After getting advice from the graphics department up stairs, I set about putting text onto my covers; working out the type faces and the text layout of the book. My graphics consult advised me to change the files back over to illustrator, make sure not to use too many type faces and to double check all my measurements/bleed lines, so that I could ensure a clean print when it was all finished.
annoyingly the colour correction has distorted this image, in the previous post on this piece, the colour pallet has been unaffected.
Having worked out my text layouts, I took my piece back up to graphics and gathered a second opinion from a graphics student, Christina, whom I’ve known from the previous year, and had her check over my decisions. The chains she suggested involved moving around a couple of the quotes and rearranging some of the text o the cover so that it was properly lined up.
I’m quite happy with the outcome from this, and have found the input of the graphics department really helpful, as it’s not an area that I’ve done much work in and I definitely needed a more experienced eye to check over my work. Making use of the other departments in the school is invaluable, coming from a very traditional media background, tech and graphics are often the aspects of illustration that I am least confident in; making the importance of department swapping really important when doing projects in this field.
Both the designs feature QR code links to the corresponding gif animations that complete them:
Having become more confidant with both Illustrator and Photoshop, frame animation and the processes involved in creating a QR code link; it’s become much easier and quicker to put together this piece. Through a lot of trial and error, I learned that a lot of what I was doing was over complicated and could be simplified to be a much quicker process.
Having worked all this out, I finally came to finish the first version of the cover, complete with the Gif:
I took this piece around my fellow students in studio initially, and this gave me some good feed back, the main focus being that I slowed down the the fish and changed their movement a little, making it much smoother.
I then took to into a crit with my tutor Anna, who pointed out a major flaw in my design; gold ink is not cheap to print with and also tends to loose it’s colour slightly in print. In addition, the gold had a tendency to swallow the fish slightly. While I appreciated the input, I felt that the gold was a really cool aspect of the design and didn’t want to give up on it completely. So instead I decided that I would create another version of the cover, one that would be intended to be for a paper back version; one that would cost less to print.
After some reconsideration of my colour pallet, I decided to go with a more natural but hyperbolic colour scheme:
Changing from gold to green certainly makes the fish stand out much better and I do love how the high contrast of colours in the piece. From this point, I felt that the next step was to add in text and consider the full extent of the design, moving on to create a full cover complete with spine and back cover. This would be the next logical step in my project.
Having come to love working with digital Gifs and the potential that they have to enhance my work and give it new context; I decided pretty early in this project, that to give a new perspective and a more professional edge to this project, I would use the addition of a QR code linking to a Gif.
The moving component that I added into the image, being the main focal point in, was that of the swimming fish in the pond. In choosing to animate, I gave myself the challenge of trying to pull off a traditional of the fish, as I wanted to create the design in largely traditional media. Having near done this before, it was a sharp learning curve, but having taken note of the advice of Joanna Quinn and seen how she tackled the challenge of traditional animation, I knew that I needed to keep it simple and to work with the basic movements. While animation can be a daunting task, it can also be done quite simply, especially through the use of Gif and fame based animation.
The first thing that I did was to paint the three frames with the basic movements that I wanted to animate, this was the most simple way that I could think to tackle this, starting with the basics.
From this, I further developed the image by adding in the back ground and advancing the movements of the fish, playing around with how the positioning and speed of the fish could make the movements less jerky and of a better quality.
While I feel that I improved the movement of the fish, adding in the back ground, in hindsight, I feel was a mistake, the constant change in texture and the flow of the paint makes the image far to messy and distracts from the main focus. Though it did give me an idea of how it might look in the finished piece:
Still, the movement is still to jerky here and I definitely need to get rid of the back drop on the fish. This will both improve the animation of the fish, as it will be much easier to line up the fish, but it will also get rid of the obvious and distracting movement of the textures created by the different layers of paint.
Still I feel that it creates a strong image and I love the contrasts of the colours, I feel like my inspiration and the imagery that I waited to create are coming together in this piece well. Though, at this point, I’m still not sure if I will be animating the foot prints as well, or if that would simply take away from the main focus and be largely unnecessary.
The cover of Simon Armitage’s most resent poetry anthology, features an oil painting by Jeremy Geddes, ‘Redemption’. I was immediately drawn to this beautiful book the moment that I saw it, it perfectly reflects the gentle disembodied and conceptual moments that the poems in this anthology, the serenity of the image and the peaceful silence that it communicates is perfect for the tone and pallet in these works.
It was, in fact, this illustration that gave me the idea to design an anthology cover, as I felt that it represented a form of illustrative communication that I really want to pursue in my work. However, I did not want to replicate or copy the style and substance of this piece, therefore using this book as my focus was not something that I wanted to do. It is not the media or the method that I found most effective in this piece, while they are defiantly important features, the imagery and the conceptual symbolism of the painting when applied in the context of the cover, was what truly drew my interest and inspired me to do a similar brief.
Much like with editorial work, I feel that the main focus of creating a successful cover, is to create a piece that reflects the tone and mood of the text it represents; it’s about finding a specific feeling or moment that truly reflects the experience that the author wishes to communicate to their audience.
About the Artists:
Jeremy Geddes studied painting at the Victorian College of the Arts and began working full time as a painter in 2003. He’s most well known for his paintings of cosmonauts and people floating, story falling, colliding and drifting in empty landscapes.
Jeremy was born in Wellington, New Zealand, and now lives in Melbourne, Australia with his wife and whippet.
1974, Wellington, New Zealand.
From the feedback I received and the directions that where suggested to me, I took the main features that where highlighted as successful and took them into further development. As part of this development, I began looking at the composition of the actual book cover and how I might look to incorporate the text into the design; giving more context to the images:
Using the text type from the original book cover on the copy that I have (simply because I will most likely look at changing and developing this feature later in the project, when I scan and digitally enhance the piece so that it might be publishable), I put together two basic roughs for how I might want to arrange the front cover and including some of the features that I waited to focus on fro the text. While I still have a lot to finalise and improve on, I feel that the colour pallet and the central imagery of the fish and the foot prints are defiantly features that I would like to carry through to the final design, and possibly I will animate both in a simple gif fashion.
I began my rough work for the poem, ‘Sentenced to life’ by Clive James, by first rereading and reviewing the visual language in the poem and considered the elements of that I wanted to reflect in my illustration. I also set out the aims that I’d like to achieve and the rough direction that I want to take my production into. From my initial ideas and readings of the text, I had the thought that I’d like to take the cover in a ore interactive direction with the inclusion of a QR code linking you to an animation of the design. I wanted to do this so that I could both explore my digital media skills and also to really show off how technology can enhance the illustrative experience of the piece; creating a scene and reflecting a real sense of the moment of peaceful melancholy reflection that the poem captures.
One of the features of the poem that really stood out for me upon reading it, was the circle of fish in the pool, their vibrant Autumn colours and how they hypnotise the protagonist, who’s perspective the poem is written from. Therefore I knew very early on that I wanted this to be the focus and the central feature of my illustration, as they have a strong composition and great potential for animation. My first rough idea was therefore based on this, as well as the other colour pallet that the text suggests, that of the sky at night. In addition, I continued the theme of autumn colours and a sunset pallet, by using a bright golden ink in the water:
Continuing it in the same vein, from this initial rough, I then looked at developing this theme and adding in more concepts from the language in the text. Carrying on with the colour themes and the concept of the fish autumn pallet pond in a galaxy coloured night sky. From the poem and the language that James uses, I got a really strong sense of the bright mesmerising colours and the intensity of the scene painted by the text; I really want to reflect this in my illustration and the contrasting shades that I’m using in my pallet, are aimed to really emphasise the vibrancy of my chosen pallet.
Taking these roughs, I then used my fellow studio dwellers, to gain some feedback and perspective on my work so far. From the comments and advice that I got, everyone seemed to agree that the fish, the foot prints and the bright contrasting colours where the strongest design features. Further development the imagery from both will therefore be my focus going forward. From the comments, I gathered also that people seemed to really like the interactive animation idea and seemed to think that including a QR code in some capacity (I’m yet to decide where I might put it in regards to the front cover or the back ect) was a good idea, suggesting that I could animate the feet and/or the fish in the pool; as both are integral parts of the text and both would make for a really cool graphic. This will definitely be something that I consider, when I get into the animation stage of this project, as could add a new level to the work and really create a more finished and professional product.
After failing to engage with the second editorial brief that I had set for myself, I decided that the best course of action was to simply move on; I didn’t feel like I was making much progress and I lacked motivation and inspiration for the project, so I made the decision that continuing was not a good use of my time. Instead, I moved directly into the next project, which I already felt much ore positive and inspired by.
The Poem ‘Sentenced to Life’ by Clive James was the chosen focus for this project; after picking up an anthology of Clive James’ work by the same name, I was immediately taken by the poem and the potential Cover designs that I could produce for it. The poem includes a lot of really great imagery that stood out to me as soon as I read it:
I started by reading it through a couple of ties to make myself familiar with the material, the imagery and the concepts in the text, I then made some notes on this features that really stood out to me. The colours and the scenes that the poem invokes that really stood out for me were the golden sunset colours of the fish and the sky, as well as the rich colours of the night sky; the prevalence of the visions of the ‘heavens’ and the ‘english autumn’ where key points of inspiration.
Having explored the poem a little I really connected with the text, and had a great deal of initial inspiration and ideas, that I really feel that I can use to create a great cover for the anthology.
Project Outline and Aims:
-To produce a professionally finished cover that reflects the poem’s key aspects and imagery.
-To produce a digital piece that can be linked to the book via a QR code.