Tuesday, 29 January 2013


A quick(ish) sketch of Holden Caulfield looking at the ducks flying over New York city. 

Just exploring all my options at this point and having a bit of fun in deciding what to do next! Trying to accomplish a little bit each day now, and keep myself inspired.

Size = A3

P.s. I've also I've finished reading 'The Lord of the Flies' by William Golding, so I'll definitely be choosing to create book jackets for that novel too. Next book I'm going to read will be 'The Mysterious Island' by Jules Verne.

Monday, 28 January 2013


So I keep coming across a quotation by Ana├»s Nin recently;

"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."

This quote hits home for me a lot and I feel inspired when I hear it. Its come up in a few places lately, such as in music and films I have enjoyed. Maybe it will influence my work, or maybe it will help me to contemplate things? Either way, heart lifting stuff.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Collage for FMP

Here I started making the collage. I had a basic knowledge of what colours I wanted everything to be and worked to that, tearing up magazines (mainly PostScript magazines, since these have small text which looks particularly effective in collage), which I added to a rough guideline. I used the main colours and improvised with some others too, whatever looked interesting and sometimes a challenge from the material I had.  I started with the red hunting hat, which the main character wears with the peak round to the back.

I feel the eyes look quite like Picasso's work, since I have added 2 eyes where only 1 would normally be seen from this angle. In the hair I included a picture of a squirrel and a giraffe's fur to illustrate the zoo that Holden Caulfield (protagonist) visits with his sister, Phoebe, in the book. For the face I also included train routes, because Holden is often travelling, in trains, buses and taxis. 

I have showed him breathing out smoke as he is a heavy smoker and also it is set in winter time so it could be interpreted as cold air coming from his mouth. This shows lots of text with lots of black and white printed images accompanying it. 

Finally I painted the background in acrylics. I firstly chose green however, green for a city didn't seem very appropriate, so I decided on purples and pinks, as they show a slight distortion. The finishing touches include collaged ducks flying behind in the cityscape, since Caulfield often thinks about where the ducks go when the lagoon in New York freezes over during winter. I'm going to attempt the same layout in gouache paints, but I think the collage makes Holden anonymous (which is what I wanted to achieve) and the mixture of materials creates a different atmosphere.

Evaluating the piece (and with advice from tutors), I should use a lighter tone and have more contrast in the final image. 

Size = 275mm x 200mm (spine = approx. 20mm)

Tuesday, 22 January 2013


So far these are my ideas but I'm still changing my mind. They are simple colour versions which may get changed further down the line. Red and green seem to be a common combination in adult book covers that I've looked at recently, so that's what I've used so far. The text will eventually be hand rendered too.

The first is my idea for the adult book cover, the second for a graphic novel. For the first I might try collage, the second is undecided so far (although I have ink, gouache and spray paint to work with).

The blurb I have chosen for the back cover (since there isn't one in particular for the book) is an extract from the novel about how the protagonist, Holden, always thinks about the ducks on the lagoon at home and if the lagoon will be frozen over when he gets back. This is a constant thought he has throughout the story so I have incorporated it into my front covers, the first shows the silhouette of a duck flying for Holden's eye. The second the birds are breaking away from Holden's head, showing what is on his mind. The ducks scatter the air to express Holden's distorted ideas and cloudy thoughts.

So time to experiment with materials to see which is best, suggestions are welcome too!

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Final Major Project - Sketches

My first sketches for my FMP, which is to produce book jackets for the novel 'The Catcher in the Rye' (and possibly The Lord of the Flies when I've finished reading it). 

These are my sketches of Holden Caulfield, the protagonist, which I might need for my front cover which I will start illustrating soon. I sketched from photographs I have taken for this project and from first hand drawing. I have tried to make Caulfield quite anonymous, by drawing him with his face turned away, because he often changes his mind and has cloudy thoughts, showing his insecurities. 

I am illustrating book covers for the following;
- Adult book cover
- Graphic novel

My next steps are to choose a design I want to stick with, that is visually engaging and then start putting it together!

Friday, 11 January 2013

Dissertation Progression

Cracking on with my dissertation which is based on Ralph Steadman's illustrations of Alice in Wonderland. I've been looking at these books and other journals.

I haven't posted about my dissertation so far and want to reflect on it when I revisit my blog posts. 

Steadman's illustrations inspire me because of his political themes and visual signature. I've found my dissertation interesting, as there is always more to learn about the smallest of things. Through analysing illustrator's work I have been criticising my own work and understanding what makes illustrations particularly successful. 

It has also been surprising to see which illustrator's have influenced others, and how many illustrators are unsuccessful in their own renderings of this particular story.