Saturday, 15 March 2014

A Week of Doodling

(Friday 7th March 2014)
Ahhhhh, the colours of spring. Summer is soon approaching among us Brits. 

My mood changes dramatically when the sun is out! I feel happier.
I just hope it stays like this for the weeks to come.

Anyway, on with my learning journal I go...

Monday 10th March 2014

I had a day off today so I decided to go out and fetch some new art gear at The was such a magical shop, so many art materials! I only ended up purchasing some sketching pencils (which by the way are water-soluble...exciting I know!) and a mini A5 sketchbook. Buying new art stuff always makes me stoked to try them out so this is what I ended up doing....

...some character sketches, hurrah! I know they're not the best looking sketches but I tried :/ I guess I have learnt my lesson to start by pressing lightly with the pencil, I always get carried away being 'aggressive' with the pressure I apply with the pencil. The next stage I intend to make would be to select a lead character I should portray within the storyline, and think about  some different expressions as the narrative progresses. I have vaguely written down a plot for my story, now I just need to start sketching away, experiment with different materials and maybe create some little miniature dummy books to get an rough idea of layout. I feel like the project is really starting to kick off! 

Tuesday 11th- Wednesday 12th March 2014

I can't remember exactly what I did during these two days but I do remember doodling for quite a bit. I tried to make mini little thumbnails from the plot I wrote yesterday but turned into messy was harder than I thought. Putting this aside, I think I should still stick this within the sketchbook to show the development of my ideas.

Having written down quite a vague plot, one tutor commented that my story picks up on quite a serious topic (bullying). This being said, they suggested to include animals within the plot to make the book more suitable for a younger audience. I am a bit hesitant about including them in the story as I would want the child to be able to relate with the theme...this would be something to think about over the next couple of days. At the moment I am still adamant about portraying human characters, but who knows, this could change over time.  I might even have to change the story itself. 

Thursday 13th March 2014

Thursday was another independent study day. I spent the morning/ afternoon visiting the local library, browsing through books in the children's section for inspiration and searching for books that relate to my theme of home and belonging. Specifically, I tried to look for books that included a conflict between two cultures but there wasn't many. I am beginning to question whether I should show a conflict between 2 cultures from different countries. 

Seeing it was a glorious sunny day, I also drew on location sketching my surroundings. 

It was also the day before our mid-way critique so I decided to create a mood board  in order to have something displayed. When I was designing how my lead character might appear, I was questioning whether it was suitable for my target audience or not. Even if it isn't, I still want to draw different variations of the protagonist, again, to show the development. There's always the critique tomorrow to find out.

This is my form of panic. 

Friday 14th March 2014

Arghhh. Critique. But before that, we were presented with a powerpoint presentation. Some important things highlighted were:
  • Materials- they can also have a tone of voice- graphic, humorous, poetic. Are you exploring a range of different materials? Are you using the correct colour background- often people would typically work on a white paper background-could I use different types of backgrounds to show something different?
  • Font- think about the style of typeface and clever placement of text. Consider how it plays with the image to balance out the composition. One tutor said that word and image work together like marriage- they rely on each other to make something beautiful. (haha). 50/50.
Could it be hand rendered? (Example: Sara Fanelli, and 'Hand Job' by Michael Perry, a book on handwritten text). 

The text is often a tool  to lead the eye around the page, to direct. So this means layout is going to be important. 

Often graphic design and illustration merge together within children's books and this is one of the reasons why I love about children's illustration. Luckily I did graphics in sixth form so my love for typography and Photoshop 'graphicness'  can be shown within this project. :)

With typography and text, we can make the audience think faster, it adds pace to the book. I could think about different ways of spreading them across the page, or have no text at all on the page to make the illustration speak for itself. 

Then came the critique itself. To start we had a mini exhibition where everyone laid out their sketchbooks and work on the table. This scared me even more seeing how much other people have done. I guess I really shouldn't compare my own work with my peers seeing as all of us have different ways of working but, I just felt like my heart sank a little bit when I saw the large amount of work being produced. I guess this goes to show that I have to work a little faster. I know I am a slow and this is something that I would need to change about myself. 

Luckily, I didn't actually have to present my work standing in front of the class (phew!) but instead we just worked within small groups of about 3 or so people. The people I was with were nice so I felt alight showing them my work so far. I'm not being mean or anything but when this tutor came to our table I just felt a little bit disheartened again as they were a bit pushy with the idea of incorporating animals within the story. At this point, in my mind I still was adamant about having human characters- I just couldn't see animals fitting in with what I had written so far. 

Some things pointed out from my peers were:
  • have the possibility of incorporating animals within the narrative, maybe even just as pets.
  • think about how materials could portray my message, for example collage could be a metaphor for bringing things together. 
  • consider how the illustrations suit the target audience. The tutor mentioned that my character drawings are 'realistic' (which is ridiculous because I wasn't trying to go for realistic) and more suitable for older children. Again, my heart sank but hey ho, criticism is criticism.

Saturday 15th March 2014
I'm back home in Portsmouth and one of the first things I did was organize all of the stuff I took with me (art utensils and such). And also went to the children's section in Waterstones. One of the things that kept popping up were animals and I was slowly beginning to think if I should perhaps maybe include them. It's quite evident that it is a popular choice. 

I bought this book by Alex T. Smith (I love, love love his work!) and this little bunny rabbit (for an absolutely ridiculous price but couldn't help it because it's just so adorably cute) just in case I want to add an animal in my story. Without sounding creepy or anything I also observed children, as ya do if you're an aspiring children's illustrator. 

Their characteristics were:
  • active
  • fun
  • playful
  • imaginative
  • mischievous
  • loud 
  • innocent
  • curious- always asking parents questions
  • small, so darn adorable- cuteness overload!
Having done this I could include some of these characteristics within the characters of my book (kinda makes sense!)


  • Started thinking about content- a plot for for the book (but may be changed later for development)
  • Conducted first hand research by drawing on location and seeing what is popular in children's books having went to Waterstones and asked a few people what some of their favourite children's books were.
  • Began doodling some possible characters and visualising what the lead character might look like. 

  • Left behind some annotation- need to fill these out where missing. 
  • Time management- I just seem so panicky and always have the need to do everything at once, lacking organisation!
  • My fairly slow pace of working- I really need to pick up the pace a little bit and play catch up.
Things I should definitely do next would be:

  • planning- I've kinda stopped making lists, I'm gonna have to make checklists of actions. Plan ahead so that the project stays monitored. Also, PLAN AHEAD. There isn't very much time left so I have to make the most of my time and effort for the project to succeed.  Maybe I should make a visual timetable of the week so that this scares me into my inevitable doom of a deadline. (plus leaving sometime for the book to be printed and delivered). Every now and then think do a 'stop and relfect' section in my book.
  • reflect and annotate- again, I've kinda slowly stopped annotating as I stick in research and experimentation. I have annotate as I go along so that I don't do this at the last minute. 
  • conduct more primary research- I haven't taken photographs yet so this would be something I need to do. Ask children or older people what they like in children's books. 
  • think about different ways of drawing-don't just go for 'pedestrian' work where the outline is drawn, think back to the first few weeks of drawing- e.g. rule or thirds, rabatment, etc. 
At this very moment I just feel so overwhelmed by the work I have to do for the next two weeks. I feel like I haven't done as much as other people, but seeing the amount of work produced got me inspired a lot. I should step up my game as I keep saying to myself- work hard in a way I haven't done before. To be honest I think I have made a considerable amount of work at this point in the project so what I need to do is just to build on it and have a much more 'stronger', fast-paced work ethic. 

I think to make me feel less stressed out, I should just pull myself together,relax and take it one step at a time, don't think about doing everything at once. Maybe I should pat myself on the back every time I accomplish something. And rewards. Food. 

Concentrate mainly on the content (the story) of the book and hopefully things will grow out of it. 

Oh boy, I've got a lot of work to do. It's beginning to really sink in, the fact that I'll be finishing the foundation course in a couple of weeks time. 

I CAN DO THIS! Heck yeah I can!

(btw this isn't mine! Just found this on Pinterest)

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