Wednesday, November 27, 2013

How to make children's book illustrations look AMAZING



An illustration preview for an upcoming book about imagination, creativity, and hope


1. The medium could be the message. Choose the medium that best reflects the essence of the story. Sometimes, there are certain phrases or words that can be lifted from the story to highlight and use as inspiration of the style or medium for the entire illustrations. Explore and combine different medium to achieve maximum effect.

2. Show diligence in the work by taking the initiative to research facts, anatomy, costumes, etc.; exploit digital media in researching.

3. Design memorable characters with unique facial features or gestural expressions. Add personality through costume and accessories like a crafty hat, tie, scarf, bag, glasses, or even toys.

4. Draw collections with variations as part of the scene like books (poetry, art, or picture books), toys (collection of dolls, airplanes, robots), different kinds of bottles (colored, perfume), or pottery (mugs, vase, teapot, etc).

5. Compose visual elements in a scene like works of art.



How to make children's book illustrations interesting.


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How I choose scenes from a story to illustrate


"Bush" from AngINK Zine issue no. 2: Manimalaman


One of the frequently asked questions and also one of the most challenging aspect in illustrating children's books is choosing the scenes from the passage.

Here are my own guides in choosing which part of the story to illustrate:

1. Pick scenes that can look good visually and can be sustained consistently throughout the book.

Appealing words, themes, or objects lifted from the text can be used as inspiration or the focal point of the scene. Personally, visually pleasing in children's books means: harmonious, balanced, rhythmic, fantastic 

2. Out of the possible scenarios, imagine and choose the best scene that create a dramatic effect.

Which among the possible scenes can:
a. use composition in establishing eye direction.
b. be played around with scale and perspective
c. draw attention through color blocking.
d. spark imaginative thinking

3. Show rather than tell.

Select scenes that have the potential to:
a. establish a mood
b. create a specific setting and inform through details
c. compose a dynamic scene more than a still life.

4. Scenes that best summarize the essence of a passage

When no interesting imagery comes out from the passage, create a "commentary" image by interpreting the text based on personal experiences.

5. The "in-between" scenes

Sometimes there are moments in the scene where it is not directly stated, those scenes provide a word-image synergy when illustrated.



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The Peter Pan Prize



video

Naku, Nakuu, Nakuuu! Swedish version HARDBOUND! A dream come true :-)



And so it happened.

The Peter Pan Prize was awarded to our book Naku, Nakuu, Nakuuu! in Gothenburg, Sweden by the International Board on Books for Young People-Sweden.


Nanoy and Ingrid read the book at the Gothenburg Fair

Because there were so many things that happened in my life this year, I wasn't able to witness the special occasion in Sweden. Much to my regret, this could have been a great chance to meet new friends and places. But, in my behalf, I was represented by Isko, the main character of the book. What a great idea by Nanoy himself, the author of Naku



Now at home watching me draw books, Isko, the plushie, is made by Pergylene Acuna 


So what does the Peter Pan Prize really means to me? 

It's a great honor actually to represent the local kidlit and be recognized on the other side of the world where most of the beautiful children's books I adore are born. It's only lately that I have fully realized this grand achievement, so I am very grateful.

   



Peter Pan Prize mementos

Isko and Nanoy, together with the Adarna team, had a great time in Sweden. You can view their adventures here. While the book and the win have also been featured in numerous publications in Sweden and all over the web. Some of the most important are here: 





The Writer's bffs according to Nanoy. Prints available here.


Happy thoughts truly bring you to fantastic places. 


Why I illustrate children's books




Artist's Bff prints are available here


This post is to remind myself the reasons why I illustrate children's books, in random order:


1. For the love of paper books, for fun.

2. To sustain imagination and rekindle childhood curiosity and innocence.

3. My chosen field where only few artists dare to stay and take seriously.  

4. There is so much work yet to be done in local kidlit, and I think this is where I can put my talent to a higher purpose.

5. I want my art and message to be shared to many people, especially children, and places as possible.


"Edsa" book in the making





EDSA, written by Russell Molina, is one of the books I'm very proud of. My latest children's book is about one of the most important part of Filipino history, the People Power Revolution, which I think children today should know of, no matter how complicated it was.



I wanted the illustrations of EDSA very special and memorable, just like the occasion itself. As a tribute, I found inspiration from Larry Alcala's Slice of Life comics. The black and white drawings evoke nostalgia and vivid memories while a splash of yellow highlights the special color. To depict a sense of history, I thought of using the diorama as format to stage the scenes and organize them inside a wooden box I made specially for this book.





There are so many symbolisms in the book: the box, colors, "cyclop", newspaper, radio, even the narrative between the bird and the children that could spark conversations about the EDSA revolution.

Some features and interviews on the EDSA book:

1. Some inspirations behind the EDSA book, an interview at Gathering Books

2. Book launch featured in Rappler

3. Inquirer article

And even made the local newspaper frontpage banner: