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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Children’s Book Brief – Colour Page Plan

A colour page plan for my illustrated book The Singing Bone based on The Grimm Brother’s story for the children’s book brief.

In order to demonstrate how my book would look in full colour I made a rougher, more vague version of my page plan. I used watercolours to roughly show what colours would be present on each page and where. I did this as it helps people to get a better feel for how the whole book would look, it also emphasises what is happening on each page and it helps the viewer to connect with the story more.

Constellation Reflection

My reflection on what I have learnt from the constellation module at university.

What I Have Learnt

During this constellation module; Smells Like Teen Spirit, I have learnt many things about analysing work and making connections. I have learnt how to effectively analyse other work, and my own, and use theories from authors and academics to back up my analysis. This has helped me to explain creative decisions within my own work and the contexts behind these decisions. It has also enabled me to understand how messages and ideologies can be conveyed through people’s work and in turn it has enabled me to consider how I could convey messages through my own work. I have learnt how to unpick aspects of my work in order to effectively explain why I have chosen to include certain colours, figures or motifs within my work.

By using different subcultures as mini case studies I have learnt what each subculture can teach and inform me about my own practice. From looking at the gothic subculture I learnt that you can take inspiration from other styles and influences in order to inspire your own practice and that inspiration can come from a range of different mediums. For example many aspects of the gothic style is inspired by gothic literature.

From looking at the hip-hop subculture I have learnt that objects and possessions can be combined to create new meanings and political statements and this can then be applied to my practice. I also learnt that the context in which you use or include objects can create new meanings. I also learnt from this subculture that history and heritage can influence design. For example the inclusion of traditional African clothing within the hip-hop subculture not only brings two cultures together but it is also used as a political statement about African-American history.

From studying the punk subculture I have learnt that my practice can be a way to ask questions about the norm and it can be a way to challenge it. I also learnt about “re-signification” (Clarke, Hall, Jefferson), how objects can be modified or used in a different way to give them a new meaning or function. I also learnt that I shouldn’t be afraid to break the mould when it comes to my practice. For example punks changed the meanings of safety pins when they used them as facial jewellery, as well as changing the meaning of the union jack when they wore it on their clothing or when it was used on posters.

I have also learnt many things from attending the keynote lectures. For example the lecture ‘Teenage Kicks’ taught me that every object has a cultural CV and a cultural biography. It also taught me how meanings can be applied to objects and how connotations of objects can change over time. I also learnt that objects have social lives and that there are stories and culture embedded in them. This has been able to inform my practice as I can now consider this idea that all objects have a cultural biography when including them in my work. Using this information I can convey information just through the use of objects and I have learnt that the context that these objects are in can also change the way that they are interpreted.

I have been able to use what I have learnt from this study group in my own practice, Illustration, as I now consider what I want to convey in my work more carefully and how I an convey it. For example, in my work from last term, The Fake News Machine, I considered the materials I used more carefully as different materials carry different connotations. I also put more consideration into the font I chose for my animation because I wanted it to convey a particular meaning of boldness and prominence. This module has allowed me to become better at communicating ideas and stories through my work which is an important part of illustration. It also encouraged me to question why I was doing certain things which in turn allowed me to explain my creative decisions at the end of the project when I had to present my work.


How I Learn

During my first term constellation module; The Body, I found it difficult to use theory to back up my arguments and statements in my first essay. I didn’t know how arguments and statements from authors and academics could be used effectively in my writing to support what I was trying to say. During this second constellation module; Smells Like Teen Spirit, I was presented with an effective way to analyse my work or others and and a way to easily include theories in my analysis to support what I was saying. This technique called ‘Cath’s Columns’ given to us by our lecturer Cath Davies was a simple yet effective way to analyse a piece of work in detail also allowing you to easily include the theory needed to support our arguments. This technique is made up of three columns, in the first column the image you are analysing is described, for example, the colours used and other details of the image and the visual motifs are identified. In the second column the connotations of these motifs are explained. In the third column quotations from books and papers are included that support the connotations that you have linked to the different aspects of the image. This system helped me immensely when analysing my work.

The university experience has developed me as an individual as it has encouraged me to question more when looking at my own and other people’s work, it has also allowed me to expand my way of thinking when considering why I have made certain design decisions within my practice. Constellation has taught me to question things which has made me more inquisitive as an Illustrator. It has also taught me to be more analytical when looking at my own work and others. I have also learnt how important theory is when it comes to my practice and how it can help me to explain my work to others.

Children’s Book Brief – Experimenting with materials

Some of the work that I produced whilst experimenting with gouache and other materials.

For part of my research and development for this project I decided to experiment with gouache paint as I thought it may improve my images because the colours would be brighter with gouache than watercolour.

I started by testing the paint by doing some blended backgrounds on brown paper. I also used a conte pencil to add trees in one of the images.

old man
Old man in woods. 

I then drew out one of my pages to see what it would look like in colour. I used gouache paint and then went over the old man character with a conte pencil. I think this image worked well, I was concerned when I did the page plan that this page would look too busy but I think that it works well to convey the fact that the character is deep in the woods. I think this image could be improved by making the space between the trees darker in order to add depth to the image.


forest background.jpeg
Gouache and Conte pencil 

After testing this page with gouache I decided to test the page that would go opposite it. The idea for this page is that it would have a simple image for a background with a square of bordered text on top of it. My first idea was to have a colourful background with a row of trees at the bottom of the page. I liked this design but it didn’t fit with the other page. I decided that the page with the text on it should look the same as the page opposite. I decided to make the background dark with the colourful trees covering it.

gouache trees.jpeg
Gouache trees 

I started by doing this with gouache. I used less water with the black paint in order to make it darker. This didn’t work the background still isn’t that dark and it looks flat. The trees don’t stand out against the background either. I then decided to use acrylic paint for the background as this would allow me to create a much darker and consistent colour.

I think that this second attempt using acrylic looks a lot better, the trees really stand out and the background looks a lot more dense. I think that using acrylic with the gouache works the best so in order to improve the image of the old man in the woods I will redo it using acrylic for the background instead.

acrylic trees
Acrylic and Gouache 





Children’s Book Brief – Book Layout

The page plan for my illustrated children’s book based on the story The Singing Bone by the Grimm Brothers. this is for the children’s book brief.

After deciding how the characters would look I moved on to the flat plan layout of my book. I started by deciding on the format of my book. i have chosen to make a square book as it will allow me to do double page landscapes and I think that a square book will be more appealing to children. The text that I will be using for my book is the original text from the Grimm Brothers that has been translated. Once I had decided on what version I was using I read through the text breaking it up into different pages. I then drew out my ideas for each page. I decided to vary the layout with some pages being double page spreads and some pages just being text and some just an image. I thought that this layout would make the book more visually interesting and it also allowed me to incorporate the whole text as the story is quite long.

IMAG0099IMAG0101I was quite happy with how well the layout flowed so I will not be re-dooing this page plan but I will be doing a colour version of this to show how the book would look in colour as a whole as colour is quite important for a children’s book. I am not too happy with some of the pages but I would like to test them in colour first to see what they’d look like. I like the continuation of trees throughout my book, for example their inclusion on the endpapers, I think that it helps to bring the whole book together and that it also helps to make it flow visually. To improve it I think that the characters need to be brought to life more, on some of the pages in the book they look too wooden and not alive.

Children’s Book Brief – Characters

Ideas and developmental work for my characters for an illustrated story based on the tale The Singing Bone.

Once I had experimented with the materials I had chosen to use I decided to improve my characters. I liked my original character designs but I felt that they looked too flat and not very expressive. In order to improve them I decided to make clay models of my characters because in the book, I want them to look like models sculpted by hand.

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I used air dry clay to make the little brother, the big brother, the king, the princess and the boar. I only used simple tools to form these characters.

Once my models had dried I was able to use them to draw from. Drawing from these models allowed me to improve my character designs as I was able to make my sketches look more three dimensional, this process also helped me to include more character in my designs, making them look more alive.

I used a conte pencil on brown paper for these images. I chose brown paper because it gave the images more warmth than white paper would and it helped to make them look more primal like the images and sculptures that inspired them.

I then added colour to the sketches of the characters using gouache paint. I tried to give each character their own colour so that they were easily distinguishable from each other. I chose simple colours for the brothers as they come from a poor farming family and I wanted to reflect this in their design. For the king and Princess I chose rich colours to reflect their royalty but I still wanted them to look like they were made from materials from the earth to keep with the theme of primal sculptures and figures. For the Princess I tested a few different colours, I tired an orange colour but this turned out too similar to the brothers, I also tried a blue colour but this made her look to cold in comparison to the other characters. I think that the contrast from the conte pencil and the paint helps to make the figures look more lively and expressive because of the rough, smudgy lines.

Children’s Book Brief – Trees

Some ideas on how the trees and forest will look for the illustrations for the story The Singing Bone.

The forest is quite a big bit of the story, The Signing Bones, that I have chosen to illustrate for this brief, so I decided to draw out different versions of trees in order to decide what design to use.

I started by drawing out some simple designs, some of which were inspired by trees from some of the books that I looked at at the beginning of this project.

I then chose one of the designs I liked and incorporated it into an image that could be used to illustrate the story. I used watercolours to paint the sky and the ground but added the trees using a fine liner pen .