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.
My name is Valerie Greeley. I am an artist, surface pattern/textile designer and illustrator. I have a special interest in the book arts including illustration, bookbinding, printmaking and artist books. I also have an interest in quilting, nature and bumblebees.