Monday, 28 April 2014

Designing a New Cover Photo for my Facebook Page

As part of a sub-brief along side my self-initiated brief, we were asked to focus on self promotion, and create a piece or pieces of work promoting who we are as illustrators.

I am not entirely sure what this task could mean for me, as being a student I am still finding my feet as an illustrator, learning new styles and ways of working. I would say my work is quite versatile which could be an advantage, though clients seem to want a consistent style and focus. 

Even so, I created a Facebook page called 'Carla Taylor Illustration' back in Summer 2013 and think it would be ideal to use this as part of my promotional brief. 

Right, you can see that I have actually linked my Facebook page to this blog so that the audience can see both what I post onto Facebook, but also Blogger.

Therefore, I decided to created a new cover photo for my page using a website called, a free online platform where you can design for several purposes such as posters, soical media sites and business cards. 

Canva home page

When designing my cover photo, I felt it was important to consider how this would reflect my own personal style as it would be the first impression to whoever viewed my page. Therefore, I decided to include a range of my work which most suited my current style. 

Below, these are the initial designs I came up with for my Facebook cover photo design. Noticeably, I have gone for a theme of purple. This is due to the simple fact that it is my favourite colour, and although I wouldn't say it defines my illustration style, it credits my personal interest which is an important step to defining me as an illustator. 

The circular frames in the top design demonstrate a bubble-like effect. This enables the illustrations to be more refined, limiting the amount of unused space around each one. The logo is prominent, being the largest image so the public can easily identify my brand. However, I think this design is too simple, and with limited illustrations, it fails to portray my work as an illustrator so far.

The design below is another simple layout with a banner style heading including the brand name. Although the images are clear, I feel this design is also too simple.

Once I had experimented with various layouts and images, I designed the final one (below). The varied images demonstrate my abilities and more recent style I have been undertaking. This is important to portray my current style and let potential clients know that I can be consistent yet versatile. Images with purple tones break up the illustrations on plain white backgrounds in a symmetrical fashion. I believe this is effective, showing that not only I can use traditional methods to create my work, but also manipulate them in Photoshop to make them digital. There are enough images to demonstrate my work as an illustrator to hopefully capture the attention of potential clients and the general public who enjoy the work I create. Adding the brand name 'Carla Taylor Illustration' in the cover photo helps the viewer to understand who created the images, the most important aspect of my page.

Final cover photo design

After putting the cover photo onto my Facebook page, I realised that my logo design had been included twice at the top and was therefore unnecessary in the cover. So, I decided to change the logo image to one of my watercolour illustrations which fit into the design well, and think it works better.

New final cover photo design

Overall, I think this was a success. It is better for promoting my work as I understand it is unrealistic for everyone who views my page to scroll down and see every post, and therefore every piece of work I have created. This can be updated as I create more artwork so I can hopefully keep my 'likers' and new visitors up to date with my latest work.

You can view my Facebook page here:

To access Canva you can register for free and start creating your own designs here:

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Merging Newspaper Text with Reportage Illustration

Through researching into newspapers, I managed to collect several small artcicles about the missing flight MH370 and words which related to the news story. I found this very hard as I was looking at UK newspaper a few weeks after the initial crisis had happened, therefore the story had died down quite a lot. Even so, I managed to create a small composition from the articles/ text to make up a double page background.

Using the background image I overlaid some watercolour reportage illustration on Photoshop to experiment with the effects it could create.

Merging the watercolours over the newspaper is extremely effective. Hints of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 news story comes through the illustration which create a unique effect. Due to the nature of the news articles in the background being about the physical search for the missing plane, the illustrations bring the importance of the relatives to the foreground. The real impact has been on the families and friends of the missing passengers, who still cling onto any last ray of hope that their loved ones are alive.

These images would be most effective as a collection to highlight the relative's anguish as the main focus of the news story as a whole. The relatives being in the foreground emphasise their ongoing role in the story and how they shouldn't be forgotten, as well as the missing passengers.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

The Malaysian Insider: Search for MH370

Looking at this article from The Malaysian Insider online, I have illustrated some of the photographs portraying the heartache of the relatives of the missing plane, MH370.

 Search for MH370, The Malaysian Insider

'A woman praying for passengers of the missing Malaysia Airline flight MH370 at a prayer session organised by the Mahindrama Buddhist temple in George Town for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 passengers on March 11, 2014. - The Malaysian Insider pic by Hansnoor Hussain, April 8, 2014.'

I chose to illustrate this particular photograph as I felt the close up composition was heart-felt and touching, reminding the viewer that it is not just the passengers on board flight MH370 who have suffered. The watercolour I have used is more subtle and less intrusive than the original photograph with lighter more friendly tones.

This illustration is very effective as it holds so much emotion but in a sensitve way. The image conveys hope, loss, prayer and anguish, feelings left over by the unknown whereabouts of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. This is what is important at this time and should not be ignored.

'A Malaysian Muslim woman wiping her tears during a special prayer for the passengers on board missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) in Sepang on March 13, 2014. - The Malaysian Insider pic by Najjua Zulkefli, April 8, 2014.'

A slightly different approach to this illustration, using mainly line to portray the saddened woman. The space around the woman gives the impression that there is a loss which has caused her saddness. Selective tone emphasises certain aspects of detail with this particular style. It also reflects how Kugler and Butler illustrate their imagery, leaving out unnecessary aspects of the image and focusing on what matters.

'People holding up balloons carrying messages during a vigil for the passengers on board missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370 in Kuala Lumpur on March 18, 2014. The search area for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has now been expanded to a massive 2.24 million square nautical miles, says acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein. - The Malaysian Insider pic by Najjua Zulkefli, April 8, 2014.'

This image intrigued me a lot in relation to the relatives heartache over the missing passengers of flight MH370. No faces are seen and the messages could not be read, though there is still a sense of pain and loss. The tones I have used to illustrate the original photograph are bold but not over-powering. My illustrate is more abstract allowing the viewer to interpret what they can see. With the caption from the original article which described the scene, the image suddenly gains a background. Without it, there is mystery and interpretation- just like the entire ordeal over the missing flight MH370.

Overall, I believe these illustrations have been a success. I have learned which images to portray in my reportage illustration to help gain a better insight into the emotions of the relatives and friends of the 239 missing passengers. It is important to know which parts to illustrate and I think I have achieved this well here. Watercolour immediately creates a sense of subtly and sensitivity which some photographs and hard facts cannot achieve. My illustrations give the viewer a chance to approach the subject on an emotional level even without the text involved and without knowing the full story. After all, the full story is not yet known and may not be for a long time, so it is absolutely essential to focus on the people who are suffering in the present and the losses they have had to face.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Reportage Illustration: Relatives of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370

Using a selection of watercolour illustrations portraying the relatives of the missing passengers of flight MH370, I decided to put them into a more professional context in the style of Kugler's reportage illustration where he uses text alongside the imagery.

To begin with, I made grid lines to divide the page into two sections to form a book/ newspaper double page spread layout. 

The next stage was to add a collage of reportage illustrations which I had previously formed. I flipped the image horizontally so that the heading could be situated in the top left hand corner so it would read chronologically.

I added text into spaces incorporating it within the imagery. The text relates to articles about the relatives of the missing passengers of flight MH370. In particular, this text (below) was quoted from the article which I had illustrated the image from, relating to Chinese protests about the missing flight.The text (far below) relates to the missing passenger, Paul Weeks, and his family, using a quote from his wife to portray the heart-ache of the ordeal.

Adding the heading to the image put it into context as a news story similar to the way George Butler puts his reportage work into commercial contexts. I didn't want to use a conventional font, so searched for one online, leading me to 'headliner no.45'. This font is bold but still a little rough around the edges, fitting in with the news story.

Text used for heading
Final Design

Above, this is the final design. The text compliments the imagery effectively without making the whole image seem too busy. I could definitely see this in a newspaper as a double page spread. The subtly of the watercolour takes on a sensitive approach to such a controversial topic, allowing the reader to understand the necessary information about the thoughts of the relatives of the missing passengers. Overall, I think the image and composition relates well to a professional news story context.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Ny Daily News: Relatives Have Hope
Looking at several articles online has given me an insight into the anguish the relatives of the missing passengers of Malaysia Airline flight Mh370 have had to face.

I have illustrated one of the photographs from this article:

'A man cries at a prayer ceremony for passengers’ family members Saturday in Subang Jaya, Malaysia.'

The deep tones I have used bring out the detail and emotions of the relative. He is situated within a large white space signifying the loss he has suffered. However, the watercolour is quite dark portraying the image as quite harsh in comparison to others. Even so, the composition is effective to demonstrate his emotions and significant loss, once again touching upon the idea of a 'void' felt by the relatives.

Keeping the illustrations quite simple is effective for focusing on specific aspects of the news coverage of the missing flight MH370. As there are so many variations and elements to the story as a whole, along with past, present and ongoing articles, I have picked out specific articles relating to the emotions of the relatives which they have to endure without finding answers to their questions and any knowledge about what really happened to the flight.

Future illustrations will be more subtle, although this image could be de-saturated in Photoshop to make the tones less harsh.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Olivier Kugler

Olivier Kugler is a reportage artist who has done many illustrations based on real life events for newspapers and magazines such as The Guardian and the Reader's Digest.

His work can be viewed on his website:

Tahrir Square, Cairo,2012 for The Guardian

Kugler's unique style captures all aspects of any event he is reporting. He creates a fluid collage intertwined with text, line and image with block colours. I love how the text is hand-written as it gives a sense of authenticity and that it has been written in the moment, noting down quotes, fact and opinions to create this impressive reportage illustration.

A Healing Fire, The Reader's Digest, Asia

Here, the artist has used his unique style to highlight the most important parts of his illustration. The main characters are in block colour, whilst the line is used for less important aspects of the illustration such as the background. This draws the reader's eye to the characters, emphasising their importance. Again, hand-written text is used, complimenting the sketchy and loose style of the illustration.

Overall, I love Kugler's work and how he has captured the attention of the viewer's through selecting which parts of his illustrations are most important and relate to the reportage of events. His style is quite cartoon-like which I think softens the harshness of many of his topics and makes for more friendly viewing. It is the text and the facts which Kugler includes alongside his drawings that complete the reportage of events.

How could this influence my own work?

From viewing Kugler's reportage illustration, it has made me realise that strong imagery along side hard facts can be enough to trigger emotions in the public reader. As I am dealing with a sensitive topic, the missing Malaysian Airline MH370, it is important that I can communicate a strong message to the reader in an understanding yet sensitive way. As Kugler uses quotes in his work, I could use quotes from various articles to structure my reportage illustration and make it clear for the reader. My main focus is on the relatives of the missing passengers so I could use personal quotes alongside my illustrations. Also, I would like to use the technique of highlighting the most important imagery within my reportage illustration though perhaps in a more subtle way than Kugler. I feel the black lines in the artists work are too strong for the way I would like to portray the imagery relating to the relatives of the missing plane.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Artist: Rob Conway

Rob Conway, member of the Association of Illustrators, specialises in editorial and reportage illustration, combining drawing, painting, photography and digital media. 

I love the way Conway incorporates photography into his work with such fluidity, using bold strokes to combine the traditional media with the digital.

Hands, Health Service Journal Editorial

tony blair
Tony Blair, Health Service Journal Editorial

Neither Here Nor There - Bill Bryson
Book Jacket

Conway's unique style brings an interesting twist on editorial illustration. Apart from the book jacket, I love the way the artist makes his illustrations incomplete using mixed media.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Reportage Illustration: Relatives of the Missing Passengers (MH370)

A series of illustrations in mixed media watercolour and watercolour pencils, depicting the relatives and supporters of the passengers who went missing on the Malaysian Airline Flight MH370. All imagery has been illustrated from various news articles, re-invented in my own style to convey the sensitivity of the tragedy, and focus on the heartache, anger, frustration and hope of the relatives.

Some references to the original articles are provided as links of the imagery.

Relative of a passenger lighting a candle of hope

Relatives Protesting in frustration about the lack of information they have been receiving

Relatives lighting candles of hope

The subtlety of the watercolour demonstrates the sensitivity of the topic which I believe works very well. Reporting these areas of the news is important to generate a sense of empathy with the viewer who may or may not be familiar with the tragedy. For the standard viewer, the plane has been found. However, to the relatives of the missing 239 people onboard, there will not be any closure until the truth has been found and their questions have been answered. These images portray a sense of long-term loss and hope that some day they will be able to let go.

This is what is important.