Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Assertiveness and Negotiation Skills

Aggressive behaviour- The belief is that your personal rights are more important than those of others.
A tendency for I win/you lose solutions/situations
 A tendency to-
·         manipulate
·         steam roller
·         coerce

Passive Behaviour- The belief is that your personal rights are less important than those of others.
A tendency for you win/I lose solutions/situations.
 A tendency not to influence but to:
·         go along with things/people
·         not object openly
·         say, “I knew that would happen”.

Assertive Behaviour- The belief is that your personal rights are as important as those of others.
a tendency for win/win solutions/situations
 a tendency to influence by:
·         seeing from the other person's viewpoint
·         looking for benefits for all
·         trying to overcome problems.

Assertiveness techniques-
Broken Record- A Request is repeated over and over again until desired response is obtained, or a workable compromise is reached.
Fogging- Training yourself to stay calm in the face of criticism and rob the critics works of their destructive power.
Negative Assertion- Agreeing with parts of criticism that are valid but without getting your self down because of it.

Negotiation tips-
·         Plan carefully for negotiations
·         Prepare targets and fall-back positions
·         Be prepared to compromise
·         Know when to make concessions
·         Be aware of the other party and their body language
·         Know when to put your cards on the table

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Self Promotion Comparison

Illustrator self promotion comparison-

Alexandra Ball has a very simple design to her website showing a few snippets of her work on the first page, linking onto further works divided into categories. It has a very clean and seamless design, the small circles leading onto illustrations with a similar theme and there is a great deal of work.

At first it is a little hard to get through, until you realise you can click on the circles and then more of them to show more works. There are very short descriptions of her pieces that give enough information without presenting a large wall of text, which makes it easier to digest.
There is an about section, titles info which gives personal details, qualifications and a short description of how she makes her illustrations. The small illustration of her expresses her personality as a bubbly and sweet person.
She doesn’t seem to have a great list of clients, and allot of her work seems personal from what you can read in the little descriptions. But it does show that she has done alot of work, for a wide variety of things from book illustrations [for her own stories to unofficial artwork for other stories] to card illustrations. However it is rather unclear whether any of the pieces have been used in a professional context.
There is a blog which is linked to the first circle on the home page [‘Today’] which isnt clearly labelled. The blog consists of what seems to be personal work and random ideas, which show off her creativity and imagination, but also shows she seems to work in quite sporadic periods, often not updating for months.
The commission section on the homepage simply details how to contact her through her agent Illustration Ltd. There isn’t a direct contact form or a personal one and no links to facebook or twitter etc.
Overall its a good website and presents her work well, but I feel she could explain a little more about how to commission and what she has been commissioned for to give a better idea of whether she’s the right illustrator to work for you. There’s a great deal of work that shows of her style well and its fairly user friendly.

In stark contrast to Alenxrandra Ball’s website, Jeremy Love’s is extremely slick, modern and dark. It presents a very user friendly interface with a simple menu and update section of the front page. The gallery and bio links are easily seen and accessible aswell as contact and resume.
In the gallery section there is a Professional work section which consists of freelance work and mostly game artwork, and a personal work section with illustrations and sketchbook work. The images do take a little while to load up, but that’s due to them being at a high resolution and a fairly big scale so the details can be properly viewed. The gallery is full on concept work for games and shows of his imagination and skills as an artist.
The bio section consists of a large wall of text and a kiwi [he’s from new Zealand] , it’s all very factual and not basically telling a short biography which although is informative, isn’t very exciting.  It does show that he has worked on a variety of projects, working on the third Narnia film, working as a signwriter and graphic artist for 10 years, and currently working with THQ studios. There isnt any client testimonials but there is a clear selection of big projects he has worked on, giving a good idea of what he would work on.
The contact page is very minimal and consists of ‘enquiries email’ and ‘chat’ email, which presents him as an approachable person and suggest he works for himself. He is contactable by email but there is no phone number or any other details or explanation of the exact process of commissioning, which may put new clients off.
I do like his website and think it is very slick and professional, but it does present him to be very professional himself which may put off new clients. Its a little easier to navigate than Alexandra Ball’s but dosen’t present that light heartedness and idea of his personality.

Timothy banks website seems to have it all, and appears to promote himself really well from it. The site is clean and organized well showing off his art, projects and sketch videos in an easily digestible way. It has a unique scrapbook feel with lots of links and looks very easy on the eye. The large illustrations and bright colours make it approachable to most audiences.
There’s a few galleries, a portfolio and a few specialised galleries featuring work from his personal projects. The images load quickly and are presented cleanly, some with descriptions and some without, making it easy to read but sometimes leaving out titles and descriptions can make a few illustrations get lost.
His ‘about’ page is written from someone else view, which dosent give the personal touch, but there is a lot of information there including a quick bio on his life and also a client list and awards he has gained. The client list is impressive, from Nike to Cartoon Network and the few awards he has one don’t seem as impressive but still show him as a recognized illustrator.
He has a very interesting blog on the site too, that shows works in progress and development of projects. IT gives a good insight into how he works and ideas generation and although not updated too regularly, it’s still good to see how he thinks through ideas and a rough scale of how long he takes to produce work.
His contact page is the most useful of all the sites and it includes a contact form for easy communication and it also has a direct email address and easy access to his portfolio. Also on the front page has links to his Facebook fan page, Flickr and twitter which makes him really easy to follow and contact on unofficial business.
Overall its a really good website, and has all the good things of the other two sites and more. It presents him as a really successful illustrator, but the ease of contact make him seem more approachable to clients, unlike Jeremy Love.

What about me?
Taking upon all the good points of all of these websites will give me a good chance of self promotion, and at the moment I promote myself through a personal blog and that seems to suit me fine at the moment.
If I had clients and other illustrations work beside my persona l stuff, maybe a website would be better, and enable me to present all my works clearly without having to scroll through a blog. Its important to make whatever I do, user friendly and present me as an approachable illustrator to potential clients.

I Love Google

Its really lovely when you type 'Toby Allen Illustration/Illustrator' into google...
 and I pop up! WOOP!
Im famous!!! [Well on google I am]

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

In 5 years time...

I'd originally done one with me as a teacher, but im unsure thats what i want to do anymore so I went for something more generic. Its basically me at the moment, but with proper commissions for book illustrations and maybe even some vinyl toys or something depending on how the Toy Making module goes for Complimentary Studies. 
I did it in a more mature painterly style, to suggest how my style might evolve in a few years time.. I dont have the patience to do something in this style at the moment... Takes far too long! 

Skills and Pros and Cons

Examples of transferable skills, and skills essential for working successfully-
  • Communication
  • Organisation
  • Time Management
  • Teamwork
  • Patience
  • Felixibility
  • Determination
  • Practical Skills and Knowledge
  • Responsibility
  • Ability to follow instructions
  • Interpersonal Communication [Thinking of others around you]

Pros and Cons of possible future careers-

Games Designer/Concept Artist-
  1. Prolific area of work, ie. a wide range of jobs.
  2. Good financial opportunities
  3. Incorporates a range of skills, from animation to 3d modeling.
  1. Can be very technical and time consuming.
  2. Constantly updating software.
  3. Not much exposure for individuals. [Can get lost amoungst a big corporation]
Freelance Illustrator-
  1. Allows yourself to take on a wide range of work
  2. Can be very rewarding.
  3. Work on projects you feel comfortable with. 
  1. Have to be very self motivated.
  2. Working on your own dosent suit everyone.
  3. Can be hard to get yourself known.
Art Lecturer/Teacher-
  1. Rewarding area of work
  2. Work in school hours ands school year, so can be good if you have a family.
  3. Dynamic and changing work, dealing with different things everyday. [Could be exciting]
  1. Could be quite stressful, and have to put in alot of work.
  2. Depending on age of students, can be difficult to work with.
  3. Big responsibilities. 

Self Promotion strategies

All the different kinds of Self Promotion out there...

Self Promotions Pros and Cons

Blogs/Twitter etc
  • Quick and easy, anyone can set one up
  • Can put up a new post in seconds
  • Can be viewed by most people [with an internet connection]
  • Mobile devices ever more compatible with such services to make it even easier to view/post
  • Blogs can be easily modified to show off creativity and personality
  • Twitter can be used for instant broadcasting to a wide audience
  • Its FREE!
  • Blogs can only be commented upon/followed if you are a member [Same for Facebook and DeviantART]
  • Can be hard to get noticed
  • Its hard to find the real person [many copy cats out there, particularly on twitter]
  • Not accessible to people with no internet, successfulness of the blog etc depends on target audience
  • Self censorship, have to be careful what you say/post sometimes
  • Susceptible to 'Trolls', people who just post random rubbish and spam
Business Cards
  • Small and formal 
  • Can come in many different forms
  • Fairly Cheap to buy in bulk
  • Can make them however you like
  • Something tangible that the client can keep hold of for future offers
  • Can be easily distributed
  • If you've got no money at all, then its not easy to print them
  • Can easily be thrown away
  • Depends on client/audience whether its a successful way to promote [young kids aren't likely to hold on to them for long]
Sticker Bombing
  • Depending on audience, It can be a quick and fairly cheap way to promote
  • Instant inpact, will get message across quickly
  • Generally frowned upon, if not illegal
  • Stickers size limits information
  • Susceptible to weather conditions... eg. Rain
  • Wont work for everyone
  • Much like business cards, easily distributed
  • Bigger then said cards, so more information can be communicated
  • Allot of people collect postcards 
  • People may be more likely to spend a little money on a postcard beachwear they could be seen as small prints
  • Fairly Cheap, depends on paper quality which may affect its successfulness
  • Could be found everywhere, shop windows, art fairs etc.
  • Not everyone's cup of tea
  • Easily thrown away
  • Still not much space to put information, have to be sensible what image to use as it may be all the potential client will see of your work
  • Free postcards are great, but charge for them and it may not be as successful
  • Can be expensive, depends on paper etc.
  • Big competitions can give great coverage and promotion, but do have to be prepared to put in the work
  • There is always a competition running somewhere
  • Cash prizes are always great
  • Other prizes can really boost career and aid production of art [eg, art materials]
  • National recognition, depending on competition
  • You don't always win [obviously]
  • Some competitions can put an extra workload ontop of current uni work/illustration work
  • Have to be very self motivated

Possible work placement

We got told about this in our emails and in our contextual seminar-

'The Book Project at College Road Primary School.

We are currently creating a book about the area they live in, not in a stuff history book way, but more of a by kids for kids annual style book.

We want it to be bright, funky and very image based. As part of the book we will be writing a comicsection in which a character goes back in time and goes on an adventure(sneaking some history in).

The children will write the comics and roughly draw them but we need someone to properly draw theartwork for the book.

We are looking to work with someone who would be willing to come into the school and work with a bunchof wild 8-9 year olds?!'

This is really exciting prospect, and Id love to be a part of it. Im still unsure where I want to go in my future, so some proper experience in the field of education and art based work for a client will be really valuable and help me to evaluate my aims.
However, I dont feel confident enough to take on something like this at the moment, Im very new to Plymouth so going on my own to a school Ive never seen before Is very scary and not something I feel capable of doing just yet.
It is a real shame, and a great opportunity as book illustration is something else that I find really exciting. It would be easier for me to get work experience in a school nearer to me or at the one my mum works at, If i still think thats an area I want to explore for my future. 

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Treasure Island Animation

Ive spent my weekend making 9 characters from Treasure Island using Super Sculpey.
The characters all have separate heads and arms [attached with blu tak] so that they can be put into various positions. They'll be used at my mum's school Bishop Bronescombe in Cornwall, and the kids in class 9 will make a little animation of Treasure Island using my models.
I was asked by the teacher and my mum [who works as a HL Teaching Assistant] to make the models and only have the weekend to do it, so they're not as clean or amazing as I would like. But nevertheless, Im rather proud of them, considering I made all 9 of them in such a short time.
If I had more time, I'd had like to of made little joints in the arms and legs to make them more posable and sturdy, but alas I couldn't.
The finished animation will be shown at the local White River Cinema in St.Austell Town centre on 28th March at a little film festival the school is running.
Hopefully Ill get a copy of the animation.. Shame I cant go an see it [and all the little films the classes are making].. I have uni on that monday...

A few poor quality photos...

Lets Reflect..

Mel sent some questions before Reading Week for us to think about and put on our blogs. 

How am I progressing? 
I think in terms of the course in progressing well. I have achieved grades of 70% or over in my first two projects and am hoping to work towards a similar grade in the print process module we're currently doing. I feel I have learnt alot since starting in September and have broadened my range of experimentation and knowledge in the field of illustration greatly.
Contextual lectures and seminars have really helped me to explore the world through illustrations, drawing in ideas i'd not previously thought to be connected. I remember in the first tutorial, I was a little mythed at the subjects we were covering the in the lectures, but now I see them as little eye openers into a way of thinking more critically about the world of illustration and art.
Ive opened up to alot more ways of working, and even elements such as print making that i initial wasn't looking forward to, seem more exciting and I could see myself using them more in my everyday work.

Personally, I have progressed more then I ever would have thought. For example, I started this course in September, only being on a train 3 times before and the thought of doing it every day was terrifying! My confidence has grown tenfold, I even found it hard to even buy things in shops last year, but now from being more independent Its not a problem.
The course [and support from lecturers and friends] has helped me to become more confidant with who I am by subtly pushing me out of my comfort zones work wise and socially, making it easier to work with other people and not be so frightened of little things.

What am I looking forward to?   

Like I said before, the idea of using the techniques and processes ive learned in my everyday work is very exciting and I guess that is something to look forward to both inside and outside of the course.  Finding that I can create lino prints at home has given me many ideas for personal work and college work, and having learnt to use the laser cuter has really fired me up with all the possibilities.
One apsect of the course im looking forward to is the toy making. We have already started it and are doing design work at the moment, but I cant wait to get stuck and and start creating molds and eventually, actual resin toys. Ive always thought of things like that to be outside of my grasp, and something that only proper toy people do but no thats not the case. Obviously my outcomes arent going to be amazing or the quality of proper toys, but they'll be a start that may lead onto bigger and better things in my future!

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Talking on ze train

I sat next to a lovely little old lady on the train earlier today. It was great to speak to someone on the train for a change, and she was incredibly friendly and had lots of stories to tell of her life and those of her children.
Her son had done a 2 year internship with Disney over in America, and now works as an illustrator in Leicester. He daughter is trained as a PA, but went for a random job in London and now works with people in the field of Horse Shows and Dressage etc, and travels all over the world.
Her other son plays rugby for the Cornish All Blacks after working as something completely unrelated for a long while before.
She said to grap things when they come up, and take life by the horns. When something crops up you never know what it will lead to so go for it! I was saying that I used to be set on becoming a teacher and yet now im not so sure, but she said that I would make a great teacher from the way I was chatting away happily to her. But then she said not to worry to much about where i want to be in the future, I should be open to new ideas and see where life takes me!
She wished me all the luck for the future and whatever I may be doing, and I left to get off the train.
The chat really helped to boost my confidence, not only from actually talking to a random stranger but also my confidence in where i want to go and what I want to be in the future.
Bless the little old lady, I hope I made her day as much as she made mine! =D