Cheltenham Illustration 2017

Ideas    |    Choice   |    Processes   |    Practitioners   |    Documentation

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Browsing for ideas

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For this project I was tasked to find a competition brief to pursue. I found the Cheltenham Illustration Awards 2017 which I thought would be an interesting project to do. This competition was aimed at creating a narrative with the theme “Tales through others’ eyes”. Once I had looked at the brief and submission details, I thought I would copy the specifics to ensure I wouldn’t forget anything important.

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Now I knew more about the project, I wanted to know a bit more about the Cheltenham Illustration Awards and what they’re all about. I found the following information to give me a better idea:

The Awards are administered by the University of Gloucestershire, UK . There are two titled loose sections, ‘Student’ and ‘Emerging and Established’. The Student category is open to all full time students over 18 years of age worldwide.The Emerging and Established category is open to any newly practising illustrators who are wishing to gain exposure of their work and to those who are more established and are apart of the illustration world.
A public exhibition will be held in Autumn/Winter of 2017 on behalf of the University of Gloucestershire.

The selected work will be showcased at the exhibition and published in the Annual which will be distributed to institutions and industry publishers.
The exhibition then travels to other venues for the year. Past exhibition spaces have been- The museum in the Park Stroud and the London Book Fair.

The University of Gloucestershire reserves the right to cancel the event should sufficient entries not be received for this competition. Artwork must be supplied digitally via the transfer service WeTransfer.
Judging of entries will take place in August by a professional committee. Successful applicants will be notified by email mid September.



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My next move was to look further into what ‘Tales through others’ eyes’ might entail. My first place to look was the Cheltenham Awards website, to see what they had to say about it:

‘A single experience can lead to many different responses – no two people see the world alike. It’s an easy thing to draw from life when informed by our own experience but to see through the eyes of others requires that we set out on a journey of imagination and empathy; to see clearly we might have to forget our own prejudices and preconceptions. There are a million lives beyond our own – choose to inhabit the world of another and, seeing through their eyes, make an image that explores their distinctive, or unique, vision.’

To give me further ideas I had a look online to see what else might pop up when I search for seeing through others’ eyes:

Thesaurus – See through someones eyes
Stories about empathy

I got a little confused after this and was unsure of how to progress further with my ideas, therefore I went back over what the Cheltenham awards said about it and narrowed it down what they were looking for. This helped a put me back onto the right path:

‘The focus of the Awards has always been one of narrative. Visual storytelling, whether sequential or single image, gives scope to the imagination and opens up possibilities beyond the present moment; what happened before? What happens next?’

This helped me to think more about the narrative element: what is the story? and how can a story be portrayed through another persons eyes if no-one knows the original story? This train of thought helped me think about stories people already know like films or books. I looked at the Box-Office Top 100 Films of All-Time to kick start my ideas.

I liked the idea of using a well known story but switching it to another characters perspective. Therefore I wanted to think about other types of stories that everyone knows, this brought me to Fairy tales!

Once I had looked at the List of Fairy Tales and gone over a few ideas for my favourites, I settled on continuing on with Red Riding Hood. This was one of my favourites as a child, so I was excited to pursue it. I looked into The Little Red Riding Hood: Summary and Symbols Explained and also found a very inspiring article about Riding Hood, Revisited: The Wolf`s Perspective. This fuelled my ideas and sent me on my way for my final piece.


Processes & Techniques

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During the process of creating my final piece I referred to the following as a source of help and advice, some links / videos where more useful than others:

Narrative Illustration:
What is Narrative Art?
18 Tips for telling a story through an artwork

Watercolour Techniques:
10 Watercolor Texture Techniques
wikiHow to Paint a Watercolor Wash
Watercolour Techniques – Pinterest

Illustrator Techniques:
Illustrator Basics
43 best illustrator tutorials

Photoshop Techniques:
86 Best Photoshop Tutorials
Photoshop Techniques by

Brush pen Techniques:



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Harriet Lee Merrion

Merrion’s illustrations tell stories in a simple but highly effective way. Her simple use of colour doesn’t detract from this as it is the narrative element that is central to her images.

Pascal Campion

I love Campion’s use of colour and light in his images. Through very soft tones and gestural strokes , his simply elegant images tell stories in a very intriguing and beautiful way.

Victoria Galloway

Galloway’s very simple images have inspired this project by showing me that you don’t need masses of detail in an image to express a narrative.

Jonathan Burton

Burton’s expert illustrations portray narrative in a very alluring manner. He uses selective positioning to intrigue viewers as not everything in his images is ‘given away’.

Diana Sudyka

Sudyka is one of my favourite illustrators, I keep coming back to her work as a source of inspiration for my work. This is because I love how bokd her central silhouettes are against her beautiful and delicate backgrounds.

Callum Russell

Russell is a new illustrator I came across whilst researching this project. I love papercuts but I have never seen them tell a narrative in this way before. This is an artist I will draw inspiration from, if not for this project, then I will definitely use him for future ones too.


Documentation of working process

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Below shows my documentation of my working process for my final piece. To begin with I drew some trees in illustrator, next I added in my watercolours / ink drawings. I was originally quite happy with the colours but later on found they didn’t work so well with Red Riding Hoods cape, therefore I changed them to compliment the cape better. I’m quite pleased with my overall design but I still think I need a bit of work with textures and backgrounds to make my work better.


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