Exercise: working for children.
Early Reader (5-7)
Established reader (7-9)
Older age groups
First I started brainstorming the topics and thought about the age groups above.
The age group I decided to work with was of pre-school and Early readers. My process was really just begin to doodle and see what ideas come of it. I thought about the different topics as well. I took at look at many different illustrators to gain inspriration and see how they show their characters engaged in this activity. I also wanted to see if the illustrators were anthropomorphizing their characters as that is something that I tend to do with my characters.
I took a look at different books featuring illustrators. Such as ” Little big books: illustrations for children’s picture books” and “Illustration next” by Anna Benaroya
These helped me to see how other illustrators are working and what is current in illustration. Of course I also looked at websites.
And I continued to work in my small sketchbook as well. Here are some examples of my process.
I tried to make sure that my characters where engaged in some sort of activity that communicates one or more of the themes.
In fact, I was so happy I decided to use it. I thought that if I tried to recreate or think about it too much, it would take away from the organic feel of how it all came together. I thought this image would be appropriate for an Pre-school book. Reminds me a bit of Eric Carle with the white negative space in the background. But I still need the cat to be engaged. This cat is on a journey or discovery. I thought about him looking up at food or something to attack. But in the end I went with a The journey of finding friends and the discovery of how that makes my character feel. He’s a house cat, or as I like to call my black cat at home, a house panther! Yes he is very much inspired by my own house panther. So in my sketch book, i drew a fishbowl on a table.
I put the two on photoshop and combined them to make this image.
The text reads “And the house panther wondered if the fish would be his friend.” But I felt I had to make the text more readable. HOwever, this is for preschool where its mostly the parents just reading. So I left the text light colored so not to take away from the image. I did make the font look like handwriting. I am not entirely sure why, but it felt right with the image.
Above is the updated text. I made it larger so its easier to read. I made sure that the font wasn’t in all caps so that the children could recognize the difference between uppercase and lowercase.
For my early reader story about journey and discovery. I just randomly drew a cat on a vespa. The mountains are a part of the journey. I really responded positively to this image. I wish you could see the original, my scanner isn’t the best. The color is very Fluorescent and bright. So i recreated this image larger.
Again on photoshop, i made it into a book. I really think this works well as a book for early readers. I didn’t mind that you can see the line strokes in my pen work. I think it added some texture and dimension to the image.
I dont think the target age brackets for children are really as clear cut as in the exercise. I tried to think of myself and how even though I was a established reader, I very much enjoyed the imagery and illustration in a book and would often stay on a page for a very long time before skipping. I think when I looked at different books for different age groups, i could tell which age bracket would be most interested by the illustrations. I think that also had to do with subject matter, text, and layout. My response to the idea ‘all children’s illustration has bright colours’ – absolutely not. I really found this out while looking through another book I just purchased. Thanks Jo Davies! I just received in the mail, Understanding Illustration. In that book I found an illustrator who uses mainly graphite in his work with a little bit of coloured pencil. This Illustrator is Shaun Tan from Australia. He almost never uses colour and yet you are totally sucked into his illustrations. They are so imaginative and magical.
I really like my illustration about Jack the cat who goes on adventures! I will have to photograph it soon because the colours are not the same scanned as they are in real life. But they still work well either way.