Thursday, May 9, 2013

AOI Awards shortlist 2013

I have just been short listed for the Association of Illustrators (AOI) 2013 Awards. My listing is for ‘The Raven’ in the category of Professional Illustrator, Children's Book section. The AOI award is billed as the Oscars for illustrator. This is the first year that the AOI awards have been opened up to entries outside of Britain. While just being short listed is a huge honor and achievement, I am hoping that I will be lucky enough to be selected for the awards exhibition in October, at Somerset House, on the Strand in London.

While I posted some information on the Raven. I thought with the short listing I could go through the process in some more detail.

Firstly the image was for Samantha-Ellen Bounds wonderful book ‘What the Raven Saw’. Published by Random House Australia under the watchful eye of Zoe Walton. The books layout and cover designer was done by designer Astrid Hicks. Astrid has also posted some information on her blog about creation of the cover design for ‘What the Raven Saw’,

This book presented a very interested project for me to work through. I was lucky enough to be in a meeting at Random House early last year (2012). I was showing  a number of people my portfolio. Zoe was looking for someone to do the cover and internal art for the Raven. She was initially taken by some of my Scraper board images.

These are some the Scraper images that I created as a response to the initial brief.

Random House were impressed with the images, but suggested that they might be too dark/serious for the target age group and quirky nature of the book. After a conversation with Zoe, it was suggested that maybe some of the ‘pop-up’ style images from my portfolio would work.

As soon as Zoe mentioned pop-up I had a vision for what might need to be done. I originally thought that I could build up a 2D image in relief. I created the following image as my 1st paper cut test (approx. 10cm in length).

Once I had made the small bird. I decided that I really like the paper cut feathers, but to get the best effect I would have to bite the bullet and create a full 3D sculpture of the Raven.

The construction process was straight forward, but time consuming. I brushed colour and wash on to 210gsm water colour paper.

This paper was cut into feather shapes of varying size. 

Then these were layered form tail to the head. 

The main body was formed out of cardboard sheet that was cut, rolled and shaped to form the body.

Has the bird was completed, I realised that the birds eye would need to changed to make it more engaging and to fit the quirky nature of the story.

The last stage was to get the Raven photographed. The photograph that was used on the cover as taken by a very talented photographer and friend Andreas Greth.

That is the basic story of how the Raven was made. I have included one more set of images. these show the construction in stages of a second Raven that was used on the internals of the books. i think this demonstrated the layering of the feathers well.

 Apart from the paper cut and sculptured raven on the cover and title pages. For the rest of the book I created some simple pencil and wash images. 
I was struggling with the body positioning in these drawings initially. But after a few attempts I came across a Raven on the Northern beaches of Sydney. I though people might like to see the set of research photos that I took. 

After taking these photos, all the internal images were created in one 4 hours session.

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