Before I could continue with the illustration process I needed to come up with an approach to bring in the reader interaction. I really enjoyed something I saw in a book called "The Invisible Boy" illustrated by Patrice Barton, it used speech bubbles within the picture book, and I thought this looked amazing and it was something that I could work into my book. I didn't want to have to completely redo all the work I did on the thumbnails I did in week 8 or have to rewrite my picture book entirely. If I had to do this I'd run the risk of not completing the book and printing it in time for my exam and exhibition.
With this in mind, I revisited my thumbnails...
I decided that in the first spread it'd be better to have the opening words be over a page that's showing the other part of that spread, I think in doing so it introduces a little more loneliness and separation that Maison feels compared to her peers. This will also allow for more contrast to the full colour of everyone but Maison. Notably, no one is staring at Maison, she's just feeling this pressure from within herself.
This opening is set as a school swimming carnival as from my experience that was the most traumatic and daunting event in the school calendar for me growing up. Whilst I'm sure I wasn't the only one that felt self-conscious wearing nothing but my swimsuit in front of the whole school, there was an extra level of pressure given I was the only one with a half red leg...
The next spread that had a major change was the first spread where we enter the rainbow, for this spread I need to introduce and reiterate the notion of painting and decorating the birthmark. So instead of just playing with her family in a field, she's actively being painted by her mum, with her little brother helping. Here I'm also introducing the framing element that begins creeping in as the colour yellow. The idea of this is this part of the story is happening at another time than the story at the swimming pool, and this visual element is an indicator of this. You can also see the use of engagement speech bubbles here.
The spread representing blue also needed to be changed as well, because previously the book takes a pause here to represent sadness here and showed Maison being sad. However, with the introduction of speech bubbles encouraging kids to paint themselves, it didn't seem right to encourage kids to paint themselves with things that represent what makes them sad - so whilst I kept the element of sometimes feeling sad (blue) I also introduces the generosity and honestly (indigo). With this quality, the reader is encouraged to paint someone else as a form of generosity.
Finally, rounding off the pages we have a spread that brings us back to the swimming carnival where Maison and her team have won the swimming carnival and is proudly standing with her friends. I'm considering making this spread full colour with red heavily featured so that it's representing all of her whilst heavily foreground her birthmark.
The next page is something that I'm very curious and excited about...
On the left she's proudly standing in front of a rainbow (Rosie the riveter pose and all) and on the right she's holding up a mirror to the reader stating that they're rainbow too - especially if they've been painting along. With this page, I'm hoping to install some foil here to that the page has an inbuilt mirror so the reader can see themselves. This is an idea I came up with as I was thumbnailing the book, and it's an advantage of being an author/illustrator that I can just run with ideas that come in the drawing phases.
I've ordered this self-adhesive film and hopefully, it will arrive in time and fit my needs. I think with this I will need to get two copies of my book printed just in case I make a mistake installing it.
You can watch me putting together and drawing the thumbnails below:
Is AR Necessary?
With these final pages and the inclusion of a mirror, I've come to wonder if the AR integration I was planning is really necessary. This page with the mirror element is already inviting the child to look at themselves and it's going to almost literally put them in the book and I wonder if putting the AR in here on top of this is going to be too cumbersome. I'm leaning towards not having AR in the final product, even though the AR was the inspiration for this story. Sometimes keeping things lo-fi and simple is best.
First Book Prototype
At this point, I put together my first prototype so that I could get a good idea of how the book lays and flows from page to page.
I also rediscover what a pain it is to layout book pages in the correct order to print a saddle stitch style,
So after a couple of false starts where I got the layout wrong and reloaded my pages into my printer the wrong way I got this little guy:
It's super rough, but having the book layout out and being able to flip through it was really helpful in working out where I might need to make changes and shift things about. I went through it and drew on it where I'd things to lay and some of the lettering might be layed out.
Going through this process I'm even more convinced that the AR integration would not be that - integrated. At this stage to properly incorporate AR I think I'd have to start from the beginning building the AR into the book in a more integral manner.
You can watch me putting together the prototype below:
Starting the sketches proper
At this point I'm a bit behind schedule compared to where I wanted to be at this point, I had aimed to have finished the sketch stage by week 8....so...uh
But, I finally got started in week 11! This is what happens when you underestimate how long it takes to collate your research and methods into formal writing - ie my exegesis... so I lost some time writing that for a week instead of working on my studio practice.
Building on my notes from my prototype and thumbnails I began working on the first spread. Whilst I was working on it I was getting excited about the next stage and I was considering if I could render the pages in black and white and add the colour later...allowing me to keep the roughness of the sketch and colour and in turn, hopefully shortening my work time...We'll see how I go going forward. This first page - being an establishing shot is the most complex and in-depth of any of the pages - it's also one of the ones with the most colour. When I was done illustrating the spread I popped it straight into InDesign so that I could mock up the text and also have it ready for the next prototype.
I built a 3d mockup to help expedite the process so I didn't have to mess with trying to get the perspective right. It wasn't really all that much easier because I had to learn how to use Blender again whilst doing it.
Here's what I ended up with. I can already see that I think I need to move my main character as she looks a little awkward standing in that spot. I think she might be better in the last third of the page than the first third.
You can see me creating this sketch below:
I had to submit my plan for the end-of-year exhibit that goes along with my exam. This was difficult to do at the time it wasn't decided where the exhibition is going to be. I fully expect this design to change but I still expect to need some plinths, a table, and a monitor, and the ability to hang up some explanatory posters behind my exhibit.
In a further effort to learn blender, I did this up in the program too.
I also came up with a quick logo for the book/kit which I'd hope could be used for future books in the series. I'm hoping I'll have time to refine this before my final submission.