Monday, 20 October 2014

Manipulating the Landscape (Photoshop)



After manipulating several primary source photographs in Photoshop, I felt that the outcomes were much stronger than the original imagery. As a general for most, I chose to define the urban landscape in black and white tones whilst keeping the natural aspects of the landscapes in colour, often bright and bold to emphasise the importance and beauty of nature. 

When vivid tones are used in unconventional ways, I believe this is when the images are most influential and strong. I hope to bring forth the importance of nature through tones in these images which I think I have achieved for some. In particular the 'Four Trees' images are very effective and while the trees are initially in the background, through the use of bright tones they are more prominent in the foreground, pushing the urban landscape into the background. Visually, this is what I have been wanting to achieve and believe that through development I am starting to portray my initial intentions.

Illustrating the Importance of Nature Against Man-Made Forms

Depicting the relationship between nature and man-made forms through removing the natural/ urban aspects to see how the landscape is affected.
Watercolour portraying a landscape with completely natural forms by deliberating taking out the urban landscape.

This piece is successful in the execution of the illustration, portraying nature as beautiful and definitely bringing it to the foreground. However, this illustration doesn't appear to explore the relationship with the urban landscape as it has been removed completely. To the viewer this is simply a beautiful illustration of a natural landscape, failing to convey the message intended.

Below, I have taken into consideration the lack of meaning behind my initial illustration. In Photoshop, I have brought back the urban landscape by layering over the watercolour onto the original photographs. This makes the viewer question the media used as well as the composition. In particular the bottom illustration seems most effective in communicating a message that perhaps nature is ghost-like, and almost fading away into the distance whilst the urban landscape stays prominent. Merging the two forms of media definitely seems more successful at this stage.

New University Project: Final Year

This post is long over-due, but better late than never they say!

So, I have started my final year at University (scary times!) and my first task was to decide on a project theme which could carry me through the whole year. No easy task although I was sure of my interests, it was just a case of crafting it so it would contain both visual and contextual substance.

Therefore, after much thought I decided that I would look into Animal Rights and the Environment, focusing on several aspects of this theme and developing them into a large body of work. As well as this, I have a desire to make sure my work is as professional as it can be at this stage, even though my first module consists of mainly research.

As an initial starting point I decided to research into local aspects of the theme, bringing the environmental side to the foreground and saving the Animal Rights aspect until I gathered some decent literary research.

Having a desire to be unique and create my own style, primary source research is important to me as an illustrator. Due to this, my first step was to go out and take my own photographs of the environment, with an aim to capture the relationship between the immediate urban landscape and nature:

These images were taken around the University of Huddersfield and it soon became evident how man-made forms either take over certain areas of the landscape, or intrude on the natural beauty of the landscape which is already there. Another point I noticed was that much of the landscape will have been planted by men, so therefore is it natural? Or is it man-made nature?

Questions constantly popped up into my mind, and I so from this I am eager to bring nature into the foreground of beauty and push the urban landscape into the background as an attempt to regain some of what is left of nature. Even though I have questioned some of the natural aspects of the landscape, in my illustrations I will capture them in a beautiful, natural sense to highlight nature's importance in comparison to man-made forms such as roads, buildings and cars.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Carla Taylor Illustration: Website

After deciding it was finally time to become more professional and create my own website, I purchased a domain name, ''. I felt it was important to keep the website URL as simple as possible so it would be easier to find when searching.

Instantly I knew I wanted my website to be portfolio based and wanted my artwork to speak for itself in the site. Using WordPress, this simple and clean template was chosen as the best form to display my work. Social media links were added as well as some of my most recent collections of work. This blog was also included in a separate link to complete to main structure of the site.

Home Page

Portfolio Page: Taylor Made

Bio Page

Contact Page

After creating the website, I am happy with the final result. The work is the main highlight of the site which I feel is the most important part of the site. As it is created through WordPress, I will be able to update it regularly. Having a website is important for demonstrating professionalism and in the art world, they are great for gaining potential clients and viewers.

See my website here

Thanks for reading,


Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Creative Anxiety: A Common Problem?

Admittedly, I haven't utilised this blog as much as a should have during the Summer months, only blogging about limited things but leaving out my thoughts during my journey as a budding professional creative. Therefore, I am taking this opportunity to share with you a small part of my mind at present.

As a student at University, there is always that sense of having to achieve at your maximum potential to gain the best out of your degree. However, as a creative I feel that there isn't enough time to develop, and it is a struggle to reach your maximum creativity when faced with more than just education. Since beginning University, the challenges I have faced have affected the development of my creativity. Such factors include larger issues like moving away from home, making new friends, losing old friends and being forced to become independent in a short space of time. However, even budgeting money, having a part time job and figuring out the washing machine are all factors which have never been included in my previous creative practice. This means that my time has to be divided into education, social life, and simply looking after myself whilst staying healthy. 

University doesn't seem to acknowledge these factors, and we are expected to grow and develop at a fast pace which often isn't manageable. I'm sure any budding, or even professional creative has their struggles whether it be due to having a full/ part-time job, family or just finds themselves too busy to really focus on their true love: art. 

At this present moment, I have been struggling to find the right topic to start on my next 'breakthrough' project. I have a desire to always develop on my last body of work, though I feel limited to what I should do. Being at University has made me question even the basic ideas, complicate them until they are truly unique and meaningful. Through doing this I always come to a dead end.

My creative anxiety is stopping me from creating. Is this a common problem?

Thanks for reading, sorry for the lack of visuals,


Saturday, 6 September 2014

A Collaboration of Two Taylor's Make 'TAYLOR MADE'

Logo design created by myself. Digital in Photoshop

I am very excited to announce, to all those who are not yet aware, that I have recently become part of a collaboration with a very talented local photographer of West Yorkshire, Alex Taylor. We have named our collaboration 'Taylor Made Arts' due to our shared surnames of 'Taylor' (coincidentally the same might I add and not related!).

Since we began in July 2014, we have produced several works based on the idea of combining two different practices, photography and illustration to create new and unique imagery. Photography and illustration has been combined many times before, but I would like to emphasize how the local imagery and illustrative style of Taylor Made is completely fresh and innovative.

We are very proud of what we have achieved so far! Here are the stages of the process we took to create our very first image:

Step 1: Photograph

Alex, the amazing photographer of 'Taylor Made' captures the local scenery in West Yorkshire through his lens.

For our first image, I was allowed choose an image from any of his existing photography - one lucky illustrator! Therefore, I chose a beautiful image named 'Blue Bell Birch'. Vibrant tones particularly stood out to me, I couldn't wait to illustrate the image!

Alex Taylor's, 'Blue Bell Birch'

Step 2: Illustration

This is where my role in the collaboration begins: the illustration.

The technique I chose for this piece was mono-printing with acrylic to mimic the vibrancy of the blue bells in the original photograph. Then, I added in more detail with charcoal to bring out the features of the tree trunk. The contrast creates a strong illustration but more importantly I have not just copied the image, I have re-invented it with the choice of media and style.

Blue Bell Birch, illustration by Carla Taylor

Step 3: Merge

In the final stage, the original photograph and illustration are merged in Photoshop to create an entirely new and unique image. Here I demonstrate the process which I undertake to create this new work of art:

Open photograph in Photoshop (CS6)

Scan in illustration and place over the photograph (file-place).  The opacity was reduced to reveal part of the photo, then the image was rotated to align the tree trunk in both the photo and illustration. 

Creating a layer mask allows that particular layer to be manipulated. This allowed me to use the gradient tool to fade in the edges of the illustration to create a softer look.

Using the curve layer, I altered the brightness and contrast until I was happy that the two images merged together effectively.

Finally, reducing the saturation made the tones softer and subtle.

Final Image

And there we have it, Taylor Made's first ever image! I hope you enjoyed learning about the process in which the final image was created.

In general, this is the main process that is followed with each Taylor Made image, though of course the imagery can change including the way the illustration and photograph are merged in Photoshop. I can only speak about the illustration and merged image in regards to how they are made, though I know Alex will also use his creative eye to create unique and captivating imagery.

Personally, I am very excited about the upcoming projects for Taylor Made though I am proud of what we have achieved so far. Have a look at ALL of Taylor Made's artwork so far on our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter.

There is more to come!

Thanks for reading,


Friday, 8 August 2014

An Inspiring Journal for an Aspiring Illustrator


That is the only word (expression?) which came to mind after reading illustrator Holli Conger's journal which she wrote 10 years ago in 2004- the same year I began my own journey through secondary school. It seems such a long time ago now! Well, I guess it was.

The journal entry which she wrote was titled 'Becoming an Illustrator: One girl's journey to doing what she loves'. I stumbled across this article after completing several searches in Google to find out how to become an illustrator. This stemmed from anxieties and losing faith in my abilities to ever make a career of illustration; it never seemed practical.

Consisting of 12 parts, Conger explains her ups and down throughout a year of making it to become a successful illustrator. In her journal entries, she includes marketing strategies, portfolio building and ways to get her name out there as a creative. Reading through, it was clear that the journey Conger undertook was genuine and passionate, and never once did she give up on her dream.

I cannot reflect on how brilliant it was to read all 12 journal entries (I was hooked after the first one) as it is something that should be appreciated whilst reading it yourself. However, I can say that after the final entry, my mood and general attitude towards illustration as a career had become more positive. It was truly inspiring to learn how one illustrator found success even through negative, unmotivated times, and with a bit of determination and effort a dream can definitely come true!

I will definitely rethink my attitude towards my dream and begin taking the necessary steps to become a successful illustrator myself.


Thanks for reading!


Read the journal entries yourself here

Find the work of Holli Conger on her website here