Archive for March, 2012

The following photographs were taken at the Techiquest International Womens Day evening ceremony when we announced the winning entrants in the “She Inspired” competition. The photographs show the Clockwork Express artists with the winning schoolchildren and their teachers.

We also held workshops for local children who were visiting Techiquest, where we encouraged them to look at science more creatively, by using art and the use of comics based upon scientific subjecta and scientists, as we had ourselves done previously with Clockwork Express.  I assisted the children to use the laptop to produce graphic illustrations which I then emailed to them. I feel the children gained a lot through the application of art to the world of science, and they certainly seemed to enjoy taking part in both the competition and the workshops, and I found personal satisfaction in being able to inspire the next generation through my work.

Myself and some of the children and a parent at one of the workshops:

The competition entries displayed on the walls at Techniquest, alongside pages from Clockwork Express:

Further photographs of this event and the work of the children can be seen here in the gallery:



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The following was featured on the Techiquest website, following the involvement of Clockwork Express in the “She Inspired ” competition in conjunction with Techniquest, Wrexham.
International Women’s Day
Thursday 8th March was International Women’s Day and to celebrate, TQG hosted a private viewing of the ‘She Inspired’ exhibition – an exhibition of comic book art celebrating the lives and achievements of the world’s greatest female scientists past and present. The exhibition features the work of Heather Wilson, Charlie Shep and Taryn Whittam, illustration students at Glyndŵr University who produce the educational comic ‘Clockwork Express’. Alongside the work of the artists are over 100 comic strips created by local school children as a part of the ‘She Inspired’ competition, which has been run by the artists and Techniquest Glyndŵr over the last two months, supported by the Arts Council of Wales.
The project’s aim has been to generate an interest in science and STEM careers amongst girls, and to provide positive female role models in STEM professions for boys and girls alike.
Following an introduction to the viewing from Professor Helen James, the lucky children who were selected as winners of the competition were presented with certificates by the artists, and will now see their work produced into a special edition of Clockwork Express which will be sent to local schools.
The exhibition will remain on display at TQG until Saturday 31st March.

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Character Design – Jonathan Edwards


Jonathan Edwards has worked in the industry for 20 years, starting out in editorial work, comic books and animation design.  The first major character that Jonathan came up with was accidental. It started out as 2 doodles on a page in his sketchbook, which he combined, to create Inspector Cumulus.

Working with another company Crazy Label from Japan he then created a toy version of Inspector Cumulus:

Jonathan went on to work with felt designer Louise Evans and together they made felt monsters based on Jonathan’s monster characters … all of which have inter-related back stories. The felt monsters were incorporated into a window display in Selfridges during the Christmas season of 2010.

Jonathan offered the following advice :

Be Proactive: Get your work on as many places as possible, e.g. blog, website, twitter etc to get it seen by as many people as possible.

It’s important to have a back story with your character, not just a character

When suffering from drawing block, you’ve got to get through the bad stuff to get to the good stuff. Set a goal of 10 or so drawings a week, and this should get rid of the bad stuff.

This was overall a very interesting and inspiring lecture which showed that even small ideas and character designs can capture the imagination and turn into something much bigger. It also shows how illustrations can be interpreted into different media.

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Karen Cheung: Freelance Illustration and Animation:

This presentation was given by a freelance illustrator and animator – Karen Cheung. Her work is quirky and unique and includes the animations “Headache Hotel” and “Welcome to the Zoo” . Her presentation focused on self promotion and how to advance your career.

Wth portfolios it is impotant to keep them concise and not just to cram every piece of work you have ever done in the portfolio. Tailor your portfolio to the client or agent you are seeking to do business with. Do research as to what exactly they are looking for.

Don’t just sit there … be proactive with taking your work and showing it around. Look at the other employed artists’ work … see what they do but don’t copy.

Learn to take rejection and learn from it !

Be versatile.

An agency may be useful, particularly if you lack confidence or are shy at self promotion. Agencies take a cut of your earnings, but the artist doesn’t have to deal with money and contracts directly. Using an agency may result in bigger clients which you may not attract working freelance. Working with an agency may mean tight deadlines, which may impact on the quality of your work, and you may need to compromise at times.

Advice she gave:

During University: Work hard, trust yourself, listen and have fun !!

After University: Be brave, work even harder, persevere, don’t take it personally, keep playing and exploring.

Self Promotion: Websites and blogs, sell your work, take part in conventions and artist trails.

Don’t forget your tax return.

Overall I found this presentation to offer valuable advice about working as an artist after university. Karen Cheung offered a lot of useful tips for self promotion.

Karen Cheung’s website: http://www.karencheung.co.uk/index2.html

Examples of illustrations by Karen Cheung:

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Building an Audience – John Allison

John Allison, the author and artist of comics such as Scary Go-Round, Bad Machinery, gave a presentation which gave an insight into the evolution of his own comics, showing how his work has progressed and highlighted what worked and what didn’t. He gave lots of invaluable advice, which can be summarised as follows:

You should have an audience in mind. It is important to have a clear focus on the direction you want to go. Write for yourself, but always be aware of your audience. You audience is valuable, so it is important to be consistent, as often comic readers dislike too much change. Change can shock an audience.

Putting your work behind a paywall can lose you an audience, people will give you a chance online because it is free.

Don’t be shy. If you are gifted you are generally shy and you are your own worst critic. Confidence is key … if your work is “slightly good” then it is good enough to sell.

Make contacts with people who do similar work to yourself. Conventions are important for making contacts.

Be realistic.

WebComics that Work

Hark! A Vagrant: Heavily researched with light humour, so can connect with both high and low brow readers.

Nedroid: Simple visual language, funny and appealing.

Achewood: High-brow ‘New Yorker’ audience. Built more around the words.

DO IT YOURSELF – anything you can do … if you can do it, do it yourself !!

Use your art for other things. Build up a portfolio of things you can sell. T-Shirts are very popular and good to design. Make books – inkylittlefingers are good for short, cheap runs on self made books. You’ll learn a lot about business and working by selling things. Evaluate how others do things, the sort of people coming by to see you and your work, etc.

Study successful people.

Advertising is free money – Avoid overloading your website with adverts because it will annoy your readership.

Pinch pennies like there’s a war on. Learn to save and stay in the black.

Things John Allison wished he had been taught:

‘Exposure’ is meaningless. It really wont get you anywhere.

The difference between success and failure is usually a lack of intellectual curiosity. Keep learning, everything adds to your work and makes it richer.

The lower the price of a job, the more difficult the client will be.

Learn how to be a pain about money. If people don’t pay you why would you want to deal with them again?

Fake mistakes. This will give you time to work on other things while your client mulls over changes you will have already made.

Most publishing deals aren’t worth anything but a good one is worth everything. Only work with people who are going to help you, and people you trust.

You have to make an impression on someone to be remembered. Business cards will get thrown away

Overall I found this to be a really valuable presention containing lots of useful advice to help me in my own professional development.

John Allison’s Websites:



John Allison – Bad Machinery:

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