Encyclopedia of Fantasy Beasts

I decided to create an encyclopedia about mythical creatures as this was a subject I knew a fair bit about and could have some fun with the illustrations. After looking through lists of some different creatures I decided I would do:

  • Basilisk
  • Cockatrice
  • Dragon
  • Kraken
  • Leviathan
  • Pegasus
  • Unicorn
  • Werewolf

I chose as in alphabetical order in they bear similarities on adjacent pages; IE, Basilisk and Cockatrice are cousins, Kraken and Leviathan are sea monsters, and Pegasus and Unicorns are horses.

Each image is paper cut from ink stained paper with details added in black and white pen. The illuminated letter at the beginning of each title is also cut from paper and embellished with pen.

I have decided to keep the text a mixture of “serious facts” and small comical notes; for example, i have included in depth facts about dragon biology but also notes referencing video game developers Nintendo and a song from 1978 by Warren Zevon.

I wanted the overall feel of the encyclopedia to be like a travelers journal so have aged the paper using coffee and handwritten all the text. I have also included smaller pencil sketches to highlight parts of the text.

I feel that overall the book is successful but some pages are more successful than others. When the pages were bound some of the text was too close to the edge of the page and has been cut off.

Text cut off by the binding process

Despite this, however, the book has the journal like qualities i was hoping for, especially with the faux leather cover I have bound it in. The jagged edges on the cover and worn nature of the faux leather has given the book the ancient, old feel I envisioned at the start of the project.

Simple front cover

The book has been successful however if I were to make it again I would type the text to keep it uniform, make sure to leave a margin on the sides of the page to stop text being cut off after binding and add card to the cover to give it some form of stability.



A Summary of Illustration Application Module

During the Illustration Application module I have produced 6 illustrations for varying medias and using varying mediums. I tried to keep in mind both the tone and themes of the articles in question to create both an interesting and, where applicable, contemporary illustration that highlighted a key section of the articles text.

“Just so much, and no more”

In the 1st article, the theme that I drew on was the idea that although the earth and economics are competing, economy seems to have the advantage. I feel that by having the personification of economy resting his feet on the earth, I have managed to get this across. This conflict between the two has also been highlighted through the use of contrasting colours (blue and orange ink). (original post x x)

“Absolution comes on a Wing and a Prayer”

As the 2nd article was about birds in Dakar, I decided that by giving the illustration an ethic feel though use of pattern, I could give an idea of where the article was set through the illustration. The use of simplified shapes, particularly in the feathers and hands, has been effective and has lent itself to the screen-printing process I have used to produce the final image. Although the colour has misprinted slightly I feel this has given an added effect to the feathers, particularly the 3 below the head. (original posts x x x)

“Did Humans kill off the Hobbits?”

The 3rd article was set by my peer as part of an Art Direction task. He told me that I should focus on characters as that was a strength of mine and thought this article would lend itself to this. As it was an internet article, not for a newspaper or magazine, I thought I would keep the illustration light-hearted and not too serious. By using a fairly cartoon like style I think I have managed this. Again I have used contrasting colours to highlight the conflict in the article and drawn from a key section of the text to represent with the image. (original posts x x)

“To Kill a Mocking Bird”

After the articles, we were tasked with creating penguin book covers. The first book was “To Kill a Mocking Bird” by Harper Lee. Looking at existing covers for this, I decided to stay away from images of birds and focus on the themes of the book instead. The key theme I focused on was the idea of the black man being found guilty and sentenced to death. I have used a limited colour palette and contrasting, complimentary colours to highlight conflict. The imperfections created by screen-printing have added to the piece, especially in the rope of the noose making a silhouette appear slightly 3-dimensional. I used orange for the background in reference to the classic penguin book covers that used orange and white. (original posts x x)

“The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole: Aged 13 3/4”

The second book was “The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole: Aged 13 3/4” by Sue Townsend. I didn’t know a lot about this book but after researching it and other diary based book decided on the idea of having the cover look like a journal page. I achieved this by using notebook pages roughly torn and used handwriting for the text. I included some small illustrations in a somewhat childlike style as if doodled by Adrian; I highlighted 2 parts of the book in these, Adrian actually writing his diary and him being in love, a key theme in the book. The ink splatters are effective in the diary aesthetic but became too smudged in the blotting process. (original posts x x)

“Herefordshire Libraries Book Festival Brochure”

The final illustration was a cover for the Herefordshire Libraries Book Festival brochure. I decided i would focus on the the idea of books more than Hereford as i felt this would play to my strengths and would therefore be more successful. I chose to do a dragon as fantasy is a popular children’s book genre as well as mine. The dragons scales are individually cut out of paper and are supposed to represent books. I wanted to keep the background simple to keep the focus on the foreground imagery. I decided to use a page of a book to stay with the book theme. After trying various pages, I settled on “Tigger is unbounced” a story from “A world of Winnie-the-Pooh” as the layout of the text worked well with the imagery and it made sense to use a children book as a background for a brochure uses imagery aimed at children. (original posts x x)

Book Cover: The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4

The final cover for this book hasn’t changed much from the previous design however I have changed the drawing of Adrian to give it more “action” and to tie into the plot a bit more; with him dealing with the notion of love.

I have changed the font to a more child-like handwriting as opposed to the sharper adult version from the draft.

I think the cream paper is more effective than the white from the draft as it is less contrasting to the dark background and more aesthetically pleasing.

I liked the idea of having Adrian with his diary from the draft version so I decided to include it as an illustration on the back. I think this works well as I had originally just had the blank page with the ink splotches.

Given more time, I may have redone the pages as some of the ink got smudged as I was blotting it and, particularly on the back, intrudes on some of the imagery.


Book cover: To Kill A Mocking Bird

As I was coming up with some initial ideas, I originally focused a lot on birds however after a group crit I decided to focus more on one of the first ideas I came up with; the two faces and the noose… As I began thinking the idea of birds was slightly overused, and the group had said that this looked much more unique and striking.

Pinterest Board:

I reordered the image so the noose hung down instead of up as I’d had it in the initial sketch s this made more sense and blocked out the colours using a stronger pigment.

I decided to use orange and blue and black and white and these are 2 pairs of contrasting, or conflicting, colours; a key theme of the book.

I had originally planned to use paper cut to create the final image but after a test I wasn’t happy with the way this looks, some I’ve decided to try using screen print.



Editorial Illustration: “Just so much, and no more”

I have improved on some aspects of the design, i.e. making the Earth look slightly more strained and added a simple background in order to ground the image. I chose to use a simplified colour pallet of orange and blue, with the addition of black and white.

I used blue and orange in particular as there is a trend towards this particular set of colours in a lot of contemporary  illustration at the moment. I also picked them as they are contrasting/ opposing colours which echos the conflicting “characters” in the illustration and article.

As I used ink to colour the image, some of the colours ran into each other; however i like the effect this has created, especially with his mustache and beard.

The colour ran through to the other side of the paper I used. I think this has created an interesting effect and, as Nicholas Stevenson pointed out to me, it might be interesting to see what this would look like layer onto of the original image.




Editorial Illustration:”Just so much, and no more”

The design I created to re-illustrate the article “Just so much, and no more” by Donna Meadows that featured in “Resurgence and Ecologist” magazine. The tone of the article suggested to me that the image should in some way show how “economics” is putting pressure on the Earth and if something isn’t done then it could lead to the Earths demise.

After deciding on the design I tested the image with a thicker line, however ultimately decided against this as I personally didn’t think it worked.