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.

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.

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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 – 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.

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.