Illustration project commissioned by Auris Tech, for the illustration of the ebook “Bruises” by Penny Scott. This book is part of a series with many other books featured in their app Fonetti, an ipad application designed to aid children with literacy issues, focused on improving reading, enunciation and spelling.
As I had the joy of working with them in the past, I was already familiarised with the nature of this type of project before taking in on illustrating this new issue with much excitement and eagerness. Not only because illustration is right up my alley but mostly due to their mission statement on contributing to the improvement of various sectors in health, language and entertainment with main emphasis on education, via a platform that is easily accessible for audiences across all ages. It was then with much joy that I jumped at the opportunity of contributing to another great instalment of a short tale specially designed to enhance children’s literacy abilities.
Slice of life
“Bruises” is a short story by Penny Scott, written for children between the ages 04 to 07 years old, exploring the theme of getting hurt, along with bruises in the aftermath of an accident or activity and how these bruises are not something to fear but rather a normal biological response, as well as part of growing up. This thematic was refreshing for me, since throughout my childhood the age appropriate books were mostly comprised of talking animals in wacky adventures and not so much down to earth relatable stories, about different stages of the human experience.
Due to the conceptual nature of the story, it was challenging to depict some of the most abstract texts that reflected on the emotional growth, the principles of safety in play and various healing stages after getting hurt. All whilst maintaining the visuals interesting enough to capture the attention of such a young audience for a long period of time. For such, I turned towards a more chromatic approach and proceeded to create a vibrant, colourful and bright colour scheme that is appealing to children and added a wide assortment of textures and shapes (such as the leaf, the butterfly and tree), in order to maintain the audience’s interest as the story progresses.
For this project I created the illustrations solely with digital drawing, using a graphic tablet and stylus pen, unlike my usual traditional art methods (watercolour and drawing) that I use for most illustration works. In this particular issue I felt that digital work would be more adequate to convey a more modernised look that pairs better with the contemporary tone of the story, and this way lead the reader into the understanding that this is not a traditional tale, even before reading.
While the text was descriptive in some of the activities that where taking place in the story, most of my final character designs come from extensive research in child anatomy and poses, that were later heavily stylised into figures resembling cartoons to be more attractive to my target audience. I also designed the pages to simulate polaroids, as a way to induce an atmosphere of looking through a scrapbook with captured memories of childhood. The extra space provided by this arrangement was also ideal for text placement and also introduce some breathing space in the more visually heavy pages.
“Bruises” was an incredible experience that really challenged me in many levels, from exploring creative solutions and adaptation of abstract text to visuals to using a radically different method of work. I’m extremely grateful for Auris Tech for taking me on board and introducing me to such a great initiative.
Thank you for reading
© 2021, Luisa Freitas