Thursday, 4 December 2014

Call for Submissions - Illustrated Menagerie Exhibition

We would like to invite you to submit artwork for our upcoming exhibition: 'Illustrated Menagerie’. The Illustrated Menagerie project itself  is coming up to its 5th birthday now and will be holding an exhibition of Illustrated Menagerie works, to which we would like to invite you to submit some work. Deadline for submission is Monday 15th December.

If you would be interested in this please find the exhibition brief and all relevant details. Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have. We look forward to hearing from you!

Friday, 2 May 2014


For this unit I looked into crocodiles and how their society operates. I found out that it functions in a strict hierarchical manner and wanted to look into illustrating this. I decided to look at how it might relate to human behaviours which also demonstrate social tiers, so I was thinking about social satire which gives commentary on these behaviours (such as Spiegelman's "Maus"). My final illustration is in ink - similar to the styles of a lot of satirical cartoonists. It involves a lot of crocodiles parodying human behaviours, and also includes a small reference to a myth about crocodiles that I briefly looked into.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

The Gorilla

I chose to look at these ground-dwelling herbivores because they are powerful and intelligent. They live in social groups and often display gentle, human-like behaviour. Some able to learn basic sign language and communicate with humans. Would you believe 1 gorilla has the strength of 4-8 human men. It's incredible feats like these that made me want to study this magnificent creature. It's just a terrible shame that some species of gorilla are still endangered today. 


I picked the Tiger for this project as they have long been one of my favourite animals, being such a feared and respected hunter, and also the mascot to my Rugby team. I used a mixture of mediums throughout the course of the project, but really wanted to reflect the areas where the Tiger can be found, namely China, Asia and Eastern Russia. But after discovering the Chinese governments dual policy of both protecting and hunting these graceful animals, I wanted to represent them as the product that China seems to think they are. So I tried my hand at some Chinese paintings and some came out better than others, but I did include the bar code logo to reflect the commercial use of these beautiful creatures.

Blue Footed Booby

For my research methodology I picked the blue footed booby. I was interested by this creature firstly because of its name and vibrant blue foot and then after some research its funky mating dance it uses to attract partners.

White Tailed Deer

For my research methodology project I have chosen to base it on white tailed deers. The reason why I have chosen this animal is because I was interested in their white spotted fur. I also find it interesting how only the baby deers have white spotted fur as when they grow older most deers lose their spots. Most of my illustrations for this project were penciled based sketches.      

                                                             Pencil, white ink and glitter

                                                       White pen, colour pencil and sketching

Paper cutting of Bambi


For my Research Methodology project, I was watching a documentary about sea animals and at one point they said that seahorses are the only animals that the male gets to give birth and I thought that that is really unique, at that point I realised that this is the animal I was going to use for my project. After long researches I found out that seahorses are really powerful and smart animals.

Monday, 28 April 2014


For my Research Methodology project, I focused on peacocks as they are an interesting male bird of the peafowl species to look in to. I have noted that many meanings come with this colourful bird. Its form is also interesting to look at and its tail can be seen to look like eyes and is used for a number of things.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014


For my Research Methodology project, I focused on foxes - due to the fact that where I live in Portsmouth, you can witness a vast amount of foxes in the night. I personally like the mysterious aura around these nocturnal mammals and so I wished to research into them further. Throughout the project, I looked at the stereotypical characteristics that foxes have within society where they are seen as cunning and malicious, however when I looked into other societies across the world, such as Japan, I saw that they are portrayed to be gods, either being extremely malevolent like in our society, or being seen as immensely benevolent and wise. The concept of the foxes traits being at two opposite ends of the spectrum intrigued me and so, the majority of my project was concentrated on the kitsune - the Japanese fox - and the Japanese tales surrounding it (such as the fact that the majority of Japanese tales show foxes to only transform into females in order to bewitch men).

The illustration above was supposed to portray the malevolent side of the fox in terms of the colour codes of the female fox's robes whereas the images below show the benevolent fox where the colours are more welcoming. The digital drawing to the right shows an incomplete shrine in the background which I wished to finish because it showed that the female fox would've been worshipped dearly and would have backed up the fact that it is a loving god rather than a malicious one.

Friday, 28 March 2014


For my menagerie project I chose to focus on bats.

I wanted to do an animal that I thought most people wouldn't do. Bats are not very popular and even feared but I think they are misunderstood and cute yet elemental. I looked at the different types of bats and where they live. I found that there are two branches of the bat family; Microbats and Megabats. Microbats are nocturnal, have external tails, are carnivores, use echolocation and are smaller than Megabats. Where as Megabats eat fruit and nectar, don't have visible tails, are diurnal so they have good eyesight and have no need for echolocation and are much larger.

I also looked into their behaviour and what their relationship is with people around the world. I used pencils, ink, collage and origami to show different aspects of the bat. The origami was the most challenging and the most rewarding.

Harlyn Blanchflower.

More on frogs

This was another experiment using water, oil and colour in order to create the idea of water and ripples within it.  Below is also a line of frog bunting representing the different personalities of people.

Short animations

3 short animations resulting from the Research Methodology project;

Save the Arctic
Pen and ink drawn animation by Aaron Baker

Claymation by Johnathan Smallwood

How the Black Death Began
Paper cut animation by Bryony Mellett

Thursday, 27 March 2014


I love cats and this is the simple reason way I chose them for my project. They are loved by many and apparently mainly by crazy lady’s, including me. Besides being affectionate, cute and adorable I find they have a lot of character and attitude. This is what interested me most and what I wanted to focus on and convey in my drawings. I tried to communicate this through gestures, symbols and expression and use medium that would work and compliment the message and style. 

The Anglerfish

I chose Anglerfish for this project. I was really interested with the sheer appearance of them, their huge mouths, the sharp teeth and the glowing lure on top of their head. As someone fascinated in horror/monster illustrations I felt this deep sea creature would make a perfect project for me. 

At first I was looking at how you could make the Anglerfish look less intimidating and scary so I tried a range of different bright colours, the materials I used for these illustrations was mainly ink pen, water colour and photoshop. After these experiments I took a completely different approach to the project and found poems and short children stories about the Anglerfish. I found this one poem called 'The Mermaid Song' and it's about a beautiful young woman who was once heartbroken and spends the rest of her days as a mermaid in the deep ocean who lures unwary sailors and brings them to their death. I found this poem really connected with the Anglerfish and how it lures its prey near them till they're close enough to kill. 

Red Fox

I decided to focus on the fox for my research methodology project. I have always been fascinated by foxes, considering I had seen one bareley a handful of times in real life as they are such timid creatures. I began looking at lots of different species of fox, but quickly settled on the Red Fox. Having grown up in a fairly country-based town, I would frequently wake in the night startled by the sound of a Foxes shrill cry. However it would be near impossible to catch a sight of the sly creatures as they would lurk in the shadows in my then overgrown childhood garden.

I think the fact that I knew Foxes were difficult to catch a glimpse of created an interest within me for the creatures, and as a child I would constantly be fascinated if I caught sight of a Fox skulking into a bush in the day, or scuttling across a land at night. This Idea of a child so fascinated by a particular animal, yet not being able to see it with their own eyes, gave me quite a distinct idea. I knew I wanted to act on my love for children's illustration within this project, so that was the path I decided to go down, and I created Ella and Fox. A story based around a girl who finds all of the clues to a living creature in the forest, but cannot see this creature, so she goes searching for him, and learns all about foxes along the way. It seemed to me that as the character was discovering this information about the animal, the child reading the story would too, so it became a sort of mini fact file as well as a children's story. I had a lot of fun on this project!