Euro Masters 2016

In the build up to this summer’s Football European Championships (Euro 2016) my initial idea involved having a collage of moments in the tournament’s history on either a t-shirt or a large scale poster. Eventually I came to the idea of having illustrations of players, both past and present, from each of the 24 competing nations on A6 postcards. The design resembles playing cards.

The players representing the past for each nation could prove divisive as I only concentrated on those that have made an impact at a previous European Championship finals. For nations making their debut, I selected those that made a great impact in qualifiers gone by. Deciding the players for the present was slightly easier.

I came up with original designs for each nation’s emblem. This way viewers find the cards more interesting to view instead of a flag or having the exact emblems just photoshopped onto each illustration. The typography was hand drawn and given a basic look, so that most of the attention is focused on the heads. Each head, emblem and letter was done with grade 2B pencil to start with before multiliner pens were added to make them stand out. The reverse side of each postcard features the names of the players and countries in the French language. After slight adjustments in Photoshop and Illustrator, the result looks impressive.

After getting testicular cancer and undergoing chemotherapy towards the end of last year, I’m doing my bit to raise awareness of this disease and help raise funds to beat all types of cancer. I will be taking part in the Relay For Life this July and these postcards will be part of my team’s fundraising. All 24 postcards will come in a set and be available to buy for £6. All proceeds will go towards Cancer Research UK. If you are interested in buying a set, I can be reached through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (@illustratingowl) or my email account

If you would like to send a donation for the Relay For Life, you can do so by clicking here. Any amount will be much appreciated.


Final Illustrations

Amended the typography from Adobe Photoshop font to hand drawn typography. Instead of every second letter being big I have changed it to every second word being big. More Pleasing on the eye and more visible to read. Plan to window mount the original illustrations and possibly use them for the final show. Relief at completing them and ecstasy at how they have turned out.

Research and lists

Just a few more notes regarding peer assessment and lists  for the colour and placement of the typography for the illustrations. Relieved to get the peer assessment out of the way but frustrated at the amount of research I still need to show for my blog.

Surface and background

After my last attempt at creating an illustration for a picture book proved frustrating and a forgetful moment for me, I went back to the drawing board and came up with more lists for my decision making. These ranged from the shape and size of the typography to the background colour scheme. Again found this task a relief and felt comfortable doing something where the burden of making a decision is lifted off me. The acrylic paint for the background syncs in well with the characters in the foreground. Dealing with the typography was frustrating and confusing at times despite using photoshop pretty much every day. The text size could be increased but for some reason came in mm instead of pt. Rotating the lines around the illustration annoyed me a bit as the move tool would just resize the layer instead of rotating a few angles. I thought that the presentation on newspaper would make it more appealing. My view might have changed after seeing a rough copy. The black typography stands out but the advertisements are a distraction in a few areas. I am disappointed, confused and annoyed but in the end relieved and satisfied that I have managed to print onto newspaper after having problems beforehand sticking it to a4 card. The illustration appears better presented on paper, however I am annoyed at how the printer just cuts off the last word at the bottom of the sheet even though I wanted select to fit in the option box.I’ve set myself a target of producing at least 2 pieces of illustrations for this project and I think this is achievable. If they are done to a good enough standard, they might be included in the final show.My emotions range from excitement at the potential I could achieve with these works to relief at not having to deal with unreliable equipment anymore.

Update on Calico work

Moving on from the character designs I have now started coming up with roughs for the pages. As I chose to use Illustrations from books as backgrounds I set out finding illustrators work via a dice. Some works that came up included Sara Fanelli, whose work I don’t really like, Gary Taxali and Rinzen. I didn’t intend to use all their illustrations, just one or two. At one point I was annoyed and frustrated after loosing the dice, which I needed to make the decisions for me. This lost me crucial time as at the time I was balancing work from this project with another. I felt relieved when I did find it and I was much calmer. I had indecision whether I should actually use these illustrators work as background for my own work as it could show me in bad light. I relaxed though after realising Tom Phillips used the same format when drawing over someone else’s book and selling it as his work. The images were scanned from one of  the books I already own: Hand to Eye Contemporary Illustration (Hyland,A /Bell, R 2003).

The text for my random poem was going to be depressing. I was looking around photoshop and other font sites but they didn’t have the font I required. Doing the text myself made me annoyed but at the same time satisfied that I am making the typography how I want it.

Drawing and painting the mice out again was not much of a problem as there was little change to the design. Then I felt a range of emotions after the newspaper I was using to paint on ripped through my design. I became upset, frustrated, annoyed, angry and felt things were not going my way. Basically I flipped out. I became this way because of the timing the work was done and that I still needed to get work done for my Independent Study, which put me under a lot of pressure.  Eventually I got around to finishing my rough off once I calmed down and understood what I still needed to do before the end of this module. This part of the project has seen me with mixed emotions. Relief at getting further with the work but confused by how much work I still need to do to get to a satisfactory amount of work. Has this stage of the project gone well? No. Will it get better? Possibly.

Bit more info about disability

Throughout this project I have been exploring how my disability affects me when doing work. I haven’t yet said what it exactly is, which may have caused confusion for some readers. You can relax now. My learning disability is Semantic Pragmatic Disorder, which affects my understanding of sentences if they’re not specific enough and confusion as to what certain words mean. I guess it can also affect my speech pattern at times when I don’t even realise. There are several articles on the disorder if you would like to know more. One site for this is

Game approach

Positive when randomly putting together a different poem using every 3rd word from the original poem. Response towards the random choices for the characters looks was humorous and calm. More comfortable after already doing primary roughs. Mixed media on newspaper strips could work well and having bright coloured characters clash with depressing typography will make this fun to work with. I felt comfortable and calm when painting the characters but indecision about if I should use one tone of colour or different shades for areas that are usually dark.


I was surprised at the timing of it but comfortable and ok with it. I struggled at making decisions but I am now content with the path. I was desperate to change the direction of the experiment rather than carry on with a method that I am used to. I feel happy with the idea of altering the poem into something completely different. I have gone for a game approach to the illustration where I write down random lists for each of the key points such as the media, the colours and sizes of the characters, and what surface I will present it on. To help with the decision making I will simply roll a dice and pick whatever number it matches up to on the lists. I was satisfied with the choices put down for the lists although I struggled to finish off a few lists. I was uncomfortable when putting down one or two choices at the end of certain lists and contemplating whether or not to do a gender list. Slightly positive after the tutorial as I sort of know whats going to happen now.

Character Designs

Designing each of the main characters provided different responses to them. For the birds I wasn’t sure what mood the faces should show and I also felt indecision about how they look. I was positive when designing this type of character as I used to drawing the shapes and features of birds. I felt comfortable and calm, but I also had this desperation for humour to be included somewhere. I was unsure about what type of fish it should be as it doesn’t clearly say in the poem. My response was calm, happy and relaxed with the designs. Confident as well knowing that the fish would be viewed as a male with class. The mice had a more negative effect on me. I felt indecision and unsure, comfortable knowing what features a mouse has but uncomfortable at how exact the features have to look. I was frustrated with the media not working and falling all over the place in my work surroundings, and contemplating whether the mice should be male or female. I felt satisfied with the designs. The grasshoppers proved confusing as I didn’t know how they exactly looked, frustrated at the designs not coming together, unsure with the choice of media, annoyed and then angry at the media still not staying in one place when not being used. There was relief getting the minimum amount of designs but I was unsatisfied at the way they turned out, which made me feel uncomfortable.

Set Project 1

For the first of my set projects I have chosen the nonsense poem ‘Calico Pie’ by Edward Lear. I found difficulty finding a poem that fits in with a picture book before finding this. My emotions went from frustration at not finding one that works, calm when I found a few, then indecision at not being able to pick one and confusion at what some of the words meant in the poems. I finally felt comfortable when I found the right poem.

What I usually do before designing the characters and scenery is divide the poem into 12 sections as picture books usually last at least 12 double page spreads.

Delving into the characters proved frustrating for me as they don’t give away much info. The birds are good at singing and stay together. The fish wears a hat under the sea, although in reality the hat would just float away and he/she would realise what a waste of money it was. The mice are fond of tea and end up dancing in the cup after drinking it all, which sort of resembles a night out for some people. The grasshoppers hop most of the time with other insects but could be competitive and appear smug when winning all the time. What they all have in common is bugger off at the end of their sections. Starts off positive and bright before becoming bleak and depressing. Could make the readers think where they all disappeared to? Sort of has that element of surprise.

What I aim to do is spend between 30-45 minutes for each of the character designs and see what emotions I conjure up when working on them.


Was patient, slightly annoyed at it running late but used to these things. The outcome wasn’t clear at the start as I was unsure where to go. I went into more detail about past work where I felt positive. I am relaxed there’s some sort of plan in place now but confused as how to present the work. However I am satisfied with the strategy changing each week. I was puzzled about the final outcome of the project although it was good to have the tutorial to get a clearer understanding.

My plan for the remaining weeks is to spend 8 hours a week working on the project (4 hours within lecture, 4 hours at home.)

Statement of Intent

The main objective is looking at my emotional responses to set tasks and verbal dialogues. I will be changing strategy each week to get a broad field of experimental work. My personal task will be working in children’s book illustration and designing characters and storyboard for an already existing nonsense poem, nursery rhyme or story. I enjoy working with this type of illustration but I am conflicted as I am not fond of children I am creating the work for. The following week a project will be set for me following similar guidelines. The tasks set afterwards will offer something different. This will make the outcome of the project unknown, which will make it more interesting.


At this point I am going to reflect on how I have coped with the module. I am still a little confused how to go about work yet I have stayed calm and positive. I have felt comfortable doing the work, however I still have indecision about what I am exactly doing for the project. I am assured though that there is support and advice on offer when needed.

Communication through verbal, written and visual varies for me.

  • Verbal I cope okay, but I struggle with some phrases and confused by what they mean. I also feel uncomfortable if information or a question is not given specifically. If the language is simple, I become more calm and slightly happy.
  • Written depends how the text is done. I struggle to understand sentences and I need to break it down more when questions are confusing. I am comfortable when I see the text but unsure how to respond to it. Plus I become anxious if what I have written isn’t correct.
  • Visual is where I am most comfortable as I understand images more. I am calm, relaxed and more positive how the work is supposed to look.

Own Project v Set Project

Before reviewing how I would react to both projects I listed my response to the arrival of the e-mail. I was relieved it had arrived but also annoyed by the timing I got it. After reading the descriptive part I felt less confused about what I have to do now but anxious because I wasn’t sure which route the project will take. For each task I have decided to do a scale of emotions, 1 for how I am feeling most to 6+ to how I am least feeling. I felt more anxious than calm but also mixed with relief.

If the project was set by myself I would become anxious, frustrated, confused, unsure but I would feel relief once I got to a certain point. If a project was set for me I would feel more relaxed and comfortable, but also frustration if things are not done properly.

Listing all the emotions I go through when dealing with work or verbal dialogue would be a good start to understand how I react.

Experimental Project

I’ve managed to come to some sort of idea for my project. The work will be focusing on my learning disability and how I react to tasks or sentences. I’ll by aiming to produce work whether it be written, verbal or visual. This will then allow viewers to look at how I communicate.

For each task given I will do an emotional scale rating how I respond to the work. To start off with I will be deciding whether to set my own project brief or have one set for me. Creating my own brief is challenging and separates my work from others but it does take time to come up with one. I guess I would feel a little positive to start off with before becoming anxious if can come up with a plan, then uncomfortable at how to go about it before becoming confused and frustrated as to what exactly I can and can’t do in with the project. Having a brief prepared would make me slightly relaxed but still feel the need to ask more questions as to what specifically needs to be done. I usually have a tendency to having opposite views on my work. If I feel I’ve done enough I would get criticised for it. If I think the work isn’t done right or up to standard I would then find out it was good enough. This situation makes me frustrated, confused, relieved, devastated and angry.

Experimental Influences

Still working around my project for this module but struggling to find influences. A task set a few sessions back was to look for experimental references or influences from any field of digital art. I came across a few that I feel are experimental but may have been done before in some other form.

Richard Swarbrick’s profession may be multi media but his range of animation is strong  and fascinating to view. I’ve chosen this clip El Clasico [2011] as he’s able to merge live action film with paint strokes around the key areas and I really admire it as I’m passionate myself about football. From my view its unique but my have already been done.

The film Dots [1948] by Norman Mclaren is clever and unusual as it has been created by painting the animation and inserting his own produced soundtrack into each panel by hand. The dots show the flow of the sound through patterns across the screen.

Experimental illustration is a large amount of work with very few dominant pieces coming out of it. Istvan Banyai’s work though is thought out well as the illustrations in his book the other side (2005) play around with people’s perceptions when viewing the same illustration on both sides of the pages. I have already looked at him before although I don’t think using him again as a reference for experimental work would affect my journey in this module.

Session 4

Found this session confusing in parts. Didn’t really get much out of the XP Media site, which details courses for those that is academically higher than the courses on offer in Britain. Only looked at ones that may be of interest. The mechatronic art course is about increasing vocabulary of electrical devices and software engineering, whilst the research studio is reviewing and analysing techniques within digital media.

I reviewed the links on experimental art and sounds within art. From what I found innovation is found everywhere and makes use of techniques not seen before. If a new idea is unusual at the time it can be a success, however if overused it can become tiring.

Experimental art is where you try to create something different and unusual from other works that may be dominant at the time. The work might have expanded on older or unpopular works where a few adjustments were made or been influenced by ideas which are not well known. The problem though is the work being created today may not be experimental anymore. A style of work in someones piece may already have been used years ago but isn’t well known. I still think experimental art can be achieved today if its personal and unique.

Some parts of the sounds in art link was interesting although it may be irrelevant to influencing my work. One section about moving sound from a confined space where you would normally find it to a larger or unlimited space means it would lose its personality.

The works I have seen on the links hasn’t really influenced me. All towards film and sound without a hint of illustration really. As an illustration student, experimenting with work is nothing new as I continuously do it when I alter my style and use of media for different tasks.

Another experimental

experimental 2

Carried on from the last experimental work of using whatever materials I had at the time and trying to create shapes out for the prints. Mood shown has changed from the last one where it shows frustration, anger and any negative feelings when things don’t work out or go your way. Part of this shows how I deal with both work and my disorder i.e. confusion and frustration are main ones. Text may have to be implemented into drawings if I’m using this as a starting point in the project.

Newish idea for project

After doing the experimental piece featuring all the weird shaped faces using whatever media I could find my project might use this technique linked with a theme. One possibility is exploring my disability, which is complicated to explain. When I say I have a learning disability most people would straight away assume its dyslexia when in fact its a completely different disorder thats barely linked to dyslexia. My journey would see my explore the different affects of this disorder. Mainly would be a personal reflection, which could also show how other people cope with the disorder and similar disabilities. Still not 100% sure whether to go with this idea as I may run out of things to explore towards the end. Plus using the rorschach themed backgrounds whether I can conjure up shapes and words showing a different aspect each week. What do others think? Should I delve into something personal?

Understanding others work

Looking at how other artists have approached their work did give me a better insight into their journey. I really liked the work of Stephen Wiltshire who despite being diagnosed with autism at a young age has become unique by memorising sights for a few seconds and then getting every single bit of detail into his work.What blew me away was being able to do panoramic views of major cities around the world just from memory.

If the video can’t work the link is here

Session 3

The Jon Kabat-Zinn video exploring our minds made sense in a few points including finding your own space to meditate but I found it difficult to concentrate even after half an hour of the clip when he’s standing in the same position with little else going on. Would have found it more useful if there was more interaction with the audience.

The experimental work came about randomly really. The acrylic paint was placed across the piece just to get ideas flowing before I noticed foot prints and the shapes of eyes. I then just drew faces with watercolour pencils and a biro pen around any shapes that closely resemble facial features. In a way starting off with a rorschach pattern and drawing what I see.

experimental collage

Michel Foucoult

Exploring thinkers that have played an influence in experimental work proved confusing to start with and even more confusing once researched.

The work of Michel Foucoult makes some sense but the use of his words is difficult to understand for me. His thought of people who know what they’re doing and why but not what it does has impacted most experimental work because they set out to do something and may have a reason for it but they are on this personal journey where they might have no idea how its going to turn out or what impact it will have on other people.

Even though some philosophers try to make us wiser and explore more, I am still confused by the quotes they come out with. They don’t really inspire me.

I am more of a visual person whose ideas are influenced by everyday objects I see and random things that come up in my mind.

short experimental book

Played around with the boundaries of comic strip panels in a book I created for one of my main modules last year. Only narrative in this story is just two guys beating the crap out of each other in a slapstick way. Not sure whether to continue with this form of breaking the confinements of panel walls. If I did would I really be learning anything new after experimenting with this book in animation form? Probably not.

Session 2

Reviewing experimental illustration proved a little difficult as there are not many key points that stand out. Despite this there were some interesting notes.

  • This form of illustration can be unlimited and expressive as you like.
  • It can combine hand crafted drawings with digital elements.
  • Certain styles become demanding in the public eye before becoming dull and boring when overused.
  • More illustrators are turning to traditional methods. Among them pen, pencil, oils, embroidery, etc.
  • Can make illustrations within books really unique when experimenting with the format.

I understood parts of the John Maeda video ‘Simplicity Patterns’ where starting with simple things can combine to create masterpieces such as the scanned images of french fries repeated to create a field of amber waves.

I really enjoyed doing the short assignment of experimenting with narrative. Our group decided to do 3 different things which would link together. The first was a short story where each of us did a sentence at a time without knowing what had been written before. We followed along the same lines when designing the character. It resulted in what can be described as a deformed demonic man called bench having a discussion with a genie. To link them together we did a mind map of factors important to the story such as time, place, actions and mood. I just found the task humorous and enjoyable to do as none of us would know the outcome so it had that element of surprise.

Session 1

When I took the experimental practice module I didn’t really know what to expect from it. I wasn’t sure whether I was more relaxed or confused when I heard it would be a personal journey experimenting without a brief. I’m more of the type that likes to work to a specific brief and not mess things up before I have even begun.

Tom Phillips book ‘A Humument’ shows how he took a random book and basically changed the pattern of the story by creating images on each page. A clever idea but not one  that really inspires me. Still not sure why he specifically choose humument which is just two words merged together.


Hello to anyone reading this.

My name is James Hible and I am an illustration student at the University of Worcester.

I have created this blog for my experimental practice module although I will probably be using it sparingly as I don’t really say much and this is also the first time I have ever done a blog.

I will be doing weekly updates of my experimental journey but I am struggling for ideas at the moment so I will keep you informed if I do come up with something.