Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Final Major Project 2013 Part Two

So part two of my Final Major Project post ! I finally got round to it :) Again I have been a little busy but last week I had to go to my end of year review at university to talk about this project and all the rest...including the end of year grade.....and I got some good news:
-drum roll-
I managed to get an A grade for it which means I got a First for my degree this year! :33
I didn't think I could do it, but I was pleasantly surprised that all my hard work went into achieving something good for a change. Its only year one, and there's still at least two more years to go but its a start. Heres hoping I can do it again next year! So anyway, back to the main subject of this post.
Remember the Owl and the Pussycat characters from my storybook in my last post? Well for this project they came to life in the form of plush toys!
Heres the Owl character....he was a difficult one to design, and there was a bit of trouble with getting his legs to attach. I had to get my mum to help me sew him together with our sewing machine but I think he turned out pretty good in the end...
And my Pussycat character - my favourite out of the two! I had a lot of fun with this one, particularly the paws and whiskers :) Overall the plush toy part of the project was just an extra addition to the book I was designing, kind of like the toys you get with your children's story books in Waterstones. Its definitely an area I am going to work on more in the future.
 Following the toy creation and the two weeks spent designing my storybook, the final product finally arrived from The Netherlands in the form of a hardback, full colour story book!
 Just like a genuine book it had a spine too :) with all the details and such you would expect....
 And a little bit of advertising on the back instead of a blurb :) hello blog...
The cover itself came with a dust jacket, and on the inside I found a nice little space to write about the story and the poet behind The Owl and The Pussycat.
 As well as a little biography about the illustrator - me! Complete with a little collage of myself.
 Ahh me as a collage...interesting. I felt the fringe and the dungarees were absolutely necessary.
Anyway - inside the actual book itself, the pages were in full colour with black and white text telling the story on either side of the page.
 I was really impressed with the company who printed this up (Blurb) and the general quality of the books was very good. It really made my day when it arrived, and to go alongside the physical book itself there is also an internet copy available (to read for free) on the Blurb site:


Or you can simply read it on here :)  Please check it out!

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Final Major Project 2013 Part One

I was planning on talking about my work at university in chronological order, but due to a busy schedule lately I haven't had time to scan in some of my other projects, and this one happened to be the only one on my computer at the time! None the less, this one is my favourite project so far, as well as being the most recent.

From the collage above, I'm sure you may have guessed The Owl and The Pussycat were involved somehow - and you would be very correct! The project was our Final Major Project of the year, which was only completed last month.

We were given just 4 weeks to complete the entire thing which was very difficult and stressful - this is where 7 day weeks came in handy. I think for the duration of the time period I didn't have a single day of rest for well over a month in the run up to the final hand in at university. I was knackered...

The project itself was known as 'Narrative Illustration' and we were given a choice of 5 short stories to choose from. My lecturer Jake recommended I did 'The Owl and The Pussycat' which was one of the stories on the list, so I took his advice and went ahead with it.

As well as choosing the story, we were also given 3 options on how to present the Narrative Illustration, ranging from creating an interactive app, an animation or a printed product such as a book or magazine etc. I decided straight away I wanted to do an illustrated storybook, as for the entire year I have wanted to do one!

I don't really remember how I came to decide I was going to use collage, but somehow I did. I had used it as a medium for the first project we did back in October/November and had really enjoyed it, so I guess I went with what I knew I would enjoy.

Using collage was good fun and different to just drawing or painting which I usually did. However it did mean I had to buy in bulks and bulks of coloured paper from the internet and carry it with me wherever I was intending to back and forth on the train to the London was pretty tiring. Paper is heavy guys!

Prior to the actual making side of my collages, I had to design the characters and the landscapes of The Owl and The Pussycat, so I decided to do a little sketchbook work for a week or so. Mostly they were cute-sy and kawaii, which seems to be a recurring theme within my work lately so I just stuck with it. I wasn't really sure who the audience of my work was, but in the end the cute theme made it suitable for children, so in the end it became a Children's illustrated story.

Alot of interpretations of The Owl and The Pussycat are very traditional, romantic and perhaps a little dull in my opinion. I wanted my version to be a little more modern - note the Tesco bag! -  and as well as this I wanted to make it kawaii and sweet. Although I'm not a big fan of western takes on the whole kawaii art style - I didn't want to go overboard with that either. But in the end I feel like I managed to get a nice balance, just.

I had a lot of fun with my character of the cat especially...and the few mini characters I threw in here and there (such as the fly!). With the cat however I used a very specific 'hairy' looking grey paper which my lecturer really liked a lot. It couldn't be any old grey paper - it had to be this specific paper - so I had to keep buying it from the same art store every time. It all got a bit complicated.

The Owl was a little more difficult to create at times...whilst keeping his owl features such as wings and the beak and the face etc I tried really hard not to let him look like a traditional owl...nor that over printed owl that everyone wears on necklaces these days (I am guilty of this). So when it came to creating him in scenes like this, I would often have to remake him a few times just to get it right.

And when I got a little tired of cutting out complicated cats and owls I opted for the easy option of doing stuff like this was a lazy cop out at first. But then I think my way of getting round certain moments in the story took away the traditional, old fashioned vibe that went hand in hand with most versions of The Owl and the Pussycat and made it a little different.

Another lazy, quick way to show travel, landscape and time passing by! I think I did an alright job. And it was also an opportunity to throw in a cute crab character too.

This piece is possibly my favourite - The Land Where The Bong Tree Grows. It was made in the spirit of the old Pokemon games on Gameboy Color (remember??), I had the cute little pixel towns, forests and maps in my head and it came out like this in collage format...

And of course the Piggy-wig! Another important but sometimes forgotten character in the story.

Surrounded by bong tree ;) and check out his nose ring! He was good fun to create. I really wish I had made him into a doll like I did with the Owl and the Pussycat (but more on that later).

This again was my lazy way around some more scenes....the exchange of the ring for the shilling. Although, with the repetition of it I think I just about made it work.

Its always fun to create cute animal paws and hands....especially kitty paws and claws. Quite a few people liked this when I showed it to them in class so it must've had the right effect...without anyone thinking heyy this girl is too lazy to create the scene! :'D

And then we have - the turkey! He was a really difficult one to design in my sketchbook. I remember being at university one day trying to draw him and thinking what on earth does a turkey look like??
I also had the challenge of making him look like a vicar - as in my head - he marries the Owl and the Pussycat so he therefore MUST be a vicar...

So we get as far as the wedding....and yet again this is another lazy attempt to get out of making too much. But this point in the project I was exhausted, and working for many many hours at a time in front of the tv feeling quite shitty and fed up. Once of course you have finished working for the evening you have to tidy up, and it was always terrible when I had to clean up after an evening of cutting out lots of tiny bits of paper ...

A nice weddingy of my favourites....

And then the happy bride and groom dancing on the beach in the moonlight! Notice their pea green boat waiting for them on the beach :)

Finally at the end. Sort of. I managed to complete this entire set of collages in two weeks, but this was only half done. I then had to scan them in to the computer and have them published into a Children's illustrated storybook in time for the final hand in. However thats all I have time for right now...
In part two of this blog post I will discuss what I did next!

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

The Adventures of Sophie and Gilbert Storybook

Whilst this was not a university project, it definitely was hard work and something I haven't really documented online until now. In fact I don't think I've even shown some of this work to half the people I know including my family due to lack of organisation :'D But anyway.
Early on this year, there was a notice up in the canteen at university from some MA Publishing students at London College of Communication (the Elephant and Castle Campus of UAL), asking for a children's book illustrator. Following this I got into touch with them, met up with them and discussed the brief which was to create a series of images for their end of year project - a children's storybook on the adventures of two characters, Sophie and Gilbert.
The story was rather cute actually! It was about a little girl called Sophie, who finds the ghost, Gilbert living in a trunk in her attic. They become friends, and through the trunk they can travel the world. In the story they get to visit places such as Japan:
and last but not least, Ghana:
Aside from the main page illustrations, I also was asked to make a few page dividers based on objects from each location they visit in the story:
For Ghana, a drum:
For India, I drew the Taj Mahal:
For the attic, I drew the lollypop Sophie holds when meeting Gilbert:
And of course for Japan, a cherry blossom petal:
Once the graphics were made, they were sent over to my classmate Daniel James, a graphic design student, who began working with the students to make the children's book itself. We had a few technical problems, but in the end everything finally got made, and I went to Elephant and Castle to pick up the finished product!
Its always kind of cool to see your work in print...aside from it being a children's story it was also an activity book with pages in between the chapters on activities relating to each story:
The elephant one is my favourite, so cute! :'D
And the final page....I had a lot of fun making this book, and hopefully its not the last one I take part in this year. Definitely something I would do again...

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