Final Story Book

I have added the last finishing touch to my new and improved story book and now it is finally complete. The red ribbon that I had added is both an aesthetic and practical aspect to my book – it makes the book more appealing to the eye and also holds the whole book together, as obviously, due to the book holding jigsaw-puzzles within, if it were to open on its own, the pieces would most likely fall out. I chose red because it is a bright and cheerful colour which both contrasts and compliments nicely with the blue book cover. I feel that the ribbon makes the book more attractive overall and if it were  sat among other books, I would hope that a person’s eye, in particular a child’s, would be drawn to this bright, colourful and unusual-looking story book. It looks like a little gift-wrapped present.

Overall, I am really pleased and proud of the outcome of my book – I feel that the idea is unique and challenging and I really enjoyed making the piece. The consatina style of the book works well, although now I have completed it, I can’t help but wonder whether a more simple approach may have worked better. For example, having simple pages like most books have, because as a consatina book, the book can be difficult to open as the jigsaw pieces have a habit of falling out if it is not opened in a certain way. However, I also feel that the way the book is able to be laid out completely flat on a surface works extremely well, as it means both jigsaws-puzzles are visible at the same time and can be made at once too. I’m also glad that I used the consatina style as it was something new to me and I challenged myself in making this and am more than pleased with the turnout.

As for the idea of a jigsaw-puzzle book in the first place, I don’t think it could fit the Humpty Dumpty nursery rhyme narrative any better than it does. Humpty Dumpty’s character ‘falls of a wall’ and ends up in pieces, just as the jigsaws are in pieces too. The physical jigsaw-puzzles work perfectly as a metaphor for the story’s plot.

I feel that the jigsaw-puzzles’ pieces are just the right size. Making the prototypes in the very beginning of the process, during the ideas and early design stages, was really helpful for this as I was able to see that the original size of the pieces that I had made were much too small and would make the jigsaw-puzzles too complicated, especially for a such young target audience, like children. From using thin paper-card to create the jigsaw-puzzle prototypes, it was clear that I would have to use a thicker and heavier material to make the real thing, as the paper-card was constantly moving all over the place and you didn’t get the satisfying click of the pieces as they were put together – this sound was something that I definitely wanted as it was one of the main things I remember when putting together puzzles as a child myself. It was also great to use the lasercutting machine to cut out the jigsaw-puzzles pieces pattern, particularly as I had wanted to use the skill again after having a workshop on it right back in the beginning of my first year at university – it was the perfect opportunity to do this and it worked brilliantly.

The idea of making the puzzles reversible was not the plan originally, although I am now glad that I did as I feel that is a great extra feature of the puzzles. Making the jigsaw-puzzles reversible meant that there are only two puzzles, rather than four. This is good because, firstly it means that there are less puzzle pieces overall, so it is less confusing and pieces are less likely to go missing or get mixed up with the other puzzles. And secondly, it makes the consatina book style work better as it does not have as many pages to open, particularly as  a consatina style (as mentioned previously) makes the book slightly more complicated to open without the puzzle pieces falling out. Having the puzzles reversible also makes the story book more fun in general, especially for a target audience of children. For my target audience, I have tried to make the book as fun, as interesting and as interactive as possible – a jigsaw-puzzle, nursery rhyme story book has worked perfectly for this.

As for the images that I have designed and hand drawn onto the jigsaw-puzzles, some of them were similar to ones I had used in my old and first story book that I made earlier in the year – for example, the ‘all the King’s horses and all the King’s men’ imagery was more or less the same, just slightly enlarged to keep consistent with the rest of my designs. Drawing out thumbnails for the illustration ideas during the initial ideas stage of the process was useful as I was able to see what worked and what didn’t. In all the illustrations, Humpty Dumpty is blown up and enlarged so that his whole body is not on the page, just half of it in most cases – I used this as a modern twist and feel that it worked well. In my original thumbnails, I could see that the ‘Humpty Dumpty had a great fall’ illustration was not consistent with the other three, so decided that this needed changing and made note of it so that I would remember when it came round to making the prototype. After seeing the changed thumbnail on the prototype, I was happy with the updated illustration and went on to use it in the finished book.

The black drawing on the white side of the jigsaw-puzzles is negative to the white drawing on the black side and I feel that this contrast works well. I particularly like the effect of the white gel pen on black – it stands out really clearly. I didn’t want to ruin the effects of the black on white and vice versa too much, but still felt that it needed a small hint of colour in the illustrations. I tried not to use too much colour – I just picked out the odd brick from the illustrations in red, and gently added an egg-like colour to Humpty Dumpty, along with a brown belt and yellow bottoms. I chose to use coloured pencil to add the hints of colour, so that I could get a pale and faint sketched effect so that the colour was not too bold, bright or in-your-face – I feel that I achieved this well.

I am incredibly pleased with the final and overall outcome of my story book and it is a piece of work that I am proud to show people and am really glad that I chose to remake it, as I feel that it is a huge improvement from my first and original story book which I was not pleased with whatsoever. I really enjoyed making it and feel that a ‘story book’ could be something I potentially make in my second or even third year of university, if the suitable opportunity arises.

Developing Story Book Continued

After making my jigsaw-puzzles to go inside of the book, now all there was left to do was to actually put the whole thing together. I decided to make the book into a consatina book, simply because it was something new that I hadn’t done before and wanted to challenge and stretch myself – it also makes the overall book more interesting because it isn’t what you’d first expect. It works better for the jigsaw-puzzles in fact, because it means users/readers are able to open the whole book so it lays out onto a flat surface, meaning you can see both of the puzzles and do both of the puzzles at once.

I covered the book similarly to how we did in the workshops we had back earlier in the year – I used blue cover this time. My original book was not covered at all so this is a big and important change to my now new and improved story book.

There is still one little touch I want to add to the book just to finish it off!

Improved Type Specimen Poster

After receiving the feedback on my type specimen poster, I have gone back through it and made some changes accordingly. There wasn’t an awful lot to be changed, however, the main feedback I received was that the three paragraphs were difficult to read, particularly over the ‘a’. To amend this I adjusted the colour of the text by putting it up to 80% grey rather than 60%. I also completely removed the black-grey ‘a’, leaving the fainter one below – I felt this improved the piece greatly – it both made the text easier and clearer to read, and also opened up the whole piece more creating better pace and a good amount of whiter space.

Another suggestion that I had been given was for the alphabet that I had positioned horizontally down the right hand side of my specimen – it was suggested that I put them vertically. I simply tried this and immediately decided that it looked better vertically.

I rearranged a few other parts of the poster too, including the glyths positioned in the tail of the ‘g’, and moved around some of the smaller blocks of text just to improve the overall look of the piece.

Click here to view (in PDF form) my new and improved Caslon Pro type specimen poster.

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Overall, I really enjoyed this project and am happy with the final outcome of my type specimen poster. I feel that I was experimental with it, particularly with the larger letters, but have not overdone it. I am happy with the way the ‘g’ is the main feature of the poster and that even with the large, fainter letterforms down the right of the poster, there still feels as if there is white space in those areas and the piece is not over-cluttered.

Caslon is a good font for body text. It is used quite a lot in magazines, journals, books or as a corporate typeface. ‘The Descendants’ is the title of a movie which uses a version of Caslon Pro in their logo. Another movie that uses Caslon Pro is, ‘Les Misérables’.

The letters, ‘a’, ‘g’, ‘m’, ‘w’ and ‘Q’, are probably the most recognisable individual letterforms of Caslon Pro – each has typical features of the typeface, usually noticeable by the serif. For example, the tail on the ‘Q’ is quite a distinct. Caslon is also known for its readability, affability, and authority. For these reason, I tried to use these letters in particular in my type specimen poster, in order to show off the typeface to at its best. Caslon Pro is actually quite similar to Baskerville, with some small differences – basically, it’s the sexy version.

I am particularly happy with how I made the text in the first and third paragraph curve nicely to align itself around the ‘g’ – I did this by adding anchor points and  adjusting them to position the text. I feel that it works well, especially as they are justified on the sides, without having any ugly rivers, orphans or widows.

I am happy with the hierarchy of my poster and feel that the viewer’s eye is lead around the piece well, starting with the title and the ‘g’, then the alphabet positioned vertically down the right side of the page, then onto the paragraphs. The larger letterforms in the background are not too in your face and add just the right amount of interest, meaning they are noticed but are not distracting.

Improved Animation

When we were originally set the animation project, I struggled with the time limits and didn’t manage to complete the animation that I had first set out to. At the time, I wanted to find the time to finish my animation and have finally got round to. Although I had first wanted the animation to be of the whole Incy Wincy Spider nursery rhyme, I realised that this would make a much too long animation, especially as the original brief stated approximately 30 seconds. The new and improved animation that I have made is about 50 seconds long and I am much happier with it than my old one. Even though it seems quite a  simple idea, it took me a long time to make, especially as I decided to make it by hand instead of using iStopMotion. I wanted it to have an almost ‘rough’ handmade look and feel to it and I think that I have achieved this well by editing each image individually on Photoshop – I put all 500 of the images into MovieMaker and the final outcome all started to come together. For the sound, I layered up several different audio tracks to pull the final animation together – in the background, you can just make out a sketching sound effect as if you can hear the spider character being drawn, then at the end there is a tapping sound as he runs away. Over these tracks, I added music, while making sure that you can still here the other sound effects beneath.

My final new and improved animation:

Improved Image Piece

As stated in my previous blog post on my image project final piece, there were a few minor changes that I wanted to make to improve the piece overall.

I decided to remake the entire piece in Illustrator rather than Photoshop to ensure that the piece was not pixelated at all – I used still used Photoshop to layer the eye and the map images, but then recreated the hand-drawn illustrations on Illustrator. In the beginning of the year when we first began this project, I was unfamiliar with Adobe Illustrator and had not used it much, however, my confidence on it has grown hugely since then and I knew that by using it for the silhouette and baby outline it would avoid any pixelation that occurred when I did the project back in the beginning of the academic year.

As mentioned in my previous blog post on the project, I wanted to simplify the silhouette. To do this, I removed the unnecessary outline it had and feel that it looks better without it, because you can still tell exactly what it is without it. I also adjusted the opacity slightly so that it was more hidden. The second change I wanted to make was to make the baby outline bolder in order to make it more visible. I have done this only very slightly by adjusting the stroke by about 1pt. Now you can see the baby on looking closely at the piece – it is just what I originally wanted: you have to look closely, but it’s not so faint that you are unable to see it at all.

On top of these minor changes, I also experimented a bit more with the filters on Photoshop before transferring it into Illustrator. I adjusted the vibrancy of the eye, making the colour, particularly the blue-green in the iris pop out, enhancing it greatly. I also played around with the contrast, to get the bright and beautiful colours that the finished piece now has. To get the effect of the map layered over the eye like I have, I used ‘colour burn’, which is one of my favourite effects on Photoshop and it worked perfectly in this situation.

FINISHED IMAGE

Developing Story Book

After deciding on the jigsaw-puzzle idea for my new and improved story book, I developed it further – I remember having one of my own when I was younger, so I decided to make my storybook so that you build the puzzles inside of a book. I wanted to use a technique that I would not normally use so after looking back through old work, I remembered the workshop I had back in the beginning of the year on laser-cutting and decided that this would be the perfect opportunity to use it.

I measured and marked out cutting lines onto thick card and then created the measurements on Illustrator too – I then set it up on the lasercutter with Steve’s help and off I went.

The card that I was using was black on one side and then white on the reverse. Because of this, I decided to make the jigsaw-puzzles so that they were reversible too and negatives of each other. I drew out the drawings on the cutout card rectangles, ensuring to leave a border, and then after creating a pattern on illustrator, cut them into jigsaw pieces to create the puzzle.

Improved Story Book – Idea and Prototype

I feel that my previous story book was nowhere near as good as it could have been so I have decided to recreate it in a more experimental and unusual style. I have decided to focus on Humpty Dumpty alone, rather than two nursery rhymes. After brainstorming a range of ideas for my new book, including making a story inside of a box which could unfold to find the story inside, I eventually decided on a jigsaw-puzzle idea.

Because there are four lines to the rhyme, I decided to create 4 smaller jigsaw-puzzles rather than one large one with the whole rhyme on it. The reason that I chose jigsaw-puzzles in the first place is because, in the rhyme, the characters attempt to piece Humpty Dumpty together again, after he falls off his wall and breaks – so now the readers/users can try and piece Humpty back together themselves. My target audience for the story book is going to be children, seen as it is a nursery rhyme written for children in the first places – I feel that a fun and interactive story book would therefore be perfect for my chosen audience.

I have researched the nursery rhyme thoroughly and discovered that it originated in the 1800s with slightly different wording, however the wording is more old-fashioned and would be difficult to understand by a child of nowadays. Because of this, I have decided to use the more modern and well-known version of the rhyme, but will use a typeface that has an old-fashioned look about it – possibly a script style, most likely calligraphy.

The text that I am going to use is:

“Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.

All the king’s horses and all the king’s men,

Couldn’t put Humpty together again.”

I sketched out four thumbnails that I would use for each of the puzzles – one for each line of the nursery rhyme:

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I then created some larger A5 prototype versions of the first two thumbnails to test them out. Because in thumbnail 1, 3 and 4, the illustration style seems consistent, whereas thumbnail 2 looks slightly different – I drew it slightly differently in the A5 version and have decided that it definitely looks better.

I started by drawing the illustrations along with the text, and then added a jigsaw-puzzle grid of 6×8 squares over the top. After seeing them in A5, I feel that this would work as a good size for each of the four puuzles – not too big; not too small. Also, I really like the calligraphic style of font I’ve used, particularly in the second one as I have tried to make the typography expressive by making it look like it is ‘falling’, just as it says in that particular line of the rhyme.

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Next I cut them up to complete the prototypes. Doing this helped me realise that a 6×8 grid was probably too fiddly and complicated to put together, especially by a young child – the pieces were quite small and there was definitely quite a lot of them.

After realising 6×8 made too many puzzle pieces, I decided to try cutting out the next test prototype to a 3×4 grid instead, meaning there would be 12 jigsaw-puzzle pieces, rather than 48 (almost 50!). Seeing the two versions next to each other (below), you can see that the 3×4 grid definitely works better and it makes it much easier to piece together as well.

When I come to making the real version of my new and improved story book, I plan on adding colour as I feel that this will make it easier again when it comes to the user (ie. child) piece the jigsaw-puzzle together is it will make it clearer as to which pieces go where – knowing a lot of young children myself, I know that children often use colour as an association aid. Another thing that I will change is the material of the jigsaw-puzzle – I will use a thicker card or cardboard when making the real thing, as it is difficult to get the pieces to ‘fix’ together when they are just paper and they constantly move around – when creating the prototype I had to use blue-tac just to get them to sit still and in the correct positions.