So the Christmas celebrations have finished and the New Year begins. Over the Christmas period I tried to do a little bit of work here and there but I didn’t do much as unfortunately my Grandma died 3 days before Christmas and so work obviously took a back seat.
After the new years day I tried to do a little more work (as well as a distraction) so I wouldn’t fall behind as the deadline is so close but it was mostly brainstorming ideas for the book. From my last post I commented on how I was struggling to think of a story, I think I was thinking too deeply into it and becoming tight in trying to find the perfect story that had everything in. Not allowing the development process to kick in. This is when I took a step back and looked at my previous sketchbook to see if there was a light in the darkness. I found a book when I was at uni called How to write for children (2010) by Louise Jordan. I wrote notes in my sketchbook some activities you can do to try and generate some ideas and this method caught my eye. It consists of a three simple bullet points:
- What is the story about?
- What is the problem?
- What happens?
An obvious solution really but one that I had forgotten about when developing my work. I referred back to using the quick three bullet point and I was able to create more stories than previous attempts. By using one or two anchor story themes, I then could develop more stories with slight tweaks. This is how I came to create two possible stories both involving squirrels. I chose a squirrel as:
- I can find them pretty much anywhere so I can easily draw them compared to another animal such as the zebra which I would have to go to the zoo every time to draw them or go abroad (pricey but fun).
- After creating some sketches of squirrels they are fairly tricky to draw and have odd shaped bodies the more you loo at them but I like a challenge.
- They climb high trees but also rummage on the ground and so I will have lots of options on angles and perspective when I start drawing out the storyboard.
- Even though they are found in gardens, I like the idea of the woods as the background setting. It allows me to play around with subplots of other characters in the background.
- After previous research, there aren’t many books that have a squirrel as a protagonist which surprised me. But as Martin Salisbury previously commented, mice, bears, cats and dogs are the most common animal characters.
One book that I did find whilst researching was a book by Sebastian Meschenmoser called Mr. Squirrel and the Moon (2015).
Using a red squirrel he has create a book that consists of a big round yellow wheel of cheese that escapes from a farmer, rolls away, hits a big bump and bounces onto a branch on Mr. Squirrel’s tree. Squirrel drops it on a badger and then it’s speared by a billy goat. Everyone is afraid they’ll be blamed for stealing the moon and sent to jail, so everyone is trying to get the moon, (cheese wheel), back into the sky. I have not read it yet as the hardback isn’t published until 2015 (I couldn’t find the soft back version) but this was the description made by Pop Bop on Amazon. A simple storyline which has a few characters and an item that scares them. Sebastian’s illustrations are more realistic like mine but still contain expression within the face and body even though they have been illustrated in a different medium. Here are a few illustrations created by Sebastian but from another book he has created:
A beautiful front cover that is simple yet engaging. The protagonist taking centre stage looking up for the snow, the palm of his hand facing upwards mimicking the human action waiting or feeling for something to land on his hand. It could also look like he is looking at the title looking sad with his ears pinned down realising he may have to wait for a long time. I also noticed that the title has three styles of text. Standard type for Waiting and then italic for for but then only the W is italicised and the rest of the word is normal. Interlinking the previous styles in the last word. I like this style and would test this out when I come to creating my front cover.
The illustrations are quite rough creating texture and depth but they also have specific colours that stand out stopping it from becoming a dull picture. I looked on my Universities library to see if they had this book but they don’t which is annoying and I could request an inter loan but last time I did this I still haven’t got the book and that was for my dissertation which has finished. So I may have another go at trying to find it but we’ll have to wait and see. By finding this book I will have to make sure that I do not copy or replicate the story or style as this won’t help me to create a new and exciting story.
Сундучок вдохновений, n.d. Sebastian Meschenmoser. [internet] Available from: https://darinovis.wordpress.com/2013/02/26/sebastian-meschenmoser-себастьян-мешенмозер/. [Accessed 1 January 2015].
Jordan, L., 2010, How to write for children. London: Piatkus.
Jules, 2009, Featuring Sebastian Meschenmoser. [internet] Available from: http://blaine.org/sevenimpossiblethings/?p=1861. [Accessed 1 January 2015].
Meschenmoser, S., 2015, Mr. Squirrel and the Moon. Anon: North-South Books.
PopBop, 2014, Clever Three Times. [internet] Available from: http://www.amazon.com/Mr-Squirrel-Moon-Sebastian-Meschenmoser/dp/073584156X. [Accessed 1 January, 2015].