11/12/17 – AND WE’RE DONE.



Despite the palette smashing again in transit, I’m still really happy with how my final piece looks up in the pop up exhibition at Uni. I may not have as much as other people, I’m happy with how this looks as a collection.

I want to apologise now for how the inside looks, I needed to place the acetate in there to protect the make up from fingers and also my bag from shadows breaking in movement.

Tonight I managed to finish my creative CV too! As I want to work with music/bands, my CV is in the shape of a CD case. Thanks to Pinterest for being my number one inspiration on that one! I found the idea/base for it on there and just added my information after. I intended to include a CD with my portfolio on it as well, so it’s kind of an all in one sort of thing. My portfolio wouldn’t download to the CD via my old laptop so I’m hoping to sort that out in time for tomorrow! Here it is so far though:

I’m not sure “fuck you I won’t do what you tell me” is an appropriate saying to have on my CV BUT it was my favoured collage from this last unit so I used it. I mean… I guess it shows passion and independence…? (I suppose if you’re a client and don’t know who Rage are I’m probably not the person for your job anyway.)

Finally, I forgot to put on my form for hand in that I have my own Instagram portfolio now!  It’s @katyaustinart – For too long I had been uploading my work to my personal account so it was about time I made a new one! Below are some posts of mine:



Weirdly, although an account for 2 weeks now, I’ve managed to get the attention of the amazing She Wants Revenge. Their song ‘Tear You Apart’ is one of the best things to feature in American Horror Story, especially in the context that Lady Gaga and Matt Boomer slaughter some randomers during a foursome.  They liked predominantly my Manson based posts so I’m quite chuffed at that one.


10/12/17 – AND THEN tragedy struck.

I managed get close to sorting everything else out, after my last entry. I went straight to omicron the next day to get the packaging printed on the thickest card/paper they do, this was for both the liner box and the highlighter box. My first issue was the ink wasn’t sticking to the paper, making it look frayed and really manky. Was more stable construction wise though, so we were getting somewhere.

Part 2 1

The same happened with the small liner box, not only that, I had a bit of a problem with the sizing so it just collapsed and looked horrendous. With only a few days to go, and knowing I was having a busy time of it/my days were being lessened by seeing Marilyn Manson at the weekend (he was brilliant.), I had to think fast.

In the mean time I made my highlighter! and pressed it into it’s pan. I really like it, it’s not a turquoise as I intended but it all matches with it’s packaging so I’m happy with it nonetheless. It’s also SO CREAMY as a formula! Like on par with Anastasia Beverly Hills Glow Kit formula texture wise.

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After I finished the product I was quite annoyed with how the decoupage paper peels a bit. I think once it’s on display though and in a cool placement it wont be too visible. The varnish didn’t help with that one, it made everything more sticky. Also, problemo, the compact doesn’t always shut now… oops. The swatch is SO COOL though because you get a nice combination of different glitters, and a shiny unique coloured highlight.

I then stuck on the packaging for the compact too! There’s an example of how the circle looks in my sketchbook with the same image as the box, which I wasn’t as much of a fan of. So I went back to the PS document with the test segments I used and decided to pick something new. I think the new one looks a lot more lively and is a lot more interesting, the repetition last time wasn’t as nice.

In an attempt to sort out the packaging I went into uni last Friday, under Johns suggestion to just buy some paper at the uni shop and use the printers there. I brought the thickest cartridge paper I could find, I knew the ink would be absorbed with that a lot more but the packaging would be matte and a little grainy. I was willing to take that, as long as the box didn’t look like it had been thrown down a flight of stairs. Whilst cutting the paper to size I found some A3 paper in the resource room that was pre-cut and looked nice so I stole one sheet just to test. Sorry. I printed the highlight box onto that first and it looked great! I wanted to copy that to the thicker cartridge but I only chickened out in fears I’d block up the printer… I went back to the resource room for more of the other paper but it was gone! That’s karma! I needed another sheet for the liquid liner box, my plan was to then stick them to the cartridge paper to sturdy them up. The liquid liner box wasn’t to the right size anyway so I decided to not print it after that. I thought that one could look cool as just a sheet of paper with the liner next to it, sort of as a blue print almost. The highlighter box managed to work out really well though and a lot less frayed!

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This is where it went wrong further.

That day I also brought in my palette, in order to buy some acetate to stick over the pans so if they did break, the product wouldn’t go everywhere. But also to solve in the case that I couldn’t get the cabinet I wanted when putting my work up in the final show, people couldn’t shove their fingers into the make up. I got into uni and this happened:

I was devastated.

So I then had the choice, with time ticking; either to clean it and leave it as it is, working on the look book for it – or to take it home, re-press what shadow I had left and actually have a somewhat decent version of the crucial part of my final piece to have on display.

I chose to do re-press the palette. I cleaned it up, I re- pressed what I had. Added back the letraset letters I lost from cleaning. Re painted and re-varnish the crevice between the lid and the palette as it highlighted the fact that the palette is terribly glued together with hot glue. Now I need to stick in the mirror I brought for it to go on the inside of the lid and  the acetate like I planned and I’m done! If I have time after that, I will do my best to continue with the look book and change the backgrounds. I discussed it with David in a tutorial, we felt like the design of it didn’t match the design of the packaging (even though I really liked it, but as we know I’m a sucker for neons so maybe I’m biased.). We thought about doing some extra more basic collages to put into the background, to darken them and then use the same white writing again over the top with the look instructions and the look examples. Just so the look book was a bit more contextual to the brand image.

Here’s some images of how the palette looks now. I’m still worried the pans are going to smash in transit again because of the lack of green shadow I had left it’s already cracking. If it does, hopefully it’ll be salvaged slightly with the acetate. The letraset also wasn’t my friend, it wouldn’t always stick or would remove previous letters. It created some interesting typographical looks though, better then boring, basic Helvetica.

With hand in tomorrow, I want to collapse. I sort of hoped having a bit of a break seeing Manson would rev me back up again but I’m even more de-motivated and exhausted. Here’s a pic of the man that is though, and ya (special guest appearance) boy Johnny Depp on guitar! Although confined to a wheelchair/stool/leg brace/hostpital bed/machine thingy Maz pulled it out the bag! Honoured to have seen him last night. Think happy thoughts! 24862334_1601034396600160_5522155687643098542_n


06/12/17 – Longest post in my blogs history? Probably.

Not a lot has progressed since the last post I don’t think, I’m currently wrapping up on the Minor Project now. After a tutorial with David I did manage to sort out the logo. We decided just to use the simplest font possible, anything more complicated on top of the complicated design of the packaging was just going to confuse us. Below are some tests and the final design:

Again I did need the internet’s assistance on this one so I got people to vote on the layout for me over on the gram:


As you’ll see next, the only edit to the final design I did was lighten the purple to a lavender. I really wanted to keep purple in my design/part of my brand identity, but the darkness was still a struggle to see against the packaging, making it more pastel seemed the obvious step.

I continued to work on the packaging for the ‘Watching You Liquid Liner’ – it turned out really cute. Below you can see the journey through collage to box (I don’t have a photo of the box but it’ll be included in with my mocks.). As you can see I kept with the yellow, I don’t usually work with yellow so It’s quite nice to have something new featured within my portfolio:

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Liquid Liner Final

I guess yellow came as an accident into this. As I might have mentioned before, during this unit I’m liking to work to a colour scheme for the collages within my minor as that way it becomes easier to edit later on with the hue and saturation tool in Ps. The other 3 colour schemes I tried out either didn’t look too different from each other or didn’t look different to other packaging I had created so far. I’m quite happy with the yellow anyway, and it looks cute in a physical form too.

Now for the construction of the palette… get ready.

First, I drew out the layout of the palette on mount board, I used mount board in order to use it as a base to stick my balsa wood to. As you’ll see within my sketchbook, I drew out my construction plan and my pros and cons of using balsa before starting.

After that I decided to use this new circular scalpel thing (I don’t know the name, shout out to John tho for getting us the kits with them included.)  to cut out the pan holes. Some of them came out too big, some came out too small and some came out juuuusstt right – but I wasn’t too worried because I knew once the balsa was attached the holes would be irrelevant anyway until I cut more. These holes were an extra step but they served as a template for the wood.

As the balsa was in thin strips and not A5 in size, the mount board was useful as it held all the planks together. I started to cut the holes out in the balsa next, one of my cons proved point as it’s SO FLIMSY. As you can see above, some of the edges broke. But when I cut out all the shapes, because of the mount board, it was easily fixable with smelly adhesive glue. For special measures, at hand all I had was brown parcel tape so I used that for a bit of support too.

After this point, I used the cool 1 cm thick sticks of balsa wood to create the box bit of the palette. I wanted to include a brush holder in this palette, as in my market research a lot of participants in my surveys said they valued the brushes included in palettes and thought the freebies were a nice touch. I panicked at first because I thought to make that I’d have to cut off more thin bits of balsa to create the barriers for it (other wise the brush would just roll around in the palette underneath the pans.) but conveniently I had these sticks. It’s made it’s structure a tad more stable as well. I glued it really horrendously with a glue gun, there were some gaps but I knew exactly how I’d fix that…


I know, Paper Mache, how lame. Though it smoothed out the edges and strengthened up the board/wood combo where it was a bit thin between pans.

Next I painted the palette. I used this emulsion pot from wilkos, mainly because they come in a massive selection of sleek colours and you can get a decent sized tester pot for only £1! It took a few coats, particularly as some of the news paper I used showed through. I didn’t necessarily mind that because it created texture, and texture is basically the definition of my work. It’s unclear in the third photo but the emulsion even covered the parcel tape, which I was worried it wouldn’t. The end product looked pretty wicked! Though to touch it felt honestly so disgusting, I have an issue with the texture of chalk and it reminded me of that. I knew because of that I’d need to cover it in varnish so it was more glossy, on the plus side the glossy look would look more genuine and professional.

To rectify the pan size situation, I sanded down the edges until I could fit an empty pan in it’s place. After, I painted the edges and varnished the palette entirely.

Next, I stupidly took to pressing my pans whilst wearing black jeans.


I’m a fan of neon but that’s taking the piss, these are the only black jeans I actually like wearing.

I worked on the two neon colours first, I decided against the pan pressing. I couldn’t think of anything I could use that wouldn’t make it look like it was already mashed up anyway. It took a couple of goes for the green, as you can see in the photos above because of trying to get the ratio of pigment to rubbing alcohol right. It made the worst mess though!


This was the third or fourth attempt at this, this was way too much rubbing alcohol!

I was surprised at some of the colour changes int he products. The darker orange – Burn The Witch – turned into more of a gross terracotta brown colour. At this point there wasn’t a lot I could do about that anyway. I was also surprised at how much product they fit into pans so small?!?! Weirdly enough it’s actually so worth the money to buy eye shadow because you really get so much!

Pay To Play was the only colour I couldn’t find exact, I had to use this colour from Kiko. I didn’t want the shade to be a shimmer, but I guess as the shade is named after the colour of the cash you hand over the the scammers in the music world and money is shiny it’ll do. Again I used the glitter pot pots to press inside the pans, which are the lids for the pots, but I put clingfilm over the top of it so the product wouldn’t stick. It did create some weird patterns within the pans. If this was fine art I could probably bullshit you about how it’s a metaphor for my shattered hopes and dreams of becoming a successful musician. I think if I were to do this again, I’d buy another set of glitter pots (I think they were £1 as well!) just so I had more pans to practise pressing in. Cracks could happen in any situation though so I won’t beat myself up about it too much.

The darker purple shade was really alarming because as you can see on the towel it’s made up of pink pigments? It stained my thumb! In the final image you can see how fine some of the powders I was using were. I used a selection of mashing up pressed pans and already loose pigment.

Here’s a shot of my stained table after this event. I think the mess is the thing that did my nut in the most. I hate mess. Why do you think I work in Photoshop so much?


I managed to get all of the pans pressed and the next day I stuck them into the palette.


I needed to re-press the green a few times so that’s why it’s left out.

I think my favourite shade ended up being ‘Watching You’ – I didn’t know when I picked up the shade in the shop but it has a blue duo-chrome effect, it’s lovely. Annoyingly looking back at the shades I noticed probably a majority of them ended up being shimmers when I wanted them to be mattes. I know shimmers are easier to produce though so obviously I was bound to pick them up anyway, you can’t have everything.

Sorry the photos are the wrong way but I finally picked up a letraset! I’ve never used one before but I see them in the uni shop all the time, so I thought it was probably the only way I would get the shade names onto the palette at an appropriate size.

It’s a nice material, but they are also easily removable/can scratch off or on without intention if you slip.

In the time where I was waiting for things to dry and whatnot I was creating the palette base, the board that went underneath the actually box part of the palette with the pans in. I had to decide whether I was going to keep it pink like the box, or whether I was going to use some decoupage paper to cover it. I thought the paper looked a lot snazzier and matched the back of my palette design more then the pink. I chose to use decoupage paper because it has a gloss over it so it looks a bit more fresh and like an ordinary palette. Though I still covered it in varnish, just for consistency.

The final part of construction was the lid. I wanted it to function like an actual make up palette and have this feature as well, I haven’t brought the mirror yet but on the inside of the lid is where it will go. I had to make sure there was a gap between the edge (what will run along the box part of the palette) and the actual lid so when I mache’d that together it has the leniency to move. I learnt this technique when I was in my foundation year, we did a whole project on book making and zines and this is commonly done using fabric instead.

I followed the same steps as I did with the rest of the palette. Mount board, balsa, mache, paint and cover. I paint it before hand just so the paper has a base underneath, the paper is thin so without it you’d see the news paper from the mache. As a side note I really stupidly didn’t cover the edges of the lid, I was worried I would go over them and it’d go onto the inside/run out of paper, it looks a little inconsistent but it was something I completely ignored really and just didn’t consider. If I were to do it again I’d keep it in mind.


As I varnished that and it dried, I stuck the back details to the base board. It’s starting to become real!


Next it was time for me to start on my highlighter. I wasn’t 100% sure if the emulsion paint was going to cover the compact I had ready for this so I had to double check and make sure that the paper I had went with the packaging initially. If the site I had got the paper from hadn’t messed up my order a few weeks ago and actually sent me the paper I intended to use it’d look a lot different and would be more of a turquoise colour, like the theme of the packaging, instead of this dark blue.

I thought it would be a safe bet to cover the mirror in masking tape, that way when I was done I could use a scalpel to slice round the mirrors edge and then peel off the excess materials. I started to over the compact, it looked pretty cool!

Whilst I was waiting for that to dry, I decided to make the box. I got it printed at a printer, but they got my order wrong so it ended up being printed on gloss paper. Beautiful for the colours but literally awful for construction. Needless to say, I went back and got it printed off on card. I have yet to make it but it wont take me long.

So once the highlighter lid had dried I thought I’d maybe try a different method of covering the bottom. I brought some new turquoise emulsion paint and tried, but as I suspected it didn’t lay. I covered the rest in paper. I remember when my mum was sick and she used to decoupage literally everything, the thing she thought was amazing about it was you can transform anything with what’s pretty much glorified paper mache. It’s a method that’s always been in the back of my head whilst doing this project. I knew what I would make wouldn’t be 100% to industry standards, but I wanted it to have a glossy finish, decoupage allowed me to do this.


At the moment I’m just tying up the loose ends. I just need to stick the packaging images onto the products, sort out some sketchbook bits/paper work and then quickly re-design my zine/look book. As you can see above, I tried to use the circly cutty outy thing again but it punched a hole in my image (wtf? rude. I thought i’d like this new tool!). I printed off multiple so luckily I can use that instead.

As I’m looking back on this project it’s been a total blur. I think I’ve enjoyed it, I liked working with the subject matter and thinking about it as a concept – it’s also been a great way for me to vent! It’s like a low key dream for me to have my own cosmetics brand, so it’s been nice to play with that fantasy. I think it’s a good project to have because I can either carry it on for my major, or it can be something I can carry on once I leave uni if I ever wish to follow that path. I know the final pieces aren’t quite up to par maybe with some other pieces I’ve done in the past but as an idea/potential career it works really well with me and my work. I can already think of other topics I could make collections about like my experiences at school (which I hate a hell of a lot more!) or my experiences with when my mum in hospital (Grim I know, but when you visit a hospital so often it’s like it’s own world.). I think the best thing about the project is that I’ve drawn so much, I know it seems silly to say but I’m drawn without worrying/being scared about it. It’s also been nice to collage with my own material, and not worry about what I’ve un-intentionally stolen and what not. Since the Developing Your Practise Unit last year I’ve come to understand that all a bit more so I’m not worried about my work anymore. I’m also proud of my development in logo design and typeface, it’s not something I usually work with so it’s been nice to try something new in that sense.

I think if I were to carry on with this project I’d like to continue making the line of products, exploring a bit more into lipsticks and liners. I’d also like to work on the promotion side of it, maybe start a you tube channel or do some fancy photos of my products as if they were going up on a website being launched.

I’ll upload some final images later on when I’m done!