A bstr ac t. Final major project was an opportunity to really challenge myself to create the best outcome possible; it’s the final stretch before the professional world. Over the last year I have really found my niche in childrens book illustration. So to test myself thoroughly I had to create a story that was completely my own. The study of Insects has always been fascinating to me; they are so small you forget how detailed and complex they are. I spent my time nose down in insect books, studying their structures. Eventually I created the story of ‘Steven’, which tells the story of a lonely bug on the search for his identity. This workbook shows exactly how I got there...
The Extended Major project is a showcase for all the skills and abilities I have acquired over the duration of the course. My specialist area lies within children’s book illustration, so therefore I want to focus on perfecting this, ready for the professional industry. After studying the children’s book industry throughout my previous project and dissertation, it has become aware that there aren’t very many insect based storybooks. Insects are included in factual literature, or when they are categorised with a ‘creepy’ story line. But I want to have the insects as the protagonists, going on an adventure to produce an unusual children book. Insects have stereotypical association with fear; however I want to turn it into a positive and educational experience. My personal practice mainly concentrates on big animals; I have never drawn insects before, so it will be a really interesting learning experience, whilst also pushing me as an illustrator. Of course if I want to create a book that has never been read before, I will have to construct and write it myself. I plan to go to writing workshops with our visiting tutor Salvatore Rubbino, who is an expert in perfecting children’s literature. Research into previous literature will aid my practice, gaining influence to my own work, whilst also looking for a niche in the market. I want an anthropomorphic story line, which is interesting for kids but still has an underlying meaning. The insects will be brought to life, having to overcome life’s daily obstacles. I want the genre to be a mixture of tragedy and adventure, communicating the moral that even small people can overcome big obstacles; an uplifting story for children. I plan to fully study the anatomy of insects to make my work as accurate as possible, so to educating children. Visiting the Natural History Museum will be highly beneficial with their collection of real Insects. I want to study the tiniest organisms from insects to plants, and make them into a whole new world in which the story will take place; creating a completely different view on reality.
I am highly influenced by Sandra Dieckmann’s work; her illustrations incorporate colourful three-dimensional backgrounds with detailed animals. By the end of this project, I want to make my own work less flat. Eric Carle is the writer and illustrator of ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’, who has also done a range of books about different insects. His work is also collage based, with very clean finished imagery. His work will be a huge help to my own practice, his insects are accurate but they also have his own personal style. Collage has become my main skill as an illustrator, using patterned painted paper and cutting it up to make my characters. I want to return to craft with my book by making hand-collaged pages that still have depth when digitally printed. I want to use as many different materials and textures that children will find interest within. I also want to create merchandise that would complement the book itself; taking the craft idea further I will look into the idea of making my own bags, badges, even toys. I really want to push myself with this final project, and create as wide a project as possible. Experimenting with sewing, printing and as many hand crafted techniques as possible. The final piece I produce will not just be a children’s book, but hopefully a collectable item for other illustrators as well. I want it to showcase my work in a professional way, whilst also having the function of a narrative book. This will greatly help me when approaching the professional world; so I can showcase a fully original book written by myself. I intend to present my development work in a fully finished inkling as well, showing a clear consistent work ethic; these are all things I need to consider within my final major project.
E r ic
Eric Carle is a huge inspiration to my practice, he has done a whole range of collaged insects, which is what my project is all about. His textures and imperfect collage really brings iife to the images.
C arl e.
Anne Wilson is slight more digital in her use of collage, i really love the nature she surround her characters with. The way she layers trees over trees, again creates depth, which is somthing i need to work on within my practice.
W ilso n .
Vaul ot&Dy èvr e
Vaulot & Dyèvre created this sculpture called ‘insectopia’ it was an istalation of bug houses in paris. It inspired me to make my own insect world / town that could be a part of a story. I collaged my own version ontop of an apple core.
E.A. Seguy was a famos french designer in the 20th century, creating patterns with nature and insects to be printed. However in the late 1930â€™s he did these amazing insect paintings which really show the detail in the small creatures.
My research blog, filled with insect themed inspiration:
Obse r v ationa l Our visiting tutor Salvator told me to very engage with my story line and dive into the insect world. Therefor i went out into my garden with a picture frame and decided to draw all the differnt things in a small radius. This really helped me to look at even the smallest organisims in a closer way.
S can n in g.
E xperiment ation .
Sw eet Potato e p ri nting.
M ar be lin g .
Keep yo u r s proport io n by prefer ably v isitin g na tur al w -
Primary photograph taken from a trip to the Living Rainforest.
e n se o f r e g u lar ly, d aily, th e or ld .
M atth e ws
M u sh r oom s . I started to experiment with collages, even though I was unsure of the final storyline of the book, I knew I would need lots of nature for the backgrounds. During this project I really wanted to make everything my hand, every last detail, so even when itâ€™s digitally printed you can still see the time and effort that was put in.
C ol l age.
I wanted to create a whole insect world in which they live, where a stump of a tree is as big as a moutain and everyday weeds tower above the creatures.
The first stages of my work are a scattered mess of paintings and patterns. I then use these textures to either collage or scan onto the computer. I much prefer to do this rather than using coloured paper. I do this so everywhere you look there is pattern or texture!
F l ea.
M osq u it o.
Before diving head first into a story I wanted to experiment with different insects and their many interesting forms. The Flea is my favourite, and its a shame he wasnâ€™t a main character in the story, but I might make another story incorporating him!
S p e c i f i c a t i o n s.
“Picture books - Traditionally, picture books (also called “picture story books”) are 32-page books for ages 4-8 (this age may vary slightly by publisher). Manuscripts are up to 1500 words, with 1000 words being the average length. Plots are simple (no sub-plots or complicated twists) with one main character who embodies the child’s emotions, concerns and viewpoint. The illustrations (on every page or every other page) play as great a role as the text in telling the story. Occasionally a picture book will exceed 1500 words; this is usually geared toward the upper end of the age spectrum.”
Understanding children’s book Genres. by Laura Backes
Wri t i ng
book . . .
After studying the effects that Anthropomorphism has on children’s learning, it is important to me to create a animal based story. Children learn well from animal characters as they can engage with them, but it also allows space between the reader and protagonist. If something tragic happens, the child knows that in real life animals cannot talk, creating space so not to upset the child. I want my book to have a moral underlying theme, so the children not only enjoy the story but learn from it. I have 2 possible storylines:
A tale of surrivial, showing how devistating rain can be within the insect world. With natural disasters happening freequently in our life time it would be good to address such a serious subject. The insects would get spilt up after the rain/ flood comes, and it’ll be a adevnture story of how they all find each other again. MORALS: how evem small things can overcome big obsticals.
St ev en: A story of a lonely insect who is unsure of his identity- he has no familly and has never seen an insect like himself. He then goes on an adevnture to find out who he is, comign across friends and foes along the way, MORALS: That it is okay to be different, and there will always be someone out there similar to you. It would relate to alot of children who grow up uncertain of thier place in the world.
I have chosen to go with ‘Steven’ as after research into other childrens literature it is apparent that the simple storylines are the most effective. A picture book needs to have a simple concept that is expressed beautifully through the illustration.
c o n sid e r. . . .
My audience: 4-7 Around 32 pages Audience involvement Appropriate language Consitant characterization Spacial awareness of the fold of the pages Simple text- not to much on one page The legibilty of the type Quality of finish Quality of print and binding
There once lived an insect called steven, he was very lonely as he had never met another insect like himself. One day he went searching for some answers, he wanted to find more of his kind. He came across a cricket and asked him for his help. “excuse me sir, do you know what type of insect i am?” The cricket thought long and hard about what insect he was, deciding to help lonely steven. Confused cricket took steven to see the wise beetle and seek out his advise. He had gigantic horns towering over his huge solid body. Steven was no beetle. “hmmm let me see... you’ve got a long body and you’re very wriggly... you must be a worm!” The wise beetle decided to help steven. He took him to a big field of mud and they waited for the worms to appear... Sure enough several slimy heads popped out of the ground... they had no legs and they were bright pink!! Steven was not pink and therefor he was no worm. The three new companions decided to call it a day and settled down to drink some Nectar. When all of a sudden a fly rudely interrupted! “you, whatever you are! give me you’re nectar! im starving” Something strange began to happen to steven, the bottom of his body began to glow! It was such a bright neon glow, the horrible fly took off into the night. “STEVEN! YOUR A GLOW WORM!” said beetle. At that very moment the shrubbery around them all lit up with tiny little green lights,
I ni tial
char c te r
ske tc h e s .
C h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n . i went through a lot of paper befor I arrived at the final steven. There are so many things to consider with your main character; the first collages lacked expression with thier â€˜sleepy eyesâ€™, and steven is a very emotional character so that had to be changed!
Getting different view points of the charcter is also important as you never know how he is going to transfer! Children need to see things that are visually stimulating, so having the chartcter in the same position all the time is going to bore them and look very unrealistic!
F l y.
C r ic ke t .
Ris o gr ap h .
Going places and experiancing new things always feeds my practice. I took a break from my project to visit the design compay â€˜Two Times Elliotâ€™ who were holding a risoprinting night in thier studio. This wasnt only helpful tpwards my practice, but was a good experiance to meet real designers / illustrators from the industry and discuss our work.
Jon Klassen is an extremely influencal illustrator to me, he used water colours in such an effective way to create depth and texture. The simplicty in some of his work has also taught me the importance of white space. He lets his characters speak for themselves. Even with his limited colour scheme his images are so visually appealing.
Every single element of the book has been made by hand and then scanned in.
La ndsca pes. This is the Beetles home, i wanted to concentrate on the landscaoe to break up the pages a bit and to also show a deeper insight into the insect world. To us this would be seen as a twig on a couple of tiny stones... but to an insect its a huge log on top of a moutain of rock, which looks quite far away (to give a sense of adventure).
Refi n ing
Imag e s.
As i progressed through my practice some of the first images I created werenâ€™t up to scratch. With writing a book its a forwards and backwards process of change and addaption. As i spent more time on the book my spacale awareness and layout skills improved as well as my image making. This meant going back to the start and having another go at the images, all part of the learning process.
This cover was the first thing i did when illusrating steven, I was so excited to jump straight it and start. But the more collage i made the more my images changed. I started off with alot of white space, which now i think looks a bit bland and 2D.
Type. The use of type throughout my book a major thing to consider within my practice. As an illustrator I needed to establish my own typeface, as well as a consistent style. The first copy of my book had a computerized type face the whole way through. However it didnâ€™t take long to realise that it didnâ€™t go well with the hand made theme of the book. I went back to school and practised my handwriting over and over again until the type was up to my satisfaction.
There once lived a lonely bug called Steven...
There once lived a lonely bug called Steven... There once lived a lonely bug called Steven... There once lived a lonely bug called Steven...
Par r a. I looked into artists like Parra who used their type to fill the space in a creative way and drew inspiration from his work. I tried to become more free with my writing and physically drew over my images so the type would fit the page. I also looked at they way he makes even simple shapes (water droplets) intresting, by drawing it in the the right way.
F i n i s hed
pr odu c t.
Getting the book printed and perfect bound to the highest standard possible was very important to me. I took Steven to a printing compnay in Poole â€˜The digital pressâ€™ who were very helpful and taught me all about moving my images away from the centre fold- so not to cut any images off. I was really pleased with the final outcome, the matte printing worked really well, however it was quite pricey. I am going to do a second re-print of the book, as there are a few glitches I would like to change. Also I have already had intrest from a few teachers and mothers who want to buy the book for thier children. So I have to find a more affordable way of high quality printing. i have also uploaded the book to issuu so its available to read all over the world: http://issuu.com/beckyhill/docs/steven
Fe l t M istr e s s . Louise Evans sitches and her partner Jonathan Edwards illustrates, together they make some amazing felt creatures. They have made a range of felt Beetles that are apropiate for my practice. i would love to produce a felt toy as detailed as Felt Mistressâ€™s but it will all come with time and effort.
Bo b by
After a talk from a visiting lecturer â€˜Bobby dazzlerâ€™ it made me really inspired to turn Steven into a felt toy.
P l u sh
co n str u c tio n .
Merchandise was the next venture I wanted to achieve, I handcrafted a Steven plush toy to accompany the book. Taking this project further I would sell the merchandise along side the book for engage children even more with the story. I made him out of soft felt which is child appropriate and also a very easy fabird to work with. The charcater of steven transfered very well onto a toy pattern. I am going to make more copies of him to sell on my shop.
This is the finished Steven plush toy, Iâ€™m really pleased with the final outcome of it as I havent done any sewing in years! I really enjoyed the craft of creative a felt toy and I plan to carry in on within my practice.
Overall I am extremely pleased with my final outcome for this unit; i really pushed myself as an illustrator and it paid off! There is a few final tweeks i need to correct within the book befor I print off more copies. I intend to print off quite a few books to sell on my online shop. Writing my own story was a big challenge, and im still quite suprized i manged to do it. i need to write more stories on a regualar basis so i have a bit database to illustrate. If I had more time on this project, I would create more merchandise to go alongside the book. i would love to create Steven themed furnishings for a childrens room. Bedding, curtains and even a mobile for children. I do still think my type needs more work, I plan to make my own font from my handwritting. This would speed up the process of writing the text throughout the childrens book. i feel like my style has really grown over the course of this project; I am not confident with my collage process and am excited to carry it on with the rest of my practice. After we graduate I need to concentrate on creating a body of work with the same consistant style. I need to transfer my style onto lots of differnt projects to create a strong portfoilio. I will uterlieze the time I have over summer to really push myself out into the creative industry. I plan to send copies of Steven out to different publishing housesin hope to get it published!
B ec ky Hill 32 20 228