Sunday, 26 February 2012

Working for Children Part 3 Established Readers

The squiggles don't make good blog content. My favourite idea was a small animal scared by big people but unable to escape. I wish I could arrange to give you an arresting and finished first image for each post. Please read on....

I tried just reaching hands
But liked a few faces to pile the pressure on

which when coloured gives you

I probably should add more colour but I like the simplicity of this and I think too much detail will be distracting, even colouring the T shirts is going to take your attention away from the little mouse. I apologise for the brown paper background but I do think coloured pencil "sings" better on a coloured ground.

I think the message of this image is more subtle than that required for a pre-school child but children who are not reading take a lot more information from the pictures and are visually quite sophisticated so I don't think it is necessary to "spell out" what is happening in each image. Pre school children are not aware of what they are supposed to take from a picture so it is important not to leave too much distracting information in a picture as it could lead them away from the flow of the story though having lots to look at and discuss can make a book more interesting especially when you're reading it for the 100th time!
A variety of materials are suitable for childrens illustration and I don't think that bright colours are necessary if the picture is visually attractive and the narrative is interesting. I don't think that most children are prepared to work at getting in to a story and I think they prefer images which are accessable and relate to their world. The examples I researched used a diverse range of materials and methods.
Age ranges are very fluid especially as modern authors work to make their stories attractive to adults who choose and often read the books with their children. Children mature at different rates so in a random group of the same age some will be reading independently, some not. Those with older or younger brothers and sisters will be exposed to different material which will affect what sort of story they are ready for or interested in.
I don't think that there are clear rules for what will work for children beyond the obvious ones that they should not contain adult themes though traditional fairy tales are quite violent and Judith Kerr killed Mog at the end of her series of books, maybe sex is the only taboo?

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Working for Children "Scary" part 2

My alternative idea was a dog afraid of the vacuum cleaner so I thought I should develop this a little.
The idea

the raw drawing

colour tampered with

not sure if this is an improvement or not
I like the idea of scribbled lines making the colour, it works for the settee but I'm not sure that the rest of the image is clear enough for a preschool child or that the drawing is good enough. It's also not that exciting so I looked for a more dramatic view
This doesn't come out very clearly when scanned so I hope you can see the idea. (There were some preliminary drawings which I haven't included as they weren't clear either)
This is the dogs view of the scary hoover from under a big cushion. I stuck my head under a cushion to check the accuracy but didn't stay under to draw this so it's from memory. (I was at home alone at the time though my dog was very concerned about my sanity....)
I then redrew the picture in coloured pencil on black paper

I think this works better for the dramatic scary moment though it would need a better version of the first more conventional view to explain what was happening I think it would fit into the narrative.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Working for children - Scary Part 1

Scary being my chosen word, not that working for children is scary!

some ideas
I chose to use a dog as my character because dogs(especially big dogs) are scary to small children and I wanted to represent something scary being itself scared. I liked the idea of the dog being scared in traffic as this is a very sensible thing for a small child to be scared of.

These are a selection of the preliminary sketches that I did. I became a bit worried that the finished picture could be too scary for the age group.

but I think the preliminary drawing is acceptable.

I coloured it in. I find coloured pencil easy to express myself with and I remember as a child liking coloured pencil illustrations as they looked like something I could aspire to doing myself. Simply scanned the pictures were weak so I enhanced the edges and eroded them using Paintshop which made them bolder but kept the quality of the coloured pencil.

 This is my preferred final image, the next one where I made the road  darker has lost the punch I was looking for.

Working for Children

Pre Reader

Pre school  ((3-5years)

Early Reader (5-7years)

Established Reader (7-9years)

Older Age Groups
I found it difficult to categorise pictures. Some illustrators such as Lynne Chapman, Shirley Hughes and Nick Sharratt can work for multiple age ranges without changing their style. Some of this is probably due to fashion for bold simple illustrations. Beatrix Potters detailed complex pictures look too old for the intended age group - my children never liked them when they were young. Generally younger children get more colour and less detail, I guess older children also enjoy these for nostalgic reasons. A lot of the differences in intended audiences seems to be due to text rather than images and I guess the choice of book depends very much on the individual child and their outside influences, older brothers and sisters etc.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Packaging - biscuits for children

 I didn't want to go down the dinosaur route. They've never excited me and I don't associate them with anything edible. I googled extinct animals and chose the above as they are similar to animals that aren't extinct, the idea being to raise awareness of other animals that are endangered.

Some ideas. I'm worries that the Sabre toothed tiger is a little scary, I don't want to frighten my audience off. I want a gentle caricature that is still recognisable as a real but no longer alive animal. I'm not sure that my style lends itself to something that would encourage pester power, I guess that depends a bit on the accompanying advertising campaign. I wanted figures that were attractive to children and not irritating to their parents who would be expected to pay.
Existing Children's biscuits seem to rely on characters from the TV and are packaged in bright colours

I wanted the biscuits to feature. These were done in watercolour. They may need to be adapted depending on what the real biscuits look like.

The sabre toothed tiger was ginger.
 I drew him on orange paper. He's supposed to be bursting through the biscuits. The original has a little more contrast and isn't quite as orange but the scanner/computer can't cope and I can't seem to adjust the picture with my software.

The Mammoth was raisin
I felt that purple was representative and tried using pink paper which gave a nice lively image but then I worried that boys might be put off by the pink

 Messing with the background on the computer isn't very successful
 So I used white and yellow pencils to colour in. It gives a nice lively background though it might be a bit of a nuisance if it has to be followed through with the rest of the packaging

And finally the Horned Gopher was chocolate chip.

 I thought it needed creamy brown and chocolate colours though I worry that they won't jump out on a display of colourful biscuits. I don't have suitable coloured paper for the background so I drew this on white then filled the background which was much better than expected.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Exercise Text and Image

My favourites are Euphemia for Calm and Chiller for Mad. My software wouldn't let me print too big so this was the best I could do. I've inserted the traced bit into the box
 I had forgotten how much I enjoy drawing letters. I haven't done this since I was at school.

The mood board is fairly predictable.

It had to be watercolour. The top two are paint, the third I painted in water then ran colour into, the last two were watersoluble pencil. I prefer the first.
Funnily the mad word was easier to write (draw?) but the moodboard was harder.
I was tempted by collage

The first version was laid on the second stuck down. They don't work.
So I used acrylic with texture medium

The first was on to a drawn outline, the second freehand and the third was just with flat paint. I wanted strong dark rich colours. Ithink the first attempt works best.