Definitelyjenny Loves: Alex Tait

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Hello everyone! I haven’t done one of these illustrator’s spotlights in a while, so I decided it was high time I corrected that. Today’s spotlight is dedicated to a fellow graduate of my University, Alex Tait. (He was in a couple of years above me). This guy is the master of vector art, with brilliant, eye-popping colour combinations that really want to make you look at all the finer details.

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Whilst I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting him personally, I was at his graduation show and instantly fell in love with his work. His Final Major Project, Solimoes, was a very nicely produced and illustrated book looking at the life of explorer and biologist Henry Walter Bates. It is honestly one of the best Final Major Projects I have ever seen produced.

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It was strange, surreal but fun and accessible too. At the moment I believe Tait is signed up with Jelly London – a fantastic agency which mainly deals with illustrators and animators. So, that’s it for now I’m afraid, if you would like to see more of his work please visit his site:

http://www.alexjohntait.com/

Till next time!

 

DefinitelyJenny Loves: ELCAF 2016

Elcaf-2016Hello everyone! So, I’ve finally had a bit of time to write about this year’s ELCAF (East London Comics and Arts Festival). For those of you that are new to the blog, I’ve attended the event previously as a buyer and have written about it here and here. However this time I’ve had the pleasure of attending as a seller, so a completely new experience! This would be my first stall selling my own stuff, so me being a nervous wreck is an understatement. Thankfully, my lovely other half came with me for (much needed) moral support and I got great advice from Dilraj Mann who instantly put me at ease. So what stuff did I sell? I had zines, prints, patches, the lot, but don’t take my word for it, here’s a couple of photos:

12It was so lovely to meet and chat with people, both fellow sellers and buyers. As usual, the festival was brimming with life, which was fantastic, the small downside was that I didn’t get many chances to have a look around as much as I would have liked. However my other half managed to take some pretty good shots of the festival.

546This year ELCAF was set in the beautiful Round Chapel in Hackney, which I personally think is their best location yet, although I did feel it was a bit more out of the way compared with the previous places. (That might just be me not being a East Londoner though.) I love the pews over looking the stalls, and even managed to sneak away and sit there for a bit admiring the view. Later on during the day I had the pleasure of meeting Emile (a.k.a BloodBros) who visited my stall and we got on like a house on fire. There was free booze, lovely people, great illustration, so overall a brilliant experience. I did learn a few lessons, so for anyone looking to do this sort of thing, heed my words: One, however many business cards you think you’ll need, add more. I thought I brought enough but my cards went like hotcakes and I ran out a hour or so before ELCAF finished. Two, bring swapsies. I know it’s a stereotype, but us illustrators are tight in the financial department, so what do you do when you’re surrounded by amazing illustrators? Swap stuff! Unfortunately I was ill-prepared in this department and settled for giving out some rings.

3Well, that about sums it up, I hope you’ve enjoyed reading! I’ve got so many people to thank including those who came and brought stuff off me, it honestly means the world. I’ll try not to make the rest sound too much like a long-winded Oscar acceptance speech, but…

A big shout out to my table neighbour, Takayo Akiyama who is amazing and shared a comic/zine about pooping with me (what more could you ask for?), Bethany, Mark and Tabitha for visiting me, the lovely people at ELCAF who work so hard every year and of course my other half for everything.

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Oh and last but not least, what would a post about ELCAF be without a shameless hoard photo? (Well, sorta, didn’t have time to buy anything but business cards count, right? Right?!)

Updates, updates everywhere!

Hello everyone! Many things are happening over at DefinitelyJenny Inc., so I thought I might give you an update on what’s what:

  1. Updated Etsy Shop 

    As the post says, I have been pouring in the hours to fix up my shop and I’ve finally got to a point where I can happily ‘re-open’. To celebrate, I’m giving out coupons for free shipping on all items, just use the code: FREESHIP01 at the checkout. Hope you have a gander, I’m a firm believer in supporting independent stores and every purchase helps the little guys.😉

  2. ELCAF 2016 

    As with every year I do a write up on one of my favourite summer events, ELCAF as a visitor. However, this time I was lucky enough to be on the selling side, so I’m currently in the midst of writing up how it went down, so a blog post on that should be appearing soon! Here’s a sneaky peak photo of my table for the meanwhile:Elcaf-2016

  3. Blog Maintenance (Bleugh) 

    This blog is has been here for a while and as such there are many photos/images which no longer exist, or are now broken links. I am slowly, but surely going through them and sorting it out!  If you spot anything array, don’t hesitate to leave a comment.

  4. New Short Comic 

    I have managed to squeeze out a new short comic! After my first comic, The Ivory Dragon’  I really wanted to do another one. After some pondering and encouraging words from a follower, I created ‘Legacy’, a comic about a couple of space-faring dogs which stumble across an old science museum. As hinted by the title, the main themes are the past and what we leave behind for the future. There could also be another exciting announcement with the comic, depending on certain circumstances, but I won’t spoil it for now…Here’s a sneak peak at the comic though!cmdnkj8xeae0b7f
    So, that’s just an overview of what’s been happening over the month, many thanks as always for sticking by and hopefully you’ll be hearing more from me soon!

Tips if you’re going to ELCAF 2016

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Hello everyone! So, if you didn’t know already I’m glad to be announcing that I will be exhibiting at this year’s ELCAF on Sunday 12th June. For those that don’t know I’ve been attending as a buyer for the last 2 years and have written about the event here and here. Now tickets and passes are available to buy online, so if you haven’t already pop to the ELCAF site and get some tickets!

Now that you’ve got you tickets, what next? Well, I thought it might be handy to give some informal tips to help your experience of ELCAF that much more engaging. Whilst I will be referring to ELCAF mostly, all these tips can be extrapolated to other conventions or trade type shows as they are all similar in their format. So, without further ado, some tips!

  1. Bring cash (and plenty of it).

    Ok, so I know this may be a bug bear for a lot of buyers, or a bit of a surprise for newcomers, but a lot of vendors will not be able to take cards. This always leaves that pool of people queuing around the cash points/machines and no one wants to stand around all day when there are stalls to get to!

    The truth is most vendors are a one man/woman band, whose main price points never really exceed £25 per item. This makes purchasing by card an unattractive proposition as card companies will take commission on EVERY transaction, which eats away at the already small margins. Plus, you’d be surprised at how much a portable card machine costs just on its own! Bigger companies that will have higher price points will likely have card machines, so you can bring your card still if you want. To put it simply, I always brought a set amount of cash with me, that way I never spent ages queuing for more and it leads me nicely into my next tip…

  2. Set a budget. 

    If you have a bottomless pit of cash then this really need not apply to you, but make sure you come to my stall but I’m under no illusion that most people want to stick to some sort of budget whilst still supporting independent sellers. This is totally fine and sort of goes hand in hand with my previous tip. If you only have say, £70 in cash and avoid using the card, you’re more likely to keep to using the cash only as you’ll see physically how much you’ve spent. (I’m sure there’s a super science research paper on this somewhere.) You’ll feel better for it because you haven’t overspent, whilst still supporting the community, winner.

  3. Bring you own bag. 

    Similar thing to the 1st tip in that you’d be surprised how much a stack of plastic bags can add to the cost on a small time vendor, so most will just have small paper bags not too dissimilar to sweet bags. (Also sometimes vendors just ahem, overlook these kind of things, ahem, totally not speaking from experience.) When you’re carrying a stack of books/comics/badges/freebies etc. you will run out of hands and pockets fast. I find that a canvas tote or rucksack works really well and as a bonus you’d be saving the environment from more plastic bags.🙂

  4. Talk to vendors. 

    So I know due to the nature of comics/illustration the community is filled with varying degrees of fantastic, socially awkward introverted people, stumbling through life, but honestly talking to vendors is so rewarding for both parties. Being on the selling side (from other markets) I felt people really enjoy and get something out of my work, something in which I think all creators strive for. As a buyer, you feel part of the community and learn more about your favourite vendors, I loved meeting people I admired as well as learning about new favourites! Maybe I’ll be hot, sweaty and tired, with my voice withering away from over speaking, but you can be sure I’ll be smiling all the way.

  5. Follow them on social media. 

    This is a great community to get into, I’ve met so many lovely people through these channels and it’s a great way to connect. On a more practical side, some vendors will post deals or discounts for there stall, exclusive to their followers, so you might be able to grab a bargain.

  6. Don’t forget the other events! 

    Sometimes, amidst all the excitement of visiting the stalls, people forget to check up other events/talks that are also happening. There are always some great, but overlooked extras that are really worth going. For example, last year’s Pick Me Up I went to a Riso Printing workshop hosted by the lovely people at Hato Press. I was the ONLY person attending, great for me because I literally had the printer and advice all to myself. You just never know…This year’s ELCAF has so many good ones, some of my personal favourites which I’m hoping to attend is Vincent Mahe’s (one of my all time heroes!), Katsumi Komagata – One Makes Two and Emily Rand’s .

    So, that’s it for now, hope you liked my tips or found them helpful. Have you got any of your own tips or advice you’d like to share? Feel free to comment below! I’m looking forward to exhibiting and I hope you’ll pop in to say hi on Sunday. Until next time! (I’ll try an make it sooner than a month and a half, eek.)

DefinitelyJenny Loves: Stephen Collins

lo_res_for_websiteHello everyone! It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these and what better way to start than with some Stephen Collins. Collins is an illustrator and cartoonist based in Hertfordshire; whilst he has created work for a number of different clients such as Pimm’s and American Airlines, I fell in love with his work through his Guardian comic strips.

secondary_centre_lo_resCollins has a great way of balancing textures, colours and white space to create really nice images. However, it is his wry sense of humour and his ability to capture people is what I love about his work. Little interactions and comical expressions pull you into the image and create a fun narrative. The comic strips Collins creates for the Guardian are brilliant at this, most of them centre around poking fun at the modern world and highlighting the strangeness of human life. However, since it is made for the Guardian it does reference a lot of middle-class/slightly left-wing stuff, so it might not appeal to everyone. (Although there are comics which pokes fun of this too.)

If you want a bit more general stuff Collins has also written a graphical novel called ‘The Gigantic Beard that was Evil’ (yes you read that right) and a compilation of comic strips ‘Some Comics’. Both of them are real good laughs, so I totally recommend both. Anyhow, that’s it for now, I’ll leave you with a few of my favourite strips and I’ll see you soon!

All images are taken from Stephen Collins’ website which can be found here.
For more Guardian comic strips by Stephen Collins click here.

 

Extra! Extra!: Fit for Life

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Hello readers, today is another Extra! Extra! segment, whereby I illustrate articles I like on a speculative basis (as in I wasn’t commissioned) or on the odd occasion, my own editorial-esque articles. So far I’ve been playing around with speculative header/feature images, so for this one I thought it might be interesting to create some spot illustrations. For those that might be scratching their heads a bit, a spot illustration is an object or figure that stands on its own, without a background scene. They tend to be used within the article and small in size, unlike a feature/header illustration which usually is more elaborate, bigger, with background and focused on conveying the article’s concept. Anyhow, as always I hope you like; let me know what you think – now onto the article!

Today’s article featured is ‘Fit for Life’, from Winter 2015  Issue 12 of  My VIP in the UK. Note this is only an extract and to my knowledge no full online version exists. 

Why pump iron at the gym when you’ve got a ready-made exercise parnter right there? It’s time to start getting fit with your four-legged friend.

Too tired to go to the gym because you’ve already walked the dog? Too cold and wet outside for that early morning run? Fed up with your training partner cancelling at the last minute? It’s time to get fit with your dog!

A university of Missouri study in 2009 found that people who exercise with their dogs are more likely to stick to their exercise routines because taking the dog out doesn’t feel like exercise. Your pet will never let you down (whatever the weather) and when you exercise together, you’re both guaranteed a great time as well as a good work-out.
Exercising with your pooch also has other health benefits – for example, interacting with your dog raises your endorphin levels, which helps to reduce stress. Who wouldn’t prefer that to a human training partner who spends the whole time moaning about their job, or talks too much and slows you down? Your dog’s happy, can do attitude is much more likely to help quicken the pace and keep going.

Start gently

“Exercising with your dog helps you build up mutual trust, which is essential for a good relationship between pet and owner”, says Steve Goward, deputy head of training and behaviour at Dogs Trust. “Whether you’re out in the field together, or in a community situation, you look to each other for support and fun.”

Steve suggests starting slowly, gradually building up your own fitness and that of your dog, before attempting longer or harder work-outs. For example, try a brisk thirty-minute walkin the countryside, five times a week. Start at a pace that suits you both and gradually increase the seed and distance whenever you think you’re both ready. If you walk fast enough to keep your heart rate up, you’ll get an even more strenous work-out, and your dog gets plenty of time to investigate new smells and territories. But always remember to check for ticks and other parasite when you finish your walk.

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Just for you guys to get a better idea of how spot illustrations are used I created a really rough layout and placed the images in. This by no means is the best way to use them, but it was fun to see what they might look like in a quick preview. So that’s all for now, till next time!

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The Ivory Dragon Short Comic

ELCAF The Ivory Dragon Cover

Just a quick post before I have a few days off, first, I’d like to introduce my first short comic that I finished. Titled ‘The Ivory Dragon’, it follows the story of the Knight and his trusty Squire as they do battle against the ferocious Ivory Dragon. It’s supposed to be a humorous short and whilst I made a lot of mistakes, I also learnt a lot from it as well. I know there are some things which are a bit bleugh (top 3rd panels for example), but overall I’m really happy with how it came out. I’m now moving onto the next short comic, which will hopefully be bigger and better (probably with a ton of different mistakes, ha!), but hey, that’s how we learn and I’ll look forward to sharing it with you when it comes. So, in the meanwhile, check out this one – you can see the full thing here.

In other news, I’m also pleased to announce that I will be in this year’s ELCAF as an exhibitor! For those that don’t know, ELCAF stands for East London Comic Arts Festival and I have written about the event before. However, this time instead of just being just a visitor I will be selling my wares, so, keep an eye out as I’ll be posting more closer to the time.

Till next time!

Extra! Extra!: BAME’s in the Science Industry

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Hello, hello! Today is another Extra! Extra! segment, this is where I illustrate articles I like on a speculative basis (as in I wasn’t commissioned) or on the odd occasion, my own editorial-esque articles. So, first things first, I’ll admit I’m not totally happy with this image, I think I could have been a lot more dynamic in composition. Another side note is that I also posted my own version of the article title as I didn’t like the original. (BAME stands for Blacks And Minority Ethnics if you didn’t know.) Anyhow, I hope you like, as always let me know what you think – now onto the article!

Today’s article featured is ‘Black and Latina Women Scientists Sometimes Mistaken for Janitors’, from The Washington Post, originally posted on February 6th 2015. Note this is only an extract, link for the whole version can be found at the end.

In a series of famous studies designed to gauge at what age stereotypes sink into young minds, elementary school students were asked to draw a scientist. Kindergarteners’ drawings in these Draw-a-Scientist tests were all over the map. But by second grade, one standard image had firmly taken root: A scientist wore a white lab coat and glasses. And he was always a white man.

So it should perhaps come as no surprise that a new report on women of color in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, found that 100 percent of the 60 scientists interviewed reported experiencing bias and discrimination.

So much so that African-American and Latina scientists said they were routinely mistaken for janitors. “I always amuse my friends with my janitor stories,” one black woman scientist said. “But it has happened, not only at weird hours.”

More than three-fourths of the African-American women scientists surveyed – 500 in an online survey in addition to the 60 in-depth interviews – reported having to provide evidence of their competence over and over again. They tend to feel they can’t afford to make a single mistake. And more than women of any other race or ethnicity, black women were more likely to report a sense of “bleak isolation.”

Link to the online version is here.

 

Extra! Extra! : Is Everybody on Something?

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Hello everyone! Today I’m starting a new segment which I dub ‘Extra! Extra!’. This is where I illustrate articles I like on a speculative basis (as in I wasn’t commissioned) or on the odd occasion, my own editorial-esque articles. I will always credit/link if it is someone else’s article, but the illustrations will always be mine. So, I hope you guys like and feel free to let me know what you think!

Today’s article featured is ‘Is Everybody on Something?’, from December 2015 issue of Glamour Magazine in the UK. Note this is only an extract, link for an earlier, online version can be found at the end. 

We [Glamour Magazine] wanted to know where you stand on drugs, so we did an exclusive Glamour Survey. The results? One in three women take drugs recreationally – and are convinced they can do it safely. But is that really possible?

Back in April 2011 Rachel, a PA, woke up in an unfamiliar room. ‘Where the hell am I?’ she wondered. White walls, beeping monitor, IV needle in her wrist. ‘Hospital. But why?’ The 29 year old remembered taking ecstasy with her friend Stacey at the Coachella music festival, waiting an hour for it to kick in, then taking another. She remembered snorting MDMA (the psychoactive ingredient in ecstasy) and some cocaine. And she remembered getting to the hotel, making herself sick, and freaking out that she wasn’t coming down. Then, nothing.

Around 9 A.M., Rachel would later learn, her roommate woke to a terrifying sight: Rachel was foaming at the mouth and having a seizure. By the time Rachel opened her eyes in the hospital, three days had passed. “I’d been in a coma,” she says. “The doctor said I was lucky I didn’t die, which obviously was incredibly scary, but it was also confusing. Yes, I partied. But I didn’t feel like I’d gone on some crazy binge.”

But two doses of ecstasy, MDMA, and coke is a binge, experts say. “Mixing drugs increases your risk of things like panic, overheating and heart problems,” says Dr Adam Winstock, consultant psychiatrist and founder of Global Drugs Survey. “Data from the survey indicates that, last year, about 100 users of drugs such as MDMA had emergency medical treatment. You don’t have to be dependent on a drug to have problems. You can have pretty negative consequences if you use sporadically.”

While Rachel is more cautious now, she still smokes weed and has taken ecstasy, mushrooms and ketamine since then. “I’m tame compared to most people my age—I don’t even drink,” she says. “I’m more responsible; I take a very small amount.”

“Responsible” drug use? Is there such a thing? Many young women believe so: In an exclusive Glamour survey of 1,024 women, that idea came up time and again. 32% of women in our poll say they’ve used street drugs (like pot, ecstasy, and cocaine) or prescription drugs (like Adderall and OxyContin) recreationally. And a quarter of all women believe using drugs is OK, as long as you’re not hurting anyone or developing an addiction.

The picture that emerged is of user who approaches her habit in the same shame-free, matter-of-fact manner she might approach her diet or exercise routine. Women said they Google safety information, have rules about what they’ll consume, and “buy locally” from friends. “This is a huge cultural shift that no one is talking about,” says Dr Joseph Lee, from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation in the US, which runs addiction treatment centres nationwide. “There’s a big pool of women who are educated and have their lives together—and subscribe to the philosophy of better living through chemistry. We’re blind to this group who may not be addicts but who are at risk nonetheless.”

So what are the risks? Why are women ignoring them? We went in search of answers.

Link to the online version is here.

The illustrations that never made it: 

Thought it might be fun to show some of the initial ideas that didn’t make it. The first is a line of women waiting to get into a nightclub, one in three of them was going to be coloured differently, signifying the ‘one in three women take drugs recreationally’ statistic. However I felt the main message of the article wasn’t been shown in there. The second one was a large disco scene, with maybe the disco beams falling on the women, however, again I felt the main message of the article wasn’t being shown and focused to much on the partying aspect.

Pilol sketches

DefinitelyJenny Loves: Lily Jones

Hello, hello! Well, lots of thing to say – first of all I hope every has had a lovely Christmas and a Happy New Year. I was supposed to do a post about my Final Year Exhibition before Christmas came but as a searched and searched for the photos I took for them, to my dismay; it seems I’ve misplaced them. So, until then, I’ll continue onto my first post of the New Year, which is about image-maker Lily Jones!

Lily was a year above me on my university course and I remember going to her 2nd Year Exhibition where I was first introduced to her work. Boy, I was impressed! I loved her distinctive use of the brush pen to create fun, bold typography and her mixed media collage always fit well with the type and composed well. What I liked most in her university projects were her concepts, of which many involved subverting our current perceptions, whether it was fairy tales, the fashion industry or beauty standards. Lily always managed to convey them with a wry sense of humour and intelligence, to put it simply, it was style with substance.

Since graduating Lily has done work for Beyond Retro and Penguin Vintage Books, but I think my favourite will always be ‘The Unhappily Ever Afters‘ and ‘The (Not So) Wonderful Walawats‘ which are an adult’s storybook and children’s book respectively. (Both shown above.) Check out the projects in more detail on her website.

Well, that’s it for now, I hope you enjoyed reading and I’ll see you soon!

All images taken from Lily Jones website which can be found here.

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