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Assignment five – Seven Days

It’s OKAY! if you feel…


I had lots of ideas, if at the start of the course I would have wanted to do something big to showcase on the final Assignment… (above)
However I really wanted to bring together all the things I’ve learnt, things I wanted to improve upon into maybe a simple but well done project.

The second “main” idea was changed at the last moment, due being seven days of grief (for helping children) I changed this due to events currently affecting us, I think the “timing” for me to do this project is very wrong.

The brief

Boys are often told to “man up” and “don’t be such a girl” that can find it hard to express themselves in words, schools and counselors are looking into ways to help boys open up and want a booklet/poster to help boys express themselves.
This is aimed at age 5-9 (Primary school age) to tell a story of a boy learning to feel with his emotions.
They want it to be fairly simple and made to feel it’s okay.
They would like this to be over a week, “today I feel…. ” so 7 days of feelings and a poster (A3) to have on the walls of offices / schools where boys can see.
Most important is they want the illustration to relate to their feelings.
Would like a “character” that boys can relate to.
Key 7 days

At first I thought a mini zine or comic, however to fit the these together I’ll be making a booklet that folds out into a poster.
So will have 8 pages (cover + 7 emotions)
and a poster based upon the booklet.

I’ve figured this will bring together not only the elements of this part (Words and Pictures) but key steps in illustration to create something special and meaniful.
My own son finds it hard to open up emotionally, so a little emotionally driven to create something that is meaningful.

Colours play an important part of this, just to give the character, background and words the emotion boost, I figured another play on SEVEN days could come into play in a muted format and create these in the seven colours of the RAINBOW.

Disney backgrounds
Lou Romano
Disney Characters from
Inside out – 19 Jun 2015 (United States) Disney

For this I could easily take inspiration from disney, such as the movie UP which scene background colours help set the mood or the movie inside out as the characters are the emotions.

I wanted something along the lines of these but more “self-help” narrative, which is why I picked Amy Clare Barden, more so her illustrations for emotions / mood are perfect.

Amy Clare Barden

Amy Clare Barden
Amy Clare Barden

Amy Clare Barden is an illustrator from Bristol, UK. It was her work featured in “Illustration, a theroretical & contesxtual perspective that caught my interest.
Her illustrations match the purpose of mood and feelings.

I also like the “textures” she has created, this inspires ideas for my own piece. I wanted to add textures but wasn’t sure if the “collage” look will suit my piece and Barden one monotone colour palette with the textures, could I use as a way to express “feelings” for a younger aunitence.

Everybody Feels Sad cover art
Jane Bingham 2008 – Crabtree

My other source of inspiration, is a book series qed publishing called “Every body feels” these books are designed to help young children understand their feelings. The illustrations are by Helen Turner .


Above was created purely inspired by the artist in procreate, I do like it, but I don’t think it would appeal to the younger side of 5-9 year olds.
I’ll be making the character and then using elements of these in the background.

My first thoughts to the illustration narrative is word and pictures, later thinking more on the narrative and how I liked a sketchbook piece for “working with children” I’m thinking of the boy walking though his emotions. So like a short story!

Natalie Kilany

I had an idea in mind, I faced a couple of issues. One of the main ones was background I felt the piece will need something.
I needed something “new” so I turned my research to both my pinterest mood board and a new illustrator for new ideas.
One I liked was the work of Natalie Kilany, who lives in lives in the Wiltshire town of Marlborough. Natalie likes to plan layout in thumbnails and transfer on to water colour paper, where she applies watercolour paints, gouache and coloured pencils. Later will finish with digital touch up (A method I seem to like myself)


Sketchbook (main) I started with doodles, character sketches, playing with ideas mainly.


Sketchbook (main) The character I wanted to keep simple, so this page I wanted to get the “feel” for the character, what bits I liked and didn’t like and using colour to see how it worked on paper.


The character design page, originally this was done in pencil sketches, however I used the design to test colour in gouache, I really liked this result so this became the first thing I was settled on.


Sketchbook (main) I started to play around with more ideas, did my first thumbnail that would show to the client (along with the character design)
Also little play on doodling background elements and font to suit the emotions,


Sketchbook (main) This was a little back ground test as wasn’t sure if to paint directly and colours, colours I realised wasn’t a deal breaker as I was editing digitally.
Also first thumbnail ideas for the poster.


Last page of my sketchbook main (2) I wanted to finish this on a fun note so rainbows not only being a little loosely related to my theme, Its a symbol of hope in isolation, for the NHS during these times.


My loose digital layout/thumbnail as needed more direction to move forward with. (With maybe more detail I would sent this to the client)


(Above) digital thumbnail layout ideas for the poster.

Character walk OCA seven days

The painting gouache walk characters, these have been scanned after painted with gouache and outlined with POSCA pen.

OCA - 7 days scanned background

Back ground design painted with acrylic and scanned.

fonts for 7 days

Possible wording (above) created in procreate.

OCA - 7 days background

Background(above) added the “doodles”.

First test 7 days OCA

The first placement – I did test a lot of layouts, first colour draft. (I think at this point I would also show the client – as well as the thumbnail stage)

OCA - Seven days with font smaller

(left) – at this point when I added the font, cleaned things up and I added on social media for fellow students feedback.
I sadly didn’t get much, many stating they liked the character and colours.
One student did kindly let me know I had made a mistake with my spelling of calm!

I kept the wording simple as wanted it to be more relate to the words than the “story”. Also a language that the younger end of my target age group can read easily.

I did plan to add more textures / doodles, I became aware I was overworking this so I started to be more selective and removed some elements.

OCA POSTER design 7 days

(Above) final draft for the poster, I wanted to keep simple as it is really an “extra”.
Like the others, the character was painted with gouache, scanned and cleaned up digitally. The colours come from the “booklet” side.
Another reason I went for a rainbow theme I didn’t want to go too boy stereotype with blue/green and red combo, I wanted it to be open minded so colours of the rainbow seem perfect for this.


I ideally wanted to print these, test and check colours. However due to the CORID-19 and lock down I will not be able to do this as I would have liked (but will in the future for my own further development in learning more about print and colours)

After the last exercise, I couldn’t find again the perfect mock up, as I really wanted to give the impression how this could look finished I created my own mock up.

Cannot believe I didn’t think of this with the last exercise (may go back an re-do). It is also the layout I would of considered for assessment so I found this a good option.

OCA 7 days mock up

The mock up (above)

I really wanted to do something BIG for this final assessment, however due to the exercise brief I wanted to show parts I’m growing as an illustrator within, such as really pull though with mixed media. (gouache, acrylic, posca pen, procreate, photoshop) using a method I know I prefer, which is fixing things together digitally also showing that I really want to “grow” in hand lettering.

I picked a topic close to my heart and I kept it simple, It isnot meant to be a guidance booklet, more something for boys to carry to reassure them / or use as the poster.

There are areas I’m not sure about, (such as the scared section – the purple shade also seem to change shade, is scared lettering readable enough? Could I have pushed the poster more ?
Are parts still a little too busy? – Was I too keen to include a lot of what I’ve learnt that I’ve “over done it”.

Bit I really do like is the fact I had a solid “character” which I created so boys can relate to him, the fact I tried a “back ground” the poster is fun.
Has a story vibe to it without it being a story and most of the colours.

References, research and credits

ILLUSTRATION A Theoretical & Contextual Perspective – Alan Male

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