Day: March 3, 2015

After the presentation…

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So here is where I am after the concept panel…


I tried to create alternative scenes for the grumble scenes, going for different angles etc.


I was trying to make it less complicate and flat whilst trying to keep movement and flow. I soon found that I was beginning to get worried about trying to get it perfect straight away and just came to a blank with ideas. This is when I decided to change the scene I was going to create ideas for.


I started to develop the Jay scene where it reminisces about the time it heard a similar noise when collecting food. I feel I can generate many alternative scenes but when it comes to enlarging them, the scene loses movement. Here is one of the drawings I drew up to scale, I am not using fine line in my final images but this is a rough layout on thin paper and so I decided to use a fine line to outline the drawing so I can easily trace it if need be.


I drew two other layouts but in pencil and took it to my tutorial. When talking to my tutor, she commented on how flat and rigid they are still when enlarged and that it has lost movement in the scene, looks more like freeze frames. At first I was disappointed because I wanted to hear that I have nailed it, sorted the issue out but clearly I haven’t and to be fair I agree but just didn’t want to hear it. My tutor commented how the thumbnails have captured the movement and it’s the transition of scaling it larger causes the movement to be lost. I didn’t know what to do but as she explained I understood what was causing the issue and how I could address it. One idea was to create the larger scenes in roughly the same time as the thumbnails and so I’m not over thinking the layout.

Another idea was to create the exact line from the thumbnail onto the larger scene and to not stiffen lines up e.g. the photos on the right side page in the thumbnail were freehand and not straight, as soon as I drew it larger I got my ruler out which caused them to become flat.

An alternative idea to combat the problem is to draw these scenes A5 roughly and then just scan them in on a high dpi to blow them to the scale I want. As I’m able to create movement in the small sketches, I should stick to drawing fairly small and quick and then enlarge them.

Other suggestions towards my work were:

  • Create a couple of alternative scenes/layouts for each double page spreads
  • When painting the scenes, don’t try and finish each scene at once. Start to paint one and then move onto another, swapping around creates movement I want in the scenes instead of rushing to get one finished and losing the fun in the scene.

Regarding the story, I was originally going to include an insect to create a variety of height and range of animals in the book. I then changed that to a newt as I thought I could have a different scene which would be underwater. However, after the tutorial it was decided that it would be best not to go underwater as this could affect the whole atmosphere of the book which is predominantly woodland and warmth. I was trying to fit too much in.

It was questioned, do I actually need the fourth character? Does it bring anything to the story? My tutor commented on how the squirrel will be known by children but the other two animals, the jay and the weasel, may not be as well as known. It brings an element of educational value as it introduces the idea to children there are more animals who live in the woods that aren’t originally seen. Also just using the Jay which is shown high in the trees and the weasel which moves along the ground still gives me a range of movement in the forest. Also it frees up a couple of double page spreads which allows more room for the noises to be explored.

So as you can see I have plenty of work to get on with and so I will be trying out the methods as previously mentioned. Hopefully by using them I will be able to inject some movement allowing me to move onto adding colour and life to images.


Before the presentation…

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So before my presentation last week this is what I showed them at the end of the presentation. I wanted to know which layout was best but it was soon decided that neither was the answer…


A complete double page spread that shows the sound spread across the spread which has been integrated in the illustration.


The small three squares show the difficulty of the squirrel getting through the sharp thorns of the Hawthorn bush.  You then see him with the fruit in-between his paws about to snack on them but suddenly he hears this noise which is spread across the page. The noise is integrated into the bark using natural elements to define the letters and so it was subtle and looked natural.


The grumble sound carries on travelling across the page which leads the eye onto three more boxes which shows the squirrel running away. KUK is the alarm call of the squirrel and so this is some of the educational information that is being integrated into the text and illustrations. I felt I had drawn the bark of the wood alright by using pastel pencils and watercolours. I wasn’t sure about the three boxes as I felt they weren’t defined enough as a separate area.

The second double page spread:


I separated the two scene making the squirrels battle through the thorns more prominent by using various shaped borders to highlight the squirrels goal. One branch carrying onto the next page which then creates a similar design as the previous double page spread. Taking out the squares and creating two separate large images and partially interlink.

left side

The berries are a demanding red, clearly showing the reader the goal of the scene. I created us usual borders to make the scene more interesting and to highlight the area of interest.

right side

I feel the squirrel at the top has subtle emotions but not enough to be easily read at a glance and so I feel like I need to add more emotions into the personality of the characters. Again I have used the detail of the bark to create the sound. I am pleased with the colours and warmth I have attained using pastel pencils but I feel there is a lot of white space and it could have an injection of another colour.

However, after the concept panel I knew I had to do a lot of rethinking and work as these as mentioned before are the points I needed to take on board:

  • Focus on a core or concept more – so I am thinking to focus on the sounds more
  • What are the main focuses on the page – what stands out more
  • Use the body position and angles of the squirrel to express personality and emotion
  • Watch more videos of the animals to achieve more movement in my drawings
  • Try to not overcomplicate the texture – vary the detail to create depth. Not everything has to be really detailed
  • To develop some of the small thumbnail ideas straight away and not change them
  • To maybe to develop the sound first and then fit the characters around it

I understand most of them when looking back at these pieces and as someone mentioned, they are really nice illustrations but they could be pushed and made into something better.