Wk 4 Layout development

This week I progressed through 5 of my 8 spreads to first draft, with 3 to go.

I found that overall, the flow is evolving, although my lack of experience in illustration sometimes leaves me a little unsure what to do. It’s slow progress.

One area of interest was how the words changed as I more closely focussed on each spread.

A good example of this is spread 4, which shows the character realising he has changed into a dragon. I’ve been careful to develop the script further each round to ensure that I’m not repeating particular text concepts as graphics.

First draft of the text for this spread was:

Left: In anger I snort and see Fire! Fire from my nose! Green scales! My arm is all green scales. Am I a dragon?

Right: I run from the cave, fall forward, and suddenly I am flying! I stretch my wings and fly back to my friends.

On developing the visual concept further, ready to start actual illustration, I considered my early rough:

spread 4 original mockup

In this, I wanted to show flames coming from the mouth, and then the dragon taking flight. While there is some overlap showing, I considered them in effect two separate parts.

At first, before illustration, I refined my words for the whole book, trying to move the text more into a first person present tense style, as best I could.

For this, I ended up with:

Left: I call out and suddenly there’s flames! Fire from my nose! Green scales! My arm is all green scales!

Right: Outside at last. I need to run. So fast…. I’m flying! How can I fly?

As I finished my first illustration for the left hand page, I rethought the text again, making the text almost verbal, and removed direct reference to the flames, instead having the character ask the question ‘What’s coming from my Nose?”

Spread 4 draft

The next day, I look at the dragon shape on the right, and suddenly realised that it would be better if the lines of superimposed text on the left stretched to the right and included the dragon itself.

This was the result:

Spread 4.jpg

This brought the two pages together in a truly visual spread with linking and flow, plus does give the overall impression of flying.

The dragon is facing left, as I wanted to link the left and right hand pages by reflecting the dragon shape exactly, so that when the page turns, the dragon is then in the same spot, but flying to the right rather than left.

The text for the dragon silhouette page also changed to bring it very much into first person narration, alluding to flying by not quite mentioning it.

Outside at last. Running. Running so fast I’m… flying?
Flying! I’m Flying! Feel so good! I LOVE this!


Outside at last. Running, Running so fast. I’m… WOW
Feels so good. I love this.

For the most part, images remain create from text, or are complemented by silhouette forms, keeping it simple. The general style is to have most of the page covered with a background graphic, either by scale, or by actual background, such as sky.

So, while I had originally defined the colours that are being used, development of the spreads and resultant stronger use of colour than expected means that the visual has become very rich and smooth.

This in itself has helped me settled on a concise digital print that will be trimmed and bound cleanly, rather than trying to achieve an organic look. This should be clean flat paper, smooth prints, and clean bind and trim.

Colour has given the work a feeling of intensity and when lacking, starkness, which has created it’s own intensity.

The tones remain rich, but not bright. Strong slightly muted colours add to the overall sense of foreboding and change, but leading slowly to a lighter colour towards the end of the story.

Some images of the OfficeWorks digital colour proof that I had made:


This proof really let me feel the intensity of the work in progress.

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