5.1 Your own work


The exercise is part of a section about authorial practice, where an artist or illustrator takes ownership of the brief and initiates and creates content that they then market and sell.

The course text book identifies six different areas of authorial practice:

  1. Children’s publishing
  2. Decorative illustration
  3. Fanzines and artists’ books
  4. Editorial
  5. Artists prints and artworks
  6. Fashion and accessories

The brief asks the student to review their own work to identify imagery that would work in one of these six categories, and to then use these to create an artefact.

Keywords from the brief:

  • Review your sketchbooks, notebooks, working drawings and sketches as well as the more resolved or finished pieces
  • Distance yourself from each image’s original function
  • Make your selection on purely whether you enjoy the image aesthetically or conceptually
  • Make a gallery of pictures
  • Chose one areas of authorial practice and select an image
  • Identify and audience for your work
  • Implement the choices you’ve made and produce the artefact

What I did

One of my objectives in doing the course is to give me he skills and confidence to bring more of my illustrative work into my ‘day-job’. This exercise started off a process of thinking through what that might mean and what I need to do next to make that happen.

The process of reviewing my work and associated sketchbooks made me realise that I’m now starting to build up substantial portfolio of work. My challenge is to work out the best way to present this to my target audience. I’m not convinced I’ve got the depth and quality of work to do this yet, but I’m confident it’s just a matter of time.

Following my sketchbook review I decided that some of the dog sketches I produced for Visual distortion exercise could produce interesting silk screen prints. I was also aware, based on numbers of Instagram likes for the Visual distortion artwork, that anything related to dogs has an instant attraction for many social media users. I concluded that a limited print run of one of my bull terrier sketches could have potential value to a ready audience.

The area of authorial practice I chose was artists prints and artworks. Having now made the prints I think they could also be used as greetings cards, although apart from a quick Google search for ‘greet cards submissions’, this is currently a market I know nothing about.

The potential audience is anyone that likes bull terriers. A quick review of related Instagram hashtags confirms there are lots of them.

I signed up for a weekend introduction to silk screen printing at Kew Studios and used this project as my first print.

I scanned the line art, cleaned it up in Illustrator and created four colour print layers in Photoshop. These are output as black and white before being transposed onto the silk screen as part of the print process.

The actual print process was in two parts.


Was quite conservative as I was introduced to the print process. This resulted in a small print run of ‘straight forward’ but attractive prints. I think these have the most sales potential.

Bull terrier silk screen print – A3


Allowed to really experiment with the medium and to try out different techniques and combinations. For example, I printed on top of sketches and photocopies from various other exercises. I’ve included some of these experiments here.

What I learned from the exercise

What went well

  • My introduction to silk screen printing was eye opening. I loved it. It came at a time where I was also doing Exercise 4 – Words and pictures and there was quite a crossover of ideas between the two.
  • The process of silk screen printing on top of other images led to some interesting visual and compositional results.
  • I like the quality of the bull terrier illustration. It’s a style I think works well in print. I’m thinking of using it in Assignment 5.
  • Although I don’t yet know how do this, this exercise has made me start to think about how to organise and present my illustrations to compliment my other professional work.

What I could have done differently/better

  • The screen prints are A4 size and printed on A3 size (approximately) paper. If there is any interest in anyone buying these prints I will redo them at a bigger scale and over a larger print run.
  • I would also ‘expand’ the line art layer which on the current print run could be a bit stronger.


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