Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Project 3: Oliver's Monsters: Development

Initially I had planned on producing a drawing activity book with some narrative elements, but as I got to grips with trying to  produce something that made sense as both a story and activity book, the story elements soon became a priority.

In my first draft thumbnails, I worked through a couple of different ways of introducing a monster into the narrative, and also looked at having the drawing pages blank on one side, so that the monsters the children draw could be used in a final spread monster party.

My very first response saw Oliver and an adult playing together, the monster is imagined and the adult plays along by asking what it looks like - this is essentially the interaction between Oliver and myself which inspired the concept.

Eventually I settled on simple drawing pages - with a consistent pattern running through the book, which is as follows:

  • Oliver is in an environment, he likes to make noise
  • Oliver roars at a local animal
  • Oliver's parent, disturbed by the noise, wonders if it was 'that monster'
  • A monster is seen in the environment, looking very nonchalant.
  • Oliver exclaims 'NO! It was my monster!' and describes how his monster looks different (providing visual inspiration for the child to draw from on the next page)
  • Oliver says 'LOOK My friend will show you!' A single element from the previous monster sits on the page as a basis for the children to draw around. 

I think the narrative works quite well, hopefully there is charm and humour in it, both through the main characters and the background elements. I do wonder though if the drawing pages work, will they act as a block for the flow of the story? I guess there might be enough space to draw more than once... but what if the child wants to draw half way through being read to? Would that be considered an issue? - this is where my concept would benefit most from the input of others I think.

This project was neglected somewhat until the last few weeks before the deadline, so input from peers and tutors has been quite minimal. My focus was largely on producing a dummy to convey the idea and to present some sort of draft rendering too. Hopefully this concept can be carried on throughout the year or perhaps post-graduation and I will be able to develop it more

Further Thumbnails

I created a dummy book at half scale to conceptualise the whole book, to work out its patterns and get a feel for potential compositions.


Development of the thumbnails at print scale. I had intended on getting all the spreads to this stage, but time constraints saw me complete only the first cycle of images. I decided to scale up the thumbnails to produce a to-scale dummy, as I felt the thumbnails were difficult to read.


Rendering itself was a development of a digital collage technique seen in my other two projects. Here I used coloured drop shadows and play with their settings to produce a blended feel to the shading, also isolating it within the form of the figures, rather than as a tool to produce a obvious 'cut and paste' look.

It was at this stage that I really nailed the design for Oliver, using photo references.
I initially planned on producing 2-4 finished spreads, but ended up with 1 and a half. Although some were limited in detail, they took as long to produce as most of my other images and time constraints left me in the unfortunate position of cutting down my proposed delivered artwork.

Although I didn't meet my initially proposed body of work, I am happy with what I have produced as an early concept and have really benefited from the experience of producing the dummy book and conceptualising a book, it gives me a good idea of why these books are long term projects. I've also managed to experiment with my rendering techniques a bit, expanding on my other two projects. It would have been preferable to have reached the rendering stage on a couple more spreads for my portfolios sake, but I can always do that in the coming months.

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