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LOOKING AT THE WORLD OF BOOK PRODUCTION

A TALL TALE IN LISBURN

Lisburn author, Sandra Vanner (Photo top left) has had her first children’s book published. Early sales in bookshops have been promising. Her book is also available online. It was illustrated by Martin Kenny from Belfast who specialises in producing artwork for children’s books. The following pages show some of the creative process behind the book.


‘MY GRANDMA HAS TWO GIRAFFES’ BOOK PLANNING SKETCHES

IN THE STORY THE TWO GIRAFFE SHAPED DRAUGHT EXCLUDERS THAT SAT ON THE LIVING ROOM SOFA APPEAR TO COME TO LIFE AND WANDER AROUND GRANDMA’S GARDEN EATING HER PLANTS. THESE FIRST IMAGES WERE DONE IN WATERCOLOUR AND PENCIL.


THESE IMAGES WERE DONE IN COLOURING PENCIL AND SOME HAVE BALLPOINT PEN OUTLINES. ROUGH LAYOUT SKETCHES WITH COMMENTS LIKE THIS CAN BE USEFUL BEFORE THE SHARPER MORE FINISHED WORK BEGINS.


‘MY GRANDMA HAS TWO GIRAFFES’ SKETCHES AND SOME OF THE MORE FINISHED ART

THESE IMAGES WERE CREATED USING A WACOM DIGITAL TABLET, A DIGITAL PEN AND A PROGRAM CALLED ADOBE ILLUSTRATOR. THE PHOTO OF THE TWO BOYS WAS USED AS A REFERENCE.


‘MY GRANDMA HAS TWO GIRAFFES’ MORE FINISHED ARTWORK

THIS PHOTO WAS TAKEN AT THE AUTHOR’S HOME AND USED FOR REFERENCE.

IF YOU WANT TO SEE MORE OF THIS BOOK YOU WILL NEED TO VISIT A BOOKSHOP, GO ONLINE OR ASK IN YOUR LOCAL LIBRARY. Giraffe Book CS5.indd 3

26/07/2010 16:35


IT’S ALL ABOUT TEAMWORK

He’s almost extinct He may even die! But one thing may save him and that’s banana cream pie! A fun rhyming story about a dinosaur who made a big impression on George’s parents as well as their lawn.

DESIGN

23/11/2010 11:58 Dino Book Cover pgs.indd 1

Transforming a story into a book. Obviously choosing a talented illustrator is important, but don’t forget that turning words into pictures involves mental work as well as artistic ability. Look at examples of drawing styles and ask for some sketches and a plan of action before work goes ahead. The research, illustration, design and layout process can take months from receiving the manuscript to the day it is passed for printing.

It’s not over just yet. The author is not finished when the story is written. Their ongoing input is very important. Author and illustrator should whenever possible work as a team. Close co-operation will usually get better results. Publishers will also want to be included. Other people’s opinions such as parents, teachers and librarians regarding content and appearance of a child’s book should be sought. Booksellers are also worth talking to if possible, after all they know what sells and what could get ignored. Not all illustrators offer an overall layout design, typesetting and preparation for print service. They may only provide the images and a designer will be asked to take over the preparation for printing.


Questions save time. There is more than one way to interpret a story visually, so to avoid wasting time creating unsuitable images, it helps if the illustrator can think the way the author thinks. Research is vital, and photo reference very useful. In the early stages many questions are asked. Some of the more obvious ones for the George and the Dinosaur book were: Describe George. Was he shy or confident, athletic or lazy? Was he popular at school? Was he an only child? Was he a menace always in trouble? What about hair colour and physical shape? Describe the dinosaur. Is it male or female? How tall, fat or slim, hairy, scary, angry, funny, clumsy is it? What colour is it? What does it eat? How does it move around - two legs or four?

Describe the mother and father.

Do they both work if so what job? What do they wear? What about hair shape, length, colour and physical shape?


‘GEORGE AND THE DINOSAUR’ BOOK SKETCHES AND FINAL ART

THE DINOSAUR WAS TO BE HARMLESS AND POLITE


‘GEORGE AND THE DINOSAUR’ BOOK REFERENCE AND FINAL ART THE UNBELIEVING FATHER HAD A FRIGHT WHEN THE DINOSAUR RETURNED TO THE GARDEN


‘GEORGE AND THE DINOSAUR’ BOOK SKETCHES AND FINAL ART


The fewer the better whenever possible. It would seem that younger children prefer more pictures and less text so many children’s books reflect this. Authors who have spent many hours writing their story may be advised to summarise and cut down on body copy. The object is to make a book appeal visually to children and their parents / guardians alike and increase sale potential.

A matter of seconds. People really do judge a book by it’s cover. Your cover should look good from a distance. If possible it should stand out from the rest visually. The use of strong colours and a legible typeface can help achieve this. The general subject should be clear and the age group it is intended for. If someone doesn’t like what they see in the first few seconds they will not pick it out or open it up. On this page you will see some of the other cover options. The versions showing frightened neighbours running away made the dinosaur look dangerous and George some sort of menace. The one with the dinosaur’s eye as the letter o was judged as hard to read for the target age group. The bottom right cover was dropped because the fence and background seemed to distract from the text.

Dinosuar BookMK.indd 1

15/7/10 11:18:17

THESE WERE SOME OF THE COVER OPTIONS CONSIDERED

THE FINAL COVER CHOICE (CIRCLED ABOVE) CONVEYED A FEELING OF FRIENDSHIP AND FUN


Finally let them know about it. Promotion is vital, advertise by word of mouth, in newspapers, magazines or on the internet. Give a few away for free if you need to. Generate an excitement about the book with a book launch. Ask people to write reviews. If potential customers haven’t heard about it you - an opportunity could be missed.

ABOVE IS THE AUTHOR SANDRA

DESIGN

OUT NOW

VANNER AT HER BOOK LAUNCH IN EASON’S BOOKSHOP WITH A

£6.95

SCREENSHOT OF THE WEB ARTICLE TELLING OF HER LATEST BOOK

Another great book by Lisburn author Sandra Vanner

TO THE RIGHT IS ONE OF THE PROMOTIONAL POSTERS TO BE DISPLAYED IN BOOKSHOPS

A fun rhyming story about a dinosaur who made a big impression on George’s parents as well as their lawn.

He’s almost extinct - He may even die! But one thing may sa ve and that’s banana cre him am pie!

Dino Promo A3.indd

1

30/12/2010 11:54


THE SURPRISE IS THE ENDING There were lots of things that Tiny couldn’t do but there was one thing he was just perfect for!

A BIG JOB FOR TINY

This story includes 18 fact and photo pages on the subject of concrete making

Written and illustrated by Martin Kenny The big trucks found out that appearances can be deceptive. They judged Tiny as being useless. But big or small, everyone had their place working in the team that help produce and deliver Stoneyford concrete.

Written and illustrated by Martin Kenny www.martinkenny.co.uk

BAR CODE

Big Job for Tiny Cvr.indd 1

Former three times world champion quad biker produces a children’s book. Trevor Leckey (owner of Stoneyford Concrete) has had an unusual children’s book written and illustrated by Belfast born Martin Kenny. Aimed at primary school children it contains many educational facts and photos about the making of concrete as well as a great cartoon story.

The big trucks get a surprise when they find out who needs this strange new arrival. 04/07/2011 18:51


The new arrival causes a stir. A tiny golf cart with no name and no idea of what he is needed for arrives at Stoneyford Concrete. The other trucks/machinery start asking questions and point out all the things he cannot do. They compare him to themselves and only think of his negative points. Tiny is made to feel useless but Trevor needs him every bit as much as Karl the giant quarry truck. It’s only at the end of the book his ‘big job’ is actually revealed.

The subject of disability is addressed in a child friendly way. Trevor shares his personal story at the end. An actual news clipping tells of how he came to be in a wheelchair. He shows that he can continue with everyday life and work within his limitations. This book has a positive message. It should encourage wheelchair users and their peers to look for abilities and not to make hasty judgements about usefulness etc.


Each left hand page presents an interesting educational fact with photos taken at Stoneyford Concrete while the right hand pages tell the main story about Tiny and why he was needed.

A DVD is also available for the classroom. Trevor Leckey has also had the vision to produce a video showing the process of concrete making. As well as being a great educational tool, a percentage of the sales go to the Mitre Trust charity based at the Musgrave Park Hospital in Belfast.


THE ART OF LOOKING THE PART

Maria Scullion talks about her Book of Shadows The Book of Shadows is designed to fit into a handbag and consists of over 50 unique eye design ideas. To recreate them, all a person will need, is some eyeshadow, eyeliner the booklet and nothing else. The target audience would include the teenager, clubber, bride, professional, or model. The thinking behind these eye images is that they can be easily recreated and there is no need to apply any other makeup. In fact there is no mention of any particular brand names and no advertising has been included.


I realised early on that employing models, a stylist, a photographer, booking studio time etc, would have made this project uneconomical for me. I decided to use an illustrator rather than a photographer for a more unique look. This approach offered me more control over how the designs should look and I could request alterations if necessary. Martin Kenny airbrushed the artwork directly on his computer with a digital pen tool using my sketches as reference. He deliberately avoided showing a complete face. It was felt that hairstyles, lipstick, ear rings, necklaces etc would distract from the main subject, in this case the eye area. Martin also designed the booklet itself and helped me with a mockup to help me promote the project. The final artwork produced is quite realistic and professional looking.

SAMPLE PAGES FROM MARIA’S BOOKLET SHOWING DESIGNS AND BRIEF INSTRUCTIONS REGARDING APPLICATION


COMING SOON Another funny story from the Knitmore Farm series is on its way! In the next issue of Redgreen E-zine we will take a more in-depth look at the artwork and design process behind this great book. In the mean time here are a few images to give you an idea of what to expect.

Story based on the ‘Good Samaritan’ Bible Parable

JUST BECAUSE SOME ANIMALS HAVE A BAD REPUTATION IT DOESN’’T MEAN THAT THEY ARE ALL BAD. THIS STORY SHOWS HOW ENEMIES CAN GET ALONG.


THIS BOOK INCLUDES SOME NEW ANIMALS SUCH AS THE HORSES FROM MRS NEWLIFE’S RESCUE CENTRE AND BRADSHAW THE HEDGEHOG


MARTIN KENNY DESIGN & ILLUSTRATION

Graphic Designer/ Illustrator BA (Hons) DESIGN SPECIALISING IN: ILLUSTRATION & CARTOONS

Follow me on Facebook: Martin Kenny Artwork

028 9050 4575

www.martinkenny.co.uk / info@martinkenny.co.uk


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