Throughout final year I have tried to keep my portfolio and social media accounts such as instagram, up to date with current projects. As I jumped back and fourth quite a bit between projects I ended up loosing momentum until January 2020. I had been working on a few different projects with Paper Owl throughout 2019 and into 2020 so I feel my free time was well spent trying to craft my skills in visual development further. I also freelanced for another Belfast Studio, Rocket Flair as a concept artist which lead to a successful pitch to Paradox Interactive.
I wanted to stay focused on creating a visual development collection of artwork depicting my own imaginary world which is loosely based off Irish mythology and I hope to build upon this world during any free time I have after graduation.
Since my last poster design I decided to make my poster look a little more like a map, to portray the feeling that the project is based around a particular land and not a particular character or emblem. The reason I decided not to decorate the poster with an emblem is that I feel Zolkeba as a whole all have many different factions within it and so I felt the depiction of a map would suit better.
I want to keep the poster quite neutral, neither advertising one particular character or movement. I feel the map gives the impression of an ancient land waiting to be discovered and has many stories to tell. I firstly designed my map of Zolkeba, taking inspiration from ancient maps such as Piri Reis’s third of a map which shows the western coasts of Europe and North Africa. I love how it looks, combining quaint drawings with straight navigational lines for sea travel.
When designing the map of Zolkeba, I thought it might be nice to take some influence from the early depictions of our island of Ireland. The first imagery of Ireland was created by a famous Greek astronomer and cartographer, Claudius Ptolemy. Ptolemy was born in 100AD and with the map dating back to 140AD it is considered to be the oldest surviving representation of Ireland. The original depictions of Ireland are shown below.
Along with these living maps, I also took inspiration from conceptual maps, such as The Witcher’s maps from both the Netflix series and the game.
Alan Lee’s map for The Lord of the Rings was another major influence in my design choices.
In terms of the map on my poster I have used a simplified outline of the island rather than one with loads of detail and text as I feel that would distract the viewer. When looking at my design iterations below, the text is aligned vertically. I like how the text looks overall as it looks quite symbolic and doesn’t stand out too much therefore pushing the map more towards the front. Each letter of Zolkeba almost looks like a symbol due to the spacing but if the viewer looks more closely it is better read. I didn’t want the text to be too bold as I am not advertising a movie, a character or movement etc, it is more a hidden, ancient land, so in a way it’s almost as if it’s an old map that us difficult to figure out.
The final map of Zolkeba can be seen below to give some context as to how much I have simplified the map displayed on the poster.
After getting some opinions on the poster I was advised that the map below looked the best of the various shades so I will stick with this one for the final poster. I feel it depicts what I need it to, not giving too much away but just letting the viewer know that it is a land called Zolkeba.
Business Card Design
After receiving feedback on my previous design I went to work on fixing layout issues, particularly with the font. Below you can see my previous layout on the front and back. the text at the bottom is very uneven and doesn’t line up correctly so I re-adjusted it and moved it up on the card more and also made it a little larger.
The new design is shown below, I feel it is more aesthetically pleasing now that the font has been lined up correctly and also the change from lowercase to upper case gives it a more uniformed feel. My previous feedback suggested to keep the raven design on the front and back so I kept them the way they were but just re-positioned them again, making them a tad smaller. I kept the card white as I feel it suits the kind of artwork I have produced throughout the year and keeps it looking clean and tidy. Hopefully the hand-drawn images will let any potential clients know what kind of work it is that I do.
Below is a copy of my finalised CV. I had feedback given in relation to removing buzzwords and lining up the side text. I am quite happy with the design as it is more simplistic, clean and also compliments my business card design. As time goes on I will continue to update it with any new roles or skills I attain.
Portfolio Organisation & Website Layout
Artstation is the best option in terms of portfolio layout as everything is easily navigated. As I have subscribed to have a pro account, a website comes with it. I also purchased an original domain name so that the address looks more professional, I decided to use my full name as the domain : http://www.leannahillen.com I have also edited the SEO keywords etc to aid my site showing up in searches related to concept art in Northern Ireland.
Artstation is linked to my website in terms of artwork. With my portfolio I am able to organise my artwork into albums and choose whether the albums are visible or not on Artstation or my site, the same goes for individual pieces. As I am advertising myself as a 2D visual development artist there wouldn’t be any reason to make a video displaying my work so this is the best option.
At the moment my artstation is split into albums, with the featured album being ‘Characters and Creatures’, the others are ‘Visual Development’, ‘Illustration’, ‘Sketches’ and ‘Studies’. I feel this is a nice way to show the work and having the character folder featured lets any visitors know that this is the area of art I like to focus on.
I chose a layout of website that best suits portrait/vertical portfolio pages. Below are images of how the pages on my site are looking at the moment. Still a lot of work to do to fill it out but as time goes on I hope to have plenty of pieces to display.
I am drawn towards the illustration page at the moment as I feel the vertical layout looks interesting. After graduation I plan on working my characters this way to show them off better rather than a section of them being shown (similar to instagram).
Since I am also an avid traditional artist I would love to have albums dedicated to this also on my site, such as ‘oils’. Craig Mullins is one of my favourite concept artists and I take inspiration from his website layout as he also organises his work in this way, separating traditional from digital. You can see this in the image below.
Progression of my cover image
Bobby Rebholz is an amazing concept artist who focuses more on creature design. His cover image displays a few pieces of his which I love and reminds me of how I have displayed my work. At the moment my cover image on Art-station was something I quickly put together once I had enough to fill the gap but I feel it is something that needs more work to better represent my work. I would prefer to have a landscape piece with some characters. I hope that one of my illustrations for ‘Tales from Zolkeba’ might fit once I have them completed, if not I will have to update the cover during the summer once I get more character work finished.
Here are two examples of cover images, the top being my current choice. I feel the characters aren’t shown correctly and don’t fit well. The sketch work cover below that is ok but again I feel it lacks detail and looks unprofessional for Artstation.
I tried a new cover image for artstation, I prefer it over what I had but I will update this again in the future once I get a piece I feel fits, for now I feel this illustration brightens things up a little.
Link to my Artstation : https://www.artstation.com/leannahillen
Link to my Website : www.leannahillen.com
I originally intended to create a mixed media presentation for the end of year show and have sculpted characters and some paintings but I had to leave that idea to the side and instead, thankfully give more time to the layout of my digital art book. I intended to do another bust of Lugh and then a full body sculpture of my creature design, Seiliu.
In regards to the Universities catalogue I will design the pages similar to how I’ve designed my digital art book, with the same page colours/textures etc and pic out a few pieces to go along with some text. All my images are RGB for the digital art book whilst the pieces I will be using for print will be converted to CYMK accordingly.
Throughout the year I worked more on the visual development side for Zolkeba, sketching props and environments etc, so I hope to continue work on my 2D character portfolio throughout the summer in between freelance work. Although the final year show might not happen, I hope to print my art book anyways and possibly bring it to any future interviews for employers to have a flip through.
In terms of current work, Paper Owl have hired me for full-time work on a project currently under NDA but I am very excited to be part of the team, working as their environment and props concept artist. In any free time during the summer, I hope to continue filling out my portfolio with a large array of characters whilst trying to study more anatomy. If I find myself with little work after summer I hope to start designing my original final year project of a short 2D animation that focuses on traditional art mixed with digital. Thanks to all who have helped with feedback and guidance throughout the year and who have pushed me to pursue a career in visual development.