Sunday, 5 May 2013

Exercise - Working for children

The first part of the exercise involved gathering examples of work for children and grouping these according to there suitability for different age groups.

Pre- reader

Pre- school 3 -5 


The Dark by Lemony Snicket, Jon Klassen

The Black Rabbit by Philippa Leathers

My own book - loved this as a kid!

Early reader (5 - 7)

Black Dog by Levi Pinfold

Lollipop and Grandpa's Dinosaur Hunt by Penelope Harper

Established reader (7 - 9)

The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket by John Boyne

Older readers

Summer's Dream by Cathy Cassidy

The Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan

Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead

Age brackets for children aren't clear cut  I think theres a fair amount of overlap - some books I think have something all children and indeed adults can appeal to certainly when you think of books by Allen Alhberg or Quentin Blake or The Gruffalo ( I know my friends kids both love this book - one who is only one year old the other nearly five. Certainly, I spent quite a bit of time looking at different book sites and a lot seem to classify them as being suitable for a certain year and over.

In terms of illustration the amount of different styles of illustrated childrens books is immense ranging from simple drawings to more elaborate full scale scenes. Colour wise I certainly don't think children s books need to always be brightly coloured. For example, looking at books by Lemony Snicket which have story's which are slightly scarier the use of dark colours are more appropriate for example in the book "The Dark" illustrated by Jon Klassen.

The next part asked us to select two of the age groups then select two from a choice of themes and create an animal character portraying the theme.
I did some brainstorming and experimentation with different characters and highlighted words which most appealed.
Ideas included Festival - thinking about colours, fairground rides, balloons,
Growing - growing up - plants growing, growth chart, being scared of growing
Family - love, generations
Journey - travel, packing your bags, suitcase
Scary - scared of the dark, ghosts, monsters in your room

I experimented with characters including bears, pigs, penguins and owls but was most drawn to the bears and penguin characters. I tried different styles of each animal looking at shapes and placement/ complexity of facial features.

I decided on Pre- school and early reader as suitable targets.

Growing bears, penguin on a journey

Bears scared of monsters

Owl scared of dark, penguin raving at a festival

Growing bears

A bear scared by another mini bear with sheet - irony?

Penguin on a journey who ends up at the festival combining the themes. I tried a watercolour, ink and crayon version of this idea. Then I used Photoshop and tried a collage cutting out bits of fabric.

Cut out leather fabric for penguin, felt backpack

Favourite penguin image - Early reader 5-7 

Collage roof - not so sure about this one

Not so sure about the compositions with these ones but in looking at other illustrations compositions for kids don't really need to be accurate to get the message across.

Pre- school image bear in bed 

Black and white version - trying to think about it being nightime when the big monster appears

Pre- school image - growing bears
Pre - school growing bears image 

Overall I enjoyed this exercise and the process of creating characters. I think each of the images I've created would be suitable for children aged between about 3 - 5 and be relevant to there feelings about Growing, Scary things and going on a journey.
I struggled a bit with the bear in the bed image to get the monster looking good with shadow etc and looking at some other work by people like Jon Klassen and  In the Dark show that this can be achieved very successfully but I know that these subtleties and abilities in illustration can hopefully be developed in my work with time and practice/ experimentation.

Update after tutor report
After receiving my feedback on this exercise I reappraised the age ranges I selected, and think the bear image is in fact more suitable for early reader and the penguin images more suitable for the pre- school age range.

Change to early reader 5 -7

Pre school image

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