Monday, 15 December 2014

Animated Adshel Advertising Experiment

To gain a better perspective of how the animated campaign advertisement would appear in context, I did a mock up of my latest ad as adshel advertising. 

The image is from a secondary source:

As the original gif file could not be stretched to the size of the Adshel dimensions, I chose to solve this issue by placing static text above and below the moving advertisement. This allows the viewer to understand the animation but also enables them to gain more information through the use of a QR code which directs them to the RSPCA website appealing against badger culling.

As an experiment I believe this has been the most successful in conveying a message against badger culling. It is the most informative for the viewer and provides a link to more information. The animation turned out to be quite slow although I think this is due to creating the gif in Photoshop and the quantity of frames being too large. Finding a more suitable program should raise the quality of the advertisement and allow me to experiment further with even longer ad campaigns and a smoother, refined result.

Animated Ad Campaign Test

With a grand total of 298 frames (!) here is my latest animated badger culling ad campaign. Although it doesn't look much, a lot of technical skills went into this.

Created in Photoshop and saved as a low resolution gif.

Due to the number of frames, I was unable to save the file at a higher resolution. Therefore, I will need to find a program which can take much larger files and perhaps a quicker way to make the animation.

Even so, I do think that animation has a positive effect on the ad campaigns by simply keeping the viewer interested until the end. Movement has a greater ability to capture the eye, and with stronger imagery and colour the ad could become very effective.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Development of Gif Animations for Campaign Advertising

After my initial experiment with Gifs in an earlier post (see here) I decided to explore this further in Photoshop as opposed to using an online generator to create my gifs:

I chose to use  a simple slogan 'stop the cull' which I have previously included in previous campaign poster designs about badger culling. Keeping the font and colours the same for simplicity works well and gets straight to the point. 

As I felt the previous gif wasn't smooth as an animation, I wanted to break the text down so it flowed better.

To create this animation, I saved each frame at different points adding one letter per frame giving the illusion that the text is being written. In total 11 frames were used to make this gif.

The same technique in Photoshop was used here though I added more frames (71 in total!) by including some experimental artwork that I had created. Changing the opacity allows a smooth transition into the next image. 

Photoshop screenshot of frames used to create gif animation

Although this implies that it is advertising against the cull, it would not work in a realistic advertising scenario as more information needs to be included. This gif explores the techniques which may be used in the animation to portray numerous images simultaneously. 

Personally I believe these techniques have worked effectively and make the illustrations more aesthetically appealing to the audience. Movement in the animation will capture the attention of the viewer for much longer than a still illustration as the changing images make it more interesting. More professional elements could be added for an advertisement against badger culling and perhaps a narrative of the badger cull could be portrayed to demonstrate the effects of the cull and why the audience should appeal against it.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Experimenting with Advertising and Gifs

Original charcoal sketch
Using an original charcoal sketch I developed the initial idea into an ad campaign designed for billboards. This was based on the fact that during the cull, the aim is the cull 70% of badgers. Therefore I chose a simple idea to get straight to the point and convey the message to the audience.

Animated Gif

I believe is effective for showing the capability of what I could achieve through using a gif format. It instantly brings my illustration to life and makes it visually more appealing. More frames should be used to create a smoother animation and the text could be gradually written rather than appear as one block.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Experimental Drawing

Influenced by natural mark making, I used this experimental technique to create this piece of work. The number 10 references Downing Street and how Cameron has a major input into the culling of badgers in the UK.

The badgers are caged, delivered straight to his door ready for the cull. Ultimately the government have the last say which is why they perform the final task of culling the innocent, trapped badgers. Blood on the door symbolises the violence and death of the badgers.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Experimenting with Campaign Ad Ideas

Using the imagery I had created, I decided it was best to test them out in the appropriate contexts in order to convey a clear message to the audience.

Audience being the general public, I felt it was necessary to keep my ads simple and straight to the point even including well-known charities so people would recognise and understand the context and message of my illustrations.

With these ads, I wanted to focus on the decline in nature, using an image where the black space seemingly traps it into a small section, significant of how humanity pushes nature to the side and has complete control. The birds are reflective to the decline in wildlife population if humanity keeps abandoning nature in this way- without habitat there cannot be wildlife.

The text 'Don't let nature fade away' was used in an experimental way, gradually making the text smaller to give the illusion that it is in fact 'fading away'. The tag line is a simple message to help the audience become aware of the rise in habitat loss and decline in nature. Also, I have tested out two charity logos in the bottom corner of the advertisements in an attempt to create a sense of context.

Using an illustration based on badger culling, I wanted to use it in the best context to convey a strong message against badger culling, especially in the local area. The simple slogan 'stop the cull' is effective and straight to the point. Using a simple bold font (Ebrima) highlights the importance of the message. This tag line has actually noticeably been used in protest campaigns so will be recognisable to the activists already campaigning against this issue.

Initially I used a red tone for each word in the tag line, though as I wanted to make the word 'stop' stand out I decided to keep this red and make the rest of the text black. This seems to work a lot better than the original as it separates the text into the action and the issue.

Once again I have used a known charity logo in the corner to make to ad appear more professional and give the imagery context. However, please note than even though the charity is Yorkshire-based, currently there is no problem of badger culling in this area. Regardless, the charity has stated it supports the campaign against badger culling, as do all wildlife trusts:

Via Twitter:

As a budding illustrator, I feel that this new turn in my project fits the profession more adequately in the approach and the ad campaigns provide a realistic context for my illustrations. This idea of communication is important in illustration and previously I don't believe I portrayed this in the best way. 

My next stage will be to focus on badger culling as an issue and continue to research, develop and create illustrations which communicate a message effectively to the intended audience.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Animal Rights: Badger Culling

As a new twist in my project and a desire to find more substance in my work I decided to look into current issues concerning animal rights. Through a short search I found out that the most recent issue in the UK seems to be the legalisation of badger culling and over the past month this has been occurring for the second year running.

An article struck me as shocking by the Western Daily Press as the culling was described in a casual, desensitised manner:

"The chairman of Gloucestershire’s NFU, Andrew Guest, said the cull was ‘a mixed bag’, but sources at the NFU said it was believed the marksmen had reached their targets of 70 per cent of the badger population killed"

This comment 'a mixed bag' caused me to think visually and need to create an illustration.

Original pencil sketch of idea

Badger portrait

After the initial ideas, I scanned the imagery into Photoshop for further manipulation. I decided I would set myself a rule to keep human/ man-made forms in digital media and nature/ animals in traditional media. This would highlight the vulnerability of the badger in comparison with the human form and bin bag which take control in the image.

Outlining the human form and bin bag with the pen tool in Photoshop brings in the digital side of the illustration whilst the badgers are preserved in traditional pencil making them appear vulnerable and innocent.

Overall, I believe that this new direction in my work in positive and more illustrative. These illustrations could accompany an article, campaign poster or book. Trying to bring more context in my work has definitely improved my understanding of where I want my illustrations to be placed within the industry.

I will continue to develop on this idea of badger culling and apply my illustrations to appropriate contexts to see how they can fit into the professional industry.

You can see more of my illustrations on my website at

Thanks for reading,


Monday, 20 October 2014

Manipulating the Landscape (Photoshop)



After manipulating several primary source photographs in Photoshop, I felt that the outcomes were much stronger than the original imagery. As a general for most, I chose to define the urban landscape in black and white tones whilst keeping the natural aspects of the landscapes in colour, often bright and bold to emphasise the importance and beauty of nature. 

When vivid tones are used in unconventional ways, I believe this is when the images are most influential and strong. I hope to bring forth the importance of nature through tones in these images which I think I have achieved for some. In particular the 'Four Trees' images are very effective and while the trees are initially in the background, through the use of bright tones they are more prominent in the foreground, pushing the urban landscape into the background. Visually, this is what I have been wanting to achieve and believe that through development I am starting to portray my initial intentions.

Illustrating the Importance of Nature Against Man-Made Forms

Depicting the relationship between nature and man-made forms through removing the natural/ urban aspects to see how the landscape is affected.
Watercolour portraying a landscape with completely natural forms by deliberating taking out the urban landscape.

This piece is successful in the execution of the illustration, portraying nature as beautiful and definitely bringing it to the foreground. However, this illustration doesn't appear to explore the relationship with the urban landscape as it has been removed completely. To the viewer this is simply a beautiful illustration of a natural landscape, failing to convey the message intended.

Below, I have taken into consideration the lack of meaning behind my initial illustration. In Photoshop, I have brought back the urban landscape by layering over the watercolour onto the original photographs. This makes the viewer question the media used as well as the composition. In particular the bottom illustration seems most effective in communicating a message that perhaps nature is ghost-like, and almost fading away into the distance whilst the urban landscape stays prominent. Merging the two forms of media definitely seems more successful at this stage.

New University Project: Final Year

This post is long over-due, but better late than never they say!

So, I have started my final year at University (scary times!) and my first task was to decide on a project theme which could carry me through the whole year. No easy task although I was sure of my interests, it was just a case of crafting it so it would contain both visual and contextual substance.

Therefore, after much thought I decided that I would look into Animal Rights and the Environment, focusing on several aspects of this theme and developing them into a large body of work. As well as this, I have a desire to make sure my work is as professional as it can be at this stage, even though my first module consists of mainly research.

As an initial starting point I decided to research into local aspects of the theme, bringing the environmental side to the foreground and saving the Animal Rights aspect until I gathered some decent literary research.

Having a desire to be unique and create my own style, primary source research is important to me as an illustrator. Due to this, my first step was to go out and take my own photographs of the environment, with an aim to capture the relationship between the immediate urban landscape and nature:

These images were taken around Huddersfield and it soon became evident how man-made forms either take over certain areas of the landscape, or intrude on the natural beauty of the landscape which is already there. Another point I noticed was that much of the landscape will have been planted by men, so therefore is it natural? Or is it man-made nature?

Questions constantly popped up into my mind, and I so from this I am eager to bring nature into the foreground of beauty and push the urban landscape into the background as an attempt to regain some of what is left of nature. Even though I have questioned some of the natural aspects of the landscape, in my illustrations I will capture them in a beautiful, natural sense to highlight nature's importance in comparison to man-made forms such as roads, buildings and cars.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Carla Taylor Illustration: Website

After deciding it was finally time to become more professional and create my own website, I purchased a domain name, ''. I felt it was important to keep the website URL as simple as possible so it would be easier to find when searching.

Instantly I knew I wanted my website to be portfolio based and wanted my artwork to speak for itself in the site. Using WordPress, this simple and clean template was chosen as the best form to display my work. Social media links were added as well as some of my most recent collections of work. This blog was also included in a separate link to complete the main structure of the site.

Home Page

Portfolio Page: Taylor Made

Bio Page

Contact Page

After creating the website, I am happy with the final result. The work is the main highlight which I feel is the most important part of the site. As it is created through WordPress, I will be able to update it regularly. Having a website is important for demonstrating professionalism and in the art world, they are great for gaining potential clients and viewers.

See my website here

Thanks for reading,


Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Creative Anxiety: A Common Problem?

Admittedly, I haven't utilised this blog as much as a should have during the Summer months, only blogging about limited things but leaving out my thoughts during my journey as a budding professional creative. Therefore, I am taking this opportunity to share with you a small part of my mind at present.

As a student at University, there is always that sense of having to achieve at your maximum potential to gain the best out of your degree. However, as a creative I feel that there isn't enough time to develop, and it is a struggle to reach your maximum creativity when faced with more than just education. Since beginning University, the challenges I have faced have affected the development of my creativity. Such factors include larger issues like moving away from home, making new friends, losing old friends and being forced to become independent in a short space of time. However, even budgeting money, having a part time job and figuring out the washing machine are all factors which have never been included in my previous creative practice. This means that my time has to be divided into education, social life, and simply looking after myself whilst staying healthy. 

University doesn't seem to acknowledge these factors, and we are expected to grow and develop at a fast pace which often isn't manageable. I'm sure any budding, or even professional creative has their struggles whether it be due to having a full/ part-time job, family or just finds themselves too busy to really focus on their true love: art. 

At this present moment, I have been struggling to find the right topic to start on my next 'breakthrough' project. I have a desire to always develop on my last body of work, though I feel limited to what I should do. Being at University has made me question even the basic ideas, complicate them until they are truly unique and meaningful. Through doing this I always come to a dead end.

My creative anxiety is stopping me from creating. Is this a common problem?

Thanks for reading, sorry for the lack of visuals,


Saturday, 6 September 2014

A Collaboration of Two Taylor's Make 'TAYLOR MADE'

Logo design created by myself. Digital in Photoshop

I am very excited to announce, to all those who are not yet aware, that I have recently become part of a collaboration with a very talented local photographer of West Yorkshire, Alex Taylor. We have named our collaboration 'Taylor Made Arts' due to our shared surnames of 'Taylor' (coincidentally the same might I add and not related!).

Since we began in July 2014, we have produced several works based on the idea of combining two different practices, photography and illustration to create new and unique imagery. Photography and illustration has been combined many times before, but I would like to emphasize how the local imagery and illustrative style of Taylor Made is completely fresh and innovative.

We are very proud of what we have achieved so far! Here are the stages of the process we took to create our very first image:

Step 1: Photograph

Alex, the amazing photographer of 'Taylor Made' captures the local scenery in West Yorkshire through his lens.

For our first image, I was allowed choose an image from any of his existing photography - one lucky illustrator! Therefore, I chose a beautiful image named 'Blue Bell Birch'. Vibrant tones particularly stood out to me, I couldn't wait to illustrate the image!

Alex Taylor's, 'Blue Bell Birch'

Step 2: Illustration

This is where my role in the collaboration begins: the illustration.

The technique I chose for this piece was mono-printing with acrylic to mimic the vibrancy of the blue bells in the original photograph. Then, I added in more detail with charcoal to bring out the features of the tree trunk. The contrast creates a strong illustration but more importantly I have not just copied the image, I have re-invented it with the choice of media and style.

Blue Bell Birch, illustration by Carla Taylor

Step 3: Merge

In the final stage, the original photograph and illustration are merged in Photoshop to create an entirely new and unique image. Here I demonstrate the process which I undertake to create this new work of art:

Open photograph in Photoshop (CS6)

Scan in illustration and place over the photograph (file-place).  The opacity was reduced to reveal part of the photo, then the image was rotated to align the tree trunk in both the photo and illustration. 

Creating a layer mask allows that particular layer to be manipulated. This allowed me to use the gradient tool to fade in the edges of the illustration to create a softer look.

Using the curve layer, I altered the brightness and contrast until I was happy that the two images merged together effectively.

Finally, reducing the saturation made the tones softer and subtle.

Final Image

And there we have it, Taylor Made's first ever image! I hope you enjoyed learning about the process in which the final image was created.

In general, this is the main process that is followed with each Taylor Made image, though of course the imagery can change including the way the illustration and photograph are merged in Photoshop. I can only speak about the illustration and merged image in regards to how they are made, though I know Alex will also use his creative eye to create unique and captivating imagery.

Personally, I am very excited about the upcoming projects for Taylor Made though I am proud of what we have achieved so far. Have a look at ALL of Taylor Made's artwork so far on our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter.

There is more to come!

Thanks for reading,