Book Binding

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I tried to have some coherence along the different works trough this year. For this reason, I kept using this binding I started doing for my mini-fanzine.

I also tried some other ways for the “Tomorrow will be different” book but I did not like it. “My” usual binding didn’t work for this book due to the amount of pages (48 all together) so I decided to use a binding without piercing the pages. And it works really well and looks good. Sometimes the easiest can be the best, but it’s a shame to get there after messing around so much. Before I realized I could use this binding I had printed and wasted four books!

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Some notes in the making of “Tomorrow will be different”

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I made it

The decision to make an illustrated story is always very exciting yet scary: would I be able to do it well and on time? Book illustration was one of the main goals when I decided to study at university. I always thought it could be a really great way not only of earning a living but in a personal level: to be able to do my own books is like a dream, books in which you write life, you illustrate the world in order to understand it better. To do this book I had almost two months. It looks plenty of time but the truth is that time is never enough because there is more you can always do to improve the book. In this case I was able to stop just because there was a dead line. My initial idea was to produce twenty pages. How did I end working in the actual fifty? Simple: because I love doing it and many days I worked for about twelve hours. Always at the end of each project there is a sense of visual tiredness and a happy feeling of “things are happening” or “I’m there, I made it”….

So this is what had happened in those two months:

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Finding a story

I first looked for a story that would be settle in our “Local Universe” This is an allocated area we have been working since the beginning of my last year course. After reading as fast I could as many stories as possible about this area I realized that I would much preferred to work in someone’s story, someone I could talk about what I’m doing, something I could feel similar to work as a commissioned project. I had to go to see my mum for a weekend and when telling her about this she gave me pile of stories she wrote many years ago. Paper were almost yellow and it was written in the typewriter she often used when I was a child. I first took them thinking of this sweet gesture of my mum (she was trying to help me) but did not have any hope that my story was going to be among them. She said “read the one about the girl”… so I did and I couldn’t believe it, the story was working perfectly well for what I was trying to do! It was a bitter-sweet story, and it had suspense. The story was working also well in the meanings of introduction, body, conclusion. And the main factor in this story is that it leaves the reader in a perturbed and unsettle state at the end inviting to end the story as one could think it would be the best moral outcome. Yet there is always the doubt.

Translating the story

Ideally this story should had been taken to a proper translator. But I decided to save this money and translate it from the Spanish by myself. I feel confident when translating things to people but when it comes to a proper narrative with expressions where the author means very particular things it can get more complicated. Yet I managed to sort out all these little things and then asked an English friend who likes writing to read my translation and to correct when necessary. Then, just to reassure, I asked two native English friends to read the story. It was all good so I could start with my research. Doing the translation helped me to immerse more deeply in the story.

Research

Looking every single drawing or design that crosses my way in the street (shops, leaflets, magazines…) Looking at the university library. Especially at nights, when everyone sleeps at home I would be hours in internet looking. How can it be so much good work in the world!! And how lucky we are to be able to use internet to look at others work. I realized how some artists frame their own drawings inside the drawing as part of the design and I decided to focus and work on this peculiarity. There is a strange feeling of strength as well as protection in framing things. It’s an emphasis point.

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Sketching

Sketching was happening for some weeks every day and at any moment. It’s more like an on-going process. The important of putting down on a piece of paper a key idea to follow is absolutely crucial. When someone looks to an illustration that respond, enhance and strengthen the narrative is because there has been a good idea processed behind and this kind of graphic ideas come to the mind as in brainstorm fashion. As such you are doing your life but the story is occupying a huge part of your mind, it continues working alongside while you might be doing other things related to the story like researching in materials for example. The viewer does not realize how much a strong graphic idea, usually disguise in a metaphor, is helping to get a much better understanding of what he is reading. In this sense one could say that the job of the illustrator is very humble yet very important. And never to forget, at the service of the narrative.

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Drawing

There is something about the sketches that finished work misses. I am everyday more aware of this and for this project I tried to incorporate the sketches into the final pieces. It’s the first time I do this and I must say that it turns out very interesting. The sketch drawing is usually out of measurement, full of little marks from the rubber and loose strokes, notes… and the digital editing and correction of all this might very well take much longer than producing a new drawing. But it is precisely the loose what I am after and I am happy to pay the price for it. There were many more drawings that I could not use and they will be kept in my “bank of images” for other occasions. The making of a book has behind many hours of physical stillness… my life for days and days was the pencils, the watercolours, the papers, the scanner, the printer and Photoshop. The world was running in a different rhythm outside my studio window.

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FMP… the flow

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Is Easter holiday and I am trying to be at home as much as possible. Why? I’m doing the illustrations for the story of my FMP, and is actually an intense process, a gestating time, a time to observe the entrance of the spring from the window while being around the drawings, the pencils, the sketches, the printer, the brushes, pens, different papers, the computer…. There’s no procrastination in doing this, in going slowly and follow the flow. The important thing here is how the work is taking form, is in its own time pushing out and starting to stand up by itself. And also at the end of the day, of the most of the days I always realize that I worked more than 9 hours. Actually when this doesn’t happen (life: work placement, meetings, shopping…) I feel almost depress. I only want to be close to this story until is ready and for some people this might be seem as something close to madness. But for me is placer, these are days of having a conversation with my heart… who needs meditations when I have this??

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In the manga exhibition at the House of Illustration I learned that in the Genga’s (Dash) technique they print originals and work over the prints. They repeat this process until having the best results. In some cases, they even leave the marks of pencils on each print so the viewer can see the process. So, thinking about this I started playing with my drawings and an old scanner that makes scans at good resolution but it always leaves strange smoky and dusty marks. I’m following the process in the Genga’s manga comics and I think is going well and have a feeling that I have found a new way that works well for my illustrations. That is something for an illustrator, isn’t it?!

Final Mayor Project

  1. Title:
  • The making of an illustrated book.
  1. Project Proposal Content:
  • What and Why:

I would like to work in the process of making an illustrated book since this was one of the main goals I had when decided to study illustration at university.

  • Definition of the project and intentions:

I first looked for a story to illustrate with the theme of “Local Universe” in different books such as Jack London. Then I realized that I would prefer to work for someone I can talk to about her/his work. This, I think, would be more realistic as what is going to happen if I end working as an illustrator. After reading some stories I decided to work in an old one my mum wrote many years ago. I have adapted with her permission to our “Local Universe”. This was very easy to do as there’s only one reference to a particular place in the whole narrative.

  • Detail of the theme/subject to investigate visually:

The theme is about a girl who finds herself having to choose between ordinary life and magic life.

  • Rationale of ideas:

The work of text and image. Narrative supported by illustrations.

  • Starting point must be VISUALLY exciting and the project realistic and clear.
  1. Context and audience:
  • Potential areas of developing my practice:

Book Illustration for children and adult.

  • Identification of audience and the primary purpose of the project work:

This project has the main purpose of a learning outcome and use it after university as a content for my portfolio which I hope I can present when looking for commissions of illustration.

  1. Research Sources:
  • Where to find and original and secondary visual research. Research must show breadth and depth:

This is an area I feel really confident because there is nothing I like more than looking at other artist’s work. Actually there are moments I need to stop myself from over doing this because it can steal time from my own production. I am going to start with the French illustrator Aurelia Fronty. This is the starting thread. One illustrator takes me always to another and another and so on. I’m excited to think about this “journey”.

  1. Learning Methodology:
  • How I will begin to generate visual ideas and to develop work for my project. Acquisition of new knowledge and weaknesses:

For me the real science of a good outcome is the use of sketchbooks with hours in the studio. Looking into other works is also essential, but as I said in the previous point, there’s a moment to stop doing it to really connect with my own style without having “too much” influence from the outside but new perspectives of work, colours, methods, shapes… Fortunately I count on the guidance of my tutors for this last project at university.

  • Exploration of new media, materials, technologies, and why is appropriate to my project, theme, practice:

I am going to work in colour for this project. Not sure yet if is going to be gouache (which is absolutely new for me), watercolour, colour pencil or acrylics. All this will be revealed by itself after the stage of research and primary sketching. I’m excited to learn new ways of illustration in my last part of university.

I will edit all images in Photoshop and take it to InDesign when putting all together as a book as I think these two are the best programs when working in book illustration.

  • Identification of the need of new skills and the support I will need for this:

I consider myself at the very beginning of illustration and I will be able to spot some lack of skills. I am sure Emily would be able to support me finding many more and new ways to solve problems. I feel she has an eagle eye to spot design problems in any image and she would be really valuable for this. And I don’t mean she is the best of all my tutors, it’s just I had the chance to share with her my work more than with the rest of the team and learned a lot with the way she critic my work and my class peers. Also I am curious to learn from our new tutor Rachel Gannon and love her work, so I am sure I will be able too to gain some insights.

  1. Work assessment:

At the end of this project I would like to use this experience to be able to illustrate a book (layout, fonts, style, choosing of appropriate printing method…) and be self-confident that I can do it by myself without the help of university.

The intention is to submit a book that I can also show as a professional illustrator outside university.