she has worked with clients from Royal Mail to M&S Bank so it was fantastic to be able to hear her thoughts on all things design.

The curious aspect of Lise’s talk was she took a very reflective approach, not methodical like Korky. It was more relaxed and overarching, giving her opinion in order to share knowledge.  It featured previous clients, knowledge she has gained, current projects and even her opinion on the attitudes of the graphic design industry today.

The ideology of thinking differently was a key theme Lise expressed during the talk. She described ‘thinking differently’ as not thinking inside the box but at the same time remembering that sometimes the simple things are the really good ideas because they are overlooked by others. They are the hardest ideas to pull off as Lise went on to explain but when they work, they do really work because they can extend and be flexible. “Ideas that have legs, they can apply to a number of different products or companies.” For example when working with type it needs to be able to work on screens, business cards, letterheads or postcards. Usually an idea will work well for one of those design aspects but great designers are able to produce works that are fully functional across media.

During recent lectures other students and I have discussed the sequential approach to designing where by working on multiple aspects at once, rather than chronologically, it is clear to see when an idea is not strong enough to work across a spectrum such as a poster series both in print and digital. Lise’s point would definitely strengthen the argument for producing work using the sequential design method as like she said you’ll quickly know if the idea has legs. Moving forward I’d like to experiment with working styles to see if this method would be beneficial in terms of time efficiency and quality for projects I conduct.  

A wealth of valuable information was given during the talk, in particular during the feature Lise titled “I Wish I’d Known That”.  This section had points from across the team about what they wish they would have learnt, either when they graduated or started working in a studio. These nuggets of information were really interesting especially due to the fact that the majority of the information actually described transferable skills such as; be versatile, ask questions, if you meet someone stay in touch and, make connections to get that  job because each job is connected by seven people so network to find them. The main take for me was to focus on having good people skills because this seems to go a long way in employers opinions and sometimes there may be too much focus on specific design based skills.

Lise described the main attributes she values from students as having passion and enthusiasm for the job, along with work that stands out from the crowd and in her opinion working on your portfolio is a great way to do this. A top tip she gave included not putting work into your portfolio that your not proud of or would apologise for.

At the end of Lise’s talk I approached her to ask if it would be possible to visit the Manchester studio to meet the team and find out more about The Chase. She very kindly agreed so I will send Lise an email in a couple of weeks to arrange a studio visit for the beginning of April.

Speaker- Samantha Moore, Animator

More information about her education and career can be found here:

Samantha Moore defines herself as an animator and a animation director. This is because Sam not only animates but directs, produces, edits and more, all in one role.

Her talk was alternative to the previous speakers as it focussed on her passion and career, mainly elaborating on how she has got to the position she is now in. However it was not as reflective, like Lise’s talk, as there were elements of reflection but it was mainly Sam talking about her passion and what helped her make whilst moving into industry.

It was engaging to see animations being used to tell the story of Sam’s career. It not only explained her the path but took us through details of previous projects, through her skill development and into the latest animation project.

'An Eyeful of Sound' by Samantha Moore, 2010 (Funded by Wellcome Trust)

During this talk I gained the impression that she has learnt most of her knowledge through working collaboratively with others. Sam described how “everyone else has so much knowledge” and clearly she tries to capture that information as share it with people via her animations.

An example she provided was for the animation titled ‘An Eyeful of Sound’. This is an animated documentary featuring experts in the field of, or those who have, Synesthesia. The aim was to replicate the experience of sense, sound and vision for those who do not have Synesthesia to help them understand the condition. Absorbing all this information about colour, texture, form and sound and being able to replicate that accurately was vital as the animation project was designed with the intention of educating and informing the audience, which of course needed to be done accurately.

Sam confirmed this impression of a preference of collaboration at the end of the talk by going on to say “collaboration is key, people have their strengths and knowledge so collaborate with people where they compliment the skills that you have.”

Another key point of the talk that stood out for me was at the end when Sam suggested not to hold back when going for funding. “Say all those crazy, weird and wonderful ideas that you would possibly like to do if you had the money even if you don’t believe you will get it” explaining that for her on a recent occasion she achieved funding so could go and do all the things she wanted. The clients later explained to Sam how they liked her pitch because of her approach which is how she acquiring the finance to go print illustrations onto knickers.

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