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The final exhibition

The end of year exhibition has finally rolled around the corner. After all the briefs I’ve tackled throughout the years, this event offers a last opportunity to showcase my skills and talents as an illustrator. My aim was to create a bold statement through my designs, reflecting my personal interests.

In my last project, I explored the subject of emotion. I created a children’s picturebook based on worry, with the aim of provoking relevant conversations surrounding children’s emotional well-being previous post. This was by far my favourite project to work on and really confirmed my passion for children’s illustration. For my exhibition piece, I wanted to expand this brief into a new direction, by exploring more complex feelings. In today’s climate, an alarming rate of young people are experiencing mental health difficulties. My aim was to create a series of illustrations representing the challenges and emotional issues that affect children’s daily lives. I wanted to showcase my ability to handle different subject matters.

I first began this project by researching the main factors which impact children’s mental health. I then narrowed down these topics, selecting the most relevant:

  • Loneliness

  • Grief

  • Self-esteem

  • Anxiety

Due to the sensitivity of these subjects, I had to be mindful. The purpose of these pieces, was not to frighten children, but instead reassure them that ‘it’s ok to not feel ok’. This is where I incorporated monsters into the illustrations, capturing children’s vivid imaginations. For the first time, I experimented with a grayscale scheme, representing these feelings through a young person’s perspective. The minimal use of colour, purposely zooms into the characters emotions. I was slightly unsure about these choices, however I believe it sets the mood, adding emphasis to the pieces. In my portfolio interview, Jo Davies commented that I need to represent more culturally diverse characters. Taking this advice on board, I tried to illustrate different types of children.

Illustration based on the theme of loneliness

Illustration based on the theme of grief

I decided to stick to landscape illustrations, rather than portrait. This provided a larger surface area to work with. I played around with composition and layout through a few rough sketches. When happy with the placement, I began digitally manipulating these images.

Here are some of my original ideas. As you can see, I created lots of rough-sketches in pencil and pen. I like my illustrations to have steady and bold line-work, showing no imperfections.

Rough sketches

With most of my illustrations, I end up re-drawing them. The right image displays my initial plans for the design based on grief. I decided to this scrap layout as it wasn’t working out.

So far, I have completed two out of the four illustrations. The exhibition goes live on the 13th of May, as I still have some time to finish the others. I look forward to seeing how the final pieces look in the virtual gallery space. I’ll continue to document my progress…

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