Monday, March 31, 2008

Surprise Monday : Week 5 : Title page

Well I'm done with pretty much all the internals, and now get to do other fun things like the title page and cover. Karen and I are still discussing the cover a bit, so here are a few ideas for the title page.

I think whereas the cover has to be striking/interesting to make you pick up the book in the first place, the title page is a nice place to introduce the characters. For this book, that is a bit tricky because there are 4 main characters, and they don't actually meet in the book - they are all separate stories. so how could I link them together?

first i tried something like this, but it was a bit too boring.

then something like this but it was a bit too brady bunch:

There is a real giving aspect to this book, and I wanted to reflect that. But again because the characters don't actually meet each other in the book, I didn't want them meeting on the title page! So I came up with this...

which hopefully imparts the feeling that they are somehow connected, yet without ever actually meeting.
Last week, Isabelle asked me "I was wondering if you could talk about how you decide which "moments" to illustrate, if you talk this out with the author or if you make this call. How much of the finished layout of the book do you worry about at this point?"

These are great questions which I've been thinking about a lot. In my experience, it has always been left up to me to decide what to illustrate (and I like it that way!) although sometimes the author/editor will have ideas that they pass along but it is up to me whether I use them or not.

As for how I decide on what moments... that is a tough one. I suppose I tend to think more about what feeling i want to portray and then decide on a composition that relates that feeling, but also works with the text on the page, of course.

For instance, here is a spread that is a bit sad - Meg's dog had to go to the vet, so she is being consoled by her grandma. Regardless of what the text says exactly, the feeling I wanted was of something intimate and sweet. So I drew Meg sitting on her grandma's lap with a favourite toy, and we are quite close up to them in the frame to get that feeling of something private. And of course Meg's expression is a bit sad. I guess as long as you get the feeling right, the illustration will work with the text.

In terms of the finished layout of the book, I am always thinking about that as I am illustrating. I guess you tend to design the book as you go along, because you have to think about text placement and leaving space for it in the illustration. I am lucky that I also do graphic design so have the software to put a whole book together, and then can easily play around with the text and size/placement of illustrations. I asked the author what font and what size she would like to use early on so that I could work with that.

Sometimes you will find that you haven't left enough room and will need to adjust the illo accordingly. As you can see with the spread above, I left room on the left side of the right hand page. When I layed it out with the text, I found I had left more than enough room (for once!) which means I can add other little details in the final illo if I want. With this book there is also a designer involved so I have done a mockup of what I think works, but will consult with her before I start any final illustrations.

Hope that all makes sense and hope it was of some use! Thanks again for stopping by!


Tom Barrett said...

Once again I appreciate the time you take to include these updates on your blog.

I have never been one who is comfortable giving unsolicited advice, but I feel compelled to comment on the title page design. You last idea is nice, but since the kids are looking at and handing a paper to each other, they "have met" right there. I would go with the first design (the boxes) and maybe have them each holding an item that connects them together, while each looks straight ahead or at the item.

Looking forward to the next update! :)

Isabelle said...

Hi Kim,
Thank you for giving such thorough feedback to my question, I really look forward to mondays now!
It is a challenge to come up with a cover for 4 stories, I like your ideas, and also Tom's suggestion.
When you illustrate one story, do you tend to make a cover from acratch or to choose a scene that sums up the story well? In other words, the "feel" of the story.I know, I know, I'm pushing my luck with my questions...
Have a great week and thsnk you again!

lil kim said...

Thanks Tom and Isabelle! I appreciate all comments, unsolicited or not :-)

Thanks for your input Tom. I totally understand what you are saying. I think probably if you could read the book, this illo would make a bit more sense. I can't really tell you more without giving away the premise, so you'll have to trust me on this one ;-)

I'm so glad Isabelle! That is great to hear that you look forward to these posts, I definitely have fun putting them together and I really appreciate your questions. Don't hold back! :)

I reckon I'll probably talk more about covers next week, but just quickly, I like to make a separate cover - it's one of the most important illustrations of the book and is not a time to 'recycle' in my opinion! (Unless you could do something for the cover which could also be used for an internal scene, but I don't think I'd do it the other way around.)

Have a great week!

Alicia PadrĂ³n said...

Wow Kim, lovely work! I have to say that I looove Megan's spread with her grandma!! Is just perfect the way you handled that. The close up of the two of them and then the perspective of the room leads you right to the empty dog bed. And both characters are so cute! I love Megan's haircut.. and the grandma is adorable.

Can't wait to see all this put together and with color! It is going to be a beautiful book Kim! :o)

Tom Barrett said...

I understand Kim. Must be hard to be able to only share bits of a project and then have to defend it when others offer advice or suggestions. I will hold my thoughts on future updates! :) I do like the last one most out of the three.

lil kim said...

Thanks Alicia! I have to say, I love sketching, but now I can't wait to start using some colour!

Tom, please don't hold back any thoughts - as I said, I welcome any and all criticisms and comments - i think it is the only way we can truly learn. It's just with this particular story, there is a bit more to it than meets the eye! so thank you again for your comments, I do appreciate them.

Anonymous said...

I like the font you used for the title on the second cover. It would work well with the picture on the third cover. Whenever I think of the title page of that book I think of it with more joyous, loopy font that would have a higher modality for a children's book (sorry, my master's showing through there :-)

lil kim said...

Thanks for your comments mr/ms anonymous - yes the font hasn't been chosen yet for the cover. I might end up doing it by hand, I'm not sure... I definitely agree with joyous and loopy!