Illustrations 1 – Key Steps in Illustration

Emma Clements – Student number 524053
Start date 4th November 2019
Finished date 12th May 2020

Sketchbook – Loose sheets tour ————————————

Learning Logs – Quick links

10 learning logs links


More links – to each section links (if need more information)
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

Tutors Feedback

Full unedited version of in Gdrive Folder
My response to the feedback –
Part 1 –
Part 2 –
Part 3 –
Part 4 –
Part 5 –

REWORKS – (based on feedback)

Portfolio Pieces

Blog version link –
JPEG in Gdrive Folder


I started this course as it’s really my second chance, to finally learn in a way that suits me as a deaf person. This is my time to start again and become the person and illustrator I’ve always dreamt of being and know is there within me.

I’ve always given 110% to life as I needed to do so in order to keep up with the hearing world. Now I find I can apply all the extra effort into my course, my work and finding my voice. This course has been the perfect steppingstone to get me started. I’ve found myself growing in ways I didn’t realise I needed. An example of this was I was wasting to much time and effort in some things and with the help of my tutor, started to be able to direct this into the areas that needed my attention more. I can start to see the bigger picture in the world of illustrations and working for clients, how to furfill a brief that I wouldn’t have seen before this unit.
Feedback has helped me see the things that needed to be fixed. A second perspective not only enabled me in my current work but my future work. Nothing in my feedback has really surprised me, a lot has been gut instincts I didn’t trust or know how to fix. My tutor has been spot on with every area I needed to grow and this will help me find the right balance within my illustrations in the future.

I feel a bit nervous about my selections for assessment, I’ve picked the learning logs and creative works based upon not only my growing skill set but areas that are new, areas I’m growing within and bits I’m personally proud of.
I feel it is important not only to showcase my work, but the growing creative voice within myself.

One area of growth I hope you can see within this unit is that when I first started I did too much, said too much and research too much, I think I felt like I needed to “prove” myself and with the help of my tutor started better time management and when and how to spend my time and the best advice given was to “show and not tell”.
I also know I need to work on making sure my work relates more to the brief set, so that the viewer does not have to search for the meaning. I need work on the presentation of my work more and improving hand lettering and typography. I also wish to develop my creative voice and find my way to share this within my work any how I present myself as an illustrator.

The biggest issue I faced and still face, is that I’ve been scared for a while and unintentionally holding back; I have a deaf voice that makes me shy away from putting myself in the spot light, terrified I’ll  be mocked for my voice, my art and that the reality would be that I’m just not good enough. I’ve spent my whole life pushing myself so hard to make up for all that I lack, slowly realizing that this fear is actually a part of my unique voice, a voice I need to help grow throughout this course and within my illustrations. I need to move forward with this course unafraid and willing to put myself out there.
To say I loved this unit would be a massive understatement, I honestly cannot find the words to explain how I feel to find a way for me to learn, explore and create. People who know me say I’ve changed; I am becoming myself.  
I’m excited to what the future within this course hold.   

Word doc also in GDrive folder

Key Steps in Illustration – Portfolio Gallery

I picked my ten selected images for assessment based upon work I felt showcased a range of skills, I wanted to show my growing skillset, the way I think and areas which I wish to grow within.

OCAKSI1 - Visual - Assessment piece

Collage portrait
Digital enhanced copy of A3 photo collage.

OCAKSI1 - Menu - Assessment piece

Size – designed to be enlarged and downsized.
Created using Ink on rice paper and finished digitally.

OCAKSI1 - making tea - Assessment piece

Created digitally – Designed with A3 in mind, works well as A4

OCAKSI1 - Character - Assessment piece

Mainly created digitally (A3) with the close up enhanced version of what I created in my sketchbook with watercolour.

OCAKSI1 - Working with children - Assessment piece

Book design based around the word “journey”
Created in procreate / photoshop

OCAKSI1 - POS - Assessment piece

Point of Sale
Mixed media with digital enhancement

OCAKSI1 - moodboard - Asseement piece

Text/Font created with mixed collage of new paper clippings.
created and put together in photoshop based upon my mood board.

OCAKSI1 - Book cover - Assessment piece

Children book cover
Design created individually using watercolour / gouache and ink. Placed together and enhanced digitally.

OCAKKSI1 - how green - Assessment piece

Magazine Illustration
Created digitally in photoshop, picked this to hopefully show a growing style, thinking outside the box when comes to ideas.

KSI1 - OCA Assessment - Editoral

Feedback from Part Five

This post is a bit belated due to COVID-19 (home schooling and my own poor health last few weeks)

your cat bookmark is a good ‘first draft’; the idea is a good one, but the drawing could be a little more ‘finished’. The ‘Purrfect’ pun could also say something like ‘For when you want to take a ‘paws’!’

I agree with this, I think I should have gone down more the bookmark route over the finished mock up for the card. I do have a printer on order, I could print the design and possibly laminate it and then cut for a more finished look.
I do like the idea for the pun…

‘How green is your food?’ and your finished illustration is very good, with strong composition and bold use of colour – it could be an advert for a new, vegetable-flavoured ice cream – not beyond imagining! In fact, quite a good idea – Frozen broccoli flavour for example. Therefore it’s not immediately clear what the illustration is ‘saying’, it could equally be a picture of a burger bun with a carrot sticking out. The link between health and diet isn’t that clear – however, as mentioned it is a very good image.

I love this image, I want to see if I can make it work in the context that is meant, such as a play on “summer health”. I think with text and the right headers could bring this back to the right direction. I get that is not clear as a stand alone image, so this is something I need I need to be careful on in the future.

Your travel guides have an airiness and sense of space while still having a good amount of visual content, a clever balance, and the mock-ups look great. The colour palette is a little muted, and there could be more clash between the background colour and objects like the Duomo. The green and red of ‘Milan’ for example, could be much brighter – the vegetable stall could be a really ‘hot’ tomato red. But overall the design and sketchy drawings are very good and they work very well as a ‘family’ of designs.

Thank you for this, as much as I love the mock up I felt like was something missing for it to be “just right”. My colours these days do tend to be overall a bit muted as I did used to have a habit of making digital art way to bright that it could hurt your eyes. So another area I need to push to find just the right amount of balance.

It feels like you could have pushed the pairs of words much more, making ‘fat’ much fatter, ‘thin’ thinner etc. You seem to have only taken the interpretations to one stage when they could have been experimented and played with much more.

I agree with this, typography is something I want to explore more and I should have used this as the perfect chance to do so. I did however from this stage start thinking about words as a whole more and I hope this shows in the later work, so I did take a lot on board from this. Maybe I should give myself a little chance to go back and cover another pairing beyond the slope of this unit for my personal growth.

Your biscuit sketchbook pages are good, although your initial character sketches are quite Disney ‘Lion King’ and ‘Ice Age’ styled. Try to avoid defaulting to very recognisable stylistic tropes – always try to develop your characters from ‘real’ reference sources. This is slightly more difficult with extinct animals, I know, but you may see something in realistic artists’ interpretations that the Disney animators didn’t. However, your final designs move away from obvious interpretations and have more of your own personal style. The short nose bar is the most charming, despite the ‘hot-dog’-looking leg (or tail?).

I cannot deny my “cute” tends to be influenced by Disney, I did pick my extinct animals because I could find images for references in animals. This wasn’t made clear and I think I didn’t include a mood board of the baby animals (this is an oversight on my behalf) I was very much doing this around home schooling my kids so I may have done too much showing and no telling, However that being said I do feel I should have done more exploring sketches, as I moved into placing them in simple shapes quite quickly.

Now I cannot not see the hotdog tail/leg (may see if can fix that in photoshop)

Your animal illustration work is great; the older-age ‘The Journey’ is a really striking cover, especially the ‘looseness’ of the clouds and the birds. Your bear ‘Journey’ paintings are also really charming and especially your work in gouache.

I will check out the link you sent and likely use at some point in future units.. thank you.

In the ‘Puberty strip’ exercise you really engaged well with the exercise, researching, sketching and brainstorming and producing lots of ideas and approaches. Your finished mock-up looks great, especially the approachable aesthetic which is really visually engaging, and looks more like artwork for a club night or party than an information leaflet.

This was kind of the intention, not sure if I pushed too far into the artwork for a club/party but it was something I wanted to relate to young girls.

your final assignment is another lovely piece of work, in a way a companion piece to the ‘Puberty strip’. Initially your rough layout was too similar in colour palette but your final design resolves this well. You are right that the purple ‘Scared’ panel is a little hard to read, but overall the palette and individual images match the emotional mood. A nice design touch is the way the landscape flows in a continuous strip in the backgrounds. Perhaps the final image could be the ‘cover page’ with the boy in the ‘&’, as the tagline ‘It’s okay to feel this way’ is on the penultimate panel and provides a nice understated ending

I like this area, I think I will see if I can push the design more (and fix “scared” panel.)

REWORKS part two

JAZZ POSTER (Assignment Three)

I loved the idea of adding the details within elements as advised by my tutor so made these changes (plus made sense not to repeat “jazz night”.
New version also includes more hand lettering elements as this is an area I really want to work on and improve.



OCA - new poster design

A Children’s book cover (Part four)


I was never 100% happy with this, so when my tutor recommended a globe and making the turtle less like a bowl I jumped at the chance to have another go.
The globe I created to be added, was done with an acrylic base and using a picture of the world over Europe I loosely tore paper to create this effect.

This time I wanted to create a mock up, as I realized working on travel guides as I can feel wrong about my work until I can see it in action.

Animals from around the world mock up
OCA - Children book cover design 1.1

Magazine Illustration (Assignment Four)

Small edit on advise of my tutor to make the image relate more.
While last one was intention of the article, I realised was to loose and shouldn’t need to explain the context behind the image, as that means the image does not work with the header.
I realise that this is something I will need to take care of more so if I’m trying to do a metaphor kind of image.

OCA - Assignment 4 LOST Take2

A menu

A small edit to include details on the lemon

Assessment OCA July 2020 menu pt1

Part five – Words and Pictures

This part was completed during isolation for COVID-19
In the mist of homeschooling and possibly having the virus myself I maintained as close as I could to full time studies.
Also we have been unwell with sign of COVID-19 and told to treat like we’ve had it.

Quick links
Your Own work
Editorial Illustration
Travel Guides
Text and Image
Working for Children
Educational Strip

Assignment 5 – Seven days

Reworks (from parts three and four)

I’m a little worried about this part, mainly as I’ve not had the time or as much freedom “think” on exercises and assignments as I did prior isolation, but I made myself a goal to target July/Summer Assessment, timing cuts it fine, and if anything I’ve spent the most time on this part.
As I am now “full time” I felt I owed it myself to maintain this, it hasn’t been easy around home schooling and isolation but I did it. For that I’m proud of myself as I’ve worked under pressure. Maybe even helped stopped me by overthinking all the time!

This part did get me exploring more with tools, paint, new skill sets. I know huge area of growth to bring this together more cleanly and to make it work.
I started trying new things, even when I knew wouldn’t give me the “perfect” results I took this as a chance to explore and see where it takes me.

The result was sometimes unexpected or surprised me in a good way.
One thing that is new this part, I think I’m finding my artist voice, maybe even hints of my own style and way of doing this.
While I get a good vibe on people and projects, I need to ensure in the future I create illustrations with the briefs fully with the client in mind, often in this has been open minded, so some guess work and personal preference comes into play, so I need to work more on balance in the middle stages I think.

Gallery of work I feel most proud of from part five…

oca how green is your food v3

I love this, more so it was the first piece I created after being so ill.
I didn’t create a layout mock up as at the time I really liked the illustration, however since had second thought as the unit is words and pictures… I would be willing to do this if feel needed something more.

OCA travel guide mock up

This was one that surprised me, I really felt it was going wrong until I created the mock up and actually really like.
While not 100% the look I was going for in a way it is actually something more.

OCA - working for children illustrations

While this wasn’t a “final” it was a moment I’m proud of as I really pushed the boat with my physical painting skills, started to test what I liked and why.
Also to gain an all around feel for the difference in mediums so I know better what to use and why when comes to my illustrations.

Character walk OCA seven days

I do worry the “character” over shadows the rest of the project, as I may have gotten attached to this little green guy, I tried not to let my personal feelings come into play and looked at it as the character was important as I wanted more than anything a child to relate to him.
But I cannot deny I like the character work the most in this project.

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

Educational Strip

It’s all going MAD!

Usborne books1973

Key points I wanted to showcase and issues I will face.
* less PINK.
* I wanted to avoid stereotype “girl”, but still not exclude girls by doing so.
* Not being TOO serious but also not downplaying completely this issue.
* Appealing to the age group.
* Humour within the illustrations and text.

As always I created my mood board digitally and included images within my sketchbook.

Mini Chao

Illustrator – Mimi Chao
This is the second time I’ve touched upon the work of Chao, the first being the exercise giving directions.
The reason we revisit as I honestly love the feeling I get from this image. It is pretty much what I want to recreate in my own way.
Feels very feminine and empowering without over load of pink .
Also my tutor liked the “making Tea” side illustration I did and thought of this exercise for that!

Nancy Leschnikoff – AOI Folios

Illustrator – Nancy Leschnikoff
Leschnikoff designed and illustrated usbornes “what’s happening to me?” series. Which are the perfect study source for this exercise. I already own these books for my own children, so had a lot of reference to refer to.
It is very well designed book and speck visually in a good tone for young girls, so I cannot help but feel inspired by her work.

One of the ways I found would help me to make this my own is I was designing designing with my daughter and her friends in mind.

So will be drawing from a lot of real life experiences to try and illustrate this exercise!

OCA - All going mad
Illustration by me, inspired by Leschnikoff and Chao.
Book cover by Nick Sharratt
The dare game – Jacqueline Wilson – 2006

I created mini pieces based upon both the works of Leschnikoff and Chao, (above) it was good for me to explore both of these styles, but it didn’t feel right for this exercise and what I have in mind to me make my own take on this.
I really do like elements within both of these styles, so in time may find a way forward to use within my illustrations.
My sketchbook work seem to take its own direction which was along the line of things I drew day in and day out prior to this course but with a new twist, I was thinking something Anime/Manga but with a touch of feeling of Nick Sharratts “Tracy Beaker” illustrations. So for this I wanted something very colourful, so I figured I will try to create using artist markers and ink.

Sketchbook pages and working out the folds.


My sketches started in my personal sketchbook (4) these started as doodles which later became my first ideas.
I also experimented with a new style (second) however this was dropped as it wasn’t something I found natural or a media I could enjoy and relax with. This was inspired by covers on usborne book collection which my daughter reads.

I like the style I just know this isn’t very “me”. It was fun having a play with coloured fine liners. Very likely I will find a way to use these that suit me better.

When I came to the process of working in my course sketchbook, I liked the idea of almost graphic novel/comic look with a younger “character”. Kind of like the remake of She’ra, this idea did fade away. I did keep some of the early elements, but I felt I was targeting younger children and wouldn’t relate as much to older girls (young teens) on a wider scale.
I didn’t want to “baby” my young teenage market, but try and speck to them more on their level. This thinking is what dominated my choices in design / colour and character.
I wanted it to be as if a young teen is talking to another!


Early sketches, based on images I found… I felt this was too feminine in design with the flowers. The one of the reason I dropped the digital designs (above) I felt was too cute!


I started story boarding, thinking about layouts, ways to display my panels.


I liked the idea that a teachers can print and fold themselves from A4 and make a zig-zag booklet/panels.
With this in mind I created my panels almost “stand alone” but part of the “story”.


Final thumbnails and the “characters” I liked also idea of two characters (which are based on my daughter and her friend) so could have two versions which girls could relate to,

From the work I did in my sketchbook, I went ahead and created directly on A4 paper using artist markers and ink.

The scans


Finished pieces & Mock up

Using photoshop I started to add the text, I started to wish I did everything on its own page and build in photoshop. I found I wanted to change things and I had committed very early by putting together on the page.
The positives of this is that it does have a more organic feel to the edges and bleed of the markers/ink.

OCA - its all going mad

This is a lot that I’m not used to, as it is bold and while I wanted it to feel like a teenager could create themselves (to help them relate) so almost like a school diary project.
I’m not sure if this will backfire and just just look too much like a school project!
The fold design would be so the face could fit together if folded one way…
Order from TL-R Cover, pg1, P,2
BL-R Pg5(back), pg 3, Pg4 (the idea is that is folds in a zig tag from the cover.

I really need to print this, due to on-going printer problems (need a new printer) and fact I had contacted the local university prior and planned to print my course work via them, this will now not be happening until isolation has been lifted.
I was able to created a mock up, but the fold isn’t what I’ve designed the layout for, but gives a small impression of how will look…

test mock up

This is hard one for me to judge, as it meant not be perfect. I have the urge to tidy up and work on. Bits like “girls are superheroes” don’t stand out as much as I like, but I don’t want the font to over shadow the illustration. I wanted this to be as if I just wrote “notes” all over and doodled a bit.
I like the illustrations, I like the colours.
This one I’m a little worried I didn’t explore enough, while did my research, spider graph and thumbnails I kept going for this kind of design.
I wanted the language and visuals to speck from a teenage girl.

Credits, research and reference.

Working For Children

The very vast world of children illustration.

I have borrowed and read Illustrating Children books (Creating pictures for publication) by Martin Salisbury. Which has been a truly interesting read, one thing that is clear before reading and more so after is

“Children have never been offered so rich and diverse a choice of imagery though which to enter the world of stories and knowledge.”

Martin Salisbuy / Herbert Press.

One think that I took away from this book is not to under estimate a child and “dumb” down an image. I could easily re-quote most of the book to apply what I read/learn to this exercise as so much is applied to this exercise.
Also due to the vast nature of children illustrations, I narrowed down to having children book illustrations as a starting point (It is also an area I’m interested in) .
I found another good way to get a feel for the age group is on book company sites such as Usborne.

My children own collection of books was a brilliant source of inspiration for the age groups and fact I’m a huge fan of books such as “Harry Potter” means have this visual library across the ages for reference.
Also their magazines, clothing and honestly this list is endless!

Even so that being said
I wanted to include imagery for the age groups via my pininterest mood board and from this I was able to pin point an artist for each group. I am also aware illustrations very much aware these can cross over age group, in fact Quentin Blake illustrated books can touch upon most of these age groups (if not them all).

Pre-Reader age group (0-3)
Artist Eric Carle / Eric Hill

Pinterest board

Pre-School age group
Artist Axel Scheffler

Pinterest board –

Early reader
Artist – Quentin Blake

pinterest board –

Establish Reader
Artist – Christopher Gibbs

pinterest board –

Older Age groups
Thomas Taylor/Jim Kay

Untitled_Artwork 1
Untitled_Artwork 3(1)

After picking my age groups, word, animal and activity I created the establish reader first.

Establish reader
Animal – My daughter who is 7 picked this for me.
Establish reader relays less on images/illustrations so I wanted to give the impression of a journey as if I was designing for a cover.
I also created this in procreate, the reason I picked this is I knew I could get the vibe and feeling I wanted with the option to later create using traditional methods if felt it needed that element.
It is also an age group I could explore darker colours, and also appeal to older age groups as well.
I used my pinterest board as a mood board and a starting point.


(Above) early sketchbook work.

Untitled_Artwork 2(1)
Untitled_Artwork 1(1)

The last one of the three I think conveys the message the best as show movement.
I wasn’t happy, so I went with a forth thumbnail as i felt the mountain to climb is symbolic to many types of journeys and had more shapes for visual interest.

OCA working for children test

I created the first in procreate, moved onto photoshop for final edits and added some hand lettering, I had planned the font to be added in the second and it didn’t seem right. So moved down to try on the wave, I liked elements of this but wasn’t sure.
I shared with others and they had some ideas, in the cloud or mountain, I originally thought a darker element in the background but these was all on the small side.
A student was sharing with me the work of Will Eisner and how he add his fonts into the landscape, I found his work interesting and bookmarked for a later date within the course so have chance to fully explore.
I thought maybe redoing the illustrations, but felt this piece needed to be pushed first. and

OCA - Working with kids 4

I was on the right track, I posted this to my fellow students as soon as I did I knew the “tree” needed to be removed. It wasn’t adding to the design… In fact was taking away from the illustration.
I lost a lot of my negaitive space in the resize to work better with the font that I’ve made it a little busy… So removed that and ended up with a piece I was finally happy with.

I did a lot of new things (Procreate + photoshop mix) a style that I’m not quite there with skillset yet and really had to consider font placement to work with an image.

OCA - Working with kids 5
Untitled_Artwork 4(1)
Untitled_Artwork 5

(3-5) – I picked this age group because I have a great love for these kind of books.
Animal – Bear, I know this is a bit standard, but was a reason for this choice and that is my son, he is a bear collector and it suits the purpose of this task for what I’m about to do.
Method, Gouache, liquid watercolour and acrylic
I have reasoning for so many images is the fact I wanted to see and explore physically the appeal of each of these, I plan to add textures digitally as well. This age group is illustration heavy, therefore it makes sense to get a better feel for methods that I create my illustrations. (plus see what would work in other target markets as well)
As you can see my painting skills are starting to fine tune!

Scanned version


(above) early sketchbook work and thumbnails.

OCA - working for children illustrations

All above are on A4 paper.
Top – Left to Right: Liquid watercolour, gouache, Ink lines
Bottom left to right: Acrylic, gouache and inked lines

I liked using all these mediums, however I admit I’m feeling the pull toward gouache as a medium.

OCA - Working fo children pre school set

(Above) 1st digitally cleaned up, 2nd with textures and third a sample font.
Textures added – (made myself) from jeans, my daughters wellies and picture of leaves.
Not sure if should add more ?


(Above) sketchbook page inspired by both illustrations. While not an intended age group as I was actually just trying to work of my Acrylic skills, I feel this actually really showcases the word “journey” however the “lead” in this piece is the tiny pink bunny!.

Next thing I wanted to think about was text into relation with this illustrations so could think of what would suit in terms of style.
I think my own “text” is more hand lettering route as feels more illustrated so it’s a huge area for my own self development. I have recently have gotten PROCREATE on a ipad, this was intended for everyday digital sketchbook, however I’ve found I can start easier with my hand written fonts digitally. (likely would enhance after with photoshop/illustrator ) so this is a huge area to experiment and explore.


(above) just a sketch in my sketchbook of the “characters”. Water colour markers and fine liner.

Are the age buckets for children really as clear cut as we’ve made them here?
No, in fact after pre-school age I found the ages of appeal lines are very blurred, if you ask me now at 37 what my favorite illustration is and that is “Harry Potter” the originals without second thought, I started reading when I was around 14 (late teens) and I loved them so much, so my thoughts illustrations can be ageless!
Some things make more sense for an age group, such as touch texture books for babies etc. BUT rules are meant to be broken.
How did the function of image and text differ with age grouping?
The best way to summarise this, is not not by illustration style but by mental mutiricy, can the age grouping understand what you are illustrating ?
Such as with journey, younger would see that as a physical thing such as going on a trip, but later the meaning becomes deeper and could mean personal growth.
All children’s illustration has bright colours?
Actually the first books for babies are best seen in black and white!
I cannot deny I wanted simple bright colours for my pre-reader group, reasons being I wanted to be eye catching, happy and fun. The mood was the most important factor of the colours for me. I do not think you are limited to bright colours, if anything you need to be clever with colours and make them work for the “message”.
An example of this is below from “The Pirate Cruncher” by Jonny Duddle.

I think in this exercise I’ve really started to PUSH myself more, started to think more, about a wider range of design elements with a target audience in mind.
I’ve also used this exercise as a chance to explore mediums and technique in both traditional and digital methods. Not only that, when something isn’t working I’m “fixing” than giving up. I’ve discovered sometimes its a little something that means an image isn’t working.
I’m proud of myself, not due to the finished result but what growth I can see happening. I still know I have much to learn, many bad illustrations to create… I know I can do this!

Points I feel I need to work on include improving skills within procreate.
Move fluid movement withing gouache illustrations (Finding my work a little flat and stiff after painting)
Working with a darker colour palette / shadows / textures and shapes.
Look at more illustrations (away from children books) maybe next time look at children magazines (such as Aquila or breathe teen) as target age groups.

Credits, research and resources


Cute enough to sell!

I started out with the key words
Organic, children, raisin, choc chip, ginger, extant animals, interacting with the biscuit, full colour, box size?

I went out and did a bit of market research and collected pictures to help with my mood board. I paid attention to what caught my eye, how things stood out on the selves and the appeal it had. I’m a parent so I could ask myself “would I buy that”.
(lucky I did this before Corona virus lock down)

Packaging research moodboard
Market research mood board
Early Sketches
Early sketches
Early Sketches

After a debate I first picked three out of the top ten extant animals that I first started to work with. Tasmanian tiger – ginger, Dodo – Chocolate chip, Woolly Mammoth – raisin
I did change my mind later to,
Woolly mammoth – Chocolate Chip
Saber tooth tiger – Ginger
Short nose Bear – Raisin

I wanted to link the animals together and I had avoided originally as felt was too ice age, but my direction came from drawing a cute baby Mammoth and wanted a series based on young/baby animals. Another plus side for me changing my mind is that I can study the closest living animals today and get a good form / feel for their poses / expressions.

I feel that organic food has a “feel/vibe”, the colours made to look clean and fresh so more appealing for health reason while the more cartoonish, block / polished characters may catch the eyes of child parents may feel full of sugar and highly processed.
I feel the the objectives that wanting to appeal to parents that do not go for the “branded” but to draw in parents that are looking for an alternate.
I don’t think bold colours are suitable for this packaging, as it loses an organic feel and pushes the vibe into sugar / artificial packed snacked. As the animals are extract, they’re very much in the past, so I’m thinking vintage with a little modern boost to the packaging. I will be appealing to the parents as I know I wouldn’t always buy what my children pick in a supermarket however much they beg me. I would shop with my eyes and will reach for more “healthy” looking snacks.

Range that appeals to me is normally found in the toddler selection / baby food
Tend to be brands such as
Little Yeos, Organix, heavenly and little dish
The packaging tends to be very fresh/clean, colours such as green/white, guess all this is appealing via the buyers eyes for it’s goodness/freshness.
The Old Art School, Arwenack Avenue, Falmouth, TR11 3JJ, Cornwall

As well as market research in the shores I felt was important to know the “trends for 2020 in packaging”
The key trends that stood out for me
* Packaging that tells a story
*Natural & earthy pastels
* Illustration and doodle art.
* Diecut shape window

Yes, I won’t be able to work with all of these, however just knowing these key trends has left a few seeds in my mind to possibly grow in terms of a creative idea.
Thinking of making the illustration very sketchy with an almost doodle background, main background in natural and earth tones, such as
light moss green for raisin.
Light natural paper brown for chocolate.
A warm / ginger brown tint for ginger.
An area (blank colour that could possible be a die cut window or just an area for negative space / extra information etc)

Pinterest mood board –

Font & Graphics
Wanting a font from the 1900s I found in Greetings from Retro design a poster “Cabaret du Chat Noir” not only did this give font ideas but the starting point in terms of a colour palette and theme for my piece.

Another thing that came into my mind is making things look cute was this video I watched a while ago by Aaron Blaise
This was something that was on my mind to create my characters.

With this style in mind I had a play with thumbnails (which could scan and send to clients at each stage) this was in both my personal and course sketchbook.


These was created using liquid watercolour, following a technique I started to pick up at the beginning of the course.

I was happy with the woolly mammoth, but the tigers fang were wrong (looks like a spider) and needed to work on the cookies as just looks like broken pieces.

The short nose bear was the one I wasn’t happy with, the face had lost shape and didn’t seem right, the first sketches had more promise.

I redid the bear with more shape, I wasn’t to happy with the colouring as I knew could adjust this digitally.

I took the scans in photoshop and started to make them work with “brown paper” background so very natural.

I used just a solid colour for the die-cut / peep though areas (but in the mock up I added these sections to look like can see though plastic.

I didn’t add the brand name or logo but left space for them to be added.

OCA - PAckaging all three flat

The result, I would love to test printing on brown paper as I bet that adds a lovely effects if done right, sadly due to the coronavirus I’m limited what I can do and I really wanted to make this into a box. (I may do this at a future date, even if I’ve finished this unit, as my curiousy want to test printing and see how it reacts)
I made a mock up (Choc chip being the “main”)

OCA Packaging Mock up

This is the first exercise I really researched the “on Trend” designs and that greatly influenced my design choices.
I do have to think have I let what I like as a parent influence me to much or even the “trends” of 2020. I like them, but do they stand out in the crowd of boxes ?
A couple of illustration issue, like the green on the tigers box seem brighter and maybe should have made the bears box more yellow as I did want the boxes very subtlety different to suit the cookie flavor!

Then on the design front, I’m working around kids (painting with them) Bit worried things may not be up to my normal standard (When I’m giving so much more) Least I’m proving I can illustrate with kids at home.

Brain storming ways to give the packaging something more!

I did step away from this, I had shared my work with others and feedback mainly it is fun, playful and cute.

One feedback however got me really thinking, this work does lacks brand identity, now while this wasn’t really an oversight of such. I had thought about where a company logo would go, and information (back), that the “brand” would likely already have a logo etc – I wanted the sides to be just simple as minimal packaging is all the range as people are getting more aware of packaging and environmental impact, so more “green”.
The fonts I wrote with the impression a child could have almost wrote it!

But looking at finally giving some thought because of lack of logo / brand and information it lacks that polished finished. Which is something I said in the first days I wanted to gain from the course. So it makes sense that I push this a little more, if not for the course but for myself. Plus gives me that thinking about “word and pictures” thinking a bit deeper!

So I’m designing a “brand” to include in this piece, I’ve always from the brief felt this was a more organic type of company, maybe back to the older style of cooking/ real oaks and things like that. So thought the cookie company could indeed make a play on “ice age”. So the logo design is based upon cave painting of that era, could even have a cute cave man with speech bubble explaining the information.

Credits, resources and research

With thanks to for the mock up

Text and image

An area for my personal development!

One of the things I’ve been working on already though out the course has been hand-lettering and calligraphy.
In fact this exercise reminds me of a skill share class called Introduction to Modern Script Calligraphy by Bryn Chernoff she asks you in the warm up to write “welcome to Calligraphy” with different words in mind whimsical, elegant and more.
I’ve also been taking quite a few classes (this exercise was the perfect excuse to finish them!)

I started this weeks ago by collecting fonts for my sketchbook mood board, I really did not know which pair at this stage to pick. So I’ve been having a play with them all really in both my sketchbook and digitally with my new ipad/procreate.

Digital (procreate) version of fonts

Untitled_Artwork 3
Untitled_Artwork 2

I started a pinterest board for this and future references to fonts, picking what I truly inspired me, thinking about the mood that the font alone creates in each one.

Pinterest board –


First sketchbook page (with a bit of a moodboard)

FAT and thin

I picked fat and think as I liked the options of routes could explore this pair.

fat and thin font moodboard
Fat and thin moodboard

(Above) exploring in my sketchbook “fat” and “Thin”.

Adobe CC fonts

I love using Adobe Fonts, as the search system is amazing. Such for this task I could easily for example for FAT search for bold, heavy weight, wide fonts to quickly find the fonts I needed.
While searching for fonts, I was originally looking for different fonts (but same family) I came across a few fonts that really suited both fat and thin. I didn’t even think of the same font for both, Graphite and Paganini both stood out to me for “feeling” like both!

OCA fat and thin

I know that the exercise said trace, but my thoughts are that I could push elements of fat and thin on each word to empathize each word.

Hand lettering artist that inspire me…

Most illustrators seem to have an element of hand lettering and have dozens I follow on skillshare that inspire me, however for this the works of Christoper Corr and Jaqueline Bissett. Reason I liked Christoper Corr is the boldness, fearless lettering, the fact the imperfections are the hand letterings own charm. It has a very childlike matter in which he writes, his lettering seems “happy”. Bissett work is just like she wrote a note to herself and it fits perfectly with her illustrations!

The two artist would suit my theme fat and thin perfectly, giving me ideas to merge these into a little illustration of my own!

The result of being inspired by these two artists and my “graphite” font.
I created a little piece in procreate…


Moving on after this side track digital version, I embraced the nature of the exercise and created the fonts using acrylic for the “fat” as wanted a bumpy texture and acrylic ink for the “thin” as wanted a smoother finish, while picking colours I felt suited these two words.

A4 hand lettering illustration

I pushed a little more and had a play digitally, but out of the two the original version (above) I feel is best as it expresses the nature of the words without the bells and whistles. The simple nature of this just “works”.

Fat and thin OCA

I used this exercise as a chance to explore fonts and push more, I started thinking more about the little details such as texture.
Maybe I could have pushed this more with another word pairing and used charcoal / something with a more grainy texture… Which could have suited MAD or FAST !
I hope I get the change to explore more hand lettering, as I’ve enjoyed this exercise and would like to have a word which I could really go all out on!.

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