Visual Communication Student, 20. Studying at The Arts University Bournemouth.
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So it’s the end of my final project at university and it’s been a challenging one but by far one of my most enjoyable. I chose to focus on Canadian folk tales as I have a strong connection with Canada and folk tales are something that we over tell here with the European tales. We have never discovered western tales and other cultures. So to bring back popularity and a contemporary look I chose to focus on Canadian folk tales. My aim was to create 5 Zines as part of a collection and also to design the packaging. But I soon realised that this was too much to try and do properly in my allotted time. I found three tales that I was interested in.
I researched a lot in this project to give me a broad range of ideas and routes to go down. I looked into collage based, screen printing, collecting artefacts and character design. I must admit I was unsure what route to go down as there were so many possibilities I could go down. I looked in Old Canadian illustrations which were used in fairy tales from the 1900’s, woodcut was used a lot and colour was used sparsely. I created mood boards to get myself familiar with the stories as I wanted to understand the themes such as settings, characters and culture. After tutorials and critiques I was advised to contact Mirielle Fauchon and she was helpful with feedback and resources to look at. Furthermore I was told to start planning the pages and where the breaks are in the text so I knew how many images to create but also so I know the page size to avoid any cropping images. All that was left was to start creating images which I must admit I did find difficult so I kept to my standard collage and created patterns. But after a critique I felt that this was the same old me and I could look into Linocut as a print making technique I could start to combine the two together and make really mixed media books. I started creating layouts but I needed to focus on the image being more the focus and not the type as there was a lot of text to fit on the pages.
So my end result was 3 mixed media handmade books of Canadian Folk Tales. Im happy with the outcome and I think they make nice set as a collectable item. The 3 books are saddle stitched with 3 different colour stitches which is a nice detail. I focused a lot on the semantics and making the image support the story. I didn’t include any character design and focused mainly on settings and abstract imagery and I think the outcome I got was really different kind of books the illustration is mixed media and I played around with the layouts a lot to guide the reader through a sort of adventure and some of the images are subtle and some a quite powerful. I really enjoyed using lino I think it allowed me to bring something from the old illustrations but I made it contemporary and I used it with new materials. The book size is intimate and I designed a collection of books to be passed around a group of people and it felt like how folk tales were originally told and passed on. I kept the covers simple and used hand rendered type to simply show what the tale is called and left all the images for the inside. The end pages are tissue paper and it’s such a contrast from the rest of the book but I like that and it’s some delicate to just start the reader off to gradually ease them into the book. I struggled with type and text layout, its something I always struggle with and noticing all the small things like hyphenation, grids and hanging words. So I really tried to focus on making the type layout work and it was easy to navigate and legible and I had used all the correct typography rules.
I haven’t explored illustration much during the visual communication course so it was great to explore it in my final project and get back to drawing and making imagery. I feel like this course has taught me that I am a graphic designer and illustrator and I can combine to two as well.
If I had more time I think I would look into maybe creating more books and creating a larger collection, I think it would work really well as a gift and collectable item. I would look into creating packaging for them and getting them professionally printed. I did enjoy having the control of printing the images myself but I feel like if they were binded properly they would look even better as I didn’t take in much consideration when it came to the creep and how that would affect the book. I have tried to correct it as much as I can but it defiantly could be neater. The paper completely changed the sense of the book, there was something missing on the bright white paper but on the off white paper it looks so much better and more organic. I wanted to book to have a Canadian feel so I used a lot of ideas from my research like collage and mountains and forest, things that people would associate with Canada. I wanted people to feel like they were experiencing part of Canada and getting a look into the culture and what folk tales they have.