Sunday, 31 March 2019

Get Excited! Dragons and Ink!

Get excited!
A) this is the final act in March of the Dragons, part of he daily drawing themed months, and theres an extra-ordinary new theme for April
B) this dragon is tied to the ongoing and lifelong project of body art, and hopefully soon to be an everlasting companion in my life

Friday, 22 February 2019

Penguin Student Design Awards - The final final final x100

It is done. After a brilliant journey, starting a uni module and ending it with draft designs, picking it  up in the Winter and pushing it forward to the deadline. I've had so much great feedback, self-initiated amendments, trial and error, toil and tedium. And finally today, after all my efforts had been exhausted I said, the is no more i can do until someone tells me otherwise.
I pitched it to Steve Panton, professional book cover designer and art director, who only managed to give just two VERY MINOR tweaks and then it was ready. Those two tweaks were: chalk not necessary, and change the blurb to not span two sticky notes all at once. That took but minutes, and now it is in the hand of the judges! Watch this space!

Monday, 11 February 2019

Penguin Student Design Awards: Final Cover Designs for Wonder

I've really enjoyed this project every step of the way and worked hard to develop an initial scruffy draft in to (hopefully) what looks like a polished final outcome.
There's just one last decision to make, as well as feedback yet to recieve for potential improvements.
I've been often lectured to look at contemporary fonts and work with type, which is what i've done here.
The question now is which font to use. These covers are getting 50/50 votes between being readable to the viewer, and playful and eye-catching to the younger audience.
The first is a bold, capital chalkboard style font that stands out the most from the cover, the capitals giving it great emphasis and power to shout WONDER.
The second is more playful and quirky, a font i found and adapted to replace the O from a heart to a star to suit the cover.
The 3rd, after an even divide in votes, makes use of both, allowing the title to remain stand-out while incorporating the playfulness in the author. The reasoning: the title MUST be one of the first things the viewer recognises, and while the author is still very important i feel this can be a bit more relaxed in aesthetic.
One woman in favour of the readable font was a worker in Waterstones, who knew her books and pointed out to me the books on a shelve at the other end of the store, saying that even from a distance the title can still be made out. That's why she voted the first. I mimicked this by place my cover printout further away and standing back, showing her point clearly - the first is the clearest.
Other opinions prefering the second comes from younger audiences, mums and people with young children (or work with children). They loved the fun and playful look of this font, saying it would appeal more to children.
Currently awaiting feedback from lecturers.

  • The ladybug is too bright, being the only rendered object on the back cover. It sticks out like a sore thumb in the corner. Try drawing it in chalk in the same style as the rest of the book.
  • Have a more chalky background. I've tried brightening the black but it made it less clear to the viewer. I'd like to dedicate a sheet of paper to chalk textured smears and finger marks.
  • Try straightening the notes on the back.
  • For the playful font: Make the star rounder to better act as an O. Have a smaller, rounder 'e'. Lengthen the 'p' in Palacio to be in uniform with the other capitals.
  • For the readable font: Jiggle the letters into the grooves. One person likes how the playful font was positioned, even if it was the lesser of the two, so would like to see the better font composed in a similar way. They also suggested trying a star in this font and a squiggle like the 'd' in the playful one.
  • The hearts in the playful fonts are too feminine.

At last! what should have been 5 minutes this morning turned into a day of emergancy rescue mission when the final Photoshop file was a corrupted write-off.
I can literally do no more to this until someone points out what bits are shit and need changing.
I've had so much feedback from lots of people, classmates, lecturers and Waterstone book-sellers put together.
Here i've adapted the text to merge both fonts i what try (one was playful, one was readable, this puts them both together to be capital, readable AND with a hint of quirkiness!).
The original ladybug too was too bold and bright, as i'd tried to make it look like a real bug crawling on to of the cover, but this was too distracting and didnt work at all. One suggestion was to blend it in with the chalk drawings, which is what i did here.

PLEASE if anyone has any complaints put them in the comments, Penguin's deadline for the Student Design Awards is coming up in March! :)

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Contemporary Children fonts
PF Kids Pro Grade Three

DK Cool Crayon sample text
Cool Crayon

CookieMonster sample text
Cookie Monster

Crayon en Folie

Sunday, 3 February 2019

Wonder: Work in Progress

This cover has come a long way from the first draft of the last module. After a Christmas break I let it hibernate, returning now with fresh eyes.
I've really playing with composition here. After initial thumbnailing i found it more effective to chalk straight on to paper. With some then rough ideas, I knew what elements I wanted to include (atronaut, dog, stars etc). I made some chalk drawings of these until I found the right one.
Some key initial feedback:
  • Look at childrens drawings. It's actually really difficult for an adult to draw in the 'style' of a 5-10 year old child. Children have a free, loose sort of way of percieving the world, not dithering over accurate proportion. I did think about this, but evenso my astronaut still looks 'too accurate' to begin with. 
  • The text needs to stand out. The first drafts were roasted for eing too distracting. The text and title were lost. One person commented that when they go to look for a book, the title needs to be the first thing the reader notices, or at least the next readable thing on the cover. I did think about making the text colour, but that wasn't quite enough - i continued adapting the layout.
  • One thing i'm hearing from every person for feedback, is they feel they cannot give useful feedback for not reading the book. I am coming to realise that this is irrelevant and actually TO the point - someone pickng this up in the bookshop won't have read it and that IS the point, it needs to appeal and entice people to read it in the first place

so today ive pretty much exhausted this cover.... please attack this with all your judgement
i wasnt convinced on the quality of GIMP, indeed spending this day in uni to knock it up with all the original scans was well worth the effort (and long day it turns out).
its time to hibernate on this and refine anything later before the deadline.
Penguin competition here we come!

Monday, 28 January 2019

Wonder: Chalk Book Cover (examples and progress)

 Here are some examples of existing chalk-style covers. These are cleaner than my intended chalkboard design, aiming to appeal to children in their own style of doodle and mess.
Below are some rough draft cover ideas using chalk on black paper. I am currently working on composition to bring the cover together, so that it remains chalk and childish, but it needs to stay readbale and clear to the viewer on the book shelf.
Much of the feedback i recieve focuses on the text, how it gets lost among the doodles.
Some have questioned the messiness, much of it is thumbnail and mock-up related, but also because it is intended. In short, they asked [where's the skill in the scribbles?]. The answer is in the composition, and actually in the execution - its surprisingly challenging to emulate a child's doodle when i am stuck in adult form!
Children use basic shapes, draw straight out of thin air, proportion goes out the window and they use every means possible to get something out of their head and onto paper.

 The astronaut gained some likes in this one

Wonder Research: Children's Drawings