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.


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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Birmingham City University Graduate Exhibition

2011Posted by Lainey Tue, June 28, 2011 12:02:05
I had a lovely time having a wander round the BCU graduate show, even if definitivedesign and me got a little lost trying to find the Graphic Design and illustration work! There is a lot of talent being grown in Birmingham, it is very exciting! The quality of the work was very high.



Matthew Adams (below)


Unknown (below)



Cherelle Davis (below)


Lauren Wyld (below)


Sara Woods (below)

I absolutely ADORE this dress above. The fabric and cut of it all is just amazing. I would love to own it and go parading around in it on the town/beach/RED CARPET (!). If anyone knows her contact/website, I would really appreciate you emailing it me! Thank you.


Pang Tsuey Xian (below 2 images)

Website: http://sheis-pang.com/root.swf
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/tsueyxian





Anil Korotania (above) (Books) but I am not too sure if this graduate created the 'Ted Baker' branding items.

Website: http://www.behance.net/korotania



Becky Smout (below)

Website: http://hippolargeass.blogspot.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/bsmoutie



Tiffany Wong Wen Si (below 2 images)

Website: http://tiffthief.blogspot.com/




Nuttavadee Tanchareon (below)

Website: http://natbits.tumblr.com/


James Bytheway (above)


Hazel Castle (below)

Website: http://hazelcastle.blogspot.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/hazel_castle



Jenny Rose Levey (below)



Chloe Cook (above)

Website: http://www.starttodayillustrations.com/
TwitterL http://twitter.com/#!/starttoday89


Rebecca Abell (below)

Website: http://www.rebeccaabell.co.uk/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/rebeccaabell


Rachael Stott (below)

Website: http://rachaelstottart.co.uk/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/RachaelAtWork


Rachel Hancox (below)



Rebecca Cox (above)

Website: http://rebeccacox.tumblr.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/becillustration


Dean Eberhardt (above)

Website: http://drawingsandthat.blogspot.com/


Unknown (below)



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Sad News - Closure of We Are Birmingham Shop

2011Posted by Lainey Tue, June 28, 2011 11:57:39
Read the full story here:

http://wearebham.com/2011/05/announcement-future-birmingham/

It saddens me that this had to happen, as this is the sort of independent art retailer I think Birmingham lacks. It supported graduates, freelancers and people who were just being creative for a hobby.

Sadly, even though they had a lot of support, they had to close the store due to lack of funding etc and sadly have gone into administration.

It shouldn't be seen as a sad thing though, as it just shows what creative people we have in Birmingham and highlights what exposure we need from the council etc.

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She's in fashion..

2011Posted by Lainey Tue, June 28, 2011 11:55:51
...well, clearly I am not but I had a chance to go have a pew at the regular fashion shows at Birmingham Bull Ring. It was rather bizarre being surrounded by all the shoppers but all good fun!


Here are some photos I took of there them models and their legs.






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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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John Salt @ IKON gallery

2011Posted by Lainey Tue, May 24, 2011 18:24:05
I probably don't really explore enough so thought would pop into IKON gallery and stumbled my way to the top floor where to my closer examination, these photos of trashed cars were actually PAINTINGS! I couldn't believe it.







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Oh GOSH Project

2011Posted by Lainey Sat, May 21, 2011 14:01:27
Above is a little preview of my colouring page for the project


I have the pleasure of being involved in the 'Oh GOSH Project', which has been organised by Jason who wanted to thank Great Ormond Street Hospital. Read about his story behind his idea for the project as well as seeing what it is all about!


Website: http://www.ohgoshproject.com/

Jason's twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/irarmadilloboy


There are lots of artists involved in making pages for the colouring book, make sure you check them out.


I will write more about this project when I have more time to update my blog!





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