Penguin Book Covers

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For this project we have been tasked to create (a) book cover(s) for the Penguin Random House Competition Student Awards. There are three choices to go with: Adult Fiction Award, Adult Non-Fiction Award and the Children’s Award, or we can submit one cover for all three, which is what I would like to do if time permits.

All entries must be submitted digitally via the submissions site. Entries submitted in any other way, including by email or hard-copy, will not be accepted. (Further Submission Details).

Entries must supplied in the following format:

  • PDF
  • 300dpi
  • CMYK
  • 5mm bleed
  • Ideally colour managed to ISO Coated 39 or ISO Uncoated 29 (optional)
  • Trim and crop marks to be included
  • Maximum file size 5 MB
  • TEXT
    Please include the front cover only on the first page of your PDF and a full cover spread (front, spine and back cover) on the second page of your PDF.

    Please use the design template and cover copy supplied on the main competition pages. (These are separate PDF’s for each Award – these can be found under the Choice section).

    The winning design will need to:

  • have an imaginative concept and original interpretation of the brief
  • be competently executed with strong use of typography
  • appeal to a contemporary readership
  • show a good understanding of the marketplace
  • have a point of difference from the many other book covers it is competing against
  • TEXT
    Terms & Conditions

    Unfortunately, due to my circumstances, I missed the deadline. However, for this project it has given me the chance to see what the judges selected out of 2,000 entries: Student Design Shortlist Announced / Shortlist, these images are below under the Choice section.

    Something to keep an eye on for the future is Careers at Penguin under Design and Production.



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    To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

    For the Adult Fiction Award, the cover design is for ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ by Harper Lee. My first step was to look at previous cover designs, these are as follows:


    To Kill A Mockingbird is a Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece of modern literature and was voted the most loved book of the last sixty years by The Times readers in October 2009. It has been translated into more than forty languages and has sold over thirty million copies worldwide. So no pressure.

    We would like you to design a new and classic cover for this book. The trick here will be to come at it from a fresh perspective and to avoid repeating the obvious iconography from the many previous editions in print. If you can get your hands on a copy of the book in order to get a sense of the beautiful writing, this will only help to inspire your design. The cover should feel timeless and confident, and appeal to a whole new generation of readers.

    Your cover design needs to include all the Cover Copy supplied and be designed to the specified Design Template – B format, 198mm high x 129mm wide, spine width 20 mm, incorporating the ARROW branding and all additional elements such as the barcode.


    ‘Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ’em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.’

    A lawyer’s advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of Harper Lee’s classic novel – a black man charged with the rape of a white girl. Through the young eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores with exuberant humour the irrationality of adult attitudes to race and class in the Deep South of the 1930s. The conscience of a town steeped in prejudice, violence and hypocrisy is pricked by the stamina of one man’s struggle for justice. But the weight of history will only tolerate so much.

    ‘Someone rare has written this very fine novel, a writer with the liveliest sense of life and the warmest, most authentic humour. A touching book; and so funny, so likeable.’ Truman Capote

    ‘No one ever forgets this book’ Independent

    Interpretation of Mockingbirds in the book

    Similar Books:

  • Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger
  • The Lord of the Flies – William Golding
  • Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
  • The Help – Kathryn Stocket
  • The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • TEXT

    Purpose, Audience & Context:


    The book is a reflection of how we treat the ‘other’, seen through Tom Robinson and Boo Radley. It is about showing kindness to people. It shows courage in standing up for what it right, while also showing compassion for those around us.


    Harper Lee aimed To Kill a Mockingbird at young adults, however it is not limited to that audience. The book was written over 50 years ago and is still relevant to its modern readers. It is studied in schools throughout the world because of its cultural and moral significance.


    It was published in 1962 and set in Alabama from 1933-35. Keep in mind that this was during the time of slavery in the US. The Great Depression was also happening. Racism, power, sexism and inequity were all very real issues that the people of the time and place struggled with.


    I have read ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ and seen the film, however it has been a while since doing both, therefore, I looked at SparkNotes to refresh my memory of the storyline by reading through the Synopsis.


    If I would like to pursue a typographical approach I think looking at Quotes from Goodreads was highly beneficial, my favourite quotes are as follows:

    You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.

    People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for.

    It was times like these when I thought my father, who hated guns and had never been to any wars, was the bravest man who ever lived.

    Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corncribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.

    It’s never an insult to be called what somebody thinks is a bad name. It just shows you how poor that person is, it doesn’t hurt you.

    Things are always better in the morning.

    To Kill a Mockingbird: Adult Fiction Award Shortlist:

    The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13¾ – Sue Townsend

    For the Children’s Cover Award, the cover design is for ‘The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13¾’ – Sue Townsend. My first step was to look at previous cover designs, these are as follows:


    You are invited to design a cover look for The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole to bring this much-loved classic to a new generation of readers. The design should ensure that this original and hilariously funny book remains a must-read for every child.

    Your cover design needs to include all the Cover Copy supplied and be designed to the specified Design Template (B format, 198mm high x 129mm wide, spine width 16.6mm), incorporating the PUFFIN branding and all additional elements such as the barcode.


    ‘Saturday January 25th

    10 a.m. I am ill with all the worry, too weak to write much. Nobody has noticed I haven’t eaten any breakfast.

    2 p.m. . . . Perhaps when I’m famous and my diary is discovered people will understand the torment of being a 13¾-year-old undiscovered intellectual.’

    Adrian Mole’s painfully honest diary is a hilarious spots-and-all glimpse into the troubled life of a teenager. First published in 1982, it quickly became a best-seller and has since been adapted for radio, television and theatre.

    Similar Books:

  • The Harry Potter Series – J.K. Rowling
  • Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch – Terry Pratchett
  • Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging (Confessions of Georgia Nicolson, #1) – Louise Rennison
  • The Hitchikers’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
  • The Princes Bride – William Goldman
  • TEXT

    Purpose, Audience & Context:

    Purpose & Audience

    The thing is, she (Sue Townsend) says, the book wasn’t even aimed at teenagers: “It was written for parents, that was the intended audience. It was for the mothers of teenage boys.” That seems obvious now. Reading it as a 40-year-old father, I recognise it as a book clearly written by one of my own: Mole is simultaneously lovable and completely exasperating, and as anyone who has had kids will tell you, love and complete exasperation are pretty much the defining emotions of parenthood.
    (From an article in the Guardian by Alexis Petridis)


    The story is set in 1981 and 1982, and in the background it refers to some of the historic world events of the time, such as the Falklands War and the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana as well as the birth of Prince William. Mole is also a fierce critic of prime minister Margaret Thatcher, listing her as one of his worst enemies.


    Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to read ‘The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13¾’ before creating the cover, however I looked into the story via a Synopsis from a website called ‘Bookrags”. I would really love to read it after as it sounds very amusing.


    I also looked at some amusing Quotes from the book that might grab people’s attention to portray adrian mole perfectly. It would also help if I decided to go with something typographical. Below is a list of some of my favourites:

    There’s only one thing more boring than listening to other people’s dreams, and that’s listening to their problems.

    I have a problem. I am an intellectual, but at the same time I am not very clever.

    Measured my ‘thing’. It was eleven centimetres.

    Just measured my thing. It has grown one centimetre. I might be needing it soon.

    My skin is dead good. I think it must be a combination of being in love and Lucozade.

    (On Easter) “…Poor Jesus, it must have been dead awful for him. I wouldn’t have the guts to do it myself.”

    Best Quotes of Adrian Mole

    The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13¾: Children’s Award Shortlist:

    In Cold Blood – Truman Capote

    For the Adult Non-Fiction Award, the cover design is for ‘In Cold Blood’ – Truman Capote. My first step was to look at previous cover designs, these are as follows:


    We are looking for a cover design which breaks boundaries in the same way that the book did. It should be bold, maybe even shocking, yet remain true to the book, reflecting both its literary merit and its chilling content.

    Your cover design needs to include all the Cover Copy supplied and be designed to the specified Deisgn Template
    – B format, 198mm high x 129mm wide, spine width 20mm, incorporating all the PENGUIN branding and all additional elements such as the bar code.


    In Cold Blood is regarded by many critics as the pioneering work in the true crime genre. It is a startling, true account of a gruesome crime and a skilfully researched piece of journalism – it is a literary masterpiece brilliantly imagined which reads like the most gripping of thrillers.

    Similar Books:

  • A Room of One’s Own – Virginia Woolf
  • Homage to Catalonia – George Orwell
  • The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test – Tom Wolfe
  • Silent Spring – Rachel Carlson
  • Into the Wild – Jon Krakauer
  • TEXT

    Purpose, Audience & Context:


    The motivating factor in my choice of material–that is, choosing to write a true account of an actual murder case–was altogether literary. The decision was based on a theory I’ve harbored since I first began to write professionally, which is well over 20 years ago. It seemed to me that journalism, reportage, could be forced to yield a serious new art form: the “nonfiction novel,” as I thought of it. Several admirable reporters–Rebecca West for one, and Joseph Mitchell and Lillian Ross–have shown the possibilities of narrative reportage; and Miss Ross, in her brilliant “Picture,” achieved at least a nonfiction novella. Still, on the whole, journalism is the most underestimated, the least explored of literary mediums.


    Capote believed he was starting a new literary form, the “non-fiction novel”, which would combine the materials of journalism with the techniques of naturalistic fiction. So he imagined his readers would be people who kept up with contemporary trends in literature, like readers of The New Yorker magazine (where he once worked), not just people who liked to read about gruesome murders.


    In 1959, Capote noticed a small newspaper item describing the mysterious murder of a Kansas ranch family of four. He decided that this might be the perfect story for him to write about. Five years of intense research followed, during which time Capote became very close to the two murderers, Richard Eugene Hickock and Perry Edward Smith. He talked to the townspeople of Holcomb, where the murders were committed, and nearby Garden City. He followed the police investigation and the eventual appeals process until the execution of Hickock and Smith in 1965. During interviews he never took notes or used a tape recorder; instead he was able to transcribe the interviews from memory, a skill he had been practicing for years.


    Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to read In Cold Blood before creating the cover, however I looked into the story with an in depth Synopsis from Cliffs Notes. I will definitely be reading it after as it sounds like an interesting read.


    For ideas I also looked at Quotes from the book that might create an interesting and eye-catching cover, if I decide to go with something typographical. The ones I felt that might catch peoples attention are as follows:

    There’s got to be something wrong with us. To do what we did.

    They shared a doom against which virtue was no defence.

    The walls of the cell fell away, the sky came down, I saw the big yellow bird.

    Imagination, of course, can open any door—turn the key and let terror walk right in.

    I thought that Mr. Clutter was a very nice gentleman. I thought so right up to the moment that I cut his throat.

    In Cold Blood: Adult Non-Fiction Award Shortlist:



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    To begin my process I had a look at good cover designs, I had a look at the following:
    Notable YA covers of 2017
    Along with my research on the 3 covers I would design, this gave me an idea of what covers stood out. I also had a look at the best colours for book covers and what they represented.

    To progress further I found a really good article on the development of creating and adapting a book cover: Cover Story: ‘How to Fall in Love with Anyone’

    Next I had a look at how to make my own book covers:
    Brilliant book cover master explains
    Designing brilliant book covers

    I had a vague idea of what media I might use for my cover designs, one of them was via papercutting, therefore I compiled a Pinterest board on papercut book covers the link for this is here.

    I also had a look at how to Paper Cut to refresh the process:
    Guide to Papercutting

    I also knew that typography would be a prominent feature in all of my cover designs, as it’s something that (I believe) is vital to cover designs. Both of the following links are boards I made on Pinterest to get a good idea of what works:
    Typographical book covers
    Indic Typefaces

    I also looked further at one of the judges as her typography is inspirational:
    Sarah Hyndman’s Instagram.

    As I want to get better at typography I also looked at the following article to further inform my process:
    How to get really good at typography
    This article was fantastic, thoroughly informative it gave information like:

  • X-height: The height of a lowercase x, or the height of any lowercase letter excluding the ascender and descender.
  • Baseline: The imaginary line that a set of characters sit on to help create uniformity and legibility.
  • Ascender: The part of a letter that extends above the x-height.
  • Descender: The part of a letter that descends below the baseline.
  • Counter: The enclosed spaces within letters.
  • It also lead me on to further links such as:
    Crash course in typography
    Typography tutorial This was a fantastic tutorial on typography with the lyrics of the Eye of the Tiger which was amusing and informative.
    Understanding the difference between type and lettering



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    Philip Pascuzzo

    Pascuzzo’s stunningly vibrant colours draws your attention to his fantastically illustrated book cover designs. I love the way he has used texture in his designs, especially with his covers for Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey. I would really like to try this out with vector images but using watercolours or monoprints to make my illustrations more eye-catching and less ‘flat’.

    Jason Booher

    Boohers designs may be simple but highly effective and in my opinion simply beautiful! I love how he has used a simple background for each of his designs, especially the newspaper clippings for ‘News of the world’ cover design – Brilliant!

    Lizzy Stewart

    Stewart’s beautiful illustrations are elegantly accompanied by her handmade lettering. Her use of colour really draws you in. I love how simple some of her designs are but still really beautifully compiled.

    Lisa Rockall

    Rockall’s papercut images are filled with depth as they have been physically made and photographed, adding shadows adding a more 3D feel. The papercut font stands out, it’s something i’ve always been drawn to, I think this would be a great way to approach my cover designs.

    Coralie Bickford-Smith

    Bickford-Smith is a desiner i’ve closely watched for a long time, I love how decorative and simple her book covers are. Her fitting images compliment each book beautifully and have even been photographed in a fantastic way to highlight how beautiful her designs are.

    Levente Szabó

    Szabó’s simple but appropriate images are beautifully thought through, where his silhouettes are filled with further images, for example, where his tiger’s stripes in ‘The boy with the tiger heart’ is formed with trees. The tigers eye is also the sun shining through the trees. I also love how he has used type with textures and gradients inside them.



    Documentation of working process

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    To Kill a Mockingbird:

    In Cold Blood:

    The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13¾:


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    Go Card or Go Home!

    Ideas    |    Choice   |    Processes   |    Practitioners   |    Documentation

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    Browsing for ideas

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    This is one of my choices of competition briefs for my contemporary illustration module. It’s hosted by Ohh Deer which is a stationery related band I have admired and enjoyed even before I started my university course. Go Card or Go Home is Ohh Deer’s annual greeting card competition. On their brief for the competition they state that they are looking for greetings cards that will fit in with their brand.

    Ohh Deer was founded by Jamie Mitchell and Mark Callaby in 2011, with the official launch of their website in that November. They dreamed of creating a brand with gorgeous arty products, so in the evenings after working at their day jobs they beavered away developing the Ohh Deer blog. Slowly but surely they gained a following which gained momentum and not long after they started making their first products! From the very beginning the aim for the brand was to be recognised as a platform for illustrators to find an audience for their work and showcase their designs. Ohh Deer started by working with 10 illustrators who the founders met online and learned quite early on that combining the talent of lots of artists meant we had strength in numbers; those who found Ohh Deer because they liked one illustrator might find others that they liked too!

    To get a better idea of what their brand reflected I had a look at their current product range. This showcased their artists humour and simple designs on their vast product range. Most illustrations had plain backgrounds and hand lettered type, which I will bear in mind when creating my designs.

    Some of my favourite card designs on their website are as follows:

    After getting to know a bit more about the company I looked closer at the brief’s requirements. I have copied and pasted the following to make it easier to refer back to when creating my designs:

    At Ohh Deer HQ we’re working on Mother’s Day 2018 and we’re in the process of finalising Valentine’s 2018 so if there are any gems for Valentine’s we’d quite happily add these to the mix!

    Submitting work that is either love or mum related will obviously catch our eye, but equally any occasion will be taken seriously. In no particular order here are some of the things you could submit cards for: birthday, wedding, engagement, age cards (18 / 21 / 30 / 40), congratulations, thank you, new baby, mum, dad, brother, sister, new home, love, good luck, academic (graduation / exams / thank you teacher), bon voyage, belated, sorry.

    You can submit square, portrait or landscape artwork, we ask that you don’t superimpose designs on to blank products; we’ll use our imaginations and find the most appropriate product for the design. Competition closes 15 April 2017 Midnight.”


    PORTRAIT: 529X750PX
    LANDSCAPE: 750X529PX
    SQUARE: 529X529PX

    4 Entries Per User
    Submissions for the competition will need to be submitted online on the following link: Submit work.
    I have also looked closer at the Terms and Conditions for the brief to ensure I don’t miss anything vital.

    Unfortunately I missed the deadline for this competition due to my circumstances, I was then able to take a look at what other people submitted to the competition. This helped to inform me what other illustrators thought would fit in with Ohh Deer’s brand. However, as it is an annual competition it is something I will look out for again next year and hopefully be able to submit my work then. However, Ohh Deer also have a submissions page, which is used in general and not for the competition, which is something I will consider doing anyway if I feel my designs would indeed fit in with their brand.



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    I have four designs I can submit to the competition, I can either have four separate occasions to choose from or I could do two occasions in two different ways, or a combination thereof. I have decided to go with four separate occasions as this will build up my portfolio in a better light. I found out in the Ideas section that Ohh Deer will mostly be looking for Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day cards. I felt I should at least cover those two occasions. That leaves two more occasions I can do, I have decided I would like to do a Wedding Day card as I have a client for wedding invites and I think it would be a nice touch to create my own card for her wedding day. That leaves one more occasion I could do, I have settled on a birthday card as I always seem to need those for friends or family, so it would be good to share my own card design with them.

    Now I have settled on what occasions to do for my designs I can now look further in to them and get further ideas for each one:

    Valentine’s Day

    Mother’s Day

    Wedding Day


    As my designs will be tailored for ‘Ohh Deer’ and their brand, I will make sure at least two of my designs will have a comical twist of some sort with them. I’m not sure if I will make my designs similar to have my own range or if I will approach each card separately to showcase my different abilities. I will test both of these out in my sketchbook before creating my final designs.



    Processes & Techniques

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    To begin with I wanted to look at How to make and sell your own greetings cards, therefore I looked at the link to see how the process works. Next I wanted to delve into the specific media choices I would like to try out on my designs.

    Hand Lettered Cards:
    Tips on creating hand lettered cards This was really good, I already knew most of these tips but it was good to refresh my memory.

    Create a hand lettered greetings card This link was more tailored at the holidays but the skills used to create them could easily be transferred to other occasions. I really like how the texture of the hand drawn lettering has been kept, rather than just being turned into a vector which is what I would normally do, this is something I will definitely try out!


    This video shows how to foil your own designs at home without it being printed, this is an option for me to try out. However it’s not as smooth as being printed professionally which is what I would prefer to do.

    Foil print greetings cards
    I’ve used this website before countless times, but it comes up whenever I search for foiled greetings cards. They give you the option to print your own designs professionally. It gives you helpful instructions on how to mock up your designs ready to be printed the way you desire. I’ve tried this out before but is good to refer back to in case I forget anything.

    How to Laser cut greetings cards
    How to create lasercut files in illustrator
    This was really helpful as i’ve never lasercut anything before i’ve only ever papercut by hand, I think this will be excellent as it will make much smoother and cleaner linework than papercutting and be much better if I want to mass produce anything rather than cut things out individually by hand!
    Laser cut greetings cards Again the website offer laser cutting options, and again they give tips on how to mock up your artwork, I will follow this closely to ensure my designs will print well.

    Printing: Greetings Cards As I would quite like to print my own designs even though its not required for the competition, I still feel like it would be good to test to see if my designs work well with foiling and lasercutting therefore for me personally I would like to follow through with the printing process so I can do this again in the future more successfully if anything goes wrong.




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    Jordan Carter

    Carter has used some very simple drawings to accentuate the humour in the cards, this can be seen in the ‘mum thanks for wiping my booty buns’ card. Carter has also used excellent portraits to create humorous cards such as ‘you’re my number 1 horcrux!’ which i think is a fantastic unique selling point for Carter.

    Lim Heng Swee

    Swee’s adorable drawings are accompanied by play on words and out of the box thinking that everyone can relate to; this can be seen in the ‘I don’t want to grow up that’s why i’m fat’ card. I also particularly like the ‘I lava you’ card with two very cute volcano characters. I think this type of humour is very common in ‘Ohh Deer’, so it’s probably something I should consider carefully when coming up with my ideas.

    Sophie Corrigan

    Just like the first two artist examples (Carter and Swee) Corrigan is another artist whose work is used on ‘Ohh Deer’ and again humour seems to be a consistent them in her work. I particularly love the play on words such as ‘Biscat’ and ‘uni-cone’, these are accompanied by very cute illustrations which again seems to be a very ‘Ohh Deer’ style.

    Gramercy Studio

    Now I know what ‘Ohh Deer’ is looking for, I also wanted to include some examples from independent artists whose work influences my own approach to this brief. This artist whose name is Jessie who has created her own shop on etsy has just used very simple typography for her designs. Her black and white type are highlighted with very colourful envelopes. I also like how it is just simply text on the cards, however I think the lack of colour on the cards would look pretty bland when on display next to other cards. Therefore, something to consider is the type and how I will use colour in my designs.

    Our Heiday

    Anthropologie’s play on “heyday,” was inspired by founder Patricia Shen’s mother and aunts, whose traditional Korean names all begin with “Hei” have a beautiful collection of simply illustrated cards. They are paired with beautiful hand lettered type, which is the style I wish to go for with my card designs. I also love that the lettering and parts of the illustrations are foiled, I really want to give this a try with my designs!

    Alexis Mattox

    Mattox’s decorative designs have been approached exactly the ways in which I would love to try with laser cutting and foiling. I love how the type has been used, which stands out over basic but beautiful backgrounds. I would like to try backgrounds like this for my designs.


    Documentation of working process

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    Mother’s Day:

    Valentine’s Day:

    Wedding Day:



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    Cheltenham Illustration 2017

    Ideas    |    Choice   |    Processes   |    Practitioners   |    Documentation

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    Browsing for ideas

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    For this project I was tasked to find a competition brief to pursue. I found the Cheltenham Illustration Awards 2017 which I thought would be an interesting project to do. This competition was aimed at creating a narrative with the theme “Tales through others’ eyes”. Once I had looked at the brief and submission details, I thought I would copy the specifics to ensure I wouldn’t forget anything important.

    Files to be sent via to*
    File image size: (Portrait or landscape) 50×40 cm max, 300dpi
    Image format: High quality JPEG
    Information file: txt (notepad/textedit)
    File Name: (FirstName_LastName)


    You don’t need to put anything in the message description box on WeTransfer.
    Please instead attach a textedit/notepad file along with you image file with the following written:

    -Full Name,
    -E-mail address,
    -Website address,
    -Description on Submission about your entries meaning (150 words max),
    -If you are a student still at the time of entry (including waiting for graduation) Please include- ‘STUDENT’ and the University you attended.**

    Now I knew more about the project, I wanted to know a bit more about the Cheltenham Illustration Awards and what they’re all about. I found the following information to give me a better idea:

    The Awards are administered by the University of Gloucestershire, UK . There are two titled loose sections, ‘Student’ and ‘Emerging and Established’. The Student category is open to all full time students over 18 years of age worldwide.The Emerging and Established category is open to any newly practising illustrators who are wishing to gain exposure of their work and to those who are more established and are apart of the illustration world.
    A public exhibition will be held in Autumn/Winter of 2017 on behalf of the University of Gloucestershire.

    The selected work will be showcased at the exhibition and published in the Annual which will be distributed to institutions and industry publishers.
    The exhibition then travels to other venues for the year. Past exhibition spaces have been- The museum in the Park Stroud and the London Book Fair.

    The University of Gloucestershire reserves the right to cancel the event should sufficient entries not be received for this competition. Artwork must be supplied digitally via the transfer service WeTransfer.
    Judging of entries will take place in August by a professional committee. Successful applicants will be notified by email mid September.



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    My next move was to look further into what ‘Tales through others’ eyes’ might entail. My first place to look was the Cheltenham Awards website, to see what they had to say about it:

    ‘A single experience can lead to many different responses – no two people see the world alike. It’s an easy thing to draw from life when informed by our own experience but to see through the eyes of others requires that we set out on a journey of imagination and empathy; to see clearly we might have to forget our own prejudices and preconceptions. There are a million lives beyond our own – choose to inhabit the world of another and, seeing through their eyes, make an image that explores their distinctive, or unique, vision.’

    To give me further ideas I had a look online to see what else might pop up when I search for seeing through others’ eyes:

    Thesaurus – See through someones eyes
    Stories about empathy

    I got a little confused after this and was unsure of how to progress further with my ideas, therefore I went back over what the Cheltenham awards said about it and narrowed it down what they were looking for. This helped a put me back onto the right path:

    ‘The focus of the Awards has always been one of narrative. Visual storytelling, whether sequential or single image, gives scope to the imagination and opens up possibilities beyond the present moment; what happened before? What happens next?’

    This helped me to think more about the narrative element: what is the story? and how can a story be portrayed through another persons eyes if no-one knows the original story? This train of thought helped me think about stories people already know like films or books. I looked at the Box-Office Top 100 Films of All-Time to kick start my ideas.

    I liked the idea of using a well known story but switching it to another characters perspective. Therefore I wanted to think about other types of stories that everyone knows, this brought me to Fairy tales!

    Once I had looked at the List of Fairy Tales and gone over a few ideas for my favourites, I settled on continuing on with Red Riding Hood. This was one of my favourites as a child, so I was excited to pursue it. I looked into The Little Red Riding Hood: Summary and Symbols Explained and also found a very inspiring article about Riding Hood, Revisited: The Wolf`s Perspective. This fuelled my ideas and sent me on my way for my final piece.


    Processes & Techniques

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    During the process of creating my final piece I referred to the following as a source of help and advice, some links / videos where more useful than others:

    Narrative Illustration:
    What is Narrative Art?
    18 Tips for telling a story through an artwork

    Watercolour Techniques:
    10 Watercolor Texture Techniques
    wikiHow to Paint a Watercolor Wash
    Watercolour Techniques – Pinterest

    Illustrator Techniques:
    Illustrator Basics
    43 best illustrator tutorials

    Photoshop Techniques:
    86 Best Photoshop Tutorials
    Photoshop Techniques by

    Brush pen Techniques:



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    Harriet Lee Merrion

    Merrion’s illustrations tell stories in a simple but highly effective way. Her simple use of colour doesn’t detract from this as it is the narrative element that is central to her images.

    Pascal Campion

    I love Campion’s use of colour and light in his images. Through very soft tones and gestural strokes , his simply elegant images tell stories in a very intriguing and beautiful way.

    Victoria Galloway

    Galloway’s very simple images have inspired this project by showing me that you don’t need masses of detail in an image to express a narrative.

    Jonathan Burton

    Burton’s expert illustrations portray narrative in a very alluring manner. He uses selective positioning to intrigue viewers as not everything in his images is ‘given away’.

    Diana Sudyka

    Sudyka is one of my favourite illustrators, I keep coming back to her work as a source of inspiration for my work. This is because I love how bokd her central silhouettes are against her beautiful and delicate backgrounds.

    Callum Russell

    Russell is a new illustrator I came across whilst researching this project. I love papercuts but I have never seen them tell a narrative in this way before. This is an artist I will draw inspiration from, if not for this project, then I will definitely use him for future ones too.


    Documentation of working process

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    Below shows my documentation of my working process for my final piece. To begin with I drew some trees in illustrator, next I added in my watercolours / ink drawings. I was originally quite happy with the colours but later on found they didn’t work so well with Red Riding Hoods cape, therefore I changed them to compliment the cape better. I’m quite pleased with my overall design but I still think I need a bit of work with textures and backgrounds to make my work better.


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    Ceramic Narrative

    Ideas    |    Choice   |    Processes   |    Practitioners   |    Documentation

    (Skip to a specific section using the above links)

    Browsing for ideas

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    As the title of this project is ceramic narrative, I wanted to look at how to create my own narratives to begin. I found the following websites to be helpful:

    How to construct a narrative
    18 tips for telling a story through artwork
    Three Proven Ways to Create Narrative in Illustrations

    Picture books
    How to make a picture book
    How To Create A Fantastic Picture Book

    Short stories
    How to write a short story
    How to Write a Short Story

    On one of the above websites, it suggested writing in a HAiku format to make the text more interesting, therefore I looked into Haiku’s to see if this would be a viable option for my Narrative. (Haiku’s can be written in 5-7-5 or 7-9-7 formations.)
    How to write a Haiku

    I also skim read the following book to help give me direction for this project:
    Picture Writing (Write for kids library) by Anastasia Suen (ISBN: 9781582970721)

    Word count for Novels and Children’s books
    Picture book content
    The above two links helped lay out some specifications for picture books that might help when writing my story. For example it gave some of the following advice:

    Use a thesaurus – find evocative replacements
    If aimed at toddlers or younger ages use short simple sentences
    150-300 words
    16-32 pages


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    This project was created specifically for our end of year exhibition, as I wanted something different to try out and interesting to exhibit. Therefore I decided to try out ceramic painting as it has been something i’ve been meaning to try. Therefore the audience for this piece of work will be aimed at people who will come and see the show. As the show is open to all ages, I wanted to factor this in. As I couldn’t do an in depth story as I only had a few plates to put my story onto, this limited my ideas. I already had a few ideas for children’s picture books, therefore I decided to pursue these further as they would be easy to adapt into a short story.

    My story is based on my cat Rory, who eats a lot and sleeps all day. I came up with a nickname for him when he was sat down one day, it looked as if his fat was more of a cape (as he is a very fluffy cat) and one day I started calling him ‘Captain Fatcape’. The story developed as I thought about why Rory might be sleeping all day and how his fat might not actually be fat. This developed into a story where appearances can be deceiving. Some pictures of my cat are below:

    Once I had written my story, I listed all of the items I will most like draw for my short story so I could look up image references. This list is as follows:

    Captain Hat
    Cat Bowl
    Cat Food
    Back Door
    Cartoon Cats
    Cats eyes
    Children’s superheroes
    Norwegian Forest
    Daytime / Nightime aspects

    I used most of the visual reference in person as I had my own broom, wash-basket, pegs etc all at my disposal.

    Processes & Techniques

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    Ceramic painting:
    Below are some videos that inspired my thought process on how to approach painting my plates.

    Ceramic Tools This is a PDF I downloaded to help with ideas on how to decorate my plates.

    Some more helpful tips and techniques I found on painting ceramics:
    How to use underglaze pens and pencils
    3 Ways to paint on ceramic
    Best paint for Glass, Ceramics and Metal

    Now I knew that I would paint my plates with acrylic paint so as to ensure they wouldnt rub off, I then looked at how to display my plates at the exhibition.

    Plate Display Ideas
    How To Hang Plates On The Wall


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    Sing Ji

    Ji’s absolutely adorable cats with stunning large eyes are fantastic inspiration for my drawings of Rory. Ji’s cats’ bodies are curvaceous and beautiful to behold, these simple but beautiful illustrations will definitely help when thinking of designing Rory.

    Diana Sudyka

    I have always loved Sudyka’s stunning illustrations, as her lively characters and delicate backgrounds with fantastic details are always something I strive for in my work. I love the way she illustrates eyes for her characters making their individual personalities shine through.

    Carmen Saldana

    Saldana’s astonishing vibrant colours really draw you in to her illustrations, grabbing your attention immediately. Her characters expressive eyes are fantastic, this will be further inspiration for my Rory character.

    Evie May Adams

    Adams’ perfectly crafted ceramic art is probably the biggest inspiration I have come across when researching this project. Her skilled designs are perfectly crafted, something I will strive to accomplish with my own. I particularly love the fact that she has only used blue for her illustrations with white to frame them. This simple colour palette is something I will also consider when designing my own plates.

    Monika Filipina