Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Exercise 22

Exercise: 22
A children's book cover.

For this exercise, the brief states that we have been asked to produce a cover illustration for a natural history book for children- age 7-11.
This book is entitled: Animals from around the world.
The image is to be used as a full colour front jacket to encourage children to pick this book from the library shelf.
After our initial research, we are to draw up at least three ideas as coloured client visuals.
Include information for the final: the size, format and where the type will be positioned.

I started by looking at some previous children's book covers and general illustrations that lay in the same subject material area.

 This was a very cute visual posabley too young for my audience. (With thanks from google images)
I did however like the idea of the animals surrounding the world. A clean and literal take on the theme.

Again here we have a stylised digital take on the subject. The running theme through out the different creatures are their facial expressions.
Some nice shapes. I chose this image as I felt it could provide some ideas for a more current styling of the book cover contents.

Although this wasn't strictly following the theme of the exercise. I liked this book cover and wondered if I could incorporate any similar sort of lino printing style or narrative within my design.

Again, to my surprise the end pages within another book had these lovely illustrations in.
I like the detailed images set against the simple one colour background.
It had, I thought, a lovely vintage feel like you were looking at a victorian collection of some kind.

I thought I would like to something a little like this. But wondered if it was a little serious for my targeted age group of viewers.

Here again i the totem pole I found whilst going around museums for the last exercise.

I thought this was a fun idea that I could think about incorporating.
I liked the stacking of creature sand wondered if I could arrange my chosen images in any sort of similar way.....

This illustration by Charlie Harper is one of my favourites. I love his clean and seemingly simple style.
This is a very formal but classic and recognisable children's reference book.
Clear and calm detailed illustrations giving the audience an immediate understanding that they will uncover a comprehensive and varied selection of animals from around the world.

Another clear but far more photographic cover which quickly grabs the attention and implies that inside there will be some impressive and accurate visuals.

This cover immediately grabs my attention and is probably the most exciting to me.

 I started by doing my usual spider diagram.

Understanding the audience of 7-11 years old and what they may appreciate from a cover like this.

Wanting to create something bright and eye catching but not too cute or young.

Understanding the scale of the descriptive title and how to start thinking of the best way to approach it. In literal terms or in a more sophisticated way that didn't insult the audience.

I started sketching and doodling some (hopefully easy to recognise) animals

I had to think about what creatures were easily associated with which countries. What variation could I gather together in a clear or succinct way......

I started playing with some ideas.
 Thinking about how I could group creatures together.

I liked the idea of the totem pole from a previous museum visit, so I played around with the concept of stacking animals on top of one another.
It seemed fun but possibly a little to young for my audience.

Here I was thinking about how to bring in the concept of the world or the mass of the Earth.
I had seen numerous times how illustrators had drawn the Earth then had various creatures  emerging from their associated countries. I liked this idea but obviously wanted to try and create something a little different.
Again this idea seemed fun but I wasn't sure if it was for my age group audience.
I seemed to be creating light hearted visual ideas for younger age groups.

In the end I ran with the following three ideas and my rough colour visuals are as follows:

I know I should keep it simple but somehow I always manage to cram in slightly more, making it less comfortable to read. Never the less it is a fun idea that could be worked on.
Obviously the colours need to be more dynamic but I guess I was focusing more on the design.

This visual idea was a little calmer and probably more in keeping for the front of a natural history reference book.

This third colour visual is, I think, far more fitting for the reference book stated in the original brief.
I think it gives a more sophisticated feel for the varied grouping of animals from around the world and however sketchy my animals appear, they are more realistic than the rather cartoon like creatures I seem to have created in the previous two visual ideas.

I like the idea behind the design and could happily work more into it to create a presentable and finished cover design.

This jacket cover would work at approx 30 x 30cm. The clear text located in a white box, central within the image. Lighter blue background to act as a non evasive and supporting surround for the main focal animals which would be stronger and clearer in colour.

I was looking forward to trying this exercise and initially thought I would be able to create something a bit more polished and professional. But again I seem to flounder when it comes to using colour, resulting in rather anaemic or half hearted looking visuals. When starting out on this exercise I got excited at the prospect of trying to create an interesting or dynamic visual with a very limited colour palette. But quickly it became apparent that in order to be appealing for the specific audience it should really be in colour!

Monday, 3 April 2017

Exercise 21.

Exercise 21.

Museum Posters.

For this exercise we were asked to produce three illustrations to be used as part of a series of A3 posters to publicise a museum. The three posters are to attract the following different age group audiences.

Child (aged 5-9)              Teenager (aged 13-16)            General adult audience

I did a brief brainstorming doodle.
I was looking forward to this exercise but wasn't quite sure if my ideas of "interesting" would suit these select age groups.
I also wasn't sure how to create a "family" of posters.

Before I truly got started, I had a quick look at some museum posters.

I like this quirky design. To me this collection of images and items would appeal and grab the interest of younger viewers, although the longer I look at it the more I feel it could appeal to all age groups.

I thought this design was a lovely classic and yet fun take on how to grab the publics attention. It is clear and succinct and yet in a playful way makes you think.

I liked this design as it was bright, clean and fun. It immediately caught my attention and made me want to read into it.
The design is so simple and works.

This exercise required some research and rumaging around of my local museum. Luckily I'm in Cambridge and we have some super fascilities. I chose to go to the Fitwilliam Museum and see what artifacts and objects could be interesting and appropriate for my audiences.

I did a few very quick sketches.

For my youngest audience I did struggle a bit. There were lots of interesting items but I wasn't sure they were fitting for the age group of 5-9yrs old. Somehow everything was still seeming far too serious. I wasn't getting into the right mind set!

Still, I tried to focus in on more simplified imagery. Bold shapes, designs and colours

I liked the almost cartoon like quality to some of the African masks I found. I thought that younger age groups may be interested in fun positive facial character?

 I loved the animals within this totem pole from North America. The stylised  forms I thought could be used in a fun and approachable way.

I loved this plaster cast of a mayan wall carving. Again the style is strong and could have been manipulated to suit a younger audience or an older more adventurous teenage viewer.

For my Teenage audience I tried to hone in on the areas that I knew fascinated me. I thought the subject matter could be more adventurous and more intricate than the previous grouping.

I very  quickly thought of the Egyptian section.
Still very stylised in many ways. There could be elements of adventure and mystery that could be found more intriguing by an older age group.

I loved the idea of being able to incorporate hyrogliphic script somewhere in an image.

I slightly lost sight and became hipnotised by the artifacts I liked myself.

For the adult audience I was thinking of an era or area that for many may seem slightly more stylistically refined and intricate .

I surprised myself at how much I actually struggled with trying to classify areas for different age groups.

The armoury could have possibly been incorporated in the teenage grouping but even though I love weapon section, the Egyptian artifacts seemed more suitable for the teenagers.

I decided that the area of Ancient Greece could lend itself to the adult audience. Elegance, mythology, phylosiphy and a more animated, posibley fluid sense of design could work to entice an older audience, maybe.....

I started playing with ideas.......
For the children's poster I had chosen to focus on one of the African masks. I had loved the animals in the totem pole but thought they may appear too ferocious, all teeth and claws. Also the Mayan plaque which to me was fascinating but on reflection was possibly a bit serious for the young age group. So I chose an animated face that incorporated a strong and yet simple design that I thought I could work with.

I wanted to play with the geometric designs and maybe use bright playful colour that I had seen  used in other designs and items within the same exhibition.

This ended up being the final colour visual idea for this age groups possible poster.

I had originally wanted to incorporate boxes for text and a Fitzwilliam museum header on each poster but I had wasted far too much time and in the end felt a simpler design may work best.

I thought that I should strip the design back to a simple image of the desired artefact and accentuate the theme with corisponding patterning.

For the teenage poster I knew I wanted to go Egyptian but wasn't too sure I could go about it  without getting too excited and trying to cram too many ideas in.
I focused on one particular plaque I had seen. Around it I thought I could play with various hyroglyphs and symbols.

As before, I thought about how I could make this image/design part of an easily recognisable visual set with the other posters. This was one of the aspects to the brief I was straying from.

Ok, very sketchy, but this was going to be the basic formula for the teenage audience poster.
I had already decided that this would be the poster I would go on to create a final draft of.
Not my best visual draft but it puts across a basic idea.
I would have the female figure from the plaque central to my design. The predominant colours would be the warm ochres to emulate the sandy stone colours associated with the desert. I wanted to keep the female appearing like a carved relief with possibly some tiny accents of exotic lapiz blue or hints of gold.

I wanted to keep the palette limited like before, but already the African mask poster was far more colourful.
Again my planning for a graphic series of linked poster visuals was appearing poorly considered.

For the Adult poster I chose to focus in on one of the Greek vases. Somehow I wanted the shape of the artefact but I wanted to create something a bit more interesting with all of the  patterns of the period and area.

I knew that in some way I wanted to keep the colours limited as that seemed to be my linking theme with all three posters.
Whilst looking at the ceramics in this exhibition it was very apparent how black,white and a red ochre/ terracotta seem to be the main colours used. They are definitely the colours that quickly spring to mind when trying to describe the time period.

Again still quite sketchy, but a colour visual idea that could work towards an adults museum poster.

For the final aspect to this exercise, I had to select one colour visual and create a finished article.
I chose to work on the Egyptian poster designed with the teenage audience in mind.

I wanted to focus on the style and design of the fantastic plaque I had found. Incorporating the female character and other elements of design and script found within the rest of the exciting exhibition.

I quite liked the idea of parts of my text being partly camouflaged in amongst hieroglyphic symbols. Making the onlooker search just a little to uncover the title or exhibition information.

My final version of the poster.

Although this visual still feels rather unpolished, I felt I had expended far too much time on this exercise, allowing myself to get completely stuck . I really needed to move on.
I created a wash background which needed to be in reality far stronger. I enjoyed drawing my Egyptian lady, however I had had far grander ideas of adding colour. Originally some gold and maybe a rich ultramarine blue.
As time ticked on I purely focused on getting the details in. Hieroglyphic forms around the edge, I took from other areas within the exhibition and even though they were not part of my original selected artefact, I felt they contributed in creating more interest or atmosphere to the poster.

Overall I know I have created something rather basic and feel disappointingly, I haven't quite fulfilled the exercise brief to it's maximum.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Exercise 20.

Exercise 20:

Identifying tools and materials.

For this exercise I chose to focus on current illustrators who work in the medium of Gouache.
This is a medium I have always loved the look of and have enjoyed using, but have never quite mastered.

Four of my current favourite illustrators are:


Out of these artists I have chosen look more closely at Benjamin Schipper and the way he works.

I like the style this illustrator has created. It appears so clean and simple but when looking at his blog and seeing how he has built up the layers of gouache then wax based coloured pencil, then more layers of gouache, you really get an idea of how time consuming it can be. Finally he will add more pencil to sharpen, tidy and hone details and texture. He shows how it can become a very strategic labour of love, working in this delicious medium.

Within this chosen image you can see Gandalf the wizard sitting, contemplating and smoking his pipe. Surrounded by the simplified forms of mountainous rock. All the elements within this illustration appear to be  compiled from simple shapes which for me add to the calm clean feel of the visual. The colours used are of varying cool blues which accentuate the warmth of the wizards skin. The use of texture on each independent surface has actually been constructed with very similar pencil marks and yet they all help to differentiate the forms or layers, adding depth and clarity to the visual journey.

My task within this exercise was to take one of my own illustrations or part of and redo it in the style of my chosen artist.
I chose to focus on the teacup from a previous "giving instruction" exercise.

  I liked the simple idea and form of my teacup. But also I wanted to see if by using an interpretation of Ben Schippers style I could enhance and play with the steam rising from the tea. Adding a little more magic to the image of an appreciated brew.....

Here I am trying to build up the image gradually, as I saw Ben Schipper do with layers of gouache and then wax based pencil.
I think I am being too tentative with the washes but I don't want to do anything overly clumsy that I can't retrieve from.
I know that is part of building up a piece but I still wanted to, at least in the early stages, proceed cautiously.
It was interesting to see how effective the layering of gouache was above wax pencil. This was going to be a much longer process than I had originally thought!....

Still building up the layers!.......
Possibly getting bolder with the layering of pencil.
I enjoyed the texture in his work so much, I was looking forward to trying to recapture it. I think, however I could have played with the composition more by breaking up the background and giving myself more of a chance to play around with the style. Initially however, I thought I needed to stay close to the original design of my work, in order to complete the exercise properly.

I should have been a more flexible.

 I could have kept playing and working on this forever. Even though it appears a simple image, it has so many layers and it has taken me a long time.
I thought part of the joy with gouache is that as it is so much thicker and more opaque than standard watercolour, you could build up colour and texture a little faster, but as I was discovering how this artist built up his texture, I seemed to be cautiously taking an age.

Although the steam and gradation of colour slightly differ to the style of Ben Schipper, I can say, I at least focused on his mark making and creation of texture.
On reflection I can now see that I needed to be far bolder or use stronger contrasting colours when making the marks. But as these elements are indicative to Ben Schippers style, it was fun to however partially, try and emulate them.