Thursday, 13 November 2014

I'm back… and with a new job!

Phewwwww…. so the last time I posted on here was waaaay back in January 2013 and the irony was that I intended to stick to updating my blog on a more regular basis, and then I left it nearly 2 years before I did! Hmmm!

Tbh, things happened and stuff got in the way and updating my blog didn't become priority. An illness which then became a serious illness saw me out of action for nearly half of 2013 but it helped me to re-evaluate life and stuff and I decided to move on in my career, not least because my illness made me realise the 1.5 hr morning commute from Gateshead to Middlesbrough (38 miles each way!) had just become too much!

First of all I treated myself to a new car, then secondly I went all out to secure a role which may have been written specifically for me!

So, in January 2014 I became an employee of Sunderland University on the very new BA (Hons) in Fashion Product and Promotion founded in 2009. After being at Sunderland for 10 months now it has been without doubt the best move I made. Initial worries about it being a new course soon washed away when I realised just how talented and motivated the students are!

My first group of graduates finished in June this year and out of 21 graduates we had 7 1st class honours… yes, SEVEN, and the most important bit was that 4 of them were offered jobs within weeks of graduation and it makes impressive reading! Graphics and communication assistant at Topman, Design Assistant at Jonathan Saunders, Homeware Designer at Matalan and Design Assistant at AllSaints.

The best thing about the course is how diverse it is… we don't just do fashion design, the students can choose to specialise in design, styling, journalism, photography, brand development, event management - in fact as long as it has some link to fashion they can do whatever they want and we wholeheartedly encourage it!

Here are some examples of the students work - as you can imagine, I am incredibly proud of all of them!!
Helen Nelson

Adam King 
Ashleigh Plant

Katie Black

Tahera Begum

Tamzin Cummings

Katie Black

Adam King

Faye McArthur

Jess Callighan

Kate Cluness

Kayla Hindhaugh

Tahera Begum

Tamzin Cummings

Mun Seow (Yui)

We are now full swing into my first complete year with a full team and I get to teach across all 3 year groups! Every day is different and to cap a brilliant year I was promoted to Senior Lecturer in September! There's not many people who can say they love their job but I really do.. I can't imagine doing anything different!

I work hard to increase the profile of the course and recently I've been running workshops at the Baltic art gallery in Gateshead and I'm on my way to Manchester shortly to attend the Design Your Future event where we hope to entice some new students.

I see it as a real challenge especially as I'm a graduate of the highly successful Fashion Marketing degree at Northumbria University which has been running for over 20 years & my intention is to get the fashion degree at Sunderland on the same level. There was a lot of interest shown at Graduate Fashion Week in London back in June so hopefully the future is bright!

Aside from that I'm still working hard on creating freelance illustrations and my landscape drawings have been shortlisted to be included in a new art gallery in Gateshead.

Here's a few things I've done this year - hopefully a lot more to come!

and a couple of my 'normal' illustrations…

Now….what's the chances of me keeping on top of this blog?!! Watch this space! :)

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

New Years Resolution No.1: Must update my blog more regularly!!

29th Jan 2013:
Right, I’m trying to get this post in before the end of January and, as I have only 3 days and I’m bound to be distracted, I thought I’d better get it done! :/

I missed out posting in December so sorry about that to all my avid blog readers (all one of them – shout out to the follower who goes by numerous names!!!!) but lots happened in December at work and it’s always a busy time for me so it was hard to find the time!! I promise to try harder this year!

So, I survived the chaos that it Xmas… I still refuse to write Christmas as it features the word Christ and I sort of gave up on all that believing stuff after watching our wonderful, funny, bubbly, hilarious neighbour being carried out in a black bag after succumbing to prostate cancer only 6 months after retiring at the age of 66 – sorry to those of you who are religious but give me a reason to believe and I might come back!! Bit of a depressing start... soz!!

December was a crazy month filled with trying to get my 2nd years UCAS applications finished and coming to the end of Semester 1 units. I think it was a successful end to the year in general. All the students get stressed coming up to deadlines and especially summative assessment but they dealt with it relatively well and everyone got their work in on time and we had a great day of games and silliness on the last day of term!!

We had good news for the department again when Sarah Gaw made it to the final of the Clothes Show Live Designer of the Year competition. Emulating the success of Charlotte Wood last year, she beat 55,000 entries to make it to the final 10. We all traipsed down to Birmingham NEC again (in the freezing cold!) to support her. Sadly, she didn’t win but her dress was without doubt the most impressive on the catwalk – not biased at all!! ;)

Sadly, December also brought some tragic news. A very good friend of mine, Mark Bambrick, was killed after being hit by a lorry on the A1 the week before Xmas. We still don’t know the full story as the inquest hasn’t concluded yet but Mark was an amazing friend, he was funny and had time for absolutely everyone he met. He will be sorely missed. RIP Fairy! :(

Xmas Day was a very different affair for me this year. For as long as I can remember it has been spent with more or less the whole family (apart from 2010 when I needed to do something different and spent it in Manchester will some brilliant people!).

My sisters have all got young kids now so it was decided that my folks would come to mine – arrrgggh!! At the grand old age of 41 I was finally going to host my first Xmas!!! I was quite excited at the prospect and in the end there was 6 of us and we had a great day!!

It was slightly weird not being with my sisters but I think it worked out better as I think Xmas can be a very stressful time for a lot of families! I always loved it growing up but the sparkle waned as I grew up as it just seemed like a lot of work. My honest opinion is that there is way too much pressure on people to get things ‘just right’. Really, it’s just another day, but one which you should spend with your loved ones and be able to chill out! I think there was more of an opportunity for us to do that this time round and I was please with how the flat looked… very Xmassy!!! :)

I got some cool presents but the best had to be one I received earlier on in the season; tickets to go and see the stage production of Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds; The New Generation. This always remains close to my heart as I was brought up listening to it as my Dad adored it! The rest of my family were terrified by the music but Dad and I always stuck it on the tape deck on journey’s to see my Grandparents in St Helens! We thought no one else would notice as they were asleep in the back of the car but a voice always piped up ‘Get that off, I’m scared!!’ 

It was truly amazing!

One final thing about Xmas… I really missed my lovely Gran being around but we toasted her and I’ll never forget her! Love you Grandma! xx

Actually, I always like getting Xmas out of the way so that the countdown to New Year begins!! This is without a doubt, my favourite time of year!! It was also my 21st Hogmanay that I would be spending in Edinburgh so it was extra special!!

My avid blog follower(!) accompanied me as part of the Spice group and we had a fantastic time!! I can’t recommend what Jamie of Spice Scotland does more, but he really works hard to ensure everyone has a brilliant time!!

We did so much in a couple of days including the Torchlight Procession on the ‘Night Afore’ – I’m still picking wax off my clothes!

Then on NYE day we went ice skating down in the gardens – laugh a minute and ended up joining in a mass ceilidh session at the Museum of Scotland which was also brilliant!

We had a great meal at Merchants but the concert in the gardens is always the highlight of the trip and this again, didn’t disappoint! The View kicked off the celebrations and then we were treated to an amazing show by Simple Minds who really haven’t lost it!! I was practically hoarse after they belted out Alive and Kicking!!! Well done boys!!

An amazing end to 2012 with the best people!! :)

Unfortunately 2013 hasn’t started off in the best way possible!!

I woke up on New Years Day feeling pretty shocking… it could have been a hangover but I knew I hadn’t gone mad and it felt different!!

It was the start of a nasty virus, which has caused me to be off work since the beginning of the year! I unfortunately missed Mark’s funeral because of it, which was incredibly upsetting but I was really poorly &n ended up calling the paramedics out as I was struggling to breathe!! It turned out I had mild pneumonia so was put on antibiotics! I was well enough to return to work for 2 days but then everything went crazy!!

I woke up one morning and couldn’t see properly, everything was spinning like mad and as soon as I moved my head I was sick! I called my sis in tears as I honestly thought I was having a stroke!

I got to the docs and she immediately diagnosed labyrinthitis!! I think I remember looking at her spinning in front of me, and thinking ‘Right, WTF’s that?’

After a lot of investigation and after a horrendous week of vomiting and severe spinning I became a bit more aware of the condition! Apparently 1 in 6 women between the ages of 30-60 get it but that didn’t help how I was feeling!!!

The first 10 days were just spent trying to stand up straight & stop being sick! The best way I can describe it is if you get up too fast from sitting down and you get that woozy dizzy feeling.. but with labyrinthitis is doesn’t go away!! Very scary!

To cut a long description short, it is basically caused by the initial virus I had and has damaged my inner ear (the labyrinth – nothing to do with David Bowie.. or Emeli Sande!) – it affects balance and coordination and recovery only comes from your brain adapting to the injury. If you want to know more then have a look at this

I’m not one for sitting still so I’ve been incredibly frustrated by it all. It has got me down on a few days, just doing the simplest of tasks, such as showering and walking up stairs was an effort. Also, we have experienced some every heavy snow during this month so because I can’t drive I’ve been trying to get out and about every day and wobbling in the snow has not been easy!!!

One Saturday I decided to head up to the town moor to watch the infamous town moor sledging!

It was great fun although I fell a lot and I lost my lovely 4 month old iphone 5 in the snow! White iphone lost in acres of white snow… needles and haystacks spring to mind! :(

It was an upsetting few days trying to deal with the crappy illness and now needing to sort out insurance and having go back to my archaic Galaxy but all credit to Barclays insurance who had transferred the cost of a replacement phone into my bank account within a week!!! I think I need to chain the new one to me!!

As for my illness, I’m getting better slowly but surely – it’s been a tiring, hard slog and there have been tears of frustration but overall I’m determined to get better and back into a routine asap!

I went for my first drive in 3 weeks yesterday – it was scary and when I got home I was incredibly tense and just burst into tears but it’s the next step in my recovery! I’m still very dizzy especially if I move my head too fast but I’m able to stand with a bit more stability now.

I managed to make it to a good friends’ 30th party at the weekend although I really really missed being able to dance! I can’t wait to get back to normality! This illness has definitely made me realise how much I normally do and I’m not sure I’ll take such things as my hip hop dancing for granted again; I just want to get back to it! And I really really miss my students - I wonder if they miss me as much!!!

So here we are, nearly at the end of January and I’ve spent the majority of it poorly & have managed only 2 days in work all year so far!! I hope to go back to work on Monday but it all depends on what the doctor says! I need to keep my head VERY still when I go back to see her!!

Oh, and as for my freelance work, I’ve been asked to do drawings for the Baftas and Oscars again for the Style and then Some blog which is great news! Another long night of drawing awaits me then but I love it so it’s all good! Can’t believe it’s a year since I did these!

In conclusion, it’s been an interesting festive season with highs and lows so I’m really hoping that the rest of 2013 has a bit more good luck coming my way – I feel it’s long overdue!!

Happy belated New Year everyone! xxx

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Blog of the month (after mine obvs!)

Only 4 weeks to go until I can put my feet up, wear my Santa PJ's and reindeer slippers for 2 weeks and munch on a ridiculous amount of chocolate oranges whilst watching the Wizard of Oz for the 64th time!

But until then, there's a lot of work to get through, and 30 students to get into uni so I'm currently up to my eyes in personal statements and UCAS applications! However, in amongst the craziness it's always good to keep abreast of interesting blogs, mainly about fashion but sometimes about nothing in particular!

Today I've been having a discussion with my 2nd years about interesting quotes which could be used on personal statements. Coco Chanel was rather fluent in saying what she felt although I'm not convinced my students should write 'I don't do fashion, I AM fashion' on their statements as it might come across a slightly over confident!!!

I kind of like 'The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud'

No point in keeping things to yourself girl!

Anyway, it got us talking about Karl Lagerfeld and the fact that I find him quite vulgar at times. He's a genius but can be rude and arrogant, especially about people who might have a bit of extra padding on them (remember Adele-gate?!) but what a lot of people don't realise is that Mr Lagerfeld once used to be a bit of a porker himself!! Oh yes indeedy... Mr Skinny was a perfect advertisement for any fast food chain!

We started looking for pictures of him back in his larger days and came across a rather amusing blog... Tres Dope!

I love the comments and little quotes! They've created a ripple of laughter across the room!!
And yes, I do think he looked happier and more friendly with a bit of extra meat on him!

Having investigated further I find the blog to be quite good overall and especially as I find that my Liam/Noel Gallagher eyebrows, or slugs as my sisters once called them (which I've tried to tame unsuccessfully for many years) are finally back in fashion... It says so right here!!

I'll definitely be following this blog... I kind of just like the title!

Monday, 19 November 2012

1 easy step on how to be forgotten - stop using Facebook!!

It's been a few weeks since I've updated this site. The main reason is because I've been busy with work and having a life but the other reason is because I just haven't been using the internet as much as I was recently and the irony is, this has caused me to have a bit of a rant which I must share... on the internet with my cyber friends.. and people I don't know and will never know!

A curious situation has developed and I'm not sure how I feel about it! It appears that the minute you stop using social networking sites, in particular Facebook, then you are instantly forgotten!

I'm not saying that I've been dumped by every friend I know, that would be tragic but I certainly feel as if I'm being shunned in some way; and what is worse, I feel like I have no idea what's going on in the world, but the truth is; I just don't know what's going on on Facebook and because of that I feel like I've been shut in a very dark room!

It's not that long ago when there were no such things as mobile phones and we had to telephone people from our house to arrange to meet up.. who uses house phones anymore?!! I have one, I know I still have one as I checked the other day and I found it under a pile of magazines and dust. It's more like an ornament than a useful form of communication.

The last time a friend rang me on it was probably December 2011, but only because she'd lost my mobile number. It still rings on a daily basis but the person at the other end of the phone is automated and is rambling on about PPI claims or something! It doesn't exactly make you feel wanted when they don't answer you back and keep interrupting you... how rude!

I used to meet friends at Greys Monument in Newcastle on a Saturday to go shopping. We would arrange to meet up a day or two before but if one of us was held up there would be no way of telling the other person. They would just have to wait, and perhaps after 2 hours you would presume your friend wasn't coming.... OR, you would use a telephone box!!! I remember those as well! You would shut yourself in the tiniest enclosed space, struggle to hunt through your bag for your address/telephone book & phone your friend to see if they were on their way!

Aw, I lament the demise of the address/telephone book!

In all seriousness, who, can honestly 100% say they know the telephone number of anyone else other than their parents off by heart?!!! I don't!!!! Actually, I think I still remember the number of an ex boyfriend but only because it was seared into my memory so I could filter his calls when he started stalking me after I broke up with him!!!! Hmmmm, that still makes me shudder!!

We rely so heavily on our mobile phones! I never realised how much until mine was stolen in an Edinburgh nightclub once and I felt like I'd lost my right arm! I couldn't even call my housemate as I didn't know my own home phone number off by heart as I would just go straight to speed dial 'Edinburgh flat' on my mobile, without a 2nd glance at the number!!!

It gave me a wake up call and I now save everyone's number in a folder in my e-mail account. But then again, what would happen if my e-mail account failed?!!!! I think I'm going to have to hunt for my old address/telephone book!

I'm trying to remember the days before Facebook! Again, it's like we're talking 100 years ago, but it wasn't... it was only 5 years ago!!!! 5 years, that's all!!!!

Who remembers MySpace... the most popular social networking site before FB took over?! I remember being convinced by some students that MySpace was so cool.. I just had to join!
I did and admittedly, I found it quite fun! It also got me back into contact with a friend I had lost touch with years before so it definitely had its advantages... but I don't remember needing to go on it 24/7's! I still rang friends and e-mailed them, oh, and I still wrote letters too!!!!

And so, in 2007 the world of Facebook was introduced to me!
I can barely remember the original FB site but it was a lot less complicated than it is now! I remember uploading pictures and coming across schoolfriends who I had always wondered what had happened to them & it was fun finding out!

My first feeling of unease & my first indication that Facebook came with disadvantages was when people that I had lost contact with for a reason i.e. I didn't like them, got in contact with me!!!!

Why would the girl who bullied me at school want to contact me?!!! I mean, really?!!!

The second sign was Christmas 2008. I always sent Christmas cards! In my busiest year I sent 80 cards... I did question sending one to the Great Aunt of my ex boyfriend when I was 21 who probably died in 1996 but her address was in my address book & I didn't want to miss anyone out!

Admittedly I never received 80 christmas cards in return but I always received something in the region of 40-50 and my mantelpiece and windowsills were full of festive greetings.

And then in Christmas 2008 I received my first 'virtual' Christmas card... via Facebook!
It was a waving Christmas pudding with suspicious evil eyes if I remember rightly! Not long after I received another virtual Christmas card, and then another!

Whilst I was furiously writing my 28th real life Christmas card and complaining about getting repetivive strain injury, or the ink of my sparkly silver pen kept running out, Facebook kept delivering these virtual cards! I even got one from someone I'd never heard of... ever! Weird!

I spent £25 on 2nd class stamps that Christmas, but I felt safe in the knowledge that I would receive lots of lovely cards and letters from friends and family telling me the news of the previous year.

But no, that Christmas I received less than 20 'real' Christmas cards!!!!
I put it down to the fact that I had just moved house the year before and perhaps, I hadn't let everyone know my new address, so that Christmas I made sure that my address was on the back of every envelope of every card I sent!

But in Christmas 2009 I received only 15 real life Christmas cards, and over 40 virtual Christmas greetings via Facebook!!

We joke about the fact that the internet, and Facebook inparticular, is taking over the World, but in all seriousness it could actually be stopping people having a connection with the real world and actually hinder communication skills of the younger generation!

I teach 16-18yr olds who can barely imagine what it must have been like without Facebook and Twitter and Bebo. My students can't understand how I possibly managed to complete 2 degrees without the internet to help me. It's inconceivable to them!

They arrange to meet up for break after sessions by Facebooking each other. Their mobile phones are surgically attached to their right hands and if they lose their phone there is all out panic! There would be less panic if the college had been set on fire... as long as their phones are safe then stuff the college burning down!!

Don't get me wrong, I am not anti social networking, I think social networking can be incredibly useful especially with getting freelance work (I got my hen drawing work through FB); I have a very active FB account with 900+ friends (the difference between me and my students is that I've actually met those 900+ people at some point in my life whereas my students have 1000+ 'friends' and have probably only ever met 20 of them in real life!). I also have a Twitter account and I think my MySpace page is still there in cyberspace somewhere but it has come to light recently that just because I've decided to have a bit of a Facebook/Twitter/general internet sabbatical I am actually being shunned!!!

I feel forgotten!!

I'm going to Centerparcs for a weekend away with old friends in a few weeks and when I texted one of them to find out what the plan was for the lodge gang, she told me that everything was on FB... a 'page' had been created especially!

Yes, I agree, it's so easy in one click to access everything you ever wanted to know about anything but what if you don't want to spend your days on a computer?!

I haven't come off Facebook for any specific reason other than over the summer holidays I felt that I was wasting literally hours sat in front on my computer. I was still sat in my PJ's at midday on some days been on the internet for 3 hours!! It was starting to stress me out at how much time I was wasting online when I could have done so much useful stuff, even going for a long walk!

I was also starting to become a bit sick of reading about what people had had for breakfast, or how tired they were, or how annoyed they were that Rylan (who?!!!) had got through to the judges houses on X Factor (apparently he's still in... apparently!)

It made me realise that just last year I was in very real danger of becoming one of those people who based their daily routine around what time X Factor Strictly Come I'm a Celebrity Big Brother was on TV and 'I must update my status to tell everyone that I am sat in my front room drinking wine and eating popcorn whilst watching X Factor & I hope I get at least 6 'likes' for writing that otherwise I will look unpopular'

I managed to step away from the computer before it happened but I could have been a goner!!

It's been a few weeks since I've been regularly surfing the net and I was kind of thinking it would make me feel free and alive, but instead it's made me feel a bit uneasy and it also occurred to me that some people might actually think that I don't care about them because of my lack of FB interaction!!

The other day I popped on just to check my messages (a lot of ex students ask me for advice and reference requests via FB so I can't really come off altogether) and I noticed that I'd been invited to 2 birthday parties!!! The only invite I had was via FB. I definitely hadn't received an e mail or text... or a real life birthday party invitation via the post.... (AWW, I miss the real life birthday party invitations!!!)

So, if I hadn't gone on FB I would NEVER have known about these parties and if I hadn't replied my friends might think I was just being incredibly rude and then they may never invite me to anything ever again!!!! A scary thought!!

It leaves me in a bit of a dilemma. I don't really miss Facebook. I don't miss the constant updating of peoples daily routine (why does no one ever post 'today I got up, did a skydive for charity, came home to find my home taken over by hooded terrorists, was bundled into a car and driven across Europe, escaped down a mine shaft and swam across the English Channel making it back home in time for The Big Bang Theory,)....  but I do miss not feeling part of the in crowd!

I feel like there's only one thing for it. I'm going to have to go on Facebook and update my status to say -

'If anyone needs me, wants to invite me to anything, wants to talk to me,  just wants to remember who I am or just generally cares about me then please call. You have my mobile number.... and if you think you don't, you probably do. It's the same number I had in 2006 (before FB) and it will probably be in your address/telephone book which is probably in your bedside table under a load of old Christmas cards from me! Thanks now!'

Four reasons to avoid social networking

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Untouchable - the must see film of the year!

It's not often that a film moves me to tears, or makes me almost stop breathing but that's exactly the affect 'Untouchable' had on me so I felt I had to share my thoughts on this little gem of a film with others!

I quite like going to see films that I know nothing about previously.. I don't read reviews of write ups as I like to make my own informed unbiased opinion, and so, although I think I'd heard of the name of the film I knew absolutely nothing about it!

In the opening scenes I thought it was possibly going to be a gangster type movie with car chases, it also surprised me that it was a French film with subtitles. It doesn't bother me but I did think it might become all deep and meaningless!

For the next couple of hours though I was drawn into the world of 2 people who were so different yet they shared a friendship that is rare to find. This was interjected with laugh out loud funny moments, amazing music (70's disco... Earth Wind and Fire... my favourite!!) and moments where I just wanted to let out a big sob!

In the words of the IMDb website this film is based on 'The true story of a wealthy, physically disabled risk taker, the picture of established French nobility, who lost his wife in an accident and whose world is turned upside down when he hires a young, good-humoured, black Muslim ex-con as his caretaker. Their bond proves the power and omniscience that love and friendship can hold over all social and economic differences.'

Directed by Eric Toledano, Olivier Nakache and with the main characters played by 
Omar Sy & Francois Cluzet, it is a beautifully depicted film which to me, sums up the whole phrase 'don't judge a book by its cover'.

I don't want to give too much away as I really think it has to be seen to appreciate it fully but I was lost in a little bubble for the whole duration of the film, and tears were pouring down my face by the end!

I agree with the Guardian review 'For once, the hype is justified. This is a charming, uplifting French drama – an irreverent, humorous take on disability, closely drawn from real-life.'

You can watch an interview with the directors here. I also have to post two songs which are so very different but which I love equally. The first one here is the piano soundtrack when you needed no words, it summed up the emotions perfectly. The 2nd one is one of my all time fave disco tunes and I love it even more now.... get your boogie shoes on when listening to this!! Woohoo!!

This is SUCH a feelgood film... I want to go and see it again and again... so I think I will.. and then get the DVD and watch it again and again... and get the soundtrack too!!!

Friday, 5 October 2012

The new generation of Illustrators

So, my 1st years are about to start the 6th week of their course and they appear to be settling in very well! There are a few 'wobblers' as we call them, but I've started individual tutorials to ensure that they're as happy as they can be!

This week they all had to do a Powerpoint presentation to me on 5 digital artists of their choice... why they picked them and what they like about their work!

It's scary and I do feel for them. I remember having to stand up at uni and do a design presentation in front of the class and feeling like I was going to faint; but then I remember having to present a range to 150 buyers when I was working in industry & that practically sent me over the edge, so I do know, the more I get my students to talk in front of people, the more confident they will become!

What stood out more than anything is the amount of new illustrators who are coming out of the woodwork and a lot of them are either newly graduated or still students!

In the past my students have always talked about digital illustrators that I am very aware of, the usual suspects... Jason Brooks, Sandra Suy, Alberto Seveso etc. etc. but I am finding that there are a number of names being mentioned that I haven't heard of so I have started my own investigation!

I do feel that it can be a lot easier to be good at illustration in the digital age as software packages such as Photoshop and Illustrator can do so much now, however, I am also a staunch believer that you have to have a good understanding of the human figure to be able to convince people that you are a good fashion illustrator!

We started fashion illustration this morning and I was proud of what my students achieved in a relatively short time using the 9 heads technique!

So, getting back to these new illustrators there were a number that stood out to me. I have already mentioned Mustafa Soydan in a previous post! He appears to be an elusive character, there's not a lot of information available on him but his work is stunning! I'd like to see him work with just a pencil though and see what he achieves without his tablet and pen!

There were a number of Dutch & German artists in the mix including Anna Bours who mixes traditional with digital techniques. I love the quirkiness of her drawings and how she stylises them with patterns and colour!

Annabelle Verhoye produces very simple yet striking drawings which are full of colour.

Hilla Hryniszyn is another illustrator who produces some beautiful digital work based on traditional drawings. Just gorgeous!!!

I think, in conclusion it has certainly not only made my students more aware of what's out there and the different techniques that are used, but it has opened my eyes to how stunningly talented these new illustrators are and it makes me want to try even harder to better my own work.

After all, if we give up trying to improve then we become boring! I may have done my degree many moons ago, and regardless of me being the teacher, I never stop learning myself!

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Only 93 days until Christmas!!!!!

So, it's been a while since I've been able to blog simply because every day seems to have merged very quickly into one!!

A bit of an update on the previous blog and the exciting news is that I did become an Auntie again to the gorgeous Charlie Clarke who was born on 14th August. I met him a few days later and he is just amazing. He'll definitely be a heartbreaker... a dark haired stunner!

We had some very sad news in the family as well though. My lovely 92yr old Grandma passed away on 4th September after a very short illness. We miss her a lot but it's her funeral on Monday and I will be doing a reading which I hope will be a fitting tribute to a wonderful woman. The poem is called 'She's Gone' and was read at the Queen Mother's funeral. RIP Grandma! :(

It has been nearly 5 weeks since I returned to work from a fantastic summer break and 3 weeks since the students started and it's flying by! I can't believe half term will be upon us soon!

We appear to have some lovely 1st years and some very motivated returning 2nd years. So far, so good.... :)

Outside of my daytime job I've been desperately trying to keep on top of my own personal work which is proving difficult as the day job is so time consuming... it ain't easy keeping abreast of 72 16-18yr olds even thought I wouldn't have it any other way!!

I started doing some illustrations again and my work has been featured in a North East magazine called Etc. which is great! I still get an amazing tingly feeling when my work is published! It doesn't seem like it's my stuff at times but I'm loving the fact that I can do this outside of work.

Because of the work that I did, the editor of the magazine came down to work to interview me about my background and how I got into doing what I do! I guess I never quite imagined that I would be doing what I'm doing now when I entered the world of fashion at college when I was 16. Lots of people don't survive in the industry. It's a tough one, but I was determined and I'm proud of what I've achieved! I really don't think I'd change what I do at all. I have been so lucky! :)

I also got my work published in the Tallulah Times, the magazine which was launched in Paris to promote Tallulah Love, the beautiful lingerie range created by my beautiful fellow Northumbria graduate, Michelle Taylor!! She's a true inspiration!

I am trying to do a few more drawings in my spare time and have gone back to doing pencil drawings, particularly faces! I have no idea what it is about faces that I like so much.... but I LOVE drawing eyes, they are definitely the windows to the soul... haha!

Etc. magazine have been back in touch as they want me to do a feature on Winter fashion also! It's all happening & I'm loving being involved!

So, within the CCAD camp it's extremely busy and I'm getting very involved in researching stuff for the students to look at. Within the computer unit we are currently looking at digital artists and we had a very interesting discussion the other day about how you can tell if something has been digitally manipulated or not. I felt quite strongly that it was quite easy to tell and then I came across the work of a fashion illustrator called Mustafa Soydan.

He has blown my theory out of the water!

I was convinced that his work was done by hand.. beautiful pencil illustrations... and I told my 1st years this. And then I went onto his website... and found that he does it on a computer!!!!!
I was flabbergasted!!

It doesn't detract from the fact that he is amazingly talented. I adore his work... it's stunning, but it changes everything about what is digital and what is traditional. I have yet to find out what program he uses but here he is drawing Rachel Weisz..... just unbelievable!!

It is my mission to find out what program he uses... and then I might have a go myself!

Right, that's enough waffling for now... I might go and start my Xmas shopping list!! :) xx