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Ignite your creativity and bloom / Inspiration, interviews, sources and features for all creatives.


Events 2014


Naomi Ward • Cover Artist


Typography Anatomy


Thought Bubble 2013

28 40 30 32 34 42 46 50

Inspiration Section Tara McPherson Shepard Fairey Submission Guide Hayley Garrett • Artist Challenge Colour Me Pretty Artycustard • Artist Playlist Reviews • Sources Kate Walwyn • Interview


I want to create a space for creatives to come together, think together, and interact together to inspire each other and further their work. Hopefully this will help you all bloom! (May as well keep the children’s movie, cheesy metaphors going once you’ve started...) But a brood of jellyfish cannot work by that one little jelly alone. I need YOU to help make this venture a success, so head over to our submissions page (page 30) to help get involved. Designers, illustrators, artists, photographers, all creatives, I WANT YOU. Together we shall bloom. This magazine will mainly focus on inspiring creatives, as a platform concentrated on your level. With links, hints, tips and features to get the creative cogs whirring, as well as personal work featured by the artists themselves - through challenges, collaborations and tasks. This very first issue features work from talented artists who kindly gave their time and work for this special issue. Naomi Ward (our very first cover artist who did a fabulous and fun job with her birds), Amberley Stewart (Artycustard), Kate Walwyn and Hayley Garrett - a massive thanks to you all. You went out on a limb for me, and we would not be here today without your faith in Bluefire Jellyfish and your talent. Also a thank you to Liam Higgins (Pirate_Fly*), who helped me improve the design to really make it stand out and put my vision together, as well as providing illustrations and general feedback. I hope you all enjoy Bluefire Jellyfish - it’s taken a while to get here, but I’m so happy and proud that it made it! Be inspired, contact me if you want to get involved, and I’ll see you next time! Contact:

Editor/ Creator/ Writer/ Designer: Rhiannon Szulc • Primary & Cover Designer: Liam Higgins • Cover Artwork: Naomi Ward

Welcome to issue one of Bluefire Jellyfish! Here’s a question, have you ever watched Finding Nemo? (Don’t worry, you can admit it secretly, I’ll never actually know), think to that scene with the jellyfish. One wee jelly by itself does not invite much fear, but a whole wall of them is much more formidable. This is called a bloom, or a brood, of jellyfish – and this thinking formed the foundation of this magazine.

Events 2014

With Thought Bubble (see feature, page 18), bringing the events of 2013 to a close, it’s time to look at the year ahead. This list provides handy dates for a handful of the best and brightest festivals, conventions and events in 2014, through the UK and beyond!

Europe Offset

MCM Expo

The definitive name for comic conventions in the UK, 2014 sees them spread their wings further afield, and even internationally. With artist alleys that you can request tables within to sell your posters, comics, prints and goodies, these are well worth a look or a networking visit. You could even treat yourself with geeky memorabilia, or be inspired by the impressive cosplay. Midlands - 15th February (Telford) Birmingham - 22 - 23 March Ireland - 12-13 April (Dublin) London - 23 - 25 May Belfast - 7-8 June Manchester - 19-20 July Scotland - 6-7 September (Glasgow)

The Irish design festival returns for another year, with 24 speakers providing inspiring talks from the world of illustration, design and advertising- for a full list see website! Dublin. 21 - 23 March.


The character design festival celebrates it’s 10th anniversary next year, with plenty of birthday party fun! Featuring a 3 day conference with talks and presentations from leading illustrators, designers and artists from the industry. There are also events around the conference, with character walks, exhibitions and parties! Berlin. 30 April - 4 May. (Conference 1-3 May)


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American Comic Cons San Diego

The biggest comic convention in the world, this is definitely on my bucket list! Featuring panels discussing all the latest and greatest in TV, film, comics and beyond, as well as being a source for inspirational memorabilia, art and cosplay - it’s the mecca for geeks! San Diego. 24-27 July

New York

New York Comic Con is the con that’s gradually becoming as massive as San Diego. Featuring past exhibitors such as Tara McPherson, this is the place to be to nab those gorgeous illustrated pop culture posters and art (without the shipping costs!) to decorate all aspiring artist’s studios. www.newyorkcomiccon. com New York. 9 - 12 October

Stan Lee’s Comikaze

With a name like Stan Lee behind it, need I say more? The Spiderman creator and Marvel legend is the driving force behind this convention, and with past features including things such as interactive zombie obstacle courses and Quidditch pitches (plus, of course, Stan Lee himself), this fledgling convention is rapidly making a strong name for itself. Los Angeles. Autumn

New Designers

This two week long convention showcases all the new and up coming talent in a variety of creative fields. This is a great place to check out the fresh talents in areas such as jewellery design, furniture design, illustration and many more.

Thought Bubble

The definitive UK festival for comic artists and illustrators, the festival runs workshops, screenings, a two day convention and much more over the festival’s week long period. Featuring the likes of Mondo and Olly Moss, see our feature in this issue for all the lowdown on the latest convention! London. 25 - 28 June 02 - 05 July (Split according to fields, see website for full details).

Leeds. November.

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Meet Our Cover Artist...

Naomi Ward


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The cover artist for our very special issue one is Naomi Ward, a 25 year old Illustrator originally from Northern Ireland. Igniting freshness and fun in her illustrations, they are sure to put a smile on anyone’s face. How would you describe your work?
 I would describe my work as loose, instinctive and fast. Maybe a little sloppy sometimes but full of character and movement. But it didn’t always look that way; I’ve had to learn to loosen up over the past few years. I would consider myself a mashup of old cartoons, manga and Egon Schiele. What medium to you prefer to work in and why? 
 I really love using watercolors, they’re immediate and beautiful. Watercolors are a forgiving medium to me where even the

mistakes can be interesting and add to the work. I also like using mechanical pencils (they’re always sharp) and digital to enhance and fix what I’ve done. I sometimes use mixed media to add texture to my work, such as my beloved stick-ographite, which has a big chunky line that looks great for imposing writing or details on clothing, or shading. Anything that gets the job done quickly and effectively is usually my top choice. I think it’s good to experiment with materials in fun ways. What piece are you most proud of? I’m very proud of a few bits of my recent work, but my pride right now falls with the comic named ‘September’ which was done for an anthology. More than that, it documents how I’ve changed and how one person has changed my life for the better. It came together very quickly and it was selected to go in, which is very exciting! It’ll be my first published piece and I’m proud it went that far. Also, it earned me some money. I like that a lot too...

Bio... •

Naomi describes herself as “a fast paced, slow living freelancer reining from Northern Ireland. After a life of many hardships she traveled to the far off shore of Wales for guidance in the way of the paintbrush and composition. For years she toiled, searching for the secret of visual narrative. Deep in the heart of Wales she found it. The mighty pencil ‘Mechanical’, a paint palette shield coated in the paint of her forefathers and armor forged from small paint pans bought from eBay for a shockingly low price! Upon her mighty steed ‘Photoshop the Fifth’ she travels the land, looking for those who might be in need of her artistic talents and questing to slay boring nonsense and any semblance of sense that might crop up. (In exchange for a fair fee and a small percentage going towards paying her taxes.) The adventure of drawing small animals, children and other various expressive things continues!”

My dream job would probably just be drawing pictures of corgi’s bums... everyone loves a corgi’s bum!


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just want to get down on paper somehow. Maybe by writing or drawing or a bit of both. What would be your dream job?
 I really just want to earn money by drawing interesting stuff. Character designs are what I really love, and character designs that involve developing their personalities is great. I feel like I just want to be creative and learn new things. My heart lies with comics. They blend my passion for drawing and writing. They take up a lot of time though and I’m very lazy. My dream job would probably just be drawing pictures of corgi’s bums. They’re very cute and everyone loves a corgi’s bum! What advice would you give to people looking at entering the illustration world or a degree? You’ve started work on an online comic, tell us a little about it and what motivated you to create it? Itty Bitty (found on Naomi’s blog - is a simple tale of friendship and adventure. Two best buds that always seem to trip over crime and mystery. They also happen to be about four years old. For me the motivation for starting the project was in my love for writing and for drawing very young characters. I felt like I could do something fun and engaging and a bit silly. The kind of thing anybody can read and enjoy regardless of age. I think there’s a real lack of comics that anyone and everyone can really enjoy. Everything seems so dark and gritty and I just wanted to make something that wasn’t quite so gloomy. Having a self imposed deadline to work to is helping keep me sharp and motivated. The start is a little bit slow, but I have a lot of stuff I really want to do, exciting, wondrous stuff! 
 What inspires you?
 A lot of things, I’m inspired by books and film, by the places I go, by science and history, animals and mainly the people I see and talk to along the way. I think people are very interesting; you’re all so different and captivating, you should be proud of yourselves. All that watching and thinking tumbles together and I end up with lots of ideas I

When you feel bad about your art, set it aside, eat some chocolate, cry and then look at it again. I find that just taking time away from it adds more than stressing and grinding your teeth. Unless you enjoy those things, I still recommend the chocolate break. Sometimes you just have to give up control and say ‘this is done now’ and move on. It is very liberating to think that whatever your work looks like, the next one will be better and that you’ve hit your deadline without much fuss. Knowing when something is complete and not overworking is very good to think about. Why work harder than you need to AND destroy a lot of hard work? Pointless! My last tip is to really let yourself do what you enjoy. You must also try everything once, but if you don’t enjoy it, stop doing that thing and do the stuff you love. If you don’t love it, nobody else will either. Listen to your tutors, but also know what YOU want and get them to help you get what you want from your education. You’re the one paying to be there, afterall. A healthy, hearty meal every day won’t do you any harm either.

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The sensation caused by tickling



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Being part of a crowd of thousands of larvae can be hard, but all you little planulae are at a critical stage in your creative lives. Here you have no ties, no bonds, but the massive chance to choose your direction, and see where the tide will take you – the sea is your oyster! As you float around, consider what inspires you, what you enjoy doing, and imagine becoming that solid jelly form with your chosen creative purpose. The sea is a vast place, but don’t be scared to experiment and find your feet, there’s no need to settle just yet – you’re at the stage where it’s ok to float slightly aimlessly with no true creative purpose except that you just want to be here.


Smallpolyp. Ok, so you’ve broken away

from your thousands of creative brothers and sisters, and the tide has settled you, a fledgling smallpolyp, on a particularly comfy oyster shell. You have decided on your chosen place in the creative world, and you have landed in it – awaiting your career to begin. But now you need inspiration and motivation to branch away from your ocean bed, as these things do not come easy. Settle into your chosen oyster shell, practice, and take on tips and industry hints to build your portfolio, becoming the jellyfish you yearn to be.


Keep an eye out for the key in upcoming features, helping you understand your creative level!



Finally, you’ve done it. You found your path, you developed your art, and you broke into the big wide sea. You’ve found your place within the industry, you have become a fully grown jellyfish and have found your bloom, your professional community where you belong. Well done! But the journey is never over, there is always more to learn, and sharks to avoid. Don’t become complacent – keep challenging yourself and reach all the goals you set yourself, however vast they may seem, and however often the sneaky angel fish take them away from you, you’ve come this far – you have everything you need to succeed further.


Illustrations by Liam Higgins

As a polyp you have chosen your path, and have developed your skills. But now it is time to finally hatch into a baby jellyfish, called ephyrae, and send these jellyfish, your creative branches, into the big wide sea. It may be scary, and those sharks may be far too close, and the oyster shell may be far too cosy, but this is all part of the creative life cycle. Send those ephyrae of yours into the sea, and form your ideas and portfolio into the career and future you want. Get out into the world – and show them what you are made of.


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Lobe Stem

Descender Loop


Shoulder Bowl Arch

Tail +

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Thought Bubble can only really be described as a mecca and a haven for the illustration and comic art world. The festival, which spanned eight days in various events around Yorkshire, included screenings, free workshops for adults and children on art and writing, signings, masterclasses with the pros - and the massive two day convention, which took place on the 23rd and 24th November 2013 at Clarence Dock, Leeds. 2013 marked it’s seventh year, and Thought Bubble has gone from strength to strength. This year alone the tables for exhibitors at the convention sold out in under two hours - a record time - and demand meant they had to expand into a third hall , providing a grand total of 450 tables to accommodate those that missed out. That’s an awful lot of talent!

Felt Mistress’ Stall

The convention itself is immense. The free guide, including table plans for the three


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halls, was a must - the sheer overload of artists threatened to make even a hardy comic fan quiver in their boots. Featuring names such as Mondo, Olly Moss, Sally Jane Thompson, Felt Mistress, Kristyna Baczynski, Art Heroes, Becky Cloonan, Art V Cancer, Jock, Drew Millward, Rafael Alburquerque... and these aren’t even the crumb of the iceberg, let alone the tip! My personal picks (apart from the wonderful people above) include Brogan Coral, whose curvy girl characters and popping colours are vibrant and eye catching, Jenna Whyte, who combines her beautiful gothic art with science (her Elements book is pure genius), Richy K Chandler (the driving force behind Tempo-Lush comics), whose bright and fun filled table brought his Lucy the Octopus comic to life, and Daisy Hillyard, a recent graduate who creates gorgeous and cute animal characters that are really on trend right now. I could really name an army from

the talent on offer, but even an 100 page magazine wouldn’t be enough. But that isn’t even it. Apart from exhibitors selling their wares, there were also talks from the professionals - from women in comics, to bringing comics to the screen - there was something for everyone. Behemoths such as Marvel Comics, 2000 AD, Titan and Image Comics were providing portfolio reviews and they had been receiving these portfolios in advance for months. I also have to mention the staff and volunteers that made everything run smoothly. I have never been to a convention that has been so efficient - they were a credit to the Thought Bubble name. From making sure everyone got into the convention itself in a short amount of time (we only really waited about half an hour tops, and most of that was spent in the wrong line due to my own fault...), to enforcing a queue system for

the Mondo and Olly Moss stalls to ensure order and fairness (as well as queues for the signing tables), their efforts were amazing. I even saw hardy volunteers holding signs to signal the end of queues for these tables, which was so commendable - the whole convention was a testament to the organisation of UK conventions and how it should be done. It’s hard to fit everything about Thought Bubble into a word count. It’s the place to be for comic lovers and artists alike. I would heavily recommend it to all fledgling creatives as well - from buying inspirational purchases, to absorbing the vibes and talents, from chatting with other people on your wavelength to gain tips and advice, to collecting business cards - it’s well worth the £14 or £22 (for the weekend) entry fees. Next year I want to see all you readers there, you hear me? Good.

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Do your research – First of all, if you want a table then know

when they are going on sale and be ready. They will sell out fast and you need to be on the ball, as well as booking hotels etc - they will go fast too. On the day, research what and who will be there. Some artists have limited runs of things, especially the names such as Mondo and Olly Moss, so if you want to nab a big gun then planning is key. Know which hall you need to be in, and know how to get there. Be prepared to queue – but if you are unsure or wavering on a more expensive print, it could be worth waiting for the queues to die down and leave it to fate later in the day.

Save, save! You WILL want to spend those pennies. Believe me.

The great thing about Thought Bubble is that artists are selling prints and comics relatively cheap, £5 for an A3 or A4 is not uncommon, but with the sheer volume of stalls and talent this will mount up. If budget is tight, walk all the stalls first, jot down what really catches your eye, take your time and return to the ones top of your list. And there are plenty of freebies around too, be vigilant!

Preparation is key! Comics, prints, stickers... what ties these

together is their fragility. Some artists will have elastic bands and wallets for the prints you buy, but some won’t (Mondo are great with providing massive plastic wallets and bands). Bring your own wallets and bags – a portfolio case would also be handy – and make sure your purchases and prints are safe from that cosplayer that HAD to whack your precious cargo with their robot shoulder pads. You have been warned. If you’re going for the larger A1/ A2 prints, especially the Mondo ones, a poster tube with a DIY’ed strap would not go amiss either, for that extra security against crowds and the British weather.

Network! Thought Bubble is not just a place to look at pretty

pictures, it’s also the main place in Britain to be for illustrators, artists and comic creators. The sheer wave of talent in those halls oozes from the moment you step inside, and I didn’t come across a single stall that was not approachable and extremely friendly. From free sweets to compliments on my hat – they were amazing. Which should encourage you all to network! Bring your own business cards, or at the very least collect theirs, and start learning names. The range of artists there – from fledgling graduates to art world superstars – means that anyone at any point in their career should get out there and chat to as many people as possible. Ask for advice, admire the work and remember the names. You never know the opportunities that may arise – or the general inspiration to be gained.

Enjoy yourself. It’s massive, it’s amazing, it’s once a year – savour it.

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No creative, however talented, would be anywhere without their personal inspirations. Which is where this following section aims to help you be precisely that -


Opening your eyes to everything from blogs to books, movies to music - this section will bring forth the next stirring inside of you.


This section also includes recurring features from you guys, such as artist challenges and artist playlists, so head over to the submission page if you want to get involved!

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Pinterest Find Of The Day

Book Of The Day

Santa Strawberries by Leanne Bakes,

To Kill a Mockingbird; Harper Lee 1960


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Film Of The Day

Behance Find Of The Day

Gravity; 2013 Alfonso Cuaron Sandra Bullock

Photography & Art Direction by Andrey Yakovlev & Lili Aleeva.

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TARA Tara McPherson is one of those artists you look at and desperately wish you were - if not them - then certainly their best friend. My personal beginnings to the Tara admiration started with an innocent trip to Manchester. When visiting the Richard Goodall Gallery to look at some prints, these inconspicuous cushions on a display caught my eye. With gorgeous muted colours and surreal subjects, the fascination with her work has grown ever since. The 37 year old is based in New York. Her work has been featured in Elle, The New York Times, Vanity Fair, Marie Claire, MTV and Metal Hammer (to name just a very few) and her clients include the likes of DC Comics, Penguin, Playstation 2, Pepsi and Warner Brothers (again to name a very few). Tara also co-founded the Cotton Candy Machine art boutique in Brooklyn, which features and sells work from many different artists, holds exhibitions and is the exclusive shipper of Tara’s work.


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Bringing influences from her traditional fine art training, Tara now creates weird and wonderful images, mainly of women, that draw you into a fantastical world of colour. I admire her for her simplicity, yet always managing to create subtle complicated effects and compositions, that become her signature style. Her experimentation is also inspiring. Her recent work for her third solo gallery exhibition, entitled Wandering Luminations at the Jonathan Levine Gallery (head to the website to see an awesome timelapse of Tara’s biggest piece to date) features such vivid and luminous colours, creating a gorgeous deep sea effect. Although her style is successful and has set her career, her bravery in still continuing to push her own boundaries and challenge mediums, colours and techniques makes her a top artist for any aspiring creative to take admiration from. I recently managed to grab myself her recent Tomahawk print, which is beautiful for its unusually muted tones and sketchy lines for a Tara piece, but this really makes it stand out in its own right. I would also recommend that people purchase her books, as they feature gorgeous copies of her artwork, printed beautifully to fully appreciate the artwork. The copy I own, Bunny In The Moon (The Art of Tara McPherson Volume III), features little sketch processes for a lot of the pieces featured, which is useful to see how a composition takes shape, and how ideas are moulded into a final image. Tara is definitely up in my favourite artists, and I hope you all appreciate her work as much as I do!

I sincerely hope you are enjoying Bluefire Jellyfish so far, but in order for it to keep running...


If you are a creative and fancy a platform to challenge your work and gain a little exposure, as well as potentially joining a growing community, I want to hear from you.

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SUBMISSION GUIDE Your contribution could primarily be split into many possible avenues:

If you are interested, please e-mail me at, sending 3-5 jpeg examples of your work, a link to an online portfolio (if you have one) and listing which contributions you would be happy to make. You can list more than one, and I can then feature your work in future issues if you are interested in contributing for different things, increasing your exposure!

• An original piece of artwork for the cover design, as well as a full feature inside the issue • A standard feature, where I could use examples of your portfolio • A collaboration piece with another artist contributing to the magazine • A particular challenge to further enhance your skills and challenge your inspiration (see page 32) • An original comic, either standalone I hope to hear from all of you lovely or continuing readers very soon! • Create your inspirational music playlist, and create a piece of work inspired by this (see page 42)

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Hayley Garrett

Artist Challenge

Create a female, animal based character, as an illustration, using only three colours. Hayley is located in Connah’s Quay, Flintshire, and she studied Design Communication at Glyndwr University. Having been creative at an early age, she always knew she wanted to do stuff with designing. She loves learning new skills, and she also currently loves patterns, animals, colours and tea.

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COLOUR ME PRETTY Whether you are creating a screenprint piece and can only use three colours, or need to incorporate a mandatory colour for a branding brief and want to know what to use with it, understanding colour schemes is crucial for any creative piece. This feature aims to help you decipher the main schemes on the colour wheel, as well as providing helpful hints and tips!

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The simplest of the colour schemes, monochromatic refers simply to one single colour, with all it’s hues and shades. Utilising the differences within one colour can create variation in your piece through these subtle changes. It is also important to pay attention to the feel of the colour, to create the impact you desire. This includes the temperature of your chosen tone - blues and greens create a cool, cold feel, whereas oranges and reds instantly warm things up. This monochromatic scheme should be used for a simple but effective style, and the use of one colour can instantly bring in the drama and atmosphere you want, without having to understand complex colour theories. Therefore it is especially useful to consider for beginners, starting to learn their way around the colour wheel.


This scheme uses colours that are next to each other on the colour wheel, and is designed to help you choose colours that work effortlessly together. This then helps to create pieces with that sense of synergy with a calm, subtle impact. Colours that start blending to each other to create that subtle harmony - such as the use of blues, turquoises and greens - is what the analogous scheme concentrates on. Also useful for beginners, this scheme uses colours that work beautifully together - but require minimal understanding of the colour wheel. Choose one accent colour for your work, and then pick up the shades and hues around it and it’s colour wheel neighbour. This creates the impact, drawing the eye and neatly weaving all the other colours together.


The complementary scheme involves choosing two colours that are directly opposite on the colour wheel. This creates an instant visual impact, but as the colours are linked on the wheel, they maintain harmony on the eye. Each pairing has a different reaction, such as the green and pink/ red combination has that instant direct effect, whereas an orange and blue combination is more subtle and less impact on the eye. If you add extra shades to these initial two colours you begin to add extra depths to your work, and this can also be achieved by adding neutral tones such as white, greys or black.

Split complementary

Moving on from the straightforward complementary, the split scheme involves three colours. You choose your colour and find its complementary colour (opposite on the wheel, remember!) Then, you use the two colours either side of the complementary colour. For example, you want green as your initial colour. The complementary of this would be red/ pink, and then you use the split complementary colours - which would be red/ purples and orange. This creates even more harmony, knitting your colour scheme together and adding more sophistication to your colour palette. As always, this can then be influenced by the temperature and impact you want, creating the drama or softness you may desire.

Pantone Power Love it or loathe it, Pantone is a key word for all graphic designers, printers or creatives. And although it feels ingrained into the creative dictionary, almost as much as ‘more white space!’ is, it is surprising to know Pantone is only a mere 50 years old, with the first colour matching system being developed in 1963. Lawrence Herbert changed the company when he bought it in 1962, moving away from colour cards just for cosmetic companies, and broadening Pantone into what we know it as today, providing colour swatches and codes to make colour reproduction easier within all stages of design production. The system is now so widely recognised it even has particular Pantone codes for describing flag colours, and can be copyrighted to certain brands. You can’t deny the power of the Pantone!

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2 E 0 8



3 457


8 7 9 09



5 BD



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Shepard Fairey

Reaching fame with his Obama “Hope” poster, Shepard Fairey is a behemoth in the design world. Almost becoming a household name, people would instantly recognise his work. He has inspired a whole load of artists through his “Hope” poster and his Obey Giant work, and will surely be known for many, many years to come. Fairey’s work is firmly rooted in the street art and graffiti scene, and his Obey campaign began in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. He tries to provide a commentary in his work, and his image of Andre the Giant as stickers around the United States reached a viral sort of popularity before that was even a greatly acknowledged concept. Unlike other famous political street artists, Fairey takes full ownership of his works and very much drives the messages behind his pieces, nowadays using the fame around his name as another force behind his work and ideas. From viral sticker campaigns to ‘reverse shoplifting’ - placing propaganda style cereal boxes in LA grocery stores - Fairey

is clearly using his art and talent to make a point, which I think is particularly inspiring in driving direction and messages in our own pieces. Stunning in its simplicity, Fairey’s work uses bold colours and imagery directly infusing propaganda and urban art. Grounding his work firmly within a red and black colour palette, it’s when he steps away from his typical colours that the pieces really shines. For example in his Sedation Pill piece (close up image, opposite page), where his unusual use of yellows and golds really brings this piece to attention and refreshes the love for his loyal fans. His illustrations of women also shine through in his pieces, with the realism mixed with the bold lines of his graffiti roots fully bringing them to life. Not only are Fairey’s pieces all stunning, inspiring in their refreshing use of propaganda and bold imagery and colours, they also contain strong political messages for our generation, which all creatives can learn from.

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Artist Play List One of the biggest sources of inspiration for us all has to be music. I know this magazine was made to my own eclectic music selection, with a dash of Radio 1 to keep the coolness balance. Which is what this recurring feature will be about. A featured artist will create a piece of work inspired by music, either a particular song or playlist in general, and then share their own playlist with us. Hopefully this gets the artist themselves inspired, but also gives you some new music that may even inspire your own work, so get listening and creating!

Amberley Stewart a.k.a Artycustard!

Inspirations: Nature, Music, Marian Bjantes, Carrie Fletcher, John Green, René Campbell, Unicorn Empire, Rob Ryan, Nadia McDowell, Ben Kwok, Stefan Sagmeister and Books/Covers/Quotes (+ many, many more!) • •

This first issue features a playlist and work of a good friend of mine, Amberley Stewart (a.k.a Artycustard)! Now based in Leicestershire, The 21 year old Graphic Design graduate from Glyndwr University describes her work as an iguana in its variety, and that she “enjoys dragging my work kicking and screaming into different medias to see how the message can vary, though I feel more at home on the pencil to digital front of my designing when it comes to my perfectionist eye for detail.” However her work showcases her love of experimentation, from web design and social media to layout, typography, photography, illustration and even interactive media.


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A Creative’s Inspirational Playlist: Jason Walker - City Never Sleeps Ellie Goulding - Stay Awake Groove Armada - Paris Angels and Airwaves - The Adventure 30 Seconds to Mars - Alibi Boys Like Girls - The Great Escape Bryan Adams - Don’t Give In (Remix) This Will Destroy You - The Mighty Rio Grand

The Calling - Things Will Go My Way Pendulum - Watercolour

Ludovico Einaudi - Divenire Kodaline - All Comes Down To Mae - Awakening Jason Mraz - The World As I See It Owl City - Take to the Sky The National - Bloodbuzz Ohio OneRepublic - If I Lose Myself Alphabeat - Fascination Kaiser Chiefs - Tomato in the Rain Sara Barrellis - Brave

‘This City Never Sleeps’

The Beaver represents the artists themselves. Escaping the city/ corporate surroundings to strive to create their own skyline. To make his or her own rules and bring back the colour the world around us is constantly screaming for. It also shows that with hope, there comes a new height with no boundaries. The dream catcher shaped like a sun in front of the moon represents the artist working day and night to achieve their dreams. The lanterns and stars surrounding them represent the magic of dreaming and making your wishes come true. The balloon represents flight. We may not have wings, but if we’re determined to achieve in life, we make it possible. It also represents travel and getting to where we want to be by believing in ourselves, no matter what others may say. As long as you are happy, no-one else matters. I hope my corny explanation inspires at least one person on to greatness. The only person stopping you, is you. Good luck!”

Twitter: @moreartycustard • Instagram: @artycustard

“Mostly the song itself, originally written by Jason Walker, inspired the idea behind this piece. The world of a creative is getting increasingly more difficult to adapt and survive in successfully due to the sheer amount of talented workers within the profession, as well as the constant battle we face to make others see our talent as a means for securing our place on the ladder.

Bluefire Jellyfish • Issue 01 • • 45 +

Art For Adults

Since this very first issue is a bit of a women power one, I felt that the Art For Adults tumblr blog would be an appropriate one. Looking at artist works across the sources, and even at my own work, women are a key subject - and Art For Adults aims to celebrate this. Featuring artist’s works from fine art to cartoon, they all have one thing in common celebrating the female form. Set up and run by Maneco +

(, the site collects images from artists around the world to promote their work. The site is open to submissions as well, and often features new and upcoming artists as well as the more established ones. The work itself is extremely varied, and not everything will be for everyone (there is also a fair bit of nudity), but the sheer volume and scope of the work means

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even a brief glance will offer plenty of inspiring works. Whether you want inspiration on poses, faces, expressions, mediums or colours (as a starters), you cannot go far wrong here. The tumblr platform means the site is updated extremely regularly and it could not be simpler to reblog them for yourself or submit your own work, so get inspired!

The Book Cover Archive is one of those sites you could lose hours on, when you only stumbled on it randomly. With a randomize feature and a layout designed to bombard you with inspiration, it can keep the creative juices flowing for as long as you need. The site, run by Ben Pieratt and Eric Jacobson, pretty much does what it says on the tin. It is an archive of book covers, which you can browse in categories such as book title, genre or designer, set out in a beautiful grid system to give full appreciation to the works. The randomize feature sets out the books in a random order - so if you are ever unsure of what you are looking for, this is perfect in helping you find it. A particularly interesting feature the site has, provided by the editor of Typographica Stephen Coles, is the font identification. You can specifically search for

The Book Cover Archive

books by typefaces, and on selected books it will tell you the typefaces used on that particular cover on the information page. This is really useful for helping you decide on typefaces for yourself, and seeing how they would sit and work within a space or particular style of design. The creators also run a blog in tandem with the site, over at blog., which provides updates, news and assorted book related stories and

information. The Archive itself contains handy links to other book cover design sites, a mailing list, portfolio links to the designers and a link to the Children’s Relief International where you can go and donate to support the Book Cover Archive. Pieratt and Jacobson are always asking for views on the archive as it currently in it’s beta stage, and the site will continue to grow and develop depending on suggested improvements so it is always worth keeping an eye on it for the future.

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Spectrum I believe every artist worth their salt should have a Spectrum book in their collection. Like with the Expose books, they contain a massively ranging scope of artists and styles in contemporary fantastical art. I own the eighteenth edition, shown in the images, and they are edited by Cathy and Arnie Fenner. Featuring up to 500 artworks, the 304 page, A4 sized book is split into handy sections, such as comics, dimensional or editorial. Containing work for the likes of Wizards of the Coast, Imagine FX and Lucasfilm, this book contains all the names to look out for in the future. There is even an unpublished section for works you won’t have seen elsewhere. The 20th edition of Spectrum was released in November 2013, and you can now grab it on Amazon for a bargain £16.07, and you certainly will not be disappointed at the sheer +

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value for money. Whether you want inspiration and ideas from the luscious and richly printed images, or are looking for names and artists themselves and want to use the extensive artist index, you cannot go far wrong here. All mediums are covered, all subjects are covered and all inspiration is covered – all artists need a Spectrum in their lives. But be warned – you might not stop at just one! The book itself runs on a competition entry basis, with the best works being judged by a panel who will choose those to feature in the book. This interesting system is great for featuring new artists, which is one reason why Spectrum works. Also keep your eyes peeled on the website and add yourself to the mailing list for more details if wishing to submit your own work for next year’s edition.

Places to Visit

Conwy, Wales. Longitude: 53.275, Latitude: 3.82

Above Artwork: Android Jones • Left: Nic Klein • Right: Derek Stenning Bluefire Jellyfish • Issue 01 • • 49 +

Kate Walwyn

Hailing from the not-so-design-capital Shropshire, Kate Walwyn is an up and coming freelance designer, and here we discuss her love of branding, vectors and Johnny Depp.

How would you describe your work?

definitely makes that the most fun!

like learning something new or smartening up my skills.

I would describe my work as minimalistic, simple and squeaky clean.

What is your favourite piece of work you have done and why?

How do you personally tackle a branding brief? Is there any tips you can give for getting across a business’ identity?

Your work varies down a few different routes (branding, portraits, posters, infographics, book covers etc), how does this develop your creativity and what can you take from this? I love to try out new ideas and explore different avenues. Experimenting with different outcomes helps me to develop new software skills and new methods of creation. I feel most comfortable designing branding but... I would say that the experimentation that can come with designing book covers

I would have to say that the vector portrait of Johnny Depp (from Alice in Wonderland) is my favourite piece of work. Aside from the fact that anything Johnny Depp orientated is awesome in my eyes, it was the first piece of vector work that I really got stuck into. I learnt a lot producing this piece. Would you have any tips for anyone wanting to have a go at vector work, or advice on where to start. Practice, practice, practice! There is so much to learn and it’s easy to become overwhelmed by it all. Reading blogs and following online tutorials is definitely a great place to start... there are loads of online tutorials but I use vector. whenever I feel

It’s sad, but I find laying out a fresh piece of paper for a new client one of the most exciting parts of a branding brief. I like to draw out my ideas before even looking at my mac. Coming from someone who wasn’t blessed with drawing skills, this is more to push ideas than to produce polished designs. I make sure that I have a page of ideas before researching anything. This would be my top tip. If you jump straight into researching it is impossible to shake the ideas you see on the screen from your head and will often subconsciously produce something that is similar to what is already out there. What inspires you? It might sound cheesy, but

Bio... “I am a freelance graphic designer and art history student from Shropshire. My interest stemmed from school but deciding to pursue photography at degree level, graphic design was put on hold. After finding that photography was beginning to stunt my creative scope and flair I moved to study graphic design and, after achieving a distinction, I am now finalising my degree with an art history year. Studying alongside my freelancing gives me the best of both worlds!” +

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Website/ Contact: •


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everything inspires me! I photograph everything and anything; people, places, things! I have lots of graphic design books for bedtime viewing, and (not sure I should admit this) I collect postcards from galleries. Most important for me is pinterest and behance. Exploring other people’s work on these sites inspires me massively.

but these are just the projects that will make you! It is very easy to say yes so just go for it! Aside from that I would definitely advise people on payment... some clients want the work but don’t want to pay. Be prepared to set rules, deposits, invoices, invoice reminders. Be stern, you have worked for it, make sure you get your money!

As a recently started freelancer, are there tips you could give to fellow people wanting to start freelancing, or anything to watch out for that you have learnt from?

What are you aims/ dreams for the future and where would you like to go from here?

Difficult question, there are so many things that I am still learning! With each client comes something completely new. It is very easy to shy away from something if it sounds big and scary

In an ideal world? I would like to earn enough money to have my own design premises and work alongside other creatives like myself. My big dream would be to run my own design agency... but I may be old and grey before that happens!

Big Brand Theory - Gingko Press

Creative Workshop - David Sherwin

1000 Music Graphics - Stolze Design

The Gig Poster Books - Clay Hayes

Contemporary Graphic Design

Kate’s Top 5 Creative Books

- Charlotte and Peter Fiell

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“Of course it’s happening inside your head, Harry, but

should that mean that it’s not


why on earth

Bluefire Jellyfish #1  

Ignite your creativity and bloom. Interviews, inspiration, features and sources for all creatives!

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