She Inspired: now in schools!

Today was an exciting day for the memebers of the She Inspired team, as it was our first day visiting a school to give our She Inspired presentation and involve children in some activities thinking about science and creativity. We, that’s Lilian (Taryn), Mary Anning (Heather) and Hypathia (Charlie), dropped in on St.Mary’s CP, Wrexham, and had a wonderful time meeting some really great kids with lots of curiosity and enthusiam! Dressing-up, drawing dinosaurs and recreating the solar system (as known to Hypathia!) were all lots of fun for us and the pupils. I’m sure they’ve all been inspired to make some cracking comics for our competion.

Mary Anning tells Lilian about life as a fossil hunter.

After some initial nerves, we can’t wait to do it again tomorrow!

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Issue 2 Coming Soon

Taryn, Charlie and Heather are back! Make sure that you visit: Techniquest Glyndwr to find out about our current project to bring Clockwork Express into schools supported by Techniquest Glyndwr and Arts Council Wales. We’re all very excited to see ow the magazine will be received and and where it will go next!
There’s also a piece about us on Creative Boom Wales!

More Clockwork news coming soon!

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Creating Clockwork Express Part 3

Designing the front cover proved to be a harder task then I first thought; I wanted to try and include each artist’s illustrations, but also contain the main elements and themes of the magazine. These of course bring Steampunk, Victoriana, time travel, a train, and the main characters. I began by following the design that the group had decided upon, including an image of the train, steam, and incorporating cogs under the title to link in with the “steampunk” theme. I also designed the overall poster to look like a old fashioned train poster, and the words “Anytime, Anywhere” to hint to the time travel aspect. However, I hit a problem when it came to incorporating an illustration by each artist. The cover became cluttered, and various necessary images (the train, for example) became obscured.

So, I decided to remove the other artists’ illustrations, and instead create three covers, each featuring one of the artists’ drawings of Lilian. I then went on to include her bird Tweet on the back cover, as well as adding the same cog design so that it tied in with the front cover. While creating this cover, Photoshop crashed so I had to make it again. I must always remember to save my work!

Cover featuring Charlie's illustration.

The first cover, featuring my illustration


Cover featuring Heather's illustration.

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Creating Clockwork Express Part 2

My main problem with the previous “comic page” way of introducing the main characters for the magazine had been my weakness in creating backgrounds. I struggle to create backgrounds that look as though the character belongs within them, and often I feel my characters end up looking “tacked on” to the background.

I also felt though that my work for the magazine lacked the “handmade” feel that I felt both of my group’s other members work achieved. I wanted this magazine, although we each had different styles, to work well together; and despite my main illustrations being in my primary medium, sketched then scanned into a computer then coloured graphically, I felt I could create a more “hand made” texture with the backgrounds to my images.

I first began by tea staining cartridge paper and leaving it to dry; I then added coffee to stain it further, to try and give the paper an “aged” look. I then used my stencils and “distress” ink to create cogs on the paper. Cogs are one of the codes of Steampunk, and also it ties in with the magazine’s main title, “Clockwork Express”.

Knowing I wanted to add a sort of “hand written” note on the image, I ripped up parcel paper, crumpled the edges then added more distress ink to age it and stuck it onto the paper. I also added a few other elements, such as tiny bits of  watches and metal cogs. I then scanned it all into the computer, and added it as a background to the image which was being used as the magazine’s first page after the cover.

The scanned in handmade background.

I really feel this worked a lot better then my previous comic page for the magazine, and retained the “hand made” element I wanted. So, I decided that most of the pages after that I created were to have a portion of “hand made” background. I scanned in various objects, wallpaper, tea stained paper and aged parcel paper to make my backgrounds.

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Creating Clockwork Express…

During the first few discussions within the group, it was decided that we wanted to go down a more “comicbook” route of presenting the stories that we wanted to tell. Although I am an Illustration student, I felt the comic book idea was a good basis for a young girl’s magazine, as the story could be told simply, easy to follow and visually pleasing.

We then went on to discuss who should produce what kind of story for the magazine. Deciding that we needed an introduction for the two main characters, Lilian and Tweet, I decided to work on that.

However, when I started work on my comic pages, having not produced many comic pages before, I realised the sheer scale of time and patience that needed to go into them. I began with the idea of the central characters having tea in a teashop, with Lilian reading a medical journal. A man on a table behind her, seing this woman reading an educated newspaper, would begin to mock how woman “should remain at their stations” and how Lilian “most likely doesn’t even understand the articles” in the medical journal. This is true of the time period in which Lilian is based, as women were typically not educated to the same extent as men during the Victorian era.

The sketch for the comic page.

The sketch of the comic page.

The set of comics was meant to end with Lilian confronting the man, making a clever comment, (while Tweet tipped a little salt into his tea), before she and her clockwork companion went on their way towards the Crystal Palace, the museum where the group decided Lilian worked.

However, producing only one comic page from sketch to full colour took me over a week, an by the end of it, I still wasn’t happy with it. I didn’t feel it held the same “handmade” quality that I felt the other two members of my group had, so I didn’t feel the work tied together well. Also, even though I had wanted the background to look like loads of Victorian patterns, I felt it ended up making the page feel cramped and “too busy”.

The coloured page.

So, after a small panic, I decided to change my concept for introducing the main characters into something simpler and more of an “all round” introduction, so it could be used for multiple issues rather then one.

I feel that if I wanted to look more into comics and creating comic pages, I’ll have to do a lot more research on them. This is something I want to look into.

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Body Snatchers Colour

I’m not very happy with the way that this page has turned out. The original bullet points that I wanted didn’t work with the font size (you ended up with only two or three words per a line) so I opted instead for a more newspaper like approach. Even with this in place, there’s a lot of basic information that I wanted to include that isn’t there. I struggled the most with this page as the colours I’d used on the other pages didn’t really suit the tone of the subject matter and I made a lot of mistakes with the layers.

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A Portrait of Mary Shelley

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