- The title is Seven days.
These can be the seven days of the week or random days that tell a story. Your interpretation can be objective or subjective. You can produce seven separate, one large diagrammatic or a continuous strip illustration. You can decide on the media and methods you will use; the context – magazine, newspaper, book, brochure or poster; and the intended audience. You need to write yourself a brief that is clear and challenging but manageable.
To begin with I explored the title by brainstorming and noted down relevant key words to see what ideas occurred. Possible themes were days of the week, the seven deadly sins, the seven wonders of the world and the seven days of creation. Then I looked at songs and rhymes like ‘Mondays Child’ and ‘One for Sorrow’ (which in it’s earliest version had only seven lines) this lead to contemporary songs that were either called or based on ‘seven days’ and I was reminded of a DJ Shadow track ’Six Days’ which had sampled heavily from a song called ‘Six Day War’ by late 1960’s band Colonel Bagshot. I thought this was interesting as I liked the idea of using music to inspire art and thought I could apply the words in to a ‘week in the life’ or using the events described in it as a narrative.
This seemed a good time to set myself a brief –
- To illustrate a short story using words from a song, poetry or book based on ‘seven days’. You are free to produce illustrations to be presented alongside the text or to integrate the words in to a ‘graphic novel’ format. The target audience is young adult and the final reproduction size is A4.
Clearly the song is based on only six days and not seven and is written around the 1967 middle eastern conflict. My idea was to adapt this in to a present day story and with current news events there is plenty of inspiration to draw from. I looked at the lyrics and thought about how I would interpret them and how I could apply them to a visual narrative. I printed these off and underlined and noted down key words whilst sketching ideas in to rough story board form. Initially the sketches were on a nine panel storyboard and I soon realised that the structure and layout would be important to its final construction.
I looked at different types of panel grids and watched some very informative videos on the youtube channel ’Strip Panel Naked’ which gives a great insight in to the construction of graphic novels as it breaks down individual pages in well known books and explains why the writer and artist put together a page in a particular way. I think the most important lessons I took away from these was the importance of rhythm and narrative and how the medium provides structure but also the constricts it has for you to work within. At this point I had broken the song in to seven rough parts that would make up the narrative of the final story – 1. Leaders arguing 2. War declared / TV with family watching 3. Family seeking shelter 4. Attack 5. Event 6. Emerging 7. Aftermath.
I liked the idea of the structure of the pages devolving as the story went on so I worked out by doing four pages total the first could be made up 9 panels, the second 6, the third 3 and then a full page illustration for the final page. I ’scripted’ the lyrics and broke them down to fit within this idea.
I wanted the pages to be made up from different media – photos, paint, silhouettes and drawings. The idea being that the leaders and negotiations were presented in one medium, the family in another and then using silhouettes for the bomber / submarine so to appear in a dark ominous way. I worked at A3 size being mindful that the final reproduction size would be halved to A4.
The first elements I made were full colour portraits of the two leaders in digital paint although as the project developed I felt it was losing continuity so in the end these were reproduced in black and white in keeping with the rest of the artwork it also allowed me to apply filters that would make them appear as if they were on a TV screen.
As I brought other illustrations in to the pages I did manage to keep to the mixed media idea eg.using watercolour as background and conte crayon to illustrate the family, albeit digitally.
Above: final page process with London Underground poster from 1914 by Gerald Spenser Pryse that inspired it on the left.
Reflection: I feel some parts of this assignment are more successful than others. I am most pleased with page two where I think I have successfully brought three strands of the story (button/bomber/eyes) in different media together on the same page. It is possible the task I set myself proved to be a bit much. Overall I am happy with it and hope that it communicates itself to the reader effectively. I feel I have tackled something outside my comfort zone and at the end of the course I feel more confident in attempting work like this that is more ambitious. If I compare my work now with earlier assignments I feel I have established more thought and structure in my problem solving and that my technical skills have advanced.
- In this exercise I was asked to produce an illustrated strip of up to 5 frames to explain to young teenagers how to cope with the onset of puberty.
I started the process with research on current material available. Then by spider diagram and key words noted the changes involved in puberty which I broke down around a simple drawing of a figure. With a basic idea formed, my next task was to look at the format in which my leaflet would be. Folding paper, I came up with several options in which it could be presented. The final format I decided upon would be a credit card sized leaflet which would allow it to be easily and discreetly stored in a pocket or wallet. The idea being that as you open the leaflet up each page or section would cover a different element of puberty which would then fold out to a larger diagram or ‘map’ of the human body detailing the changes in the body.
I felt the use of symbols that were loosely based on emojis would work to communicate effectively to teenagers some of the changes that they could expect to happen. I also applied the emojis to my larger illustration of a teenage boy that would appear when unfolded. Once the sequence of pages was put together I reformatted these on a single page so that when the leaflet is printed and folded it would work correctly.
- For this exercise I was asked to collect as many examples of imagery for children as possible and then to take two age groups from the available categories and for each one go through a process of brainstorming around at least one word from a given list.
My first chosen group was ‘early reader’ (aged 5-7 years) and the word I chose was ‘Discovery’. I was asked to pick an animal for each age group to explore with further and for this group I chose a cat. The second age group I chose was the older age group and the word ‘Journey’. From this word my chosen animal was a bird and so I explored ideas around this. I also looked at the different types of fiction that I could create an illustration for in this age group. Using the fantasy genre, my illustration for the older age group on the word ‘Journey’ is of a phoenix and companion, a young girl riding on its back. I was conscious of the style I wanted to apply to it and the environment the character was in and used conte crayon and watercolour in a digital process to create the image.
I feel from my own experience with my daughter that the idea that all children’s illustration has bright colours not to be accurate and that target age brackets for children are not clear cut. While researching I found that many of the books crossed over into different age groups.
- This exercise required me to produce a series of illustrations to be used for a new range of organic biscuits for children. There would be three varieties – raisin, choc-chip and ginger. The client would like illustrations to feature extinct animals.
I started by looking in the shops and taking photos of similar available products and then made some notes looking at what options were open to me. Looking up alternative words for the meaning of ‘extinct’ and exploring possible brand names which included – Dodo Dodgers, Dino biscuits, Mammoth Snacks and Fossil fuel.
Originally looking to have a character on the packaging I sketched ideas based on extinct animals such as the dodo, I looked at whether an accurate representation, a simple graphic style or a caricature cartoon style would suit best. After some thought and not being happy with the direction I was going I changed tack completely, moving towards a lettering based image. This was inspired by looking at vintage advertising in particular Victorian signage and I thought the strongest ideas of the process so far were in the slogans I had previously noted down. The idea being that the extinct animal I could incorporate would be the mammoth to emphasis the size of the biscuit – as in ‘Extra Large Mammoth Cookies’. I visualised using the Mammoth in profile with different lettering around it used in different ways.
Deciding upon ‘Fossil Fuel’ as the brand name I also thought the vintage style of the illustration would work well with a similar style packaging such as a paper bag, giving the product an ‘authentic’ feel. Apart from the additional lettering which would describe each variety, the colour of the bag could also indicate the flavour of each variety. For example, brown for chocolate-chip, orange for ginger and purple for raisin.
Final illustrations and mock ups:
The exercise began by taking each pair of the following words and writing them in my own handwriting.
Then, writing each pair in a way that is descriptive use the size and shape of the word to express the meaning of it. For example, the word ‘fat’ was drawn in a bulgy bubble letter style whereas ‘thin’ was drawn with long tall singular lines.
After collecting different examples of lettering used in this way I turned to the computer using the font book app to scroll through and select suitable examples from the fonts available on my computer. For each word I used several different fonts in order to make a comparison between them. I selected the one I felt was most appropriate for each given word then I imported these into photoshop and explored different ways of expressing each word using different colours and textures.
- The brief is to produce three illustrations for a series of book jackets, at the size of an existing travel guide for the locations of Istanbul, Helsinki and Milan. The type for the cover is to be hand drawn in an appropriate style.
- Provide client visuals for all three locations and a mock up for one.
I collected visual reference and information together on Pinterest about the three cities. Then, making a spider diagram I used the information I had gathered to note down well known landmarks and important points of interest. Looking at similar guides in the book shop most featured photography on the cover and the buyer is made aware they are part of a range by a colour branding and logo.
As my work was to be illustrated I looked to establish a theme that could be carried across all three guides, I thought branding is important so my guides could share a typeface and logo but thought by using different colours that are appropriate for each city would make them more interesting. For example for Istanbul, I could use red/orange or a warm coloured pallet, Helsinki I could use the cooler colours of blue and white and so on. Another idea to carry over all three covers could be a landmark building on each and an example of local food and drink. I created thumbnails where I tried out different formats in which I could bring the elements together. The final format I decided on was ‘split screen’ with a diagonal running left to right which would carry the text of each city where I could place a building on one side with a national dish or drink on the other. I thought using two different types of perspective on either side of the diagonal would be interesting. So looking up at the architecture but looking down on the drink.
I wrote the city names in my own handwriting several times until there was a set that I was happy with. I scanned these and overdrew them freehand in photoshop which I then cleaned up to add to each of the three client visuals.
I decided on the following combinations for the client visuals – Istanbul featured the Galata tower with Turkish tea, Helsinki featured the railway station building and a bottle of Sahti and for Milan an espresso alongside Duomo Cathedral. I included a colour key at the side of each client visual to demonstrate the pallete I planned to use on each one.
Final: Finished illustration for the Istanbul cover included spine and back cover artwork which I then applied to a mock up.