minirice [ graphic design & illustration ]

minirice [ graphic design & illustration ]

What's happening?

My website is having a makeover, 2 years overdue.

Please be patient, I will be adding photos of my old uni work and current illustrations !

Follow me on twitter (@minirice_uk) or check out my Facebook 'Like' page, which currently houses some of my illustration work or check out my twitpic account for up-to-date images.


I have also decided that I will only be posting my work, artist spotlights and work that I find inspirational, rather than exhibitions, things that I have been to and other art related news.


October 2011

Artist SpotlightPosted by Lainey Sun, October 30, 2011 21:13:20

Let me introduce you to the amazing Laura Manfre, who I discovered after she started following me on Twitter. Her work instantly caught my eye and I was in total awe, as you will see, the detail and care that has gone into the pieces is unmistakable. The work is fun, bright and even though some of the objects are the same, it looks like everything has been individually created.



Website: http://chewychewychewybubblegum.blogspot.com/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/laura_manfre

Have you always been interested in illustration?

When I was a kid I used to read a lot of books and I especially loved their illustrations. I remember it was the first job I wanted to do!

When did you first start to define your 'style'? or do you think you don't have a certain 'style'?

I would like to believe I've got a certain style... But I too much love to experiment! Recently I've been rebuilding my portfolio, it was quite hard to say "good-bye" to my old work but I really enjoy what I'm doing now!

What has been the highlight of your illustration career so far?

I don't know if we can talk about a career, but I would say that designing the flyer for the Norwich Fashion Week was one of the best moments I've had!


Above: 'Collection' (Courtesy of Laura Manfre)


What is your favourite tool to work with/in?

My hot pressed watercolor paper! I've been spoilt by it, I can't work with anything else!

Is there a certain illustrator etc that you would like to work with? Tell me all...!

There are many illustrators I admire... Mary Blair, Art Seiden, Alain Gree... but from the modern world, I would say Caitlin Shearer.

She is so talented, her work fascinates me!

What event in your life would you say is most inspiring?

I'm inspired by my every day. The city, a movie, my photography... there's a shop in Norwich called "Looses" it's full of vintage ephemera. I can browse there for hours, taking pictures... I know at the end I'll have an idea for a painting!


Below: 'Love Heart Pattern' (Courtesy of Laura Manfre)


What colour crayon would you be any why?

Pink, I love bubble gum!

Last but not least, pen or pencil? and why !

Pencil, because I can erase my mistakes!

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September 2011

Artist SpotlightPosted by Lainey Fri, September 30, 2011 23:14:46
Artist Spotlight: Lee-Ann Donaldson

Website: http://lee-anndonaldson.com/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/MsSoprano

When did you first become interested in illustration?

In 2009 when I went to the Drawing Life exhibition at the Design Museum in London. I loved the child-like doodles of Javier Mariscal and they inspired me to doodle freely and accept that you don't have to be a fine artist to illustrate.

At what point in your illustration career did you start to define your 'style'? or do you think you don't have a certain 'style'?

I don't think I have a style yet, which frustrates me sometimes because I'd love for someone to be able to recognise my work based on a particular style I had. That said, I enjoy being able to apply different styles to my work for a bit of variety.

Above: 'Unexpected Surprises'

What has been the highlight of your illustration career so far?

I'm still not sure I could confidently say I have a career - not while I'm still studying, anyway. At the start of the summer I landed a freelance job for Virgin Digital Help, which was an amazing opportunity and a great client to stick on my CV - so I'd have to say that!

What is your favourite tool to work with/in?

I just bought a Wacom tablet, I'm completely in love with it!

Is there a certain illustrator etc that you would like to work with? Tell me all...!

There are a couple of people I've briefly spoke to about working together. I'm really looking forward to a lettering collab with Designer & Illustrator Jay Roeder ( http://jayroeder.com/) in the near future. And then there's Mark Webber ( http://www.markandrewwebber.com/ ) who creates these amazing linocuts, which I've recently started playing around with myself, so hopefully we'll be able to get together and come up with a few ideas.

What event in your life would you say is most inspiring?

I work voluntarily at the local infant school, helping to run an afternoon art club once a week and I work with Foundation Stage children doing free painting. It's very messy! But the kids are really inspiring at times, I really enjoy encouraging the creativity in kids and the imagination is a wonderful thing at that age.

Above: 'Lets Go On An Adventure'

What colour would you say represents you best and why?

Extremely red, like my hair, because I'm feisty!

Last but not least, pen or pencil? and why !

Pencil, because then I can fix my errors.

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August 2011

Artist SpotlightPosted by Lainey Sun, August 28, 2011 14:51:07

This months artist spotlight belongs to Rory Cahill


Website: http://cargocollective.com/whoisrorycahill

Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/r_cahill

Rory started to follow me on Twitter and one thing that I know most people don't do, is properly look at the people who follow them and their work. I liked Rory's work as it had a graphic element mixed into it. It wasn't all clean, computerised but the work was still a bit rough around the edges.



Have you always been interested in illustration?

Not as a career path or subject, but I have always drawn, and I have always been interested in art in a broad sense.

When did you first start to define your 'style'? or do you think you don't have a certain 'style'?

Honestly, I try not to. I have struggled with defining my work in the past and have tried to fabricate a style to force my work into, which did nothing but hinder my progression. I believe everyone has a unique way of doing things, and 'styles' come out of this. Some are more obvious, I guess, I try to create work through experimentation and inspiration. Repetition bores me so I'm always on the lookout for new materials or ways of creating images.

What has been the highlight of your illustration career so far?

Either getting onto my Illustration course at Brighton, or being featured in OWT Creative's Northern Talent zine. I have also recently sold my first print (to a complete stranger, which is a personal triumph).



What is your favourite tool to work with/in?

I do get bored quite easily with materials, and I tend to obsess over particular medium for a short while. Recently it's been blue fountain pen, mechanical pencil and a particular fineliner pen my mate left at mine. Paper stock is of big importance to me.

Is there a certain illustrator etc that you would like to work with? Tell me all...!

Timba Smits. That guy is so rad. Or Hort collective.

What event in your life would you say is most inspiring?

Probably everyday. That sounds like a crappy answer.. But I'm inspired by lots of things on a daily basis. Not just art, but music, people, even the weather!

What colour crayon would you be any why?

Caribbean Green! (I just looked that up) Because it's an official Crayola Colour and it matches the colour of my 'treats' logo.

Last but not least, pen or pencil? and why !

Pen 'cause you cant rub it out.

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July 2011

Artist SpotlightPosted by Lainey Sun, July 31, 2011 20:38:19

Let me introduce you to another fellow from the Twitter society, who recently followed myself. One of the things he has taken from Twitter, is his observation of the amount of illustrators 'declaring their love for caffeine and cute animals in their Twitter bio's'. In his current project he will 'attempt to uncover the mystery by drawing tea, kitten's and some of the random things these illustrators claim to love...' Read more about his project here: I LOVE KITTENS & TEA

This month's spotlight goes to Matthew Spencer


Matthew Spencer above (Image courtesy of Matthew)

Website: http://mattyspencer.blogspot.com/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/mattyspencer


What was it that made you become interested in illustration?

I was attracted to the way illustrators communicate things in such simple and exciting ways. Most people can look at an illustration and understand it, its more inclusive than fine art.

At what point in your illustration career did you start to define your 'style'? or do you think you don't have a certain 'style'?

In my work at the moment I am using bright backgrounds and trying not to use thick black lines around the edges of anything, but I'm not sure if that has become part of my 'style'. Its something that is constantly evolving and being redefined all the time. I don't think I will keep one certain style forever because that will become boring very quickly.

What has been the highlight of your illustration career so far?

My career has been short. I've just left university, but I've been having a great experience in these early days. I guess the moment that has excited me the most was getting my first dollars from selling work online. I've never had a 'real' job so generating some cash felt like a big achievement for me. It's really great to know that you're creating stuff that people want to have on a tshirt or iphone case and that they want your illustrations in their life. Its a small thing but it means a lot.

What is your favourite tool to work with/in?

I used to enjoy working with pastels and charcoal but at the moment I'm using Illustrator for everything and working digitally. I don't have much patience for erasing, tracing, re-drawing or scanning things so I feel a lot more comfortable using a computer than a pen. I used to draw by hand and colour with Photoshop but the results were messy and I never perfected very clean line art. So I switched to drawing using vector shapes and building up an image that way, and I love it.


Above: 'RETRO LOVE: GAMEBOY' (Image courtesy of Matthew Spencer)

Is there a certain illustrator etc that you would like to work with? Tell me all...!

I've met so many amazing illustrators recently, but one that sticks out in my mind is the French illustrator Stephane Tartelin. I've loved his work since I saw it in Computer Arts magazine a few years ago. His characters are quirky and dynamic and I really love the slim and beautiful line work. Back when I was at college, and drawing with pen a lot, my illustrations looked quite similar. It was good for me at that point in my life to see a successful illustrator that did things the way I wanted to be doing them. Seeing this guys work made me realize that I wanted to be an illustrator.

Is there an event in your life that has been inspirational to your work?

There was one big event that happened to me when I was younger that I often think I should deal with in some creative way, but I never have. Throughout my education I was always been slightly scared about being too honest and then have to explain something personal to my tutors, classmates or even my family. Maybe now that I am freelancing I will explore some more personal topics. I am generally influenced by life around me and often notice that the things I draw are quite British looking or are in some way related to areas in London that I hang out in. I also used to look at hundreds of blogs and websites for'inspiration', but all you end up doing is seeing other peoples ideas. I think its healthier to be inspired by the world around you rather than by other peoples worlds.


Above: 'HUNGRY KITTENS' (Image courtesy of Matthew Spencer)

What colour crayon would you be and why?

I would be the white crayon. I feel its the most neglected of all the crayons. Its hardly ever used and then when it is, it turns dirty grey coloured and is even more useless! (I'm not sure what that says about me...)

Last but not least, pen or pencil? and why !
I'm left handed and can't use either without making a huge smudgy mess, but I think I prefer a pencil.

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June 2011

Artist SpotlightPosted by Lainey Thu, June 30, 2011 11:51:31

One of the reasons I do like Twitter is that there is a huge art community on there, from people just starting out in design etc to the people who have all the experience to guide the newbies along. It's also very complimenting when people follow you and one of my followers happened to be Scott Connick


Mr Scott Connick above (Image courtesy of Scott Connick)


Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/38431423@N03/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/estersands


What was it that made you become interested in illustration?

I first discovered the world of illustration about 3-4 years ago and that’s when everything started to fit together for me in terms of art. Originally I was looking to do an apprenticeship in tattooing but eventually I came to the realisation that I wouldn’t really have the creative freedom to grow as an artist down that route. I think the world of illustration first clicked with me when I was having a long look into the art section of my local book store and discovered numerous contemporary art and illustration books, at that point I knew I wanted to be part of it.

At what point in your illustration career did you start to define your ‘style’? or do you think you don’t have a certain ‘style’?

I’m a firm believer in that you don’t set out to create your own unique style, it’s something that you develop throughout all your study and body of work. If I did have to choose a starting point though I’d have to say my endless time spent trying to recreate my favourite Marvel characters as a kid would have had something to do with it. Since then my style has become a sort of mish mash of things which inspire me and give me a surge of creativity such as art nouveau, tattoo art, comic book art and varying contemporary styles.

What has been the highlight of your illustration career so far?

Oh man this is a hard one to call. It’s always a highlight to hear my work getting a good reception or discovering that one of my posters is scattered around a venue miles away from where I live and sometimes in a different country, that sort of news I always find quite overwhelming really.


Above: (Image courtesy of Scott Connick)


What is your favourite tool to work with/in?

Black pigment ink by far. I have to say I think I have a slight OCD when it comes to filling in very small details with finelines and nailing the black tones just right with a Sharpie. I also have a love/hate relationship with Photoshop when it comes to colouring and adding the finishing details using my Wacom tablet. I don’t think any media I have touched so far has had the same impact with me as ink seems to create so that’s definitely what I’ll be sticking too for a long time.

Is there a certain illustrator etc that you would like to work with? Tell me all...!

Another hard one to call! Ermmm I would have to say the utterly brilliant Aaron Horkey. When I first discovered his work it was like he took all my best artistic inputs and multiplied them. His poster work is some of the best I’ve ever seen and the promoters and music artists he works with are some of my personal favourites too. That would also mean I’d be able to learn some of his secrets and how the man actually has the time to pool in so much detail into so many pieces. I do believe he could be a machine.

Would you say your work has been influenced by the above illustrator or would you say your work has been influenced by other artists/nobody?

I wouldn’t really say my work has been influenced by Aaron Horkey as he is a relatively new discovery to me. I guess my main influences when it comes to my pieces would be the amazing Yoshitaka Amano (famous for his stunning Final Fantasy works), Alphonse Mucha, Yuko Shimizu, Jim Lee and many other artists who I’ve met and have offered me great amounts of advice on my path as an illustrator.

What colour crayon would you be and why?

Ah definitely have to be Red! Something striking and bold and also the colour of my favourite football team, that one’s pretty much a no brainer.

Last but not least, pen or pencil? and why !

Pen, quite permanant and has much more impact on paper I’ve never been a huge pencil fan though to be honest.


Above: (Image courtesy of Scott Connick)

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May 2011

Artist SpotlightPosted by Lainey Tue, May 31, 2011 14:31:02
This month spotlight belongs to my lovely friend Kate Hindley, whose work you may recognise as she has been involved in many great projects orgnanised by Inkygoodness, Girls Who Draw and many others. I first met Kate at our Foundation Art & Design Course, we then both graduated from University College Falmouth, with Kate graduating in Illustration. Her style has evolved since our Foundation course and I feel that she has grown and developed her style and she has achieved so much, even though she may not say so herself!


So please, get yourself acquainted with Kate Hindley


Miss Kate Hindley as a small mini kart racer (Image courtesy of Kate Hindley)

Website: http://www.katehindley.co.uk/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/hindleyillos


What was it that made you become interested in illustration?

I really like how illustration can be found everywhere. Its really all about communicating with everybody from all sorts of different backgrounds, and making things look good to boot. To see great design and illustration you don't need to go to a poncy gallery or museum- you can find it all over the place! It was this idea that made me want to get involved and start doodling.

At what point in your illustration career did you start to define your 'style'? or do you think you don't have a certain 'style'?

I think like most people I started to find my own style while I was at university, but it doesn't ever really stop evolving and improving. Once I started to work professionally I had to work out new ways of producing slicker looking work much more quickly, so started using the computer more and more. This moved my style on further, but it is always good fun to try out new things. I have recently been dabbling in a bit of screen printing and have made some wooden 3D pieces for exhibitions.


Above: (Image courtesy of Kate Hindley)


What has been the highlight of your illustration career so far?

I have recently done a couple of very exciting jobs which I can't really talk about yet (a little bit of kid's telly, and finally started working on my first picture book) but they have been really great opportunities and I have learnt an awful lot from them.

I have also really enjoyed exhibiting with the Girls Who Draw and Inkygoodness folk. When you work alone at home its always fantastic to get out and meet real life people doing the same work as you. I've met some proper top people through these projects who are a great source of inspiration and support. I really would encourage anyone to get out and collaborate every once in a while- its very refreshing!

What is your favourite tool to work with/in?

All my work starts with a trusty mechanical pencil, which I use to try and translate all the garbled rubbish in my head into what might look like a proper picture. From there I do lots of scanning and digital tinkering on photoshop and illustrator until the whole thing starts to look finished. I'm obsessed with using the live colour tool in illustrator. Have happily wasted many an hour tinkering with countless colour combinations until I realise yes, there is a deadline and I do have to eventually make a decision and hand in.

Is there a certain illustrator etc that you would like to work with? Tell me all...!

So many! I recently found the work of children's illustrator Benjamin Chaud (I haven't been able to find a website- please let me know if you do!) and I would really like to pick his brains. If time wasn't an issue I would probably hop back and try and get in touch with Edward Lear. How ace would that be?

Is there an event in your life that has been inspirational to your work?

When I was 13 I entered a 'design a gameboy' competition in N64 magazine (in hindsight I was really too old to be doing this.) Anywho I won and joyfully jogged to school to relay the news, where a lot of cool kids told me I was an idiot. Not really sure if this was inspirational, but definitely taught me that you can't please everyone and to keep on regardless.

What colour crayon would you be and why?

Probably green. It is calm and leafy, and incidentally the colour of wasabi peas

Last but not least, pen or pencil? and why !

Definitely pencil! (Pen can be scary...)

Below: (Image courtesy of Kate Hindley)

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April 2011

Artist SpotlightPosted by Lainey Thu, April 28, 2011 14:22:56

I first found my April artist via good old deviantART many moons ago, where I used to post my work but I rarely go on it these days. When I do go to look at the work that I'm following, I can always find a piece to favourite by this artist, whose work I have always admired and been inspired by (& always a little bit jealous of!)


Please meet: Kelly Robotson


Above: Mr Robotson on the Underground. (Image courtesy of Kelly Robotson)


Website: http://demitriredding.deviantart.com/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/beardswin


What was it that made you become interested in illustration?

I've wanted to be an illustrator since I was pretty little. I was either 9 or 10 years old and my baby sitter at the time was an amazing artist. I would sit in awe as he drew my favorite videogame and anime characters on yellow notecards. I still have a couple of his drawings

At what point in your illustration career did you start to define your 'style'? or do you think you don't have a certain 'style'?

Honestly, I don't really think of myself as having a style. Anyone who's followed my work over the past 5 years has seen it make some drastic changes, sometimes without me knowing! Honestly though, a lot of my friends and fans have told me that I have a very distinct style, so it's hard to say.

What has been the highlight of your illustration career so far?

I think the highlight of my illustration career is coming very soon. I'll be re-vamping my website and putting a more professional looking portfolio together to hopefully gain some more commission work.

What is your favourite tool to work with/in?

That would have to be my trusty duo, Mr. Laptop and Mr. Wacom tablet. I have a newer (DEC2010) Macbook Pro and a Medium Intuous 4, as well as a Small Bamboo for travel. Photoshop and Corel Painter are my programs of choice for coloring and illustration but I do dink around with Alchemy as well.


Above: 'Dr Who-Solo' (Image courtesy of Kelly Robotson)


Where do you tend to 'create' your pieces and why?

I tend to create my work at home, or in downtown coffee shops. I feel that these places are safe and conducive to my creative process. There's something about a comforting atmosphere that puts me in the mood to work.

Is there a certain illustrator etc that you would like to work with? Tell me all...!

I think if I could choose to work with any illustrator / group of illustrators, it would be the folks at Capcom Japan, specifically Tatsuya Yoshikawa. His linework looks so fast, but the attention to detail is mind blowing. I could stare at his work all day long.


Above: 'Faces and Faces and Faces and..' (Image courtesy of Kelly Robotson)


Is there an event in your life that has been inspirational to your work?

I don't know if one specific event has been the vaulting point for my art, but I do reflect heavily on what I've been through, seen and experienced to help get my creative juices flowing.

Last but not least, pen or pencil? and why !

Hahaha, what a great question. Pencil! Mechanical pencils with red lead, specifically. I love pen/pen+ink but there's a permanence with that that's frightening to me. Perhaps I should work in it more often. ;)

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March 2011

Artist SpotlightPosted by Lainey Sun, March 27, 2011 15:56:01

This month I would like to introduce to you a wonderful lady, based in Nottingham, who creates some magical little pieces. Her pieces are mainly traditional paintings of some very cute and cheeky characters.

Please let me introduce you to: Amy Blackwell


Above: The lovely Amy (Image provided by Amy Blackwell)


Website: http://www.amyblackwell.co.uk/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/amyjpeg


What was it that made you become interested in illustration?

I’m a natural born doodler. I’ve always drawn pictures or made things. When I started to play around with them on computers and making little prints to give to people - that was probably a little turning point. Also I’ve always been a huge fan of kids books and their pictures - they’re my favourite kind of art book.

At what point in your illustration career did you start to define your 'style'? or do you think you don't have a certain 'style'?

A couple of years ago I think. I don’t know if I have a set style but I am a little obsessed with drawing cat shaped things at the moment. I love bold blocks of colour mixed with little patches of detail - maybe that’s my drawing recipe. All the familiar characters are starting to take on new looks too now that I’m playing around with my paints more than my pens - interesting times.

Image below: 'Chic geek cat' (Image courtesy of Amy Blackwell)


What has been the highlight of your illustration career so far?

Putting on shows and making books. 2 highlights :) I finished my first little book (A pocketful of black cats) at the start of this year and I think it’s just unleashed a beast within. I can’t wait to make the next. I’m also in the middle of planning a show this summer with some fellow doodlers! Yes!!

What is your favourite tool to work with/in?

Small paint brushes I think. I love colouring in, which is odd because I never had the patience for it when I was shorter. I can sit and colour in with my paints for hours so long as I’ve got some good tunes or a good drama to listen to on the radio.

Where would you say is the best place for you to 'create' your pieces?

At home on my desk - that’s where it all happens. I’ve got a nice view out of the window and access to all my tools. It’s a very small space to work in but I love it. I’m doing an ok job at keeping it tidy this year too :)

Is there a certain illustrator etc that you would like to work with? Tell me all...!

I can’t think of any artist collaborations but I am REALLY looking forward to putting on a group show this summer with some amazing UK based illustrators. I can’t say much more because a) I don’t want to jinx it and b) there’s still a lot of planning to be done! (Eek)


Image above: 'A fake still life' (Image courtesy of Amy Blackwell)


What event in your life would you say is most inspiring?

I can’t remember an exact event, which is a shame, but something must’ve happened in the first year after finishing university. Something made me pick up the pens again and I’ve not been able to stop since...

Last but not least, pen or pencil? and why !

BOTH! If you asked me that question 2 years ago I would’ve said pen but the times have changed and I couldn’t cope without either. Pencil for the sketchiness and pen for the colourful cheeks - yep, sounds good to me.

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