music

Colour and Lines Mixtape - Radical Red

3hrs 18mins of music to work to:

With 2017 well on it's way comes a new playlist, aptly named 'Radical Red' to tie in with all the people around the world working towards their NY resolutions - stick at it! Packed full of tracks from the likes of Atlantic Ocean, Gigamesh, BMB Spacekid, Bonobo, Star Slinger and tons more to keep your head bouncing whilst smashing your projects and life.

Feature

Interval Arts

In the words of it's owner and curator Micah Purnell:

"Interval Arts is a curated outdoor art space located at the mouth of Manchester's creative northern quarter."

I've always been a big fan of people who like to do things differently, and Micah is definitely one of those people. He got in touch to see if I'd like to showcase one of my pieces 'Love Thy Neighbor' in his outdoor space and I jumped at the chance! The outdoor space is located in an interesting part of Manchester called Ancoats, a place which has seen it's fair share of hard knocks trials and tribulations, which is why I think it tied in quite nicely with my piece. 'Love Thy Neighbor' represents man confronting life and not dismissing it, in every hazard there's a highlight.

Check out the full Q&A over on Micah's site

Photo courtesy of Micah Purnell

Photo courtesy of Micah Purnell

How I gamified Instagram

Gamifying Instagram

We’ve all resisted the urge to tap everything we see on Instagram. From cats following a laser pen, irresistibly cute labradors covered in snow to those images we know we shouldn’t be tapping, the app is compulsive to say the least. Instagram has fast become one of the biggest social sharing platforms around, and the crux of its success is its supreme simplicity of use and functionality. Unlike it’s wordy sister site Twitter (one that’s just added a raft of functionality, ostensibly to bolster its future and make the shareholders happy), Instagram has been able to hold onto its central conceptual theme; to capture and share the world’s moments. Something it does gloriously. 

With a staggering 400 million monthly active users all fighting for followers (myself included), I wanted to see if there was a way to break free from the day-to-day use of the platform and inject some interactive fun into things. I created something, a fun quirky game called ‘Tap the Gap’, to do this.

All the “game” involves is a simple image with a heart missing, which players then ‘tap’ to make it complete. This in its simplest form is ‘gamification’ — taking a piece of functionality and turning its intended use on its head, making the user feel more involved with a clearer sense of participation. Obviously Instagram doesn’t log how many taps you give an image after the initial like, but overall this didn’t concern me. I simply wanted to engage people through an action intended for something completely different. Similar to the ‘swipe up to fly’ effect seen on Twitter.

After bashing out a fair few ‘tap the gap’ images, I felt like the idea had run its course: people were liking them and even leaving ace comments of enthusiasm — WIN! So, next I decided to start looking at how I could expand on this and increase the longevity of the experiment.

I was working on a Super Mario piece recently for a book and it got me thinking about how platform games can be an ace source of inspiration. Take Outrun for example, the most amazing racing game ever (in my eyes at least) on the Sega GameGear. At its core is a background graphic that has a road weaving from left to right and a car (controlled by you) pinned to the bottom of the screen. Your goal is simple: press left or right to keep the car within the road as it weaves.

Keeping the Outrun approach in mind, I thought “why can’t Instagram be a platform game?” I mean, it has the method of interaction ‘Tap’ and the ability to house video. What’s more, it doesn’t use just any video though, it use a looping video! Perfect for gaming. All I needed to do was create a rolling scene which has the heart appearing periodically and pow! We’ve got ourselves a platform game.

To begin with I scribbled out some quick storyboard thumbnails of what the rolling scene could be. I decided on a few of my illustrations that would be pushing down the screen from top to bottom to give a sense of motion, each dropping at different speeds to add a sense of depth. The heart impact area itself had two instances, a normal version and then a bonus version. Why a bonus version you ask? Why frickin’ not?! Everyone loves an in-game bonus. Then, after a few illustrations and a bit of motion dabbling — the Instagame was born!

I was on a mission. I spent huge amount of my time in my younger years contemplating these kinds of experiments and, nine times out of ten, never seeing them come to life . Either through lack of reasoning for the project, not having a ‘real’ client or goal or just simply lacking the motivation, I let them slip. No more. I now treat these things like mini MVPs — a product that you need to get to market with the least amount of energy and effort, just to prove that it works. Don’t get me wrong here, I’m a very visually-led being and will never let anything go out looking like a bag of spanners, but the lucky thing is: I’m an illustrator, designer, animator and director with a stupid amount of work available for me to play with. I had all the tools.

During the exploration of the ‘Instagame,’ I also had a brain-fart moment which led to me disrupting the platform’s sponsored posts. This resulted in a video which saw the sponsored text and social name dismantle itself and become part of the visual post. All I had to do was take a screengrab of the sponsored post and rehash it in AfterEffects. 

The amount of people who sent me messages asking me if advertising on the platform was worth it (100+ by the way. I never pay a penny for it) was huge. To me though, this was just a silly, quirky experiment. It was a direct response to the repulsive, intrusive sponsored posts from ‘some’ brands out there. There’s so many companies doing it completely wrong. All you need to do is get someone creative to whip you up some awesome content!!

So to cap it off, what have I learnt? If you have an idea, don’t wait. Find the time. Plan on the bog, strategise while making a brew (don’t get those mixed up), then jump straight in and unleash it on the world. If no-one likes it, who cares? At least it’s out of your mind and into the ether. Secondly, don’t pay for advertising on a platform which people use to consume imagery: it’ll look contrived and shit. True, there’s always the nice side-effect of more followers from these kinds of things, but don’t let that be your primary goal; you’ll end up looking like a tit and people won’t want to talk to you.

Action
Find an interaction, any social platform, disrupt the hell out of it.

Feature

FormFiftyFive

Massive fist-pump to the air on this one! The awesome guys over at FormFiftyFive have only gone and smashed together a new piece on my work. Huge kudos to the guys over there - in particular Jack Daly who's also a super talented illustrator. I had the pleasure of meeting the FFF guys whilst over at the OFFF Festival in Barcelona, if your looking to talk to some very creatively clued in chaps then get in touch with them! You can check out the article on my work here - Colour and Lines

Feature

Behance Digital Arts Feature

Starwars can be counted amongst the most legendary of sci-fi films to ever hit our screens and I for one can count it as being on my list of inspiration. With this in mind - I've whipped up some Colour and Lines based on some of the most epic scenes from the series, both from the past and the present.

The curatorial team over at Behance have chosen my project to be featured, this time in their Digital Arts arena. I'm really chuffed about this and loving the awesome comments from the public saying such ace things about my approach. 

Big thanks to the curatorial team at Behance!

illustration

Working with a streetwear brand - AnyForty

AnyForty - Art Is Our Weapon

This year I was asked by Alan Wardle, owner of streetwear brand AnyForty to join the family and craft some colour and lines for a t-shirt. Every so often AnyForty releases a new collection of clothing which is the culmination of existing and rising talent of the creative world, this collection was my chance to get people wearing my colour and lines! 

The curation of t-shirts was based on the theme AIOW 'Art Is Our Weapon' with each creative applying their style to the theme. Putting my chufffed'ness for being involved aside - I was accompanied by some awesome creatives including 45RPM, Travis Price, Ohnoes, Dale Bigeni and Ashley Willerton who also created the downright awesome main type treatment for the collection. 

Anyforty t-shirt 1

I started my approach by applying a bit of research into the area of art & war, this lead me down a few of routes. After eliminating a couple of routes I focused my attention on people who wear their art and how it ties back to the war - particularly to represent their unit. I've always had a fondness for Sailor Jerry's tattoos so I decided to give my own take on the style. 

The AIOW theme has been so successful that it has been bolstered with enamel pins and sticker sheets which will be available soon. I've had nothing but awesome feedback from the community and tons of people repping my design out in the world. The more you guys buy, the more we'll be able to keep on making cool stuff. 

Anyforty 2

I've been a huge fan of the AnyForty brand and am massively humbled to have been asked to join, so a big thank you goes out to Alan Wardle. Here's a nice little write up about the recent Art Is Our Weapon drop by VNA Magazine:


Anyforty Badge

You can view the entire project over on my Behance page.

Particular awesome photography by Rick Nunn.

illustration

T3 Magazine

T3 Magazine - Absolutely Phabulous

Having spent two years with a Samsung Galaxy S4 and only recently making my way back to Apple I found my recent commission tied in very well with the highs and lows I myself experienced.

I threw down some shapes for an article called Absolutely Phabulous and was based heavily on the cutting edge world of mobile phones. My concept explored the envious nature each device relishes between each other.

You can find the full project over on my behance page.

I originally created two colour variants and definitely think the right one was chosen, but here's a little look at the alternative below:

Alternative colourway

Alternative colourway

My favourite part of the illo's was a nice little nod to nostalgia including the trusty old Nokia 5110 - best phone I've ever had!

illustration

Wired Magazine - Wired World in 2016

Wired Magazine - November 2015

I've been getting a lot of fun vibes from people about my Colour and Lines, so a big thank-you for that! Wired's always been one of my fave mags, there's the amazing content, there's the mind-meltingly great editorial design and then there's the cover with it's textured tactile tasty touchy feely approach. 

This issue is particularly awesome as it has a bit of my art flowing through it - you can find them in the Special Feature section - ooooh. Had tons of fun whipping up the illustrations associated to multiple themes including the Future of Collaboration and Robot Trucks, yeah - I just said Robot Trucks! Who wouldn't like throwing down some shapes for a theme like that!

Here's a swift snippet of one of the illustrations:

Wired Magazine Spot Illustration November 2015

You can view the entire project over on my - Behance page.

When I received the commission I also had a little 'wooo' - chuffedness moment as my illustrations run along side one of my favourite creatives Stefan Sagmeister, that right there is another reason to get your hands on the mag.

Big thanks go to the AD - Ben Fraser

music

Colour and Lines Mixtape - Electric Lime

colour-and-lines-electric-green

1hr 43min of music to work to:


As you've probably noticed I can smash through an enormous amount of illustrations in a short time, I part blame this on massively loving what I do paired with listening to music at a mentally loud volume through my Bose headphones. I hope the naming of my headphones doesn't make me sound like a snob - it's just I can't stand listening to poor quality music and if your like me and you really appreciate your tunes then I recommend investing in some quality hardware!

Having awesome hardware is only 60% of the journey and if your using a mac then you've come across the same problem as me - sh*t sound control. Bear with me as I'm gallopping to a point, I use Spotify as my main source of music and the only downside to the platform is that it doesn't come with an EQ. So, let's get technical - I use a workaround which some of you may be familiar with, it's a combination of using Soundflower and Au Lab. What these two do is apply a global form of sound control to everything that's coming out of your mac. There's a ton of features but I only require the EQ, pump that base and treble!

Oooof, just look at that control!

Oooof, just look at that control!

I won't get into the nitty gritty as there's tons of walkthrough's that can tell you better than me how to install the EQ - here's one of them by the guys over at evolver.fm:

How To: Equalize Your Computer for iTunes, Spotify, Everything Else 

So there you have it, my first instalment of working tunes and a walkthrough on how to get your mac sounding like a dream.

Colour and Lines x YouTube E3

Colour and Lines x YouTube E3 Key Art

Everyone watches YouTube these days, whether you want to admit it or not - it's become an intrinsic part of our daily behaviour. I was lucky enough to be contacted by them to pitch for the key art for their presence at the biggest gaming event of the year E3

The original brief was quite sketchy and light on the ground - simply asking me to 'do what I do' and create the lock up for the event and then some supporting assets. I'm guessing you can hear those alarm bells as well when it comes to having such a light brief, with this in mind I did manage to wangle a bit more info from the stakeholder which gave me a good basis to apply my craft. Everything should start with a solid brief, covering all questions allowing you to be as divergent as you want to be within the confines of what's required.

Initially I began my sketching process - exploring how the YouTube logo will sit with the E3 LIVE type, playing around with the size of each element. As they are both huge brands I wanted to give them both an equal amount of clarity. After a few sheets of compositions I finally felt happy with my choice of a stacked approach. I then hit the computer to start visualising this.

YouTube E3 Stage 1

After crafting a lockup that I was happy with, I began creating a unique E3 thumbprint - something that could be completely ownable by the brand and event.

YouTube E3 Lines

The curved lines of the thumbprint also represented the flow of people through the event and their absorption of all the innovative media and hardware.

E3 Thumbprint

With the lockup and line-work in place I was then able to start looking at how this could come alive. Reading up on the history of the event - it's been renowned for being the place to be for all the innovative news about new and emerging tech and games - so I decided to bring back all those characters that have stood the test of time in the gaming world, including Mario, Ryu, Ken and Master Chief.

Characters 1
Characters 2
Characters 3

One of the major pitfalls with a project like this is how much flexibility you get with big brands, well - all brands come to think of it. Initially I used my pinkish colour for the YouTube logo - this was a bit of a no-no but I thought I'd try and push it. I knew it was a bit of a cheeky move but it'd definitely make some waves! Ultimately the decision came to change it back to the original colour-ways - not a massive killer as it actually helped with clarity of brand an complimented the other colours involved.

Colour change

The next pitfall came in the way that we couldn't get sign-off from Capcom for the use of their characters - this ultimately meant that I had to scrap the character route and begin thinking about how the identity of the event could run without my chosen route. 

I began looking at various methods of interaction when people play games and use their media, this brought to mind all the shapes on the controller buttons and the directional motions of the analogue sticks. I translated this into shapes and forms that could interact and be used as the brands essence.

Shapes 1
Shapes 2-2
Shapes 2

With every project there's always ups and downs in the creative process, it's how resilient you are when you come to these problems that will get you ahead in this game.

Unfortunately after smashing the brief I was unsuccessful in winning the gig, it's a tough hit but I stayed composed all the way through and definitely still determined to do good work for good people. Onwards and upwards.

Second Wednesday

second wednesday

I was invited by the ace guys at Second Wednesday #SecWed to pop over to Nottingham and give a talk at their Antenna venue. With the short notice I decided to go with an 'Ink & Influence' theme - talking about the trials and tribulations of becoming a creative - the highs, the lows and everything in between. From the looks of the crowd it was safe to say it was a pretty weird - but wonderful talk.

second wednesday 2

Apart from barrelling on about my experiences, work and clients I was able to get across how different everyone is an that there is no defacto method of becoming a creative, and this is what gets me excited about the industry. If everyone was the same then every bit of work we put out there would be completely identical. Don't get me wrong, silo'ing people into a role can be advantageous in the right circumstances, but when it comes to myself - I thoroughly enjoy the ability to stretch my talents across a multiple array of mediums.

second wednesday 3

Apart from being in control of an awesome laser pointer through my talk - I had the chance to meet a few people from the audience at the end and talk about their situation and current status in life. This to me was the best part of the evening, when I can answer and ask questions - talk to people about the way they do things and build relationships. Take it from me, if you get a chance to talk at an event - jump at it!

Congrats to those people who received a FREE print too, my shops going live this week!

Thanks to Chris Allwood & Lucie Delacy for looking after me on the night (-:

Image Creds:
@Quarrybends
@nsgd