Having completed at least three physical portfolio hand in’s over my experience in university (including foundation) I feel I have improved with each one.
I really enjoy curating my development work in a flowing and coherent way so that my reader can see my journey of experimentation’s made from start to finished result.
This is some really great experience with selecting work that has gone into the Professional Practice portfolio.
The organisation and tidiness of my collection of work is something that I wish to continue to perform in my professional presentation for client contact.
Hobby Craft were particularly good with supplying me all the things I need in a excellent quality of product for an affordable price and Abbey Book binders is definitely a connection that I will be keeping.
I have participated in helping the show build and now that it is completed I have set up my show piece being two copies of my printed children’s picture book called ‘Grumpy Granny’.
My idea of how I wanted to show my work involved some smashing in the morning.
I sourced these clay pieces from the ceramics department throw away box having asked the tutors for this source of scraps. By not making my own ceramic piece it removes the environmental problem of firing.
I learnt that could only use fired objects as air drying clay has some dust properties that pose a health and safety issue. Lucky enough I got my hands on some excellent vessels to therapeutically smash on the day of my deadline!
I then went to share my idea of combing some broken ceramic pieces to go along with my showing of my children’s book to connect to the event of Ella who accidentally broke a vase in my story.
Amelia (head of year) assisted me with the presentation/composition layout of these items.
We achieved something eventful and interesting and I am very pleased with the result.
Having seen how this piece looks like a show object I decided to also include my other copy of the book for people to pick up and read.
The print quality of my book came out beautifully, the feel is very smooth and professional.
I hope to send this work to relevant opportunities such as publishers and competitions in hopes to grab the attention of writer collaborations and attaining a publisher for my work.
The exposure module has been a very resourceful use of time. I have gained the insight from experienced illustrators and have been prepped through valuable workshops of the expectations and duties in the future world of work as a professional illustrator. I have learnt of the essential web presence that is needed to attract my clients to my service and developed the skills to go about this in a professional way. I have importantly protected my work that I publish online to ensure that my work isn’t being used without my knowledge and I have been applying these skills to real projects including my website and social media pages on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. I now ensure that the images that I share online are set to 72dpi instead of print quality at 300dpi.
I have learnt of the importance of selectivity in my curated professional portfolio and tailoring what is shown to suit the target client. This has involved the exercise of the filtering process that has enabled me to practice my decision-making and has aided me with my submissions for the show catalogue and with selecting the images for my website. The creation of my creative CV and personal statement has been great training in reflecting on my skills that I have developed over the course of study and the type of experience that is tailored to the client.
I have learned how to carry out the processing of clients as a Freelance Illustrator including the important advice on the careful reading of contracts. I have also learnt how to approach, meet with and conduct my services in a professional way. I have gained knowledge on how to price my services and use an invoice either individually or have the support with the help of the investment into the service of AOI (Association of Illustrators). Who will be able to offer me support with pricing, contracts and dealing with clients.
My experience in the mock Viva Voce has helped to improve my confidence with communicating my practice and ideas to others which will come in handy for interviews that I will be acquiring after graduation. My research into the opportunities is something that has begun with enthusiasm and willingness to continue my engagement with building and establishing my records of contacts and sourcing places to apply.
Taking part in the show build is something that I feel I need to have improved on in my time management. I did attend my two-hour slot but having had part-time work and being ill for week I had so much to do that even though I would have liked to of helped out more, I didn’t have that time available. To of solved this I should have completed jobs like my professional practice earlier and had my time booked off from work to give myself three days worth of assistance on the show build. Despite this I have had the experience of multitasking and presenting my work in a public space.
Exposure has improved my confidence and professional approach to conducting and communicating my work in encounter and contribution module.
See here to see my Professional Practice presentation, including my research for this exposure module and my action plan for my practice after graduation.
My third year experience of the encounter module has exercised the importance of communication and time management. I had very big anxieties at the start of the year feeling out of my comfort zone with the idea to self direct the creation of my own narrative and to complete a book project through to the finish. I feel the act of doing the work, attending as many workshops and tutorials with tutors and asking plenty of questions helped support and motivate this pursuit.
The challenges that I faced was with creating my story. I knew that I had to conjure something that had a meaningful purpose and impact that was relative and would leave people feeling good and have gained a new perspective. The easiest part of the story work was the beginning as my interest into using my experiences and home was very clear to me and had been evidenced in my work in Level 5. However the middle and ending was not so clear. It was only the awakening critique I received from a tutorial with a guest and experienced illustrator Phil Wrigglesworth that had made me realise the essential research that I was missing. My problem with over complicating and overworking storyboards that became incredibly difficult to narrate had me realised that I was drifting away from the children’s book when it needed to be much more simple. I was re-navigated from this path and pointed in the direction of research that lead me to children’s book writer Lauren Child. I enjoyed watching her interviews and seeing one in person. YouTube tutorials and Child very much inspire and taught me how to create a simple narrative. The more simple it became the more I was able to spend time on making the images for the picture book.
Another huge leap for my practice came with my exploration into my materials. I experimented with soft pastels, papers, inks, drawing with ink and types of paintbrushes. My Contribution module as well as my research conducted in Encounter truly highlighted ideas (such as Robert Henri and Quentin Blake’s notions) on the values that I share for self expressive work. Research into such techniques made my material choices more clear over time as I acted on and accepted my loose approach that I enjoy very much. Working in a manic and transparent aesthetic had my true sense of self brought directly to the eye of the audience. Where the audience can journey in an intimate experience with my ideas and visually perceptible passionate process that has brought the work to life.
Equipped with the developments that have made the experience of children’s picture book making both a first time and a very rewarding experience. I feel prepared for the future in my confidence and ability to produce a picture book and work in sequential narrative. That has informed my direction of my research for the the Exposure module in which I have action planned my interest into becoming a full time children’s book illustrator following my interest into seeing where this will go!
I attended a trip to the Printers with Dan Peterson and the book club (fellow book making students). I was introduced to the machinery involved in printing, different paper thicknesses and gained advice on the best paper quality to print on being a silk finish.
I had also had a lot of guidance from Dan Peterson in tutorials on how to prepare my work for the printer. Where I learnt about the bleed, exporting and layout of the documents.
Using this information was really useful for when I went out an organised for my own book to be printed with the nearest place from the uni being Abbey book binders to achieve the professional hardcover results that I was after.
Taking with me an example book in the same dimensions and my set up on my laptop I ran through what I had prepared. The assistant from Abbey book binders also named Dan taught me a few little tricks on InDesign for next time to make things easier for my design role in the future.
I asked to see examples of the quality I was going to get and I was happy with what I was feeling and seeing.
I was quoted £150 for 3 copies,
£70 for 1
I was happy with this figure and was told to expect them rather quickly.
My front and back cover of my book went through multiple design possibilities.
I started with using images from within the book and experimented with hand drawn text for the a personal and authentic touch to the title.
Such as these:
From the feedback that I received the grumpy granny watching some TV (shown above) was the best idea I had developed. However I quickly grew to dislike reusing an image from within the book. So I decided to recreate a new interpretation of grumpy granny using that image as an idea. This way the pages within the book can remain a new experience for my readers.
This lead to this design:
Image placed on to the spread but needed a better placement:
My final front and back cover design:
I wanted to fill the spread with colour to achieve a striking and fully entertaining result.
I developed the idea to reuse the front image to make the back image. In fact this made the spread work as a whole really nicely.
The process involved setting the placement of the front image, cropping it to size then I duplicating the square image and flipping it to produce the back. When these two pieces where fitted together I then used the content aware of the spot healing tool to create a tidy result that I was after. This was to avoid the unwanted line between the pieces placed side by side on the spine area to make the images come together as one piece.
This is the hand drawn text from the front cover. I really enjoyed getting into the emotion of each letter. By turning the scanned image white background to transparent I was able place just text onto my desired background image.
Using the feedback to look into InDesign typefaces to create a professional result for words to go with my picture book. It took a few goes to get the right look. I needed my font to be received as friendly and gentle and then suddenly burst out with life when the words suggest loud sounds like SMASH. This way the visual aesthetic of my words embody the moods of my characters that connect to the imagery to convey emotions such as fright, anger and enthusiasm.
Having experimented with hand drawn text I had already an interesting composition layout that I felt was fun and had a sense of personality. Rather than blocked on in a predictable format of simple sentences I liked to use the space and guide my reader on a less predictable pathway through my story. To have eyes move fluid like a river through the book.
Here are some before and after experiments:
Typed in Bahnschrift.
Typed in Century Gothic.
Experimented with hand drawn element for loud words following the suggested advice from my tutor Anna.
Making sure I got feedback from various friends and tutors before I took my work to any printing stage made a remarkable difference to the quality of my result. Sometimes you have all the ingredients but it takes a someone from outside of the work to suggest the thing that its missing.
The word ‘SMASH!’ has character like I wanted it to have for the scene. Which was to convey the impression of a loud and frightening sudden sound.
A combination of hand drawn and InDesign text in the friendly typeface of ‘century gothic’ was used. I wanted to avoid creating a scary book or one that is stale. So the text needed to convey the love and gentleness of both character throughout to keep it warming and symbolic of the environment of home. This way my book is a pleasing experience that sees through the problems that present themselves in the story.
My images went under a repetitive process of editing, printing, reviewing and editing.
I had to make sure how the colours would appear when printed, knowing that what is original will differ from what is on screen and what is on screen will differ from what the printer can produce.
This process involved my use of Photoshop and manipulating the setting of curves and levels. The image below also went under construction having felt that it needed to be more representative of the text reading it as a dusty room.
Lots of scanning, printing and checking:
I also made pages that had lots of white space or an opposing white page with text into full spreads of colour by creating background washes and using Photoshop to work them into the white spaces.
This way my book was fully colourful and not so sparse and empty.
My pages are much more exciting and attractive working over the full space of the spread but keeping it partially transparent in parts to create a sense of playful depth preserved in the perceptible evidence of my image making process.
This post shows more of my explorations of text that I experimented with for my book Grumpy Granny.
This involved a lot of time spent on InDesign and also printing out multiple dummy books to see how they are perceived in the destined format.
I looked into typefaces that I felt gave a friendly impression to evoke my message of home throughout the story and to be received as a welcoming journey for my audience to be drawn too.
It really helped to place a few different typeface experiments on the same page to see the comparison of their visual effect.
In this case (shown below) I wanted to avoid a font that was too heavy and use something that is more light in weight to avoid the text distracting from the image.
I wanted to achieve a harmony between both image and text to create a fitting relationship that would empower my message of the work .
I explored the various spaces that the images offered.
I hadn’t originally planned on using text directly onto the image from my storyboard but as I like to work with space in my image making anyway I had no issues with finding room for my text when I developed this idea.
In search for example children’s books I have been to the local Llandaff North library to review the short narratives and illustrations.
I picked out four books from the children’s books section that I was drawn too from the imagery and titles of the books.
The MOG book I immediately recognised for its acclaimed story work and illustrations. Although I didn’t know the Welsh language I simply used the heavy use of imagery to understand the story to which I could make good sense of being the irritating yet loveable and heroic MOG cat that he was in this story.
This research was targeted towards combatting my areas of difficulty around designing my front and back cover, copy right page, fonts and word and image layouts.
I was also taking inspiration for future work on self writing another story for my future children’s book.
This book entitled ‘When I coloured in the World’ written by Ahmadreza Ahmadi and illustrated by Ehsan Abdollahi was a beautiful read and experience. I loved the repetition and the act of inspiring change with ideas and action. This is a book of shining hope and empowering the reader to take control and take action.
The illustrations were colourful and extraordinary. This book layout employed a separate page for text and image. This way I could really take in the meaning of the words and the image into two experiences in harmony with each other. I came away feeling particularly happy from reading this book that is important for both children and adults to encourage a healthy and happy mental health.
Another book that I really enjoyed and thought was a simple and a relatable book was called ‘RAIN’ written by John Usher and designed by Genevieve Webster.
It is interesting to see the collaborations of authors and illustrators asI have interest on forming such future partnerships myself.
I loved this book because it reminded me of the pain of my severe boredom as a child stuck indoors because of the bad weather. I liked how imaginative the ideas of how much fun there is to be had out of playing in the rain as the child expressed to his granddad who sensibly had them wait to go outside until the rain had stopped. The joy in the water left over by the rain had been worth the wait in the end and it had been a rewarding experience for both reader and character.
From this research I have gathered an idea of formats that can aid me with my own childrens book development.