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Responding to Brief
Today's Newsletter is All about Pathways into Children's Publishing Program entry requirements and How I prepared myself for this and get started! If you are curious..read ahead.
After successfully illustrating Children Book “Always Here” written by Kristin Loudon in year 2021, my childhood dream got alive again! I was digging up Children Book Publishing industry in UK and found out about Pathways into Children’s Publishing program by Pop-Up Org. Which mentors, helps and represents less represented humans of the earth in Children’s Publishing Industry to bring out their voice as an author and Illustrator. Their first program was already running up and I quite followed it online by stocking it as the Covid was going on…in 2022, I was eagerly waiting for the Pop-Up Org to launch their Pathways into Children’s Publishing program applications for Year 2023-24.
When, they opened applications, I couldn't wait to start working on the brief and preparing myself for all the obstacles as I was nurturing our new born, the second little one and managing home chores! :D
As a kid, I grew up listening to folk stories and always enjoyed Classical story books with Morals in it, for example, Panch tantra and Tenali Raman. The Brief was : Reimagine any classical story , twist it and illustrate one page illustration in your own style.
As soon as I got this brief, I started reading classic stories again and felt very nostalgic remembering my childhood days… doing this was quite enjoyable as I read most of them to my little one! Researching on story books as much as I could to pick up one story gives so much clarity to my thoughts at the same time picking one for my own project became quite a lengthy start. After some writing tasks to twist the original classics, finally I could arrive on conclusion of my thoughts and reimagined “Little Red Riding Hood”.
Exploring thumbnail sketches gives me immense joy! As they are quite quick to work with and gives freedom to explore as much as you want before arriving on conclusions. Please have a look, the sketchbook pages (below) are so much of this and that! this or that? In most of them you can see how I make notes of thoughts coming to my mind while I’m ideating the story and concept. Plotting the story and going back and forth for the same quite a lot of time to make sure there is a strong foundation of the characteristics and construction of the story arc.
In these thumbnails you can also see some notes I took while sketching quickly in my A5 sketchbook. Choosing one Thumbnail from the pile of them was quite a daunting idea, but for me is is like…the more I work on it, the more I gather my thoughts and eventually get it done!
I leaned towards that composition where the wolf seems suddenly appearing from the woods and the little red riding hood is surrounded by it, it is a vertical layout and also shows the grandma’s house is little far away on hill. I imagined this layout can also show my skills to illustrate various plants and trees (an environment along with characters), so I went out on little sunny day and sketched in local park to gather some references of what patterns and textures I could include in this illustration. Please have a look at image below…
Next, Converting that Thumbnail Sketch into Final Drawing Composition followed by Line Art on Paper with 0.3mm ink pen. here, I used Rule of Third, Depth, Rhythm and Movement, Busy Environment vs. Space for Characters…Red Riding Hood in the simple dress vs. harsh textures on the wolf! Honestly, I quite went into details on A5 paper sketchbook! 😅 And I also used my reference sketches for this step to ideate all environmental details…
Then Scanning this original line art work and digitally painting it with chosen colour pallet…First, I did various colour combinations in thumbnail size and deciding on Day vs. Night combinations.
Simultaneously, I was also researching on how to re-produce this illustration for wider public and I came across a printing process called Riso Graph. Hence I tried to emulate that in my digital illustration using Clip Studio Paint. Here are colour thumbnails explorations, which in animation industry people call “Colour Keys”.
This was quite challenging task as the Brief mentioned to use only 3 colours! While exploring colour thumbnails quickly, I figured Green for forest and Purple for symbolic sky of evening, and their overlap can create strong Line Art with Deep Blue colour…Red is of course used as it’s about Red Riding Hood. And Honestly speaking, I love red bricks houses! Even if used in very small quantities the colour RED can be spotted very quickly by anyone. So I am trying to put colour psychology and technology together here and choose Green, Purple and Red as my 3 main colours.
This final illustration has actually only 3 different layers with each for one colour and they're all (called colour plates) overlapped during printing process. It can be printed in this combination as I visualised or any other 3 colours for the printing process…to get different feeling and mood!
Finally, here is my story of “Little Red Riding Hood Is No More Little” with a contemporary twist. In today’s world, where there is information overload from everywhere, it is difficult for children to navigate and take right decisions at right moment. I see this whole concept has a potential to become a series of books and perhaps an animated TV series for kids, where we can teach children “How to use Digital Gadgets and Media right way at the same time spread the joy of learning and exploring all new digital skills!”
I hope you like to read and discover my entire process of Storytelling with a twist and creating illustration in response to the brief for the application at Pathways into Children's Publishing, by Pop-Up Org, London. I am very much thankful to got chosen in for Year 2023-24 Program and I will keep posting about my new explorations along with some tips and tricks in upcoming newsletters. Feel free to comment and share below your thoughts or ask any questions if you have. Happy to chat :)
Also, Please spread the word to your illustrator friends and artists and like minded creatives about my newsletter. I would really love to have more people learn and explore the world of storytelling and illustrating with me.
Thank you and Kind regards,
Yours truly, The iLLo Raani.
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