Children’s Book Brief Summary

A summary of what I have learnt during the project Children’s Book Brief.

The main part of this project has been understanding the research and development that goes into producing a children’s book. Another major part of this project was the ability to meet deadlines as this is an important feature when working professionally.

I started this project by looking at different children’s books as well as illustrated books for older audiences. This really helped me throughout my practice as it informed my work and inspired it. I found Anastasia Izlesou especially inspiring as her work influenced me to try a different technique with watercolours that i had no experience with. Experimenting with this technique was a major part of my project as I continued to do this throughout, even making changes to my final pages to try and develop the techniques further. I enjoyed this experimentation as it allowed me to improve on my work and develop my use of colour as well as my use of line. The children’s book The White Hare, illustrated by Anastasia Izlesou also influenced the colour palette of my work as I wanted to use my new knowledge from previous workshops in order to improve the way that I use colour within my work.

This project also allowed me to discover what it was like to work professionally. This allowed me to become familiar with stages of making a book such as creating a flat page plan, a dummy book and developing a few colour pages. I was also able to learn how to use InDesign to put my finished double page spreads together as well as my cover. I also learned how to add bleed lines to these spreads.

This project allowed me to develop and use the skills that I had learnt previously in the year such as how colour can have a big impact on images and the way people see them, how composition is especially important when conveying strong emotions in pieces and how words can also have a massive impact on images through what they say and how they are presented.

Degree Show Review

A short review of two pieces of student’s work from the degree show at university.

For part of my assessment for uni we were given the mini brief of completing a review of two pieces of work from the third year degree show. We had to choose one piece of work from an illustration student and one from a student from another discipline.


I chose this piece from an Illustration student, Polly Colquhoun, because I liked that it was a 3D piece and I found it intriguing. I also liked the texture within the piece. This piece of work consists of 3 3D scenes that are displayed within a wall. The scenes are accompanied by text which are lines from a contemporary opera called Death’s Other Kingdom. The scenes are quite small but they are illuminated from within which makes them eye catching. All of the scenes consist of black prints on white paper or card. The scenes occupied a space that was quite hidden, this allowed the viewer to stumble upon these little glimpses of a different world. It also allowed the viewer to explore these pieces in the quiet as it was slightly removed from the rest of the show.

This work communicates quietly as the pieces are quite small and almost hidden within the wall. They are there to be discovered rather than there to exclaim their presence. This work is imaginative because it looks unique and consideration has gone into the process of designing and making it. The printing technique and the conversion from flat pieces of work to a 3D scene demonstrates skills. I find the piece captivating because of the little details within the piece and because of how simplistic and rustic the different components look.

The work is inviting and intriguing as it resembles little worlds there for the viewer to explore and experience. The work as a whole coheres well, all of the scenes were made using the same technique of printing and they are all in black and white which makes them fit together well. They all have text underneath which adds more intrigue to the work.



I chose this piece by an Artist Designer Maker student, Sofia Calatrava, because of the interesting way that illustration has been combined with ceramics. I also like the animated ceramic piece that spins to highlight the transition shown on the pot. This piece  consist of multiple ceramic pieces that have been decorated with illustrations of faces. This piece is about personality and emotions. It portrays divided feelings. All of the pots follow the same design, glazed white with dark illustrations. A mirror is used to show the opposite side of some of the ceramic pieces, which also demonstrates the split emotion theme of the work. Some of the pots are quite large compared to others which could show that some of the feelings portrayed are stronger than others.

The work communicates quite boldly, the faces on the ceramic are quite imposing and hard to miss. The illustrations clearly show a split or a conflict of the artists feelings. I think that this piece is imaginative because of the combination of illustration and ceramics which is quite unique. It also demonstrates a number of skills which are needed to produce this work. The purpose of the work is to portray the artists self-perception and I think that this is communicated clearly.

This work is intriguing and slightly unnerving because of the stark faces present on the pots. It encourages the viewer to question their own self-perception and think about how they view others. The work coheres as a whole because of the uniformity of the ceramic pieces even if the illustrations differ. The work isn’t hidden in its space, its noticeable and confrontational in the way that it demands people attention.

Children’s Book Brief – Improved Final Pages

The further development of my final page spreads for the Children’s Book Brief

In order to improve my work I decided to develop my final pages further. I needed to neaten up the hand written text in order for my pages to look more professional. I did this by writing the text again using a thinner, sharper conte pencil.

I also re-did one of my pages entirely, I kept the same composition and idea for the page but I made the background lighter in order to bring the focus to the foreground of the image. I also changed the colour of the brother and the boar to more purple based browns so that they fit ore with the other colours used in the image. I also developed my technique further by using more of the conte pencil to highlight certain parts of the page other than just the characters. I think that this helped to pull the whole page together and it added a little bit more detail to the image.

Subject Reflection

My reflection on the subject module which is made up of many projects and workshops.

collage.jpgAt the start of this module I took part in many different workshops. From these workshops I learnt about how words can have a massive impact on a piece of work, how colours can be interpreted differently, I learnt how to dry point etch, how colours can effect a composition and I have learnt that negative space is important within a piece. I learnt all of these things from workshops such as words to draw by and the colour workshop. I was then able to use these skills and knowledge throughout the year when completing my work.


developed 4For the project A Streetcar Named Desire, based on the play, we chose inanimate objects to represent the characters which we then had to personify using colour and other techniques. I learnt that colours are an important part of telling a story as they can be used to portray emotion or the relationship between two characters. I also learnt how colour can be used to personify inanimate objects and so can the framing of an image. I also learnt how motifs can be used to help bring inanimate objects to life and how the angle and framing of an image can be used to exaggerate emotions within that scene.

anticipation.jpgThrough this module we also did life drawing. In these sessions we focused on different things, one session was about capturing movement in an image whilst another was about capturing the moment before something happens. I found these session helpful as I was able to learn new skills as well as improving my life drawing, I learnt how to use lines to portray tension in muscles. I also practised using verbs when drawing to make a line look like its pushing, or scratching in order to show movement.

test set.jpgIn the project Metamorphosis, based on the book, I learnt many skills including how to draw with a scalpel in order to create looser forms and how to work in a group as we had to work together in order to put on a puppet show at the end of the project. I enjoyed working as a team for this project as we were able to bounce our ideas off each other and select the best ones to develop. Working in a group also enabled us to combine our skills as one person knew how to create and edit the sound we would need for our performance, whilst others were skilled with a scalpel and able to cut out intricate designs. This project also allowed me to develop my compositional skills as composition is very important when working with shadow puppets.

The 12 days of illustrated christmas news project allowed me to develop my skills with paper as I created an interactive pop up book. This project also enabled me to create satirical work which wasn’t something I had ever done before. This project challenged me as I found it difficult to find 12 interesting news stories that I could illustrate but doing this improved my research skills.

I also went on a trip to London where I visited the Whitechapel Gallery to see William Kentridges work. I found this very interesting, especially the way that in one of the instillation pieces sound and music was used as a way to immerse you in the piece. The strange machines and noises partly inspired some of my field work.


I took part in various technical workshops including dry point etching, block printing and lino cutting. The block printing and lino cutting workshops were very similar but I enjoyed them and these workshops allowed me to learn new techniques that I had very little experience with. I didn’t use these techniques in any of my projects but I would like to experiment with them further.

IMAG0084The final project in the subject module, the Children’s Book Brief, allowed me to bring together all of the skills and knowledge that I’d learnt in the first year which I could then demonstrate in my work. I was able to use what I had learnt about colour and composition when creating the pages for my book. I was also able to use the skills learnt in the words to draw by workshop as I needed to carefully consider what text to use and how I would incorporate it into my book. I also used the knowledge that negative space is important when designing the layout for my pages. I also incorporated new skills such as how to bind a book, and I have been experimenting with a watercolour and conte pencil technique that still needs development. I also enjoyed creating 3D sculptures of my characters that enabled me to improve my drawings of them as it helped them look more life like and it helped me to give them more character. During this project I was also able to develop my researching skills as this was a major part of the brief. It allowed me to critique work and explain why I chose to look at it. Some of the artists that have inspired me include Shaun Tan and Anastasia Izlesou. This research and analysis came in useful when a small brief for critiquing some work from the degree show was set .

Children’s Book Brief – Final Colour Pages

The development of my two final colour page spreads and the cover for my illustrated book based on the story The Singing Bone.

After I had finished my dummy book I started my finished, full colour page spreads. Part of the brief was to do 2 finished colour page spreads as well as the finished cover in colour. I started by choosing 2 pages that I thought would contrast with each other and that would look interesting in colour. I then used a number of materials to add colour including watercolour, gouache, acrylic paint and a conte pencil.

I then used photoshop and indesign to add text to the cover and to the pages. I also added page and bleed lines to the images. The text is hand written, I decided to do this as I felt it would fit with the simple, rustic theme more. This also allowed me to simply emphasise words which add to the drama of the story. I also made a change to one of the pages in photoshop, I decided to move the character up the page as he was too close to the edge, I think this has made him easier to see.

To improve these pages I would change some things. I need to re-doo the text to make it more even and regular as at the moment it looks too rough. I would also experiment more with line and develop the paint and charcoal/conte pencil technique. I would use different thicknesses of line in my images and use line for other parts of the pictures and not just the characters as i think this would help me to bring my composition together as a whole. I would also make the background lighter in the image with the boar in order to emphasise what is going on in the foreground.

Children’s Book Brief – Dummy Book

The mock book that I made containing pencil sketches based on the story The Singing Bone.

As part of the brief we had to produce a dummy book which included rough sketches for all of the pages of our book, the title page, the endpapers and the cover. I started by drawing out all my roughs first, I then stitched them together to keep them in place. I then made the endpapers and covers and attached them to the pages of the book. Most of the pages in my dummy book are the same as the rough sketches in my flat page plan. One of the things that I have changed is the position of the text on some of the pages so that I could fit it in without interfering with the images. I also changed the format of the text on the text only pages, they now have individual backgrounds to fit with each opposite page. Another change is that not all of the text pages feature the text in a white box, this feature only appears on some pages where the backgrounds are dark or the text overlaps different features of the background.

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