We are creating a jungle themed activity book filled with puzzles, drawing pages and make your own masks. We have chosen to witty characters to guid you though the pages- Pipkin the pig in his spotty top and bow tie and Dave the Dog with his comic print jacket and blue glasses. Our characters are often amusing and we use pattens and textiles on the clothing to make them relatable. In our activity book Pipkin and Dave journey through the jungle in a hot air balloon, guiding the reader to each activity. We wanted lots of drawing and making activities to engage the child so we have designed make your own postcards, make a piggy mask, design a hot air balloon and DIY party bunting. We have also designed finding and spotting pages, hiding lots of jungle animals within the pages of the book for the child to spot.
We are currently designing some characters. Here is a few of our sketches of children we have been making recently. First we reference from real life and from photos, looking at movement, detail in the face and the clothing. We don’t always copy from just one photo, instead we reference from a few photos looking at how we would like the character to sit and stand and move around. We like our characters to look quite realistic so we carefully reference the face and the proportions of the body. We then simplify them down slightly in our own style and give them clothing which would help convey their personalities.
Designing animal characters is one of our favourite parts of illustrating, particularly coming up with witty and amusing animals that can be used in a variety of projects. One of our favourite characters that we like to draw is Mr Walrus. He wears a sailors cap and jersey and blue glasses. To get Mr Walrus personalty we firstly referenced from the animal and then we referenced from sailors and fishermen, looking closely at their clothing and facial expresions. One of our recent characters that we have designed is the white rabbit in round glasses and headphones. Referencing from modern clothing and giving our characters everyday objects like headphones, makes our characters really believable.
One of our favourite parts of illustrating a picture book is creating storyboards. When we plan out a storyboard we write quick notes on the layout of the story and the rough idea. Our first storyboard ideas start as little thumbnail sketches, usually these are very rough. We then draw up our designs on bigger pieces of paper so that we can experiment with what angles and viewpoints we want to use.
We work together to come up with each page layout, working on scraps of paper and in a sketchbook. When we have finished the rough storyboard, we layout all the pages next to each other so that we can see how the story flows. We then go back and make adjustments, altering the placement of things and looking at where the text would sit. Sometimes we would work on the same page together and other times we would work on different pages. We would then combine our drawings and ideas together and work over these.
We are currently working on an idea for a story. We have started planning out thumbnails and character sketches. These are some of the more developed sketches, where we have started to play with scale and viewpoint.
We are currently working on some greetings card designs. We are mainly using characters as the basis of the designs and we are working to a particular theme or occasion. Many of our card designs are inspired by nature and the outdoors, so the colours are quite bright and fresh. We like our designs to have a playful feel, so we have created characters that have a subtle charm and wit such as hanging sloth in a red waistcoat.
To create our illustrations we use pencil crayon, watercolour and digital collage. We enjoy creating patterns and textures on the characters clothing. One of our designs includes a waddling penguin in a red fair isle style knitted jumper on a snowflake background.
We have also been experimenting with typography which we wasn’t that confidant with to begin with. We are practicing hand drawing the type so that it sits nicely with our hand drawn illustrations. We trace the type we want using a lightbox and change it slightly so that it fits with the card design. We then go over it in watercolour, which took quite a few times to get right, but it was worth it in the end. We then layout all the elements of the design on photoshop, following our rough sketches.
The card designs we have done recently include a penguin christmas card, a zoo themed card for children, a playful baby orang-utan card and a lion on a bike birthday card.