Thursday, January 09, 2014

*Winner!* Communication Arts 4th Typography Competition

These days, there are quite a few competitions in the design world for us illustrators and hand letterers to enter and showcase our work and be judged by industry peers - some of them being serious industry heavyweights. A few of these competitions are the ones you *really* want to get somewhere in but often don't, as they are tough as old boots to make the grade in...Communication Arts is one of the big ones. Oh yes.
If I have a project I feel is strong enough, I enter it to either CommArts Illustration or Typography competitions and then usually hear nothing more about it!

Not this year though.

© Jill Calder 2013
I worked on two fantastic projects last year that really stretched my lettering skills and gave me the chance to play with different ways of lettering as well as combining and fusing lettering with my illustration too. 
©Jill Calder 2013
The first project was the much publicised Little Black Book of Seafood, commissioned by the Leith Agency in Edinburgh (written about here). The second project was a monthly editorial for Reader's Digest USA for their legendary Word Power quiz. 
This how I described my competition entries for Word Power:
“Each month, two words, paired either with their correct meaning or a (believably) false definition, are selected from the multiple-choice Word Power quiz in Reader’s Digest, and illustrated using a whimsical blend of hand lettering and imagery with a limited color palette. The final pieces were spot illustrations, so they also needed to pack a punch visually.”

 I absolutely loved working on both these projects as they really stretched me, allowed me to experiment and try new things out with my lettering. Needless to say, the creatives who commissioned me - Andy Archer and Bob Lovie at The Leith Agency and Marti Golon at Reader's Digest - encouraged me but also trusted me enough to give me the space to do my thing. A sign of a good art director!
© Jill Calder 2013

So I entered both projects to the coveted Communication Arts 4th Typography Competition ( right on the deadline, as per usual) and expected nothing to come of it. So, imagine my surprise when I got the email from them to tell me that I had won not one but TWO Awards of Excellence for both these projects! Yes, I admit I did a little dance and the dogs got confused and started to bark.

Of the 1,498 entries submitted to this year's competition, only 152 were selected by a jury of respected creative professionals, representing the work of 132 type designers, hand-letterers, design firms, agencies, publishers and in-house creative departments.

All the winners are featured in the luscious Jan/Feb Typography Annual, which is OUT NOW  both in print and digital formats. 
Thank you CommArts!

© Jill Calder 2013

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

My Illustration Workshop on Iona - Inkery on the Island!

It's true, I have years of experience as a lecturer (Edinburgh College of Art and several other educational establishments too) but I have never hosted a residential Illustration workshop!
 Well, it's about time that changed and I was finally convinced to go for it (with a bit of friendly persuasion and encouragement from the book artist Rachel Hazell, no less).

So,  I am delighted to tell you about my first ever residential workshop called Inkery on the Island which is taking place on the magical island of Iona, off the west coast of Scotland, from 6-10th March next year! Exciting, isn't it?

My workshop is about discovering new ways to respond to words, developing ideas for visual narratives and learning to trust the creative gut well as experimenting with ink and dip pens!
Creating finished illustrations based upon unexpected forms of text is the goal - Ink, drawing, paper, looking, thinking, ideas, words, random elements and playfulness will ALL be involved in that process, that's for sure! There will probably be wine and biscuits too. And cake.

 It's open to anyone who likes to dabble in art in its many forms and who simply fancies stepping outside their everyday work and doing something a little different! You don't have to be a professional artist /illustrator/designer/maker but if you ARE , then you are very welcome too. View it as a chance to re-boot, especially if you need a bit of space and perspective to reflect on what and where your creative practice is heading. And yes, ideal for anyone who needs to re-engage with their playful, most creative side!

There are 8 places available on this 3 days /4 nights workshop, which costs £400.00 per person inclusive of tuition, accommodation, food and basic materials...and bags of creative inspiration (and of course there will be a goodie bag too)! We'll have the exceptional, super-comfy award- winning Iona Hostel as our exclusive base - there really is no better place to experience this beautiful island. Arrange your own travel to Iona which is actually quite easy to get to both via car/ferry and by efficient public transport links - and the journey is all part of the fun.

This will be, I hope, a truly fun, inspiring and creative break. If you are interested and want to know more information, discuss whether it's right for you or just fancy a blether please contact me on or call 01333 313737 for an information sheet.

Now for something joyously inky, inspired by my travels to the glorious West Coast of Scotland. Who knows, maybe you'll see a wild otter too, if you come to Iona!

Monday, June 03, 2013

East Neuk Open Studios in June

"Jungle Bus" by Jill Calder © 2013
It's that Open Studios time of year again! Yes, I'll be flinging open my doors in Cellardyke on June 8-9th and June 15-16th as part of East Neuk Open Studios, so please do come and visit me!
Download a brochure and check out the artist locator Google map on the ENOS website

New on show this year will be a selection of prints from my Children's Sleep and Ventilation Unit "Amazing Dream" project at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London - signed and numbered, of course!  "Jungle Bus" is part of this series and was inspired by a little boy in the Unit who had Cystic Fibrosis and dreamed of going on a night adventure with his toy monkey, Freddie.
20% of the sale price will be donated to the wonderful Royal Brompton & Harefield Hospital Charity 
Nurse Station in the Children's Sleep & Ventilation Unit with some of my artwork installed.
This charity, which helped fund the workshops and large scale artwork I created for the Children's Sleep and Ventilation Unit,  tirelessly raises money to support the outstanding work that takes place at the Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospitals by buying equipment, funding vital research and improving the lives of patients – all in areas where the NHS simply could not supply the extra funding needed. 

Other prints and cards will be on show in my working studio, so head on over to Fife - it will be lovely to see you!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Sunday Times Magazine - Art on Sunday

The Sunday Times Magazine has a had a wee bit of a make-over recently and they have a new feature called Art On Sunday. It's a pretty tiny spot but it does *ping* out of a page of Witter interviews and other written features. I was asked by them to illustrate the theme of "Sunday".
Out came my beloved Pentel Japanese Color brush pen and a slightly more muted and cosy colour palette. Dogs are a big part of my life, especially at the weekend so they had to feature. My husband cooks the BEST roast and roast tatties, Yorkshire puds and gravy ever and when it is on the table, the dogs circle like polite sharks. Birdwatching...well, I confess, since I moved to the countryside I seem to notice birds and wildlife a lot more than when I was in the city (but I don't own a pair of binoculors...yet). Don't ask me where the idea for the Birdwatcher came from - usually just the act of drawing gives me a chain of ideas - but I like that it made me laugh...and in my head the dog is just on the point of tapping Mr Twitcher on the shoulder to say "You do realise...?"

Just another Sunday. With a moody heron.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Little Black Book of Seafood

This was a dream illustration and lettering job that first landed on my desk almost a year ago, took a while to get going, then BAM! - it's everywhere now! Here's the story:

 The lovely and sassy team at The Leith (an Ad agency in Edinburgh who I have worked with many times before) got in touch to say their client, First Great Western, were collaborating with award winning chef Mitch Tonks to produce a guide to the best seafood restaurants, cafés and fish and chip bars in the South west of Britain...and would I like to illustrate it? Why, yes I would, thank you very much.

 Now, I love my seafood, love cooking seafood and I live in a fishing village so I felt very at home with this project - I just needed to look out my window for inspiration: Crab and lobster creels all stacked up, blokes fishing on Cellardyke Harbour (catching pollock), the prawn boats from Pittenweem out in all weather and the haddock on my plate at the Anstruther Fish Bar, served with a mug of strong tea.

I adore drawing foodie things and on this project I got a pretty free reign to produce imagery, maps, lettering and also a selection of wee line spot illustrations for the book. Heaven.
sketches... crammed in like sardines

As an added bonus, the book was animated for online viewing and you can see the whole thing HERE

Of course, First Great Western are promoting the book to inspire people to travel to Devon, Dorset, Cornwall and South Wales, explore the region and discover some fishy foodie gems tucked away down there in the Southwest. A culinary pilgrimage, if you like...with sporks.

Little Black Book of Seafood was launched at Paddington Station in London, where Mitch and fellow chef, Mark Hix created a pop-up dining room, offered oysters and fizz to rush hour commuters and had a good chat about how great the quality and range of seafood on offer in the Southwest is!
What I really like is that all proceeds from the sale of the book ( it costs £1.50) are donated to The Fishermen's Mission, a charity dedicated to helping the lives of fishermen and their families.

Enjoy the book and if you love a little bit of fishy in your dishy then please take a moment to donate to the Fishermen's Mission here
 Now, someone pass the tartare sauce, my chips are getting cold!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Slàinte mhath! • [ slanj'-uh va' ]

...or, Benromach Single Malt Whisky ( no"e") and Me

Neil, David and Richard Urquhart of Gordon & MacPhail toasting Keith and Mike!
On a cold winter's day last year I was contacted by renaissance man Doug Alexander at Stuff Creative and asked if I fancied getting involved in a bit of branding for a small, exclusive single malt Scotch whisky distillery called Benromach.
Now, I have been involved with port, vodka and beer campaigns before but never a Scotch whisky, so of course I said YES. I am a Scottish illustrator after all and it's our national drink...I'd be daft not to!

Benromach, founded in 1898, is the smallest distillery in Speyside. 30 years ago the brand very nearly went extinct when the distillery was closed down. Rescue came from Elgin based bottlers and distillers Gordon & MacPhail who took it on and overhauled the  distillery buildings and stills in Forres and the distillery was finally officially reopened by HRH Prince Charles in 1998.
my illustration of the Benromach Distillery

Today just two ordinary (yet extraordinary), local blokes distill the Benromach whisky - no computers, no drama, nada. Just Keith and Mike, making lovely award winning water of life.
And it is this message that Stuff Creative and Gordon & MacPhail really wanted to tell people about the Benromach whisky:  that it's home made and hand crafted.
David Urquhart, Joint Managing Director of Gordon & MacPhail, the family-run Elgin company which owns Benromach commented: “Benromach is a handmade, boutique whisky which is lovingly crafted by Keith and Mike. They are the essence of Benromach and so we thought it appropriate that they were placed front and centre of our new concept."

Keith and Mike, with the whisky stills behind them.

 My illustration and lettering style and my way of working really chimed with this branding message and so I travelled up to the distillery in the north of Scotland one snowy day to meet Keith and Mike, have a blether, a few tastings and get shown around...and do some drawings of them in their place of work. What a pleasure!

I came away with lots of rum tales ( the distillery is haunted by a cat, apparently) and a great impression of how to portray them both in the illustrations I had been invited to do. How lovely to actually meet and talk to the subject of my illustrations face to face. Yes, I could have Googled them but my heading north really made a difference, I think, to the feel of the final illustrations.
The project continues - an animated film, and even a book have been discussed!
Whisky without an "e" is big business for Scotland right now... Benromach have just reported that their global sales increased by 40% in 2012 and exports increased by 55%. I like to think that my illustrations had a small part to play in that success!

Meanwhile, my illustrations of Keith and Mike now appear internationally on huge trade show and food festival backdrops and banners, in advertising spreads, on posters and even as life size cardboard cut outs that people have their photo taken with, dram in hand, toasting them with the traditional Scots Gaelic, Slàinte mhath! - pronounced slanj'-uh va' - meaning Good Health!

Keith at the Benromach stand at the Royal Highland Show 2012

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Have a Cosy Christmas!

Hello lovely people! Here's hoping you have all (unlike me) done your shopping, wrapped your presents, hummed a carol, stashed your mince pies and cracked open the sherry already. No? Well, you still have a few frenzied days yet!

I am currently rushed off my feet with Christmas commissions, which is great but it does mean I have to think/plan/act like an SAS crack troop in order to get all my other Christmassy tasks completed too.

Needless to say, I have started the epic task of updating, refreshing and generally spring cleaning my website, which was certainly needing the cobwebs blowing from it! I have new plans for it for the New Year, so do keep popping by to see what's new.

In the meantime, enjoy this little snowy mountain cabin and please have a lovely, joyful and cheerful festive break...and do give a little thought to those who may not be having such a happy time too.

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