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:

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(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.



Collections: Knife Dragon

Secondary character and antagonist for my collections project.

The great (butter) knife dragon is one of the antagonists of the cutlery kingdom. His tail is designed after a butter knife and despite having a threatening look and western villain eye-brows, he’s generally quite silly, not unlike Spoon Knight himself.

Collections: Spoon Knight Design and Development

I have decided that the character I will be developing is Spoon Knight, a knight who both uses and has parts of their armor based on spoons.

From my first drawing being a more “realistic knight”, I have developed them to be more stylised. I have drawn inspiration from both medieval knights and the indie video game “Shovel Knight” and have begun to develop their armor itself to be based more on spoons and my collection:

  • The crest on their chest and their shield is a design on the base of a spoon in my collection
  • Shield and Tassets are based on the bowls of spoons
  • The shape within the helmet and comb is based on a spoons basic shape

I feel this character would be most suited to either a video game, like “Shovel Knight” or a comic book/zine. Whichever it would be, I would like the content to be fairly lighthearted and humorous, that would probably appeal late-teens more than anyone else.


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


Hay Festival: Finalised Banner Design

Below is the final design layout for my banner.


I have added additional objects to find and have started to decide on numbers as well, as of this design there is:

  • 10 red riding hoods
  • 3 big bad wolves
  • 30 yellow/gold apples

I feel like this maybe too many things and may end up at least decreasing the number of golden apples.

I have decided that i order to create my imagery, I will scan in textured and patterned paper (see below) I have collected and collate them in Photoshop.

(Top row) tree and bush textures (Bottom row) trunk, cloak and apple, and basket textures
Golden apple, wolf and dark textures

Hay Festival: Designs

Below are the different ideas I have had about how to represent trees.

tree shapes (2)

I have decided that the 2 more successful versions are the block and broken block versions, which of these I use will probably depend on the material I decide to use.

I have included a few designs for how little red riding hood and an idea about how the wolf, if I include this, will look.

I would like to keep the designs fairly simple as I want them to be easy to replicate.