6/25/2010

Illustrating for the iPod.



Illustrating for the iPod/iPad is proving to be interesting if not challenging. It has always been the case in years gone by that the method of printing was the major factor in deciding the style of illustration. For example, printing from a wood block usually produces an illustration in black and white and the limitations of the process can be a starting point and sometimes an inspiration for the final artwork. When full colour photogravure printing came along illustrators responded to the challenge by producing more colourful and detailed artwork. Illustrating for the iPod is not limited to the conventions of the printing process, in theory anything is possible, the rules are “there are no rules”. In reality the restraints are of a different nature, mainly governed by the actual size of the iPod screen. The artwork has to “read” when shown on the tiny screen and in the case of the application which we are using with MCB Mobile Children's Books for “The Bird with the Rainbow Tail” (to which I referred earlier) the left hand third of the illustration is covered by text, so that part of the illustration can only be seen when the text is switched off. This means that all the action has to happen in the other two thirds of the screen on the right hand side.
As if that wasn’t enough, the same illustration cropped has to also work on the iPad, which is much larger and has a higher resolution.

In the past, all of my picture book illustrations have been in full colour. Each illustration took weeks to complete with nine to twelve months allowed for the entire book. This current project has to be completed in a much shorter time frame added to which there is another constraint, that of the story which begins in a world devoid of colour. It seemed logical therefore to do the illustrations in black line drawing and then to add patterns, colours and textures digitally. As you can gather, the whole project is experimental and a little bit daunting. The patterns and collage effect have been taken form my fabric designs, and photographic textures from wood, stone etc.

The illustration here is page one and has been inspired a little by Samuel Palmer whose work I adore.

16 comments:

  1. Valerie, this is fascinating. I hope that you will continue to share your thoughts on working with the iPod in mind.

    I admire your artistry and the spirit of exploration you are takin on.

    xo

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  2. Both yours and the Palmer are just wonderful. I've got to seek out more of his work....

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  3. it's amazing how art goes high tech! Good luck on the completion of this marvelous project and may every process bring you the utmost delight.

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  4. Oooh I love hearing about your work and thought process and how you have to adjust to suit different projects. :0)

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  5. Interest Valerie - love the pictures too. And that dog, carrying that long stick - lovely.

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  6. wow that is interesting - especially how such a laborious art form can combine with technology.

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  7. Having just become an i-Phone user, I can only imagine the challenges of working in a format for such a small screen! I have seen the iPad which it's much larger screen and so making something that will be equally beautiful for both size screens must be a fascinating challenge. Maybe once it's all done, maybe you should have an exhibition of the original artwork that you are making for this book! Thank you for the sneak peak of your gorgeous illustrations, though!

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  8. This sounds like an interesting project and shows how diverse art can be.
    I love,love Samuel Palmer!

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  9. Fascinating project.
    And I'm with you on Samuel.

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  10. This does seem a little daunting -- as every new venture is - but I love the melding of new technology with your love of Palmer and other artists in the English landscape tradition.
    Your little fox is a delight.

    Talking technology. Years ago my husband had a silk screen business doing both his own limited edition prints and also those of other artists. Nowadays almost no one used silk screen it is all ink jet.....
    Have a super weekend.

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  11. valerie - you already know how i feel about your work - i'm going to go scrounging around to learn more about palmer's. thanks for this. steven

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  12. It is all very complicated, but the result is simply wonderful/. I would love to try this. I think the black and white would be a nice compliment to color illustrations within a book, as well. It is exciting watch as your project comes along.

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  13. I clicked on your illustration to enlarge it and see it better Valerie. It is really beautifully detailed. I am a great lover of black and white artwork anyway. I am also impressed with your ability to work to deadlines with commissions. That is not easy I am sure.

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  14. What a fascinating process!
    I in awe and admire you for taking on this daunting task, in an era where printers still talk dpi when they actually mean ppi!

    I imagine it being quite challenging to create art that has to work on the small screen of an iPod and still have details on a larger iPad. Only very experienced artists would take on that task, I suppose. I wish you good luck!

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  15. the black and white, the textured detail, the limitations that lead to the decisions you need to make...

    Wow... You do Amazing Work...

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  16. What a wonderful illustration Val - I love it - good luck with this challenging project. x

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