Another year has gone by, and so has another Creative Futures week. I’m just going to write down which lectures I went to on those days and the notes i took. Should have done this sooner but I just tended to go to sleep as soon as I got home after the lectures.

Day One : 5th March.

Lecture 1: Opening Address. Professor Michael Scott, vice-chancellor of Glyndwr Uni.

This was the very first lecture that everyone had to attend, it was strange seeing all the art students in one room. We ‘re hermits so it’s rare to have a whole pile of us in one place, did make me wonder where they all hide when I linger in the corridors like a trapped blue-bottle.

Anyways the person who was meant to give this lecture had come down with an illness, so our vice chancellor was kind enough to step in for him. We were told that 94% of graduates from this uni last year got a job within 6 months, that’s promising. Most of the lecture we where told a story about and around Shakespeare, how he was the best business man that ever existed. I took notes quickly but since I wrote slower then he talked, I missed out huge chunks of what he said, so the notes probably make no sence and are probably not accurate.

Shakespeare’s business is the oldest business that is still going and his making over £8 millions. (again don’t hurt me if this is totally wrong, I’m just putting down what I heard him say) Shakespeare’s books are still being sold around the world.

We don’t know much about Shakespeare. When he was 10, Queen Elizabeth when to visit her love Robert Dudley, and Dudley had to put on entertainment. There was a mermaid riding on a dolphin’s back carved out of wood, not sure why little Shakespeare was around but he saw it. James Burbage had a part in doing the entertainment.


Burbage went down to London after to see how he could make money, and money was in bear baiting at the time, when bears where tied to a stake and had dogs set on it.

Burbage had an idea, in 1576 he applied for a licence to build a theatre, but he couldn’t build it in central London because the Puritans who ruled London at the time were total douchbags and wouldn’t allow it, because music and performance, and anything really that was considered ‘fun’ was sinful. So Burbage opened it way up in North London and was the first one built in London. People flocked to it. His son started to act in the plays. A law was regulated so companies needed to be licensed in order to perform. In 1590’s Shakespeare turns up, he starts off my stealing others plays and re-writes them, and he started getting a reputation. He was there to make money, he needed to because he had got his girlfriend preggers and his dad was bankrupt. He started writing plays about royalty of history. He started with Henry 6th, then the 4th then the 5th. In 1596 Shakespeare’s son Hamnet dies. James Burbage dies also. Shakespeare faces the fate of his father. He had a stare actor William Kempe, but his style was different from Shakespeare so he left. First business of it’s kind next, (i think it was Shakespeare) got 6/7 people from the company, moved the theatre across London and built it again in South London. He said we’ll have two companies, we’ll be shareholders of our companies, the actors would have to pay rent to be on theatre, Shakespeare was the first to do this in 1598. He nicked the play Hamlet and rewrote it, and he puts up another plat called “As You Like It”. The Puritans won’t allow him to play in London. Henry Evans realised that the Puritans have no control on parts owned by the Church. So he suggested that plays be held in churches. 6p a seat for the important people. (notes really stop making sence now cos he was talking to fast for me to catch up) John Marston starts having a go at his fellow dramatists. Some other men (couldn’t catch their names, Marston, Johnson and Chapman i think) wrote their plays in a different way to stop people like Shakespeare from nicking them. The wrote lines down and gave them to the actors to play the parts. John Marston somehow got in trouble, he pissed the king off somewhat, and he had two choices of punishment and 30 seconds to decide. Either get killed or marry this woman who fell in love with him who was related to someone the king knew. John decided to marry, and isn’t allowed to write anymore plays and joins the church. Shakespeare then buys his company so he is now top dog. Shakespeare gets land, lends money out to people and makes a fortune. Shakespeare wrote plays just out of business, to make money. He created his art for the market. (apparently)

After the Shakespeare talk, he mentioned artist Rembrandt, and his self-portrait that is in Edinburgh. Apparently it is haunting because he painted it shortly before he become bankrupt. According to my uni’s vice-chancellor, this is the best painting held in Britain. You see the haunting dispar in the paintings eyes, yet the artist still painted.

What I got out of this lecture was that at the moments of dispar, Rembrandt and Shakespeare created the most fantastic pieces, maybe it was because of their situation that their work turned out well? So was the whole message of that lecture that we’ll create the best pieces when our lives are in total shit? And to get anywhere we might as well steal others work and redo them? (not a brilliant message I must say)

Lecture 2 : Key Note Speaker. Angus Montgomery. Editor of Design Week.

(notes taken from that lecture)

He is a journalist, and has been for 10 years. He envy designers, he said we are lucky to have that creative skill. Try promoting yourself, not just your work. All designers are business people, you’ve got to think about what you are doing in a professional level. Collaborate, go to studios, get out there and be creative, surround yourself with creative people, don’t isolate yourself. As a business person you need to know how to collaborate. Design thinking, solving problems. You must love what you do, it pushes it. Be passionate, show that you are passionate and professional. Designers where asked about studio fee’s. Would they rather spend £9000 on a degree, or a block of gold. They all opted for the degree. They would have loved to have been in higher education, for they had to work really hard to get where they are now. Though it is still tough for graduates to break into the industry.

This $100 laptop was mentioned. I remember seeing it on display in Manchester a few years ago. It’s a small green laptop for children in schools in less fortunate countries. It has apparently been going for 4 years. If i remember right, the handle on the side is the charger which you spin around to charge up the battery.

We are then shown images of the first designer energy saving light bulbs, because apparently the normal ones ain’t pretty enough. We are then shown A&E poster charts for waiting rooms that shows the stages the patient has to go through in order to actually get seen, and shows are how busy they are, apparently was designed by a furniture company.

Then he mentioned a thing called St George’s Crypt. Annual report and 6 Accounts. A book/ document of homeless or just unfortunate people. The book is A3, the size of a homeless person makeshift blanket.

In these images for Resonate advertising, apparently they had £1000 worth of flowers, froze them in liquid nitrogen, and literally blew them up and took photo’s of the petals shatter, creating something quite beautiful.

He shows some posters someone created pieces called Vertigo. Vertigo is the feeling that the world is spinning around you, people often mistake that for Acrophbia, the fear of heights. He also showed us some images of people with musical instruments next to a wall with colourful lines coming off them, representing music and sound they produce. The images are meant to show their individual personalities. I quite liked them, shame I don’t have images to show.

Lecture 3 : Building an audience: Making a living from comics. John Allison.

He was inspired from comics like that of Garfield. He showed us a Garfield comic that highlights that you throw your work out their, and you won’t know who your audience will be. Example being that you might want it to attract a certain class of people but you might get totally unexpected class of people that become interested in it. (This was not mentioned in the lecture but I’ll give an example I know of. My little Pony, it is aimed at little girls, but since the 4th generation “Friendship is Magic”, it has become popular with the older audience, this includes full grown men.)

John started comics in 1997. He sent some of his comics to companies like the one that does Garfield, and he was then told to clear up his text and stuff along those lines. He was doing 5 comics a week in 2000 while he was working. He mentioned that your audience is important, if you lose them you most likely won’t get them back. He had put up comic strips online for free till then. For 3 weeks he was on a subscription. 2003 to 2010 he was mostly likely (my notes where shit, forgive the shittyness) he was the only one making a living out of his comics. He would loose readers when he kept changing his style, because he was still practising and experimenting with his style. The more he drew in traditional the better he got at drawing, he felt he wasn’t improving much when he was just drawing on Illustrator, but he likes the control he had with Illustrator. He then started using Manga Studio. Someone commented about the ‘big baby head’ he was drawing on the characters and didn’t even realise it, so he says not to draw massive baby like heads on adult characters. When he started doing comics with kids as main characters, half his audience did not approve and he lost many views, which surprised and upset him. Always aim for your audience, there is always an audience in mind, don’t aim it just for yourself if you have a wide range of people who read your stuff. You need to connect with your audience. John’s in the process of signing a contact for a book. Don’t be shy. Shy people who don’t want to show their comics are most likely the most talented, they can see the faults in their own work. People who aren’t sky about showing their comics and see no fault, normally are not as talented. John then talks about a guy he calls Mr X who’s work he hates and wonders why he sells more of his shitty comics then John sells of his. Make contacts. Go to conventions, make friends with people doing similar things to you. Have you tried selling your work at conventions? They are the best place to make friends. Be realistic. You need to build up to meeting your heroes. He then showed us webcomics that work.

Hark! A Vagrant. By Kate Beaton. She made comics and showed them to her friends. She put them on her website and they took off from there. Her drawing style can be easily copied, but the content of her comics, the in depth history research that helps with it’s content, can’t be copied. (says John)


Achewood. The art isn’t as important, it’s the words and content of the story which is important.

Unshelved by Gene Ambum and Bill Barnes. Apparently their stories aims towards liberies and they are doing well because of it.

If want to make a book, do it yourself. Be determined, why wait for others? If you really want it then go ahead and do it. John made coasters, tea towels and t-shirts, it was a way that people could buy his art. Advertising is free money. Ad’s are ugly and you get pennies, but it is free money, but it can help keeping up the cost of hosting your site. With 10,000 potential customers, he could probably sell around 1000 books. Always battle to get things done as cheaply as possible, pinch the pennies. Do you research on the successful people. Your work is valuable, “exposure” is meaningless. No such thing as a great exposure. Keep on learning. If you stay at home playing Xbox then you will learn nothing. The lower the price of a job, the more difficult the client will be. Always charge work for what you think your work is worth, not what you think they can afford. Don’t sell your work for less it’s worth. Fake mistakes? Be careful, don’t sign bad contracts. Be careful what you sign. Business cards get thrown away. They are there so people know your details, not that they know your there. You should try to be remembered, and they will remember you by your card. John was inspired by many different comics he used to read, but his style does not mimic them. A graphic novel to him is a long comic. Start with shorter stories first, then eventually work up to writing longer stories. When he started putting comics online, it was before blogs. He said he would have loved to have had internet blogs back then when he started putting comics online.

Lecture 4: A freelance career in animation and illustration. Karen Chueng

She graduated from Bristol Uni. She is a freelance illustrator who lives in Wales. She started off studying science, not art. She likes to draw dead things. She got more compliments on your drawings then she did on her essays, so she then went on to study art. She is grateful she had her parents to support her. She says to push yourself, do more work then what you’ve been giving to do in uni. She showed us an animation of hers “Headache Hotel” done in 2005. About a bird playing the piano, and the animals in the rooms next door were banging on the walls to the beat, and all the while the hotel they were in was in someone head. Sent it to BBC New Animator, she was listed in the top 12 but didn’t win, but her animation has been shown in London and other places. The majority of her last year she just drew loads of dead animals, because she wasn’t to sure what she was doing. She did detailed coloured illustrations she aimed at kids, done in pencil, ink and watercolour. It never got published because the publishers thought it would scare kids. It was of a boy who goes into his own body to find out why he can’t sleep. A hamster like creature helps him, which he had sneezed out. She won the Macmillan prize for it. The inside of the boy was full of sheep, which where the sheep the boy tried to count to try and help him sleep.  She then showed us another animation of hers called “Welcome to the Zoo”. It gave a narration to you/ the unseen animal, on life at the zoo and the benefits of living there, it was trying to convince you/ the animal to move there and shows it’s not as bad as it may seem. Was done in 2006. When you choose an agent, look at who they’ve already got, what artist they already work for. Don’t be similar to those other artists or you’ll be fighting for similar jobs. The best thing to do is not hanging around waiting for work to come to you. She went knocking on doors. Paramount Comedy asked her to design characters for them.  She spent two years with a company 12foot6, and it was like a family with similar humor. She had went off now and again doing other jobs. Working for animations for children’s shows is good money. Her agent is called Jelly.  The industry and be brutal. Grow a thicker skin, you will get rejected on some work you have spent hours on. Jelly brings lots of work to her. Sometimes it’s best to be flexible, you won’t always get jobs where you draw in your own style. If you can do it and it pays the bills then go for it. As long as you know you can do it. You limit yourself if you are stubborn. Meet deadlines. Good thing about agents, they will look for the work for you if you don’t like knocking on doors or talking about money with clients. Trouble is you have to pay them a certain cut of what you earn from the work they get you. Jelly charges her 30% of what she earns.

While in uni = work hard, trust yourself, listen, have fun.

After uni = be brave, work even harder, don’t take it personally when your works rejected.

Self promotion = websites and blogs, selling work, take part.

And = don’t forget your tax return. The least fun thing about being self employed.

Out of the 10 company’s she knocked on the door of, one got back to her. Don’t tale it personally, it’s just you ain’t right for that company. Don’t stop taken part, keep in contact with friends you make at uni. It’s a lovely job, but it’s a tough one to get into and the deadlines can be tough. She has started a comic. She then listed some websites.

Her blog

Her twitter!/cheungkaren

(This blog literally took me 9 hours to write, I’m not joking)