Illustration with Bag-Chips & Fink Fox
We wanted to shine a light on the work of BA (Hons) Illustration for Commercial Application degree students Bag-Chips and Fink Fox whom created the illustrated mural featured in our prospectus and PR material. Originally a live brief for the schools student union we wanted to explore the hard work and creative process that goes into creating a piece of work. We caught up with them to find out more!
Your collaborative illustration features in our new prospectus. Can you tell us about the concept and design process?
The Student Union was after a mural that depicted student life and community. The goal of the mural was to brighten up the SU space and introduce prospective students and other guests to the school. As queer individuals we always try to include diversity in our work, so the decision to create a piece that celebrated the differences of the student body was not a hard choice to make.
We began development by organising a school wide survey. This was done to collect information regarding student identities and backgrounds. We also wanted to find out their hobbies and interests, as well as things that they would like to see in a mural that represented them. As it was a mural about the students, we felt that student input should be the biggest driving force behind decision making.
In the thumbnailing stage we focused on crowd compositions to best portray the sense of community between students. For a while we considered animal or anthropomorphic characters but ultimately we decided on humans in order to fully explore the diversity of the student body. In the end we designed over 150 characters between the two of us, and partly in collaboration with fellow classmates. These characters cover a range of ethnicities, sexualities, genders, body types, ages and disabilities.
In the end we decided on a limited colour palette, with the blue specifically chosen to represent the school. Over about two and a bit weeks we worked on the final concept. It was admittedly a very stressful process, as the file was so big. It would take around 10 minutes to upload to Google Drive, which as you can imagine became a bit of a problem leading up to hand in.
I understand that the illustration was submitted as part of a live brief during your degree. Can you tell us more about working on that project?
To be frank, it was a bit overwhelming as we had to do two live briefs simultaneously. We had to work towards multiple overlapping deadlines and deliver a lot of development work in short succession. Thinking back on it however, simultaneous briefs are standard in industry, so overall the module better prepared us for future work.
Let us know what projects you are working on at the minute.
Bag-Chips’ most recent project has been concept work for a hypothetical queer monster dating simulator called Sunkissed. It is set in the fictional North East coastal resort of Fangleton-on-Sea and features 6 dateable characters each based on popular folklore and mythos.
Fink is currently working on development for a children’s book of his own creation. The series is called Kit and Dad and follows a young anthropomorphic lion cub and their father in various first experience type stories. Kit’s gender is deliberately ambiguous as to allow for any child to relate to them, as well as to normalise gender queerness from a young age. The rest of the cast are similarly diverse, both in regards to their queerness and ethnicity.
What are your future plans and ambitions?
Currently, we’re both considering doing a Masters degree here. But we haven’t fully decided yet. A lot of reflection and research is needed before we make a final decision. Eventually we’d like to make our way into our respective creative industries.
What’s special about The Northern School of Art?
From our experience in our department, the teachers. They all have industry experience and many are working illustrators. Their feedback is constructive and supportive. Also, they’re just really nice!
If you are interested in studying illustration, our course is focused on the real life application of illustration and carving out a career path for young creatives. Find out more here.