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Looking at these two illustrations I decided that I wanted to propose a poetry book! (I honestly never thought I would be designing another book just after designing one for COP3 but here we are.) I decided that I would aim to make 4 spreads and the covers for my proposal. I wasn’t sure at this stage on a title or theme for my poetry collection so I was just aiming for it to be some sort of anthology and I was hoping that it would all work out in the end! Also I was hoping that my collage process would help to unify the illustrations and it would be a fairly straight forward process to create spreads which were clearly part of the same project! I realised that with not having a lot of time left at the university that I should probably focus on work which I was the strongest at and what I enjoyed the most!

After searching for an appropriate image I settled on this vintage soup advertisement. I thought it would be a fairly straightforward process to super-impose a ball gag into the mouth of the female figure. Whilst I was playing around with this I realised that it wasn’t enough of a challenge and I wanted to push the image further. The poem I was writing was about myself and so I thought it would be more appropriate if the character was a guy instead of a girl. I decided to see if I could use my Photoshop knowledge to turn this vintage ad from a female character to a male.

I started to choose other poems/write other poems and brainstorm other illustration ideas to create spreads which would fit in with the ones I already had. I seemed to be creating the illustrations through a mixture of vintage full colour ephemera and also traditional style engraving sources. I had the idea to write a poem on hedonism a few months back and so I decided thematically that could exist with the other two which I already had.

I had to change a lot of the features to change the physicality of the character from male to female. I used the selction/rubber tools to crop the hair into a more boyish cut and reshaped the face to make it longer and more angular. I changed the eyebrows so they weren’t as arched and I made the nose a little larger. I took the colour out of the cheeks and reduced the size of them. I took the saturation out of the lips and re-structure them, I also played around with the jawline to make it a little more defined I moved the hairline up and I also made the eyelashes shorter and a more natural colour! The process was quite lengthy but it was actually quite fun and I definitely prefer the male version over the female version before! Also because I’ve changed it so drastically I feel like I have more ownership over the image?? I had to paint in an ear and match it with the rest of the face applying texture from the cheek area.

I changed the standard circle shaped buckle on the ball gag to a heart shaped one. It’s a subtle change to the image but I think it adds an extra nuance and level of meaning when viewed against the poem which I like! I was toying with the idea of adding some flowers into the background and then I found a vintage rose wreath design on which worked perfectly! I was pretty happy with how this design turned out and think it fits in well with my other two images.

For my fourth spread design I found this white rose vintage image on and I thought I could do something really interesting with it! I did some brainstorming and I thought visually it would be really striking to have red creatures weaving in and out of the foliage. Initially I wanted to have human organs strewn over the roses and leaves but I had to reign myself in! It was in relation to an idea I had for a poem but I realised that I could be more subtle with my references! Sometimes I have to stop myself from going too over the top with my ideas and I have to evaluate how I can keep a level of intelligence and nuance in my visual communication

I had the idea to have a red two headed snake weaving in and out of the foliage. I thought that it would be good to show depth in the image to structure the snake overlapping different sections of the illustration and disappearing within other sections.

I duplicated a stock free illustration of a snake to give the illusion of two heads and I started weaving the body through the roses.

I sourced a new stock free snake illustration after deciding that my two headed snake wasn’t working as well as I wanted it to. I decided to stick with a one headed snake and it keep it simple. The shape of the one on the left worked perfectly when it came to giving the illusion of it slithering through the leaves and the flowers. After I had worked out the path of the snake I started to look for collage resources of other red animals such as butterflies and ladybirds. I was going to look for more animals but decided not to over crowd the image and just stick with these three.

I added colour to the snake by painting onto a new layer using the ‘multiply’ layer mask. I used the Kyle T. Webster ‘Real Oils’ brush set.

I used the mixer brush to demonstrate a gradation in the shading of my snake – this added depth and form to the creature and made it the whole design look more three dimensional. I then went in and outlined the creatures and added some shadows to make sure that they blended in with the foliage. I changed the facial structure of the snake so that I could add a tongue. I also went back to the Splitting Headache illustration and improved the quality by sharpening the image, taking out some of the harsh textures and redefining some of the lines. I also added some wasps to give the impression that they are attracted to the watermelon inside this human head. Also since the poem is called ‘Splitting Headache’ I thought it was apt to have noisy insects circulating the head, you can practically hear the annoying buzzing sound.

I was happy with my page designs so far and I started to think about possible cover designs. I did some research into other poetry book cover designs and also just a few book designs where I found the design to be quite original. I realised that I’d chosen covers which were all quite minimal in their designs, using a lot of negative space, small images and a traditional typeface.

I was trying to decide what to title my collection of poems, brainstorming in my journal. I wrote a few ideas and one of them was ‘painting white roses red’ I wrote afterwards that I liked that one the most but still wasn’t sure that I would use it. I came up with the idea because one of my poems is titled ‘White Roses Red’ and I thought I could maybe use one of my poems titles as the title for the whole collection – like you see many other poets do. I went into university and asked a colleague for an opinion, they asked to look at the illustrations and remarked at how there was a theme of the colour red running through all of them. I hadn’t realised this when making them and then a lightbulb moment happened when I realised that ‘Painting White Roses Red’ would be the perfect title. An obvious reference to Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (an author loved by the Surrealists) it works as being a representation of my surrealist style/theory which I recently engaged with during COP3. Also I saw painting white roses red as a metaphor for applying a darker shade of something innocent, which is what I do with my collage process.

I wanted to have have a bunch of white roses on an artists palette with red paint dripping down onto them but when I was making this I realised that I preferred just the rose head as it was simpler and more akin to other Poetry books which I had looked at. I duplicated the rose head and took the saturation out of one of them completely. I then placed the coloured version on top and used a special marker brush set on Photoshop to give the illusion of a painted rose.

I used the Cormorant Garamond font which I had used for the client led poster brief I completed earlier in the year. I tried a few and I liked this one the best and thought it fit the tone of my illustrations well. It took me a while to figure out the composition of the text for both the poems and the cover, I always find this stage of the book making process really dull, it usually takes me such a long time moving things around before I’m happy with a design layout, I think I need to read up a bit more and get better on this sort of thing! I decided to have the back cover as a paintbrush with red-paint streaked across. I like the idea of the back and front cover of a book having a relationship with one another, it’s a fun way to summarise a body of work.

LAUIL603 Poetry Brief: Development  


LAUIL603 Poetry Brief: Development