Videos from this year course

These two videos can be found in other posts of this blog with more detail about how and why they were made. I just wanted to put them here today (the day before the final submission) so they will show on top of the blog page as a recent posts.  I’m doing this because I feel they will be missing in the physical display.

From this year course I have these two videos for two different projects. The brief for the first one was to ask for money in about one minute through a video,so I did this one:

And this second one was made by my colleague and friend Delfina and me. We wanted to present three weird objects with a narrative so we thought of making this video.



Book Binding









I tried to have some coherence along the different works trough this year. For this reason, I kept using this binding I started doing for my mini-fanzine.

I also tried some other ways for the “Tomorrow will be different” book but I did not like it. “My” usual binding didn’t work for this book due to the amount of pages (48 all together) so I decided to use a binding without piercing the pages. And it works really well and looks good. Sometimes the easiest can be the best, but it’s a shame to get there after messing around so much. Before I realized I could use this binding I had printed and wasted four books!






design competition folder

blog doll

Editoroal Brief Blog

little house blog

When preparing the final stack of work for the end of the year submission I realized that I have more things than what I thought. This is the result of working like an ant during the year course. Each day seems like you are not really advancing and then end all together is a good pile! So in order to put some order I made these labels to separate one thing from another.

Above you can see some of the labels.

Some notes in the making of “Tomorrow will be different”



I made it

The decision to make an illustrated story is always very exciting yet scary: would I be able to do it well and on time? Book illustration was one of the main goals when I decided to study at university. I always thought it could be a really great way not only of earning a living but in a personal level: to be able to do my own books is like a dream, books in which you write life, you illustrate the world in order to understand it better. To do this book I had almost two months. It looks plenty of time but the truth is that time is never enough because there is more you can always do to improve the book. In this case I was able to stop just because there was a dead line. My initial idea was to produce twenty pages. How did I end working in the actual fifty? Simple: because I love doing it and many days I worked for about twelve hours. Always at the end of each project there is a sense of visual tiredness and a happy feeling of “things are happening” or “I’m there, I made it”….

So this is what had happened in those two months:

cyendo reloj arena


Finding a story

I first looked for a story that would be settle in our “Local Universe” This is an allocated area we have been working since the beginning of my last year course. After reading as fast I could as many stories as possible about this area I realized that I would much preferred to work in someone’s story, someone I could talk about what I’m doing, something I could feel similar to work as a commissioned project. I had to go to see my mum for a weekend and when telling her about this she gave me pile of stories she wrote many years ago. Paper were almost yellow and it was written in the typewriter she often used when I was a child. I first took them thinking of this sweet gesture of my mum (she was trying to help me) but did not have any hope that my story was going to be among them. She said “read the one about the girl”… so I did and I couldn’t believe it, the story was working perfectly well for what I was trying to do! It was a bitter-sweet story, and it had suspense. The story was working also well in the meanings of introduction, body, conclusion. And the main factor in this story is that it leaves the reader in a perturbed and unsettle state at the end inviting to end the story as one could think it would be the best moral outcome. Yet there is always the doubt.

Translating the story

Ideally this story should had been taken to a proper translator. But I decided to save this money and translate it from the Spanish by myself. I feel confident when translating things to people but when it comes to a proper narrative with expressions where the author means very particular things it can get more complicated. Yet I managed to sort out all these little things and then asked an English friend who likes writing to read my translation and to correct when necessary. Then, just to reassure, I asked two native English friends to read the story. It was all good so I could start with my research. Doing the translation helped me to immerse more deeply in the story.


Looking every single drawing or design that crosses my way in the street (shops, leaflets, magazines…) Looking at the university library. Especially at nights, when everyone sleeps at home I would be hours in internet looking. How can it be so much good work in the world!! And how lucky we are to be able to use internet to look at others work. I realized how some artists frame their own drawings inside the drawing as part of the design and I decided to focus and work on this peculiarity. There is a strange feeling of strength as well as protection in framing things. It’s an emphasis point.



Sketching was happening for some weeks every day and at any moment. It’s more like an on-going process. The important of putting down on a piece of paper a key idea to follow is absolutely crucial. When someone looks to an illustration that respond, enhance and strengthen the narrative is because there has been a good idea processed behind and this kind of graphic ideas come to the mind as in brainstorm fashion. As such you are doing your life but the story is occupying a huge part of your mind, it continues working alongside while you might be doing other things related to the story like researching in materials for example. The viewer does not realize how much a strong graphic idea, usually disguise in a metaphor, is helping to get a much better understanding of what he is reading. In this sense one could say that the job of the illustrator is very humble yet very important. And never to forget, at the service of the narrative.



There is something about the sketches that finished work misses. I am everyday more aware of this and for this project I tried to incorporate the sketches into the final pieces. It’s the first time I do this and I must say that it turns out very interesting. The sketch drawing is usually out of measurement, full of little marks from the rubber and loose strokes, notes… and the digital editing and correction of all this might very well take much longer than producing a new drawing. But it is precisely the loose what I am after and I am happy to pay the price for it. There were many more drawings that I could not use and they will be kept in my “bank of images” for other occasions. The making of a book has behind many hours of physical stillness… my life for days and days was the pencils, the watercolours, the papers, the scanner, the printer and Photoshop. The world was running in a different rhythm outside my studio window.

nina durmiendo

My experiences profits at The House of Illustration



This is a resume from my time in the House of Illustration of the things I find important. I will always keep this experience with me:


The power of observation


One of the main roles I had in the House of Illustration was the invigilation of the exhibition rooms. Is probably one of the most unnoticed jobs while at the same time you are not hidden, but quite visible. Others might see you just as a piece of furniture. You are just there, quiet, silence, not disturbing other’s people enjoyable time. You don’t exist for the world except when there is a problem. Luckily in all the hours I had been working in vigilance I have never encounter any problem.

But, are vigilantes as they look? Not at all. The truth is that the nine hours of quietness can bring lots of mind stimulation and great insights when you are in the right place. And for sure The House of Illustration is the right place for an illustrator. People do look at the exhibition in different ways, each person bring their own interest and they comment interesting things (when they are accompanied) and look at things in very different ways. Listening and observing can also teach you new things. Then, there is also the long hours when there’s no one visiting the exhibition…. those are my own hours, when the exhibition is there just for me and I am able to slowly sink into each piece hanging in the wall and read the artists graphic novels that were also in the exhibition. I would dedicate each day to different artists. The quiet learning in those hours were a little treasure I will always remember.


Flexibility – Workshops


The House of Illustration is a big place with many different people working. Each one has their own personal style. I am very interested in working with people and have a background with children and arts in schools. I owe then so much for my illustration style nowadays and returning to this was very touching. Each workshop was run by a different illustrator and for different kind of interests and people like single young mums, a school of deaf children, families and general schools. My role was to assist the leader. Once again I was in the background as a learner. Each illustrator would teach their own strengths and tricks in illustration and we would have a chat before starting so I could know about what we would be  doing in the next hours. I would learn from each one and try to fit their requirements. Working with so many children can be very exciting and also stressful. Flexibility to work and learn from each illustrator was key.


Getting familiar with the place


While I was immersing in my own tasks in The House of Illustration other things were happening. The last days I was there one of the exhibitions finished and The House of Illustration was setting up a new one. So I was able to see and listen to the many people involved in the new exhibition coming in. From the outside it would look like nothing was happening but the movement inside The House of Illustration was almost like a revolution.

Another very interesting thing that I would have never expected is that in the House of Illustration are between thirty-five to fifty volunteers on a rota. It was actually a bit hard to get “invited” to volunteer for this placement, I had to convince them of my value. So, thinking that illustration is not a first need cause in our society, to get involve as a supporter or volunteer is very generous of people. What this tells me is that when you do something good it would attract likeminded people, no matter what is for. Is very encouraging to see how we all want to be part of a bigger piece of what we really love. This is part of being a social animal!

I also met wonderful people and very probably will keep in touch with them. My little fanzines “How did I ever ended here?” are now selling in the shop. And who knows, maybe one day I have another book in their shelves!

To read more in detail please go to my other posts in the “Work experience placement”


Secret 7…. Dream 3

Dream 3

I chose dream 3 from Max Richter among all the song from Secret 7 competition as dreams is something I like to work on. I write down in morning my dreams and analyse them when I have time.

I felt the song was really accurate when expressing the sleeping and dreaming state. My drawing is made of insinuating dragonflies winds and a far away sun, maybe a star… so I wanted to show here the fragility  of the transparent winds as a metaphor of the dreaming state and the movement to the impossible far distances we travel in our dreams. There is a bit out of focus sensation although the target of the sun/star is clearly shown. This is how I imagine dreams.

It was made in watercolour and edited in PhotoShop.

And this is the song:

FMP… the flow


Is Easter holiday and I am trying to be at home as much as possible. Why? I’m doing the illustrations for the story of my FMP, and is actually an intense process, a gestating time, a time to observe the entrance of the spring from the window while being around the drawings, the pencils, the sketches, the printer, the brushes, pens, different papers, the computer…. There’s no procrastination in doing this, in going slowly and follow the flow. The important thing here is how the work is taking form, is in its own time pushing out and starting to stand up by itself. And also at the end of the day, of the most of the days I always realize that I worked more than 9 hours. Actually when this doesn’t happen (life: work placement, meetings, shopping…) I feel almost depress. I only want to be close to this story until is ready and for some people this might be seem as something close to madness. But for me is placer, these are days of having a conversation with my heart… who needs meditations when I have this??


In the manga exhibition at the House of Illustration I learned that in the Genga’s (Dash) technique they print originals and work over the prints. They repeat this process until having the best results. In some cases, they even leave the marks of pencils on each print so the viewer can see the process. So, thinking about this I started playing with my drawings and an old scanner that makes scans at good resolution but it always leaves strange smoky and dusty marks. I’m following the process in the Genga’s manga comics and I think is going well and have a feeling that I have found a new way that works well for my illustrations. That is something for an illustrator, isn’t it?!

The trouble with women and other things.


Today is Sunday and I had all day invigilation at the house of illustration, almost 9 hours. I left my house quite early. It felt like doing something wrong by leaving my bed so early on a Sunday. Wishing university is over and I can start doing new things without this feeling of being working only for the purpose of having good marks. But as usual life gets better after really waking up. When I arrived at the house of illustration I had the chance to be by myself in the big room with the works of the next manga exhibition which will be open to the public in one week. That was a moment of pleasure. Details and more details in each canvas, a never ending lesson in drawing. Such skilled illustrators!! How do they do so good out of the pencils, brushes, paper, and colours, how can someone use these to through in the world these masterpieces? I’ll definitely have to return and spend more time looking at all the details in this exhibition. There’s more than one can see in just one visit!
I really, really love the exhibition of women going on at this moment and today I was a bit annoyed because I had to work only in my FMP sketchbook.


I am aware of the little time I have for my too ambitious project: making a book in less than 2 months! It would be enough time if I could do it in my way but I know that part of the learning process at university is to explore new techniques and also the research. So with all this I couldn’t get to dive into the wonderful illustrations from these women as I would have liked… I was jealous of the people who came and wandered around the rooms, some of them spending hours in each room, time was stopped for them. They were in another galaxy that I know very well, the place of engagement with arts, that space without time, without worries. Lost in illustration; the most similar thing I could think of is when you fall in love and you are only happy with that person. Why the world is not something about being in love, eating delicious food, swimming in wonderful beaches and, important here, being surrounded by good illustration and, of course, doing it too!

But….. there was one book I made time to look at… and this is the story of the book: At some point in the morning I learned that we were going to have Jacky Fleming signing books. I wondered who could be this Jacky Fleming so I went to the room where she was exhibiting and looked at her work and her book “The trouble with Women” I realised that the layout of the book had some similarities with one of the ways I was thinking about for my project, the one I was working on today. Illustrations are framed, simple lines, with ink and hand written typography. So, since the book was interesting, beautiful, with sense of dark humour -a bit British, not as a criticism but the opposite- and I get a 25% discount in the bookshop, I decided to buy it and have it signed by the author. When she came I asked her to sign it for me and she asked me what would I like her to write for me, so I said “something beautiful, please”, and she looked at me I guess wondering who was I to ask for such a thing. Then I realised that when I looked at her work I noticed she was a woman more into the cynicism than into beauty. So, kind of saving the situation, I told her why I was buying her book. My sketchbook was under my arm and I showed her the similarities I saw in my drawings with her illustrations, and surprise! she liked my drawing and she insisted in looking more into my sketchbook. She told me to get in touch with “Rose” from the editorial of her book and she said she would talk to “Rose” about our encounter. Now I’m wondering what can I show Rose since I don’t have a portfolio. I will have to ask at university on Tuesday how I should show Rose.

This is me with Jacky after she sign my book and it says:

For Iris,

Good luck with your beautiful illustrations. Jacky

So maybe at the end she was also into beauty!

The last two hours I decided to leave my sketchbook and get a couple of graphic novels from the exhibition to end the day at the House of Illustration. So I had a bit of time for this at the end. It’s difficult sometimes to concentrate when people are coming and going around, but I managed to do some sketching and write most of the post you are reading now and get closer to complete my 60 hours intern-ship.

Little hands


This time we worked with two courses of year (10 years old). The drawings were much more developed but missing the innocence and originality of year 1 previous groups (6 years old). Never the less still many good things to take with me.


This workshop’s task was to make them do in groups of five a strip of illustrations from a fairy tale and then, not telling anyone which tale was, the other groups had to find out to which fairy tale belonged these illustrations just by looking at the drawings. We gave them only ten minutes to do this. After this we gave each child a piece of text from the tale “The wizard of Oz” and a story board template with six squares to fill in with illustrations from the text. When they ended the storyboard with pencil they used a long pointed stick to go through all the lines with ink. They also could use some colour ink if they wanted.


I asked them if I could take photographs of some of their work, and as usual, they were really happy for me to do so. The thing is that I am filling up a folder in my computer with images from their work and I feel like I have a bank of great ideas, really good illustrations, gems of art. And all this coming from such generous artistic hearts!!! Life and its presents!!


Sweet Lakwena


Lakwena came today to share her experience which was quite different from the graphic designers and illustrators we had before in our Hothouse talks. I must admit that I had prejudge her by the work I looked in internet before the talk and had this feeling in my way to the talk of “oh God give patience to interpret nicely and blog about another strident designer to my best intention”. I know we are invited to criticize other artists work, yet I don’t feel comfortable in doing this because I believe that there’s room from everyone and respect should be a principle in the artist’s community. Anyway, after the talk there’s no need to criticize Lakwena’s work at all.

She gave us a lesson in humility: she didn’t have in her beginnings enough money to buy a computer so used her crafty hands in the same way as we use Photoshop: cut and paste, and paint was basically what she used to do posters, illustrations, flyers, etc. Her first commission was with a barber (who she ended married some time later) and she did something he didn’t ask for, yet she believed it was the best for his business. She never had an agent, everything comes to her by friends (she told us to believe in this as we never know who our friends know) and also Instagram works very well for her. One of the many advices she gave us is that if someone ask us to do a job and we don’t know how to do it we say “yes” to it and after we get the job we work out how to do it…. even if we are scared to fail!!

In her childhood she did lots of trips to Africa and this is reflected in her work. Especially African style of typography has a strong influence in all her work.


She was dresses in black and white, lots of big pieces of gold jewels. Lakwena loves combining text in fabrics as a way of communication. There was something that I still don’t quite work out about her: her work is really strong as colours, patterns, enormous sizes, the way she dress is radical but when she started talking was the sweetest person we ever had in our Hot House. I felt like I could listen to her voice for ever; as if I was a little child listening to a beautiful story. Thank you Lakwena for this moment.