the study of signs and symbols and their use or interpretation.

Semiotics is a subject area that covers even the most basic knowledge we have had since we were children. Red means stop, green means go. Red means anger and  danger; blue means calm and neutrality. It is the study of universal signs that have been ingrained in our minds from a very young age – how visual cues (signs) are transmitted into patterns to the viewer, conveying a message.

Philosopher and Scientist Charles Sanders Peirce (1839 – 191) placed signs into 3 categories – Iconic, Symbolic, and Indexical.

  • Iconic signs look like what they represent  (e.g a portrait or scientific illustration)

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  • Symbolic signs don’t look like what they represent; its meaning must be learned

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  • Indexical signs have a clue that links to their meanings

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The use of semiotics in art can be very useful because their meanings are universal, and therefore will help convey a message much easier. For example, if in a poster trying to explain why you should recycle you might use a lot of green (as it is linked to the environment and feeling lively, proactive) and universally recognised symbols, such as these:

recycle-only-no-background.png tidyman.jpg


Social Action Research

Doodle 4 Google

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This is the art aspect on google ( the design of the google logo). These are typically based on historical events and occasions. The USA offers a competition where you create a design and could win a 30,000 dollar prize. The competition is directed at young children (Kinder-garden – 12 years).

How they perceive the future gives them a passion and thought provoking. It reaches a lot of people.

Pencil & Help

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Pencil and help is a group of two people (Mark Oliver and Mark Long). They create stunning illustrations And hold various workshops.
They help children in hospitals through their artwork, using creation as a means of brightening their day.
They are a non profit organisation.

Games for Change


This is a games company who create games that promote social ideas.

It is an interactive way of learning and getting important life lessons across to the general public.

Founded in 2004.

They host competitions and workshops to bring in fresh minds and new ideas.

Do Something Project

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Do something is a website that anyone can join.
They aim to make social change.
113 countries involved.

They do campaigns that you can get involved in.
One project was “everyday superhero’s” where you printed off a premade card, filled it out and give it to someone who is a superhero to you.
If you get involved in any of the campaigns you can help make a change and it looks good on your cv too!

Social Action


 Social action means taking steps to change the things that we believe are wrong in our society.  Part of our responsibility as creative professionals is how we can contribute to this as a global citizen.  We live in a world of immediate connection with others through social media and your generation and your voice can be louder than ever.  With this comes the responsibility to understand, digest and interpret what is happening around you and introduce new ideas and processes for positive change.




What Social Action is according to Max Weber

Max Weber founded the social action theory (also known as interpretative or micro perspectives); one of the two main types of sociological theories (the other being structural/macro theory, founded by Durkheim). While believing that social actions should be the main focus in sociology, Weber actually advocated the combination of structuralist and interpretative approaches when researching.

Social action examines smaller groups within society, and sees society as a whole as a product of human activity. Weber believed a “social action” to be an action carried out by a person, to which the person attached a meaning. Therefore, something accidental occurring can’t be a social action as it wasn’t the result of a conscious thought process made by the person. Conversely, somebody doing their job (e.g. a window cleaner, cleaning windows) has a motive and conscious though process behind it, and is thus a “social action”.

Project Research: Google 4 Doodle

“Students in grades K-12 (the sum of primary and secondary education in America) are invited to take part in the 2016 Doodle 4 Google contest, and create a doodle that tells the world “What I see for the future.” From crayons to clay, graphic design, or even food, young artists can utilize any materials to bring their creation to life. Like all Google Doodles, each doodle must incorporate the letters G-o-o-g-l-e. One national winner will also receive a $30,000 college scholarship.”

“In 1998, before the company was even incorporated, the concept of the doodle was born when Google founders Larry and Sergey played with the corporate logo to indicate their attendance at the Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert. They placed a stick figure drawing behind the 2nd “o” in the word, Google, and the revised logo was intended as a comical message to Google users that the founders were “out of office.”. While the first doodle was relatively simple, the idea of decorating the company logo to celebrate notable events was born.”
                                                                                                                                — Google 4 Doodle website

The doodles are created for major world events, such as birthdays and death days of historical icons, the beginning and end of world wars, and iconic historical events ranging through a whole plethora of subjects. This means that everybody who uses google on that historical day gets to interact with it, and they have the option to educate themselves on the person or event as they please. It is easily accessible to all ages because the artwork will draw in people of any age, and as it the most popular search engine in the world meaning it will gain a lot of interest and clicks.

Doodle 4 Google is a competition for students in grades K-12, where this year they will have to design a piece of work based around the theme ‘what I see for the future’. The topic of what the future looks like is controversial and unknown to adults, so it giving children this opportunity could be refreshing and uplifting.

This competition relates to our theme of social actions in different ways, for example both look at situation which may or may not happen in the future. Both our topic and the competition are encouraging art to change the world and give others a different view on what we feel passionate about.

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(This task was done in collaboration with Ethan Parfitt; the shared text document for which can be found here. We had to condense, refine and present our findings to the rest of the Illustration pathway via a  single powerpoint presentation slide, which can be found here.)

Design to Sell: Evaluation

What happened in this project?

Design to Sell was the first project of our second year in GIGA, so it had a much more professional approach than last year. To ease us into this new approach we were briefed with power points and task sheets, and were given one-on-one guidance every week or so.

The overall outcome of this project was to create and design an item(s) to sell at a pop up shop that we had to brand, curate, and market as teams while still working together as a whole unit. I myself was on the branding team, and helped to create colour schemes and a logo.

For this project we needed to produce three things: a product(s), promotional designs for your product(s), and design development.

My range of products was a collection of button badges centring around the theme of Every Human – focusing upon and celebrating the Earth that allows us all to live. It was hugely inspired by Bob Ross, the wonderful man behind the hit show “The Joy Of Painting” which first aired in 1983. He was renowned for his ludicrously simple wet-on-wet oil painting techniques, crazy head of hair, and calming voice. I have been watching his show ever since I was a child, and wanted to pay homage to him through a line of products inspired by his gorgeous, mountainous paintings.

To do this I researched many of his paintings and watched many reruns of his show to see how he created his landscapes, and decided to do my own take on it digitally. I created five designs on Photoshop, only creating geometric shapes using the polygonal lasso tool. I wanted to make them aesthetically pleasing so carried out the geometric theme throughout each one, but altered the colour schemes and landscapes themselves. After creating the five designs, I whittled them down to my favourite three and polished them up on Photoshop until I was happy to print them for badge making. I then handmade each badge using a badge maker, creating nine 38mm badges of each design, and four 58mm badges of each design. This left me with a total of 39 badges to sell at the pop up shop.

Did you achieve what you originally set out to do in the project?

In short – no, I didn’t. The only part of my original intention that stayed true to my end project was creating landscape imagery, but pretty much everything else changed.

Originally I was going to create limited colour pallette silk screen images and make them into prints, but later realised just how many other people were creating prints and wanted to step outside of my comfort zone a little bit. I then had the idea of creating badges but soon realised that using silk screen images and shrinking them to fit a badge would not retain enough detail to properly make out what was on the badge, so decided to use a different medium to create my landscape.

After some consideration, I chose to experiment with Photoshop as I was not totally comfortable with using it and wanted to learn more about the programme. My first image came out so wonderfully that I decided to create all of my images using it, as I knew this would make them appear to be more cohesive as a range of products.

Did you learn any new skills during this project? Did you use any new equipment?

I definitely learned a lot more about using Photoshop during this project, and I am much more comfortable using it than I was before this project began. I also learned how to use a badge maker, which was exciting and oddly therapeutic. I used two different sized badge makers for two differently sized badges, but the process was more or less the same between the two. I had a lot of fun seeing my printed designs turn into my final products in my own hands!

What didn’t go so well during this project?

I really didn’t do very well at documenting my experimentation and development on this blog during this project. I also lost a whole day’s work on one of my designs which was rather devastating, so therefore lost another day trying to rectify what I had lost. This threw my time management completely off, meaning I had to put in more time at home to do research and development.

Was the pop up shop a success?

GIGA spent Wednesday afternoon putting together the pop up shop in our room, moving tables and chairs to create a nice selling space for each pathway. We all worked together really well and put together a good looking shop, and when the VIP’s arrived the room was packed! They all seemed to be enjoying themselves, and most of the GIGA crew had to leave the room in order to give them enough space to move around and browse all the products.


List of personal aspirations, options, and lifestyles

Personal Aspirations:

  • Open an online store to sell my art (Etsy?)
  • Short-term: be a part time illustrator with another part time job to pay bills
  • Long-term: be an illustrator as a full-time job


  • University
  • Gap year to work and earn money (for uni)
  • Apprenticeship – preferably illustration based in some way which is difficult to find


  • Move back to America
  • Be stable enough as an illustrator to get a nice house
  • Own a dog (preferably multiple dogs)

List of personal attributes


  • Adaptable
  • Creative
  • Cheerful
  • Curious
  • Focused
  • Good listener
  • Imaginative
  • Independent
  • Logical
  • Open Minded


  • Bossy
  • Cynical
  • Detached
  • Finicky
  • Impulsive
  • Lazy
  • Nervous
  • Obsessive
  • Hypercritical
  • Sarcastic

Notes on decision-making techniques

  • Uni is very expensive
    • My loan would be very small because my household income is relatively high
    • My Dad refuses to give any money towards me going to uni
      • The uni expects my household to make up the rest so I would have to subsidise it myself
    • I want to live away from home
      • I would not be able to pay living expenses with a loan and my savings alone
      • I would need to get a part time job and work weekends/evenings/days I’m not in lectures
  • An apprenticeship will give me money as I learn
    • I can’t seem to find any locally that will teach my a subject I enjoy
      • I won’t be interested in a course I don’t enjoy, I won’t stick to doing it
  • Take a gap year
    • I wouldn’t enjoy traveling
      • New places make me anxious
      • I don’t have enough money
      • I would have nobody to go with
    • It would give me time to work full-time
      • I could save a few grand and afford to live at uni the following year



Each of my universities and the surrounding area.


Each university on one map, highlighted with a yellow star.


Prospectuses (relevant pages)


List of visited websites – any reasons why/information gleaned

Written/verbal responses to enquiries – phone calls/letters/emails

To: The Sad Ghost Club


I am a student at PCA studying Illustration and my lecturer has set us the task of reaching out to a successful artist/company and ask what you would like to see in a portfolio. I know this is email account is more geared towards troubleshooting with your products (which I love!), but I can’t find another email to contact you with so I hope this is okay!

Essentially, I would love to know what is good to have in a portfolio, perhaps what you included in yours (I know Lize attended PCA too!), and if you had any tips and tricks for me 🙂

Thank you for your time!



Hi Emma!

Thanks for the email, Lize here! I’m not too sure what to suggest because from graduating to now I’ve never compiled a portfolio… My ultimate tip though, is SOCIAL MEDIA. Post as much as you can, especially what you’re currently working on, work in progress pics, stuff about you, after leaving I focused on improving my work and building a ‘following’ which meant when I started SGC I already had a cluster of the internet interested in what I was doing! Instagram is great, and tumblr is good but hard to get noticed on, tumblr really likes angsty stuff, and I found more success with ‘journal’ type work with lots of words (and swears, tumblr loves swear words hahah) and small spot illustrations. Social media is really good for finding the right ‘community’ as well, tell people you like their work and they’re likely to do the same, which helps with getting your name around!

Sorry i can’t offer more help!!
Good luck!!
Lize x

Work experience (Live projects)

  • Okido
  • Renewable Energy
  • Commissioned pieces from Jordan Baker


  • Watercolour Galaxy bookmarks for Etsy

CV/Personal Statement

My CV can be found here.

My Personal Statement(s) can be found here.

Both are works in progress and are subject to change at any time, so I am keeping these as hyperlinks to the changing documents. The highest number is the most recent rewrite.

Fees, grants, loans, and any financial information – budgeting exercise



List of your strengths and weaknesses


  • Adventurous
  • Hard working
  • Passionate
  • Appreciative
  • Artistic
  • Caring
  • Compassionate
  • Curious
  • Enthusiastic
  • Friendly
  • Generous
  • Independent
  • Optimistic
  • Patient
  • Respectful
  • Spontaneous
  • Trustworthy


  • Easily stressed
  • Easily bored
  • Afraid of conflict
  • Shy
  • Always tired
  • Perfectionist
  • Stubborn
  • Impulsive
  • Bossy
  • Fearful
  • Anxious

Labour market information – what relevant jobs are out there? (newspaper/website info)

A 400 word critical evaluation of your progression choices detailing progression routes and choices made

I have wanted to attend university for a few years now, so I have had my 5 choices decided for about a year – PCA, Plymouth Uni, Bristol UWE and Falmouth. I didn’t want to stray too far from home so they are all in the South West, and have easy accessible travel routes back to Plymouth. After attending my course at PCA for 2 years I realised that the path I would like to take my art down is the illustration route, so I applied to Illustration BA’s across the board, and also popped Painting, Drawing and Printmaking into my application to PCA.

I did look into an apprenticeship briefly, but the courses I found just didn’t appeal to me. I would like to continue studying art as much as possible, but I do not think I would enjoy and persevere with an apprenticeship in a course loosely related to what I’m interested in.

After talking to my parents about finances, my Dad told me that he and my step mum would not be helping me pay for any of my uni expenditure. This meant that I would need to look for ways to earn and save money for myself. I ended up coming to the conclusion that I would need to work full-time in order to save enough money for my first year, and part of my second. I would then have to carry on working while I was at uni to continue saving up money (through free periods, evenings, and weekends) for my further years. This lead me to the realisation that I would need to take a gap year before heading to uni to save up money, so that is what I will be doing next year.

In conclusion, in order to progress I will be taking a gap year to earn and save a few thousand pounds, then heading to Uni to study a BA in illustration or painting, drawing and printmaking, and from there I hope to become a successful, full-time illustrator one day.