Children’s Book Illustration

Last quarter I took a class at UC Berkeley, ‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ by Kristine Brongo, who is the design director of children’s publishing at Chronicle Books. This was one of the best classes, I went into it thinking it was just going to be a lecture class, talking about what goes behind publishing children’s book, but after the first class I found out that we were supposed to work on a project ‘Book Dummy’ and the class was about how to become a children’s book illustrator, how to tell a story through pictures with your skill, style, technique. The class was to develop your illustration style, as well as technique and media.

I learned a lot from this class, like what are the basic components of book, different structures of book, the rules of the picture book, and when is it okay to break these rules.

Basic components of book: Book Jacket, Case Wrap, Spine, End Paper (consider this like a wallpaper)

There are two ways end papers can be binder: Self ended book and Traditional Style (separate end paper)

And some of the rules for picture books are:
1) narrative art with beginning and an end
2) don’t try to write in rythm
3) Don’t write about overused topics
4) Don’t try to teach a lesson

Few resources:
1) illopond.com
2) How to be an Illustrator.
3) Illustrating Children’s Book

Printmaking

I have been wanting to take one of the Printmaking classes at San Francisco Center of the Book, but unfortunately haven;t been able to, so bought a book on the topic and learnt few terms on the topic.

Block Print: Print made from curved block of wood, linoleum, styrofoam, etc.

Collagraph: A print made from a dimensional collaged plate.

Edition: A complete series of identical prints pulled from a single plate.

Ghost Print: A print pulled from the remaining image left on a plate after the first print has been pulled.

Impression: A single image printed on peer, cloth, or other substrate.

Masking: Covering a section of the substrate, the image, or the matrix to prevent contact with ink;masking protects the printing that already exists,so additional printing can be added without covering up the first player.

Matrix: The source of the print-the surface on which printable image exists.

Monoprint: Unique print that is pulled from a ghost plate that has had an additional ink added to it or that was otherwise modified.

Monotype Print: A Unique print that cannot be duplicated.

Original Print: A first-edition print as opposed to a reproduction.

Dieter Rams

Principles of Good Design by Dieter Rams

    Innovative – The possibilities for innovation are not, by any means, exhausted. Technological development is always offering new opportunities for innovative design. But innovative design always develops in tandem with innovative technology, and can never be an end in itself.
    Make a product useful – A product is bought to be used. It has to satisfy certain criteria, not only functional, but also psychological and aesthetic. Good design emphasizes the usefulness of a product whilst disregarding anything that could possibly detract from it.
    Aesthetic – The aesthetic quality of a product is integral to its usefulness because products are used every day and have an effect on people and their well-being. Only well-executed objects can be beautiful.
    Make a product understandable – It clarifies the product’s structure. Better still, it can make the product clearly express its function by making use of the user’s intuition. At best, it is self-explanatory.
    Unobtrusive – Products fulfilling a purpose are like tools. They are neither decorative objects nor works of art. Their design should therefore be both neutral and restrained, to leave room for the user’s self-expression.
    Honest – It does not make a product more innovative, powerful or valuable than it really is. It does not attempt to manipulate the consumer with promises that cannot be kept.
    Long-lasting – It avoids being fashionable and therefore never appears antiquated. Unlike fashionable design, it lasts many years – even in today’s throwaway society.
    Is thorough down to the last detail – Nothing must be arbitrary or left to chance. Care and accuracy in the design process show respect towards the consumer.
    Is environmentally friendly – Design makes an important contribution to the preservation of the environment.
    It conserves resources and minimizes physical and visual pollution throughout the lifecycle of the product.
    Is as little design as possible – Less, but better – because it concentrates on the essential aspects, and the products are not burdened with non-essentials. Back to purity, back to simplicity.

Logo

Logo’s are meant to represent companies’ brands or corporate identities and encourage their immediate customer recognition.

Designing a good logo requires involvement from marketing and the design team. It needs clear idea about the concept and value of brand and also understanding the consumer.

Any Logo must:

    Communication Meaning
    Express clean Voice
    Communicate and essence
    Be Engaging
    Be Unique
    Differentiate the brand, social cause organization or company in the mind of the viewer.

Project Steps

What do you do when you are assigned a project? A question to ask yourself is “What are the steps that I need to take to finish the project?” Its best not to turn on the computer and jump to the software program. Instead to save some time follow these simple steps.

    Understand what’s being asked from you.
    Research the subject carefully.
    Concept some sketches.
    Work on the design brief.
    Review the sketches and the design brief with the client.
    Now get on to the software program that you want to use.
    Put together your rough ideas.
    Review them again.
    Work on the final version.

I know it looks like a lot of work, but if you want to be creative and want to satisfy your client needs,you should have complete knowledge of the subject and should be able to ask questions and get answers with the help of the design brief.

I am always tempted to start drawing something in Illustrator before sketching. But I have been telling myself to follow these steps, before every single project.

Fox Collection

Finally my poster for the ‘San Francisco Public Library’s George M. Fox Children’s Book Collection’, from the typography class, is up on the walls of UCBX building. 
I took the picture with my iPhone so its little dark. Here’s the original poster and also another take on the same.  

I want my Hat Back-Jon Klassen

Story summary:
The bear’s hat is gone, and he wants it back. Patiently he asks the animals he comes across, one by one, whether they have seen it. Each animal says no, some more elaborately than others. But just as the bear begins to despond, a deer comes by and asks a simple question that sparks the bear’s memory and renews his search with a vengeance.

Jon Klassen, the author and illustrator has illustrated other books like Cat’s Night out. The artwork has a watercolor look to it but are created digitally and in chinese ink in muted browns and red palette, and the expression’s of the bear are expressed just through the eyes. The typeface color matches the animal the bear is talking to.When the animals are talking to each other their eyes faces the reader which makes a funny look.

The story is in dialogue (very little) . The bear visits various animals to see if they’ve seen his hat. He (and all of the animals) tend to have this very little expression the whole time, which gives the book a slow tone, until the bear remembers where he’s seen his hat. The large silhouettes are contrasted with delicate foliage beneath each page. The use of white space also makes the illustrations look good.

The things that i like the most: the pacing of the story, the humor, the use of minimum color palette, the thick paper, the funny ending and the scene where the bear runs to the left to backtrack the story.
Children will recognize, the lies and excuses in “I Want My Hat Back,”, and this will make them want the book read aloud again and again.

Following are two of the full spreads which I think work amazingly.

Bear is sad and lonely without his hat. He is sad that he cannot find his hat ever again.

the bear runs to the left of the page to backtrack after he realizes that he saw his hat before.