Happy Fox Limited Edition Print

I don’t do many print releases these days so I’ve made this one extra special.

This 9×9″ Happy Fox is printed on a lush 300gsm smooth rag with vibrant archival inks. There are only 25 prints available in this design, with each one hand signed and numbered in pencil on the reverse.

I’m real pleased with how this one came out. Honestly, this paper stock and ink combo is so nice that I’m in danger of ruining the batch with my drool.

If you’d like to give one of these little foxes a home, you can pick one at www.stinajones.co.uk/shop

… And if you support my work on Patreon, you can get yourself an extra 20% off using your Summer Sale Voucher Code, PLUS a hi-res download of the line art to use in your colouring or crafting projects.

Robot Character Upgrade 3.0

After years of loyal service, it was time to retire my old mascot character and replace her with a new and improved design. Whilst I liked her overall look, in practice I found the proportions and details too rigid to work with in a dynamic way.

This redesign addresses those issues by using bolder and more expressive lines, reduced detail, longer limbs, as well as a colouring style that’s more in line with my current work.

Process and Results

Stina Jones Character Design Planning

My process always starts with a planning and sketching session. I made a few notes about the colours and placements so I could better align the new character with my branding and collateral. I then used Procreate App on my iPad to sketch up some ideas, playing with different proportions and stylisations before eventually settling on a little square faced robot with a messy hairdo.

The sketches were then exported from my iPad into Adobe Illustrator for inking and colouring. I’d considered how often the character would be viewed on mobile, so I decided on a bold minimal colouring style that would work well at smaller sizes, whilst still being impactful at a larger scale.

SJCharacter_WIP_1000px

After finishing up the digital inking, I worked up a few different variations to use across my website and social profiles. I’ve kept a working Illustrator file to hand with all the grouped elements and layers intact, so I’m able to produce extra variations more efficiently as I need them.

Stina Jones - Character Design

Stina Jones Twitter @stina_jones

Evolution

My little robot character has undergone a fair few stylistic and structural changes over the years – from the simple single layer linework I used in 2012, through to the more colourful layered iteration I’m using now. It’s been a fun opportunity to experiment with different approaches to using character illustrations as a brand asset.

Stina Jones Character Evolution

There are a few more things I’d like to try with this one too, such as animation and large format prints. As always, I’ll be sharing the results on my Instagram for those interested.

If you’d like to commission a character of your own, please get in touch

Collab Nation: Experiment 5, Stage 3

I’ve been catching up on some doodling for Collab Nation this weekend – adding my mark for the next stage of a mash up piece with Czee13 and Bunny Boiler. I thought I’d keep the bunny theme going, so I’ve incorporated a character from my #BunnyInvasion series.

The piece is now on its way to the next artist to add their mark. I can’t wait to see what gets added next!

To see the rest of the submissions and watch the collabs unfold, head over to the Collab Nation Facebook page or follow the project on Twitter and Instagram.

Infohackit: Communicating Science with Infographics

One of my favourite things about designing infographics is that I always get to learn something new! This was very much the case whilst taking part in Infohackit Manchester. The hackathon style event, hosted by Made Agency, invited participating Designers and PHD students to create compelling infographics, all within a timed 12 hour period.

Soon after arriving (and fueling up on complimentary tea and and pastries) I was paired up with Students Ross Grant and Tabitha Pearman, and tasked with working alongside them to create an infographic based on their chosen topic.

As my design style is on the more playful side, we decided to target our infographic at Primary School (KS1) kids and teach them about how Seismic and Sonar equipment can be used to look beneath the ocean. This was something I knew very little about, so hearing how it’s done was fascinating.

Infohackit Manchester - How to look beneath the sea

After roughing out a layout on a flipchart, we all got stuck-in creating elements in Adobe Illustrator, whilst piecing it all together in a master document as we went along. The design process was fully collaborative from start to finish.

As the infographic was aimed at KS1 kids, we kept the message straightforward and the language simple, using analogies and exaggerated scale and proportions to help communicate the concepts.

Infohackit Manchester - How to look beneath the sea

We presented the finished results and received some good feedback from the judges and attendees, including a few requests to make it available as a printable teaching resource after the event. We’ve decided to do just that and have uploaded the high res version to Dropbox for anyone who wants to use this as a free educational resource.

The PDF can be downloaded using the link below. It’s fully scalable too making it suitable for showing on everything from a mobile device to a large scale poster.

Download Here

Big thanks to all the organisers and attendees for the awesome day! I had a blast and will be keeping an eye out for the next event!

Top 5 Pens for Illustrating

I’m a big believer in the best pens being whatever you have to hand, as when you have an idea any pen will do! I’ve seen some amazing pieces created with some of the cheapest biros, so not having “the right pens” shouldn’t be an excuse (unless you’re attempting to paint a mural with nothing but an old potato).

That being said, I get a lot of people asking me which pens I use for my sketchbook and hand drawn work – so I thought I’d share some of my favourites in a blog post.

I love a good geek-out over pens so if you’d like to share some of your own favourites, please do so in the comments section!

Kuretake Mangaka Flexible
Favourite for: Outlining

I really like the flexible tip on this one as it allows me to use different pressures to achive both thick and thin lines. The ink comes out smoothly and is smudge proof when dry, which makes them particularly nice for outlining.

Kuretake Zig Brushables
Favourite for: Shading and adding colour

I use a lot of different markers for colouring but I keep coming back to these for my sketchbook work. The markers have dual tips with a tint of the same colour at the opposite end, which makes them great for adding highlights and shading. They are a bit unforgiving when using for large blocks of colour (so much so that I usually switch to Promarkers for this) but the brush responds well to changes in speed and pressure when applying single strokes, so I find them really comfortable to sketch with.

Uni Pin Fine Line
Favourite for: Detailing

I find this pen really versatile and use with all kinds of papers and mediums, but mainly for detailing. The ink dries quickly can withstand a good amount of layering with watercolours or markers without bleeding. I can be a bit heavy handed sometimes but the nibs are durable and can withstand it well. They’re more expensive than other fine liners but I find they last longer so I don’t replace them as much.

POSCA Chisel Tip
Favourite for: Large scale and live drawing

The 8mm chisel tip is always my go-to for big work, particularly live drawing events. The ink comes out clean and opaque, dries fast and leaves a nice finish. The chunky barrel and sturdy flat tip makes it easier to keep steady when working at odd angles. The ink doesn’t come out so fast that it drips, but you can pump it to get that effect when you need it.

Koh-i-noor Toison D’oh Lead Holder
Favourite for: Sketching and Shading

Ok, so this is technically a pencil, but it would be a shame not to include it as I use this pencil during pretty much every stage of my process! From the initial sketch through to the final details. The lead is nice and durable so I’ve even used it for marking out scale when starting a mural. It comes with a handy sharpening tool at the end too!