For the last brief of the semester, it's all about working much more productively in a shorter time frame, meaning we have to make decisions and come to conclusions much quicker than what we're probably used to. We had the option of 9 different tasks which were portraits, t shirt designs, posters about the rules of illustration, kickstart a kickstarter, beer can design, cereal box design, editorial, vignettes, or an ABC book. I was initially drawn to the portrait task, beer can design as this would give me good practice with typography, and also the ABC book I thought would be fun.
For this task we were provided with an instagram account with a variety of different profiles, but I didn't like the look of them and I wanted images with more context, so I found a different instagram account which had a series called '#railfanseries' which photographed autistic children who loved trains and transmit and were often photographed travelling or watching trains. I thought this would suit my work better and give me a bit more to work with.
https://www.instagram.com/travishuggett/?hl=en I will add below a variety of the images from his account.
The images are mainly very dull in terms of light and colour, and I tend to work with brighter colours so my plan was to illustrate these with much more pattern and colour.
Development, initial sketches, colour ideas:
With feedback from Dwayne, we discussed how some of the patterns I've included look a bit too digital and the hand-rendered mark making works more cohesively with my stitched elements so this is something to note and develop moving forward.
COCKTAIL CAN DESIGNS:
I liked the idea of creating cocktail can designs as these are more fruity and exotic, which suits my bright colour palette and patterns, and since I'm a fan of 60s hippie aesthetic, I thought that would be good inspiration for my can designs. I have a pinterest board about this era which I will link below, and I'll add some inspiration for can design. This also gives me the chance to experiment with typography as this is something I need some practice with.
Initial sketches, development, colour:
Fillmore posters research:
Here I was mainly looking at composition and colour and then mocking up my ideas onto cans throughout. Regarding the text, I used a 60s font and used this to figure out placement and colour but I plan to hand render the text for all cans in the individual format.
I am happy with where this is going and how the cans look together, however I think I need to alter the composition of the beer can with the van needs changing so that the van is face on as I think this would stand out better on the shelf. I also still need to finalise the text composition using my hand rendered font for each can.
Using adobe illustrator I played around with fitting texts into shapes as seen in 60s film posters, I thought this looked really cool and I plan to hand render my own font and use that within this format.
Hand-rendered font, experimenting with textures to provide embroidered appearance:
After playing around with my 60s fabric textured font, and a font which looks like a stitch outline, I looked at how this would look on the can.
I was really happy with the text for the cans and I think it fit really well with the 60s hippie theme. I think the cans look good as a series and are fun bright and colourful which was what I was aiming for.
THE ABC BOOK:
For this brief we are tasked with producing 3 sample pages for our book, using the first 3 letters of the alphabet. We are to present A as a single right-handed page, and B&C are to be presented as a double page spread. I really liked this idea of this brief, I see so many of these books at the minute with 2 young nephews, so I really liked the idea of recreating my own. Our book must have an underlying theme to ensure each page doesn't appear like a random selection so I had a few ideas, I liked the idea of doing cities, or maybe female music icons.
My initial thoughts for my ABC book were cities - Amsterdam, Berlin, Copenhagen/Cairo, and for female music icons my plan was Amy Winehouse, Britney Spears, Cher. I thought it would be interesting to have a square format book, with each page having the feel of an album cover to tie in with the theme of the book. Typically aimed at children, I want to create an abc book that adults can resonate with so I thought female music icons would be a good subject.
A - Amy Winehouse
Initial ideas - colour & composition:
B - Britney Spears
Initial ideas - colour & composition:
C - Cher
Initial ideas - colour & composition:
For the second brief of the semester, we have been tasked with the Penguin Design Award Competition. We have to choose 2 out of the 3 books included, and produce a complete cover for the books. The options were:
The Diary of a Young Naturalist, adult non-fiction, by Dara McAnulty
Girl, Woman, Other, adult fiction, by Bernardine Evaristo
Murder Most Unladylike, children’s fiction, by Robin Stevens
Penguin have some helpful information surrounding what they look for, and what makes a good spine etc on their website too so I will link these below.
After lots of thought, I opted for the adult fiction & adult non-fiction as I felt these were books I resonated with more myself. Having both a passion for nature, and a passion for equality and feminism, I felt both of the adult books were very up my street. Each of the books has its own brief and requirements for the final outcome, which I will document below.
I began initial inspiration with a Pinterest board of eye-catching, clever, book jackets, and I plan to do further research for each individual book.
GIRL, WOMAN, OTHER, BERNARDINE EVARISTO
- ADULT FICTION
This book seems absolutely fascinating, all about expanding race, equality, gender, sexuality, it is a book all about empowerment. Being almost 500 pages long, and the slow reader that I am, I thought it would be sensible to just read passages of the book to get a feel for it, and watch lots of youtube videos to aid me in my development. I have also been listening to the bbc radio 4 reading of the book whilst I work which I find really useful. I do hope to read this following this project however as this book is very up my street and a book I would very much enjoy.
First was an interview with Bernardine Evaristo, which was very interesting, I will upload my notes along side:
The next video covers an explanation of the characters in more depth & their connections which I found really helpful to get a better image in my head of how the book works. It was also really helpful to get an outside insight to this book. I made lots of notes on this so I will upload these alongside:
I also looked at some website sources to get a better explanation of the characters and the main key points of the book. It is quite complex and so these helped to clear some things up for me, which will help me to produce a cover which I feel is a good representative of what the book is about.
INSPIRATION & RESEARCH IMAGES
My initial ideas surrounded the portrayal of the characters, aiming to show how they are all connected and the 'cyclical' aspect of the novel. I also quite liked the idea of having different layers, potentially through collage, to show the depth of the novel and the connections involved. My aim for the cover is to highlight the variety of characters (age, race, sexuality etc), show that they are all connected, how the layers of lives overlap, and finally the cyclical element of the book - the way it starts and ends at the same scene - the play. I also think having the illustration spread across the front and back cover will further highlight the cyclical element of the novel.
Rosie James - textile stitch art artist
I really like the idea of stitching all my different character profiles, portraying different elements of the 120 years, addressing the expression of empowerment, connections, family, love, sexuality, relationships. I thought this would be really interesting and I could layer up the profiles, using different opacities, and include plenty of colour and pattern since this book should have an African feel and should highlight bold expression. I think stitch would be cool as the loose threads would highlight the loose ends of the book and how they then come together at the end of the novel. Furthermore, if the figures are all kind of linked together with thread, this would be interesting to portray the cyclical element, the poetic way of writing, and the way everyone is connected.
Imagery for the connection element, sense of belonging, women empowerment:
Developed thumbnails & experimenting with typefaces:
Experimenting with stitch:
Layering stitched profiles, taking inspiration from Rosie James - think it portrays connections of characters well and the poetic, cyclical elements to the novel, but in the initial stages I didn't think it was bold enough so I had to play with the composition, textures and colour further to see what worked best. I also tried my other idea of the rows to signify the play/theatre element to the novel but I wasn't keen and I preferred the way the characters were connected in my other developments. I didn't look at type too much at the start whilst I figured out the other elements but I began to look further as I went on. I also just used African fabric textures that I'd sourced online but I made my own later down the line.
Making my own African pattern:
Playing around with typography:
I was hoping for a strong bold font to highlight the powerful women in the book, but also with a feminine side to it (serif font). Then it was just figuring out the colours to ensure the text stood out enough.
After lots of tweaking with text, colour etc, I was finally happy with the final cover for this book. I really enjoyed this book, I found it a really exciting project to work on. I think it portrays lots of elements of the novel well - the bright colours and African patterns highlight the culture of the book, and the variety of stitched profiles show it is a story about women, predominantly black women, and it covers lots of different ages and stages of life. All of the loose threads link up which further conveys that the characters are all connected in some way, and I used the pattern to further connect them but it also looks like their clothes. I didn't use any skin colours, just the bright background, which signifies an element of equality. Finally, I get a real sense of empowerment from the cover - strong independent women, lack of male presence, mother daughter bond (Amma and Yazz), a woman smoking (inspired by the character of Dominique) which is quite controversial. Overall, I am really pleased with the final outcome.
Following a crit with Tony, I made a few tweaks, particularly with the colour of the text, and I also changed the font on the blurb so it is more legible. I also added in a few more features to the profiles. Tony also mentioned that the front was quite bottom heavy so I played around with adding some pattern elements to the top.
Final cover (incl. bleed):
THE DIARY OF A YOUNG NATURALIST, DARA MCANULTY
- ADULT NON-FICTION
INSPIRATION & RESEARCH IMAGES
For my initial thumbnails, I was focusing on the portrayal of the 4 seasons, as the book is structured into 4 segments. Dara also explains in thorough detail the elements of nature he experiences in each season, so I was hoping that within each season of the illustration, we would see some of the things he mentions. He speaks about everything in such a magical manner that I think the elements involved (trees, leaves, animals) need to be illustrated with detail to highlight the depth of detail he goes into. Being an autistic teenager, I played with the colour red within my thumbnails as this is the colour used in association with autism pride - but also maybe this could be portrayed through the detail and magical way of illustrating what Dara sees. I played with several formats - postcard? diary page? layered seasons?
In a crit with Tony he suggested playing with the vertical seasons idea, and to not solely focus on a double spread front and back cover as really the front should be the main focus.
Research images of the elements mentioned in each season:
County Fermanagh (where the diary begins), Dara then moves to the other side of Northern Ireland, in the shadow of the Mourne Mountains in County Down:
Developed thumbnails on a larger scale:
I worked on a larger scale here to see how all the text can be incorporated into different formats. The postcard idea I quite liked, there's plenty of space to lay out the text in a neat way, with the stamps including the quotes required, but there's little room for actual illustration so I don't think this one portrays enough elements of the book that I want to. The diary page highlights the diary aspect of the book, peel back to discover the natural elements discussed within, but again I don't think this is clear enough. I really want to focus on the seasons element so I think I prefer the ones where the seasons are layered together to highlight the journey of the book. I also experimented with portraying the seasons vertically, layered together with overlapping textures, highlighting the detail of the elements as discussed by Dara. Tony also discussed portraying a different scene in each seasons, experimenting with the 'slices' not matching up etc, but I think this would be a very busy front cover when there is lots of text to include. I think the horizontal layout of seasons works a lot better in regards to laying out the text, and also portraying a
Along with looking at typefaces relating to the nature aspect, I looked at boys handwriting fonts to give the look of scribbling in a diary which I think look very interesting and would be good to experiment further with.
Scrapbook experimenting, linking to the whole diary idea, with the thinking that he would collect things on his journey, have little doodles, scraps of paper etc:
Mono-printing with leaves:
Further experiments, scrapbook/collage idea, :
I found myself overcomplicating the cover I think, and I was getting quite frustrated with where I was going, and couldn't get what I had in my head down on paper. I realised I was probably trying to incorporate too much, and less is probably more. I really liked the leaves and the textures they gave, layering elements, so I carried on with some more experimenting, also seeing what they looked like mocked up as I worked:
I finally got to somewhere I liked, with a composition that made a bit more sense than before. It's a bit simpler than I was originally intending but I don't think that'a a bad thing, I think it's a case of less is more. I was working with bright colours, which I think works well to portray the magical manner in which Dara speaks about nature. Red was a significant colour as it is the colour used in association with autistic pride, but I thought it was a bit too strong for the cover so I made it ever so slightly more pink, which I think works well as this book is all about Dara's unconditional love for nature. I tried to use a variety of colours for the natural elements, to highlight the different seasons which are covered, and I think they work quite harmoniously together. The text I was struggling with for the front of the cover, but I think this bold text works better and stands out more. I also kept the postcard influence for the quotes that needed including - linking to the stamps found on his journey, placed like they would be on a postcard.
After a crit with Tony, he suggested some things with the typography, such as a lower case font on the blurb - although he did like that it wasn't a heavy font. Also on the front cover he thought it would benefit from another bit of colour in the negative space at the top so I amended these bits.
Final cover (incl. bleed):
The first project of the year is both an individual and group project around exquisite corpses. We were each given (at random), 4 biographies of fictional characters which we will bring to life. In total there are 56 characters and the brief looks at how we can produce this as a book as the end product altogether. Exquisite corpse is essentially "a game in which each participant takes turns writing or drawing on a sheet of paper, folding it to conceal his or her contribution, and then passing it to the next player for a further contribution." So as a collective we will be aiming to produce a final book to be printed, split into flip sections in exquisite corpse style, including some or all 4 of our characters as contribution.
After lots of discussion as a group, we had to make lots of decisions about the format of the book, size, paper stock, how the content will be displayed, discussion around a front/back cover etc. We did make lots of decisions on the day so we decided that the pages would be a4 but trimmed down to be slimmer - working to a size of 297mm x 170mm, split equally into three segements to 99mm x 170mm. We decided our pages would be double sided, with a character on one side and on the reverse include the details of their biography. Due to mixam (the printing company) restrictions we are limited on page numbers so we decided we would include our 2 best illustrations within the book. Regarding the font of the text we include, we thought it would be good and more interesting to select a font which suited each character. Also when we discussed background we decided background were optional but more emphasis should be on the character.
My 4 characters are, Strangeways Pigg Strangeways, Prosper Louis Pascal Gueranger, Sebastian Drizzle and Rodolfo the Magnificent, each with unique characteristics.
Strangeways Pigg Strangeways:
Profession: star cricket player of the early 1900s
Notes: frequently ran himself out when his super-long beard snagged his stumps
Prosper Louis Pascal Guéranger:
Profession: 13c. Benedictine Monk
Notes: addicted to mead, of dubious morality
Notes: the world's only professional Goth surfer
Rodolfo the Magnificent:
Profession: circus performer
Notes: short-sighted knife thrower
Character development research:
'The Art of UP'
Strangeways Pigg Strangeways
For my cricketer I pictured an old image as they are a 1900s character. As they are a star sportsmen they will be in uniform, holding a cricket bat, with a long bushy beard with a stump stuck in it. To ensure each section portrays elements of a cricketer, I will have him wearing his hat in the top section, his cricket bat and ball in the middle section and the bottom section will have the knee/shin pads along with stumps as part of the background. I had to really play with the background for this one as the uniform is white it's difficult for it to stand out against the background.
Prosper Louis Pascal Guéranger
For my monk character I pictured an old, drunk monk with a bit of beer belly. Keeping the 13th century in mind I imagined an old mood to the character, and tried to associate medieval colours. I also wanted him to be holding a pint, and thought the cross could have sunk into his drink with mead splashing out highlighting his dubious morality. I thought the stitches would portray wrinkles on his face well, and I wanted his face to be quite red to signify his alcoholism. I also gave him droopy drunk eyes and a bit of a dribble frothing out his mouth. I also think the cloth texture of the robe etc fits very well with the time period. To make sure you could tell which character it was from each section I added an open bible to the bottom section on the floor which I think is considered bad linking to the dubious morality.
For my goth surfer, I imagined a stereotypical goth, long black hair covering his face, pale skin, skinny, black oversized top with a striped top underneath, tattoos piercings, a surfboard with a skull on it. I aimed for a colour scheme of black white and purple to link with the goth theme, however a blue background to contrast and also link with the surf element.
Rodolfo the Magnificent
The picture I had in my head involved my character dressed in a typical circus outfit, stripes and a wasitcoat, gloves and a top hat. He'll be wearing glasses since he's short sighted, probably. big jam jar glasses, and possibly be squinting to emphasise this more. Red is a common colour associated with the circus and also danger (short sighted knife thrower). After producing the main elements of the figure I played around in photoshop with colours and backgrounds. I did find this quite challenging actually just figuring out how I wanted the page to look and how to lay out the background bearing in mind that it is meant to be minimal.
Example of how the book would work:
Here is an example of how the book works using just my 4 characters to create unique combinations. I think we can tell how fun and creative the finished outcome will be once all the characters are included. This was a really fun first project to get us back into the swing of things and I can't wait to see the final creation put together over the next few days.
Production of the final outcome - printing in house:
When it came to finally putting the book together, there were numerous elements of the process which needed solving and deciding - the order of the illustrations, paper stock, the cutting process (bulk - 30 copies).
The format of the book and how we were going to bind it also took some working out, including the hole punching process. We had to arrange the pages in the book a little more spaced out to provide room for movement and page flicking. This meant that we had to reprint all of the front and back covers however as they needed to be slightly bigger due to the added space between the pages. We also realised the front and back cover needed to be much sturdier as the book was becoming quite floppy due to all the cut out pages inside. To solve this we used yuhu glue to stick the covers to mountboard which worked really well.
For the cutting process, we had to work out which order to cut edges of the print sheet first, to ensure we could still figure out all the crop marks and line it up correctly. This was a very complex process, we opted originally for using the guillotine and I marked out with masking tape where to line the sheet up for cutting off the different edges. This was going to be an extremely tedious process doing one sheet at a time, baring in mind there were 28 pages in each book, and 30ish books. After speaking to Helen, she showed us the big industrial guillotine which would mean we could do a big stack of books, very accurately and neatly, at a time. We split the book into two halves for the cutting process, to make life easier for the cutting process. After splitting into two halves, we decided we would need to order the pages of the book before continuing to cut into thirds (as that was a very long and tedious job afterwards). A few of us decided on a strong front and back page, and a strong middle. We also tried to provide enough contrast between each page thinking about colour, texture, and media. We kept the two halves separate until the final binding, as the hole puncher only took half of the book in the machine anyway so this made life easier.
The production line and binding process:
The final product: