Ferrous: Working alongside Blacksmiths pt: 1; introduction and conception

Partnered with a blacksmith from the Ba (Hons) Blacksmithing, the task is to create some form of illustrated object, be it a zine, or other paraphernalia, to inform and/or depict information about said Blacksmith, showing either them, their personality, hobbies or even their work in general.

I have been partnered with Aaron Houghton, a level 6 Blacksmith with a interest in reenactment. He runs a viking reenactment society where he teaches other people to fight using a range of weapons, including bows, crossbows, sword, and spears (his weapon of choice). Aaron uses his blacksmithing skills to create his own armour and weapons that he uses; and can also make his own clothes. His recent work has featured a lot of snakes, a recently found interest that to quote “has become a bit of an obsession”.

After deciding on making a zine as the final outcome, the next task was to decide on a which aspect of my blacksmith I would like to depict within the zine.

Pinterest research:

x x

(note: second pinterest board was made on a partner account)

Initially the only information I had on Aaron was that he liked snakes; this mainly due to us using conflicting means of communication and not being able to find each other in person because of this. On our first meeting, I had nicknamed him “snakeguy” so my initial research and idea was based upon this; however this will not be developed upon as I now have more information to work with.

In thinking about what sort of zine to make, I developed a concept of the a concertina book with a snake forming the outside cover, that would join back round to the front forming a ring. This idea was based on the idea of Ouroboros, the snake that eats its own tail that originated in Egypt.


After finally being able to meet up with Aaron, he told me more information about himself. I ran the idea of the Ouroboros book past him, which he very much approved of, although he did mention that their was a similar Norse version of Ouroboros. Upon looking into this more I found “Jormungandr; the world snake”, it is similar in the fact that it is depicted eating its own tail, and it fits more with the Aaron’s interest in Vikings.

Using the idea of Jormungandr, I have started to design the outside of the book, and am playing with the idea of perhaps incorporating simplified blacksmithing tools into the design, although am unsure if this has been successful or not yet.

The mechanism for how the book will stay lock into a ring has now been decided on.


The tail will slot into a cut on an additional section on the back of the head. In testing this has both firmly held even when force has pulled against in and been relatively easy to slot and unslot.



British Legion Poppy Appeal: Art at the Skatepark

We have been asked by the British Legion, to decorate the skate-park in Hereford with illustrations of poppy’s for the launch of the counties poppy appeal on October 27th.

On Wednesday 4th October we visited the location for a briefing with a member of the British Legion, to gain more understanding of the project and also to see what the site we would be working with was like.

We also used this time to test out materials as one of the notable parts of this brief is that it cannot be permanent.

skatepark test
A quick test of chalk and pastel on location

Looking at various ways of illustrating poppies, I have found myself drawn to more simplified shapes and representations of the flower as opposed to a more realistic approach or even the design used by the poppy appeals. I also have found an interest in perhaps including images other than just the poppy, maybe figures and also the idea of incorporating skateboarding into this.

Research: Illustrating poppies




Collections: Brief and Character Design research


Above is the first draft for my project brief; I would like to focus the creation and development of a character and create something along the lines of a small art book with sketches and images of a character of my design.

I received the following as feedback on this:

“I would start with your character and see if a short narrative doesn’t suggest itself once you’ve defined who your character is. (Perhaps creating a nemesis will illuminate a narrative?) Then you can decide to loosely portray the narrative in 3 or 4 carefully made images, detailed character spreads, or even go full steam and create a short zine or book.”

I have looked at the following sites for tips on how to go about this and think I have basis on where to start:

I have also done some preliminary sketches of characters and I think have decided on a spoon based knight.

Edit: I have developed my brief further after the above research, the feedback from Nicholas and decided on the character I wish to develop.

breif v 2


Collections: Spoons

My collection that I am using for the collections project is Spoons. I have gathered a range of decorative spoons from local charity shops and around my home.


I have researched some artwork that use spoons in them however am unsure at the moment as to which direction my final imagery will go.

I feel looking at these has given me more ideas for drawing them rather than how I can build a project around them.


Hay Festival: Tree-dom

We have been tasked with creating illustrated “banners” for the Hay Festival 2017. These will be displayed at the site and are to be based around the idea of trees.

I have started by researching how trees can be translated into illustration.

I decided that I would look at the idea of fairy tales as trees are a common theme in these and will link to the idea of the Hay festival being a literary festival.

I looked specifically at stories that focused on trees and plants at specific points of the story, “Hansel and Gretel” and “Sleeping Beauty”, and eventually decided to focus on “Little Red Riding Hood”. I then drew out a quick plan of how it could look.


After a tutorial it was suggested that instead of focusing showing the progress of the story, that I should try to make the scene interactive and have it so children can look at the image and have to find things hidden in the forest.