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    children book illustration

    hi folks,

    here are some words about myself. it's my first real post at conceptart.org.
    i'm a graphics design student from dortmund/germany. i am a member of conceptart for a while and coming here to the forum from time to time- just watching the great art. it's nice to see such a great community with so much nice people who are addicted to art. providing useful information.



    at this time i'm working on an illustration project at my university. i have not much knowledge in art or illustration - wether theory or practice. so i'm trying to get much critics, advice and help as possible.

    the project is a children book. it's a visualisation of a children song. nothing special with deep sence or so. maybe 7 to 10 pages. i just wanted to start with two pages to set the final colors style etc i want to work with the whole book and then to go on.



    below is my first attempt. pencil scan with photoshop color. rough coloring for checking out some examples. it is a double page. the folding is in the middle. hope to get much critic as possible ;-) thanks svenjo


    i sneaked 01.jpg

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    Well, for starters, the text refers to "sneaking in night" but it's not visible on the image at all. Show, don't tell. Or if you can't escape telling, show it still. The kid is dressed in day clothes, but more importantly the colouring is warm and orange-ish with lots of light (like the kitchen in apparently fully illuminated). Try different colour versions, a more cooler, blueish colour theme would probably fit much better on invoking a night feeling, and to have the kitchen much darker would show no one is in there. Or if some one is there, make the kitchen light the main light source to emphasize that.

    Also though I think the composition is otherwise pretty okay, considering the naivistic style, if the folding is in the middle, it may take bit away from the kid's arm and side of his head, and it may look weird, depending on how tight it will be (as in since there's only ten pages or so, it shouldn't be that bad, but if there's a lot more you may get some problems). Just something to consider, just in case.

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    Changes

    hi tinybird - i was ill for a while, so i couldn't go on with work and i didn't answer. sorry. now i am back again...

    thanks for advice - i tried some of your suggestions:

    format boy middle: first i changed the format to change the look of the book. i think it now looks more clean with seperating text and picture on each page. that fixes the problem with the boy overlapping in the middle. i changed the composition a bit and moved him to the right.

    color/ nightfeeling: i tried to change the palette (pic02) and added a filter on (03+04) to make it more look like night. i think i have to choose the "effect layer filter-method" to add light or shadow to change colors. because i am really struggling with color palette, because i don't have much knowledge in color theory.


    pics 02,03,04

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    They're better, but still kinda bland. Since you're working with cartoony illustration, you can safely add more saturation:
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    I don't know how dark the kitchen in the second pic looks, in my browser it looks way darker that it's supposed to, so use you own judgement.

    Also I liked the look you had in the first image where the text kinda hovered over the image, so I'd personally try doing the same, but adding white or pale blue under the text, or changing the text into white.

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    did you put a effect layer on top to achieve the saturated night blue effect?!

    svenjo graphic design student fh dortmund germany
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    Quote Originally Posted by svenjo View Post
    did you put a effect layer on top to achieve the saturated night blue effect?!
    I took your first image, selected everything else but the kitchen with lasso tool and added a blue Photo Filter (Image > Adjustments). The same thing can be achieved by other ways too.

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    Let's go On

    Hello I am back again with some new pics.

    I was offline for a while, because i am very stressed at the moment. Internet is not working all the time. I am moving to a new house and have to do other thousand things. I have to finish this whole book in about two weeks. I don't know how to do it but - i will try the impossible...

    Hi Tiny i tried again some color and layout variations with the second picture. The blue effect was a nice tip. I desaturated it a little bit. Here they are. I will have to genarte rhytm over the whole book. I thought that i make most of the part of the book in this layoutstyle like in the second page. And some pages (a big picture over two pages like the first attempt) to add ryhtm in layout and color. That's the basic idea. Colors I am not sure about. Like to get some critics.

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    I'm REALLY hoping I don't offend you, because you're an ESL speaker and you're doing great. That being said, the language isn't quite native sounding. Of course, European ESL speakers tend to model after British or Irish speakers, and I'm an American so there might be some things I get that are still odd sounding. I don't know how appropriate a criticism like this would be, if you wrote the text or are using somebody else's, or if it's even really that relevant, but if you want I can re-write your text to be more naturalistic.

    I feel more comfortable saying that the "I sneaked into..." panel is SUPER dead. Place a cast shadow or something under the text if you're rolling with the blue. Also, it would really benefit you to redraw the kid in more of a sneaky pose. When you're illustrating in this style, it's best to avoid depicting what a person is doing in a realistic sense. Rather, what you want to do is draw what the character is FEELING like they're doing, especially with children. A kid falls down and starts crying: Maybe one or two tears roll out, realistically. But they feel like they're unleashing a waterfall of tears. That's what you want.

    So when you see a kid sneaking, they may be like, hugging the wall like you've got here. But they feel like they're actually being James Bond. So go with a depiction that shows them acting like they're a secret agent. Tip-toes, arched back, etc.

    Edit: Also, sorry to hear that your personal life has been messing with your ability to draw. Looks like you're in a real bind on this piece. Best of luck. =\

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    Quote Originally Posted by Strato View Post
    That being said, the language isn't quite native sounding.
    It's a kids song: http://www.lyricsmania.com/i_sneaked...s_polisar.html

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    ....weeeeird! His lyrics are a little..stilted in my opinion. Thanks for the clarification though.

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    A few technical comments.

    The fold in the middle of the book is called the gutter. KEEP THINGS OUT OF THE GUTTER! You want to keep anything important about a cm away from the gutter, because when the book is bound, you can't open the page all the way, and things get kind of lost in the fold. If you need to extend something across the gutter (like an arm) you increase the length by just a tiny bit to compensate for the gutter, so it doesn't look too short. So, in your illustrations, I would bump the picture with the flower over just a tiny, tiny bit.

    Also, you would need to have bleed. Bleed is when you add an extra inch, or however much you choose, to each side of your illustration to allow for adjustments made by the designer, as well as to make sure any errors in printing or layout don't ruin the whole book. It's probably not such a big deal for your project, but as an illustrator, I look at your work and think OH MY GOD, YOU NEED MORE BLEED!

    Now, in terms of the actual illustrations, the shadow on the door in the first illustration doesn't make sense to me. It seems kind of random. In fact, get rid of the door and just have the opening. In terms of architecture, I think it would be very strange for the kitchen to have a door like that. It looks like the door to a public restroom.

    Also, I like visual continuity. So, in the first picture, the boy is peering into the kitchen, and you see the stove, the teapot, and the fun wallpaper/tiles. So on the next page when he's in the kitchen, I want to see something from the kitchen in that illustration too. I would say either include the wallpaper/tiles somewhere, or the teapot. Actually, looking at that checkered pattern, I noticed that there are some errors in it. I'm not sure if you did that on purpose. I would say to either make it really random, or make it a perfect pattern.

    Also... the wine glass. I'm sure people here are going to say "oh my god, Misterboo, that's the stupidest thing to worry about. Who cares?" But I'm pretty sure if my art director was looking at this she would say, "why is there a wine glass? Put something else there." And then I would, because I do whatever she tells me to do. Anyway, in the US, people are insane, so the three things I NEVER put in any illustrations are: cigarettes, guns, and alcohol. I probably wouldn't have noticed it if there were other things on the shelf. I guess that's the problem. It looks so important to me. So I would say that you should either put other things on that shelf, or put something else there instead.

    Anyway, I really like your character. I just finished illustrating a book, and I kind of hate everything about it. I wish mine looked at fun as yours does.

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    Thanks for the book and printing comments MisterBoo I found all of that very useful indeed, I'm trying to put one of these together too as a personal project and didnt fully appreciate the gutter, or the political correctness issue but now that you mention it I see what you mean, thanks for posting mate it was a big help.

    A great kind hearted lumbering bullock



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    Hi folks,

    thanks to all for your fast replies. It motivates me getting so much critics and help. I find it really useful reading your thoughts.

    I will give fast answers.

    Strato: "kid sneaking" to draw it more like the character is hugging the wall or so. Ok - I will try to exaggerate those kiddy movements in the next pictures. To show it for a younger audience more clearly. I will change the first page if I have the time at the end. In fact I really have not much time for the project. I have to finish it for an exam at my university in round about two weeks. And there is plenty of work to do if you take a look at the lyrics;-)

    TinyBird: Thanks for the link with the lyrics. Yes it's Polisar - and I like his naive lyrics. So the character and style of the book should be this way, too.

    MisterBoo: Yes - gutter and bleed seems now clearly. I will move the text a little bit into the middle of the pages to give it more space. But I think I will let the rest of the illustration where it is now. When it will be cut a little bit to much - I think it's not so bad. I will try some variations with the doorkitchen/ shadow and the visual continuity. I have to make compromises, because I am running out of time. So it must be finished with little tricks to to draw as less as possible ;-) The wine glass comment makes me smile. I didn't thought about that. It reminds me of Tomy Ungerers children book "Kein Kuß für Mutter" (German Title). It got a price in the USA for the "worst children book", because there is a hard liquor bottle on the breakfast table. I wanted to look the characters funny and naive. Like to hear that it works.

    Hope to post some new pics soon...

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    In the kitchen

    hello friends, here's a little update.

    i tried the kitchen scene again. i added the checked kitchen background to link the first with this doublepage (visual consistency). then i added the blue background on the right side to produce a more night feeling look. because it's all happening in the night. added a slightly shadow on the text and moved it a little bit. i don't know what to do with the two picture boxes on the right. leave them as they are - without a real border only with the dark pencil border. or doing a little white border (something like this in the current picture).

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    The pattern confuses me and makes the text harder to read IMHO. I think a hint of the pattern here and there would be enough, no need to fill the whole frame, but I'm no expert...

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    I'm far from an expert, and this is my first time commenting/criticizing, but something is bugging me with the last picture: One, I thought the pattern was the floor until I saw the drawings, since it looks like the table is standing on the pattern. Two, in a previous picture, those drawings hung over the stove, and now the stove is gone. While it's a children's book, consistency would be nice. It may just be me though.

    I like the overall feeling though, don't give up!

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    Update

    Updates

    Hello TheMike and EagleGrove. Tried to fix the problem with the confusing pattern and the stove for visual continuity. I am not really happy with the red text. Some kind of "too much" on this page ?! I don't know.

    And another picture with rough coloring.

    svenjo

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