Students bring their creativity to TamFest

TamFest 2016 was once again a great success.

If you went along to celebrate Robert Burns, you may have noticed some special artwork that was there.

We can exclusively reveal the backstory behind these pieces.

Ayrshire College students were tasked with creating a piece of artwork that depicted a scene from Tam o’ Shanter.

Here’s how they did it!


Steven Anderson, 41, Ayr


The design was all hand-drawn and scanned into the computer. It’s the scene where he’s imagining he’s away from everything. I made the poppy stand out so that there was something different to focus on. I enjoyed doing the freehand drawing. I know the bridge plays a big part of the poem so I wanted to incorporate that into the image. I’m excited to see it.

Corrie Burley, 19, Irvine

My idea was to use the Brig o’ Doon Bridge. When we went there I took a photograph of it and I’ve Photoshopped that. I’ve drawn a sketch of a horse, then you have the witches following Tam o’ Shanter.

I’m quite new to Photoshop so that was a bit of a struggle, but I’ve been using Illustrator for a while.

This is the first live brief I’ve ever had. I enjoyed it a lot. Often I struggle with deadlines but I managed this one!

Michelle Caddy, 35, Irvine

I used the devil to represent certain elements of the poem. I used different textures and layers to represent the darkness and gloominess. The witches add the eerie factor. The devil’s digitally painted. I’m happy with the finished piece. This is the second live brief I’ve had and it’s went very well.

Ewan Gilmour, 21, Kilwinning

We went to the Brig o’ Doon, then the Auld Kirk, to take photographs. Initially my idea was to use the scene of the bar. But when looking through the photos, I found one of the Auld Kirk which had a hand at the bottom, so I thought I could do the witches dancing, and I could use the hand as Tam o’ Shanter’s hand. I drew up the witches dancing, turned the photo green to blend it in, and then just duplicated the layer of the witches to make it look like there’s more of them.

We were asked to incorporate typography into it – the problem was trying to find somewhere to put the text. When you look at the witches, it’s quite scratchy looking, which is what I wanted.

Rachel Grainger, 20, Barassie


I got this photo of the bridge and loved the look of it. I manipulated it on Photoshop, darkened it up and put these clouds in the background to make it look like a stormy night. I drew Tam on his horse coming down the bridge towards the viewer. The witches’ hands are grabbing towards it. I drew these, scanned and coloured them digitally. I got horse hair for texture, leather for the jacket and tartan for the hat to add a bit more to it. The horse is running over the text to incorporate it into the piece.

Rebecca Kirkwood, 18, Maybole


We were to pick a part of the poem, so I picked Tam approaching the Auld Kirk. I thought it’d be good to portray the stormy night, I used different layers for the background. When we went to take photographs of the Brig o’ Doon, I took a photo of the texture of the wall. There’s a texture behind the trees portraying a stormy night.

Lori Limond, 21, Tarbolton

I drew a landscape sketch of the bridge and the water. I had Tam o’ Shanter go over on his horse with the ghouls and trees in the background. I added in different textures. I brought in photographs of cobbles for over the bridge, and water texture for the water. I’ve used the text over the water.

It was good. I quite enjoyed it.

Samantha Logan, 21, Girvan


I went with a cartoon style because I wanted it to stand out. I think it’s the best way to convey the emotion of the scene. Everything was freehand drawing on a digital paint programme apart from the background which was a photograph manipulated to look like the scene. I felt this scene was the most recognisable and the most impactful. I thought it came out quite well.

Kyle Lotter, 20, Galston


I wanted to incorporate the text fully, so I laid it into the bridge in my design. I wanted a silhouette effect with a limited palette. I drew these on Illustrator to give me nice flat sharp lines. I used the tree which I scanned and flattened on Illustrator to fit the style. I put a grungy texture on there. I loved this live brief, it wasn’t restrictive. I used a panoramic style which I think is the only one like this.

Thomas McKay, 19, Ayr

I chose to focus on the scene where the witches snatch the tail over the bridge. I did it from an aerial view to give a different perspective of it. I made it really detailed and expressive. I chose this scene because when I was reading through the poem, that scene seemed like the most dramatic and would be the best to portray. I’m happy with the finished piece.

Daniel McKenna, 21, Ayr


I spent a bit of time drawing hands and using different text. If you look closely, I’ve added a texture on the hands which is what I like most about it. Some words you can read a lot better than others but I wanted to make it look chaotic, like the scene I was doing. It was a fun experience. I’ve done graphic design things like this before but nothing as big as this.

Anna McNamee, 20, Kilwinning


We went to the Brig o’ Doon for primary research taking photographs. I liked this one, the distance shot. I thought what could I make this look like Tam o’ Shanter? When looking through the poem, this was the paragraph I liked the most. When it mentions ‘the devil had business in his hands’, I wanted to use the devil’s hand. I illustrated that and it looked as if something could be in that hand. So I put the horse’s tail there. On the bridge I did a silhouette of Tam o’ Shanter on the horse and reflected it with the moonlight. I hope other people like it.

Lauren Provan, 20, Prestwick

I went for a dark look to make known that it’s the evening and it’s spooky. I have hands coming out of the church to make it even darker. It was difficult to incorporate the text because there’s not a great amount of space, but I’m happy with where I’ve put it. It stands out. I liked the photograph I took of the church so I knew that was the idea I wanted to use.

Mhairi Steele, 18, Stewarton

We were given this brief and the lecturer told us to pick one scene from the poem. I liked when the witches were chasing Tam over the bridge. It needed to include lots of layers, text, textures, and images. I wanted to go for something quite different. I drew Tam, the cobbled bridge, witches hands, scanned it into Photoshop and added some text.

We had a month to produce this. I love working from live briefs, it’s good to do something different. The fact that it’s being shown close to home is really cool, it’s been a great opportunity for us to take part in.

Kelsey Stewart, 19, Irvine


I just thought that Tam o’ Shanter was meant to be scary, not cartoony. So I went for a personalised piece. One of my lecturers was used in a photoshoot, I got him to make scary faces. I came up with the idea of him shouting the part of the poem instead of it being in the background. Then of course you’ve got the witches and the castle.

I like live briefs. They’re more entertaining. They bring you into it more. They’re good things to do.


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