Project visual literacy: researching graphic designers

I’m finding this a little tricky, as I’ve become aware that I don’t really have much awareness of current graphic designers. A lot of the design I admire or keep from packaging etc comes from companies which don’t name their designers on their products/packaging.

So I looked at two illustrators I admire: Emma Block & Debbie Powell.

Emma Block

I found Emma’s work through Pinterest and then went straight for her website to find out more, you can read it here:

http://emmablock.co.uk/

What do I admire about her work:

I admire lots of things about her work it’s tricky to decipher why  but I’ll give it a go –

I admire her style of drawing it’s not photo realistic but has a nostalgic/vintage feel to it. Perhaps created by the use of mixed media in her work, she creates characters from cut out card, ink or acrylic painted onto the card and may then draw onto of these. I think this gives the feel of it being hand drawn but still looks clean.

I really admire her use of colour in her designs, her palette is often pastels but her use of complimentary colours is clear and it creates a sense of warmth and balance, I think this stops her work from being visually jarring or imposing.

April design by emma block

April design by emma block

Her use of collage is interesting because it’s not immediately obvious that her work is a collage I think this is because the collage elements are so small and intricate and it’s used to create a real scene rather than symbolically. Here’s an good example from some illustrations she did for Orla Kiely’s AW 2013 collection:

Illustration by Emma Block for Orla Kiely AW 2013

Illustration by Emma Block for Orla Kiely AW 2013

Having said her collage is discrete sometimes she uses it to show texture and this seems to be very effective too. I think this is an example from her University work rather than current work but I think it has a painterly quality without being a ‘painting’:

Emma Block - Illustration from The Secret garden

Emma Block – Illustration from The Secret garden

I also admire how she uses her sketchbook, from looking at her Flickr stream you can see how she uses her sketchbook to draw people shes see’s, places she visits. her sketches have an endearing quality in their simplicity and portrayal of character through little facial expressions or details of a coat etc.  I can’t use any of the photo’s from it her but I can include a link:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/snugglemuffin/

I wanted to try and find some interviews with her so i could hear what she had to say about her own work here’s a few of interest:

http://blog.cardboardcities.co.uk/2013/09/illustrating-and-blogging-from-london.html

I found this website had a really different approach to interviewing designers. The link below gives a great deal of insight into how Emma practically produces the work she produces which is handy because it gives me some tips and ideas.

http://www.tenpacesanddraw.com/2012/05/24/process-emma-block/

Starting points:

I think I would benefit from doing some more sketches in public spaces or as people walk by my house. Just to tr and quickly capture a feel or feature and then learn to adapt it later. I think I’d also like to try forming some intricate collages not sure they’d turn out so good though!

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