Tuesday, 3 May 2016

BAIL303: Project 3 - Progressive: Illustrating the Point: Editorial 2: Okido Magazine

For my second editorial I'm continuing the route of editorial for children by looking at Okido Magazine. Like Anorak it is a collectible children's magazine and has high production values with a focus on sustainability, using FSC paper and printing with vegetable inks. Okido describes itself as an arts and science magazine that aims to help children learn through play, whilst stimulating creativity and inspiring scientific interest through it's contents.

When planning to look at this specific editorial, I tried to have some foresight towards how much work I could realistically achieve for this module whilst considering the possibility that I would fall behind schedule due to pacing or issues juggling multiple projects etc.

It is for this reason that I chose quite a simple editorial to tackle. Looking at this specific page in Issue #37 by Rachel Ortas, creative director of the magazine, which involves a couple of spot/vignette illustrations being made for each side of a 'flip-o-rama' a simple animation toy that works on the same principles as a thaumatrope.

Design Process

My initial approach was to render my own version of the Okido characters, following the format of this page. Thinking that each character could have a different colour palette for the background and television.

This lead me to producing this image of Messy Monster, the character featured in the original editorial

In a crit session with Phil he explained that although it was a faithful rendition of the character, the contributors to Okido each have their own character which they exclusively produce the artwork for.
As you can see on the inside front page above, through stylistic differences you can clearly see that some characters are handled by different illustrators. I therefore decided that within the context of the publication it would be far more appropriate for me to produce artwork with one of my own characters.

Above are some creature designs produced in the summer of last year. Initially I had intended on featuring the 'clubjub' as part of my submission towards a year-group illustrated playing cards deck. I had drawn the 10 of clubs as one of my cards, which is why the club iconography appears in the birds design. As that project never really kicked off, I thought it would be a good time to put the character to use, the design felt appropriate for the publications audience and could be easily rendered using the digital collage technique that I adopted this year.

To begin with I created a colour wheel using process CMY

And began to explore compliments and potential colour palettes.

Once I had a colour palette in mind, I rendered a block colour version of the clubjub, using the lasso and fill tools in Photoshop.

I then tried out the application of painted textures. I do like the aesthetic of the block colours, but felt that the use of textures and drop shadows was more in keeping with my other portfolio work.

For the background of the page Rachel has echoed the pattern found on Messy's cheeks. For my rendition I decided to render a simple feather-like pattern using the two green tones from the block-colour version of the clubjub.

For the other elements of the page, I worked on top of a scan of the original using the ellipse tool to get the size of the disks correct. I then used the magic wand to select the dotted lines, copying them and then cleaning them up.

I decided to apply a font that I have used in other projects to the text, as I believe it has a naive aesthetic, that also reflects the shapes generated by the lasso tool. The purple used for the text is taken from one of my complimentary palettes.

This purple carries over to the image of the television, which also uses an orange complimentary to the blue of the clubjub's beak. Whilst running with the idea of representing several of the magazine's characters, I sketched up a few different T.V. designs. I worked from one of these using digital collage to render the television on an A4 canvas, before scaling it into the document.

In the print version of the editorial Ortas uses an image of a girl to demonstrate the toy in action. I felt that enough was described through the photograph and the instructions in order for the reader to work it out - especially with the help of an adult. I also didn't want to copy the original completely, so opted to draw the contents of the 'you will need' list. These were straight up rendered in photoshop, with some rough sketches to hand to assist me.

Initially I had intended on drawing a hand that demonstrated how the finished toy should look.
I wasn't content with it's appearance though and decided to use photography instead after mocking up the design to see if it worked correctly.

(See a video of the toy in action on my instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/p/BEs3Te8uslB/?taken-by=bendoneyillustration)

It was then a matter of arranging the elements within the text box until I had reached a satisfying conclusion. As there was a gap I decided to add a small example of how the two images should come together to form the clubjub on the television.

Following  quick crit from some peers I made a few adjustments, deciding the arrow was a bit bothersome and unneeded and editing the brightness of the photograph.
After several crits with Phil I became aware of my custom typeface and it's over-compensation when using the space bar. And so made some changes to the horizontal width of these 'space' characters, reducing them by 50%. At some point this may be something I consider trying to alter, but for now the font works well enough as is for me to be content to work around it's quirks.

I'm glad that I had the hindsight to search for an editorial that could be completed in a short space of time. My editorial for Anorak took a couple of weeks due to rendering the individual characters, whereas this editorial was completed in a couple of days. To begin with this was a bit of a worry for me, I wondered if I had sacrificed quality somewhere along the way. But through crits from peers I am quite confident that this is a successful conclusion and knowing that I can produce editorials of this nature over a couple of days is a bit of a confidence boost after the slog of the last image.

Further Amendments 

Taking the design to my peers, I didn't get much in the way of critical feedback, so I asked Phil what he thought of the image. 
He commented that he thought the elements worked together, but that more could be done to make the design punchy and dynamic.  A particular criticism was the eligibility of the clubjub character, being at this particular scale it was difficult to read the character as some sort of bird, I had decided to take away the legs so that the character fit within the frame of the television. 

My response to these comments was to look back at my original sketches, I decided to go with an image of the bird bathing in a pool of water. I also went for a more vibrant background colour and edited the size of the text and position of the photograph. 

Using the previous image of the club-jub as a base, I added wings which are made up of two layers. I then added the water layers, one behind and one in front of the bird, using a clipping mask to add light coloured ripples on top. I adjusted the opacity of the water droplets so that they were more subtle than solid blue shapes.
The most involved section of this updated artwork was the rock, which is made up of two layers. Initially these were two tones of orange which I later added a painted texture to with a clipping mask. I tried to give the rocks a layered appearance without actually drawing lots of individual layers by creating shadows with the darker colour.   

Further comments picked up on the purple accent colour now being lost against the reds of the background, so I switched it out for a light green, reflecting the palette of the club-jub. I replaced the photograph of the toy in action with one of the new design, discussing with Phil how to best demonstrate the toy in action. We spoke about how a static representation of the merged image could be demonstrated without being misleading. I decided to use some directional arrows and brought back the illustrated items to fill in the space of the box. 


Satisfied with the state of the design, I trialed printing it both at home and through local art supplier/printer The Artside. 

I've found when printing A4 or A3 images at The Artside that the images print with quite a high saturation and with a slightly red hue. You can see this in the image above where the purple of the pencil is much closer to a violet colour than a middle purple. After reprinting at home I noticed the faded effect on the photograph, where light had caught the mock-up (printed on a college copier, resulting in a smooth finish) and I had edited the brightness settings.

I went back in to the Photoshop document to amend this colour variation somewhat and got a decent print through my home printer, which was a lot more accurate to the colours displayed on my screen. (above.) This print is labelled as my final outcome within my physical submission.  


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