Friday, 20 February 2015

Hello, and welcome to my Art Blog!

My Name is Zoe Shelton, and I am an Illustrator and Graphic Artist based in Nottinghamshire, UK.
Well, now that you know who I am, it is probably time to explain a little bit about what I do.



I have always been fascinated by drawing, since the moment I was first given a pencil, and I have never put it down since (Although I hope that my technique has improved a little since then!).  Every school book, note book or blank space I could find would be very quickly filled with scribbles and doodles.  My love for drawing even found its way into my school projects.  Every time we had a presentation give, or a letter to write there would always be an accompanying drawing.  I actually found out a few months ago that my English teacher still has one of these drawings, and still uses it in class! I always knew I would be infamous one way or the other.  Whether it was science, math, history or french, my drawing was always present and always helped me to learn.  I decided to take my artwork to the next level, and studied the subject throughout my GCSE's and Alevels.  There was only one problem: what could I do with art?  I was always a very practical person, and although my heart was very clear about what I wanted, my head always got in the way.  I didn't see a career in art, and I felt stuck.  It was at this point that my art teacher came to the rescue, and told me about a course in Illustration.  I had no idea what that was at the time, so she explained it to me very simply.  It's art with a story. Now, I had always been obsessed with books, I always had one in my bag, and had to buy new books practically every week, so it was a match made in heaven thinking that I could possibly illustrate stories like those. At that point, I was hooked, and I applied for a course in Illustration at the University of Lincoln.  I was accepted, and worked very hard for 3 years until my graduation in 2012. 

Now, I was out of education, but where did I turn next? Its a big world out there and no job title for 'Illustrator' I didn't know where to turn.  So I took at job at a bookies, where I perfected my management and time handling skills, until I took part in a course called The Hive run by Nottingham Trent University.  It showed me how to effectively and efficiently run a business, and how I could take my ideas and skills to the next level.  So I decided to set up my own business, and thus Zoe Shelton Illustration was born.  Since then, I have completed book jackets, tattoo designs, bespoke wedding stationery packages, business logos/mascots, greeting card design and many more quirky commissions and projects. I also work part time as a graphic artist at MiRiCal Emblems, perfecting my skills even more, and gaining confidence in the workplace.  Eventually, I hope to study for an MA in Art History, so that I may teach the subject at an undergraduate level.


My main medium is Digital, as I complete more of my work using a combination of Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.  However, I do use acrylic paint, photography and found materials in order to create the texture element of my art work.  I also hand sketch each and every drawing, to make sure every detail is correct.


So, that is pretty much me in a nutshell, a new illustrator with plenty of hopes and dreams, gathering the necessary skills and experience needed to make my mark in this world.  I am using this blog to share my knowledge and experiences, to help other artists out there learn from both my mistakes and successes, to share art that I find inspiring, and occasionally I'll find a pretty picture that I just HAVE to share!

So, if I haven't bored you already, then thanks for reading! I hope you will continue to keep up to date with me and my blog.  I can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pintrest.  Feel free to email any questions about either the contents of this blog or enquires about possible commissions to zoe.l.shelton@gmail.com

Have a lovely weekend and I'll speak to you all soon!

Thursday, 1 May 2014

How To Create a Stunning Logo Design In 5 Easy Steps

How To Create a Stunning Logo Design In 5 Easy Steps



If you are a new business, or looking for a new visual style for your brand, then your first stop is logo design! Logo designs are very important to any company as it is our first opportunity to grab our client’s attention and establish what we are really about. A bad logo design can put off your customers before they even come through your door, so it is better to get this part of the business nailed as soon as possible. We can split this entire process into a neat and concise series of 5 steps, remember to check them off as you go.

Step 1: Brand Personality


What is your brand? If your company was at a party, how would everyone else describe him/her? Would they be loud, funny, informative, friendly or quirky? Make a small mindmap with all of your thoughts and ideas. Put every thought that you have onto this mindmap, even the silly ones! If you are struggling with this list, then ask your friends, family or clients for their help and input. If you are a sole trader, odds are that the majority of these personality traits will match with your own, but it does not matter if some are radically different. Once you have a huge list of ideas, start to break these down into key words to help summarise your brand. For my own business, I limited my personality traits to 7, anymore than that would confuse our message. If it helps, you could even sketch a little doodle of your brand as a person; try to get the body language, facial expression and clothing style as close as possible to your idea.

For example, a handmade craft business might be quirky, friendly, caring, enthusiastic, excitable and reliable.
A computer firm on the other hand may be professional, knowledgeable, helpful, respectful, patient, a good listener and a problem solver.

This exercise can be put into place across your entire business too! This should be the face that all of your employees encompass when they are dealing with your clients. It is this person who should be the voice of social media, the complaints department and all reception tasks. This branding exercise will help to give a clear and concise view of your company, and should be given to staff or kept on notice boards. Having these expectations will help you to keep the company on track and professional.

Awesome! Now you have a brand that is ready to jump off of the page at your clients!

Step 2: What do you want from your branding?


What do you want your branding to do for you? These choices can affect the shape, colour and intensity of your design. For example, if you are a community based project, a circular shape would enforce that idea of community and security. Check out this amazing article on logo shape and colour, it has some excellent examples on there!


Next, think about where you are going to use this logo. If you create a long, thin design, then it will not be suitable for use on social media sites, which use a square shape for profile imagery. You might even want a design that can be used either way, but be careful, you don't want to make things confusing with different logo's.

Do you want your company name on the logo? If you are a small company, the answer should be YES! Logos become recognisable over time the more we are introduced to them. If we see a logo for the first time and it does not incorporate the company name, then it is very unlikely that we will remember this image and then link it back to your company. You can always choose a design that can evolve and eventually lose the company name. Nike have done this very successfully as pictured below.





Step 3: Research


At this point, you need to make sure that your idea is not taken by someone else. There is nothing worse than creating a brand new and shiny logo, only to find that it is practically identical to another one out there! (Also make sure that your company name has not been taken by another business, this can also lead to confusion amongst clients) This may seem like a strange time to do your research, but everything before this point has been theory based, and idea generation. Even if your ideal logo design has been taken, you can always adapt this, whilst still incorporating your previous ideas.

Step 4: Collate


Get all of your information together; make sure that you know what you want. Whilst you do not by any means have to design your logo alone, you should at least know roughly what you are wanting, after all, who knows your company better than you? Try to fit all key words and ideas onto a large piece of paper, step back and look at it thoroughly, are you missing anything? If there a vitally important part of your business that you have missed? Does this really summarise you? If YES, then you are ready for the next and last step, if no, then it is time to go back to the drawing board and do some more idea generation.

Step 5: Hire an Illustrator or Graphic designer.


This stage is not technically necessary, but is immensely important. It is completely valid to create your own logo and fully render this piece, but there are brick walls that you might face. By hiring an illustrator or graphic designer, you are taking on their experience and technical knowledge, giving your logo the best possible chance of grabbing attention and being remembered.

You should hunt around for a professional to create these designs, look at past works and ask yourself ‘Is this the style that I want for my company?’ Every artistic professional has their own unique and individual style, with different techniques and imagery used. Make sure that the person you hire is also someone that you get along with; you will be in regular contact until your piece has been completed. You can get a quote from these individuals, and pricing is completely different for each one. These prices change due to experience, personal needs and individual projects. At this point you no longer have to stress about the creation process, and you can rest assured that you are being looked after by someone with expertise. If you go to a very cheap designer, then they may not have the knowledge or experience to make your dreams a reality. This is why it is so important to look at past works, do not blindly choose someone who is local, cheap or easy. At the end of the day, you are paying for their services and you have to be happy with it.

This explains why the previous steps are so important. If you use a designer, they will not know anything about your company. This makes it so difficult to get a firm grasp on what it is you need. They may have to ask you more questions, so make sure that you have the time to answer them, they are only trying to get to know you. So try to be helpful and give them as much information as you can, and always be willing for a quick phone call or face to face meeting to discuss possible options.

If you do decide to complete this step on your own, then be careful of the programmes and software that you use to create the image. If you make your image really small, then when you use this image on an A1 poster, it will be pixelated, blurry and unreadable. If you make it too detailed, you will lose the emphasis on you wording, making the overall piece lose impact. Make sure that any font or image that you use is not copyright protected. If you are in any doubt, get in touch with the designer or owner and ask for written permission to use such imagery in your works. You may have to pay royalties to use this type of imagery, and 50 other businesses may be using the exact same image file. If possible, try to use your own pictures and create your own font, this prevents any arguments in the future. Try to limit your logo to 2 or 3 main colours, taking into consideration the hue, saturation and contrast between each section. Using more colours could make the design too complex or difficult to remember. Your logo should completely explain your company in an instant, and this is what the professionals have trained and practiced in.

So to summarise, the logo is your company explained in a simple image. Take some time to fully get to grips with what you want so that you can inform any professional that you decide to use. Don’t settle, if you not happy with a design, do not use it. After all, this is your company, do not allow someone else to change the way that it is viewed. Use professionals as much as you can, make sure that you get a fair deal, but remember, price will pay for quality.

Now go and enjoy your shiny new logo, and relax with a nice cup of tea while your clients admire your handiwork!

For more information, please visit www.zoesheltonillustration.com for professional business imagery design and creation.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

New Beginnings!

Why Hello there!  I know it has been a while since I have used this account, but I am going to get better at using it! I use so many different forms of social media that I sometimes forget that I have a blogger!

Well, what's happened you may ask.  I have completed a fabulous course @The Hive, Mansfield, and I am currently setting up as a small business!  I have a new website at www.zoesheltonillustration.com with a list of my products and services!

I have been completing commissions and logo designs for local companies, and I am now in talks with a few different authors to produce some childrens books!  OH! and i am doing wedding designs! Crazy right?
Well, now I am off to do more creative things, so keep an eye out!

Thursday, 16 May 2013

A Storm In A Teacup

'A Storm In A Teacup'

Based on the phrase of the same name.

I decided to concentrate on creating a unique and intricate font, as it is something I'm a Little less practised on.  Overall, I think it worked out well :)

Burning Love

'Burning Love'

Based on the phrase 'My Love For You Burns Stronger Than The Brightest Star'

This was the first step in a new direction for  my work.  I concentrated alot more on coordinating the colours and creating an overall theme and aesthetic.  

Her Ideas Began To Bear Fruit

'Her Ideas Began To Bear Fruit'

This started up as a random doodle at work, and ended up morphing into this :)
I wanted to look at taking different idioms, clich├ęs  metaphors and similes and illustrating them with a literal interpretation.

I decided to make the idea into a stylised tree, with each bud being represented by light bulbs.  I decided to have her harvesting the ideas, and placing them into the basket at the bottom of the image.  

Monday, 7 January 2013

Tshirt Design

Well, it has been a very busy few months, but I finally have a studio space all ready and set up for production!

Recently, I have been venturing into the world of T-Shirt and Jumper design ( As I supposed you guessed by the title.







Here are some of the pieces I have produced so far (with many more ideas still in the designing stage!)