Friday, 2 May 2014

2014: Busy start

So it's been a few months since I last updated my blog and there's a good reason for it. A variety of projects I got involved in have kept me busy which have helped me improve, widen my skills and keep my mind off the 'New Year blues'. Despite the emotional turmoils that come with the start of the New Year I was determined to keep myself active and positive in any way I could. Keeping a positive attitude is hard work as I discovered on the way.

One of the most memorable moments of this year was going through an assessment for an Illustration Internship focusing on educational books for children. Part of the assessment was to design characters based on a specific style. Despite not getting through, I became more confident in Illustrator and have expanded my skills.

The start of the year focused mainly on freelance work with very successful collaborations. There is nothing more rewarding than your clients' smile when they see their visions coming to life.

During the start of March I found myself working for Spacefund a group of people dedicated in putting on shows for primary school children to educate them about space. Their new project involved a kids' show raising the awareness of a British Astronaut joining the International Space Station (ISS). Part of the show was an animated character who would interact with the presenters. That is when I jumped in.

The project went on for about 3 weeks, a tight deadline to deliver the final outcome for the UK Space Agency. During that time, the script was under development and I had to get used to using a different pipeline for the animation. With daily Skype calls and long days of animating and refining we were finally ready for the pilot show.

This is young Tim Peake as a cartoon who was animated to 'interact' with the presenters. The animation was done roughly to meet the deadline. The tight and demanding schedule enabled me to be less precious with my work and find creative solutions to save time.

Some animation excerpts.. 

..and captions of the pilot shows. You can see the kids' excitement with the educational show!

January consisted of producing an Animatic for Debbie Sanders, a song writer who wanted to take a step further with her illustrations and children's songs called Jazz Cat. Adapting to a simplistic style to match the character's original look was very exciting to attempt.

Take a look at the Animatic below. Her jazz music is quite catchy! 

This is a small collection of the original illustrations of the storybooks by Pete Sanders.

I also made an illustration design for a chocolate box as part of a wedding gift.

This is the final outcome. Delicious! :)

In other news, I've been lending out a helping hand to the fundraising strategies of  Be there!, an Animation Festival taking place in Corfu, my home island. 

I am also currently undertaking an online TEFL course. Something to keep me extra busy!

I have also been helping a friend with the art direction of his personal project.

And that's it with me for now. There are more creative projects lined up for me at the moment so I am going to try and post more regularly.

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Personal Revamped CV

Something I've been working on that demonstrates my creative side a lot better than my initial CV. It is satisfying to see everything listed down this way.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

End of 2013: Summing up my last few months

2013 has come to an end and I couldn't have asked for a better conclusion to this overwhelming year. One of the biggest moments of the past few months was being part of Team Revive; a group of young, enthusiastic individuals working to digitally rejuvenate Crystal Palace Park. With the support of Carve, Open Cinema, Living Networks and Bromley Job Center we all went on a great journey of overcoming our weaknesses, discovering our strengths, enhancing our creative and social skills, network with important personalities and most of all: made friends with each other.
Our project has even been published on press including Reprezent Radio and the Croydon Guardian!
There are plans on taking a step further with Revive: to be set up as an official brand! A lot of our team members have agreed on being part of the Revive brand as mentors/ freelancers for the next batch of people to come; including myself! So fingers crossed on that one!

The Revive Team
Our Finale show took place in Channel 4 studios on the 19th of December where all participants gathered to celebrate the end of the project - but also, the continuation of Revive. I was chosen to be interviewed on stage along with another two Revive members. To my surprise, another four members and I received a Special Mention Certificate from Carve, recognizing the effort we put into the project.  Very chuffed about that!
Viewing our finale short films
Being interviewed by Eva Ferri at Channel 4 studios
The after party gathering! 
Special Mention Certificate
To express my gratitude towards Carve Productions, I made this illustration work which they got ecstatic about. Finally got to show my Photoshop skills again!

It is very worth watching our Finale video produced by the Film Team which is packed with funny moments and a lot of information on the project! Also me being interviewed. Enjoy!

A promotional short for Crystal Palace Park

I was fortunate to finally show my more 'creative' side on this project with some branding work. Here is an ident I created for the park, with a touch of Charlie Harper aesthetic.

Crystal Palace Park logo variations...

Leaflets design..

..all printed and folded to be given to guests!

A few weeks back, we had our Half Way Through event where everyone involved in the project and its supporters gathered in Ravensbourne University (North Greenwich) to take a glimpse of the team's progress.

Revive Facebook and Twitter page
Half-Way Project Presentation at Ravensbourne University 12/11/13

We got to use an App called 'Aurasma' and had to produced a short film to be used with it. My team's short film was 'Captain Revive'. It's embarrassing but the person in the outfit is actually me! 
Captain Revive 'Trigger Image'

Check out our Promo video for a small taste of what the Revive Team was up halfway through the project!

I am overly very satisfied with the Revive project and  feel very fortunate to have taken part in it. It has greatly boosted my confidence in running projects and has given me a glimpse of what it's like to be working in a business. I am hoping to carry on working with Revive as projects like this can help the youth make their first into the media, which they so much desire.

I received great support form Carve during the project including CV and career advice, confidence boost, compliments on my work and networking. I am hoping to collaborate with them in 2014  for a potential 3D Animation related project to come.

In other news, I've been trying to keep myself as active as possible by doing some volunteer work. 

I helped produce a very quick animation sequence for The China International Film Festival in London..

Produced this 3D sculpture portfolio with Dayle..

And volunteered for Crisis charity during the Christmas holidays in the Arts and Crafts activities. Working for a charity like this opened my eyes to how much of a difference being involved in art can be to Crisis guests. It was very satisfying encouraging them to get artsy and see them so focused on something as simple as drawing and clay modeling. Seeing their smile and receiving their gratitude was worth more than any other gift. All it took was a great spirit, your smile and a badge with your name on.

Finally, I made great friends with James while working in Revive and I am now helping him out with the branding and art direction of his personal project. An idea which involves the encouragement of  more 'real life' engagement with people; similar to the Free Conversation event we both attended a few weeks back where we got to chat with random people walking past us on the street. Something everyone should try out!

That is it with me for now. I am hoping there's more to come in 2014. I will keep you updated!

Happy New Year everyone!

Thursday, 17 October 2013

What I've been up to: If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door!

Graduation - June 2013
It's official. University is over. In fact, my education is over which is the scariest part. My degree experience was everything I ever hoped for: 3 years of gaining great skills in a subject I love, exploring areas I never thought I would, evolve into a better person and most of all meet amazing people that I am hoping to keep in touch with forever.
Since September ended, I came to terms with the idea of my new graduate life. So far it's been a journey of adapting into a new lifestyle with mixed feelings of university nostalgia and excitement for making a new start. This post is a summary of what I've been up to these last 2 and a half months and how I tackled the graduate 'September Blues'. A lot has happened, so prepare yourselves for a mini essay :P

So shortly after my first self-promotion experience during the New Designers exhibition, I felt the urge to 'get out there' and start applying. I believed that working as part of a dynamic Animation studio in London would be the 'ideal' first step to the industry. With an enhanced CV and a tidy online portfolio and presence I applied for almost 40 Junior and Runner positions hoping to hear a reply from them during August. 
In the mean time, I was doing my  research on how to find my way to the industry. I even attended one of the monthly Bring Your Own Animation sessions in London where I got some advice on how to improve my show reel and and got feedback on my animation skills. I was fortunate enough to receive advice from a 15 year experienced animator which was a great eye-opener to my work. As a skilled animator, he praised my creative skills but focused mainly on my animation skills. To my 'not-so-much' surprise he commented on how much improvement my animation skills needed. I was aware of that. But I was also aware that I didn't just have animation skills. The CGAA course gave me more than just animation. I learnt how to convey my ideas using my creative skills, build characters from scratch,  tell and direct a story and be an art director. Even though I felt slightly disheartened with that feedback I decided to see my various skills as a big plus rather than something that could hold me back from my aspirations.

So a whole month past and I heard almost nothing, only automated emails and replies from companies saying how they were not looking for anyone. To my frustration I began to think very negatively about my future as a CG Artist. I  was terrified with the idea of doing nothing, especially after 3 years of very active workload. August was a month of emotional ups and downs, gaining hope for some positions but then feeling down from not hearing back from them.
At the very beginning of September, I received an email for a Runner position in Framestore, one of the biggest visual effects companies in the country. I was excited that my CV even got noticed out of the hundreds they receive weekly. I was enthusiastic with the idea of working as a runner for a big company but at the same time tried to keep calm in case nothing came out of it. Unfortunately, after my interview, I received a reply shortly after about not getting through due to competition.

To not let myself back into the zone of 'the blues' I decided to stop hoping for someone to knock the door to me and instead build the door myself. I accepted the fact that my entry into the industry will firstly depend on who I know and secondly on what I know. The media industry is a competitive one to get into, so what could be better than getting to know the people that are already into it and even the ones that will help me produce the work for it? I was determined to use my social skills to meet new people- what inspired me. So here is what happened when I 'put myself out there' and became social:

My first opportunity to get back into my 'active mode' appeared in one of the most unexpected places, where me and Dayle got asked to produce some Pre-visualization work for Master Art Brokers. I cannot reveal anything else on this project until it's done.


Just before I was about to apply for a TEFL course (Teach English as a Foreign Language) to broaden my skills, my second big opportunity came surprisingly from my local Job Centre. A number of media related unemployed, young people were commissioned to produce work for the promotion of Crystal Palace Park. I am very fortunate to be part of this 12 week project; working with Carve Productions, Open Cinema, Living Networks and Bromley Job Centre which will give me the opportunity to gain more skills and network with important personalities. This project is one of a kind; a chance for young, creative people to gain experience in the areas of Web Design/ Print, Social Media, Film, Photography and Business/ Marketing. Our team of 23 will be working on the enhancement of the Park's digital online presence. I am part of the Business and Marketing team (got encouraged to go for that pathway) which will give me a chance to overlook the whole project, art direct it and get local communities involved for the promotion of the park. In the mean time, I will be applying my animation skills wherever needed. This is a great opportunity for me to apply my variety of skills; what my course taught me. There will also be lots of work experience opportunities outside the project with Carve.

The people who will be mentoring us during for the next 10 weeks are:
Aaron Carty and Tom Conran from Carve Productions
Christoph Warrack and Hatt Reiss from Open Cinema

..and Jane Lewis from Living Networks.

Check out our first press release!

Working hard (?)

And pictures of our teams :)

Follow us on Twitter #JCPLN1 and @CPP_Revive

Watch this space for more updates on the project.

Volunteering was also a good way to keep myself active which is why I applied to volunteer for this year's Anifest in Canterbury organised by Dan Richards from Animate & Create. Working for the festival was a great experience where I got to interact with other animation students from various backgrounds and meet industry professionals like Aardman's modeller Jim Parkyn and Storyboard Artist Benedict Lewis.

I also become great friends with a Couchsurfer during my stay in Canterbury, an Illustration graduate! Check out Mike Laraman's work. He made a comic book strip of me!

The Anifest volunteer team (I am the one hiding on the left :P )
A comic strip inspired by my Couchsurfing stay in Canterbury by Mike Laraman


In the mean time, I've been trying  to keep myself artsy with small projects like these: Designing a drinks Menu for a 1920's themed party, two kids' birthday party invites and party bags!

1920's party Drinks Menu..
...all printed and laminated.
Barney's invite with Scooby Doo..
..and Casper's invite with Rex
..all printed and ready to go!
Animal-collage party bags!


Oh! Also been keeping in touch with University and my course by working as a Student Ambassador during Open Days and mentoring two 1st Year CGAA students. Besides that, I've been meeting up with my Uni friends which are great  to hang out with.

Phew! So that's it for now. I am hoping there's more good things to come. I am determined to grasp any opportunity and expand my connections. I am feeling very grateful to be part of great projects and to be interacting with creative people. Watch this space and apologies for the huge post  :)